Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: John Willig of Literary Services, Inc.

Screen Shot 2019-08-03 at 3.16.49 PMJohn Willig is a literary agent and founder of Literary Services, Inc.

John is very interested in prescriptive nonfiction in many categories. However, his bar for platform for selling prescriptive books is high, so please keep that in mind if you want to pitch him.

Separately, he’s very interested in a broad range of narrative nonfiction categories in history and current events, science and psychology, true crime, politics and sports “shining a light” on untold stories or fresh, counter-intuitive, and well-researched approaches to contemporary topics. He seeks great stories on narrative nonfiction with potential for film/documentary.

His fiction interests are very small and slim. The only fiction he seeks is historical thrillers and historical literary fiction. Please do not pitch him anything contemporary.

Celebrating 41 years working in publishing, John often says to friends that his career actually began as a Newsday paperboy growing up on Long Island, New York. He was fortunate to be raised in a family whose passions included books, basketball, and family gatherings at the beach.

After graduating from Brown University, his first job was as a sales representative in academic publishing. He soon began work as a marketing manager and then editor for HarperCollins. As his interests moved to trade publishing, he became an executive editor at Prentice Hall for business books. While at P-Hall, John enjoyed working with such authors as Henry Mintzberg, Philip Kotler and Jim Collins and acquired Mr.Collins’ first book Beyond Entrepreneurship. In 1991 he decided to become a literary agent to work more closely with writers. Throughout his career as an editor and agent, John has successfully negotiated over 750 publishing agreements. John is a member of The Author’s Guild and participates at industry events including Writer’s Digest conferences and the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) conferences.

John is the proud father of two sons, both of whom were All-Shore Academic All Stars and graduated with honors from their respective colleges. He enjoys a wide-range of hobbies from exploring new regions and discovering hidden treasures in the arts and antiquarian books.


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