Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

Congratulations to Nelson Literary Agency!

This weekend, we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Kristin Nelson’s literary agency. It’s remarkable what Kristin has accomplished in the last decade. The publishing industry has gone through unbelievable turmoil, and Kristin has managed to thrive by anticipating and embracing change rather than struggle against it. Her reputation amongst writers and her peers is unmatched.

When I wrote my very first manuscript, Kristin was one of the dozens of agents I queried. I’m pretty sure I have a form rejection email from her somewhere. Her name remained familiar enough from her blog and industry news, and so I couldn’t believe it when I received an email from her some three years later! She had sent it in the middle of the night after digging into Wool. Her getting in touch to offer representation was a huge turning point in my career. In a series of Skype sessions, she wore down my resistance to having an agent, and everything she promised she’d be able to do for me, she has done.

In my working with Kristin, I can see why her agency has been able to do well through tumultuous times. A wonderful staff, a love of books, and the flexibility and open mindedness that will foster good things in this industry. I’m looking forward to what she accomplishes in the next ten years. Congratulations, Kristin. And congrats to your awesome staff.

5 replies to “Congratulations to Nelson Literary Agency!”

Congrats to Kristin!

As I’ve been saying for about three years now: The big publishing model has to change. It may, but so far seems to be extremely reluctant. If it doesn’t, it will die out. But the agency model has to change too. Some agents are quick-witted enough to realize it. A sale is a sale is a sale. The smart ones are motivated by getting books into the hands of readers and are making changes in their agency (and in their approach) so that they DON’T die off.

More like Kristin will “get” it.

j. //


I’m a big fan of Wool. I also very much appreciate that you’re willing to talk about your self-publishing experience. But I’d love to know more about how having an agent fits into the process. I know you have a traditional deal with Random House UK, but that you self-publish in the States; How does Ms. Nelson fit into this? I wish you’d talk a bit more about the nitty-gritty details of combining these different approaches.

Loving “I, Zombie” by the way. It’s incredibly sad!


Hey Richard,

I’m self-pubbed here in the States, but Kristin approached me about shopping the rights around domestically, abroad, and with Hollywood. I already had some TV companies interested and a few inquiries from overseas, but Kristin took it up about a gazillion notches. We’ve done 16 translation deals for WOOL. We got several 6-figure offers here in the States. What we have settled on is staying self-pubbed at home and working with established houses abroad, where I could never do what they do.

I was hesitant to sign with an agent. I turned down several offers of representation before Kristin came along. I have to say, the right agent can make a world of difference. (The right co-agents as well).

Thanks for the reply. When I read “translation deals,” I realized just how much of the big picture I hadn’t considered before. That’s one of those areas I know I couldn’t do myself, so it seems an agent would help tremendously.

Congrats on pulling all of this off, Hugh. You’re an inspiration to self-pubbed authors everywhere. -Rich

She sounds awesome! You are lucky to have so many supports to lean on. I’ve looked at agents a bit, but all that I’ve seen seem to take a shotgun approach to clients and choose a wide variety. I’m looking for someone that is specifically YA and MG. That’s harder to find than I expected.

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