MEET THE HEADWATER AGENTS 

ERIK HANE

(he / him / his)  Founder & Agent

After graduating with a B.A. from Knox College and obtaining a publishing certificate from the Denver Publishing Institute, Erik Hane began his career on the editorial staff at Oxford University Press and then as an editor at The Overlook Press. Along with Laura, he is a host of Print Run Podcast. As an agent at Red Sofa Literary, he built a client list that featured political columnists, culture critics, sports journalists, neuroscientists, historians, and literary writers of both fiction and essays. Now at Headwater, Erik is looking for writers who bring a clear-eyed sense of the stakes of this political and historical moment to their writing, no matter what kind of project their expertise draws them toward. He loves tennis, video games, and novels about sad people in cold places. He’s probably tweeting from his account @erikhane as you read this.

 

ERIKS REPRESENTATIVE CATEGORIES:

  • Political nonfiction 

  • Culture criticism

  • History, especially American

  • Popular science

  • Literary nonfiction and essays

  • Literary fiction

LAURA ZATS

For a decade, Laura has worked with books in every way from book selling, to editing and ghostwriting, to helping authors self-publish. A literary agent for over six years, she finds the most joy in working closely with authors to build their long-term careers in ways that contribute positively to their financial and mental health, as well as the greater community. Since 2016, Laura has hosted Print Run, a weekly publishing podcast, with Erik Hane. Passionate about teaching, mentorship, and the role books play in the fight for social justice, she regularly participates in the Manuscript Academy, attends conferences, and is currently serving her third term on the board of the Minnesota Book Publishers’ Roundtable, a non-profit that provides ongoing education for new and established publishing professionals. In her spare time, Laura plays tabletop role-playing games, follows the long-distance dogsled-racing season from her couch, and drinks a lot of tea. Connect with her on twitter @LZats.

 

LAURA'S REPRESENTATIVE CATEGORIES: 

  • YA

  • Science fiction/fantasy

  • Romance

  • Literary fiction with speculative elements

  • Select contemporary and historical fiction

 

I am actively looking to flesh out the adult side of my list but am always excited to read YA. I particularly love to work on books that appeal to readers of different genres or subgenres—if you’re querying something that crosses multiple areas of my list, I want to see it!

 

 

YA

I’m interested in reading about standout characters I’ve never met before, clever twists on familiar themes, and compassionate writing. I’m also very interested on seeing marginalized creators take on “tired” tropes.


Unfortunately, 2020 has killed my interest in dystopia/big government stories, but I’m very much open to anything else. This is a category where I don’t quite know what I want until I see it, so take the above and run with it!

 

Favorite recent reads: WILDER GIRLS by Rory Power, GROWN by Tiffany D. Jackson

 

 

ROMANCE

I gravitate towards tropes that build conflict from the roles and expectations a character brings with them at the start of the book—think enemies (or rivals) to lovers, fake relationship, and coworkers. Put another way, I like the tension to come from forces outside the relationship versus forces inside the relationship (like accidental pregnancy, love triangle, miscommunication, etc.)

 

I’m not a good fit for Christian romance.

 

I work with a lot of LGBTQ+ romance and am always excited to add more to my list in all subgenres! I particularly would love to see more f/f and would love more nb or trans characters.

 

Favorite recent reads: THE LADY’S GUIDE TO CELESTIAL MECHANICS by Olivia Waite, THE ROOMMATE by Rosie Danan

 

 

SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY

SFF will always be my first love, and as such, I’m very open to all subgenres, as well as horror. However, submitted projects must pass the Bechdel and/or the Mako Mori test.

 

Forever loves for me are heists/cons, fantasy that taps into gaming culture/fandom, witches, and reluctant, flawed heroes. I prefer to see traditional settings and tropes twisted on their heads. I’m drawn to seeing progressive, community-focused politics in my SFF and would love to have more decolonized worlds come across my desk.

 

I am less interested in dystopian/big gov stories, superheroes, steampunk, military SFF, and traditional Tolkien-esque high fantasy, but still willing to look at these books if they’re doing something new.

 

Favorite recent reads: GIDEON THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir, RETURN OF THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner, MAGIC FOR LIARS by Sarah Gailey, THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar

 

 

LITERARY FICTION WITH SPECULATIVE ELEMENTS

The primary distinction between literary fiction with speculative elements and general SFF is usually a matter of sales, not content. I’m separating this section out only in the event that you, the reader, haven’t considered querying agents who rep SFF!

 

I’m looking for a wide range of speculative elements here—from something as fantastical as the Cthulhu monsters in LOVECRAFT COUNTRY to something as subtle as the earth’s slowing rotation backdrop in THE AGE OF MIRACLES.

SELECT CONTEMPORARY AND HISTORICAL FICTION

Historical with LGBTQ+ main characters (like THE PAYING GUESTS by Sarah Waters, THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid)

 

Historical and contemporary fiction that isn’t speculative but either feels adjacent to SFF (like LITTLE by Edward Carey) or appeals to related fandoms (like A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN by Sherry Thomas)

(she / her / hers)  Founder & Agent

HEADWATER LITERARY MANAGEMENT

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