Cynthia Cannell Literary Agency
A full-service literary agency in New York City


I’m endlessly grateful to Cynthia. She seems to intuitively know what kind of support writers need at different times—when to listen, when to ask questions, when to offer advice, and when to simply offer encouragement. Her industry expertise is obvious, but more importantly, she’s always open and ready to talk about what matters most: the work. She guided me seemingly effortlessly through the sale of my first novel (not the easiest sell) to its soulmate of a publishing house, and has been involved each step of the way as it moves toward publication. She’s enthusiastic, generous, and patient, as are the members of her team, who work tirelessly to provide support on all sides. Because I have such confidence in Cynthia as a sounding board and advocate, I feel like I’m free to write.
— Elvia Wilk, author of OVAL

Cynthia Cannell did not find me in a gutter, but the effect was similar. She was confident and steadfast about my work when I was apprehensive and jittery. She coaxed me along patiently, sternly and always, always, kindly. She made it possible for me to write a book and now to write another, and she found a way to make that pay. For that but even more for the work and guidance I am grateful.
— Sam Sifton, Senior Editor, The New York Times and author of THANKSGIVING: HOW TO COOK IT WELL and SEE YOU ON SUNDAY

Cynthia Cannell is a deeply insightful reader, wonderfully generous with her time, and fearless in her advocacy. I feel incredibly lucky that she’s my representative in the publishing industry. From our very first meeting, I sensed that she understood and believed in what was unique about my stories and me as an author. She has been extraordinarily attentive throughout the process of bringing a book into the world and genuinely wants to nurture the careers of her writers in every aspect of the business. The life of a writer can often feel unpredictable, so it is a blessing to feel so taken care of by my agent and to trust her and the CCLA team without reservation.
— Mary South, author of YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN

Ten years ago I sent Cynthia a crazy idea for my first book, on a subject I knew almost nothing about. She helped me shape the proposal, sold the book to a division of Random House, garnered a slew of foreign advances; and, after that book did well, sold my second book for more money. That should tell you all you need to know about Cynthia’s agenting. Yes, she’s smart, warm and funny, patient and unflagging, and blunt when it’s good for you (a rare trait in the flattery-sodden world of publishing). But Cynthia is foremost a business partner—one of the best in the business.
— Jay Heinrichs, journalist, publishing executive and author of the New York Times Bestseller THANK YOU FOR ARGUING

Right from our first conversation, I knew Cynthia Cannell got what I was up to with my book, perhaps even better than I did! Her unwavering belief in the project along with her marketing savvy and sincere care have played a big part in bringing my manuscript from vision to finished form now on its way to publication. The CCLA staff are friendly, knowledgeable and always prompt in their response to questions. Their support has made a world of difference.
— Lorie Dechar, author of ALCHEMICAL HEALING

Agent does not feel like an adequate term to describe the experience of working with Cynthia Cannell; from the beginning, we were a team, working toward the same goals. Cynthia went above and beyond to give our book its best possible opportunities. Her professionalism, caring, passion, and hard work paid off. She would be any author’s dream agent.
— Judy Bernstein, author of DISTURBED IN THEIR NESTS

Any writer fortunate enough to have Cynthia Cannell represent them will find her to be a dedicated, honest, accessible, and experienced literary agent. Her deep knowledge of the ever-changing publishing landscape and close ties with a variety of editors are invaluable. Over our 30-year relationship, Cynthia has proven herself to be a fierce and unwaveringly loyal ally. I highly recommend her.
— Jill Eisenstadt, author of FROM ROCKAWAY and SWELL

Cynthia Cannell is the agent I wished I’d had during my early writing career and didn’t. For the past decade and through two book publications, I have trusted her judgment and her taste, and valued her advocacy. I take her hard-headed advice seriously. She understands the publishing industry and gives wise, no-nonsense counsel, yet she is the writer’s tireless, accessible advocate who monitors and oversees our work through the entire publication process. Her office colleagues lend support and respond promptly. She has given me and my writing career a kind of support and stability that is extremely valuable (and increasingly rare) in an ever-shifting industry.

Cynthia is the best kind of agent—she always puts my well-being as a writer first, and makes decisions based on what she feels is best long term. Cynthia steered me to the best house and editor I could ever hope for, and she then wisely and firmly guided me through publicity and foreign rights and, most important, long revisions. I count on her quick and thoughtful responses and her sound and honest advice in all matters. Most important, she is a great reader who doesn’t shy away from the experimental qualities of a work, but instead helps them thrive.
— Emily Robbins, author of A WORD FOR LOVE

Since the moment I signed with her, Cynthia has been my principal ally in this baffling industry, unwavering in her support, dogged in her advocacy. Just as important, though, she has a deeply sophisticated understanding of literature and I never need to worry that the essential thing will be forgotten. Ours is a literary relationship above all; one couldn’t ask for more.

Cynthia Cannell has been my literary agent for over a decade and, from the beginning, I’ve trusted her implicitly. She has always been frank, supportive, and professional; perhaps most essentially, I know she is interested not only in each book, but in my life as a writer. Having her as my agent allows me to fully concentrate on my writing and offers me an immense sense of stability in the volatile world of publishing.

Cynthia Cannell read my manuscript, which I had submitted cold, and got in touch. When I met with her, she had a copy of one of my previous books on hand and engaged me in a conversation about diction, literature, and readers she believed would gain something from my work, her own daughter included. I was surprised: Other agents were vague, gently puzzled by the high-low mix I seemed to purvey. They offered their support, if only I would simplify things. But Cynthia got it. And I knew she was the one.

Cynthia sold my second book to a major publisher and negotiated a complicated deal that exceeded my expectations. Cynthia has guided and encouraged me from the very beginning, and has made me not just a stronger writer, but a much better author. She responds quickly, is honest in her appraisals, and calms my inner demons. One of Cynthia’s greatest strengths as a literary agent is her ability to take the long view. She doesn’t just think about the book an author is currently writing; Cynthia thinks in terms of continuity and what comes after, cultivating her authors along the way. Her approval is essential. If she likes something I’ve written, I know it has a better-than-average chance of getting published.

Cynthia has built deep and lasting relationships with major publishing houses over the years and is highly regarded in the publishing world. In an era when business is conducted by email or text, Cynthia understands and harnesses the power of personal relationships and interactions, often choosing to speak on the phone or over meals sprinkled with lively conversation. I am honored to be represented by the Cynthia Cannell Literary Agency and look forward to a long, fruitful and productive association.
— Barbara Hannah Grufferman, author of LOVE YOUR AGE

Cynthia is far more than a great agent—and she is certainly that (after all, she sold my book). But she is also a darn good editorial thinker, a shaper of ideas, and a wise head in an industry that is ever more challenged. She is a crackerjack advocate for her writers in negotiations, widely read and networked, and the best sounding board I could wish for.
— Keith Bellows, SVP/Editor in Chief, National Geographic Travel Media, Editor in Chief, National Geographic Traveler, and author of 100 PLACES THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR CHILD’S LIFE

Cynthia Cannell is much like an orchestra conductor. She knows the instruments; understands the music; and has the artistry, industry and intellect to bring it all together for the concert. I have been represented by Cynthia Cannell and the The Cynthia Cannell Literary Agency for my entire professional career as a novelist. I think that meeting Cynthia and working with her through the publication of three novels has been the most fortunate turn my career has taken. Her advice is granite — is gold. She knows the publishing business and, as one of the original clients of the agency, I have seen her agency benefit from her astute vision of the future and her acumen. She is accessible – is always available for a consult – though she does not ever intrude on the part of the process that belongs to the writer. She is candid, though always, unfailingly courteous. I feel confident when referring a colleague to Cynthia and, most especially, when I am being represented to the literary community by the Cynthia Cannell Literary Agency. Cynthia and her assistants are warm and knowledgeable. They have a sterling reputation for competency and ethics in the publishing industry.

Cynthia Cannell is a skilled negotiator on behalf of her clients. She has guided me ably through the process of publishing my debut novel, RIVER, CROSS MY HEART, and helped me navigate the hoopla attending on the novel’s selection by Oprah’s Book Club. Cynthia has negotiated the contracts for my second and third novels with Little, Brown and Company. STAND THE STORM, published in 2008, benefitted greatly from the security I felt in being represented by Cynthia. I felt that I could relax and write the novel — let it come along as it would. Cynthia gave me that feeling of freedom, as well as, the support of her keen literary taste. As I hurtle toward publication of ANGELS MAKE THEIR HOPE HERE, my third novel with Little, Brown and Company and with Cynthia, I am exhilarated. Once again, my accomplished, personable, discerning literary agent, has made the publication of my novel a happy and deeply satisfying event.
— Breena Clarke, author of the New York Times Bestseller RIVER, CROSS MY HEART

I joined Cynthia Cannell’s organization because she was the agent to recognize and sign on the best and most difficult of my student writers. Cynthia is an excellent and generous reader; she responds to questions – the sensible and not so sensible ones. She solves problems and is willing to deal with some unusual material. I think of her with personal affection.
— Lore Segal, award-winning fiction writer and translator, author of the Pulitzer-Prize finalist SHAKESPEARE’S KITCHEN

What a complete pleasure it is for me to endorse Cynthia Cannell as a literary agent!

Cynthia took the initiative and sought me out, an unpublished author-to-be, for I did not even have the thought of writing a book. Following her intuition, sensing the currents of contemporary events, trends and feelings and seeing potential in me where others did not, she nurtured, coached, facilitated and elicited an entire, and very specific literary work; from proposal to first draft to publication, and then international distribution and tours. She brought a responsive, strategic marketing and placement plan to my first literary endeavor, a depth of resources and a skillful, tactical use of those resources to craft a stunning benefit for me, and a huge success for my first book.

She shared a real joy, even excitement while shepherding me through the maze of meetings seeking a publisher. Cynthia built a team not only around my fledgling literary effort, but around me as a person. I truly marveled at her meticulous attention to detail, her seamless product development and choreography involving various publishing houses, contracts, deadlines, editors and other agents. Her tenacity and comprehensive strategy in pursuing optimum positioning for her clients always felt focused, yet relaxed. In delicate negotiations she clearly knew when to wait, and when to move.

Whether in her presence or by phone, fax, email, text, or video conferencing, I always felt Cynthia’s genuine openness, an accessibility, a calming warmth that was a soothing balm to a writer’s insecurities and anxieties. She was always up for a quick chat or question, or a lengthy exploration of possibilities and options, and would leave one feeling cared for, cared about and respected, not only for one’s effort or supposed talent, but for oneself.

I think that this was perhaps the most wonderful aspect of Cynthia being my agent, and why I would so whole-heartedly recommend her to any writer; Cynthia always made it seem as if we had all the time in the world, and that this world of literary adventure truly held real promise, with her at one’s side. Even Cynthia’s staff members would sometimes just call to give an update, to check to see if I understood some detail, if I felt clarity and comfort about a next step, or just to offer kind support during the creative process.

Can one say one actually feels love for their agent? Yes, that has been the considered feeling and experience I’ve found with Cynthia. She has made a dream I did not even know I had, come true.
— John Hunter, award-winning teacher, educational consultant, TED-Ed advisor, and author of WORLD PEACE & OTHER 4TH-GRADE ACHIEVEMENTS

In the ever-changing landscape of publishing Cynthia is the constant in my world. Her authenticity, vast resources and ability to “read between the lines” have been a life-saver for me. She is impeccable, powerful, and well respected. A true innovator, and thankfully, my biggest advocate. There is no one better to help you accomplish your goals. Her caring and tenacity go beyond boundaries, and her guidance and expertise are incomparable. I feel fortunate to have Cynthia in my life, and for the close friendship we now share.
— Peggy Rometo, intuitive healer and psychic medium, author of THE LITTLE BOOK OF BIG PROMISES

Cynthia Cannell has the rare combination of savvy street smarts and top notch intellectualism. She has been a fierce champion for our work and a tender guardian to our precious child of a book project. With the connections and genuine relationships built out of decades in the publishing industry, Cynthia made our project her own and landed us the perfect deal. In her we have found a true companion and guide through the exciting and often nerve-wracking process of publishing and then marketing a book. We look forward to many, many years of fruitful collaboration, advocacy and fun!

Cynthia Cannell’s readerly insights were invaluable to me as I was working to finish my novel. For that assistance, I’ll be ever grateful. And beyond this, she has been a wonderful guide through all that comes after a book is done. I’m delighted to have her on my side.
— Danielle Dutton, publisher and author of MARGARET THE FIRST

Cynthia Cannell is the kind of person you are proud to have represent you — and I know because I was previously represented by someone who really, really wasn’t. She’s resourceful, imaginative, efficient, and kind, not just while working with you but also while negotiating on your behalf. Which is not to say she’s unwilling to be tough if necessary; on several occasions she’s rescued deals I was sure were dead, doing whatever it took. But more than that, Cynthia is enormously respectful of the creative process, no matter how difficult it may be, and steadfast across the years. I have sorely tested both these traits in her; indeed, I’ve probably cost her more in postage and lunch and supportive phone calls than I have ever made her in fees. Even so, I have not yet found the limits of her loyalty. I doubt I ever will.
— Jesse Green, award-winning journalist and author of THE VELVETEEN FATHER: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY TO PARENTHOOD and O BEAUTIFUL