Ep. 53 Courtney Miller-Callihan: Literary Agent

We’re joined by literary agent extraordinaire, Courtney Miller-Callihan! She answers all of our burning questions about what it means to be a literary agent, how she became one, and why she loves it!

Ways to listen:

Listen on Google Play Music


You can find out more about Courtney (or query her!) on her website or follow her on Instagram or Twitter!

Highlights from our conversation include:

  • How she got her start in the publishing industry
  • How and why she founded Handspun Literary
  • Why agenting is the most telecommutable job in the world
  • What an agent actually does!
  • What made her want to be an agent of all the jobs in publishing she could have chosen
  • How the books she represents are hugely representative of her personality
  • Why she hates the term “gatekeeper” for agents–she prefers curator, which makes total sense!
  • How a new agent builds relationships and why those relationships matter
  • How she can get a read on editors based on what TV shows they watch
  • Some of the issues that the publishing industry is grappling with and what could help with them
  • Why she’s hybrid publishing friendly and how she handles clients who want to self publish
  • How she decides which clients to sign
  • A few agent horror stories
  • Job hazards of being an agent

Books mentioned:

One and Only by Jenny Holiday

About the Author
Jenny Nordbak earned a B.A in Interdisciplinary Archaeology from the University of Southern California. After graduating, she spent two years leading a double life, working in healthcare construction by day, while secretly working as a Dominatrix at a dungeon in LA by night. Her memoir, The Scarlett Letters: My Secret Year of Men in an LA Dungeon (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), is a candid look into that time in her life. Jenny is an advocate for sex positivity and female empowerment. She writes the Stocks and Bondage column for Penthouse and has been featured as a sex expert on The Doctors. She contributes to Men’s Health and has appeared in numerous publications including Newsweek, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, and Redbook. She is currently working on developing her memoir for TV and finishing her next book, a romance novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.

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