Michael Larsen

Michael Larsen

Born and educated in New York City, Agency Co-Founder Michael Larsen worked in promotion for Bantam, William Morrow, and Pyramid (later assimilated into Berkley). He and his wife Elizabeth Pomada started Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco in 1972. They are members of AAR and have sold books to more than 100 publishers.

Mike is eager to find nonfiction books that will excite big and midsize houses: how-to’s, self-help, business, personal finance, popular culture, biography, current affairs, history, health, medicine, spirituality, inspirational books, trends, technology, the future, and other books with practical, social, or literary value.

He is the author of the third editions of How to Write a Book Proposal and How to Get a Literary Agent. With Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman, and David Hancock, he is co-author of the second edition of Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 Weapons for Selling Your Work. Mike also offers a consulting service for nonfiction writers who are not clients.

Michael was recently interviewed on how an agent can change the world in The Writer magazine. Read it here!

To contact Michael Larsen please call 415-673-0939 or send a non-fiction proposal or query to Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents, 1029 Jones Street, San Francisco, CA 94109.

Michael’s Nonfiction Submission Guidelines

For nonfiction, please read Michael’s How to Write a Book Proposal book–available through your library or bookstore–so you will know exactly what editors need. Then, before you start writing, send him the title, subtitle and your promotion plan via email. If sent as email, please include the information in the body of your email with NO attachments. Please allow up to two weeks for a response.

For Narrative Non-fiction (memoir), please mail Elizabeth Pomada the first three double-spaced chapters, an outline and SASE. Be sure to include your phone number.

Please use conventional mail for all other submissions: your proposal, the first three chapters of a narrative book and a two-page synopsis after the text, or the complete manuscript on an exclusive basis with SASE and phone number.


To receive the best treatment from an agent and editor, your manuscript should look like it’s worth the advance you want for it. Don’t submit diskettes. Type or print your manuscript immaculately on 20-pound paper.

Use the spellchecker. “Butt two bee ore knot too bee” is spelled correctly! So also proofread your work thoroughly and, get a second proofreader to go over it. Typos can be a fatal flaw. Your printer should be letter-quality and have a fresh ink or toner cartridge. Use a 12-point serif typeface such as Courier or Times Roman that produces 10 characters to an inch. Limit each page to 25, double-spaced, 60-character lines or about 250 words on a page. Do not justify the right margin. At the left margin of the page, half an inch from the top, place your last name/first key word from the title. On the same line, flush right, type the number of the page. Number pages consecutively from 1 to the end of the proposal or manuscript.

Submit material unbound, without staples, paper clips, or any form of binding. Keep original materials; submit high-quality copies of text and illustrations. Type your name, address, and day and evening phone numbers on the title page. You may save yourself time and money with an email or letter query before submitting your material. If you want to do a multiple submission, mention that it’s a multiple submission in a brief covering letter that includes what you want the reader to know about you and your work. Like editors, agents aren’t looking for literary one-night stands. They want writers who can keep turning out books. If you have ideas for other books, mention up to three of them in your covering letter.

Agents and editors cannot assume responsibility for submissions so package your material carefully. For a proposal or sample material, use a manila envelope or a #5 mailing bag. Enclose another stamped, self-addressed return mailer for its possible return. Don’t use metered postage which can only be used on the day printed. If you’re sending a complete manuscript, place it in a box and then in a #6 mailing bag along with a stamped, self-addressed return mailer. Six staples will seal a mailing bag effectively; avoid string or tape. If possible, use mailers with peel-and-seal strips. Please use envelopes and mailers with peel-and-seal strips. Please don’t use “popcorn.” If you want us to recycle your submission, say so, but enclose a stamped, self-addressed #10 envelope–not a small, personal correspondence envelope –with stamps affixed to the envelope, not loose, to ensure a response. Packages weighing more than a pound must be brought to the post office which may delay their return, another reason to enclose just a #10 SASE.

Because we receive a few thousand submissions a year and because we may be away when your submission arrives, please allow eight weeks and mailing time for a response. We read submissions as quickly as we can in the order we receive them. Please don’t call to see if your submission arrived because we don’t keep track of every submission we receive. If you want to be sure, send it registered or with delivery confirmation, use UPS or FedEx, or enclose a self-addressed postage-paid postcard ready for us to return to you. Since we can’t mix and match mail, please don’t send follow-up additions to a submission.

Many thanks for your patience. Hope we can help!