CritiqueMatch is a platform where writers and beta readers connect and exchange work for free! New: You can also buy a critique or beta-reading service from our top-rated users!

Apr 8, 2021

Agent Spotlight Series: Ann Leslie Tuttle

A warm welcome to literary agent Ann Leslie Tuttle! Ann Leslie joined DG&B in 2017 after working for 20 years at Harlequin Books where she worked on an extensive and varied list of bestselling and award-winning titles in romance and women’s fiction. She received her B.A. degree from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from the University of Virginia. Helping to grow the careers of established and debut writers has always been Ann Leslie’s passion. Ann Leslie lives in New York City with her husband and young daughter, who is just discovering the magic of books and writing.

CritiqueMatch: How did you become an agent? If you were not an agent, what career would you have pursued? 
Ann: I became an agent after spending 20 years on the editorial side, where I acquired and edited women’s fiction and romance.  I was especially drawn to the agenting side because I love the idea of shaping an author’s career—something I didn’t get to do if an author switched houses--and the ability to work in a variety of genres to represent the projects that really capture my eye.  Some of my current clients are authors I first bought as an editor, and we’ve been working together in both capacities for almost 20 years.

: How many authors do you represent? How has your author list changed over time? 
Ann: Originally when I joined the agency, I focused primarily on romance since that was my area of expertise.  My list has now expanded to include Southern Gothics, women’s fiction, Middle Grade and narrative nonfiction.  I’m especially excited to be representing Middle Grade as I have a daughter that age and am seeing how these titles help children develop a love of reading and a better understanding of the world and their emotions.

CM: Once you make an offer of representation, what happens next? 
Ann: If the author decides we will be a good fit based on our conversation, the vision we’ve discussed for the author’s current project, and any discussions with my current clients, the author will sign our agency agreement.  We will then start working together.  Generally, I send the client a very detailed letter outlining suggestions for improving the story, which generally expands on the points we addressed in our initial or follow-up call, and that letter might be followed up by a phone conversation with the author to discuss the points and brainstorm.  Sometimes we will go through several rounds of revisions before we both feel the manuscript truly shines and is ready to send out.   Before going out on submission, I make my authors aware of the editors I think would be a good fit for submission, see if they have any “dream” editors they’d like me to target, and also have the author review the pitch letter and comp titles I’m suggesting to ensure the author is excited and knowledgeable about the process.  And then, hopefully, the magic happens where we find an editor who shares our excitement for the project, and the contract negotiations begin.  During the negotiation, I will work to get my client the best deal I can.

CM: What sets you apart from other agents? 
Ann: I spent over 20 years on the editorial side, so I am aware of how publishing houses operate and can share those insights with my clients.  I have strong editorial skills, so that the projects I send out are hopefully in the best shape possible, and I can also help my clients understand the basis for some editorial suggestions when they get bought.  

CM: How hands-on are you in the editing process before you send the manuscript out to publishers? 
Ann: If I see potential in a story and author and love their voice, I will work with the author to make the manuscript shine and sell.  The authors who sign with me are open to editorial guidance and committed to making their stories stand out.

CM: Can you name any virtual events you will attend or that you recommend for writers in the querying trenches? 
Ann: #PitMad and #Pitchfest immediately come to mind.  The WFWA also hosts a virtual pitching event.

CM: Any noteworthy publishing trends in romance in the last three years? 
Ann: It’s been wonderful to see historical romantic comedies emerge.  This month, I’ve been excited to see A LADY’S FORMULA FOR LOVE by my client, Elizabeth Everett, garner so much attention. 

CM: What areas of the market do you think are in high demand right now? 
Ann: Romantic comedies by #Own Voices authors and also writers who represent neuro-diversity.

CM: What makes a good synopsis? 
Ann: Generally, I like to see a synopsis that is 2 to 3 pages and gives me enough sense of the main characters and key plotting details/themes.  I don’t want the synopsis to get too specific with scene-by-scene details, but a well-crafted one can also show the broader themes a story addresses.

CM: What is a common myth about agents?
Ann: When I was an editor, I don’t think I fully appreciated how much editorial work an agent can put into a book before sending it out on submission.

CM: What are some opportunities that were created for authors/agents/publishers from technological advancements/disruption?  
Ann: Our agency has had a number of Zoom meetings with various imprints and film co-agents throughout the pandemic, which has allowed us to stay informed and connected with the editorial and film community.  It’s not only been a great opportunity to network but also to stay current on trends and shifts at different houses.

CM: Is there something else you would like to share with our members? 
Ann: I am always looking for established and debut clients and am committed to establishing a strong relationship of trust and honesty with the authors I represent. Dystel, Goderich & Bourret is a well-established agency that provides a very collegial atmosphere, and we are focused on building our clients’ careers.


Wish List

Genres/sub-genres you’re looking for:
    • Women’s fiction (e.g., relationships, family sagas, historical fiction and psychological thrillers) 
    • Romance (e.g., romantic comedies, historicals, paranormals with witches, and contemporaries)
    • Southern Gothics on the adult fiction side 
    • Middle Grade fiction 
    • Narrative nonfiction.
    What you’re not interested in:
    • Time travel, dystopian
    • Prescriptive nonfiction
    • Picture books.

    2 Client Examples
    (This list includes affiliate links)
    Berkley - 2021
    Gallery - 2021

    Query Tips

    Please provide a couple of tips for querying authors.

    • Include a one-paragraph description outlining key themes and topline plotting details.
    • Provide one or two titles published in the genre that the author is targeting that are fairly recent and that seem comparable.
    • Authors should provide a short bio that speaks to their writing experience and/or inspiration/background for writing current work.
    • The author should follow the agency’s guidelines for submission (e.g., not include an attachment if the guidelines request the material be copied and pasted to the body of the query) and also get the agent’s name correct.
    • Include a very detailed summary of your novel that goes on for several paragraphs.
    • Provide an outdated example of a comparable title or list one that seems too grandiose a reach.
    • Suggest you know nothing about the genre you’re targeting (and I have seen this).
    • Make exaggerated claims by telling me that your book is the next big seller (if it is, please let the editor and me be the ones to share this fabulous news).
    • If you do get a pass, authors should recognize this is not a good match and many factors go into a pass, and should not write back questioning or criticizing the agent’s response.

    Submission Guidelines:
    Writers can find submission guidelines on the Dystel, Goderich & Bourret website and can email me at