Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Elaine Spencer of The Knight Agency

Elaine Spencer is a literary agent at The Knight Agency.

Elaine joined The Knight Agency in 2005, after graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in economics and literature. Originally serving as the agency’s submissions coordinator, Elaine then moved on to head the foreign rights department, before beginning to actively build her own individual client list. Over the last decade Elaine has placed over 300 titles in a wide variety of subgenres, to all major publishers in the marketplace.

Elaine continues to keep a focused author list as she believes it is important to work closely with her clients through each step of the publishing process. She relishes seeing her clients’ talents grow alongside their careers, and one of her favorite parts of the job continues to be educating authors about the market and business at large

Elaine lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband, daughter, and four-legged sons. Elaine is a member of RWA and the WFWA and is also an AAR recognized agent. She is interested in a wide-variety of subgenres, including but not limited to: women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance, contemporary fiction, and a multitude of nonfiction categories.

In fiction, she is open to: General fiction, mystery, romance, suspense, thriller, women’s, Southern fiction, diverse stories.

In nonfiction, she is open to: memoir, reference, biography, cookbooks, sports, lifestyle, pop culture, social media, platform-driven authors, health, mind/body, business/finance.


  • I would love to see more historical women’s fiction exploring unique moments in history with a strong sense of place. Fiona Davis, Chanel Cleeton, and Ariel Lawhon are all wonderful examples of the type of story that will grab my attention.
  • On the contemporary side of the women’s fiction spectrum I want stories that will speak to readers personally, characters who will get in your head and cause reason for personal reflection. I love contemporary Suburban Dramadies (think Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty or even the modern classic Little Children by Perrotta . I’m also always interested in sweeping family dramas that bridge over into the commercial space such as Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng or All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin. I loved The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin, Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg, and This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel.
  • I love stories with strong southern themes. To me this means an overwhelming sense of another time (even if its in a contemporary novel); stories about a place steeped in ancient traditions and family expectations, unique cultural oddities and loveliness
  • Fictionalized Stories featuring hot topics in the news and/or from the daily realities of modern pop-culture.
  • In Romance I’m looking for urban-set contemporary romantic comedies. I know I’m one of a million but The Hating Game has been at the top of my favorites list for awhile. I also like stories featuring strong “underdog” modern heroines. In my view this can take a lot of directions, someone from a marginalized background, someone with an uncommon upbringing, a person who has overcome all the odds, etc.
  • I’m a big fan of domestic suspense but it would really have to be stand out in a currently crowded space to grab my attention. It must have high stakes, a sympathetic protagonist, and a unique easy to spot hook
  • I’m also really growing my list in the non-fiction space. I’m interested in narrative, prescriptive and gift nonfiction in a vast arena spanning from true-crime (especially as it relates to its lasting impact on history, a place or a group of people such as Missoula by Jon Krakauer or Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann), pop-culture, motivational/self-help, how-to guides, female empowerment, humor (especially humorous memoir), diet, platform-driven social media brands, modern parenting, and lifestyle to name a few.
  • Beyond the above specific parameters I love stories featuring animals (ok, starring animals!), cooking/food/wine, world-travel, secret or underground societies, “clubs” of all sorts (knitting, book, widows, etc)., weddings, vacation spots, sports-influence


THE HIDING SEASON by Sara Ackerman (Mira Books, 2020)

THE DRUDGE REVOLUTION by Matthew Lysiak (Benbella Books, 2020)

SUTTER CREEK MINISERIES by Laurel Greer (Harlequin Books, 2020)

RAPTOR by Peter Vronsky (Penguin, Random House, 2020)

THE HIGHLAND EARL by Amy Jarecki (Grand Central Books, 2019)

THE LIEUTENANTS NURSE by Sara Ackerman (Mira Books, 2019)

THE FOURTH SUMMER by Kathleen Gilles Seidel (Lyrical Press, 2018)

DEFENSELESS by Elizabeth Dyer (July, 2018)

 by Jules Bennett (Harlequin, 2017)

CHRISTMAS SANCTUARY by Lauren Hawkeye (Bookshots, 2017)

DEMOLISHED by Cathryn Fox (St. Martins, 2017)

THE MEN OF WOLLSTONECRAFT HALL by Karyn Gerrard (Lyrical Press, 2018)

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