Laurie Abkemeier

Laurie Abkemeier started her career in publishing more than thirty years ago and has been a literary agent with DeFiore and Company since 2003. Previously she was a senior editor at Hyperion, where she acquired and edited dozens of nonfiction books, including five New York Times bestsellers and many national bestsellers. As a former editor with extensive experience in what goes on behind publishers’ doors, she works closely with her authors to develop their ideas, polish their proposals, and guide them from deal to publication. She has represented more than a dozen New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. 

Laurie strives to maintain an eclectic list that spans history, science (physical, biological, and psychological), nature, sports, adventure, health and wellness, self-improvement, investigative journalism, big ideas, women’s studies, pop culture, and the offbeat. She is very interested in working with people of color and those from historically marginalized communities who are writing on these topics. 

Laurie also represents a select group of artists (see complete list below). 

Laurie is always open to queries. More than half of her authors have come to her via an unsolicited email query, and many have had no previous writing credits. The one thing they all have in common is the desire not just to write a book but to be an author. Please see her query instructions below. 

A native of northern California, Laurie made her way east to attend college and now lives in northern New Jersey where she enjoys hiking, cooking, walking her dogs, sending her grown children funny comics, and finding the best Taylor ham, egg, and cheese sandwich. 

Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir Highlights:

  • Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s SEINFELDIA (Simon & Schuster) and WHEN WOMEN INVENTED TELEVISION (Harper)
  • Saul Austerlitz’s JUST A SHOT AWAY (Thomas Dunne Books), GENERATION FRIENDS, and KIND OF A BIG DEAL (Dutton)
  • John Grogan's MARLEY & ME and THE LONGEST TRIP HOME (William Morrow)
  • Nathalia Holt's RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS (Little, Brown) and WISE GALS (Putnam)
  • Rachel Lance’s IN THE WAVES and CHAMBER DIVERS (Dutton)
  • Anne Gardiner Perkins' YALE NEEDS WOMEN (Sourcebooks)
  • Melissa L. Sevigny’s BRAVE THE WILD RIVER (W.W. Norton)
  • Jean Kennedy Smith's THE NINE OF US (Harper)
  • Ralph White’s GETTING OUT OF SAIGON (Simon & Schuster)

General Nonfiction Highlights:

  • Rebecca Boyle’s OUR MOON (Random House)
  • Peter Brannen’s THE ENDS OF THE WORLD (Ecco)
  • Daniel Chamovitz, PhD's WHAT A PLANT KNOWS (Scientific American Books)
  • Lisa Cron's WIRED FOR STORY and STORY GENIUS (Ten Speed Press)
  • Keith Houston’s SHADY CHARACTERS, THE BOOK, and EMPIRE OF THE SUM (W.W. Norton) 
  • Steve Magness’s DO HARD THINGS (HarperOne)
  • Deirdre Mask’s THE ADDRESS BOOK (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Cal Newport’s SLOW PRODUCTIVITY and DIGITAL MINIMALISM (Portfolio) and DEEP WORK (Grand Central)
  • Mary-Frances O’Connor, PhD’s THE GRIEVING BRAIN (HarperOne)
  • Brad Stulberg’s THE PRACTICE OF GROUNDEDNESS (Portfolio) and MASTER OF CHANGE (HarperOne)
  • Scott Young's ULTRALEARNING and GET BETTER AT ANYTHING (HarperBusiness)


  • Meg Adams: WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS? (Andrews McMeel)
  • Lee Crutchley: THE NOCTURNAL JOURNAL and GET LOST! (TarcherPerigee)
  • Rachel Dougherty: SECRET ENGINEER (Roaring Brook) and A RACCOON AT THE WHITE HOUSE (Simon Spotlight)
  • Jorey Hurley: NEST, FETCH, HOP, BEEHIVE et al (Paula Wiseman/S&S Books for Young Readers)
  • Andrew Kolb: EDMUND UNRAVELS (Nancy Paulsen Books), PEACE: A CARD GAME (Chronicle), and ALL ABOARD! (Abrams Appleseed)
  • Meera Lee Patel: START WHERE YOU ARE, CREATE YOUR OWN CALM, GO YOUR OWN WAY et al (TarcherPerigee)
  • Yumi Sakugawa: THE LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE HACKS (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Becky Simpson: I’D RATHER BE SHORT (Plume) and THE ROOMMATE BOOK (Andrews McMeel)
  • Debbie Tung: QUIET GIRL IN A NOISY WORLD and BOOK LOVE (Andrews McMeel)

How to Query Laurie Abkemeier:

Laurie accepts only email queries. Send a brief email describing you and your project to Please include the word “query” and your book title in the subject line. Attachments will not be opened unless requested. Submissions do not need to be exclusive, and response time is generally no more than two weeks. If you have not received a response within four weeks, please check that the domain name is on your email server whitelist; the response might have been rejected by your server. Please note that Laurie does not consider fiction queries of any kind.

Headshot for Laurie Abkemeier
  • THE ADDRESS BOOK: What Street Addresses Reveal about Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power
    St. Martin's Press, 2020
  • THE BOOK : A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time
    W.W. Norton, 2016
    Andrews McMeel, 2019
  • BRAVE THE WILD RIVER: The Untold Story of Two Women Who Mapped the Botany of the Grand Canyon
    WW Norton, 2023
  • DEEP WORK: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
    Grand Central, 2016
  • DIGITAL MINIMALISM: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
    Portfolio, 2019
  • DO HARD THINGS: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness
    HarperOne, 2022
  • THE ENDS OF THE WORLD: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions
    Ecco, 2017
  • EXPERIMENTING WITH BABIES: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid
    Perigee Books, 2013
  • GENERATION FRIENDS: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era
    Dutton, 2019
  • THE GIFT OF FAILURE: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed
    Harper, 2015
  • THE GRIEVING BRAIN: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss
    HarperOne, 2022
  • THE LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE HACKS: How to Make Your Life Happier, Healthier, and More Beautiful
    St. Martin’s Press, 2017
  • MARLEY & ME: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
    William Morrow, 2005
  • MASTER OF CHANGE: How to Excel When Everything Is Changing—Including You
    HarperOne, 2023
  • OUR MOON: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are
    Random House, 2024
  • RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS: The Women Who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
    Little, Brown, 2016
  • SEINFELDIA: How a Show about Nothing Changed Everything
    Simon & Schuster, 2016
  • SLOW PRODUCTIVITY: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout
    Portfolio, 2024
  • SO FETCH: The Making of Mean Girls—and Why We’re Still So Obsessed with It
    Dey Street, 2024
  • START WHERE YOU ARE: A Journal for Self-Exploration
    TarcherPerigee, 2015
  • STORY GENIUS: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel
    Ten Speed Press, 2016
  • ULTRALEARNING: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career
    HarperBusiness, 2019
  • WHAT A PLANT KNOWS: A Field Guide to the Senses
    Scientific American Books/FSG, 2012
  • WISE GALS: The Spies Who Built the CIA and Changed the Future of Espionage
    Putnam, 2022