Laurie Abkemeier

Originally from northern California, Laurie Abkemeier graduated from Wells College with a degree in communications and experience in broadcast and print journalism. Her first job was as an editorial assistant in the Touchstone/Fireside division of Simon & Schuster, and she soon moved to Hyperion where she acquired and edited dozens of books, including five New York Times bestsellers and many national bestsellers.

In 2003, Laurie joined DeFiore and Company as a literary agent. 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 BIPOC 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. Please see her query instructions below.

Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir Highlights:

  • Mary-Frances O’Connor, PhD’s THE GRIEVING BRAIN (HarperOne)
  • Brad Stulberg’s THE PRACTICE OF GROUNDEDNESS (Portfolio)
  • Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s SEINFELDIA (Simon & Schuster) and WHEN WOMEN INVENTED TELEVISION (Harper)
  • Saul Austerlitz’s JUST A SHOT AWAY (Thomas Dunne Books) and GENERATION FRIENDS (Dutton)
  • John Grogan's MARLEY & ME (William Morrow)
  • Neil Hayward’s LOST AMONG THE BIRDS (Bloomsbury)
  • Nathalia Holt's RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS and THE QUEENS OF ANIMATION (Little, Brown)
  • Rachel Lance’s IN THE WAVES (Dutton)
  • Anne Gardiner Perkins' YALE NEEDS WOMEN (Sourcebooks)
  • Kimberly Potts’ THE WAY WE ALL BECAME THE BRADY BUNCH (Grand Central)
  • Jean Kennedy Smith's THE NINE OF US (Harper)

General Nonfiction Highlights:

  • 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)
  • Shaun Gallagher's EXPERIMENTING WITH BABIES and EXPERIMENTING WITH KIDS (TarcherPerigee)
  • Keith Houston's SHADY CHARACTERS and THE BOOK (W.W. Norton)
  • Jessica Lahey’s THE GIFT OF FAILURE and THE ADDICTION INOCULATION (Harper)
  • Traci Mann PhD's SECRETS FROM THE EATING LAB (HarperWave)
  • Deirdre Mask’s THE ADDRESS BOOK (St. Martin’s Press)
  • Cal Newport’s DIGITAL MINIMALISM and A WORLD WITHOUT EMAIL (Portfolio) and DEEP WORK (Grand Central)
  • Ty Tashiro's AWKWARD (William Morrow)
  • Scott Young's ULTRALEARNING (HarperBusiness)

Author/Artists:

  • 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, MY FRIEND FEAR and MADE OUT OF STARS (TarcherPerigee)
  • Philippa Rice: SOPPY, SISTER BFFs and BABY: A SOPPY STORY (Andrews McMeel)
  • 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)
  • Katie Vaz: MY LIFE IN PLANTS, MAKE YOURSELF COZY and THE ESCAPE MANUAL FOR INTROVERTS (Andrews McMeel)

How to Query Laurie Abkemeier:

Laurie accepts only email queries. Send a brief email describing you and your project to Laurie@defliterary.com 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 defliterary.com 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 PRACTICE OF GROUNDEDNESS: A Transformative Path to Success that Feeds—Not Crushes—Your Soul
    Portfolio, 2021
  • A WORLD WITHOUT EMAIL: Reimagining Work in an Age of Communication Overload
    Portfolio, 2021
  • WHEN WOMEN INVENTED TELEVISION: The Untold Story of the Female Powerhouses Who Pioneered the Way We Watch Today
    Harper, 2021
  • THE ADDICTION INOCULATION: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence
    Harper, 2021
  • MY LIFE IN PLANTS: Flowers I’ve Loved, Herbs I’ve Grown, and Houseplants I’ve Killed on the Way to Finding Myself
    Andrews McMeel, 2020
  • IN THE WAVES: My Quest to Solve the Mystery of a Civil War Submarine
    Dutton, 2020
  • THE ADDRESS BOOK: What Street Addresses Reveal about Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power
    St. Martin's Press, 2020
  • DIGITAL MINIMALISM: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
    Portfolio, 2019
  • THE QUEENS OF ANIMATION: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History
    Little, Brown, 2019
  • GENERATION FRIENDS: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era
    Dutton, 2019
  • THE ENDS OF THE WORLD: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions
    Ecco, 2017
  • RISE OF THE ROCKET GIRLS: The Women Who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
    Little, Brown, 2016
  • DEEP WORK: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
    Grand Central, 2016
  • SEINFELDIA: How a Show about Nothing Changed Everything
    Simon & Schuster, 2016
  • START WHERE YOU ARE: A Journal for Self-Exploration
    TarcherPerigee, 2015
  • THE LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE HACKS: How to Make Your Life Happier, Healthier, and More Beautiful
    St. Martin’s Press, 2017
  • SOPPY
    Andrews McMeel US Square Peg UK, 2014
  • ULTRALEARNING: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career
    HarperBusiness, 2019
  • GIFT OF FAILURE: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, THE
    Harper, 2015
  • WHAT A PLANT KNOWS: A Field Guide to the Senses
    Scientific American Books/FSG, 2012
  • EXPERIMENTING WITH BABIES: 50 Amazing Science Projects You Can Perform on Your Kid
    Perigee Books, 2013
  • STORY GENIUS: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel
    Ten Speed Press, 2016
  • THE BOOK : A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time
    W.W. Norton, 2016
  • BOOK LOVE
    Andrews McMeel, 2019
  • MARLEY & ME: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
    William Morrow, 2005