Janklow & Nesbit UK
Headshot of Hayley Steed - Literary Agent at Janklow & Nesbit UK

Hayley Steed

Literary Agent
Accepting submissions

Hayley is a Literary Agent primarily representing writers of fiction. She previously worked for seven years at Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency, joining Janklow & Nesbit in September 2023. Before that she worked in book PR, after completing a degree in English. Her authors include The Sunday Times and The New York Times bestselling authors, and she has been named both a Trailblazer and a Rising Star by the UK book trade. 

Her clients include Yomi Adegoke, Clare Pooley, Heather Marshall, Kehinde Fadipe, Sara Nisha Adams and Leah Hazard.

I’m looking for commercial and book club fiction across all genres. I’m particularly drawn to a strong hook – a setting, scenario or a ‘what if’ that captures my attention immediately and leads the way into a gripping story. I love to find compelling and distinctive voices that draw me in but are matched with well-paced plots and commercial appeal. I’m always open to books that cross genres, or which feel a little different.

At the moment I’m particularly keen to find an elevated love story – be that epic, contemporary, straight romance or romcom, or with an edge of fantasy, against any setting or backdrop. I want to feel swept up and completely captivated by a character, or characters, and their chemistry. I’m also always captured by a high concept or speculative edge (think The Love of My Afterlife by Kirsty Greenwood) and am very much on the hunt for stand out romantasy, where the romance is leading. I’d love to find a love story with a speculative edge, something along the lines of The Time Traveller’s Wife, The House on the Cerulean Sea or Before The Coffee Gets Cold, where the magic is part of the plot, but set in a real, or grounded, world. I’m keen to explore light fantasy that fits this description, alongside romantasy. I also love general fiction books that feature love stories within another story – One Day, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Lessons in Chemistry come to mind at taking a different kind of approach to love.

I’m open to historical novels, usually as a setting to a bigger story or theme, and in women’s fiction I’m always interested in stories that explore family in all its forms, whether that’s family secrets, emotional women’s fiction, or the family we make around us in our friends and communities. I’d love to find something uplifting like The Authenticity Project which perfectly captures humanity alongside a whip-smart narrative. I’m also open to more light-hearted, female-led mystery and darkly funny thrillers too in the vein of How to Kill Your Family, or capers and adventures that are as fun as they are compelling – book versions of Miss Congeniality or The Lost City. I like stories with a dark edge and an unexpected twist, which may come in forms other than thrillers, but always have an atmospheric tension. I’d love to find a novel that fits the dark academia genre, or anything that feels unpredictable with intrigue that keeps me turning the page, like The Guest by Emma Cline. I’m generally very interested in anything that reflects, examines or satirizes the world we’re living in, addressing our wider culture with a genre. This might appear as women’s fiction, thriller, dystopia or a general fiction novel with a brilliant lead character. I love The List for that reason, which holds up a mirror to some very difficult but universal topics. I love novels with complex characters and nuance, which are happy to explore the grey areas.

On the darker side, I love anything that explores the dark and creepy, be that a tense relationship between a couple, siblings, or friends, or a locked room mystery in a brilliant setting. I’m particularly drawn to complex female friendships that veer into the obsessive such as Death of a Bookseller, and if you’ve written a book like Yellowjackets, I absolutely want to see it. I enjoy reading anything by Jane Harper or Susie Steiner, crime driven by the protagonists and the atmospheric setting, and I’m always on the look out for a novel that keeps me on my toes and changes the way we expect stories to work like The Appeal or something with a cinematic high concept such as Wrong Place, Wrong Time. I’m looking for thrillers that dip into horror too – my ideal find would be a social commentary, or anything with a light speculative edge.

Across all genres, I’m particularly interested in female voices and showcasing underrepresented talent and experiences whose voices aren’t being heard in the mainstream.

Please read our submission guidelines before submitting your work to Hayley