The Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency

The Team

Aaron Priest - President / Agent

Aaron Priest was born in Providence, Rhode Island and graduated from Columbia College in 1959. Having worked for several years as a sales rep for Doubleday, he started the agency in 1974.

Partnered with Molly Friedrich for many of those years, the agency has represented among many others, David Baldacci, Frank McCourt, Sue Grafton, Erma Bombeck, Philip Caputo, Johanna Lindsey, Terry McMillan and Jane Smiley.

Aaron was a founding member of the ILAA (Independent Literary Agents Association) which is now the Association of Author’s representatives. Aaron is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Jewish Theological Seminary and is also on the board of The Schechter Institute of Jerusalem. He serves as well as an executive member of the UJA Publishing Committee. He and his wife Arleen have two sons and two grandsons.

Lisa Erbach Vance - Agent

Lisa Erbach Vance has been with the Aaron Priest Literary Agency since 1993. Her clients include Harlan Coben, Gregg Hurwitz, Gayle Lynds, Matt Beynon Rees, Kathleen Sharp, Aaron Elkins, Sindiwe Magona, Amanda Stevens and Ann Howard Creel.

Her publishing career began at Random House, Inc. where she was selected as one of the first participants in their new Management Trainee program, after which she became an associate in the foreign rights department at Crown Publishers, before moving to Aaron Priest. Lisa was born and raised outside of Chicago, and she has a B.A. in English Literature from Northwestern University.

Lisa is currently most interested in the following: Contemporary fiction, especially women's fiction, with a well-defined narrative voice. Observant, thoughtful fiction about families and friends, with fresh perspectives on modern relationships. Thrillers/suspense with propulsive plots enhanced with well-developed characters. Psychological suspense. Contemporary gothic fiction. International fiction (not translation) that takes the reader deep into another culture. Narrative non-fiction, current or historical topics.

In every category, Lisa is looking for original premises, characters she'll be passionate about, and stories she can't put down.

Mitch Hoffman - Agent

Mitch Hoffman joined the Aaron Priest Literary Agency as a Senior Agent in 2015. A 20-year veteran of the publishing industry, he was most recently Vice-President, Executive Editor at Grand Central Publishing.

Mitch is actively building a client list of authors writing across the spectrum of fiction and nonfiction, including thrillers, suspense, crime fiction, and literary fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction, politics, popular science, history, memoir, current events, and pop culture.

As an editor, Mitch published over 200 books, more than 60 of which were New York Times bestsellers. He has nurtured the careers of debut novelists as well as global #1 bestselling authors, and has worked with journalists, memoirists, scientists, historians, and members of the military and intelligence services. His list of authors included David Baldacci, Sara Blaedel, Harlan Coben, Jeffery Deaver, Roger Ebert, Senator Al Franken, Linda Grant, Dr. David Grinspoon, Raymond Khoury, John Lescroart, Brad Meltzer, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child, Tom Rob Smith, Daniel Stashower, and Don Winslow. Their books have won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Edgar Award, the Anthony Award, ITW’s Thriller Award, The Barnes & Noble Discover Award, and have been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, among many other honors.

Prior to joining Grand Central Publishing in 2007, Mitch held editorial positions at Dutton and Dell Publishing, and began his career as an intern at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He has been a Fellow of the Jerusalem International Book Fair, a Distinguished Guest of the Toronto International Festival of Authors, and has been a featured panelist at a wide array of industry events, including the NYU Summer Publishing Institute, numerous writers conferences, and has also addressed the bipartisan Creative Rights Caucus on Capitol Hill (sponsored by the AAP and Authors Guild) regarding collaboration between writers and publishers, and the importance of copyright protection for authors.

Lucy Childs - Agent

Lucy's been at the agency since 1995, having switched from professional actress to literary agent. Her clients include Frances Sherwood, Elizabeth Diamond, and Peter Charles Melman.

Interested in both commercial fiction (women's and mystery), and especially literary fiction (including historical), as well as narrative non-fiction. While willing to read just about anything as long as it's intelligent and well-written, Lucy isn't interested in seeing horror, fantasy,
sci-fi, self-help, or poetry.

Melissa L. Edwards - Literary Agent / Foreign Rights

Melissa L. Edwards is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Vanderbilt Law School. She is a member in good standing of the New York State bar. While Melissa began her career as a commercial litigation attorney, she always maintained aspirations to work in publishing. At present, Melissa handles foreign rights for Aaron Priest and she is actively reading to develop her own list.

Melissa's taste ranges in genre from classic Victorian literature to hard-boiled crime dramas. She is interested in reading international thrillers with likeable and arresting protagonists, light-hearted women's fiction and YA, female-driven (possibly small-town) suspense, and completely immersive fantasy. Ultimately, Melissa is looking for a book that will keep her glued to the couch all day and night, and continue to occupy her thoughts for weeks later.

John Richmond - Business Affairs Manager

John Richmond is the Business Affairs Manager for Aaron Priest, overseeing many of the financial and operational affairs of the agency. John works with the agents to analyze authors' royalties and negotiate contract terms with publishers, helping to ensure clients get the best deal possible. In this digital age of publishing, a particular emphasis of his has been electronic rights. He also focuses on the agency's sizable backlist of titles to seek out new subsidiary rights opportunities for authors.

John has been at the agency since 2007. He began a career in publishing shortly after graduating from the University of California-Berkeley with a degree in history.

Arleen Gradinger Priest - Bookkeeper / Office Manager

Raised in Rochester, New York and a graduate of Syracuse University, she is an accomplished ceramicist. Arleen serves as, bookkeeper, office manager and overall consultant.

For years she has been involved with coordinating a food program for the homeless at a shelter in White Plains, New York as well as many other philanthropic causes. An avid reader and student, she's taken adult education classes for the past twenty-seven years.

Frances Jalet Miller - In House Editor

Frances Jalet-Miller joined the Aaron Priest Literary Agency in 1992 as its resident editor. She earned a B.A. in Fiction Writing from Vassar College, and an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University.

She has worked as an editor at St. Martin's Press, Pantheon, Grove Press (in its Barney Rosset era), Dembner Books, Warner Books, and Grand Central Publishing. She has worked with such writers as David Baldacci, Philip Caputo, Henry Louis Gates, Alan Dershowitz, Robert Christgau, Roy Walford, and Pat De Voto.