SCBWI Exclusive with...Samantha Fabien, Agent, Root Literary

Samantha Fabien (she/her) is a literary agent at Root Literary. She represents high-concept, commercial fiction that features diverse, marginalized, and/or underrepresented voices with all-or-nothing stakes in adult, YA, & MG. Before joining the Root team, Samantha worked at LDLA as a literary agent and International Rights Manager. Her background includes a Bachelor’s in PR and Journalism, a certificate from the Columbia Publishing Course, and internships/part-time work at Ayesha Pande Literary, Writers House, and Chalberg & Sussman. From these experiences, Samantha has fostered her love for sharing diverse, lasting, and inclusive stories with the world– both in the U.S. and abroad. Samantha can also be found working with events and organizations like SCBWI, #Edits4BlackSFF, Gotham Writers, and the New York Writing Room among others. For more information, you can visit her website: or follow her on social media at @samanthashnh on Instagram and Twitter.

Samantha Fabien - Agent Headshot.png

What was your path to becoming an agent?

Much like all of us, I have always been a reader, but I never knew about the publishing. After graduating college, I was introduced to CPC which provided a much-needed six-week education into publishing. From the program, my interest was sparked by the subsidiary rights and literary agent jobs. To gain more hands-on experience, I interned at two literary agencies and worked part-time at another. Each role was unique, offering invaluable experience on everyday operations.

Soon after, I started my first full-time job as an International Rights Manager. It was the perfect opportunity for me, as it had a clear trajectory for promotion and allowed me to focus on my subsidiary rights interests. It also taught me the benefits of working collaboratively and how to provide support to the team on specific, long-term agenting tasks from query management to editorial feedback styles and market trends to client submission strategy.

The combination of my fast-tracked experience, the management of the agency's foreign rights, and the pandemic landscape shift empowered me to transition into full-time agenting at Root Literary. The best part of agenting is really that through this path no two days are the same and there is no end to the learning opportunities. Even now, I consider myself a perpetual student devoted to learning the most efficient and ethical, means of supporting my clients at every stage of their careers. Doing that can range from networking with other agents to mentorship and conversations within Root Lit.

What does a manuscript need to have for you to offer representation?

Before offering representation, there are several factors that go into my decision-making. In a manuscript, I'm often drawn in by inclusive, fast-paced, high-concept, immersive stories. In deciding to offer representation though, it often comes down to whether or not the story fills a gap in my list and/or in the marketplace, my enthusiasm and excitement for the project, and ultimately whether or not I have a concrete vision for editorial work, submission, and overall career strategy.

What can your clients expect once they sign with you?

My clients can expect me to always be a communicative, ethical, and enthusiastic advocate for them, their work, and their careers. My goal is always to encourage and support them in their creativity, while also providing candid business and market insights to collaborate and strategize with them at every stage.

What's on your manuscript wish list?

Right now, I’m hungry for book club fiction, mysteries and thrillers, contemporary romance and rom-coms, romantasy (romantic fantasy), and horror for adult, young adult, and middle grade readers. I am a sucker for fast-paced, fresh, and innovative stories that feature diverse, marginalized, and/or underrepresented voices with all-or-nothing stakes.  

SCBWI members who have manuscript that matches Samantha’s wish list can query her this month.