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From Cynthia Leitich Smith
Former editor and foreign rights manager Stephanie Fretwell-Hill has joined boutique agency Red Fox Literary
"Stephanie approaches the children's book business with the same thoughtfulness and concern for authors and illustrators that we at Red Fox Literary strive to be known for," says agency co-founder Karen Grencik.
Fretwell-Hill began her publishing career in 2004 at Walker Books Ltd. in London, where she sold foreign language rights for projects by legendary artists such as Helen Oxenbury
and Lucy Cousins
. Though she worked across a broad range of territories including Eastern Europe, and Spanish speaking countries across the world, she specialized in developing new markets, selling the first Walker Group titles into Russian and Arabic territories.
In 2011, Fretwell-Hill joined Atlanta-based Peachtree Publishers
, where she edited board books through young adult titles. Her acquisitions received such honors as YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year, Parents' Choice Awards, and numerous starred reviews.
"She has a careful and well-considered approach to editing, plus an excellent eye for illustration," says co-founder Abigail Samoun.
For Fretwell-Hill, becoming an agent is the culmination of ten years' experience in children's book publishing. Her new role combines the buzz of sales and negotiation with the creativity of editing and acquisitions, but mostly hinges on building strong relationships. "I'm really looking forward to working closely with authors and illustrators," she says. "Kind, passionate, and creative people are my favorite part of this business."
Red Fox Literary, founded by Grencik and Samoun in 2011, was recently named one of the top ten children's book agencies ranked by Publishers Marketplace sales.
The agency represents over eighty authors and illustrators, including Dan Krall
, Julie Falatko
, Lee Wind
, Sarah Watts
, Masha D'yans
, Hannah Harrison
, Miranda Paul
, and other stand-out talent.
In 2014, Red Fox brought on board award-winning blogger Danielle Smith, who recently signed National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart.
2015 saw the agency's clients receive nearly a dozen starred reviews on titles such as Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be In This Book)
(Viking), One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia
(Millbrook/Lerner), and Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter
"We're delighted to have Stephanie become the fourth agent at Red Fox," says Samoun.
Stephanie Fretwell-Hill will be open to submissions for six months. Interested authors and illustrators can send art samples, complete picture book text, or the first three chapters of a novel to email@example.com.
Not all children's book agents represent picture books, but here are more than fifty who do.
To agents, editors and art directors out there: please take a few minutes to answer a short anonymous poll to help up-and-coming writers and illustrators?
Results will be discussed at the SCBWI-Florida Regional Conference, SCBWI Metro NY Chapter (Feb event) and SCBWI-LA Writer's Day as well as summarized in Inkygirl.com later this year.
For editors and art directors, I'm looking for those who are involved in the decision-making process re: book contracts or initial talent-scouting. Thank you SO MUCH!
You can find results to previous surveys in my Inkygirl Survey Archives.
By: LAURIE WALLMARK,
Blog: Just the Facts, Ma'am
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Sometimes the best of matches doesn't work out, and it becomes time to divorce your agent.
MB Artists has released our newest catalog, themed "Adventure". Check out all of fun new artwork!
I've been getting more people asking me for advice about how to get an agent, so in addition to updating my FAQ post about "Any advice on how to get an agent? How did YOU get your agent?", I've also posted a new survey.
If you're a children's/YA author or illustrator currently working with an agent, I'd very much appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to answer this quickie (multiple choice) anonymous poll about how you got your agent.
Results will be included in a future Inkygirl post.
In my recent survey, I asked those of you working with agents to answer a few questions about how you got your agent. First off, thank you SO MUCH to those who took the time to respond in order to help others in the community. These include: Hayley Chewins, Julie Glover, Kellie DuBay Gillis, Michael Wayne, Anne Marie Pace, Kristin Gray, Denise Gallagher, Corey Schwartz, Beth Ferry, Julie Dao, Stephanie Diaz, Russ Cox, Sarah Albee, Stephanie Fletcher-Stephens, Ashlyn Anstee, Melissa Caruso, Julie Falatko, Bruce Hale, Mike Jung, Heidi Schulz, Amy Lozier, Josh Funk, Jim Averbeck, Edward Willett, Kelley McMorris, Annie Cardi, Carter Higgins, Susan VanHecke, Jennifer Gray Olson, Andria W. Rosenbaum and Juana Martinez-Neal. Others responded anonymously.
74 people responded and almost all were children's/YA book writers or illustrators. Most got their agent through an email query.
While researching agents and given the choices in my survey, respondents said the most useful resources of the ones I listed were Twitter, Publisher's Marketplace, AgentQuery.com, SCBWI conferences and Literary Rambles, followed by Writer's Digest resources like the annual Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Guide and Chuck Sambuchino's Guide To Literary Agents. This survey was mainly conducted through Twitter, so it's not surprising that Twitter came out on top.
Do scroll down to read some of the info-packed comments about other useful resources like QueryTracker, agency blogs and websites, AbsoluteWrite forums, SCBWI BlueBoard forums. Comments also include info about people got their agents, such as getting noticed during the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, Preditors & Editors, #PitMad on Twitter (Pitch Madness - learn the rules before participating!) and #MSWL on Twitter (Manuscript Wish List - learn the rules before participating!).
Here's a further summary and breakdown of the results as of today (August 14, 2015).
As you can tell from the above, most of the respondents' represented work focuses on children's/YA writing. About 25% had agents representing their children's book illustration work.
Approx. 70% of respondents said they were working with their first agent. The others had worked with other agents before.
Here are some of additional comments about useful resources while researching agents:
"Online searches about what agents said and represented, conversations with authors already in the publishing business." - Julie Glover
"The SCBWI blueboard! Also, agent's blogs and agency websites." - Kellie DuBay Gillis
"Author friends - individual agent google searches which often bring up a variety of insightful blog interviews - agency websites." - Michael Wayne
"Probably most helpful was just googling agents to find interviews and other information, especially agency websites. Facebook was helpful mostly because of a private Facebook group of PitchWars '14 mentees that I belong to--networking with other writers is a big help. I also used QueryTracker. The AbsoluteWrite forums are usesful too."
"When I signed with my agent in early 2007, Facebook was just catching on and I don't think anyone had Twitter yet--okay, I checked Wikipedia--it was very small at that time! The Children's Writers and Illustrators Market was only in hardcover, not online! Much has changed, very quickly!" - Anne Marie Pace
"Recommendations from other agented writers, and recommendations from my former agent."
"12 x 12 picture book challenge submission."
"Also Querytracker." - Kristin Gray
"Pitch Madness on Twitter!" - Denise Gallagher
"I also learned about a lot of agents and agencies through other writers and through contests. (This is mostly where Twitter comes in... as a vehicle for word of mouth.) I used Publisher's Marketplace and AgentQuery more as a secondary reference to look up more info on agents, rather than a place to find them in the first place." - Melissa Caruso
"Querytracker.com, pred-ed.com." - Russ Cox
"General online research, agent interviews, etc."
"One of her clients gave me a referral." - Corey Schwartz
"Google. And, of course, the official agency websites are huge sources of information."
"Blog post loutreleaven showing a list of literary agents."
Additional comments about how they met their agent:
"We had never met face to face, but she contracted me after seeing my work in the Portfolio Showcase. Then we met (face to face) a few weeks later. A month or so after that, I signed with her agency. We have seen each other a few times since I signed, but mainly we communicate via email (and occasionally phone)."
"We met through the #PitMad Twitter pitch contest where she requested my work!" - Julie Dao
"I heard her speak at an SCBWI Editor's Day. The following year, I had her critique one of my manuscripts for SCBWI Agent's Day, and was signed soon after." - Stephanie Fletcher-Stephens
"Online via Verla Kay's Blueboards and my blog. Joan contacted me to request pages." - Mike Jung
"It was a case of right match, right time. I liked what he said in his talk, took advantage of his offer to submit stories, and found that he really liked one of my pieces -- enough to represent me." - @storyguy1
"I was referred by another agent."
"I queried her by email before an SCBWI event that I was volunteering at and she was speaking at." - Jennifer Gray Olson
"Personal reference from one of her existing clients." - Josh Funk
"Answered request from Manuscript Wish List (#MSWL)."
"They noticed me because I won the SCBWI Student Illustrator Scholarship." - Kelley McMorris
"Through my MFA program (VCFA)- she was a fellow student at the time." - Amy
"I met my agent through a #PitMad twitter pitch event."
"I had planned to query her based on research I'd done, but she invited me to submit my query letter, synopsis, and first 3 chapters from a Twitter pitch."
Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH for those who took the time to respond!
If you have comments or suggestions, including your own experience with researching and finding an agent, I encourage you to post below.
If you haven't already, feel free to also check out my list of agents on Twitter who represent kidlit/YA as well as my FAQ post about finding an agent (and how I found mine).
Curious about my other publishing industry surveys? Feel free to browse current and past Inkygirl Surveys online.
By: Katrina DeLallo
Blog: The World Crafter's Inkspot
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, Anthony Warlow
, Crossing Lines
, Front Sight
, Jack Bauer
, Jekyll and Hyde
, TV shows
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Phantom and Front Sight and Edged-Weapons Training;
Jekyll and Hyde.
Anthony Warlow, the way that he sings -
These are a few of my favorite things.
, going to Scheels
Looking for knives
, testing how each one feels...
Avatar, Crossing Lines, 24 too.
I can make Pinkie Pie.
How about you?
Emailing agents for representation...
Going on Pinterest to ease agitation.Polishing queries
and drawing a king...
These are a few of my interesting things.
Matthew Murdock! The Winchesters!
Grimm makes me feel sad. :'(
I simply put on something Josh Groban sings,
and then I don't feel so bad!
It's reasonable to expect professionalism from your literary agent.
Obviously an agent wants to see good writing, but what else is important?
Notice anything different?
Huh? Huh? Huh?
If you didn't, you might consider getting glasses
Yep, I changed my blog. I'm still trying to decide how I like the colours. I was getting over the dark green, so I decided pale green. Yeah, pale green was good. Then I thought, grey. Or maybe pale blue. So I'm not totally sure what colour I've ended up with here, but it's definitely not what I had before.
I like my new header. Sparklies!
Okay, so what's been going on with you for the past... 53 days? (*Stage whisper* - Has it been 53 days? *Not so stage whisper* - YEP! *Stage whisper* - I iz ASHAMED! I 'pologize. Oh well.)
I haven't done much. Writing, reading, writing, reading, writing, reading. Rinse, repeat.I do confess to a sudden huge adoration to James Blunt. Most of his songs speak to my soul. I don't recommend watching his music videos - they can be a little we'rd - but my goodness, his songs are GOOD! Here, see for yourself.
You should also listen to "Carry You Home
" and "She Will Always Hate Me.
" Oh, and "Bonfire Heart.
" And "Postcards
." And, "No Tears.
" Okay, I won't post anymore. I like him. :-)
Also, I have a sister who does videos. She's rather good, you know. I requested a music video to Eleven, since his catchphrase is "Geronimo" and this song is called "Geronimo." QED, this is Eleven's song. I quite loved it. But then again, Eleven (and the Ponds) are my favorite:
Oh, and I did go to this thing called WordWave. I heard tell about it by Bona Fide Books
(our independent small press in Tahoe, which is cool) and it was quite a lovely event. It was three days - Friday and Sunday were both more of "events" that you had to pay for, but Saturday was a free day, so my mother, three sisters, a friend and I went on Saturday. There were some workshopping conferences (more conference than workshop, unfortunately) and booths where you could make your own simple journals, a printing press, a booksale, and agents.
Not in the booths, of course. Just, there. Offering 10-minute pitch sessions. So I did what any self-respecting writer with two books written would do. I signed up for a 10-minute session, a one-on-one pitch, if you will, with an agent from Fuse Literary
(formerly Foreword Literary). It ended up being more than 10 minutes - the agents were really chill on time, which was cool - so I had more like 20-30 minutes where I pitched my story to Laurie McLean and got awesome feedback on a query and synopsis. I tell you, I haven't felt this good about a query and a synopsis since... like, ever.
So now I've changed my blog. Because, it was time to change my blog. FACELIFT, PEOPLE!!!
I'm also trying to figure out what I want to do with this blog. Like, it's sort of drifting in La-la land, poor thing. It's just sitting here patiently, going, "Oh, don't mind me. I will come when you caaaaaaalll!!" Sort of like a chorus line from Les Miserables. So I guess 2016 resolutions would be:
1.) Submit to more magazines.
2.) Blog more.
A hesitant extra would be: 3.) Get the keyboard in working shape and start playing music again.
'Cause I miss that.
And draw. That would be #4.
That's starting to feel like a lot of resolutions, and it's not even 2016 yet.
That's all for now, peeps. Until then, ciao!
"The road to hell is paved with adverbs." - Stephen KingGod bless! ~The Cat
By: LAURIE WALLMARK,
Blog: Just the Facts, Ma'am
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Find out what specific types of manuscripts individual editors and agents are looking for.
Barry Goldblatt has been an agent since 2000. His agency focuses mostly on children's literature, but has expanded to include some adult fiction as well.
His client list is sterling: Christopher Barzak, Holly Black, Angela Johnson, Jo Knowles, Lauren Myracle, Genevieve Valentine, Colleen AF Venable, Ed Vere, Charles Vess, and Stephanie Yue.
He talked to us about being a writer, being an author, and how the two are sometimes distinct and sometimes overlap.
A writer is being creative. An author is doing business. The two can feed each other. If you're doing research, you're not putting words on the page, but you're writing. If you go to a conference, it's a mix of writing and being an author. Your task is to know what you're doing so you can best work out how to do it.
Some key bits of advice:
Part of the process is figuring out the things that click for you individually. There's no one size fits all solution. But strategies to consider:Be disciplined.
The Freedom app, which turns off the Internet, can help. But you can't do it when you're reading. So, maybe setting goals and designing your day is a good strategy. Discipline your brain to know not to deal with dishes/laundry/day job. It's writing time.Train your family.
One of his clients works on the basement. Her six (six!) kids know that if the door is closed, they're not suppose to enter it unless their heads have fallen off.Make goals.
For some, having a 1,000-word daily goal is effective. For some, that's daunting. For picture book writers, that's two-and-a-half books.Reward yourself.
"We are monkeys. The best way to make something happen is to reward yourself." If you meet your writing goals, you get to eat the ice cream sundae. Or watch TV. Whatever goals make you want to work better--this is you figuring out what works for you.Make attainable goals that suit you.
You're not going to write a novel in a day. You can also change goals--2,000 words a day might not work for you, and failing and failing will put you in a bad mind space. So find goals that work for you.
(Barry likes Habit RPG
, a role-playing game that rewards you for achieving goals.)What don't authors need?
A social media presence. Do it if you're good at it. You do need an updated website.
Cassandra Clare is good at it, on both Twitter
.What do you need to do?
Whatever works for you that stretches your work's availability and visibility.Barry Goldblatt LiteraryFollow Barry Goldblatt on Twitter
Jenny Bent founded The Bent Agency in 2009; the agency now has nine agents, offices in New York City and London, and a strong focus on international rights. Her authors include SE Green, Tera Lynn Childs, AG Howard, and Lynn Weingarten. She is actively looking for new clients across all categories of middle grade and young adult. Her website is www.thebentagency.com and you can find her on Twitter @jennybent.Highlights of Jenny's comments:
She starts out with mentioning some of her recent debut author sales, saying she has a lot of debut authors.
For YA she's looking for edgy, different, manuscripts that could almost be adult books, that push the envelope.
Calling herself "highly editorial," Jenny speaks of working with her clients on "at least two or three drafts before sending everything out."
As publishers are consolidating, she sees herself as "ever more of a protector," holding onto rights for her authors, and then being active about selling them. (Rights outside the primary U.S. deal like audio, foreign and film.)
"My big thing as an agent is honesty." Jenny explains her clients know when she praises their work that she's being real about it because when things aren't working she tells them about it. "What I'm looking for in a client is someone who will be honest back with me... Respect and honesty on both sides."
There's lots more discussion, about consolidation, social media, and even how her agency posts what they're looking for, once a month on their blog.
Jenny Bent founded The Bent Agency in 2009; the agency now has nine agents. Her authors include SE Green, Tera Lynn Childs, AG Howard, and Lynn Weingarten.
Jenny advices networking while writing your novel, otherwise known as, making new friends. It's more organic to create an online presence before your book is published rather than when your book is coming out in order to promote it.
Be helpful. The more you give back to this community, the more you have to gain.
Make use of every opportunity to learn more about your craft. Be at this conference is where we all need to be. Go to every workshop on craft you can find.
You shouldn't write to trend, but you should be aware of what's happening in the industry with trends. Don't chase them, but know what they are. Read the New York Times bestseller list every week. Know what's selling in your genre.
Jenny suggest one simple way to find an agent. Read the deals. See who is selling what. When you find people who are selling what you write, cross reference what you learn to be sure it's a good fit. It's a great way to find a great match for your work.
The Bent Agency has a great blog: Bent On Books. Once a month, each of the agents shares what they are looking for right now.
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My agent just released our new promotional catalog, themed "Ethnicity". I love seeing all of the artists' interpretations! Check it out!