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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: literary agents, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Big Sur on Cape Cod

I’ve just returned home from Big Sur on Cape Cod, a wonderful mentoring weekend for children’s book authors and illustrators organized by Andrea Brown and her most-successful-in-the-US literary agency, in coordination with Lisa Rehfuss. This event is held annually in California, and for the first time was offered here in New England (lucky us). The […]

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2. Agent Anjali Singh of APL On Her Wish List, Querying, & Chai.

Anjali Singh started her career in publishing in 1996 as a literary scout. Most recently Editorial Director at Other Press, she has also worked as an editor at Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Vintage Books. She is is best known for having championed Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis after stumbling across it on a visit to Paris. She has always been drawn to the thrill of discovering new writers, and among the literary novelists whose careers she helped launch are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Samantha Hunt, Preeta Samarasan, Zoe Ferraris, Victoria Patterson, Natalie Bakopoulos, Enid Shomer and Brigid Pasulka. As a literary agent, she is looking for new voices, character-driven fiction or non-fiction works that reflect an engagement with the world around us, literary thrillers, memoirs, YA literature and graphic novels. She is a member of the International Committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival.

1. What is it about a manuscript that excites you?

A voice that I instantly want to spend time with; clean, clear, propulsive writing; a subject I’ve never encountered before!

2. What is on your wish list?

More books by minority voices, and books about all those hyphenated-American and international experiences we still see so underrepresented in books and other mainstream media. I don’t have any control over this, but I’d love to see more editors of color in general.

3. What are some of your favorite authors/books and why do you love them?

I feel like such a fraud having a favorite author after so many years in publishing, where I’ve so rarely had a chance to read more than one book (and often only in MS) of a writer I admire. But what made me fall in love with books and reading were Laura Ingalls Wilder (whose books I’m currently rereading to my 7-year-old-daughter), C.S. Lewis, Judy Blume, Madeleine L’Engle, Nancy Drew, and Paule Marshall. More recently, I’ve really enjoyed “When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead, “Eleanor and Park” by Raindow Rowell and “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart.

4. What are some things you love to see in a query?

A sense that the writer knows why she’s querying me, has read some of the authors I’ve published and feels an affinity for them, and also has a good sense of how to pitch a story and hook a reader in a line or two. A good pitch makes you feel so excited to read a book. And a good pitch lets the agent know that the author knows why she wrote her book and why it might be interesting to someone else. It also helps if the writer is well-read in the genre they’re writing in, and knows (and is spot-on about) which successful writers she sits alongside.

5. What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

I think the worst thing is wasting an agent’s time, and by that I mean not doing your homework, seeing who that agent is and what they represent. I feel you should only query an agent or an agency if there’s some specific reason you think your book would fit on their list

6. What makes you a great agent?

When I’m excited about a project, I can’t contain my enthusiasm, and want to tell everyone I meet about it--and I think that works to the benefit of the book and the author. I’ve also been a literary scout and an editor, so I feel like I have a good sense of what publishers are looking for, both here and abroad, of how various-sized publishing houses work from the inside, and know how to work with an author to polish a manuscript ahead of submission, which I hope gives my authors a better shot when their book or proposal lands on editors’ desks.

7. Are you an editorial agent?

Yes, absolutely.

8. Character, world, or plot?

Do I really have to choose one?! I think the world is a bonus, but for me you really have to nail character and plot.

9. What do you like to do for fun?

I like to read aloud to my daughters (7 and 3), cook (I’m very good at creative repurposing of leftovers) and bake, hike in the mountains or body-surf at the beach, and do the Sunday Times crossword.

10. Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?

Tea, definitely good strong tea. Or Chai (only the authentic Indian kind)

11. What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you?

Hone your pitch—read the cover copy of the books you see yours sitting alongside and see if you can find a way to describe your story without giving everything away, but setting up the story just enough so that a reader’s curiosity will be piqued, and that even if they’re really, really busy, they won’t be able to resist just dipping in. . .

12. What genres are you drawn to most?

I have a soft spot for coming-of-age and memoir, but I’m really looking forward to seeing what knocks my socks off going forward.

13. Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability?

Emotional connection, and the skill to know how to keep readers engaged and turning the pages—those are the two biggest keys for me.

14. Why did you become an agent?

I think it suits my personality (which is generally pretty outgoing) and feels like the natural next step in a career where I began as a literary scout and then worked as an editor at four different publishers. So much of any career is luck, and timing. I was very lucky when I stumbled on Persepolis, but it also grew out of my admiration of French and my connection to foreign rights, through scouting. What I really loved about scouting was the sense of being an outsider in publishing, and working in a small, intimate office, and where so much of what you did involved personal relationships. I wanted to be an editor, but I also ended up mostly working for big corporations, in an age of massive insecurity, lay-offs and conglomeration—and none of that sat well with me, particularly after I became a parent. The most exciting thing to me about being an agent is getting to wear different hats. It’s rare to be an editor who gets to work on literary and commercial projects, adult and young adult, graphic novels and serious non-fiction, and I was tired of having to fit myself into a relatively small box. As an agent, particularly on the small, boutique agency side, you can really spread your wings, work on the projects that you are most drawn to, and take advantage of the wide range of publishers that are out there. It all feels much closer to my scouting roots, but I also get to bring the skills I learned as an editor to the table. I also feel extremely lucky to get to be affiliated with an agency that, while representing writers of all stripes, is known for championing minority and multicultural authors. And now I get to hopefully make my mark too. I think the greatest reward will be helping an author, who might not have otherwise, reach an editor and find a wide readership.

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3. Four Agents on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of NaNoWriMo

Let's get into the meat of the issue today! I've asked our amazing agents about both the good and bad parts of NaNo as they see them...
 Q: Everyone says NaNo is great for getting *writing,* but writing fast isn't for everyone, so do you believe participating can be detrimental at all to a writer's skills?


No. I think if you want to go for it, fantastic; but I think a practice of setting and writing to deadline and just getting something finished, even if it’s a hot mess, can only help more than hinder.

Sara Megibow of KT Literary
That’s a great question and I don’t have the answer. Since I am, myself, not a writer I don’t know what exercises are beneficial or detrimental to crafting books. I can’t imagine that NaNo would hurt a writer’s skills but if that writer responds really poorly to the “write quickly” mantra, then I think it’s also ok to drop it like a hot potato and move on to some other exercise.
Good question! I like NaNo because it forces writers to look at the big picture -- pushing out the STORY, even if it's just the barebones -- as opposed to focusing on the small details like style, voice, etc. So as long as they treat it like a "step" in the writing process, as opposed to The End All, NaNo is a great exercise to mix it up.

. Q: What is the most positive argument you've heard for NaNoWriMo?

Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary

The powerful community of support – and peer pressure – to really get a novel FINISHED!
I’m always impressed that NaNo is designed specifically to support writers as they write. I love that! Writing is an art and publishing is a business. Conferences are a great tool for supporting writers in the business of publishing. And, NaNo is a great tool for supporting writers in the art of writing.
Marissa Meyer did it! And other successful authors, too. That's all I need to know to believe in NaNo: for some writers, it really works.

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4. We Asked Four Great Agents If They've Ever Signed a NaNo Book

We've had a great Agent Round Up this month, discussing the pros and cons of participating in NaNoWriMo. Our final question is short and sweet because when it comes down to it, this is what we really want to know:

Q: Have you signed any NaNo manuscripts, and if so, which one(s)?

Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary


Hmm, not that I am aware of; but probably. I know lots of my clients participate in NaNo, though, so I’ve probably also sold several. I’ve never asked!

Sara Megibow of KT Literary



THE DARWIN ELEVATOR by Jason M. Hough and PRINCE OF TRICKS by Jane Kindred were both NaNo books.

Melissa Nasson of RPC 


I have signed one NaNo manuscript, but I won't mention my client by name because we haven't found her a publisher...yet!

Jaida Temperly of New Leaf Literary


Not that I know of, although I have signed ms. from other contests / projects.

So to summarize what we've learned from our esteemed agent guests, NaNo can be a worthwhile endeavor. It doesn't have a negative connotation as long as you understand that the product is a rough draft and still needs time and revision put in. With that in mind, many great books born during NaNo have been published.

Are you planning on participating this year? Sign up now if you are because it starts this weekend!

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5. Agent Sue Miller of Donaghy Literary Group on Simplicity, Tone, and Tiffany's!

Sue Miller comes to Donaghy Literary with enthusiasm and experience in the industry. She graduated with a degree in English Literature from York University in Toronto, as well as a certificate in publishing, from Ryerson University. Sue previously worked in children's publishing with Scholastic Canada. Upon connecting with publisher, Fernanda Viveiros, of Fidalgo Books, she was asked to host the Luso Reading Vox series at Dundas West Fest in Toronto. After spending time with these authors, she realized that representing an author and their work is exactly where she wanted her publishing career to be.

Sue began her career with DLG as an intern before moving into the role of Associate Agent. Prior to joining DLG, Sue interned for Bree Ogden during her time at the D4EO agency. She dabbles in writing and has edited short stories for other writers. An admitted social media junkie, Sue is always interested in the latest platforms for networking and relationship building within the industry. This led her to complete her Digital Marketing Management certificate from the University of Toronto. When it comes to her genre preferences, Sue is partial to romance, young adult, new adult and adult contemporary novels.

Sue is seeking new and exciting voices as she begins to build her client list.

She is excited to discover diverse new author voices.

And now the interview!

1. What is it about a manuscript that excites you?

A manuscript excites me when I see a fully realized main character arc and overall journey. Organic storytelling and characters are my favourite. Everything happens for a reason, not just to move the plot along. There is a difference here.

2. What is on your wish list?

I’m really craving YA books infused with diversity. Universal stories told from different perspectives.

My wish list includes YA, Contemporary Fiction, and Romance. (No thanks to anything historical).

3. What are some things you love to see in a query?

I like my queries to be simple - a paragraph (blurb) to introduce the project, and a paragraph about the author. Donaghy Literary Group additionally asks for a short synopsis, along with the first ten pages of the manuscript. The first ten pages are critical to the query because it allows us to see a sample of the writing. A good writer will set the tone of the overall book in these first 10 pages.

4. What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?
The worst things I’ve seen are queries without the first 10 pages! Not reading our submissions guidelines and not reading about the agent your submitting to in order to make sure your manuscript is a good fit. Also, not knowing my name. I’ve received queries addressed to completely random names.

Lastly, long queries with grandiose ideas and sweeping generalizations that have me lost before I even read the actual query.

5. Character, world, or plot?

For the most part, I like my manuscripts to be character driven. Create your character along with the journey they are about to take, and you’ll see that the world and plot will follow. All three intertwine to create the magic of a great story.

6. Can you define voice for us?

Voice is the tone or writing style that is unique and identifiable to the author. It stands out. In an omniscient POV the “voice” of the novel is the author’s. When we get into a first person POV (which is popular in YA) the “voice” of the novel is synonymous with the protagonist’s “voice” along with the writing style of the author. In any scenario, the “voice” of the novel is critical to the experience and enjoyment of the reader.

For example, when I think of Rainbow Rowell, I immediately think of her distinct contemporary literary voice, which she is famous for.

7. What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you?

Make sure your project is complete and has been edited by an editor. Keep your query as simple and to the point as possible. Impress me with your command of the English language in your project not your query. It must be to the point. Did I say to the point? Don’t forget to tell me where you are in your writing career. Have you been published? Are you a debut author? Both are equally important and interesting to me.

8. What genres are you drawn to most?

I love, love YA.

9. Why did you become an agent?

I became an agent, because while working with authors I realized that I could be a great advocate for emerging talent in the literary world. Discovering new projects and seeing them through the stages towards publishing is intoxicating. Interning at DLG solidified my decision to be an agent. I’m lucky to be a part of such a collaborative and intelligent business team!

10. Is there anything you'd like to add that you think our readers should know?

Fun fact: I worked at luxury jeweller Tiffany & Co., in my university days and saw some pretty amazing romantic situations happen. I would love to see a fresh romantic twist with Tiffany’s as a backdrop!

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6. Agent Jen Hunt of the Booker Albert Literary Agency on Setting Trends, Character Building, and Rosebud Teacups

Jen Hunt graduated from the University of Reno, Nevada with an English Literature degree and an
unholy fascination with Victorian literature, although contrary to popular belief, she doesn't wear a corset. She does drink way too much coffee and enjoys watching the BBC. Another remake of a Jane Austen classic? Game on! Also happens to be a huge Bioware fangirl - when she has enough time for gaming.

While Jen doesn’t want to limit herself, she is actively seeking

· Historicals – where the characters actually fit in the era. Historical romance, time travels, fantasy, inspirational, paranormal. (Nothing past the 1940s)

· Science Fiction – must include world building and well detailed environments. (Prefer a hint of romance)
· Fantasy – same as above
· Steampunk/gaslight/ Dieselpunk - would also prefer some romantic element.
I will consider a YA in these areas but no sex, rape, or drug abuse (or abuse of any kind).

You can connect with Jen here: 

Twitter: @Jen_Corkill

Blog: JenCorkill.com

Are you an editorial agent?

Yes. My background is in editing and I find I have pretty high standards even before I would consider sending out a manuscript to publishers. Why send out something right away when you can hone and tighten it up and send it out a few months later? If an author is looking for immediate turn around, I am not your girl. I like strong POVs, no head hopping, flushed out environments, and characters that feel real to me. I fear that is why I only have one client as of yet.

Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?

How are any of those lovely nectars vices? Obsessions might be a better term to engage in this case. I have an industrial coffee pot and a cabinet full of tea. Usually, just to be decedent and posh, I roll out my tea set and fill the creamer and sugar jar. Why be bland? Everything tastes better in a rosebud tea cup, right?

Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability?

I don't chase fashions. I will take on a project if I fall in love with an author's voice and vision. If your concept is in a bookstore, I don't want it. Anyone can follow trends. Why fit in? Set trends, shine brilliantly among the dull grays and browns.

Why did you become an agent?

I became an agent because previously, working as an Acquisitions Editor for a small publisher, I was a step in an author's journey. A notch in their post without breakfast the next morning. While I reveled in their later success, I eventually came to the conclusion I want to be with them every step of the way. I hope to be that friend that will encourage, push, scold, and inspire an author through the creative maelstrom.

Character, world, or plot?

Arg, you mean I have to pick just one? Is this a snog, marry, or push off a cliff game? Idealistically I want them all but for a reader to be pulled into a story, characters are the key. Why? They are the ones we relate to, fall in love with, strive to emulate, and despise with all our essence. Strong character building makes words jump off a page into our imaginations where they wake up early and make us cookies. Like many, I have fangirled over a literary character, wishing just for a split second they brew breath. Make them real and that's where the adventure truly begins.

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7. Contest Success: Author Tara Sim and her agent, Laura Crockett of TriadaUS Literary, on the power of persistence and intrigue!

You may remember that Tara Sim's YA manuscript Timekeeper was a winner in our Pitch Plus Five contest last year. 

Well, this year Tara has some amazing news! Not only did she find a wonderful agent, but TIMEKEEPER is set to be published in Fall 2016!

To celebrate this amazing success story, we invited both Tara and her agent, the fabulous Laura Crockett of TriadaUS Literary, to share the details of Tara's path to publishing.

1. Tara, how long have you been writing?

I've been seriously writing since I was 15, when I wrote my first book. I remember composing poems to my dad when I was six, and writing the odd short story here and there, but it wasn't until I wrote my first book that I realized I wanted to do this for the rest of my life. The last 11 years have been a long exercise in craft and finding my style/voice.

Read more »

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8. How to know when to leave your agent

Not sure what's in the air these days (well, besides nitrogen, oxygen, argon, and the smell of hot dogs seriously where is that coming from), but I've heard from several authors who are wondering whether it is time for them to leave their agent.

Also, I realize that this sounds like a lofty problem for the agent-less, the equivalent of a mansion owner wondering if they should get a new pool to replace the one they have, but I would encourage you all to read this post as well, not only because you may have an agent someday, but also I'm hoping to lay out some of the things you should and shouldn't expect of an agent.

Leaving an agent is a really tough decision, and one you absolutely should not take lightly. You are forgoing an advocate, you could possibly be burning a bridge, and it's incredibly important to act as rationally and non-emotionally as possible. But sometimes it's the right decision.

So. How do you know if you should leave? I'm going to divide this up into good reasons and bad reasons. A HUGE caveat is that every situation is different and you ultimately have to choose the best path for you.

Bad reason: Your agent couldn't sell your book.

Even the best agents strike out sometimes. This doesn't make them a bad agent. Sometimes it just doesn't happen with the first book. If they made a good faith effort to submit it, they did the best they could and it just didn't happen, and they still believe in you, that alone is not a very good reason to leave.

Yes, some agents have more clout than others, but the book itself and serendipity are way more powerful than any agent. If you like your agent and they just couldn't sell your book, I wouldn't hold it against them.

Good reason: Your agent has behaved unprofessionally or unethically

It can be so tricky for authors on the outside to know what constitutes unprofessional and/or unethical in a business that can feel very opaque. Especially one that tolerates a level of eccentricity that would make Edward Scissorhands feel awkward.

But if you find that your agent is being shady or doing something headslappingly bad like blasting your manuscript to 50 editors all at once on the same email thread, have a heart to heart. If they don't have an explanation that satisfies you, you may have your answer.

Bad reason: Your agent doesn't write or call you back immediately

You're not your agent's only client. Days are busy. You have one book to worry about, an agent is juggling dozens.

Give it some time. Be patient. Remember that snails look at publishing and think, "Whoa dudes let's pick up the pace, huh?"

That said...

Good reason: Your agent has gone incommunicado.

You should be able to get in touch with your agent. Maybe not immediately, but within a reasonable time frame. This is actually a very good thing to establish from the outset -- how quickly should be reasonable for responses?

If you try and try and try to get in touch with your agent and you just can't get in touch with them, you may have a problem on your hands.

Bad reason: You want to leave without being transparent about your concerns and giving your agent a chance to respond.

Good relationships depend on trust and communication. If you have concerns, express them. Your agent should appreciate your honesty and have good answers for you.

Especially when so much happens outside of view, and especially because you may not have insight into the customs of the industry, what can seem totally strange at first blush can make much more sense when your agent explains it.

Don't let things linger. If you're concerned, speak up.

Good reason: Your gut is telling you it's time to go.

You've expressed your concerns.

You have given your agent a chance to respond.

You listened to their response in good faith.

You have let some time go by.

You have gotten feedback and perspective from other knowledgable people.

You have reflected.

You aren't taking this decision lightly in the slightest.

You still think it's time to go.

Okay. It's your career. You have to make your choices. If you have acted in good faith, listened, and you just think it's time, it may well be time.

Art: The Signal by William Powell Frith

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9. Senior Agent Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary on What She Loves, Personalization, and Critique

Adriann Ranta is Senior Agent and Vice President at Wolf Literary Services. She represents New York Times bestselling, award-winning authors, journalists, illustrators and graphic novelists, as well as actors, stuntwomen, makeup artists, and many other pioneering creative thinkers and leaders in their fields. She is actively acquiring all genres for all age groups with a penchant for edgy, dark, unusual voices, unique settings, and everyman stories told with a new spin. She loves gritty, realistic, true-to-life stories with conflicts based in the real world; women’s fiction and nonfiction; accessible, pop nonfiction in science, history, and craft; and smart, fresh, genre-bending works for children.

What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 

I love unique stories. I want a book told in an original way, a main character I haven’t met before, conflicts and obstacles I’ve never encountered, exotic locations, fresh retellings, bold themes… I want something that makes me look at the world in a different way.

What are some of your favorite authors/books and why do you love them?

My latest favorites have been SKYFARING by Mark Vanhoenacker for his incredibly beautiful descriptions of the world from a 747; ALL THE BIRDS SINGING by Evie Wyld for its haunted, hunted protagonist; GREENGLASS HOUSE by Kate Milford for its clever, soulful main character; and THE TIGHT-ROPE WALKERS by David Almond for his masterful skill in absolutely everything he writes.

What are some things you love to see in a query?

I’m a sucker for personalization. I love to see an author is querying me and not pasting their pitch into a “Dear Agent” form letter. I don’t expect authors to have read all my books, but I love when they’ve skimmed maybe one that prompted them to reach out. I also love when authors know what their hook is and what it is about their concept that makes it unique.

What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

“Dear Ms. Banta, “Dear Adam Renta,” “Dear Mr. Ranta,” etc. forever. I still read the query, but I struggle to get over it.

Are you an editorial agent?

Yes! There’s more pressure than ever on authors and agents to provide really polished, impressive manuscripts when they go out on submission, so I make it my job to take manuscripts as far as I can. What this means is different for every project—sometimes a line edit, sometimes a general edit, sometimes it arrives on my desk looking perfect—and authors should make it their job to take it as far as they can before it gets to me.

Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability? 

Both. I’ve definitely fallen in love with manuscripts I knew I couldn’t sell, and not loved books I knew I could’ve, but I’ve passed on both. They’re both heartbreak scenarios and ultimately not good for anyone.

Is there anything you'd like to add that you think our readers should know?

Use critique partners! Outside advice from writers you admire and respect is priceless, and will also give you some time away from your draft so you can revise with fresh eyes. Keep calm, keep revising.

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10. Agent Alex Barba of Inklings Literary and How to Earn Major Points on Submissions

Alex Barba is an agent at Inklings Literary Agency. She joined Inklings after a stint as a literary consultant in New York City, having scouted the U.S. book market for film & TV clients and foreign publishers. Prior to that, she spent time in Los Angeles as an editor at a digital magazine, and doing story development on scripts with a literary management company.

What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 
Voice, pacing, compelling characters, unique storyline ... a writing style that is so smooth & digestible that I get completely pulled into the pages and forget I'm reading at all.
What is on your wishlist? 
I am looking for grounded contemporary YA, or a clever re-telling/re-spin of an old classic (a la Ella Enchanted, Gail Carson Levine). Some recent specific wishlist items: stories about girls who are uncertain of themselves coming into their own, stories about young performers (actors, singers, dancers), positive (non-angsty) stories with nerdy girl or boy characters, empowered girl protagonists in general, compelling stories of first love.
Are you an editorial agent? 
I look for projects that are polished as-is, but I am not averse to editing - if I find something I totally love but that just needs a few tweaks, I'll offer representation with the author's understanding that we'll do some editing before submitting!
Character, world, or plot? 
All of the above! But characters are what make me truly fall in love with a ms.
What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you? 
Make sure you know what I'm looking for - and read the query directions on our website! Follow it to a T - that'll give you major points!

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11. Agent Nicole Tourtelot of DeFiore and Company On What She's Seen Too Much & How to Query

Nicole Tourtelot is a literary agent at DeFiore and Company. Previously, she worked as an agent at Kuhn Projects, in the literary department at ICM, in the fiction department of Esquire, and as a researcher for the Freakonomics authors. She received her BA in English from Columbia University.

Submit to Nicole: nicole[at]defliterary[dot]com
Check out the website: www.defioreandcompany.com
Follow her on Twitter: @NicoleTourtelot

Is there anything you’ve seen too much of in a submission? Lately, I’ve seen a lot of car crashes, which seems like an odd trend. On a more micro level, I see a lot of sample chapters that start with an over-written description of action, combined with a cliché (or many cliches). Here are two invented examples: “My eyes surveyed the landscape, which was dry as a bone.” or “My skin begins to sweat bullets.” In those two cases, the first problem is that the author is overthinking and overwriting. (You don’t need to specify that your eyes are looking; we know that you look with your eyes.) And the second problem is the cliché. Read your work out loud to yourself, especially the first page or the sample chapter, and take notice of anything that sounds unnatural as you say it. If it’s unnatural to your ear when you read it out loud, it will be unnatural to your reader’s ear as well. 

What is it about a manuscript that excites you? I’ve always read for an escapist thrill and that hasn’t changed even though I’m 33 years old now, and I no longer have to read with a flashlight under the covers. The manuscripts that excite me are the ones where I feel like the author is telling the truth to the point where I forget there’s an author at all, and I’m completely engrossed in the reality of the characters and the world. I appreciate writing that’s in service to the story and the characters, rather than the other way around.

What is on your wish list? 
Right now, I’m actively acquiring young adult, new adult, women’s fiction, upmarket commercial fiction, and accessible literary fiction. Across all those genres, I’m looking for well-drawn, relatable characters and a high-stakes story. That could mean a character in a dangerous situation or just high emotional states. I’d love to see a story in any of those genres that deals with food or with music, as those are two passions of mine.

What are some of your favorite authors/books and why do you love them?
Roald Dahl has been my favorite author since I learned to read and he still holds the number one spot. I poured my heart into a letter to him when I was nine years old and got a letter back from his estate that he had just passed away. That was heartbreaking, of course, but it
 taught me something beautiful about great stories—they live on into eternity with or without the authors who created them. I really like bad kids or extraordinary kids who buck the system. That explains the Roald Dahl loyalty but extends to my other favorite books and authors, too—from Salinger’s Franny & Zooey and Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon to The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg and everything John Green has ever written, but particularlyLooking for Alaska.

What are some things you love to see in a query?
I enjoy a query that plainly states what the book is about. I’ll take a crisp, clear, direct description of a story over a long and complicated pitch any day. People talk about an elevator pitch, but I’m fond of the bus metaphor and it works for fiction and non-fiction. You’re at a bus stop as the bus is pulling away, and your friend is on the bus with her head out the window. Tell your friend what your book is about before she can’t hear you any longer. If you can do that, you’ve got your pitch. (Please don’t try this on an actual bus.)

Can you define voice for us?
For me, voice means that the writing has integrity. You’re entirely yourself and no one else could tell your story the way you’re telling it. You’re telling the truth, even if it’s your own particular, weird, wacky truth. I’m allergic to snobbish or “posturing” writing where the fact that the author is a Writer and the reader is Reading is apparent on each page. Even when you’re reading a memoir, you should feel like you’re hanging out with an endlessly fascinating and articulate friend. You shouldn’t think about the author’s ambitions and what they’re trying to have you think about them. Plenty of people would disagree with me on that (especially those who favor experimental or tricky fiction). That’s just my opinion and it’s what works for me as a reader.

What do you like to do for fun?
I sing in a cabaret-type of show every once in awhile. Sometimes, it’s just me and a friend with a guitar and sometimes I get to sing with an extraordinary jazz band. That’s a real treat. I like to ride my bike, go the beach, do hot yoga, and cook stuff. Like most (all?) Vitamix owners, I'm obsessed with mine, and like blending things. Is that a hobby? 

Sure! Why not. Why did you become an agent?
I started in journalism, but ultimately ended up in publishing because in my bones, I’m an agent, and not a writer. I’ve always wanted to bring books into the world, and now I get to do that every day for some of the most talented and interesting people in the world. For non-fiction, we sometimes act as midwives for people’s stories, helping to bring their lives or their life’s work to the page. But in fiction, the author has already spent hours alone crafting an entire world from scratch. It’s my job, then, to help that story find the best version of itself, and to take it into the marketplace and advocate on its behalf. I can’t think of a better job than going out to a group of very intelligent and well-read editors and banging down their doors to say “You have to read this book!” It’s a dream job.  

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12. 5 Indispensable Resources You Need When Ready to Query

We interview many agents here on AYAP, but it can be hard to keep everything straight sometimes! When you're ready to send out that query, you want to be sure you're doing it right and sending it to the right people, but how do you know? Here are five great resources (in addition to AYAP) every writer should be aware of:

1.  QueryTracker: An incredible resource where you can search agents who represent YOUR genre so you don't waste time querying non-fiction agents with YA Fantasy. You can also check out whether those agents are accepting queries and how to find out their submission requirements. You can also use QueryTracker to find lists of the most queried agents and those that are least responsive. You can even keep track right on the site and read comments about others experiences. The best news? It's free. You can upgrade, however, for even more.

2.  Predators and Editors: Want to find out if an agent you just heard about is on the up & up? Want to see if there have been any past issues reported? That's exactly what you should and can look up on this site. It will either give you peace of mind or something to ask about if you get to the phone call stage. 

3. The Writer's Digest New Agency Alerts:  A great way to see spotlights/interviews with new agents in the industry.

4.  Literary Rambles: A great writing blog with lots of agent spotlights to check out. You can read interviews and also find links to other sites where you can connect with them. Stalk the agents! They want to know you did your homework. 

5.  Publisher's Marketplace: I know that a membership is costly, but it may be worth it. Either way, you can get info on agents, agencies, and recent sales by browsing the list at this link. 

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13. NanoWriMo: 3 Agents on: How Soon is Too Soon to Query?

October is one of my favorite months of the year (what with Halloween and all) but right around the corner is November and if you're a writer that means Nano Season. Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo?

The site explains it like this:

"National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30."

I've done it! And I look forward to participating again. But with Nano comes quite a bit of stigma -- and many questions. So to find out how agents view Nano, I've asked several some probing questions, which will be featured on Thursdays this month. Hopefully it will assist some writers who are unsure whether to make the commitment or not.

Let's start with question number 1!

What is "too soon" when it comes to querying a NaNo manuscript?

Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Lit

The same year it’s written. The end of the year really starts to fizzle in terms of submissions – most agents and editors are looking to clear desks in time for the New Year rather than take on more. So, it’s to an author’s interests to take the time to revise rather than rush.

I’d also say it’s too soon if it hasn’t been through at least several revisions (including author and beta reads).

Sarah Megibow of KT Literary

Great question! Rather than thinking about “too soon” or “too late” for a NaNo manuscript, think in terms of “when is it 100% ready?”

In theory, a writer might finish a manuscript in 30 days and have it 100% polished and ready to go on December 1. That’s unlikely but heck - anything is possible! In general I would recommend typing “the end” on November 30 and then planning a hefty amount of time for editing and polishing. “Too soon” is the date in which a manuscript is submitted for publishing consideration before it has been fully edited and polished.

Here’s my process = I read query letters and look for superior craft plus a unique concept. I would never reject a query on Dec 1 just because the writer finished typing it the day before. However, I will always pass on a query that doesn’t demonstrate superior writing. Finish the book and then make sure it’s edited and polished. Then, send the query letter and don’t worry about the date.

Melissa Nasson of RPC Content

A manuscript should be complete, fully fleshed out, and as polished as possible before querying agents. The time required will vary from person to person depending on individual circumstances, so I can't say that there's any amount of time where I'd necessarily say "whoa, too soon!"...except maybe early December. Finishing a manuscript is an amazing accomplishment and super exciting, and there's an urge to get it out there ASAP, but taking the extra time and attention to fully develop and polish your work can make a world of difference when it comes time to query.

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14. Four Agents on Querying Your NaNo Manuscript

Today we continue our exploration of agents' views on NaNoWriMo with two more questions, both on querying when it comes to NaNo.

Q. What querying mistakes do you most commonly see after NaNo?

Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary

Natalie: Mentioning it’s a NaNo book! NaNo is a great accomplishment for a writer; but it isn’t something that pulls in an agent.

Sara Megibow of KT Literary

Sara: The biggest query mistake I see after NaNo is submissions from writers who have done a great job finishing their books but not a great job of researching agents.

It’s an amazing thing to write a book in a month - all writers should be given a huge high five for this accomplishment! Next up is, of course, editing and polishing the book to make it really ready. And then there’s the research step:

#1 = Know your genre

#2 = Make a list of agents who represent books in your genre (research at www.agentquery.com or Writers Digest Guide to Literary Agents to find agents-by-genre)

#3 = Vet the agents before preparing your final submissions list. Three great places to research legitimate agents:

#4 = Each agent has a different submissions policy. Take your list of legitimate agents and go to the agency website for each and every one of them. First, look at the agency’s books and clients to triple check they are currently selling and representing books in your genre. Then, read the submission guidelines carefully and be prepared to follow them.

#5 = Craft a meticulous query letter. Need query help?

#6 = NOW start submitting query letters.

Write the Book. Edit the Book. Research.
These three steps will decrease mistakes and rejections.

Jaida Temperly of New Leaf Literary

Jaida: Over-editing. It's just as bad as under-editing!

Q. Is it an automatic turnoff to mention NaNo in a query even if the manuscript was extensively revised and from a previous year?

Sara:  Nope - to me it’s not a turnoff at all. I adore NaNo and think it’s a wonderful way to support writers. THE DARWIN ELEVATOR - New York Times bestselling epic science fiction from debut author Jason M. Hough was a NaNo book. When submitting to me, feel free to mention NaNo in any query - whether it is 2015 NaNo book or NaNo book from years ago.

Melissa Nasson of Rubin Pfeffer Content

Melissa: Not for me. But it's not necessarily a "turn-on," either. What matters to me is the quality of the writing and story, however the manuscript came to be written. 

Jaida Temperly of New Leaf Literary

Jaida: Nope. But if the revisions aren't really extensive and are more like line edits, then that's a turn-off for sure.

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15. Agent Heather Flaherty of the Bent Agency Defines Voice and Shares Her Wish List

Heather Flaherty represents authors who write children's, middle grade, and young adult fiction and non-fiction, as well as select new adult fiction, and pop-culture or humorous non-fiction.

I grew up in Massachusetts, between Boston and the Cape, and started working in New York City as a playwright during college. This pushed me towards English as a focus, and after a lot of country-hopping in my early twenties, I wound up finally beginning my publishing career in editorial, specifically at Random House in the UK. That's also where I became a YA and Children's Literary Scout, which finally landed me back in NYC, consulting with foreign publishers and Hollywood regarding what the next big book will be. Now as an Agent, I'm thrilled to turn my focus on growing authors for that same success.
Currently I'm looking for YA fiction across-the-board, though my heart does sway towards issue-related YA with humor and heart - not depressing, or mopey. I also love love love hard, punchy, contemporary YA that’s got no hesitations when it comes to crazy. I'm also always up for seeing contemporary stories with Sci-Fi or Fantasy elements, as well as a clever respin of an old or classic tale. And then, lastly, really good horror and ghost stories… not gory-for-gory's sake or overly disgusting, but cringing, dark, bloody twisted, and even lovely. That said, the one thing I love above all else in a YA novel, regardless of sub-genre, is a strong and specific character voice. A real person, not another “every girl.”

As for the Middle-Grade I'm looking for, I want it stark, honest, and even dark; either contemporary or period, as long as it’s accessible. Coming-of-age stories, dealing-with-difficulty stories, witness stories (adult issues seen through the child’s p.o.v kinda thing), anything that makes you want to hold the narrator's hand… for your own comfort, as well as their’s. I am also ok with these stories having slight magical or fantasy elements as well – as long as they're subtle.
In New Adult, I like to see story… not just romance and/or erotica. For me, it should pretty much be a great YA novel for an older audience.
On the non-fiction side, I'm looking for strong teen memoirs about overcoming crushing situations.
1. What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 
I'm gonna sound like everyone else, I just know it - but something different. The topic, the situation, the style… something that makes me go, "oh!" This can be in a stark and honest style of writing, it can be when I'm plunged into the action in the very first sentence, it can be when I realize the narrator is a dog… I like the feeling I get when my eyebrows raise at that first inclination that I may have something very different in front of me… different in a good way. Not green martians in love different.

2. What is on your wish list? 
Ooooo… excellent question of course! I want YA contemporary with a weird, crazy, or twisted situation the characters are dealing with. Something that makes the reader go, "What?" I also want to see some super-solid, twisted Horror, with a great protagonist voice. (Other than that: Contemporary YA and MG, Fantasy or light Sci-FI YA, Period MG and YA, and Teen Memoir)

3. What are some things you love to see in a query?
My name… not "Dear Agent" or "Dear Ms Someone Else" - but that's basics. So, a great query to me would offer comps (excluding anything that's exploded so big, comping is just silly, i.e.: Twilight, Hunger Games, FiOS, etc…), a solid pitch so I know what I'm getting into, and an understanding of me. I'm out there. I'm on twitter, I'm on our website, I'm on our blog with a wish list, so know me. And don't just use the line: "I read from your website that you like YA, so…" That's not knowing me.  ;-)  That said, rest assured all you lovely young writers getting into this, a terrible query letter won't necessarily be immediately rejected… If you have a story, If you can write, then I'll take a look. - But that's not an excuse not to have a fantastic query letter!  ;-)

4. What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?
Not sending a pitch. Comping to literary world classics. Not following submission guidelines that are clearly stated on the website. 

5.  Are you an editorial agent?
Yuppers, yup, yup, yup. It's such a competitive industry at this point - everyone and their mother is writing - so you have to get your client's manuscript (especially a debut) up to snuff in order to expect publisher interest.

6. Can you define voice for us?
Why yes, I can. It's personality. Someone's personality comes through their voice - and that personality can usually be characterized (in MG/YA) by their age and experiences. So teen, teen boy, etc… A teen boy living in Ohio will sound different than a tween girl growing up in Massachusetts, who'll sound different than a twenty-something woman working in NYC and living in Brooklyn. It's so important for adults writing MG/YA to understand that, and realize you may not be thinking and sounding like a teen, or tween, etc., in your head. So go googling, hang-out with your nieces and nephews, listen to your kids, get on twitter, read well-voiced MG/YA and you'll see language and mannerisms that need to translate to your pages.

7. What do you like to do for fun?
Hike, snow-ski, game (xbox), TV, doggy, eat (mmmm…).  :) 

8. Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?
Oh Hell Yes! Coffee, first and formost. Tea second, and throughout the day. And when impurity strikes... craft beer and good rye. 

9. What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you? 
Think about your manuscript, really think about it. Then read through it and question your characters, their voices, and their authenticity. Also, as you read through, if anywhere you used an easy-out to create a situation or climax, fix it! Easy-outs: - Magic solves all problems in the end. Good thing we had that magic all along and never used it. - Huge eagles who could have saved us the entire time, just saved us at the pinnacle of defeat, and are now nowhere to be seen again. yay!  - I'm gonna add in this villain who we've never seen before, for 10 pages, because I have no idea how else to make my character do this thing I want them to do. (Easy-outs ruin a story, and I promise you I will make you change them… that is if I can get over you having used them in the first place!) 

10. Is there anything you'd like to add that you think our readers should know?
Sounds corny, but don't give up… you will get an agent… it just might not be on your first book. There are soooo many stories out there about numerous agent requested revisions and resubmits that have finally landed someone an agent, and then a deal. So many famous authors actually wrote anywhere between 4-7 books before getting nabbed. You have to love writing, so you can happily write with the knowledge that it might never go anywhere. But if you can do that… and you keep writing and trying to better your writing, I thoroughly believe you WILL get an agent, and you will get a deal.

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16. Agent Linda Camacho from Prospect Agency On Her Wish List, Diversity, and Querying

Linda Camacho joined Prospect Agency in 2015 after nearly a decade in publishing. After graduating from Cornell University, Linda interned at Simon & Schuster and Writers House literary agency, and worked at Penguin before happily settling into children's marketing at Random House. She has an MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Unofficially, Linda loves chocolate, travel, and far too much TV. In terms of submissions, she's pretty omnivorous. She enjoys a variety of categories and genres, ranging from picture book to adult, from clean and lighthearted contemporary to edgy and dark fantasy.

1. What is it about a manuscript that excites you?

In a query letter, a writer can compel me to read a submission with a plot hook, but it’s the voice of the manuscript that keeps me reading. Voice is that unique fingerprint of a writer and isn't something I know I'm looking for until I find it. That's where the excitement lies.

2. What is on your wish list? 

I'm pretty open in terms of what I like, but I have to say, I tend to skew older—middle grade through adult fiction. I like literary fiction with commercial appeal, like The Book Thief, When You Reach Me, or I’ll Give You the Sun.

And I adore genre fiction (romance, horror, fantasy, sci-fi) like Anna and the French Kiss, A Monster Calls, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, and The 5th Wave. I recently re-read Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and I long for a middle grade/young adult story like that. I can’t get enough of fairy tale retellings, either (Cinder, anyone?), or graphic novels.

3. What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

There are a few things I've seen that me go hmmm. There are ones that don't address me at all and are clearly mass emails. In others, sometimes the writer will refer to themselves in the third person, which I find curious. Another thing I've seen is people spending the whole query talking about themselves and not about the book. Nothing crazy, really—just things that can be off-putting.

4. Are you an editorial agent?

I am!  The level depends on how much work a particular manuscript needs, really, so it's not the same with everyone. And even then, I'm editorial, but not as insanely editorial as some others. I give broad strokes to whip a manuscript into better shape for submission.

5. Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?

Chocolate, Starbucks caramel frappuccinos, Boston Cream doughnuts—er, let's just say sweets!  For non-sweets, TV!  I don't get to watch as much of it as I'd like nowadays, but I love binge watching when I can get it. My latest show obsessions are Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, and Parks & Rec.

6. What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you?

I'd say that writers should do their research and follow submission guidelines. In terms of research, there's so much information out there about agents, query letters, and various publishing aspects that are useful tools as writers figure out what I (and other agents) are looking for. I'm not hung up on the "perfect" query letter, but I certainly do notice a bad one that shows the writer didn't make an effort. As far as submissions guidelines, if the writer gets that part right, it shows me he/she is a professional. It says he's serious about writing not just as a creative endeavor, but as a business. You wouldn't believe how many people have queried by just submitting manuscripts sans query letters. Passion plus professionalism definitely equates to my kind of client.

7. Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability? 

I'm a former marketer, but while current marketability matters, emotional connection is more critical to me. Fads come and go, but a book that resonates with me?  That's forever.

8. Why did you become an agent?

When I graduated from Cornell a decade ago, I wanted to be an editor, so I took any publishing job to attain that goal. I did editorial and marketing internships at Simon & Schuster and Writers House literary agency, and worked at Penguin and Random House. It was my time at Writers House that introduced me to the idea of agenting, an idea I kept in my back pocket while I worked in children’s marketing at Random House the past five years. Agenting allows me to scout and develop talent from the beginning, and I have the freedom to acquire what I want without being tied to a particular imprint. Most of all, as opposed to working with authors on a book-by-book basis, I ideally get to work with my clients over the duration of their careers. Agenting marries the best of both worlds—the editorial and the business manager sides.

9. Is there anything you'd like to add that you think our readers should know?
Three things:
  • I recently graduated with an MFA in children’s writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, so having that experience made me understand that writing is not an easy job. I had always been on the publishing side of the fence critiquing it, but my time there exposed me to the joys and pains of writing and receiving feedback. It’s tough and I applaud everyone who takes the time to finish a manuscript and bravely submit it.
  • I’m a Latina who follows the diversity conversations that are swirling around right now, so I’m definitely on the lookout for writers who include diversity in the work. That applies to all types of diversity out there—ethnicity, disability, sexuality, etc.
  • Writers can follow me on Twitter (@LindaRandom) and they can query me via the submissions form at the Prospect Agency website: https://www.prospectagency.com/submissions.php

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17. Top 20 Picture Book Agents: 234 Sales in the Last 12 Months

The Aliens Inc, Chapter Book Series

Try Book 1 for Free

What agents are selling picture books? Publishersmarketplace.com does a great job of monitoring the business of selling manuscripts to publishers. If you’re looking for an agent, you’ll want to spend a lot of time there doing research on agents to find the perfect match for you and your stories. Here’s just one way to look at the agents for picture books. This list includes information on the agent, links to his/her agency and the number of picture book deals made in the last twelve months. Please note that the agent/agency may have made many other deals in addition to these; these are limited to those self-reported by the agent/agency in the category of picture books. For more information, go to Publishersmarketplace.com (you must pay to join to see full information).

This is the first of three articles on current agents for children’s books. See also Middle Grade Agents and YA Agents lists (Links will be live next week).


Interesting, when I did this in 2013, the top 20 picture book agents had reported 171 sales. This time, the top 20 agents are reporting 234 sales. This could be due to a couple reasons: first, Publisher’s Marketplace relies on agents to self-report. This means that the agents are, for the first time, in a sort of competition for rankings. Reporting more sales means they are ranked higher, which gives prestige and possibly brings in more prospective clients. Second, it could mean that sales are up for picture books. We hope the latter is the case, but suspect the first reason has much to do with the increased number of sales.

  1. Kirsten Hall (Catbird Productions), 23 deals. Facebook | PW Article | Twitter
  2. Kelly Sonnack (Andrea Brown Literary Agency), 18 deals. Website
  3. Holly McGhee (Pippin Properties), 16 deals. Website
  4. Ammi-Joan Paquette (Erin Murphy Literary Agency), 16 deals. Website
  5. Erin Murphy (Erin Murphy Literary Agency), 15 deals. Website
  6. Karen Grencik (Red Fox Literary), 14 deals. Website
  7. Teresa Kietlinski (Prospect Agency), 13 deals. Website
  8. Abigail Samoun (Red Fox Literary), 12 deals. Website
  9. Alexandra Penfold (Upstart Crow Literary), 12 deals. Website
  10. Emily van Beek (Folio Literary Management), 11 deals. Website
  11. Rebecca Sherman (Writers House), 11 deals. Website
  12. Rubin Pfeffer (Rubin Pfeffer Content), 10 deals. Website
  13. Lori Kilkelly (Rodeen Literary Management), 9 deals. Website
  14. Kathleen Rushall (Marsal Lyon Literary Agency), 9 deals. Website
  15. Rosemary Stimola (Stimola Literary Studio), 8 deals. Website
  16. Stefanie Von Borstel (Full Circle Literary), 8 deals. Website
  17. Anna Olswanger (Olswanger Literary), 8 deals. Website
  18. Steven Malk (Writers House), 7 deals. Website
  19. Paul Rodeen (Rodeen Literary Management), 7 deals. Website
  20. Caryn Wiseman (Andrea Brown Literary Agency), 7 deals. Website

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18. Agent Cara Mannion of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated on Her Wish List and Giving 100%


A graduate of New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute, Cara is the newest addition to the legacy agency Harold Ober Associates. She worked in editorial at Entangled Publishing’s new adult imprint for two years before joining the agency world. At HOA, she works in both the book and film/TV worlds as she assists with selling books’ motion picture rights. Originally hailing from the sunny beaches of Florida, Cara is now enjoying seeing the seasons actually change while actively building her own client list. She can be found on Twitter @Cara_Mannion.

Currently Looking For: Mainly YA and adult commercial fiction, including romance (and all its subgenres), historical fiction, women’s fiction, paranormal, science fiction, horror, and mysteries. Limited interest in nonfiction includes humor and biography. Cara particularly enjoys strong female protagonists, diverse protagonists, subversive conspiracy plots, and opening lines that make you want to jump headfirst into the book.

Not Looking For: Fantasy, memoirs, picture books, poetry, self-help books, screenplays and short story collections.

How to submit: Please email the first 10 pages of your manuscript, a concise query letter, and a detailed synopsis to [email protected].

What are some things you love to see in a query?

A traditional query that is clear, concise, and captivating can go a long way. Often times, authors throw a bunch of personal information or unnecessary descriptions into the query when agents really just want to be hooked on the story. Instead of saying that your work will make readers cry and cheer for the protagonist, show agents this emotion through interesting, succinct writing. Grabbing my attention from the hundreds of queries in my inbox and making me want to read more is the whole purpose of this process, so make sure it captures the heart and voice of the manuscript and edit it until it reads perfectly. Make sure to research query format and stick to it. And don’t forget to include the necessary query facts, such as the genre, word count, past author publications (and where each title was published!), and comps.

What makes you a great agent?

I’m going to put 100 percent effort into every opportunity afforded to me, from completely reading each query in my inbox to negotiating the best possible contract terms for my authors. It’s easy (and frankly sometimes tempting) to dismiss a query that doesn’t fall into my preferred genres or word counts, but I promised myself when first starting out that I would give every query that comes across my desk a chance to enthrall me. These authors entrust in me the chance to represent them, and so I must entrust in them that they’re sending me their best work. I give every job duty my complete attention and strive to fill the roles my authors need from me, whether they prefer a more hands-on approach with weekly updates and multiple editorial letters or a more laissez-faire professionalism. I packed up and moved away from my life in Florida to pursue this career, so it’s important that I give it my all at every venture.

Character, world, or plot? 

I would hope these aren’t mutually exclusive! I don’t see why a manuscript can’t have it all, and I encourage every author to seriously think about how they can better their manuscripts in each of these categories. However, if I had to pick one, I would say a manuscript’s voice is key. How you tell the story is the most important part of being a writer. If readers don’t emotionally identify with the characters, then they won’t care what happens to them, even if the plot is enthralling. It’s extremely difficult to edit how characters interpret their worlds around them, while changing a plot point can be completed with little effort. Especially in YA, there’s been such a push to find unique voices that allow readers to personally identify with characters going through life’s greatest challenges. You still need a strong plot hook and a believable world, don’t get me wrong, but reading is all about emotional responses, and that usually starts with the characters.

Why did you become an agent?

The easy answer is to say I love reading, but the real answer is to make others love reading. The ability to be a gatekeeper of such an influential market was very tempting when determining my career path. By having my finger on the pulse of publishing, I’m a part of determining what books are available to the masses. This allows me to help create reading experiences that could one day greatly impact someone’s life, just as I was inspired as a little girl. I want to provide entertaining, engrossing, and thought-provoking works that serve all types of reading desires, from flying through a quick read on the beach to discovering a little more of whom someone is as a person. I open my email every day to see what queries will inspire me, just as I hope readers will do one day when looking on a bookstore shelf to see which of my works will inspire them.

Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?

Is it a faux pas to say pizza? No? Pizza, then.

Is there anything you'd like to add that you think our readers should know?

Please know that agents want you to succeed. We’re all looking for that one submission to steal our hearts and make us jump at the opportunity to represent you. Your writing success is our agenting success, so please know that we are always on the writers’ side.  Agents need to reject for a variety of reasons, including having a title too similar to yours and having too many authors to represent already. It’s a numbers game submitting to agents, just like it’s a numbers game for us to find the one query out of hundreds that speaks to us. Keep trucking along and believing in your work!

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19. Agent Arielle Datz from Dunow, Carlson & Lerner on What Works When Writing, & What Doesn't

Arielle Datz is looking for fiction (adult, YA, or middle-grade), both realistic or fantasy/sci-fi. In nonfiction, she is looking for essays, unconventional memoir, pop culture, and sociology.

Arielle grew up in Southern California, and then attended the University of Chicago, where she majored in English. She lived in Paris her junior year of college, and then spent two years in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam after graduation, before venturing to New York.

She started as an intern at Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner in 2011, and then worked in the foreign rights department at WME, followed by 2 years at the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency. She have now returned to DCLA full-time, and absolutely loves it there.

1.What are some of your favorite authors/books and why do you love them?

In YA:
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart: I love Frankie’s voice and her way with words.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I love all of Rainbow Rowell’s work, particularly how well she writes girls and women. In Fangirl, the way she talks about fandom, and its relationship to writing and reading in general, is inspiring.
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson: This book lit me up. The writing was just so, so beautiful.

In adult: I love Salman Rushdie, Italo Calvino, Neil Gaiman, and Margaret Atwood, to name a few. Recently I adored Station Eleven, Glen Duncan’s werewolf trilogy, The Bone Clocks, and Tigerman.

2. What are some things you love to see in a query?

I love to see confidence in the book, and that the author has done their research – they are a reader of the genre in which they wish to be published, they know what they could be compared to in both books and other media, and they know why their book needs to exist.

3. What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

I’ve contributed a few gripes to the #querytip thread on Twitter (and I recommend reading those), but here’s a few things. I can tell when a writer hasn’t done their research – both on me and my agency, or on the market they wish to enter. Moreover, I can tell when a writer isn’t a reader, and that breaks my heart.

4. Are you an editorial agent?

I’m still figuring out what kind of agent I am, but I think so – I like to work closely on revisions before submission. After a book has sold to a publisher, it’s case-by-case; I am happy to help an author work through revisions, and I am also happy taking a hands-off approach, if I feel like the author/editor relationship is solid and I’m not needed.

5. Character, world, or plot?

All are important. If one is conspicuously lacking, the others don’t click for me. This is not to say that all three are required – there are excellent books where nothing happens, or where the world doesn’t play a huge role – but those take impeccable writing.

6. Can you define voice for us?

I’m not sure I can! Here’s my attempt: in YA, the voice is the narration, and must be authentically the character’s. It must also feel real, and fully-defined. If the voice feels inauthentic, or I can feel the writer’s voice permeating their character, it can derail me as a reader.

7. What do you like to do for fun?

I sing in a semi-professional classical vocal ensemble. I watch far too much television; reading is not my only source of escapism. I consume stories. I also like taking walks.

8. What genres are you drawn to most?

I think I am most drawn to realism, or speculative fiction that is very subtle – where one element is unusual, but very believable. I like fantasy and sci-fi, but they have to be executed flawlessly. Total immersion in a purely fantastical world does not come easily for me.

9. Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability?

The optimist in me wants to say emotional connection, because if that’s there and I get it in front of the right editor, hopefully it will take off. However, publishing is a business, and if I don’t think I’ll be able to sell it, I won’t take it on. I’m looking for that sweet spot: manuscripts that electrify me and that I think will electrify others.

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20. International Agent, Julia Weber Discusses Query Dont's and What She Really Wants

Julia is a cardigan-wearing literary agent with a –sometimes unhealthy– love for books, sports, coffee, cake, romance, and eye candy. She hates the sound a pencil makes on paper, always (ALWAYS) has random numbers flying around her head, and her favourite pizza toppings are a combo of pineapple and black olives… just in case you were wondering.

While based in Germany Julia’s open to international submissions and is looking for MG, YA, NA, Women’s Fiction, Romance, and Thrillers. Julia is always on the look-out for new clients, but is also extremely picky, so make sure your query and manuscript are the best they can be before querying.
Julia can be found on her website and on Twitter.

1.)   What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 

Voice. Great writing and a strong voice can even make the most boring plot stand out, but even the best plot can’t overcome poor writing.

2.)   What is on your wish list? 

Unputdownable manuscripts. Obviously. J I’m generally interested in MG, YA, NA, Romance, psychological thrillers, and Women’s Fiction. I’m more of a commercial of a contemporary, realistic kind of girl, and if there’s a whole lot of humour, even better.

As for YA, I’m always looking for sports/ boarding school/ summer camp themes, realistic (and humorous) stories, and swoonworthy romance. I’d also love to find amazingly original contemporary retellings of classics that haven’t been retold yet. I’m a huge sucker for village/ farm/ small town settings. I’d love to see contemporary and modern takes on films like She’s All That, Clueless, Pleasantville, and manuscripts in the vein of Dawson’s Creek (more Pacey, less Dawson), One Tree Hill, Sliding Doors, Center Stage, etc.  All in all, I’m not the right fit for high fantasy or sci-fi. I’m happy to look at Paranormal, but it’s not necessarily my favourite genre, so it’ll be really hard to win me over with that.

I’m STILL looking for that awesome stalker thriller that makes me want to look over my shoulder and hide under the duvet. A thriller that digs deep, and really shows the psychological aspects of stalking, and being stalked. What makes the stalker tick? Bonus points if the stalker is somebody the victim thinks they can trust.

If you’re interested in following my wish list, all my #MSWL tweets show up here: http://www.mswishlist.com/profile/agent/jawlitagent/mswl.

I’m sure there are so many things I don’t even know I’m looking for, so just surprise me. J

3.)   Character, world, or plot? 

A little of all of the above. I tend to only go for stories that are set in our world, so “world” doesn’t apply to me as much as the others. That said, I still want to get a strong sense of the setting – no matter where/when the story is set.

The plot is important, no doubt, but the character makes or breaks the story for me. A character that isn’t believable annoys me. I need to connect with a character on at least some level to get drawn into the story, to care about the character’s journey and fate. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the character has to be likeable – I’ve seen a lot of discussions about this – but the character needs to at least intrigue me. If you can’t get me invested in the character, I’ll lose probably interest in reading hundreds of pages about that character.

4.)   What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

Where to start, where to start? I’ve seen so many queries that had me shake my head (and possibly my fist). Here some of my “favourites”:

Query emails with nothing but a link to a website or Amazon page. Chapters 1, 7, and 14 instead of the first three chapters I ask for in my submission guidelines. Queries for unfinished manuscripts or manuscripts the writers haven’t even STARTED writing. Inappropriate or borderline creepy comments about me. A query that had an audio file of the author reading his manuscript instead of sample chapters. Queries that read “I know you don’t handle/like this kind of story, BUT…”. A 200-word rant about literary agents and the entire publishing industry. “There’s not much to say about me”… in the query for a 90,000-word memoir.

5.)   Are you an editorial agent?

Yes, very.

6.)   What do you like to do for fun?

I’m a huge sports fan. I love playing field hockey and golf, and I enjoy watching all kinds of sports, which is probably why I’m such a sucker for good sports-themed fiction. Enjoying a glass of wine or G&T with friends is also one of my favourite pastime activities.

7.)   What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you? 

First of all, have a finished and polished manuscript to query. Don't approach agents with the first rough draft of your manuscript. Of course, writers are excited about their work, and they want to submit it as soon as possible. The problem: a work in progress is a huge turnoff. And a first draft is still a work in progress. Before querying, you should proofread, revise, tweak, address possible plot and character changes, etc. If you query before your manuscript is really ready, you're bound to collect needless rejections. Do your homework before querying. Research. Find out who represents your genre, and only query those agents who handle the type of book you have written. If they don’t represent your genre, don’t waste your time by querying them. Genre specializations exist for a reason, and agents will not change them just for you. Check the submission guidelines on the agency website. They ask for the first three chapters? Great, send them your first three chapters. Do not send chapters 3, 7, and 15 – or your entire 1,400-page manuscript. Another great source is Twitter. Not only do many agents share fantastic query, writing, and general publishing tips, quite a few also tweet what they’re hoping to find in their inbox. Check hash tags like #agentwishlist or #MSWL (manuscript wish list). Also: subject lines! Some queries I receive have some really weird subject lines, from no subject at all to “Knock, knock”. The format “Query: TITLE” makes my life so much easier. Once you’ve hit the “send” button, be patient. You may hear back within a day, you may have to wait a few weeks, depending on the agent’s current client workload and the number of other queries in their inbox. The agency website often states when you can expect to hear back. In the meantime… patience. It’ll be a great practice for your later publishing journey.

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21. Agent Kurestin Armada of PS Literary Talks Voice, Tea, and Originality

Kurestin began her publishing career as an intern with Workman Publishing, and spent time as an assistant at The Lotts Agency before joining P.S. Literary. She holds a B.A. in English from Kenyon College, as well as a publishing certificate from Columbia University. Kurestin is based in New York City, and spends most of her time in the city's thriving indie bookstores. She reads widely across genres, and has a particular affection for science fiction and fantasy, especially books that recognize and subvert typical tropes of genre fiction. She can be found on Twitter at @kurestinarmada.

What is it about a manuscript that excites you?

The million dollar question! This is always changing and hard to pin down, but I think the biggest draw for me is the clarity of the character’s voice. When I forget that I’m reading a story written by a person, and instead believe that I’m being told a story by the main character, I’m completely hooked. Strong, believable characterization can cover a multitude of sins in a manuscript, and it cannot be edited in afterwards if it’s missing. I can help a manuscript along, and the editor can make it absolutely shine, but we can’t insert a compelling voice for your characters.

What is on your wish list?

It’s hard to pin down my wish list at the moment, because I want to be surprised. I think there has recently been a strong trend of retellings of various stories, and many have been very excellent, but now it’s time for some weird, very original stories.

What are some of your favorite authors/books and why do you love them?

 I love everything Nick Harkaway has done, because his books always have this element of humor and fun even while his characters face danger and very real consequences. I really enjoy John Scalzi’s work for the same reason. That fun element is extremely important to me, even when the world is an extremely dark or violent one.

I also love sweet romances, like the one in EVERYTHING LEADS TO YOU by Nina LaCour, and strong, loving friendships like those in VIVIAN APPLE AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Katie Coyle, and THE RAVEN CYCLE books by Maggie Stiefvater.

What are some things you love to see in a query?

I love when people get down to business in the query, and focus on the book! That may sound obvious, but I get a lot of queries that tell me everything except for what the book is about. That’s all I care about when I’m first reading a query! Someone who clearly knows what their own book is about and can tell me about in a very clean, concise way is my favorite kind of query-writer.

What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

People who say they saw one of our rules (for instance, no attachments unless requested) and ignored them on purpose. People who skip the query entirely, and just start with the story. When the query isn’t even written by the author, or is composed entirely of reviews from other people. All of these things will get a query instantly put in the “no” pile for me. Most other things though, like pitching a genre I’m not currently looking to acquire, won’t stop me from reading the query and giving it a chance to interest me.

Are you an editorial agent?

I am, yes. As I read the partials and fulls I’ve requested, I’m constantly making mental notes on how to make the manuscript more effective. There are always places where the descriptive details can be more engaging, where the characters can pop off the page a bit more, and where the action can be tightened and sped up (or drawn out for the sake of tension!). 

Character, world, or plot?

Character is king, absolutely. Next is the world, and then finally the plot. Of course all of these things need to come together, but the plot is the thing that can be edited with the most ease, in my opinion.

Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?

Tea! I was given a giant electric kettle for my birthday, and I use it constantly. I also have a huge weakness for beautiful yarn, since I knit a lot. And of course now that it’s beautiful and warm outside, you can find me out in the sun drinking mimosas on weekend afternoons.

What genres are you drawn to most?

Science fiction and fantasy are the top two for me. I read and work outside of those genres, but those are the ones that are the closest to my heart! Contemporary LGBT YA novels are a very close contender, though.

Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability?

It’s always both, it has to be that way. If there was a manuscript I absolutely loved but I didn’t believe would sell well right now, I can imagine asking the author to hold it back and try something else first. But that’s not a request any author is going to enjoy hearing, unless they’re already a client and we’re planning their long-term career. So if this was a new author that I loved but didn’t see a current market for, I would probably have to pass in the end. And then on the other side, if I see a market for it but I don’t enjoy the book, I am absolutely not the right agent for it. So they don’t always have to be equal, but both elements have to be there in some amount for me to start a working relationship with that author.

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22. Interview and Chance to Submit to Agent Victoria Selvaggio of JDLA

With a strong background in business ownership, Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to JDLA as an Associate Agent with over seven years of actively working as a volunteer and Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio.  Drawn to the publishing scene first as an Author writing all genres, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done.

To Submit:
Please email a query to  ([email protected]) and put “Adventures in YA Publishing" in the subject line of your email. For queries regarding children's and adult fiction, please send the first twenty pages in the body of your email (for picture book manuscripts—send the full manuscript), along with a one-paragraph bio and a one-paragraph synopsis.

For queries regarding a nonfiction book, please attach the entire proposal as a Word document (the proposal should include a sample chapter), along with a one-paragraph bio and a one-paragraph synopsis of your book in the body of your email.

As a note, I “personally” respond to every query I receive, which takes some time. Response time can fluctuate from two to four months and up to six months, depending on my schedule. Feel free to follow up, if you haven't received a response after six months. PLEASE do not email me before six months!

            For more information, visit The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency website:  www.jdlit.com.

Connect with Victoria:
Twitter: Victoria Selvaggio @vselvaggio1
Facebook: Vicki Selvaggio
Linkedin: Victoria Selvaggio
My Website: www.victoriaselvaggio.com

Now on to the interview!!

What is on your wish list?

            I am currently looking for all genres (lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction), but find I’m particularly drawn to middle grade and young adult. I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me. On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.

What are some things you love to see in a query?

            I love when it’s evident that someone has taken a few minutes to research me (my likes/dislikes), and then addresses the query letter properly, with the correct spelling of my name. I make it a point to address my responses correctly. In addition to reviewing websites, blogs, and other information included.
             It’s important to me, as an agent, to know why I’m being queried. Connecting with the querying writer is something I look for immediately.
             For me, I’m looking for long-lasting agent-author relationships, and I appreciate when writers mention other genres and/or other projects (or works-in-progress).
            While I wish to receive a well-crafted query letter, I’m more interested in one’s manuscript. I’m happy with keeping things simple and to the point.

What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

            While I personally review and respond to all the queries I receive, I’m more open to queries addressed properly. From receiving queries addressed to other agents (mass mailing of agents) to receiving queries addressed to editors and publishing houses. Please, take those extra few minutes!
            Connecting with a querying writer is important to me. I can’t highlight enough to be professional. Never be rude, and please, don’t ever apologize for not being published.

What makes you a great agent?

            Honestly…I’m a workaholic. As my clients will note, I’m devoted, patient, and compassionate. I share in all their emotions, good and bad. And I never stop until we reach their goals (revising several times, if necessary, before submitting to editors).
            Having the background of being Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio for several years, and then working hard at my own publishing goals, I’ve seen the emotions of rejection. I’ve experienced rejection myself. That understanding pushes me to respond personally to every query I receive, in which I often note why the project isn’t a good fit. This, however, does take time.

Character, world, or plot?

            All are equally important to me. It’s all about balance.

What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you?

            While I wish for a well-crafted query letter, be yourself! Query letters tend to be stiff/ boring. For me (all agents are different, so make sure to always submit per listed guidelines), I rather writers relax–be yourself! Give me the needed information, while not forcing it.

Why did you become an agent?

            We are all destined for the “right” path. Becoming an agent was mine! After several years as Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio, and becoming a published author myself, I found myself limited on what I could do to help writers and illustrators reach their goals. I was able to provide tools (education, motivation, inspiration), but building careers was out of reach, so I strived to make it reachable.
            For me, I love, love, LOVE, working one-on-one with my clients!

Is there anything you'd like to add that you think our readers should

            As with all professions, becoming a published author and/or illustrator takes education, dedication, and confidence. We all have imaginations and the ability to create, but learning how to hone this craft and bring life to words and/or illustrations, is only reachable for those who are willing to persevere!
            As with all professions, one should expect rejections, obstacles/challenges, and possibly, when the timing is right, success!


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23. Agent Moe Ferrara of BookEnds on Query Pet Peeves, Being a Geek, and Love Vs. Marketability

Becoming a literary agent was fitting for the girl who, as a small child, begged her dad to buy her a book simply because "it has a hard cover." Growing up, she had a hard time finding YA books outside of Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine, and instead tackled Tom Clancy or her mom's romance novels. Though her career path zigzagged a bit—she attended college as a music major, earned a JD from Pace Law School, then worked various jobs throughout the publishing industry—Moe was thrilled to join the BookEnds team in May of 2015 as a literary agent and the subsidiary rights director.
A Pennsylvania native, she is the proud owner of one rambunctious guinea pig who is a master at stealing extra treats. When not reading, she is an avid gamer and always awaiting the next Assassin's Creed release.
You can contact Moe directly at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/inthesestones.
*Moe is open to YA submissions. She's especially looking for SciFi and Fantasy, but will consider the right contemporary YA. 

1. What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

Thankfully, everyone is being very mindful of my submission requirements and the genres I’m looking for! I think my biggest pet peeves are those queries that come in that either a, aren’t following submission requirements or b, are for genres I don’t represent. Not paying attention to those two things mean that authors are just blindly sending out queries without researching. I was a querying author once upon a time. I know how nerve-wracking it can be. But I always made sure I followed requirements and, when I could, personalized the queries. The other thing that I’m finding are a pet peeve… rhetorical questions. Because guess what, I don’t think I’m going to answer them the way you want me to answer them!

2. Are you an editorial agent?

Most definitely. As I said in another interview recently, if you want the agent who can tell you where a comma goes or to take out a semi-colon, I’m not the agent for you. I’m much more into big picture things — what most people would call a developmental editor. I watch for plot, for characters, the overarching issues. I’m great for brainstorming and for figuring out how to make a stuck plot point work. I’ve always been the person my friends come to when they couldn’t figure their way around a plot! So that’s what I bring to the table. I’m hands-on and wanting to work with my clients to have the best possible and super-shiny manuscript!

3. Character, world, or plot?

Combination of character and plot. I love character-driven things, but I want the plot to be just as strong as the character. World-building is important on that list (especially when considering I love SciFi and Fantasy) — but I’m not expecting you to come up with six different languages in your fantasy world or have a map that looks like something out of <i>Game of Thrones</i>. Know your world, but characters and plot are what’s going to draw me in first.

4. What do you like to do for fun?

I am a HUGE geek. So when not doing agenty things, I’m probably playing on my xbox, reading Marvel comics (yay Iron Man and Hulk!), working on my next cosplay, or playing my violin. I still make a point to play when I can, and my favorite thing to do is play along to show music. I grew up in a theatre as a pit rat. :^)

5. Coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, or any other vices?

Coffee. Oh GOD do I have a coffee problem. First thing I do when I get up is shuffle to my keurig and wait the 20 seconds for it to heat up and brew my coffee. I at least can wait until 5:00 PM before cracking open a bottle of wine. My current faves are either the Apothic brand or Stark Raving brand. Both are relatively inexpensive, but very good. Y’know… if you’re old enough to be drinking. [insert very stern glare here]

6. Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability?

I think there’s a need for both. I want to feel connected to a book and I feel like you can pitch it better if it’s something you love and are passionate about. But you also need to have an idea for what’s hot right now and what editors are looking for. Even if you love the dystopian vampire novel — if editors aren’t looking for it, it’s going to be a near impossible sell. So I firmly believe in loving the works you represent, but it does have to be tempered with what’s currently marketable too!

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24. Agent Danielle Zigner from LBA Books On Wanting To Get To Know & Working With Authors

After reading Philosophy and Theology at Oxford University Danielle spent a year working with a number of publishers and agencies. In 2014 she joined the team at LBA as a Junior Agent, and has since been actively building her list.

Find Danielle on The LBA Website, Tor Books Blog Feature, or Agent Hunter.

What’s on your wish list?

I’m actively seeking contemporary YA in the vein of Non Pratt’s Trouble or Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. Anything quirky like that would be great. I’d also like some really gripping psychological thrillers, well-written romances, and feminist non-fiction. Take a look at the LBA Books website for the full breakdown of what I’d like to find.

What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

Bad grammar, spelling mistakes, and lack of originality are all instant red flags. Also covering letters which only talk about the novel are quite unhelpful – I want to know about the author.

Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability?

I’m sorry to say it’s probably the latter. I’ve had to pass on a few books I’ve absolutely loved because I wouldn’t be able to sell them, and that’s a real shame. But sometimes in those cases I will try to work with the author on a new, more marketable project.

Are you an editorial agent?

I’ve never actually heard it put this way before, but yes, absolutely. The first thing I do when I’m interested in a book is call up the author to discuss my editorial ideas. It’s hugely important that we’re on the same page regarding where to take the story. The amount of editorial work I do on each manuscript varies greatly from project to project, but it’s often a lot, so that the book is in the best possible shape before I send it out to editors.

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25. Judge Bios for Red Light/Green Light Contest

Take a moment to get to know our esteemed Judges and the AMAZING team at AYAP that put this contest together!!

First let's introduce the newest members of our AYAP Team who've helped with the contest:

Lindsey Hodder is our new Communications Intern and Technical and Workflow Coordinator. She helps keep the contest sidebars up-to-date, helps coordinate Monday Round-Ups, and spreads the word about the goodness that is Adventures in YA Publishing by representing the team across the web, as well as curating a soon-to-be-instigated roundup of the best writing posts found each week.

Lindsey writes speculative fiction. She's also recently completed a postgrad thesis on the wonders of escapism, which pretty much sums up her love of YA. She currently lives in Sydney, Australia, though she's often overheard attempting to convince her long-suffering partner to follow her around the globe.

She tweets about writing, life, and Super Secret Projects at @lindseyhodder.

Sam Taylor is the New Releases Intern. She documents all the YA new releases shared weekly on the blog and represents the Adventures in YA Publishing team by interacting with writing and bookish blogs all across the web.

Sam developed a voracious appetite for YA lit when her teen sisters introduced her to their favorite books. Now she writes her own YA manuscripts, when she's not devouring books and manga or playing the violin. Sam lives in Connecticut with her husband and cat.

You can find her on twitter at @jsamtaylor.

Sandra Held is our Marketing Manager and Outreach Coordinator. She is planning some fun new features that she hopes to introduce to the blog soon, and coordinates our outreach across social media.

She spends her time obsessing over her favorite YA reads, stalking Pinterest for the newest inspiration, and taking meticulous notes at the movies. After all, there's nothing better than discovering a great story!

Anisaa is the Graphics and Imaging Intern for AYAP and YASeriesInsiders.com. She creates beautiful graphics and images, along with managing the AYAP Instagram, which you can follow at @ayaplit.

Anisaa is a modern-day drifter who has live and traveled all over the east coast. Through her travels, she developed a strong passion for writing, and a slight shoe obsession. Recently, she just graduated with a degree in Journalism with minors in PR and English. When she's not reading, she can found binge-watching Netflix, daydreaming, playing video games and finishing up her YA manuscript. The quote she lives by is "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

You can read her awesome tweets @lanisavida

Agent Judges:

Moe Ferrar of Bookends, LLC

Becoming a literary agent was fitting for the girl who, as a small child, begged her dad to buy her a book simply because "it has a hard cover." Growing up, she had a hard time finding YA books outside of Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine, and instead tackled Tom Clancy or her mom's romance novels. Though her career path zigzagged a bit—she attended college as a music major, earned a JD from Pace Law School, then worked various jobs throughout the publishing industry—Moe was thrilled to join the BookEnds team in May of 2015 as a literary agent and the foreign rights manager.

A Pennsylvania native, she is the proud owner of one rambunctious guinea pig who is a master at stealing extra treats. When not reading, she is an avid gamer and always awaiting the next Assassin's Creed release.

You can contact Moe directly at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/inthesestones.

Moe is interested in science fiction and fantasy for all age groups (no picture books). She loves a bit (or a lot!) of romance in her fiction, so the right contemporary or historical romance will spark her interest. She's LGBTQ friendly, so send her that male/male erotic romance in your back pocket! At this time she's not looking for nonfiction, women's fiction, or cozy mysteries.

Susan Hawk of the Bent Agency

Before agenting, I spent over fifteen years in children's book marketing at Penguin, Henry Holt and North-South Books, where I was lucky to work on many different books ranging from Eric Carle's Baby Bear, Baby Bear to Betsy Partridge's This Land Was Made for You and Me, to Nancy Werlin's Black Mirror, as well as the work of Mary E Pearson, Richard Peck and Joan Bauer. I also worked as a children's librarian and bookseller, and remember still the satisfaction of putting just the right book into a child's (or teenager's) hands.

While at Penguin, I also worked for a time in Dutton Editorial, acquiring select picture book and YA projects for that list. My favorite part of that time was reading new submissions -- finding something wonderful and imagining where it can go was thrilling to me then and remains so now.

I handle books for children exclusively: picture books, chapter books, middle grade and YA, fiction and non-fiction. The projects I represent share powerful and original writing, strong story-telling and a distinctive, sometimes off-kilter voice. In middle-grade and YA, I'm looking for unforgettable characters, rich world-building, and I'm a sucker for bittersweet; bonus points for something that makes me laugh out loud. I'm open to mystery, fantasy, scifi, humor, boy books, historical, contemporary (really any genre). In picture books, I'm looking particularly for author-illustrators, succinct but expressive texts, and indelible characters. I'm interested in non-fiction that relates to kid's daily lives and their concerns with the world. I'm actively looking for diversity in the stories and authors that I represent. My favorite projects live at the intersection of literary and commercial.

For more information please visit Susan Says, and check the Bent Agency blog for periodic updates to my wish list.

Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Agency

Sarah Negovetich is fully aware that no one knows how to pronounce her last name, and she's okay with that.

Her favorite writing is YA, because at seventeen the world is your oyster. Only oysters are slimy and more than a little salty, it's accurate if not exactly motivational.

Sarah's background is in Marketing. FYI, your high school algebra teacher was right when they told you every job uses math. She uses her experience to assist Corvisiero authors with platform building and book promotion.

Amaryah Orenstein of GO Literary

Amaryah Orenstein is the founder of GO Literary. As a literary agent, she is thrilled to help writers bring their ideas to life. Aiming to give voice to a broad range of perspectives, Amaryah represents a wide array of literary and commercial fiction (including YA), narrative nonfiction, and academic titles. She is actively seeking works that wed beautiful writing with a strong narrative and tackle big issues in engaging, accessible, and even surprising ways. Amaryah began her career at the Laura Gross Literary Agency in 2009 and, prior to that, worked as an Editorial Assistant at various academic research foundations,

Ammi-Joan Pacquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Joan is a Senior Agent with EMLA, working from her home office in Massachusetts as the "East Coast branch" of the agency. She represents all forms of children's and young adult literature, but is most excited by a strong lyrical voice, tight plotting with surprising twists and turns, and stories told with heart and resonance that will stand the test of time.

An EMLA client herself, Joan is also the author of numerous books for children, most recently the picture books Ghost in the House(Candlewick, 2013) and Petey and Pru and the Hullabaloo (Clarion, 2013), and the novels Paradox (Random House, 2013) and Rules for Ghosting (Walker, 2013).—Her next novel, Princess Juniper of the Hourglass, is forthcoming from Philomel in July 2015. When she is not on the phone, answering email, or writing, you will most likely find Joan curled up with a book. Or baking something delicious. Or talking about something delicious she's baked. Really, after books and food, what else is there worth saying?

Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Literary Services

Saba Sulaiman is the newest member of Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. She joined the team after working as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, where she worked primarily on their romance line. She's looking for up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir, both in adult and YA. She's also actively looking for MG. Follow her on Twitter @agentsaba

Author Judges:

Dhalia Adler: I'm an Associate Editor of mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and I do a whole lot of writing at every spare moment in between. I've also been a Production Intern and Editorial Assistant at Simon & Schuster, a Publicity Intern at HarperCollins, and a Fashion Intern at Maxim. (I'm kind of into that whole publishing thing.)

I'm the author of the Daylight Falls duology (consisting of Behind the Scenes and Under the Lights), the upcoming Just Visiting, and the NA novel Last Will and Testament. For information on those books and where you can buy them, check out My Books!

I live in New York City with my husband and our overstuffed bookshelves, and you can find me on Twitter at @MissDahlELama and blogging at B&N Teens, The Daily Dahlia, and YA Misfits. Come say hi!

Holly Bodger: A long-time resident of Ottawa, Canada, I have been working in publishing since I graduated with an English degree from the University of Ottawa.

I am represented by Lauren MacLeodof The Strothman Agency, LLC. My debut novel, 5 TO 1, was released on May 12, 2015 from Knopf Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House).

Martina Boone was born in Prague and spoke several languages before learning English. She fell in love with words and never stopped delighting in them. She’s the author of SIBA Book Award nominated Compulsion, book one in the romantic Southern Gothic trilogy, the Heirs of Watson Island, which was a Fall ’14 Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Bookstores Alliance, a Kansas State Reading Circle selection, Goodreads Best Book of the Month and YA Best Book of the Month, and an RT Magazine Best of 2014 Editor’s Pick. The second book in the trilogy, Persuasion, will be published in October 2015.

She’s also the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site devoted to the discovery and celebration of young adult literature and encouraging literacy through YA series.

From her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband, children, and a lopsided cat, she enjoys writing contemporary fantasy set in the kinds of magical places she’d love to visit. When she isn’t writing, she’s addicted to travel, horses, skiing, chocolate flavored tea, and anything with Nutella on it.

Erin Cashman is an attorney specializing in non-profit law. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Bates College and earned her law degree at Boston College Law School. Her debut YA fantasy novel, THE EXCEPTIONALS, was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book. She primarily writes YA and middle grade fantasy while eating chocolate and drinking tea. She is also the Workshop Manager of The First Five Pages Workshsop, a free monthly workshop open to writers of Young Adult fiction, Middle Grade fiction, and New Adult Fiction who want to jumpstart their careers as aspiring authors. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three children. Find her on her Website and on Twitter.

Lisa Gail Green lives with her husband the rocket scientist and their three junior mad scientists in Southern California. She writes books so she can have an excuse to live in the fantasy world in her head. She likes to share these with readers so she's represented by the lovely Melissa Nasson of Rubin Pfeffer Content. She has a parrot but would most definitely get a werewolf for a pet if she weren't allergic.

SOUL CROSSED, Of Demons & Angels Book One is available now. Book 2 -- SOUL CORRUPTED comes out September 9th.

Kimberley Griffiths Little was born in San Francisco, but now lives in New Mexico with her husband and three sons in a solar adobe home on the banks of the Rio Grande. Her award-winning writing has been praised as "fast-paced and dramatic," with "characters painted in memorable detail" and "beautifully realized settings."

Kimberley adores anything old and musty with a secret story to tell and makes way too many cookies while writing.

She's stayed in the haunted tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland; held baby gators in the bayous/swamps of Louisiana, sailed the Seine in Paris; ridden a camel in Petra, Jordan; shopped the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria.

Kimberley's Awards include: Southwest Book Award, Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011 & 2014, Crystal Kite Finalist, and New Mexico Book Award Finalist.

Joy N. Hensley is a former middle school teacher. She used to spend her twenty-minute lunch breaks hosting author Skype chats for her students. Once upon a time she went to a military school on a dare. She lives in Virginia with her husband and two children, finding as many ways as she can to never do another push-up again.

S.A. Larsen grew up in one of New England’s smaller communities surrounded by family and the influence of tight-knit relationships with nearby towns. Through her love of dance, athletics, and writing, she expressed her hopes, and dreams, being involved in shows and the theater. She began creating quirky worlds at an early age, more attracted to telling stories through illustrations (elementary scribblings >_<). In middle school and high school this morphed into exploring her world through creepy and eerie tales, stretching her vivid imagination as she shared frustrations and misunderstandings as a teen with a world she figured would never ‘get’ her. And today, she’s just fine with being misunderstood.

Her deep love for writing children’s literature pushes her to explore the joys and angst of the young adult years, the awkward middle grade years, and the curious and sweet younger years of picture books. She lives in the land of lobsters, snowy winters, and the occasional Eh’ya, with her husband of over twenty years, their four children, and a playful bich-poo Gracie.
Her debut vineyard-set YA novel, MARKED BEAUTY, has just been acquired by ELYSIAN PRESS.

At sixteen, Kim Liggett left her rural midwestern town for New York City to pursue a career in both music and acting. While attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Kim sang backup for some of the biggest rock bands in the 80′s.

After settling down to have a family, she became an entrepreneur, creating a children’s art education program and a travel company specializing in tours for musicians.

She’s married to jazz musician Ken Peplowski, has two grotesquely beautiful teens, and a very neurotic dog that drags her through Riverside Park everyday on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of six young adult novels: Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, Bittersweet, The Book of Broken Hearts, #scandal, and The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. Her books have been translated into several languages and have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, Amazon Top Movers and Shakers, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books. Her short works have appeared in the anthologies Dear Teen Me and Defy the Dark.

She’s a champion cupcake eater, tea drinker, tarot enthusiast, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in the Pacific northwest, Sarah enjoys hugging trees and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex. Fans can find her on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and at sarahockler.com.

Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then -- her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, is coming out Fall 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.

She can be found on Twitter at @seesarawrite and blogging over at the Valentines. She is represented by Charlotte Sheedy Literary.

Ron Smith is the author of HOODOO, available fall, 2015 from Clarion Books and is represented by Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary Services. Say hello on his blog or on Twitter.

Liza Wiemer: I am the author of two non-fiction adult books, short stories, and newspaper and magazine articles. A pre-school to high school educator now writing YA fiction full time, which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! And I'm a diehard Green Bay Packers fan.

For my author posts on writing and my upcoming YA novel HELLO?: http://www.LizaWiemer.com

Unique "job" experiences: I spent a summer selling popcorn in a Koepsell's popcorn wagon while listening to awesome music on the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee. I also know my way around a fender and a quarter panel and under the hood of a car. I spent a few years driving to accident scenes, scrapyards, hospitals, auto repair shops as a claims adjuster for an insurance company.

I started WhoRuBlog to address YA issues and share my passion for reading. http://www.whoRuBlog.com

Besides articles that address tough issues facing young adults, I have author interviews and book giveaways. Check them out. :D

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