Interview with Agent Lindsay Davis Auld

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Lindsay Davis Auld is an agent at Writers House and is actively building her list. She represents children’s lit, from board books through YA (see here for more details). She taught fourth grade and worked for Harcourt Children’s Books prior to joining Writers House as Steven Malk’s assistant. She calls two countries home and is open to international clients. (And Ben and Jerry, if you’re reading this, please, make her ice cream flavor idea.)

Thank you, Lindsay, for your time!

 

You worked at Writers House with Steven Malk a few years ago and launched several successful books before taking time off to move to England and start your family. Now that you’re agenting again, have you changed how you approach your job, or what you look for in a manuscript? 

Yes, it’s been quite an adventure. In a lot of ways, though, I’d say that, even though I’ve certainly learned a great deal from having children and spending lots of time in bookstores in England, I think I’ll always look for the same qualities in a manuscript: an authentic voice, characters that feel real, a world that fascinates me, and a story I can’t put down. 

What path led you to agenting? Have you always wanted to work in publishing? What would you do if you weren’t agenting? 

After college, I taught fourth grade as a member of Teach for America, and I loved reading with my class and trying to find the right book for each child. It made me realize that I’d like to be a part of bringing children’s and YA books into the world. My first job in publishing was at Harcourt Children’s Books. I then joined Writers House as Steven Malk’s assistant, and eventually began building my own list of authors and artists. Steve has always been an amazing mentor, and I feel incredibly lucky to have learned so much from him, and to have now re-joined Writers House.

I have no idea what I’d be doing if I weren’t agenting. Something to do with stories, I would imagine, as I tend to seek out libraries and bookstores wherever I am, just because I like to be around books.

You and I have a similar situation—we sort of live between two countries. Do you work both in the US and in England? Are you open to international clients?   Continue reading

Interview with Agent Laurel Symonds

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Laurel Symonds recently left her job as marketing manager at a small publishing house to become a literary agent at The Bent Agency. She’s seen the publishing industry from multiple angles and is now offering that expertise as an agent. She is open to submissions for YA, MG, chapter books and picture books (see her bio for more details).

Thank you, Laurel, for taking the time to answer some questions.

 

Your publishing career started in the editorial department of HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Children’s Books. What led you into publishing in the first place?

I was a Creative Writing major at Hamilton College and, like many who major in similar fields, there came a time when I had no idea what I was going to do with my degree. Fortuitously, an alum (shout out to Caroline Abbey, now Senior Editor at Random House Children’s Books!) spoke on campus about her experience working in publishing. I went on to intern with her at Bloomsbury Children’s Books that summer and completely fell in love with the industry.

You also worked in marketing at Albert Whitman, you’ve worked in a library, and as a bookseller. You’ve seen a book through it’s many phases then—from acquisition through marketing, and into the end user’s hands. How will you apply all of that experience to your new role as an agent?

I feel this diversity of experience really sets me apart as an agent and has provided me with insight that allows me to be the best partner for my clients in all aspects of the publishing process.

What do writers need to understand about marketing/publishing before they become too invested in a manuscript?

Knowing as much about the industry—particularly as far as expectations go—can be incredibly helpful for the entire publishing process. At the early stages of a manuscript, though, the best thing to do is read, read, read. Find out what’s popular, what’s similar (and dissimilar) to your project, and be able to explain why your book has a place in the market. Continue reading

Interview with Agent Jenna Pocius

 

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Jenna Pocius is a new agent at Red Fox Literary. Prior to Red Fox, she worked as an editor at little bee books, and prior to little bee, she worked as an assistant editor at Bloomsbury USA. While at little bee, Jenna acquired board books through YA and will still be seeking manuscripts for all categories of kidlit. Jenna is open to submissions until August 10, 2017.

Thank you, Jenna!

 

I think it’s safe to say that most writers dream of publishing with the Big 5, but you were an editor at little bee books, a successful and well-respected small press. What are the advantages for authors and illustrators in working with a small press? 

I think in the end it’s really about the connection between an author or illustrator and an editor and his or her publishing team, but with a small press there can be more opportunity for a title to stand out on a list because there isn’t the same volume of books being published. With little bee it was a very unique opportunity because not only were we growing our list in terms of title count, but we were also starting from scratch and thus some of the themes and topics that other publishers were oversaturated with, we had an opportunity to find really stellar projects and establish ourselves in those categories.

You’re very clear in your bio that you like dogs. Do you have a dog of your own? What draws you to dogs in picture books? 

I’ve always loved dogs and dog stories. There’s something about the loyalty and love inherent in dogs that I can’t help but gravitate toward, and those are also two qualities and themes that make great characters and story foundations. For me, there’s really nothing better than stories that capture the unique bond between child and dog. I don’t have my own dog yet, but it’s in the works! 

Do you have a favorite breed of dog? (I’m a bit partial to ridgebacks, but we currently have a rescue dog that’s a mix of something unknown, and he’s a sweetie.) Continue reading

Interview with Agent Wendi Gu

wendiIt’s a new year so let’s start it off with an interview from new-ish agent Wendi Gu of Greenburger Associates. She represents one of my critique partners, so I already know she has great taste (If I could, I’d insert the grinning emoticon here). Wendi is looking for authors, author-illustrators and illustrators only. And, as you’ll see by her answers, she will be a champ of an advocate for any client she takes on. Wendi reps kidlit and some adult lit–read on for details. Thank you, Wendi, for your time!

You’re a new agent at Greenburger Associates and have been working with Brenda Bowen—wow. What led you to agenting and to Greenburger? 

Brenda Bowen indeed! She’s been a fabulous, encouraging mentor, and I’m very lucky to work with her. I came into agenting by accident–I knew I wanted to be in New York, and that I wanted to work in books. When I was still studying creative writing at Northwestern, I sent an internship application to every single publishing house and agency I could find. I wasn’t very picky then. At that point, I didn’t even know that there was a difference between agenting and editing! Or what an imprint was. Or what “delivery advance” meant. I never heard back from most places. But lo and behold, I received an internship offer from Greenburger, and worked there the summer before my final year of college. A few months before I was slated to graduate, I got a call that Greenburger was looking to fill an assistant position. I snapped up the position. Then, about a year ago, I was given the green light to agent my own titles. 

Tell me a bit about you. What are your hobbies, favorite sports teams, must-have dessert after a stress-filled day, cat, dog (beagles maybe?) or neither, TV shows, movies, etc.?

As a kid, I was always picked last in gym class, and couldn’t muster a push-up for the life of me. But not anymore! Now, on the weekends, I work at Dou Yoga in Brooklyn and pushups are a breeze. And I also go to a very intense, very pretentiously named workout class called “ModelFit” with my friend and colleague Meg Reid, who is a literary scout at Greenburger. 

You guessed it. My favorite dog is indeed a beagle. They are such hyper weirdos. It’s the long ears that get me. And–I live with a rescue cat named Fergie who was found in a cat carrier under the Coney Island Boardwalk. Breed indeterminate, but she’s definitely my prettiest roommate. 

As for snacks, I’m a savory person. Smoked gouda is good on any cracker. Recently I’ve been very fascinated by the new dill pickle Kettle Chips flavor. “All natural” – you know? 

I don’t necessarily have a favorite show or movie, but I think season one of Veronica Mars is FLAWLESS, and speaking of flawless, I’ve probably watched Beyonce’s Lemonade more than any other film in my adult life. I’m also a podcast person. Codeswitch, 2 Dope Queens, On Being with Krista Tippet are among my favorites. 

Now to books: You are looking for “puns, quirky humor, girl power, and cute animals in picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction” and even “adult fiction on the first-generation American experience.” For our kidlit writers, would you name a good example in PB, MG and YA of books that best reflect your taste. 

This is always such a hard question, but the names that I really gravitate towards are:  Continue reading