What I’m Looking for in 2017

959b4a35022e306364deaf54e25e2d40.jpgWell, I’m super glad 2016 is almost over, although I’m pretty worried about what 2017 might hold. Hopefully, it will hold some positive things on the national and world arenas. And on the more personal level, I’m pretty sure it will hold some book deals and film options and foreign sales and… maybe even a couple of new clients!

For right now, I plan on being open to submissions for the month of January. I will be open and closed to queries intermittently throughout the year, as my schedule dictates. You can keep up with that on Twitter, on this blog, and on the ECLA website.

Please note that I represent children’s literature exclusively. That is, I’m only looking for picture books, chapter book series, middle grade novels and non-fiction, young adult novels and non-fiction, and graphic novels for kids (by author-illustrators).

You can find my submission guidelines on the Emerald City Literary Agency website, as well as here on the blog. As long as you follow those guidelines, I will answer your query. Sometimes I’m slow at that. Sometimes I answer at lightning speed. Neither of those things means anything.

In particular, I am looking for the following things:

  • I am specifically inviting people of color to query me. I don’t know how else to say that. I’ve tried being more subtle about it. It hasn’t worked. So people of color! Please query me!
  • In all the projects I take on, I’m looking for unmistakable voices, stories that are different or are in some way unique, and I’m always looking for superlative writing. I don’t care if you’re new at this game, because everyone has to start somewhere. But your writing still has to be great.
  • I’m interested in character driven stories that don’t skimp on plot. I say that every year and at all conferences. It’s true. I want to fall in love with a character and then follow them on an interesting journey. (But isn’t that what every agent wants?)
  • For MG and YA, I rep realistic contemporary, mystery, literary, historical fiction, speculative fiction and magical realism, science fiction that’s not too science-y, anything feminist (but absolutely no hating on boys), and lots of characters with sass. I’m also partial to GLBTQ stories and authors.
  • I’m still looking for an epistolary novel, and a series of linked short stories (like a MG or YA Olive Kitteridge) although please note that I don’t otherwise represent short stories.
  • For picture books, I like funny, odd, voice-y stories. I don’t particularly care for rhyme (unless you are a master at it), and I steer away from writing that’s too sweet.
  • I don’t take on clients who don’t have more than one picture book manuscript, so although you shouldn’t pitch me more than one project at a time, make sure you have other things to show me, should I ask.
  • I would like more non-fiction and narrative non-fiction for children. Think STEM and Common Core topics, but also biographies, little known history (or known history with a new angle), and weird topical interests.

Please do not send me an email asking me if it’s ok to query. Please do not ask me in the comments section of this post whether <insert what you’re writing> would be something of interest to me. If you’re not sure if your manuscript is a good match for me, do your research. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, have been interviewed, and have blogged enough here that you can certainly get a sense of who I am and what I like.

 I’m very sorry, but if you query me when I’m closed to submissions, your query will be deleted and you’ll need to re-query when I’m open again. If you are querying me after a conference, when I’m otherwise not open to submissions, please make sure to put the name of the conference in the subject line of your email.

If you feel you must post a comment, I wouldn’t mind hearing some new knock-knock jokes.


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4 responses to “What I’m Looking for in 2017

  1. Knock knock!
    Who’s there?
    Al Bett.
    Al Bett Who?
    Al Bett you didn’t see that one coming?!

  2. I don’t know how else to say this, isn’t white a color? Feeling bummed because I wrote a diverse manuscript and had a publisher interested until they learned I was the wrong color. I’m white not invisible.

  3. Great to know that you’re planning on being open in January 🙂 I don’t have any knock-knock jokes, but here are a couple of pun-tastic jokes I’ve heard recently: 1. Q: What do you get when you combine an ipad and a Christmas tree? A: A Pine Apple! 2. Q: What’s the difference between a knight in shining armor and Rudolph the red nosed reindeer? A: One slays dragons, and the other is dragging the sleigh!

  4. polly renner

    “Will you remember me in a year?”
    “Will you remember me in a month?”
    “Will you remember me in a week?”
    “Knock knock.”
    “Who’s there?”
    “See, you already forgot me.”