Friday, August 2, 2013

For my Middle Grade and YA Author Friends Who Are Seeking Agents

The Agent Panel at PNWA 2013

There were 23 agents in on this panel. I only wrote down bits about agents who are looking for YA and Middle Grade. I tried to take notes on my iPad but it was awkward without a background surface, (it kept sliding off my lap) so I hand wrote notes and am now having trouble deciphering my chicken scratch. Here is a summary of their advice on pitching and/or querying:

Regina Brooks- An interesting woman who had once been an aerospace engineer and is now a super agent.. Her advice in looking for an agent is the 3Cs: competence, chemistry and character. She looks for hook, platform and good writing.

April Eberhardt- she says ask three things of your manuscript: Who, what and why should we care?

Rachel Eckstrom- There is not much difference between pitches and queries- but she says you can pitch a book your are still writing or revising. In a query, make sure this is a project you have sat with for awhile.  She likes a humorous voice.

Mandy Hubbard- looks for YA. She says don't be humble about yourself.

Susan Finesman- Looks for a story driven by character.  “Work on the first sentence. Be direct and purposefully brief.” (A lovely person. I pitched to her, and she wasn't interested in my work, but she knows where Zanesville is. She’s from Pittsburgh.)

Jill Marr- says show your voice in the query.

Laurie McClean- She’s funny with loads of personality. She says she looks for work that is unique and not derivative, “So don’t send me The Obesity Games or The Titanic in Space.”  She is looking for authors willing to do hybrid marketing- print and eBook titles released simultaneously.

Pooja Menon- Her advice on pitching is to have fun. She is looking for Middle Grade and Contemporary YA

Kathleen Rushall- looks for character driven and voice and wants to know what else you are writing.

Katharine Sands- looking for (something illegible beginning with a d having to do with voice. Drive? Dynamic?) [**SEE COMMENTS] passion, freshness. In your pitch/brief summary think of When this happened…, and now….

Pam van Hylclama Vlieg- interested in YA fantasy. Said if she were not an agent she’d work in forensics

Ethan Vaughan- looking for YA and a narrator who is different. He looks for strong voice.

Happy Writing.


  1. Hi Laura,
    Just to clarify for your blog: the thing I look for is called Duende....

    'Duende or tener duende ("having duende") loosely means having soul, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity, often connected with flamenco.' -- Wiki

    For me, this means a rare fire....something special, fresh and exciting....Katharine Sands

  2. Thank you, Katharine. It makes sense now.
    I enjoyed your presentation on Thursday.