Friday, February 25, 2011

Stephen Barr and other agents at Writers House seek adult and kids' books

Writers House
21 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010

Writers House was founded by Al Zuckerman in 1973.  It has since grown to be one of the world's largest literary agencies.

Writers House represents fiction and nonfiction, for both adult and juvenile books. Their agents work with literary and commercial fiction, women's fiction, science fiction/fantasy, narrative nonfiction, history, memoirs, biographies, books on psychology, science, parenting, cookbooks, how-to, self-help, business, finance, young adult and juvenile fiction and nonfiction, and picture books.

Stephen Barr joined Writers House in 2008 and started taking on his own clients in 2010.  Stephen says: "I'm a pretty omnivorous agent—I've got a permanent hankering for unexpected memoirs with itchy voices, narrative nonfiction that tackles hard-to-tackle issues, wry and rarely paranormal YA, laugh-until-you-squirt-milk-out-of-your-nose middle grade, sweet and wacky (but still logical) picture books from author/illustrators."

Plus, he likes: "fiction that rewards the reader line-by-line and gets to know at least one character really, really well (recent favorites include Jeff In Venice, The Lazarus Project, Diary of a Bad Year, and Horns, which was awesome).

"I'm also willing to be a sucker for smart, unconventional thrillers, mysteries that bend reality, ghost stories that blow reality to hell, fictional or not-so-fictional portrayals of abnormal psychology, and humor that's more than just an infinitely repeated gag in sheep's clothing."

Send a friendly, honest e-query, anchored by the first five or ten pages of the manuscript to with the word "Query" in the subject line.

Senior agents at Writers House are also seeking new clients.

Daniel Lazar says: "I'm actively seeking new clients.  I'm always on the lookout for distinct fiction and great, lively non-fiction. I represent adult and children's books (and for children's books, I focus mainly on middle grade and YA). For fiction, I love stories that introduce me to new worlds - or even better, recreate the ones I may already know. I also especially love historical fiction of all kinds.

"For nonfiction, I enjoy memoirs, narrative non-fiction, all stripes and studies of pop-culture, and even small gifty books that strike my fancy and make me smile. I'm a huge fan of graphic novels and memoirs. And as the oldest child of six who has changed many, many diapers in his life, I'm equally intrigued by any book with unique views on parenting and family life.

"If you think your pages can make me hold my breath or miss my subway stop or even laugh out loud, please read my submission guidelines and check out some of my clients' books listed below. I'd love to hear from you."

"Please include the first 5 pages of your manuscript with your query letter. No attachemnts unless requested. If you query by mail, no need to send materials double-sealed in bubble wrap. (It's paper, not anthrax.) We respond to every query - you'll hear from me or my assistant. And our response time is 1 minute to several weeks."
More about Daniel Lazar here.

Author Jill Santopolo (left) & Jodi Reamer (right)
Jodi Reamer: "I'm an agent and an attorney and have been at Writers House for 15 years. I handle both children's books, from young adult to picture books, and adult books. My focus is commercial fiction. I would love to represent a legal thriller.

"Please mail me the first 10 pages of your manuscript (or until the end of that chapter) along with your query letter or email the material to my assistant, Alec Shane, at

Among other well-known authors, Jodi represents Stephanie Meyers, author of the Twilight series.  For more information about Jodi, see  Jodi represents Stephanie Meyers, author of the Twilight series.  For more information about Jodi, see here.

Rebecca Sherman: "As I continue to build my own list of middle grade and young adult novelists, I'm looking for books with something to say, books that make me laugh, and characters that truly remind me of how confounding and wonderful (ridiculous! frightening! glorious!) adolescence can be. I am also looking for picture books by author/illustrators that can hold up to readings night after night.

"In addition to books for the children's market, I'm a huge fan of all things pop-culture and looking for non-fiction books in this genre as well as lifestyle, humor and narrative non-fiction for the 18-35 audience."

- Middle Grade and Young Adult submissions should include a sample chapter (approx 10 pages) and a synopsis.
- Middle grade, YA, and adult non-fiction submissions should include a proposal.
- For picture book submissions, please include the entire text and sample illustrations or a link to an online portfolio or a dummy. I do not accept picture book texts by authors only. You must be an author/illustrator to submit picture book material.
- Email submissions should not include attachments, because viruses are scary
- Snail mail submissions must include a SASE.
- Please be patient as I consider your work. My response time varies, but my assistant or I will attend to your submission as soon as possible and respond.
- Please tell me on the query if it is a multiple submission. Please keep me informed about other agents' interest or offers for representation via email. Do not accept representation until you have given me a fair chance to extend an offer as well.

For more about Rebecca Sherman, see here.

Brian Henry has a few "Writing for Children and Young Adults" workshops coming up: on February 26 in Barrie (see here), on March 5 in Toronto (see here), on April 9 in Peterborough (see here), and on April 10 in Kingston (see here).

He will also be leading: "From the Horse's Mouth ~ Strategies for Getting Published" at Ryerson University on May 7 (see here).

For information about all of Brian's upcoming creative writing courses and writing workshops, see here.

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