Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Two new agents for children’s lit

Barry Goldblatt Literary
320 7th Avenue, #266
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Barry Goldblatt Literary specializes in children’s lit – picture books, chapter books, middle-grade books, and teen books. The company has two new agents, who have recently moved from the publishing side of the industry into agenting. Do remember that new agents need authors.

Beth Fleisher was formerly an editor with The Berkeley Publishing Group. Her passions are science fiction, fantasy and graphic novels, but she handles all kinds of kids' stuff. She is particularly interested in finding new voices in middle grade and young adult fantasy, science fiction, mystery, historicals and action adventure. She is also looking to represent “select children's and adult nonfiction" – whatever that means.

Beth says: "As both a reader and an agent (it’s the same thing, really – you have to represent books you are passionate about) I am looking for forward-thinking writers with a strong individual voice. A writer must not write to a perceived marketing trend. (Dare I say vampire novels?)

"What perhaps the novice writer doesn’t know is that it is so very, very apparent when an author is not fully engaged with their work — when they are writing for a market. The writing rings false, and that translates to a very dissatisfying read.

"So, my words of advice: Only write what you love. Think forward: a new creative voice, not a re-telling of a previous bestseller. And on of my pet peeves: Take the time and effort to fully render the setting of your story. It strikes me as very amateurish when the writer develops plot and characters, but not setting. Setting is a character in the best of books (think everything from Wuthering Heights to Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels, to Harry Potter)."

Joe Monti was the Director of Paperbacks at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and before that he was the Children’s Fiction Buyer (age 7 and up) for Barnes and Noble, so Joe knows what sells in the market.

Joe wants children’s and teen fiction, but he’s also wants some genre fiction for adults, especially fantasy and science fiction. Plus Joe wants to represent writer-artists, working on everything from picture books to graphic novels.

Joe says: "What I'm looking for and not getting is great non-genre middle grade fiction, because as much as I love genre fiction with a fierce passion, there is nothing finer to me than reading a middle grade novel that can accomplish so much, so elegantly, and with minimal word choice. I like to cite Jerry Spinelli’s Loser as my example of this.

"Another deep interest is YA science fiction. While I think Burgess’s Smack, followed by Anderson’s Speak were the two biggest initial, critical successes, Von Ziegesar's Gossip Girl series deserves equal time as a herald, as it proved to publishers that there was a large female readership here and that they should publish towards it.

In other words, Gossip Girl was the gateway fiction the YA category needed to jumpstart it. I feel that smart, high-action science fiction (and action thrillers) will help to do the same for male readers. Give me some smart military science fiction for teen boys."

How to submit: Send an e-query to query@bgliterary.com

Include the word "query" in the e-mail subject line. This agency accepts simultaneous submissions, but exclusive ones (designated with the word "exclusive" also in the e-mail subject line) will get priority. Paste your query, your synopsis, and the first five pages of your book into the body of the email. No attachments. You can specify which agent you’re submitting to.
Responds in four weeks to queries and eight weeks to manuscripts.

Note: Brian Henry has two seminars coming up on "How to Get Published" – on Sept 12 in Ingersoll (details here) and on Oct 4 in Toronto (details here).
For information about all of Brian's upcoming writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here

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