Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ross Yoon Literary Agency seeks serious nonfiction

Gail Ross & Howard Yoon
Ross Yoon
1666 Connecticut Ave NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009

Ross Yoon is a literary agency specializing in serious nonfiction on a variety of topics: everything from memoir and history and biography to popular science, business, and psychology. Their clients include CEO’s, top doctors, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, academics, politicos, and radio and television personalities.

Anna Sproul-Latimer is the newest member of the team. For the past five years, Anna has been handling foreign rights for the agency, but recently she’s begun to build her won client list.

What is she looking for? “In two words, adult nonfiction. In six: nonfiction by and for the curious. I represent authors who explore new frontiers, uncover hidden histories, and embed themselves in unusual places. Their energy is so contagious, and their ideas so important, that they’ve already begun to attract media coverage and a national audience.
“Whether they’re journalists, top bloggers, performers, theologians, or scientists, my clients are sharply observant and often LOL-funny, but never cynical. A good example is my client Caitlin Doughty, creator of the “Ask a Mortician” series, whose book I recently sold in an eight-way auction to W.W. Norton.

“Whether an agent chooses to work with an author – or doesn’t – often boils down to the personality match. All of us agents try to acquire for a range of different readers, but if something is of personal interest, we’re excited before we even turn the page. Therefore, here’s me in some alphabetically-organized keywords: airplanes, Americana, Bill Bryson, death, England, Gene Weingarten, Jezebel, Jim Henson, @LongReads, Mary Roach, Mervyn Peake, New York magazine, Pitcairn Island, pop culture, psychology, rock music, the Simpsons, Sloane Crosley, weird, William Langewiesche.”

Anna does not want fiction or children’s books.
“I also do not want self-help that’s more about the messenger than the message. (If your work makes use of either of these phrases—’patented method,’ ‘paradigm shift’—we probably won’t get along.) Political screeds, liberal and conservative. Authors who don’t understand the value of collaborative editorial process: at one extreme, those who want to ‘build their brand’ with a book, any book; at the other, artistes. Finally, ‘everything you know is wrong’ Gladwelly-type books about mind, brain, and behavior. There might be room left in the market for these, but I’m tired of reading them.”

“Please e-mail me a short pitch at:
Say who you are and what you’d like to write. Include a chapter outline and a couple of sample chapters (if you have them). If you’re an expert with an idea but no sample material yet, that’s fine too; just be ready to explain your idea in some detail. “I do read every submission I receive carefully, although I might not be able to respond to you in detail.”

Probably the best single step you can take toward getting manuscript ready for publication is to join one of the “Next Step” or “Intensive” creative writing courses. Starting in January, Brian will be leading “Next Step” courses in Mississauga (details here) and in Georgetown (details here). He’ll be leading   “Intensive” courses in Burlington (details here) and in Mississauga (details here).

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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