Sunday, June 3, 2018

Red Sofa Literary has three agents actively looking for authors

One Match Fire by Lissa Linden,
represented by Red Sofa

Red Sofa Literary

Red Sofa Literary is a boutique literary agency originally established in the St. Paul/Minneapolis, but now represents authors all over the world. “Our mission is to celebrate a life of reading and geek culture, where brains always win over the brawn."
They have six agents altogether, three of them looking for authors:

Kelly Van Sant just joined Red Sofa Literary as of May 1, 2018, but has nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She cut her teeth in New York working at esteemed literary agencies such as Writers House and Harold Ober Associates, where she developed an eye for compelling, emotionally resonant stories, honed her editorial skills, and soon grew adept at contract vetting. After relocating to Minnesota, Kelly joined Llewellyn Worldwide as their Contracts Manager across all three imprints and then moved to Quarto Publishing Group USA where she led the contract department.
After years on the publisher’s side of the fence she returned to her roots in agenting. She has worked as a freelance editor with various publishers and is a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center. She also blogs about writing and the publishing industry at Pub(lishing) Crawl and co-hosts their weekly podcast.
Visit Kelly at her website, or on twitter here.
What she’s looking for:
I am seeking Middle GradeYoung Adult, and very limited women's fiction across all genres, including fantasy, science fiction, adventure, historical, and contemporary. I love character-driven stories with intricate plots, and am always drawn to explorations of friendship and found family. I am especially interested in #ownvoices and inclusive narratives. I've expanded on my interests within each category below.

Middle Grade 
I am seeking Upper MG only. Chapter books or early readers are not for me. My ideal middle grade needs to be whimsical, funny, and full of adventure. My tastes lean away from contemporary in this genre, and more toward fantasy, speculative, science-fiction, or magical realism. I like intricate world-building and MCs with gumption. Give me a quest, give me steadfast friendships, give me insightful, magical parallels with the real world, and make me laugh. No books with an educational thrust; I want to have fun!

Young Adult 
I dearly love 
fantasyscience-fictionspeculative, and other magical elements in YA stories. Even better if mixed and matched with other genres. Alternate universes, fictional worlds, your very own hometown with a secret or sinister twist. If the world-building is original and intricate, if you're either dismantling existing tropes or executing them exceptionally well, if your characters are complex and come alive on the page then what are you waiting for? Send me your query. 

Let's talk about 
romance in YA. I prefer romance in my YA to be an undercurrent (even an urgent one) but not the main point. Something needs to be going on in universe and in your characters' lives beyond their love story. Instant love is not for me; I appreciate when characters grow together over the course of a book. Attraction can happen instantly, but intimacy takes time. 

I am selective about YA 
contemporary. A strong voice is vital, and again, I love to see a complex web of relationships beyond just romantic (though romance can be included): especially friendships and family relationships. These books above all else must absolutely be character-driven. I appreciate books that explore questions of identity, and books with a darker edge, but books firmly centered on and driven by a single issue--abuse, suicide, drug use, mental illness, rape--are not for me. I welcome books whose characters are grappling with those same issues, if those things are woven into the character and are undercurrents of a different, main plot. But I am not the right agent to represent so-called Issue Books. I would love to see some lighter YA contemporaries. Something that balances between poignant and funny, with a compelling, flawed protagonist and an authentic, accessible voice. 

Women's Fiction
I'm seeking women's fiction on a very limited basis. I want books written for and by women, about women's lives and experiences and issues (women's lives are complicated and varied and extend well beyond bad marriages/relationships! Please send me something fresh). Prose matters to me here, but as always, the characters are paramount. I'm interested in genre-blends, but straight-up contemporaries should be new and nuanced to catch me eye. No books about dead or dying children, please. If you have something like Lorrie Moore's WHO WILL RUN THE FROG HOSPITAL? I want to see it. 

Query Kelly at:
Include the word QUERY and your title included in the subject. Paste the first chapter of your novel into the body of the email. No attachments.  Please include links to your website, blog, or social media accounts, if any.

Laura Zats, Literary Agent
Laura Zats graduated from Grinnell College with degrees in English and anthropology. She began working in the publishing industry in 2011, joining Red Sofa Literary in 2013. As an agent, she specializes in children’s fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and romance. She is also one-half of the weekly publishing podcast, Print Run. In her free time, Laura serves on the board of the Minnesota Book Publishers’ Roundtable, teaches classes on writing and publishing, and drinks a lot of tea. Connect with her on Twitter here.
• Young Adult — Fiction, I’m looking for all genres here, and am especially interested in settings or characters I haven’t seen before and queer romantic relationships if there’s a romance. Some examples of recent YA (that I didn’t sell) that I loved include When Dimple Met RishiBone GapThe Hate U GiveAnd I DarkenWalk on Earth a StrangerThe Rest of Us Just Live Here, Forest of a Thousand Lantern, and An Ember in the Ashes.
I will always love anything that reminds me of Tamora Pierce, Robin McKinley, or Diana Wynne Jones.
• Science Fiction/Fantasy — In these genres, I love everything from big, commercial voices to literary crossover novels. As I have an anthropology degree, I’m interested in well-drawn cultures and subverting traditional Chosen One, quest, and colonial narratives. I will fall on the floor and salivate if your writing reminds me of N.K. Jemisin or Nnedi Okorafor. No white dudes on quests, dreams, or Western ideas of Hell, please.
• Romance/Erotica — I am looking for all settings and subgenres here. Must have verbal consent throughout and a twist to traditional romance tropes. If you send me the next The Hating Game, I will be the happiest agent in all the land. Please no rape, querying anything shorter than 60K, or shifters.
Note: I am interested in working with marginalized authors across all genres. Does not have to be #ownvoices. I love third-wave feminism and geekery in my books.
Query only, no sample chapters.

Erik Hane, Associate Literary Agent
Along with working as an agent at Red Sofa, Erik Hane is a freelance editor and writer based in Minneapolis. Since graduating from Knox College and the Denver Publishing Institute in 2012, he has worked as an assistant editor at Oxford University Press and then as an acquiring editor at The Overlook Press, both in New York. This experience at both academic and commercial publishing houses means he’s performed editorial work on everything from serious scientific nonfiction to literary novels.
At Red Sofa, Erik is hoping to see a wide range of upmarket fiction and nonfiction. In nonfiction, he loves seeing complex subjects written about in an engaging way for the non-expert, or energetic, incisive looks at topics not usually treated that way (looking at you, sports writing). He wants to see literary novels that place story first; no use writing beautifully if nothing’s going on.
I typically like things that are “realism” or at least close to it, though I do love light speculative elements or just a touch of science fiction, closer to just “surreal” than overtly SF/F. I like novels that probably get called “literary” even as they’re doing other things or fitting into other categories. I love family stories, memorable settings that matter to the book, characters with a harebrained scheme, legends, folklore, mythology, and games. I want “ambitious” novels that reach for something memorable. Books and/or authors I’ve really enjoyed over the last few years:
• Karen Russell (especially Swamplandia!)
• Marilynne Robinson
• Michael Chabon
• Jonathan Lethem
• Paul Beatty
• Brit Bennett (The Mothers)
• Garth Risk Hallberg (City on Fire)
• Marlon James (A Brief History of Seven Killings)
• David Mitchell
• Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
• Louise Erdrich
Nonfiction (Narrative very much preferred across all these!)
• History, especially American political or social. Cultural movements, political movements, the forgotten but significant moments in between the famous points in history we’ve already read so much about
• Science, specifically evolution, biology, animals, or neuroscience; think Elizabeth Kolbert, Ed Yong, E. O. Wilson, Yuval Hurari
• Cultural criticism, essays, commentary, current events: this could be on anything but off the top of my head I really like great writing on politics, race, social trends, leftism, videogames, Weird Twitter, and anything else you can convince me the world should care about.
• Sports with a larger (and necessary) cultural angle; think Grantland. Specifically I really like tennis, football, and basketball.
• International stories, especially in places undercovered by Western media, and ESPECIALLY places and people affected by U.S. foreign policy
Query only, no sample chapters.

Full submission guidelines for Red Sofa Literary here.

Tanaz Bhethena with A Girl Like That
If you’re interested in getting published, soon or somewhere down the road, don’t miss the How to Get Published workshop with literary agent Paige Sisley, Saturday, August, 18, in Collingwood (see here). 
For updated listing of How to Get Published workshops, see here (and scroll down).

And if you’re interested in Writing for Children & for Young Adults, Brian Henry will lead a mini-conference with Yasemin Uçar, senior editor at Kids Can Press, children’s author Kira Vermond, and YA author Tanaz Bhathena, Saturday, Sept 22, in Oakville (see here), in Writing Kid Lit weekly course on Friday afternoons, Oct 5 – Nov 30 in Toronto, and a Writing for Children & for Young Adults workshop Saturday, October 12, in Sudbury (see here).
For updated listings of Writing for Children & for Young adult workshops and for weekly Kid lit classes, see here (and scroll down).

And don't miss: How to Make Yourself Write, Saturday, June 9, in London (see here), and Writing Your Life on Saturday, June 23, in Mississauga (see here), and the Windsor International Writers Conference, Friday, July 6 – Sunday, July 8, where Brian will be giving talks on Writing Point of View and Writing Query Letters that Get a Yes (see here).

This summer, Brian will lead both Introductory and Intensive weekly classes:
Exploring Creative Writing, Wednesday, afternoons, July 4 – Aug 22, in Burlington. See here.
Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, July 3 – Aug 21, first readings emailed June 26, in Burlington. See here.
Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings, July 4 – Aug 22, first readings emailed June 27, in Burlington. See here.
See details of all three courses here.

Come September, there will be a full roster of courses, Introductory to Intense. To date, though this is what's been posted:
Welcome to Creative Writing, Thursday, afternoons, Sept 27 - Nov 9, in Oakville. See here.

Writing Kid Lit, Friday afternoons, Oct 5 – Nov 30, in Toronto. See here.

To reserve a spot in any workshop, retreat, or weekly course, email

Read reviews of Brian’s courses and workshops here.

See Brian’s complete current schedule hereincluding writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Cambridge, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Saint John, NB, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Navigation tips: Always check out the labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. Also, if you're searching for a literary agent who represents a particular type of book, check out this post. 

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