Monday, June 2, 2014

Pennwriters Agent Panel

In my continuing effort to share some of what I heard at the annual Pennwriters Conference two weeks ago, I'm going to share some information I picked up from the agents' panel presentation. I'll link each agent to their agency or website and share what they're in search of and for some of them, their pet peeve in pitches or query letters.

Katie Shea Boutillier of the Donald Maass Literary Agency is seeking YA and women's fiction. She describes women's fiction as a book that would appeal to a book club.

Maria Lamba of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency would like to receive MG-YA and general fiction. She asks that authors don't label romance as women's fiction.

Bob Podrasky of the Stuart Agency like general fiction and most genre fiction. He also seeks nonfiction. He suggests you compare your books to published authors to help them categorize your book. Another way to do so is to decide what author you would ask to give a quote for your jacket cover.

Jessica Regel of Foundry Literary and Media seeks all genres of MG and YA. She's also interested in some adult fiction, especially books that straddle the line between literary and commercial works.

Bridget Smith of the Dunham Literary likes SF/F and women's literary novels. She doesn't want to see a query that calls the main character 'normal.'

Paige Wheeler of the Folia Literary Management is seeking YA, MG, women's fiction, romance and suspense. In a pitch or query, mention other clients you compare to. She emphasizes the importance of brick and mortar stores in offering discoverability. Her least favorite word to see in an author's writing is 'drug' in place of dragged.

Peter Knapp from the Park Literary Group wants to see MG/YA, thrillers and mysteries. He suggests you try for that interesting one-liner for a pitch session or a query.

Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freymann Agency seeks YA and women's fiction. She hates the phrase, 'turned her world upside down.'

Roseanne Wells, also of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency wants SF/F, literary, mystery, and nonfiction.

Jordy Albert of The Booker Albert Literary Agency is seeing romance. She detests books that start with someone waking up.

There is a nice list of agents. As you can see, women's fiction is very popular. A number of the agents mentioned the statistic of how women are the leading book consumers.

Did you learn anything useful from the above agents? See any you would like to work with? Does it surprise you which genres they are most interested in? Do you have an agent or seek one?


  1. Thanks for the report, Susan. Here's hoping your week kicks butt. Cheers and boogie boogie.

  2. A great list indeed. Thinking about it I think I always use dragged

  3. This is very helpful information. I have one WIP that starts with the character waking up. I'll avoid that agent. Besides the novel is not a romance.

    I like books that start with someone waking up, but she's probably seen too many bad ones that start that way.

    Tossing It Out

  4. This is a helpful list to anyone querying. I had a little giggle at the drug/dragged mistake.

  5. I was starting to thing Women's Fiction was a dead genre. Thanks Susan.

  6. Odd how women's fiction is coming back around. Just shows you have to follow your own instinct.
    Great list, Susan!

  7. Doesn't everyone hate having their world turned upside down? Very uncomfortable.

  8. You've shared some great details about agents' personal preferences and what they're looking for. Great job and appreciated.