Literary agents lead very busy lives, so when Michelle and I reach out to see if they’ll participate in Sun versus Snow we’re never sure how many we will get to participate. But every year, without fail, agents step up to the plate and agree to join us for this very fun contest.
HUGE thanks to the 21 AGENTS who found time in their busy schedules to make this contest happen. You are all AWESOME! On this blog I have 11 out of the 21. To discover who else will be perusing the entries this year, head over to Michelle’s blog.
Please tweet your thanks to this great group by using the hashtag #sunvssnow and let them know how much you appreciate them!
Whitley Abell is an editorial agent, supporting her authors through all stages of the writing and publication process. Her publishing career began as an intern with Carol Mann Agency and P.S. Literary Agency, and she also interned at Inklings Literary Agency before working her way up to agent. She holds a BA in English Literature, and a MAT in Secondary English Education, which means she can tell you everything there is to know about feminist literary theory and the Common Core Standards. When she’s not agenting or daylighting as a content manager, she can typically be found slipping down rabbit holes of the literary and fandom varieties.
Whitley is currently building her client list and is actively seeking young adult, middle grade, and select commercial fiction. Strong female voices are near and dear to her heart, and she is particularly drawn to fresh retellings, diverse voices, flawed but (usually) well-meaning characters, and parts of the world she’ll likely never see.
In commercial fiction, she is drawn to female-centric stories, whether contemporary or historical. She’s looking for psychological thrillers à la Megan Abbott; upmarket women fiction à la Maria Semple and Emma Straub; lyrical historicals à la Kate Morton and Hannah Kent; and commercial chick-lit à la Sophie Kinsella, Rainbow Rowell, and Taylor Jenkins Reid. She is also looking for immersive magical fantasies on par with The Magicians and A Darker Shade of Magic.
In young adult and middle grade, her interests are quite broad. She welcomes queries for speculative/sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, romance, historical, thrillers, and horror, and is particularly interested in light-hearted and high-concept contemporary, magical realism that borders on psychological thriller, and dark historical fantasies set at the dawn of the modern age. Number one on her wish list is a best friend break-up story—specifically, a contemporary YA told in the style of The Last 5 Years, or a humorous, heart-filled MG spin on Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She has a soft spot for trips abroad, mischief, boy humor, and the goofy guys and devout fangirls of the world.
Amy Elizabeth Bishop joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret in 2015, after completing an internship with them in 2014. Before diving into the world of publishing, she graduated from SUNY Geneseo with a degree in Creative Writing. She grew up in upstate New York and has now made the traitorous switch to downstate living. Reading-wise, she is interested in upmarket women’s fiction, fiction from diverse authors, historical fiction (focusing on untold stories or well-known stories from a different perspective; think, minority voices), stories with a Victorian Gothic flair, and YA with a darker twist. In terms of nonfiction, she’s eagerly on the hunt for a killer feminist voice discussing contemporary issues and loves historical narrative non-fiction that dives into untold stories. Pop science & journalism also welcome!
Lauren started her agenting career in 2002 at John Boswell Associates, a literary agency and book packager that’s most noted for creating 365 Ways To Cook Chicken, as well as countless other best sellers. Because Boswell was a packager as well as an agent, he taught Lauren how to do more than just craft a proposal and sell it; he showed her how to create a book from scratch, working with designers and production people along the way. It is that attention to detail that she brings to her current projects, even if she isn’t packaging them. She helps her authors envision what their books could be.
Before becoming an agent, Lauren was a magazine editor for 10 years, starting at GQ (Gentleman’s Quarterly) and ending at GH (Good Housekeeping). That’s where she learned to edit and copy edit, to read and reread until an article or caption or pull quote was just so. It is a skill she brings to every proposal she works on with a writer. It won’t go out until it is just so, because the proposal should beautifully and accurately represent the idea an author is dying to bring to the world.
It was when Clelia first read Charlotte’s Web in the first grade that she got hooked by the magic of books. Her love of children’s books carried through adulthood and she is delighted to dedicate her life to bringing quality books and stories to young (and whimsical adult!) readers.
Clelia is originally from the suburbs of New York City. She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Boston College. She received her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and practiced law as a corporate litigator in New York City.
In 2011, she decided to dedicate her career to books and reentered graduate school at Emerson College, where she received a master’s degree in Publishing and Writing. While she was studying publishing and taking creative writing courses at Emerson, Clelia gained firsthand experience in the publishing industry working in the children’s book division at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and in academic books at Oxford University Press. She also taught academic writing and research courses to freshman students as a graduate student faculty member at Emerson College.
Clelia attends writing and publishing conferences. She also sits on the board of directors for Poetry Northwestmagazine. In 2017, she was named one of Publisher’s Weekly Star Watch honorees.
Please note: While her website states she is taking a leave of absence, Clelia is making an exception for Sun vs. Snow entries.
Shannon Hassan brings a depth of business and editorial experience to her role as agent, having worked in publishing and law for more than a decade. She represents authors of literary and commercial fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction, and select nonfiction. With respect to fiction, she is drawn to fresh voices, compelling characters, and crisp prose, and enjoys both contemporary and historical settings. For nonfiction, she is interested in exceptional narratives from authors with strong platforms. Based in Boulder, Colorado, she is also eager to hear from authors with a unique perspective on the West.
A few of Shannon’s recent or soon to be published books include DIE YOUNG WITH ME, a memoir by Rob Rufus of the Blacklist Royals (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster), THE WORLD’S GREATEST ADVENTURE MACHINE, a middle-grade adventure by Frank L. Cole (Delacorte/Penguin Random House), FRÄULEIN M., a debut novel by Caroline Woods (Gallery/Simon & Schuster), LET THE GOOD PREVAIL, a thriller by Logan Miller and Noah Miller being adapted as a feature film (Rare Bird Books), THE MOON IN THE PALACE, a historical series by Weina Dai Randel (Sourcebooks), GIRLS ON THE LINE, a multicultural young adult novel by Jennie Liu (Lerner), INSIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN THE LIFE OF A CACTUS, a middle-grade contemporary by Dusti Bowling (Sterling), and THE SILENCE BETWEEN US, a young adult contemporary by Alison Gervais (Blink/HarperCollins).
Before becoming an agent, she was the Acquisitions Editor at Fulcrum Publishing, and prior to that, a corporate attorney at Arnold & Porter in New York. She received her JD from Harvard and her BA from George Washington University.
Hilary Jacobson – ICM Partners
Hilary is actively building a list consisting of commercial and literary fiction, YA, some middle grade, as well as narrative non-fiction and memoir. She is particularly interested in high-concept YA, upmarket fiction and psychological thrillers. She loves being immersed in other cultures and is always looking for diverse perspectives and settings.
Kelly has spent her whole life with a book in her hands. Whether it’s from reading, writing, or day dreaming, her mind has always been up in the clouds wishing her fantasy stories would come true. Down on earth, somewhere between reading during science class, writing while she should be sleeping, and spending her social hours pretending she wasn’t actually a closet nerd, she finally realized that her life would be a lot happier if she just accepted her love of books.
A recent graduate of West Chester University, she earned her B.S.Ed. in English and went to pursue a career in teaching. Little did she know that despite all of her hard work, the environment she ended up in would be one she disliked. After taking a step back and reassessing her life, she realized that maybe she should have focused on the world of literary agents and publishing a long time ago.
When not working as a book nerd, Kelly can be found dancing, hiking, riding horses, perfecting her yoga technique, blogging, and writing her own manuscript. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch her flying around the world, saving lives. She is superwoman after all!
Though she reads various genres of Middle Grade, Young Adult, and New Adult novels, her true weakness is for YA Fantasy. More recently, Steampunk has quickly crept up the charts in her heart as well.
With books, there’s just something about strong female main characters holding their own against the world, in an environment that Kelly could never, in her wildest dreams, find herself living within. It tears at her heart and pulls at her soul, especially when the main character finds that she never needed another to complete her in the first place.
Caitlen joined the LKG Agency in 2008, thereby disproving the theory that no English major ever does anything with their degree. Before that she worked at another literary agency, Don Congdon Associates, where she had the behind-the-scenes thrill of seeing Kathryn Stockett’s The Help first come in (and getting one of the first reads). And before that she was getting her Masters in English and Publishing from Rosemont College. She’s enjoyed her apprenticeship under Lauren Galit very much, and is now actively looking to build her own list, which includes (after a surprisingly minimal amount of begging and pleading on my part), securing Lauren’s agreement to open the agency to considering middle grade and young adult fiction.
In her spare time, she is an author in her own right (or is that write?). Her first book, Lady Vernon and Her Daughter, which she co-wrote with her mother, was released by Crown in 2009. She also contributed to Jane Austen Made Me Do It, published by Ballantine in 2011. Her first middle grade novel, Ordinary Magic, was published by Bloomsbury Children’s in 2012.
Steven Salpeter is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. A graduate of the University of Florida, Steven edited Tea and founded the Palmetto Prize for Fiction. He began his publishing career at Writers House and Brandt & Hochman before moving to Curtis Brown to assist Mitchell Waters and help Timothy Knowlton manage many of the agency’s venerable estate clients, including W. H. Auden, Stanley Ellin, John Knowles, Alfred Lansing, and Ayn Rand, among other bestsellers and literary award winners. He is now actively building his list, seeking literary fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, young adult, and authors who can blend elements of these genres. Steven is also interested in narrative nonfiction, gift books, history, humor, and popular science. He lives in New York City.
Jennifer represents authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and YA stories, and is actively building her list. Although she specializes in children’s literature, she also represents adult fiction, both literary and commercial, particularly crime, suspense and horror projects.
For picture books, she is drawn to a wide range of stories from silly to sweet, but she always appreciates a strong dose of humor and some kind of surprise at the end. When it comes to middle grade, she likes all kinds of genres, including adventures, mysteries, spooky-but-not-too-scary ghost stories, humor, realistic contemporary and fantasy.
YA is Jennifer’s sweet spot. She is a suspense junkie. She adores action-packed thrillers full of unexpected twists. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! She’s a sucker for conspiracy plots where anyone might be a double agent, even the kid next door. She is a huge fan of psychological horror that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. In such stories, she is particularly drawn to a close, confiding first-person narrative. Regardless of genre, she is actively seeking fresh new voices and perspectives underrepresented in literature.
That’s her wish list, but the truth is an author might have something she has never considered before, and it might be absolutely perfect for her. She is open to any good story that is well written with a strong, authentic voice. Surprise her!
Prior to joining ABLA, Jennifer worked in marketing and public relations in a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, and toys. She has an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College, and was a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto in 2012. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, their two sons, and an English bulldog.
Leslie Zampetti – Dunham Litearary
Leslie joined Dunham Literary in June 2016. With experience in special, public, and school libraries, Leslie has cataloged rocket launch videos and Lego rocket ship models, presented SEC documents and story times, and negotiated with organizations from Lexis-Nexis to the PTA.
A writer herself, Leslie is an editorial agent who has broad tastes in her reading. Middle grade fiction, picture book biographies, and unusual true stories are priorities for children’s books. Diversity of all types is a particular priority, as Leslie seeks manuscripts to mirror under-represented readers and open windows to others.
For YA and adult fiction, Leslie loves mysteries, historical fiction, and literary romances that offer unique settings and characters she wishes she knew in real life. Regency novels that break tropes, Southern Gothics, and fresh takes on the country house mystery all have special appeal. For nonfiction, Leslie prefers memoirs and histories, especially in the fields of medicine, architecture, and non-Western regions.
While Leslie is open to most manuscripts, please no baby boomer bildungsromans, no gory horror, and no literary fiction that is more experiment than story.
There you have it. Eleven amazing agents!!! Be sure to head over to Michelle’s blog for the rest of the list. And don’t forget that the submission window opens on JANUARY 23! Click here for submission details!