Over the summer, I attended the PNWA Summer Writers’ Conference in Seattle, and while I was there, I attended an agents’ forum in which author Bob Dugoni asked a panel of 23 literary agents what genres they’re accepting, what they like or don’t like to hear in a pitch (and, I assume, query letters), and more. These are the notes I took based on Dugoni’s interview with literary agents Christina Hogrebe (Jane Rotrosen Literary Agency), Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman & Assoc. of Beverley Hills), and Sara Sciuto (Foreword Literary):
Christina Hogrebe – The Jane Retrosen Literary Agency represents Bob Dugoni, among other Seattle writers. There’s something about Seattle that just works for Ms. Hogrebe. Writers are her favorite people! Agents find an author who makes them excited, and they invest time and energy into that author. The agency where she works does audio and UK direct, film and translation, etc… They don’t do children’s pic books. They love cozy historical mysteries. She’d love to find a psychological YA mystery. She loves contemporary romantic YA. She likes surprise mashups.
Ken Sherman – He’s from Los Angeles. He likes a pitch that tells the essence of your story, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, in a minute or less. When pitching to him in person, be prepared to answer every question he has about your characters, their conflict, and why your passion has taken you there. He likes authors who have really worked at their craft. A big part of his business is selling TV and film rights.
Sara Sciuto – You say her name like “Shoot-oh” with an accent on the first syllable. She reps picture books through YA, and she also has a select list of adult nonfiction. She likes craft, pop culture, etc. She’s not looking for narrative nonfiction. With children’s nonfiction, she’s more open to any concept. She has eclectic tastes for children and youths. She doesn’t rep chick-lit YA. For your pitch, try to sum it up in 30 seconds. She wants a sense of what the main conflict/hook is. She doesn’t need to know plot points; just tell her what the hook is.