Mindy's Books · WriterLife

A Collection of the YA YA Sisterhood & My Query That Worked

My agent search took me far and wide, high and low.  How far, wide, high and low? Let’s just say I was beginning to worry my name might be code for “thatgirlwhowillnotgethepointnomatterhowoftenwetellherno.” Luckily, it only takes one “yes,” but the long trail of “no’s” in my wake brought me into contact with some really awesome people, who know how to say “no” nicely.  So I’ve got a collection of YA agents here in this post, all of them helpful and professional.  Each listing has an email contact, their submission preferences, agency site, and – where applicable – their blog.  There is also a link for the Agent Query and QueryTracker listing for each agent.   Lastly, interview links to an immensely helpful site – Krista V’s Mother, Write, (Repeat) blog.

My own agent escaped this post, because she’s permanently stuck over in my right sidebar.  As a biographical side note, I want to add that Adriann has a lovely speaking voice.

Underneath the Agentinfopalooza you’ll find my query that worked for NOT A DROP TO DRINK.

Bernadette Baker-Baughman has a MS in Professional Writing and has worked on both the editorial and marketing sides of publishing. As the Marketing Coordinator for Beyond Words Publishing/Atria Books, she headed up campaigns for two New York Times best-selling titles. In 2005 Bernadette co-founded Baker’s Mark Literary Agency where she discovered talent such as Farel Dalrymple, Faith Erin Hicks, Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett, Dan Elconin, David Axe, Carson Morton, and Zack Giallongo, among others. In 2010 Bernadette joined Victoria Sanders & Associates. Bernadette is currently interested in representing commercial adult, YA, and middle grade fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels. In fiction she gravitates towards books with a wide audience access point—specifically books with cultural or contemporary touchstones (reimaginings, historical fiction, fiction based on legend or myth, fiction with fantastical elements that are part of the cultural collective imagination, Steampunk, etc). In nonfiction she is looking for image rich books, pop culture, art, quirky gift books, light sociology, and narrative nonfiction. In graphic novels she is seeking beautifully illustrated works of nonfiction, memoir, young adult or children’s fiction, high fantasy, funny character driven stories, and graphic literature. Bernadette is also willing to talk to writers who do not have art attached to their comic concept or illustrators willing to work with other authors. Bernadette accepts email queries along with the first 25 pages of the manuscript pasted into the body of the email here.
Victoria Sanders Site
Bernadette’s Agent Query Listing
Bernadette’s Query Tracker Listing
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Eleanor Jackson joined the Markson Thoma Literary Agency in 2008. Previously, she was an agent at the Queen Literary Agency and at InkWell Management. She is a graduate of Colby College and the Columbia Publishing course. Her list includes bestselling authors of fiction and non-fiction in a wide range of categories, including literary, commercial, young adult, memoir, art, food, science, history and illustrated/lifestyle. She looks for books with deeply imagined worlds and for writers who are not afraid to take risks with their work.
Eleanor likes to get her query emails with QUERY in the subject line, with the query and first few pages or chapter sent here.
Markson Thoma Site
Eleanor’s Agent Query Listing
Eleanor’s Query Tracker Listing

Weronika Janczuk at D4EO recently joined the YA fray. Her YA interests are all subgenres except for chick-lit-y/light-hearted girl-centric books and books with vampires or fallen angels and especially anything with a very strong voice and literary writing; genre-wise: romance, fantasy, sci-fi, (fresh!) dystopians, and sophisticated realistic/contemporary fiction
Submission Guidelines: Email query and first five pages of the manuscript in the body of the email, with QUERY in the subject line. Emails accepted here.
Weronika’s Blog
Weronika’s Agent Query Listing
Weronika’s Query Tracker Listing
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary is passionate about exciting, high-concept story ideas and editorial work. With all of her clients, she uses her well-honed editorial eye to develop each project to its full potential. She especially enjoys traveling to conferences and SCBWI events to meet writers and actively build her list. Mary lives in Brooklyn and operates the East Coast office of the agency.
At this time, Mary is only considering young adult and middle grade novels and truly exceptional, funny, quirky and character-driven picture books (she especially loves working with author/illustrators). She’s seeking fresh, unique voices and idiosyncratic characters who, by book’s end, are more flesh than fiction. Her favorite stories are upmarket, high-concept, character-driven and well-plotted…featuring a mix of fast pacing, emotional resonance, and beautiful writing. In essence: literary spark with commercial appeal.
One of her favorite genres is magical realism: a story set firmly in our world, only with a twist—something that turns “reality” on its ear—to make things more interesting. Favorite themes include: family, home, unlikely heroes, discovering one’s voice, and finding one’s equilibrium after a big life event. Mary adores manuscripts that make her laugh, make her tear up or punch her in the gut. She also loves YA stories of friendship, romance, and betrayal; manuscripts full of those “first time” moments that make teenage life electric and unforgettable.
Submission Requirements: Send a short email query letter to that agent with QUERY in the subject field. (By putting “Query” in the subject line, you will receive an automated email, confirming that your submission was received.) Your query letter should include publisher submission history and previous publishing credits, if applicable.After your query, paste in a short sample of your writing. Your writing sample needs to be pasted into the email (we do not open attachments except in the case of illustrations). Send queries to Mary here.
Andrea Brown Literary
Mary’s Blog
Mary’s Agent Query Listing
Mary’s Query Tracker Listing
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Sarah LaPolla began at Curtis Brown in 2008, working with Dave Barbor and Peter Ginsberg. Sarah is interested in literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, science fiction, literary horror, and young adult fiction. She loves complex characters, coming-of-age stories, and strong narrators. Sarah graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Writing and English, and went on to receive her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She is always on the lookout for debut authors and welcomes email submissions here.
Sarah’s Agent Query Listing
Sarah’s Query Tracker Listing
Sarah’s Blog
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Jennifer Laughran began her career in agenting after working as a long-time children’s bookseller and buyer. She is also the founder of the extremely popular YA event series “Not Your Mother’s Book Club”. She joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2007. Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she is drawn to all kinds of books, whether realistic comedies or richly imagined magical adventures. However, the common thread in her favorite stories is an offbeat world-view. Jennifer adores simplicity, but she is not interested in the conventional, predictable, mechanical, gimmicky or ordinary. Jennifer loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books… and her true favorites are all of the above.
Submission Requirements: Send a short email query letter to that agent with QUERY in the subject field. (By putting “Query” in the subject line, you will receive an automated email, confirming that your submission was received.) Your query letter should include publisher submission history and previous publishing credits, if applicable.After your query, paste in a short sample of your writing. Your writing sample needs to be pasted into the email (we do not open attachments except in the case of illustrations). Send queries to Jennifer here.
Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Jennifer’s Agent Query Listing
Jennifer’s Blog
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Kate McKean at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. A native Southerner, Kate earned her Master’s degree in Fiction Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi before starting her career as a literary agent. Her interests lie in literary fiction, contemporary women’s fiction, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, mystery, young adult and middle grade fiction, narrative non-fiction, sports related books, food writing, pop culture, and craft. She is not accepting any epic fantasy, science fiction, or children’s picture books. Submission Guidelines : Kate is accepting email submissions only. Please send a cover letter and the first three chapters of your novel, or the full nonfiction proposal. Attachments are fine. Send those queries here.
Howard Morhaim Literary
Kate’s Agent Query Listing
Kate’s Query Tracker Listing
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Kristin Miller recently joined D4EO as a full time agent At D4EO Literary Agency. She interned at the agency for nine months, co-founded the young adult blog YA Highway and will be focusing on the agency’s young adult and middle grade list. Send queries for Kristin here.
Kristin’s Blog 
Kristin’s Query Tracker Listing

Kathleen Ortiz began her career in publishing at Ballinger Publishing as an editorial assistant and interactive media designer for the young adult section, working to boost the magazine’s online presence through social networking. She then moved on to uwirepr.com as online editor for the features, art & entertainment sections. She has also taught high school classes as a visual media instructor.
Kathleen is currently Associate Agent and Foreign Rights Manager at Lowenstein Associates.
Kathleen is actively seeking the following:
Children’s, Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Chapter books, Non-fiction, Romance (contemporary, urban fantasy and paranormal), Contemporary women’s fiction, Non-fiction (technology, pop-culture/entertainment, or women’s issues)
*All non-fiction requires the author to have a strong platform or be an expert in their field
While Kathleen enjoys everything from light-hearted and humorous to dark and edgy, she’d love to find an amazing YA romance from a male point of view or a steampunk with fantastic world building.
Lowenstein Associates believes with the continued demand for online marketing in publishing, a strong online platform is essential for today’s authors. Kathleen uses her background in interactive media design to assist Lowenstein Associates’ clients with branding themselves. She maintains a blog on tips for querying and publishing at Neverending Page Turner and may also be found on Twitter.
Submission Guidelines: Please put the word QUERY and the title of your project in the subject field of your email and address it (the query) to the agent of your choice. Please do not send an attachment. Queries can be sent here.
Lowenstein Associates
Kathleen’s Blog
Kathleen’s Agent Query Listing
Kathleen’s Query Tracker Listing
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Tamar Rydzinski worked at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates prior to joining the Laura Dail Literary Agency. She graduated from Yeshiva University in 2003 with a major in literature and a minor in business.
Tamar is not interested in prescriptive/practical non-fiction, humor, coffee table books or children’s books (meaning anything younger than YA). She is interested in everything else that is well-written and has great characters, including graphic novels. A fantastic query letter is essential – “you need to make me want to read your book, and be excited to read it,” she says, “with those first couple of paragraphs.” Tamar receives email queries, along with a short synopsis and the first ten pages here.
Laura Dali Literary Agency
Tamar’s Agent Query listing
Tamar’s Query Tracker listing.
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Jessica Sensheimer is an associate agent at Sarah Jane Freymann Literary.
Send a query to Jessica here.
For more on her tastes check out this interview.
Sarah Jane Freymann Site
Jessica’s Agent Query Listing
Jessica’s Query Tracker Listing

Rachel Stout joined Dystel and Goderich after graduating with a degree in English from Fordham University. Her interest in publishing began early in her college career as she sought to figure out where exactly she wanted her life to head, career-wise (and to ward off the all too common assumptions that just because she studied English, she inevitably wanted to become a teacher). An internship with LJK Literary Management solidified and strengthened her determination and introduced her to the agenting side of the publishing world. Rachel hopes that DGLM will further foster these inclinations and is looking forward to the time ahead.
After growing up on the South Jersey shore, Rachel now lives in Brooklyn and is interested in literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, and believable and thought-provoking YA as well as magical realism.
Rachel likes to get her query emails sent here. with the query, synopsis, 1st chapter included.
Dystel & Goderich Site
Rachel’s Query Tracker listing.

Suzie Townsend represents adult and children’s fiction. She is actively looking to build her adult list and specifically interested in romance (historical and paranormal), and fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy). She also loves Middle Grade and YA novels (all subgenres, but particularly literary projects).
She’s interested in strong characters and voice driven stories: she’s particularly keen on strong female protagonists, complex plot lines with underlying political, moral, or philosophical issues, and stories which break out of the typical tropes of their genre.
She drinks too much diet orange soda, has a book-buying problem and a Starbucks problem (those soy chai lattes are addictive), and lives in Washington Heights with two dogs who know that chewing on shoes is okay but chewing on books is not.
Submissions Guidelines: In addition to your query, please include the first 5-10 pages (pasted into the body of the email – no attachments, please!). Don’t worry about sending a synopsis – they’re evil. Send that query here.
Fine Print Literary
Suzie’s Agent Query Listing
Suzie’s Query Tracker Listing
Suzie’s Blog
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Joanna Volpe with Nancy Coffey Literary Volpe represents children’s and adult books, fiction and non-fiction.
“I tend to go for projects with a strong voice and/or writing style. While plot is important as well, I’m all about connecting with the character and the writing. I don’t have a particular type of character I like–it can vary from humorous to cynical to stoic to intense…it depends on the story you’re trying to tell. What attracts me is whether or not they come alive off the page, if I feel like I know them, and if I’m thinking of the character long after I’ve finished reading.”
Joanna’s specific interests are – Children’s: chapter books to YA novels
She is also interested in graphic novels for kids/teens, or novels with a high graphic element.
Adult: romance (historical, paranormal), fantasy (urban fantasy, steampunk), up-market fiction (dark drama, women’s fic, magical realism, speculative fic), and commercial non-fiction (pop culture, environmental, foodie).
Some query guidelines from Joanna:
QT Guidelines: # Queries should be no longer than one page
# Do not include sample pages
# Add “ATTN: QUERY” plus the agent’s name on the envelope
# For email queries the word “QUERY” must be in the subject line
# Make sure to include a paragraph about the story
# Only query us when your manuscript is COMPLETE
# Include all necessary contact information
Email Joanna here.
Nancy Coffey Literary
Joanna’s Agent Query Listing
Joanna’s Query Tracker Listing
Mother Write (Repeat) Interview

Mindy’s Query That Wouldn’t Be Nearly So Awesome Without the Agent Query Community:

Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond. Seven years later, violence is her native tongue in a time when an ounce of fresh water is worth more than gold and firewood equals life during bitter rural winters. Death wanders the countryside in many forms: thirst, cholera, coyotes, and the guns of strangers.

Mother and Lynn survive in a lawless land, where their once comfortable home serves as stronghold and lookout. Their basement is a lonely fortress; Father disappeared fighting the Canadians for possession of Lake Erie, the last clean body of water in an overpopulated land. The roof offers a sniper’s view of their precious water source – the pond.  Ever vigilant, they defend against those who stream from the sprawling cities once they can no longer pay the steep prices for water. Mother’s strenuous code of self-sufficiency and survival leaves no room for trust or friendships; those wishing for water from the pond are delivered from their thirst not by a drink, but a bullet. Even their closest neighbor is a stranger who Lynn has only seen through her crosshairs.

Smoke rises from the east, where a starving group of city refugees are encamped by the stream. A matching spire of smoke can be seen in the south, where a band of outlaws are building a dam to manipulate what little water is left.

When Mother dies in a horrific accident, Lynn faces a choice – defend her pond alone or band together with her crippled neighbor, a pregnant woman, a filthy orphan, and Finn – the teenage boy who awakens feelings she can’t figure out.

30 thoughts on “A Collection of the YA YA Sisterhood & My Query That Worked

  1. Your list of agents is really nice and useful and your query really grabbed me! If I was an agent I'd request for more, and as a reader, I'll be waiting for its release.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out, Mindy! And like EEV, I found your query so intriguing. Definitely a unique idea. I look forward to reading it someday!

  3. Thanks ladies, I look forward to you reading it as well : ) I'm out on sub at the moment, so hopefully the people who have it feel the same way you do!

  4. Jen – funny story that, silly Miss WriterFace (me) didn't realize that my love interests had rhyming names until after I'd queried. The male's name has changed, to keep the cutesy factor down. Me no big on cutesy.

    Read my books; lose ten pounds! – thanks! Uh, can I read two copies of your book? 🙂

  5. Mindy, awesome post, as always! And so helpful! BTW, add me to the list of fans salivating to read your book! Thanks so much for sharing your query. 🙂 And good luck on the subs, girl! From what I hear, you won't need much. Dystopia is all the THANG in publishing right now. I tweeted about it's success in Bologna earlier. hmmm. This could be really good news for you! #timing. LOL

  6. Anita – I was terrified that dystopian would be five minutes ago by the time DRINK was written, edited, polished, queried (and hopefully) subbed. I coughed up the ms fast though, and thanks to excellent AgentQuery betas it was edited and polished in a month.

  7. You are a superstar putting this together! I very much enjoyed reading through. Have to say though – loved your query, but I thought it was long for a query! I'm going to look at fleshing mine out just a wee bit more after seeing yours.
    It's a great idea your book. I grew up around Lake Erie and now I'm living in a place where water is a precious, restricted resource – a 'don't you leave that tap on' kind of place. So I relate to the story and taking it to the extreme. Great idea!

  8. Escape Artist – technically, you're dead on. The word count is a little high for a query. After I had played with it some I sent it out with the higher word count to see what kind of reaction it would get, and I had three full requests out of five sent, so I thought well, that worked out ; )

    Lake Erie figured heavily into a documentary I watched about freshwater rights and a bottling company that had set off a fervor up there. It started those wheels turning….

  9. Well you know, the opening line in your query was indeed a killer!
    Sorry couldn't resist!
    Will be very interested to read this when it comes out. Good luck with it all!
    I'll keep popping in.
    Best, Linda.

  10. Linda – here's the kicker; it's the opening line of the ms too! Popped into my head one night and I was like, “Oh I like you, you're a double duty kinda sentence.”

    Rosie – Thanks for stopping in! I'm a link-lover. Link=power 🙂

  11. Funny how things just pop in to your head. For me, it's usually around two or three in the morning and I get these fabulous conversations happening or great one liners. I wish they'd choose a more convenient time! I've been thinking about you quite a bit, or more aptly your novel, perhaps because it resonates somewhat with my own personal experiences. It does intrigue me greatly!
    I wish you very well with it. Keep in touch!

  12. And thanks to you too, Linda ; )
    So many new followers, head spinning. Gratuitous mouse poop under stove… spring break and it's raining. Grip on sanity is tenuous. Must excuse.

  13. Elizabeth – I have moments of nice, but mostly it's my anal retentive character you see at work with all those links. I like all my information nice and tidy… truly born for librarianship.

    Linda – Oh, there will be poop.

  14. Awesome query for what sounds like a timely novel. I can see why it attracted an agent. Your fictional world is close to becoming reality. We can live without oil but not water. We here in Michigan feel the greedy hands out west, wanting water for golf courses in the desert.

  15. Thanks Yvonne – I got the idea from watching a documentary titled Blue Gold. You're absolutely right about fresh water “rights grabbing.” It's going to be an interesting next hundred years.

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