This week's Agent Spotlight features Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis, Inc.
Status: Open to submissions, actively building her client list.
About: “Christa Heschke graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children's Literature Department since 2009 where she is actively looking for picture books, middle grade, young adult and new adult projects and is currently building her list. She is a fan of new adult and young adult novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists. In young and new adult, Christa is especially interested in contemporary fiction, horror and thrillers/mysteries. She’d also like to see any steampunk and fantasy (urban and high), that pushes the boundaries of what's currently on the shelves, perhaps a new take on these genres that has yet to be seen. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys humorous contemporary, adventure and magical realism for boys and girls. For picture books, she’s drawn to cute, character driven stories.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“Established in 1928, McIntosh & Otis, Inc. is a full-service literary agency located in New York. M&O represents a broad range of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including many bestsellers, literary icons, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners. In addition to representing the subsidiary rights for its own clients, M&O also represents the sale of subsidiary rights for Louisiana State University Press and University of Nebraska Press.
“M&O is committed to working with writers to develop their careers. Our agents are able to provide detailed and substantive guidance to our clients throughout the publication process.” (Link)
Neverending Stories (blog).
What She's Looking For:
Picture books, middle grade, young adult, and new adult.
From her Website Bio (as above):
“She is a fan of new adult and young adult novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists. In young and new adult, Christa is especially interested in contemporary fiction, horror and thrillers/mysteries. She’d also like to see any steampunk and fantasy (urban and high), that pushes the boundaries of what's currently on the shelves, perhaps a new take on these genres that has yet to be seen. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys humorous contemporary, adventure and magical realism for boys and girls. For picture books, she’s drawn to cute, character driven stories.” (Link)
From her Blog (as of 5/2013):
- Contemporary (all types: dark, humorous, romance, issue-driven, coming-of-age/first love)
- --Fun fact: One of my favorite contemporary YA romances is Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.
- Something that tackles our society's fascination with celebrity and fame (think The Bling Ring)
- Stories with musicians (from band geeks to kids in rock bands and orchestras)
- A story dealing with the prominence and power of technology for fame or ruin (youtube blogs, facebook, texting).
- Mystery/suspense (think Veronica Mars, The Lying Game or Gone Girl)
- High-stakes thrillers (I Know What You Did Last Summer-Lois Duncan, Slide-Jill Hathaway, Mind Games--Kiersten White ).
- Some fantasy/sci-fi (all types, but must stand out from what’s currently on shelves. No werewolves, vampires or shapeshifters please.)
- Modern-day fairytale/folklore/myth re-tellings (especially those with a twist). Think Heather Dixon's Entwined.
- Historical fiction with a compelling voice and hook.
- Horror (think eerie and creepy like Anna Dressed in Blood or The Fatal Frame video game series).
- Anything else with a good voice and strong story. I am certainly open to other genres!
- Adventure, magical realism, fantasy, coming of age, contemporary, mystery, humor. I am very actively looking in this age-range. Something with a musical element ( a kid who is in band, sings, loves music)
- Character-driven picture books or plot driven with a fun twist. I’d love to read about a character (animal or human) who resonates with me and makes me want to read more. I especially like cute and funny stories with read-aloud potential. A nice, subtle message/moral is also a plus.” (Link)
From an Interview (4/2013):
“I have always been a big fan of fantasy, for as long as I can remember, and working with writers on world building is something I always look forward to for any fantasy project, but I’m pretty selective when it comes to high fantasy.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Screenplays, poetry, dramatic works, adult books, non-fiction (Link).
“I am very hands on with my clients and pride myself in getting back to everyone in a timely manner.” (Read more).
E-mail: Yes (preferred).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query letter, synopsis, and the first three chapters (or 25 pages) of your manuscript. No attachments. Include SASE if sending by mail.
For picture books, send the complete manuscript. No original pages or artwork.
“Anything longer than a page is too long and often won’t get read. You should have three to five paragraphs, an introduction, your pitch/info about the project, any pertinent info about yourself (other books you’ve written or have already been published, any other writing experience/credits) and a closing (thank you for your time, this is not an exclusive submission etc.) Also, include what you’ve enclosed with the letter (a synopsis, first pages, SASE etc.).” (Link)
See also: Agent Tips-From Querying to Accepting an Offer at her blog, Neverending Stories.
Due to the volume of submissions received, the agency only responds if interested, usually within 6-8 weeks (Link).
Stats on QueryTracker indicate Ms. Heschke does send some rejections, however, with e-queries having a much faster response time than mail.
What's the Buzz?
Christa Heschke joined McIntosh & Otis in June of 2009 following internships with Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic. Promoted to Literary Agent in January of 2013, Ms. Heschke is actively building her list and excited to represent new talent. In addition to client representation, she handles various rights for the agency’s children’s list.
Worth Your Time:
Interview with Literary Agent Christa Heschke at Stacey O’Neale’s site (4/2013).
Around the Web:
For upcoming event and conference dates, see the right-hand sidebar of Ms. Heschke’s Neverending Stories blog.
Client Hilary Harwell’s “I Have an Agent!” post at her blog, A Life Inspired (05/2013).
Client Jamie Gehin’s “How I Got My Agent” post at her blog, YABookWriter’s Blog (05/2013).
Client Rachel Pudelek’s “How I Quit Writing & Signed an Agent” post at her blog, A Rainy Day Writer In the Evergreen State, plus Part II (04/2013).
Agent Round-Up: Reading as an Agent, including Ms. Heschke, at Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing (04/2013).
New Literary Agent Alert: Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis at Guide to Literary Agents (04/2013).
Last Updated: 5/23/13.
Last Reviewed By Agent? N/A.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.