This week's Agent Spotlight features Regina Brooks of Serendipity LLC Literary Agency.
About: “Ms. Regina Brooks is the founder and President of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC. Equally at home in the technical world of engineering as in the literary world of writing and editing, Ms. Brooks has over a decade of experience in senior positions at major publishing houses including John Wiley & Sons Inc. and the McGraw-Hill Companies. She is a graduate of the Howard University Publishing Institute in Washington DC. Prior to her publishing career she worked as an aerospace engineer for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, and made history as the first African American woman to receive a Bachelors of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Ohio State University. She is also a graduate of The School of the Arts High School in Rochester, NY.
“Brooks is the Executive Director of the Y. B. Literary Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote the reading of literature as a meaningful, lifelong activity and transformative experience for youth. She serves on the board of the Soul Mountain Literary Retreat, and the Association of Freelancers in Publishing. In 2004, she was a finalist for the Stevie Award for Women Entrepreneurs and was honored as the NY Urban Leagues Rising Star. She is listed in International Who’s Who under the categories of Engineering, Technology, Entrepreneurs, and Professional Management. Ms. Brooks is a member of the Association of Author Representatives AAR, has edited over 50 published books, and is the author of the Essence Magazine 2004 Quick Pick children’s book Never Finished! Never Done!, published by Scholastic Inc.” (Link)
Status: Accepting submissions.
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties: General fiction, Literary Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Juvenile fiction, Young Adult, Multi-Cultural, Adventure, Gay & Lesbian, Graphic Novels, Biography, Business/investing/finance, History, Religious, Mind/body/spirit, Health, Travel, Lifestyle, Cookbooks, Children's books, Sports, African-American, Science. (Link, Link, Link)
“While we have a broad range of interest at Serendipity […] We are especially eager for non-fiction, African-American fiction, Latino fiction and non-fiction, young adult fiction, women’s fiction and non-fiction, and prescriptive non-fiction.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“We are no longer accepting children's picture books, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, and submissions from authors who are currently incarcerated.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“Serendipity Literary Agency LLC. is a boutique literary agency representing a select list of authors and illustrators. Founded in 2000, Serendipity has established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, non-fiction, and children's literature.
“We work tirelessly to help our clients build successful careers. Our mission is the cultivation of lasting relationships with new and established authors and illustrators. Serendipity seeks quality queries, manuscripts, and proposals.” (Link)
Her Advice to Writers:
“There are a lot of good manuscripts out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer or a National Book Award winner, the competition is fierce. Know the rules, expect some rejection, and put your best face forward.” (Link)
"To be a writer, you have to have a lot of courage. You have to push the envelope. The more you do that, the better you writing is. I go by that advice, too, because I’m going onto ground here that not a lot of people tread. I mean, there are not a lot of African American agents out there." (Link)
“We see the writing and publishing process as a collaborative experience. You can expect guidance with content development, proposal development and certainly some editorial review. We are available to you throughout the entire writing process.” (Link)
"I like to develop writers. When I first started my agency, I was into that a lot: helping writers find their voice. I really got my hands dirty with manuscripts. But now, I’m finding I’m less able to do that. But I like to keep a balanced portfolio—of writers who are ready to go and seasoned writers, as well as people who need some development. I just love taking the seed of an idea and helping bring it to fruition." (Link)
A list of Serendipity Lit clients is available on the website.
Clients include: Aaron W. Smith, Afya Ibumo, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Ana Maria Rodriguez, Annika deGroot, Ann Gonzalez, Anne Boles Levy, Annette V. Leach, Bethany Hegedus, Beth Dove, Bil Wright, Brenda Richardson, Carol Peacock, Cecil Cross, Cindy NG, Christelyn Denise Karazin, Daniel Pearlman, Deborah Owens, Denise J. Hart, Derrick Barnes, Ellen Libby, Elizabeth Harper, Greg Carr, Hazel Dixon-Cooper, Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, John Weber, Dr. Jill Grimes, Kara Thomas, Karen Lascaris, Kevin Carr, Kit Herring, Lawrence Jackson, Lea M. Hill, Lynda Durrant, Dr. Lynn Webster, Marilyn Nelson, Marjorie Greenfield, Marva Allen, Matthew Dickerson, Michael Banov, Michelle Gourdine, Michelle James, Nando "Nandoism" Rodriguez, Nina Jablonski, Patrick Gabridge, Philana Patterson, R. Moreen Clarke, Dr. Raymond Mis, Rea Frey, Rebecca Boxer, , Sharon Murphy, Stephany Alexander, Steve Lesser, Sue Grant, Sundee Frazier, Tara Dowell, Teneisha Jackson, Thembisa Mshaka, Threshold Entertainment, Tonya Hegamin, Tracey Moore, William Francis, among others.
As of 1/11, Ms. Brooks is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 3 deals in the last 12 months, 1 six figure+ deal, and 35 overall. Recent details include 3 middle grade and 1 young adult.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Fiction: Send a query, synopsis, and the first three chapters.
Non-fiction: Send a query, proposal, and sample chapters. The agency has very specific guidelines here.
For complete, up-to-date submission guidelines, see the Serendipity Lit website.
Ms. Brooks has a manuscript preference of 12 point Times New Roman. (Link)
The agency has a stated response time of 4-6 weeks on queries. If you haven’t heard back in that time, resend the e-mail with your original query. (Link) Stats on the web suggest Ms. Brooks usually responds within a month or two, but there are much longer instances and instances of no-response as well.
What's the Buzz?
Regina Brooks is a successful, well-respected agent with many years dedicated to the publishing industry. She is a member of the AAR and has an established list of clients and sales. She is a popular conference goer and has a particular interest in YA at the moment. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook for news and happenings and an inside look at Serendipity Lit.
Worth Your Time:
Literary Agent Regina Brooks on the Changing Publishing Industry, video interview with The Atlanta Post (12/2010),
Ann Beman talks with Regina Brooks (on non-fiction) at the Whidbey MFA community site. This has some great info on Ms. Brooks. For example, she loves astrology and psychic phenomena-type books, space travel, and tarot cards.
Agent Advice Interview with Regina Brooks at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (11/2007).
Around the Web:
See Ms. Brooks’s Publisher’s Marketplace page for recent sales and forthcoming titles.
Serendipity Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.
The Publishing Process at a Glance, guest post by Regina Brooks at The Guide to Literary Agents blog (11/2010).
Revisions from Both Sides of the Desk: A Live Workshop with Lit Agent/Author Regina Brooks at WriteOnCon (08/2010).
Play By The Rules, guest post by Regina Brooks at Hunger Mountain (04/2010).
Is Your Book at Risk? A blog post at Lisa Tener's Writing Blog where she shares a conversation she had with Ms. Brooks about the market (04/2009).
If you have an AvantGuild membership with MediaBistro, check out "Pitching An Agent: From Rocket Scientist to Young Adult Lit Maven." (01/2009).
Please see the Serendipity LLC website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 1/27/2011
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes – 1/27/2011
Reviewed By Agent? No response as of yet.
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.