Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Agent Spotlight: Kelly Sonnack

This week's Agent Spotlight features Kelly Sonnack of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc
Status: Open to submissions.
About: "Kelly Sonnack started her career in publishing as a Life Sciences editor at an academic publisher where she learned she loved working with authors, but that post-graduate textbooks and monographs were never going to be as near and dear to her heart as children's books. So, with a great leap of faith, she re-launched her career at the front desk of a local literary agency where she figured out that agenting was the perfect blend of creative and business for her. Nearly 15 years later, and a Senior Literary Agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 2009, Kelly has never looked back.
"Kelly is consistently ranked by Publishers Marketplace as one of the top five selling agents in the US. She champions creators of children's literature for nearly every category, format, and age group and she represents debut authors and illustrators, as well as bestsellers and award-winning clients." (Link)
About the Agency:
“The Andrea Brown Literary Agency was founded in August 1981 and has offices in the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
“Our agency works to bring to light the voices and perspectives of new writers as well as to nurture and develop the careers of experienced authors. Our goal, whether seeking to secure a publishing contract for a first book or a fiftieth book, is to make sure that clients are not only published, but published well.
“Our philosophy is to remain a ‘small’ agency at heart. We invest a great deal of personal care and attention in each project, and we are hands-on in all aspects of our interactions with clients. We work closely with clients in an editorial capacity and we devise a strategy at every stage of the writing process that will enable us to find the best publisher for each book. In doing so, we think about both short term and long term goals for our clients, always keeping the trajectory of a successful career in mind.
“Our agents have backgrounds in New York publishing, editing, academia, business, teaching, writing and film, and one of our strengths as an agency is that we work collaboratively. Our clients have the benefit not only of their individual agent's expertise but of the combined experience and vision of the group.
“As a West Coast based agency, we follow a tradition of West Coast innovation in our passion for discovering new voices, in our efforts to make New York publishing more inclusive of voices from other parts of the country, and in our attempt to see publishing trends that result from this broader perspective. We combine this approach with access, standing, and visibility in the publishing community at large. Our agents make regular trips to New York, attend industry conventions, and participate as faculty at writers' conferences all over the country. We ensure a high profile for our clients and actively keep our fingers on the pulse of publishing.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
From Her Bio Page on the Agency Website:
Graphic novels, illustrations, novels in verse
 “Kelly is open to submissions in these categories:
1) graphic novels - YA, MG, and chapter book, including nonfiction and verse
2) illustration - those who are looking to write and illustrate and have a dummy to consider, as well as artists looking to illustrate other people's manuscripts
3) novels in verse
"Graphic novel creators Kelly represents include James Burks, whose graphic novel series Bird & Squirrel is in its 6th book (Graphix/Scholastic); Mike Lawrence, author-illustrator of the 3-book graphic novel series, Star Scouts (First Second/Macmillan) and an upcoming non-fiction graphic novel in the Maker Comics series called SURVIVE THE OUTDOORS (First Second/Macmillan); Sophie Escabasse, author of the upcoming graphic novel trilogy The Witches of Brooklyn (Graphic/PRH); Michelle Mee Nutter, illustrator of the upcoming graphic novel ALLERGIC written by Megan Wagner Lloyd (Graphix/Scholastic); and Jarad Greene, author-illustrator of his graphic novel debut, SCULLION (Oni Press).
"Kelly also represents a number of illustrators including Joy Ang, illustrator of the Wings of Fire novels (Scholastic), the NYT bestselling THE ATLAS OBSCURA EXPLORER'S GUIDE FOR THE WORLD'S MOST ADVENTUROUS KID (Workman), the Mustache Baby picture books (Clarion/HMH), and MULAN: THE LEGEND OF THE WOMAN WARRIOR (HarperCollins); Jessika von Innerebner who is the illustrator of the Miranda and Maude chapter book series (Abrams) and whose hilarious debut as an author-illustrator, IT'S NOT ALL UNICORNS, comes out this year (Dial/PRH in the U.S. and Scholastic in Canada); Kim Smith, NYT bestselling illustrator of the Builder Brothers picture books (HarperCollins), artist for the Quirk Pop Classic picture book adaptations that include HOME ALONE and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (Quirk), and whose debut as author-illustrator, BOXITECTS (Clarion/HMH in the U.S. and HarperCollins Publishers Ltd in Canada) is upcoming; and Kimberly Gee, illustrator of THE CLASS (Beach Lane/S&S), and creator of her own author-illustrated UP, UP, UP, DOWN (Putnam/PRH) as well as MAD, MAD BEAR! and its sequel GLAD, GLAD BEAR (both Beach Lane/S&S).
Some of the fiction writers Kelly represents include poet David Elliott, whose provocative YA novels in verse BULL and VOICES have received many starred reviews (Houghton/HMH); Christine Lynn Herman, author of the haunting YA, THE DEVOURING GRAY (Disney*Hyperion) and its upcoming sequel THE DECK OF OMENS; Sharon Cameron, YA author of several novels including the NYT bestselling THE FORGETTING and her upcoming THE LIGHT IN HIDDEN PLACES (Scholastic); Court Stevens whose courageous debut YA, FAKING NORMAL (HarperCollins) was a Golden Kite Honor and Kirkus Best Book and whose newest, THE JUNE BOYS, is upcoming in 2020 (Thomas Nelson); Jessica Young, author of the several chapter book series including Haggis and Tank Unleashed illustrated by client James Burks (Branches/Scholastic), as well as the upcoming Fairylight Friends series (Acorn/Scholastic); and Gina Bellisario, author of the superhero chapter book series, Ellie Ultra, with illustrations by client Jessika von Innerebner (Capstone).
"Picture book writers Kelly represents include Diane Adams, writer of the emotional TWO HANDS TO HOLD YOU and LOVE IS (both Chronicle); Alastair Heim, author of the funny books NO TOOTING AT TEA and THE GREAT PUPPY INVASION, illustrated by client Kim Smith (Clarion/HMH); and Jessica Young, author of imaginative books like MY BLUE IS HAPPY (Candlewick) and the companion books PLAY THIS BOOK and PET THIS BOOK (Bloomsbury).
"Kelly spent over ten years in her childhood in Singapore. Now she lives with her family in San Diego, and is on the Advisory Board for UCSD's certificate in Writing and Illustrating for Children. She is also a founder of the City Heights Young Writers Workshop and is a frequent speaker at conferences, including SCBWI's national and regional conferences. She can be found talking about children's books and being gluten free on Facebook (agentsonnack) and Twitter (@KSonnack)."(Link)
See her Manuscript Wish List. As of this date, it may not be current because it indicates other genres that she is interested in. You should also check her personal website which states that she is closed to submissions.
What She Isn't Looking For:
At this time, Kelly is not accepting submissions for adult fiction or adult non-fiction.
Editorial Agent?
Yes.  She reportedly does edits until a project is as good as can be before sending it out.
Web Presence:
Andrea Brown Agency website.
Publisher's Marketplace page.
Personal Website.
#mswl on Twitter.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
Ms. Sonnack lists a number of her clients in her bio. There is also a select list of Andrea Brown Lit titles on the website.
Query Methods:
E-mail: No.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: Yes.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
“We accept email queries only. Please direct your e-query to ONE agent at our agency, and include the following:
“Fiction: query letter and first 10 pages.”
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines as well as the agency's Submission AdviceDos and Dont’s, and Tips

Response Times:
The agency tries to respond within 4-8 weeks but does not guarantee a response due to the large number of submissions they receive. If you have not heard back in 8 weeks, assume rejection. (Link)
What's the Buzz?
Kelly Sonnack is a highly respected agent at a top-notch agency.  Her clients seem quite happy with her representation.
Worth Your Time:
SCBWI Exclusive with Kelly Sonnack Agent at SCBWI Insight (Date unknown).
Pre-Conference interview with Kelly Sonnack at SCBWI Midsouth (09/2010).
Audio Interview with Kelly Sonnack and Elizabeth Gilbert at Pen on Fire (02/2010).
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary Agency website or Ms. Sonnack's website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 6/1/2020
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Reviewed By Agent? 6/2/2020
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(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.


Keri Mikulski said...

Interesting info. Again, what a great resource for authors looking for representation. :)

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

this are awesome - i love reading them.

Casey Something said...

Thank you Keri and Shelli! I'm glad you enjoy them.

Ronald L. Smith said...

Thanks, Casey

Christina Farley said...

Great stuff as always. I've learned so much from your rambles

Casey Something said...

You're welcome, Ron.

Thanks Christina!

LTM said...

I've corresponded with her some, and Kelly is supercool. Anyone would be lucky to work with her~ :o) <3

S. E. Richey said...

Kelly Sonnack critiqued one of my manuscripts at the SCBWI Oakland Conference/Oct 2015 and her critique was amazing. She was clear, detailed, and very helpful. Not only did she point out strengths and problems, but she also provided strategies I could use to target the problem spots. By far, the best critique I've received and well worth the money.