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Agent Spotlight: Marietta B. Zacker

This week's Agent Spotlight features Marietta Zacker of the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency..
Status: Ms. Zacker is currently closed to submissions. Check the agency website to find out when she reopens to submissions.
Marietta 4-6-11 07 Lo Res Color About: "Marietta has worked with books, authors and illustrators throughout her career -- studying, creating, editing, marketing, teaching and selling. She supports independent bookselling, believes in libraries and takes pride in her work as a Latina in the world of publishing. She is always on the lookout for visual and narrative stories that reflect the world we live in, not the bubbles in which we put ourselves. She loves books that make readers feel and shies away from those that set out to teach the reader a lesson. Whether she is reading a young adult novel, a middle grade novel or a picture book, Marietta looks for a book in which young readers can identify with the actions and reactions of the characters, not the perspectives of the author or illustrator. Diversity in the story must be inherent and authentic, not trendy. She is thrilled to shine the spotlight on soulful, insightful, well-crafted, literary or commercial projects aimed at any age group from young adult to the youngest of readers." (Link)
About the Agency:
"The Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency focuses on developing and finding the right home for the work of some of the most talented writers and illustrators in the book industry. Established in 2000 by Nancy Gallt, and later joined by Marietta B. Zacker, we aim to bring to life stories and artwork that help young readers throughout the world become life-long book enthusiasts and to inspire and entertain readers of all ages. We represent authors and illustrators who share and, through their work, exemplify that vision.." (Link)
"Since 2000, the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency has focused on representing authors and illustrators whose work we firmly believe will have the biggest impact on young readers. Our collective book experience totals almost 70 years and we use that expertise to represent both established and emerging talent." (Link)
Web Presence:
Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency website.
#mswl on Twitter.
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
"Marietta is open to PB, MG, and YA fiction and nonfiction, all genres; graphic novels; illustrators. (Link)
From Her Manuscript Wish List:
"I am always on the lookout for visual and narrative stories that reflect the world we live in, not the bubbles in which we put ourselves. I love books that make readers feel any emotion and shy away from those that set out to teach the reader a lesson (although I believe that you will inevitably learn something from any story!). While I don't mind sadness, laughter will always prevail -- and if you can take a reader from tears to joy to whatever other emotion makes sense for the story, all the better. Whether a young adult novel, a middle grade novel or a picture book, I want readers to identify with the actions and reactions of the characters, which means that stories need to focus on the perspective of the child or young adult, rather than the author's or illustrator's, and diversity is inherent and authentic, not trendy. I want young adults and young readers to be able to lose themselves in the pages of the books, to feel something as they read, to see themselves and to feel validated with the turn of every page. Without a doubt, there are many writers and illustrators who have stories to share and yet who have never felt there was room for their stories to shine. I am thrilled to shine that spotlight."
From an Interview (02/2010):
"Work that moves me – whether through words, illustrations or both. I look for manuscripts and illustrations that speak to the rich, complex, diverse world we live in and hope to work with people that are just as passionate as I am about the vital function children’s books serve in our society." (Link)
What She Isn’t Looking For:
Ms. Zacker does not represent adult fiction or adult non-fiction.
"I want to see more depiction of what’s outside our world – true ethnicity, true representation of our populations. ALL kids need to be represented in books. More authentic ethnicity is needed." (Link)
"I always encourage clients to have a presence somewhere on the web, but to do what feels right for them. I think it's difficult to do it all well, so if branding yourself on the internet is new to you, I think it's best to take one social networking avenue at a time. I also feel it's important to remember that there are plenty of people who have mastered different aspects of the internet, so you should reach out to those who know more - again, especially when getting started. And although I feel it's extremely important to have a web presence, my decision to represent a client is not based on whether they do or do not have that presence." (Link)
Her advice to Writers:
"Write what you love, write what keeps you up at night, write what you know, write what you want to find out, but most importantly, write." (Link)
"Please sit at a library or bookstore, go to the genre which you are currently writing for, start with A and just read. When you are tired, leave, come back the next day or week and pick up where you left off. Keep doing that until you get to Z." (Link)
Editorial Agent?
"I love the process of writing and illustrating as much as I love connecting the dots. I love talking through issues that are not quite ironed out in manuscripts or projects, zeroing in on places where things need to be tweaked and helping writers and illustrators put their best foot forward. However, it is also true that I neither want to be a member of the person’s critique group nor take the place of an editor who will take the book in the direction that works best for them and their publishing house. These are fine lines to walk, to be sure and sometimes difficult to discern." (Link)
"When people hide behind the veil of professionalism when querying - never realizing that by stripping their personality and their writing ability from this first impression, they deny themselves the opportunity of being discovered.  I expect queries to be polished, yes, but also to give me an insight into the writer AND the writing; stock queries are 'for the birds." (via e-mail)
There are lists of Nancy Gallt Literary clients on the website. 
Ms. Zacker's clients include: Ann Bonwill, Carin Bramsen, Dawn Lairimore, Laura Murray, Dean Robbins, Stephanie Sanders, Elizabeth Schoonmaker, and Hilary Wagner, among others.
Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: Yes.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify) Ms. Zacker is currently closed to submissions.
See the submissions page on the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency website. Email a query with 2000 words of a completed manuscript or the full text of a picture book in the body of the email.
See the agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines including other submission particulars.Response Times:
The agency tries to respond 4 weeks. If you do not hear back, feel free to send another email or query another agent.
Query Tips:
"...Please don’t pretend that we don’t know you. Indicate that you had once submitted before and now you are submitting again. I don’t know why some writers think they can pretend like we don’t know you or won’t remember you. We will. So, just mention it in your query." (Link)
What's the Buzz?
Ms. Zacker joined Nancy Gallt Literary and became an agent in early 2009, but she has over 15 years experience in the children's book industry. She and Nancy Gallt have since formed the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency. She has a  growing list of clients and sales and has made a fabulous impression on the writing community with her passion and wit.  She has a unique view of the industry being both an agent and an indie bookstore curator.  Follow her on Twitter for updates and insight.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Zacker and found her to be very nice, communicative, and gracious. See the interview here.
Worth Your Time:
Interview with Literary Agent Marietta Zacker via Podcast at Minorities in Publishing (10/2018)
Interview with Literary Agent Marietta Zacker at justincolonbooks (07/2018).
7 Questions For: Literary Agent Marietta Zacker at Middle Grade Ninja (02/2011).
2011 Conference Series-Agent Faculty: Marietta Zacker at Chinook Update (03/2011).
An Agent's Thoughts on Series, an Interview with Marietta Zacker at Through the Toll Booth (05/2010).
Five Questions with Marietta Zacker at Kelly Polar's blog (03/2010).
Marketing to Indies, an Interview with Marietta Zacker at Market My Words (02/2010).
Interview with Marietta Zacker right here at Literary Rambles (06/2009).
Please see the Gallt & Zacker Literary website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 6/12/2020.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 8/29/11.
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.


Hilary Wagner said...

I've been working with Marietta since the passing of my agent at Nancy Gallt. She's been she's extremely professional, yet very down to earth and fun to talk to. I can't offer up any contact info, but I believe she works in tandem with Nancy Gallt, so if you query Nancy, Marietta may be the one reading or responding to it. Overall, great lady, who knows the biz inside & out! xoxo Hilary

Casey Something said...

Thank you so much, Hilary. Your input is greatly appreciated!

Crystal said...

Thanks for your research on this agent, Casey. With what little info there is about her, I think you did a great job!

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

I just met Marietta and I can tell you her pet peeve is when people do not even try to properly pronounce her name. It is Mad-ee-etta with a soft R roll on the "d" sound. She was very nice, very friendly, and easy to talk to. She doesn't say what specifically she is looking for because she finds that that comes back to haunt her in piles and piles of similar submissions.

Hillary - she alluded that someone at her agency had died but of course she wouldn't give details and everyone respected her privacy in this issue. But I suspected it was Nancy Gallt's husband. My sincerest condolences. It must have not only been a huge loss more than words can express for Nancy, but for all his clients as well. So sorry to hear this sad news.

Casey Something said...

Thanks Crystal!

Sheri! When I saw she was just at the NJ conference, I was hoping you had met her or heard her speak. Thank you so much for chiming in!

Corey Schwartz said...

I was going to try to fill you in, but Sheri beat me to it. I saw Marietta on the Agent Panel at NJ SCBWI as well. Very spunky and fun.

My friend who had a one-on-one critique said she was sensitive and sweet and sincerely seemed to want to help her with her manuscript.

Casey Something said...

She sounds great. I've updated the Spotlight as more info has come to light from the NJ conference.

Thank you for your input as well, Corey!

Casey Something said...

Hey all -

I've been in contact with Marietta since this posting. She's been absolutely wonderful.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

i just had lunch with her in LA and she is awesome - smart and passionate. love her.

Casey Something said...

Awesome, Shelli! She seems like such a lovely person.

Casey Something said...

Updated 10/09.

Casey Something said...

Updated 01/20/10 to include the agency's new website and submission guidelines!

Anonymous said...

Do you know if she's a no response = no agent? I never did hear back from my query, and in those cases you never know if something went wrong and they just didn't get it, or if they got snowed under, or if their policy is always one of responding only when interested.

Casey McCormick said...

Anon, from what I can tell she does send a response but it looks like she's averaging two months or so on queries, sometimes longer. If it's been especially long time, you may want to consider re-querying.

Casey McCormick said...

Just did an update on Ms. Zacker's profile. There are some new interviews and quotes and the agency appears to have a no-response means no policy now.

Best to all who query~!

Anonymous said...

The agency's website no longer mentions attaching 3 chapters (just pasting in the first 5 pages). And when you do send them an email, the auto reply states:

"However, if you included an attachment, the e-mail will be automatically deleted."

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you, Anon! I've updated the submission policy on the profile.