This week's Agent Spotlight features Marietta Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency.
Status: Accepting submissions.
About: "Marietta has professionally experienced every aspect of children’s books for over 15 years, working with authors, illustrators, publishers, educators and readers. As an agent, she is passionate about bringing those worlds together. She represents authors whose words make her pause, shiver or laugh out loud and illustrators who add a completely different dimension to the story being told. Marietta approaches her work with the knowledge that there are remarkable books of all genres, targeted to all ages, just waiting to be discovered." (Link)
She is also the book curator at Sparkhouse, an independent toy and book store in her hometown of South Orange, NJ.
About the Agency:
"The Nancy Gallt Literary Agency focuses on developing and finding the right home for the work of some of the most talented writers and illustrators in the children’s 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. We represent authors and illustrators who share and, through their work, exemplify that vision." (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
Children's books only including picture books, board books, easy readers, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, non-fiction, historical fiction, graphic novels, fantasy, edgy, as well as illustrators and author-illustrators. (Link, Link)
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)
From an Interview (06/2009):
"I hope to help usher in a set of voices and depictions that will allow children and young adults of all backgrounds, ethnicities and countries to see themselves within the pages of our books. It is imperative that the voices and illustrations represent the population of children and young adults who crave to find themselves in the books they read - authentic voices and illustrations that move us beyond the stereotypes and are as real as the world we live in." (Link)
From Conference Notes (06/2009):
"Sometimes we shoot ourselves in the foot at these things when we tell a room full of writers what we love. Then all of a sudden we are bombarded with MS only about that. Often times, I don’t know what I want until I read it. I want something good." (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)
"Use your critique groups to revise, revise, revise before sending it [your manuscript] to an agent..." (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)
"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, Stephanie Barden, Carin Bramsen, Frances Lee Hall, Dawn Lairimore, Laura Murray, Nathalie Mvondo, Dean Robbins, Israel Sanchez, Stephanie Sanders, Elizabeth Schoonmaker, and Hilary Wagner, among others.
Ms. Zacker is not a member of Publisher's Marketplace, but she has confirmed sales and successful clients.
The agency only responds if interested. Stated response time is 6 weeks. If you do not hear back, assume rejection. Response times on requested material range from a month to quite a few.
Submission Guidelines (always verify)
Electronic: See the submissions form on the Nancy Gallt website.
Snail-mail: Send a query and the first five pages (or complete picture book manuscript) with a SASE.
See the Nancy Gallt Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines including other submission particulars.
"...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 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:
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).
Impromptu Q&A with Marietta Zacker at client Hillary Wagner's blog. Lots of great info (12/2009).
Interview with Marietta Zacker by Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now (10/2009).
Interview with Marietta Zacker right here at Literary Rambles (06/2009).
Around the Web:
Live chat transcript with Marietta Zacker, Ammi Joan-Paquet, and Michael Bourret at WriteOnCon (08/2011).
Highlights of the SCBWI Western WA, 2011, conference notes including Ms. Zacker at Susan Boase’s site. (04/2011).
A Night with Three Agents, article by Melanie Hope Greenberg at SCBWI NY Metro News (2011).
Please see the Nancy Gallt Literary website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 9/12/11.
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 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.