This week's Agent Spotlight features Jamie Weiss Chilton of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.
About: “Jamie Weiss Chilton represents children's books exclusively, specializing in teen novels and picture books. For teens, she is interested in literary/commercial fiction with intense emotional content (character driven, not issue driven plots); smart thrillers and mysteries; science-fiction and futuristic fiction; surreal stories and magical realism. ‘I'm looking for a YA writer who is reinventing and re-envisioning the genre, the way Francesca Lia Block did with her Weetzie Bat series in the 1990s. I'm looking for the Lady Gaga of YA fiction.’ As for picture books, Jamie gravitates towards quirky, unique, character-driven texts and illustrations.
“Jamie's career in children's books began in 1998, with an editorial internship at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, followed by positions as an Editorial Assistant and Assistant Editor at Bantam Delacorte Dell and Knopf & Crown Books for Young Readers, all divisions of Random House Children's Books. After returning to her hometown of Los Angeles, Jamie pursued her love of children's books in a new arena, as Conference Manager and Golden Kite Award Director at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) before joining the Andrea Brown Agency in 2008.
“Titles Jamie represents include STRUCK, a YA debut by Jennifer Bosworth (FSG); ORCHARDS, a YA novel in verse by Holly Thompson (Delacorte); THE BEGINNING OF AFTER, a debut YA by Jennifer Castle (HarperCollins); WOLVES, BOYS, AND OTHER THINGS THAT MIGHT KILL ME and the forthcoming GIRLS DON"T FLY by Kristen Chandler (Viking); genre-reinventing YA horror/psychological thrillers BLEEDING VIOLET and SLICE OF CHERRY by Dia Reeves (Simon Pulse); BAD FOR YOU, a graphic novel by co-creators Kevin C. Pyle and Scott Cunningham (Holt); JAMMY DANCE, a picture book by Rebecca Janni, to be illustrated by Tracy Dockray (FSG); Tracey E. Fern's nonfiction picture book BARNUM'S BONES to be illustrated by Boris Kulikov (FSG)' and the witty CAVEMAN: A B.C. STORY, told in pictures and twenty-six words by author/illustrator Janee Trasler.” (Link)
Status: Open to submissions.
What She's Looking For:
From her Bio:
"Jamie Weiss Chilton represents children's books exclusively, specializing in teen novels and picture books. For teens, she is interested in literary/commercial fiction with intense emotional content (character driven, not issue driven plots); smart thrillers and mysteries; science-fiction and futuristic fiction; surreal stories and magical realism. ‘I'm looking for a YA writer who is reinventing and re-envisioning the genre, the way Francesca Lia Block did with her Weetzie Bat series in the 1990s. I'm looking for the Lady Gaga of YA fiction.’ As for picture books, Jamie gravitates towards quirky, unique, character-driven texts and illustrations.” (Link)
From an Interview (2010?):
“I love to see completely unique twists on tried and true themes, and just unique twists in general. I also look for intensity in every genre. If you're writing a YA thriller, I expect truly high-stakes action; if you're writing contemporary story with emotional themes, you'd better make me cry; if you're writing a mystery, I need to be absolutely shocked when we get to the big reveal. In picture books, show me a brand new take on, for example, a first-day-at-school story and I'll be hooked.” (Link)
From an Interview (02/2008):
"I'm happy to see more risks being taken in the picture book genre, with wordless picture books, graphic novel-inspired picture books, and new formats. I love to see innovation in the genre." (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Ms. Chilton does not represent adult projects.
About the Agency:
"We are a mid-size literary agency based in California celebrating over 2,000 titles sold. We bring the best of both worlds to the table—the personal client attention of a small agency and the clout of a larger one. We invest a great deal of care in each project and each client. We devise a strategy at every stage of the writing process, from conception, to editorial, to publication, that is tailored to the client and will enable us to find the best publisher for his or her books. We are seeking long-term relationships with writers and illustrators whose careers we can develop and whose talent we can foster." (Link)
Yes. She makes revision requests and editorial suggestions as needed. (Link)
“Well, one pet peeve of mine is characters asking questions of the reader. To me this is often a sign that the author needs to brush up on the good old ‘show don't tell’ rule.” (Link)
"When selecting clients, she said she's not a stickler for mistakes in the format of a submission. However when a writer doesn't follow guidelines she sees a red flag in terms of how that author will work with an editor." (Link)
"Our business is subjective and I hope authors keep that in mind when they receive rejection letters. As an agent, I'm more in touch with the authors than ever regarding how it feels to hear ‘no thanks.’ It's hard for me, too! Just remember that all it takes is one yes -- one perfect fit with an agent or editor and you're on your way. It can take a lot of tenacity and patience to get published. Keep trying, and while you're waiting for those agent and editor responses, continuing honing your skills at conferences and with your critique group." (Link)
"Take time to polish your manuscript to the best of your ability -- take advantage of conferences and critique groups. When your manuscript is the very best it can be, submit! I don't recommend holding on to a manuscript that's ready to go. Houses are more selective than ever, so taking the time to polish your work is extremely important." (Link)
Regarding favorite books:
"My childhood favorite from when I was very young is THE SNUGGLE BUNNY by Nancy Jewell, illustrated by Mary Chalmers. [...] Recent favorites range from thoughtful, moving stories like YA IF I STAY by Gayle Foreman to reality-based fantasy like THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins to science fiction like UNWIND by Neil Shusterman to picture books by Jon Muth and David Ezra Stein." (Link)
Beverley BevenFlorez, John Bladek, Jennifer Bosworth, Jennifer Castle, Kristen Chandler, Lori Degman, J.H. Everett, Tracey E. Fern, L.R. Giles, Rebecca Janni, Max Kornell, Kevin C. Pyle and Scott Cunningham, Jean Reagan, Dia Reeves, Marilyn Scott-Waters, Holly Thompson, Janee Trasler, among others.
There is also a select list of Andrea Brown Lit titles on the website.
As of 03/2011, Ms. Chilton is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 7 deals in the last 12 months, 1 six-figure+ deal, and 19 overall. Recent deals include 3 picture books, 2 young adult, and 2 graphic novels.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
Some highlighted deals can also be found here.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Query only ONE agent at the Andrea Brown Agency.
Send a brief query in the body of an e-mail. Put QUERY and the title of the work in the subject line. Include publisher submission history and previous publishing credits (if applicable). Note if it’s multiple submission. No attachments.
PB: Include full text. Fiction: Include first ten pages. NF: Proposal and sample chapter. Illustrators: Two to three jpegs of children and animals.
If you have not heard back in 6-8 weeks assume rejection (Link). Ms. Chilton’s response time on requested material appears to range from a week to several months.
What's the Buzz?
Jamie Weiss Chilton joined the Andrea Brown Agency in January 2008 and was promoted from associate to full agent in early 2010. She has a growing number of clients and sales and her clients seem quite happy with her representation.
Worth Your Time:
Interview: Jamie Weiss Chilton talks submissions, eBooks and vampires at The Book Shed (03/2010).
Featured Reader Interview with Jamie Weiss Chilton at Nightstand.com (03/2010).
Interview with Jamie Weiss Chilton at ASJA (2010?)
Interview with Jamie Weiss Chilton at Tales From the Rushmore Kid (07/2009).
Interview with Jamie Weiss Chilton at Writing With a Broken Tusk (02/2008).
Around the Web:
Andrea Brown Literary on P&E (recommended).
Big Sur Writers Workshop that the Andrea Brown Agency hosts.
You can read about the revisions client Beverley BevenFlorez did with Jamie Weiss Chilton before her offer of representation (05/2009).
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 3/3/2011
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
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.