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  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Sarah Davies

This week's Agent Spotlight features Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency.
Update as of 9/15/2021: Sarah is closed to submissions and will retire at the end of 2021. Chelsea Eberly will head The Greenhouse Literary Agency as of 1/1/2022.
Sarah Davies 2 (3)About: "Sarah founded the Greenhouse when she moved to the US in 2007 after a long career as a UK children’s publisher, working with many internationally celebrated authors. She now divides her time between London and New York.
Sarah has been an editor most of her life and has considerable experience in contract negotiation, marketing and rights. Excellent publishing contacts in both the USA and Britain, and many years spent living in both countries, have given her an unusually transatlantic view of the children’s books industry, from both sides of the desk. A member of AAR, Sarah has crossed America and Europe talking about children’s books and writing craft. She says, ‘Everything you need to know about Greenhouse is in its name.’ Follow her on Twitter at @SarahGreenhouse." 
What She's Looking For:
From the Agency Website:
"What Sarah is seeking: Fiction from Middle Grade through Young Adult and across all genres (note: she is currently closed to debut Picturebooks but does rep PBs by clients whom she’s initially taken on for older fiction). She loves strong, hooky, layered plots, writing that is gorgeous but also conceptually strong, and stories that are really moving but make you think too. She is particularly seeking authors from under-represented backgrounds and stories with diverse settings and perspectives.
"In YA, she is currently keen to find fresh, hooky, charming contemporary romance and rom-coms — but note, the hook MUST be strong and unique; smart, original thrillers that grab you from the first page — but still have great writing; multicultural settings and diverse #ownvoices authors and characters (she has a particular interest in the Middle East and France, but authenticity and #ownvoices are essential); stories that deal with contemporary issues of immigration from an authentic perspective; magical realism – perhaps where the “real” is skewed by some other dimension; fantasy, especially by diverse authors, but there MUST be a hook that feels truly fresh and different to all the other fantasy out in the marketplace. AND FINALLY: there’s always room for something the market’s never seen before — whatever that may be!
"In general, Sarah enjoys: interesting perspectives and structures; stories involving the ocean, ice, plants,science; intriguing mysteries; relateable history (the World Wars especially; NOT American Revolutionary War or Civil War), and richly portrayed characters and settings of all kinds.
"In MG, she is looking for classic-voiced and heartfelt stories that offer a fresh take on the tropes of identity, independence, growing up (perhaps helped along by an interesting and different structure or point of view); adventure with a touch of magic or magical realism; graphic novels by author/illustrators who can create fab and fun young fiction. Again, she always looks for a fresh hook, matched by strong writing.
"Additionally: Sarah is open to children’s/teen non-fiction projects that have a strong angle on a subject that jives with today’s concerns. Age-appropriate writing (and interesting formats?) essential. She is also open, by referral, to women’s fiction — especially in the suspense genre."See Sarah's Bio Page on the website and her Manuscript Wish List for more information on what she is looking for.
What She Isn't Looking For:
From the Agency Website: She is closed to debut picture books.
About the Agency:
"Greenhouse is a transatlantic literary agency which represents authors writing books for children and young adults. Our vision is to work with clients in as full a way as possible, so if our authors diversify into other markets, we are often able to represent that work too.
With an emphasis on working creatively with our clients, Greenhouse can help authors develop their voice and craft – and then be their advocate and partner through the publishing process and beyond.
We believe young people deserve great books. Greenhouse seeks talented authors who are ready to put down roots. If you have a passion for excellence and a great story to tell, we look forward to hearing from you." (Link)

Editorial Agent?
"I am absolutely an ‘editorial agent,’ and that is a trademark of the Greenhouse. I came up with the name "Greenhouse" after a lot of cogitating because I wanted the agency to be all about nurturing, growing, flowering.
"Turn over my business card, and you'll read that Greenhouse is ‘Where writers grow.’ I have spent my whole career working editorially with authors, from concept stage to craft, and writing editorial notes, changing titles, supporting an author through revision (often several revisions), is deep in my bones."
Read this older excerpt and more about Ms. Davies editorial approach here.
Dislikes (Don’ts):
"I like writers who follow my submission guidelines. Or to be more honest, I get a bit cross with those who don't!" (Link)
Ms. Davies has blogged about things she likes and dislikes in submissions a few times.  Check out this post, this post, and this one, too.
A complete list of Greenhouse clients can be found on the website.  Ms. Davies’s clients include:
Sarah Aronson, Tami Lewis Brown, Sarwat Chadda, Winifred Conkling, Andrea Contos, Donna Cooner, Elle CosimanoAlexandra Diaz, Ashley Elston, Tae Keller, Dawn Kurtagich, Lindsey Leavitt,  Natalie Lund, Cori McCarthy, Joanna Meyer, Megan Miranda, Mae Respicio, Tricia Springstubb, Ali Standish, Kat Yeh, Brenna Yovanoff.
Query Methods: FYI the agency is closed to submissions temporarily as of 4/28. Check the agency submission page for information on when they will reopen.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Query with the name of the agent you are querying in the subject line. Paste the first five pages of your manuscript in the body of the email.  first chapter or first five pages (whichever is shorter) pasted into the body of the e-mail.  No attachments. 
From their submission page: "Prepare a query email WITH THE AGENT’S NAME IN THE SUBJECT LINE. The opening letter should be no longer than one page in length (if it were on paper) and should contain: word count of the manuscript; age group, brief synopsis of story (no more than 3 paragraphs); brief bio with details of any writing background you have. Please also tell us what country you live in. This is very helpful!"
Query Tip:
"Keep your query short and concise, giving us rapidly the key points we need to know: length, target market, one-paragraph plot outline, short bio of yourself." (Link)
Also, make sure to read this post.
Response Times:
Sarah only responds if she is interested in a submission.
Web Presence:
Greenhouse Lit website.
Publisher's Marketplace page.
QueryTracker, AgentQuery
What's the Buzz?
The buzz is very good. Ms. Davies has put a lot of time and energy into building a great reputation for The Greenhouse. The agency has a unique philosophy and mission statement, and I think Ms. Davies' thorough interviews, blog posts, and successes demonstrate her commitment to it.  As I searched the web, I felt like others shared my feelings on this. The umbrella of writers who would like to call her their agent is large.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Posts:
An Interview with Sarah Davies at Book Broker (05/2020)
Starting Later & Starting Over: Launching a Writing Career When You Are No Longer "Young" at Jane Friedman (05/2018)
Agent Sarah Davies Likes and Dislikes at Writing and Illustrating (11/2017)
Q&A With Literary Agent Sarah Davies at Words & Pictures (03/2017)
Interview with Agent Sarah Davies at Holly's Narrative Dreams (07/2016)
Literary Agent Sarah Davies: An #NY16SCBWI Interview at Martha Brockenbrough (11/2015)
Interview With Sarah Davies at The Official SCBWI Blog (08/2014)
Sarah Davies and Jessie Humphries Guest Post at Literary Rambles (06/2014)
Successful Queries: Agent Sarah Davies at Writer's Digest (09/2013)
7-Questions For: Literary Agent Sarah Davies at Middle Grade Ninja (09/2010).
SCBWI Bologna 2010 Interview: Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency at Cynsations (02/2010).
Marvelous Marketer Interview with Sarah Davies at Market My Words (03/2009).
Sarah Davies Interviews herself about Bologna (03/2009).
Agent Interview: Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency at Cynsations (01/2009).
Interview with Sarah Davies by client Tami Lewis Brown at Through The Tollbooth (10/2008).
Selected Blog Posts:
Welcome to the Adventure (01/2011).
A Kipling Moment (10/2010).
How to Make an Agent Happy (09/2010).
Just the Two of Us (08/2010).
A Peach of An Agent (07/2010).
How to Write the Breakout Novel, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 (05-06/2010).
The Christmas Interview (12/2009).
The Skinny (11/2009).
And the Word of the Week Is… Revision! (09/2008).
Waiting, Waiting, Waiting (07/2008).  
Please see the Greenhouse Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 4/30/2020
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes
Reviewed By Agent?  5/21/2020
Comments: N/A
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.


Remilda Graystone said...

She sounds like a wonderful agent, and I'd love to have her as one! Thanks for the spotlight, Casey!