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Agent Spotlight: Jill Corcoran

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jill Corcoran of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency

Status: “Submissions will only be accepted from attendees of A PATH TO PUBLISHING workshops or consultations, from attendees of conferences at which Jill Corcoran presents, or through referrals from clients or from professionals in the industry.” (Link)

Jill CorcoranAbout: “Prior to becoming an agent, I worked at Mattel, LA Gear, Leo Burnett Advertising and my own company, LAUNCH! New Product Marketing. With an English degree from Stanford University and a Marketing and Finance MBA from the University of Chicago School of Business, I have marketed everything from Barbies to Disney toys, Kellogg's cereal to LA Gear shoes. But when I started writing books for children, and then agenting them, I knew I found my true calling.

“In August 2013, after 4 years agenting with the wonderful Ronnie Ann Herman of the Herman Agency, I decided to strike out on my own and create the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency. 

“I am also a poetry anthologist. Winner of the American Library Association 2013 Notable Books for a Global Society Award, my anthology DARE TO DREAM...CHANGE THE WORLD features work from thirty renowned contemporary children’s poets, including Ellen Hopkins, Jane Yolen, Lee Bennett Hopkins, Marilyn Singer, Bruce Coville and former Children’s Poetry Laureate J. Patrick Lewis. Each pair of poems in the anthology was inspired by someone whose actions made a difference, not only in their own lives, but in the lives of people all over the world. Subjects form a culturally diverse mix ranging from Jonas Salk to Steven Spielberg, from Christa McAuliffe to Michelle Kwan, with brief descriptions of their lives included. The collection,also garnered the California Reading Association’s 2012 Eureka! Silver Honor award and was named a Best Books of 2013 by Bank Street College of Education.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Jill Corcoran Literary Agency website.

Publisher's Marketplace page.

Jill's blog.

A Path to Publishing.






Blue Boards.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:


“Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult plus a select list of adult non-fiction.” (Link)

As of 12/11/2013 She’s Looking For:

“1. Young Adult or Middle Grade fiction set within a big family. My husband is the youngest of 10 kids and this makes for a unique take on growing up.  

“2. Young Adult first love love stories.  I'm a sucker for love and romance. Authenticity is essential in this type of story coupled with a fresh plot and characters. 

“BTW, The words from How's It Going To Be by Third Eye Blind gets me to my core. I would love to read a YA based on this song. 

“3. Teen memoir

“4. Young Adult or Middle Grade Mysteries and Thrillers

“5. Teen and MG adventure stories--fiction and/or true-life adventure stories

“6. Character-driven Picture Books

“7. Character-driven Chapter Books

“8. Innovative approaches to picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult as well as adult non-fiction.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

“I am not looking for poetry, plays, screenplays, dystopia, vampires, devils and angels (I represent Martha Brockenbrough's DEVINE INTERVENTION, Arthur Levine/Scholastic 2012 and the SWEET EVIL TRILOGY, HarperCollins, 2012, 21013, 2014), and historical fiction for which the author has not done a great deal of research for setting/dialog/plot/etc.” (Link)

"I am not looking for high fantasy or historical fiction that ‘teaches’ a history lesson." (Link)


"An automatic 'No Thanks'... forced dialog, flabby prose, mixed metaphors, expected plot turns and endings, etc." (Link)

Her Advice to Writers:

"Don’t rush out to find an agent or send your books to editors---learn your craft and revise the heck out of your manuscript. Also, as I said before, try to write a book with a unique and engaging concept. I know writing is often organic and for some of us the concept comes as the book is being written, but there are wonderful writers who are writing boring books. If you are going to spend the time, sweat and tears writing/revising/subbing, try to think of a concept that will stand out to editors/agents/readers, and even Hollywood." (Link)

There's also plenty of advice for writers on Jill's blog, Jill Corcoran Books, including a linkfest of writerly tips. Definitely stop by her blog; dig in the archives, follow, subscribe, learn, digest.


"The books I represent also represent me. Editors judge my taste by what I submit to them. I owe it not only to myself but to all the authors I represent to be highly selective and utterly in love with each and every book I represent." (Link)

"I love endings that are expected, but unexpected; surprising but logical." (Link)

Editorial Agent?

Minimal revisions before submission, as needed.


Anastasia Suen, Angela Ackerman, Angela Townsend, Beck McDowell, Bev Katz Rosenbaum, Denise Lewis Patrick, Elaine Marie Alphin, Erin Fry, Janet Costa Bates, Janet Gurtler, Jen Nails, Jennifer Dussling Arena, Judy Clemens, Julie Williams, Kelly Milner Halls, Kenn Nesbitt, Kim T. Griswell, Laura Ellen, Linda Joy Singleton, Marileta Robinson, Martha Alderson AKA Plot Whisperer, Martha Brockenbrough, Ralph Fletcher, Robin Mellom, Shelley Coriell, Sherry Shahan, Susan Meyers, Susanne Gervay, Varsha Bajaj, Wendy Higgins.


There is a list of Recent Deals available on Ms. Corcoran’s website here.  She updates regularly.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Please see Ms. Corcoran’s Submissions page for complete, up-to-date submissions guidelines.

Query Tips:

She prefers Times New Roman and a font size of 12-14. (Link)

Response Times:

Stats on the web show Ms. Corcoran responding to queries and requested material within days to a couple weeks.

“You will receive an auto-responder that I received your submission. If you do not receive that auto-repsonder, please resubmit. All submissions will receive a response.” (Link)

What's the Buzz?

Fabulous! Jill Corcoran is developing a great list of clients who seem extremely pleased to be working with her. She’s made a fantastic number of deals in the last couple years and attends conferences regularly. 

Worth Your Time:


SCBWI SpringMingle 2013 Blog Tour: Agent Jill Corcoran at Donny Bailey Seagraves site (01/2013).

An Interview with Jill Corcoran: #LA12SCBWI at Martha Brockenbrough’s site (07/2012).

Agent Interview: Jill Corcoran, Herman Agency on Alice Pope's SCBWI blog (06/2010).

Discover the Life of a Children's Book Agent - Q&A with Jill Corcoran at Institute of Children's Literature (12/2009).

Interview with Literary Agent Jill Corcoran at Hunger Mountain (07/2009).

Mini-View with Jill Corcoran on Terry Pierce's blog (03/2009).

Around the Web:

Jill Corcoran at P&E.

See Ms. Corcoran’s Directory of All Posts on her blog for query tips, preferences, client news, and more.

Also, keep your eye on the sidebar of her blog for conferences, workshops, and events she will be attending/teaching.

Queries and Synopsis: How to Get an Agent Salivating to Read Your Manuscript at Ingrid's Notes - fabulous notes and tips on Ms. Corcoran.

Agent Appreciation Day post for Jill Corcoran by client Robin Mellom (12/2009).


Please see the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 1/21/14.

Last Reviewed By Agent:  2/09/11.


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 and/or teen 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.


  1. I've had experience with Jill and she is FAN-freaking-TASTIC. :)

  2. That's fabulous, Elana! Thanks for chiming in. : )

  3. I met Jill at SCBWI this past weekend, and she's great. Very nice and passionate about what she does. Best of luck, all, in submitting.

  4. She only likes funny writers. That leaves me out.

  5. I read about her and her new job elsewhere already, BUT, I'm so happy for her and she sounds like a great agent!

  6. What a great post. Full of so much insight. ;) Jill sounds like a great agent.

  7. I have the honor of being one of Jill's clients. She is a wonderful, personable agent who works incredibly hard to get my books in front of the right editors at the right time. I couldn't ask for a better match, and appreciate all she does.

    My tips? Write funny, but in a fresh way. Jill loves humor, delivered through a unique style and compelling voice. Jill is editorial (which is so wonderful!) but don't make the mistake of sending in rough projects. Only query when you have a story that's 100% ready to send out that you feel confident about.

    Good luck! Jill's a great catch!

  8. Thanks for all your input, everyone!

    So glad you chimed in, Angela. Great advice on only sending 100%-ready submissions. That should go for all agents.

    Good luck to all who query!

  9. Ms. Corcoran has been promoted from associate to full-fledged agent. I've also updated her submission guidelines, what she's looking for, and added a recent Q&A.

  10. Added a new interview, quotes about what she's looking for, and new sales info 07/06.

  11. Hi Casey!

    Jill posted about a month ago on her blog that she's now also accepting picture book submissions!

  12. Thanks Cyndi! I've updated regarding the picture books and her recent closure to unsolicited queries.

  13. Met Jill at the 2012 FL SCBWI (for the 2nd time). Instantly approachable. Easy to talk to. Smiles and jokes around. Never takes herself too seriously. (Hey, what can I say? I like that in a person.) Gave an informative talk on voice. Learned she's not fond of many dialog tags. (In novels.)
    And it's not always funny she's after. (Regarding a PB.)

  14. Jill has her own agency now and is closed to subs.

  15. FYI: Jill has her own agency now and is closed to subs

  16. Looking forward to find more ideas within such interests.