This week's Agent Spotlight features Jill Corcoran of Herman Agency, Inc.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “JILL CORCORAN is an award-winning children’s poet and writer. Corcoran earned a BA in English from Stanford University and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from The University of Chicago. After years of marketing and advertising, she gave up the glamour of cereal boxes and sneakers for family life with her husband, 3 kids and 2 dogs. She now takes writing classes at UCLA, writes children ’s books, and teaches writing workshops in Palos Verdes, California. An article about her workshops has been syndicated in parenting magazines nationwide by Kathy Sena.
“Corcoran’s YA novel TWIN SISTER: I AM NOT YOU won a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Work-in-Progress Honorary Mention, and her humorous picture book collection, SINK YOUR TEETH INTO POETRY won the SCBWI Los Angeles Writer's Day Poetry Award.
“Jill Corcoran is the anthologist for DARE TO DREAM...CHANGE THE WORLD, a fully illustrated collection of biographical and inspirational paired poems that seek to inform, inspire, ignite middle graders to imagine, persevere and to act, Kane Miller Books, Fall 2012.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“HERMAN AGENCY represents professional artists and authors with an emphasis on the children's market, which includes books for all ages, educational books and supplementary materials, children's magazines, cartoons, licensed characters, as well as stationery, advertising, toys and editorial illustrations.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Genres of interest:
Middle grade & young adult, primarily, as well as select picture books & chapter books. (Link)
From Her Blog (06/2012):
“I have a wide interests in books, as you can probably tell by the sales I have made. I am still very much interested in signing MG writers, in fact, I just signed the funniest MG writer I know, Bart King. But what I really want to find are more ROMANCE WRITERS WHO CAN WRITE AUTHENTIC TEEN!
“Not goofy, silly chic-lit with no underlying heart/intelligence/soul but full-fleshed, make me laugh/cry/yearn/scream ROMANCE.
“Contemporary, mystery, thriller, paranormal, historical, sci-fi.....doesn't matter---it is about characters--soul-searching, groin-yearning, heart thumping, heart breaking, fast paced, laugh out loud, cry out loud, make me want to be your character ROMANCE!
“But here is the thing.... The writing has to be authentic teen. The voice has to be knock me out of my chair original. The plotting, cinematic. The protagonist, a person that I believe is real and who I wish was in my life yet they are flawed and f-up sometimes and well, are human. The villains, I want to freak'n pound them into oblivion even though I understand where they are coming from and their underlying emotional wound. The writing has to sweep me up in the story so that I do not even remember that I am sitting in a chair and not actually living and breathing along with your characters, in their world.” (Link)
From Her Submissions Page (as of 7/2012):
“YOUNG ADULT & MIDDLE GRADE
“-THRILLERS-up the stakes and make me unable to put down the book until I know that everyone is OK, or not.
“I am NOT talking about Boxing Helena or Shutter Island, as I am a huge chicken and will have nightmares. I am talking more CSI and Law & Order, Die Hard and Armageddon (yes, I am a Bruce Willis fan), Men in Black and Independence Day (and a huge Will Smith fan). Thrillers are cinematic. As I read I want the movie playing in my head.
“-ROMANTIC YA-Contemporary, mystery, paranormal, historical, scifi, ROMANTIC COMEDIES...doesn't matter---it is about characters--soul-searching, groin-yearning, heart thumping, heart breaking, fast paced, laughout loud, cry out loud, make me want to be your character ROMANCE!
“BTW, I want my romance from the GIRL's POV. I have amazing male writers who are writing romance and YA from the male POV so I am looking more for girl povs.
“-Original/Out of the box PARANORMAL MG & YA that keeps me at the edge of my seat and has a fantastic payoff at the end.
“-Upper MIDDLE GRADE that captures the reality of Middle School with an intriguing plot + authentic emotion. 7th & 8th grade = hormonal roller coaster where kids strive to be independent yet are still such babes in the woods.
“-Younger MG-FUNNY BOY & GIRL illustratable for 3rd-5th grade be it b/w line art all the way to graphic novel. I'm talking IVY & BEAN, CLEMENTINE, FANGBONE (new from Michael Rex), BIG NATE, LUNCH LADY.
“-COMING OF AGE GIRL MG & YA with commercial hook and beautiful writing. School stories, sibling stories, friendship stories but with something fresh and NOT QUIET.
“-MG ADVENTURE that is not episodic and where the main character is as imperative to the story as the action. A character who readers will want to follow into the clutches of death and back again.
“-Regarding picture books, I am so, so very picky that I don't even have an actual want list on this. I would say very short...max 700 words, prefer 500 or less.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Illustrator-driven graphic novels, or adult projects. (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)
Yes. She critiques and requests revisions of her clients 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 keeps it updated regularly.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Please see Ms. Corcoran’s Submissions page for complete, up-to-date submissions guidelines.
She prefers Times New Roman and a font size of 12-14. (Link)
Check out this post on Ms. Corcoran's blog, "A Quick Note About Queries."
Ms. Corcoran is no longer sending form declines. If you do not receive a response within a month, assume rejection. (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:
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:
Herman Agency on Absolute Write (2005 – Present).
See Ms. Corcoran’s Directory of All Posts on her website 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 Herman Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 7/11/12 -
(Open to submissions, updated what she’s looking for).
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent: 2/09/2011.
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.