This week's Agent Spotlight features Barry Goldblatt of Barry Goldblatt Literary.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Barry Goldblatt opened his own agency, Barry Goldblatt Literary, over ten years ago, and has been gleefully signing wonderful authors ever since. He used his experience working in rights and contracts departments at Penguin, Putnam, and Orchard as a springboard, and set out to find writers whose work made him laugh, cry, scream and jump up and down. His clients include award-winners and bestsellers Holly Black, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, and Lauren Myracle.” (Link)
For a complete bio and publishing history, see Mr. Goldblatt’s page on the BG Literary website.
About the Agency:
Barry Goldblatt Literary was founded September 2000. The agency specializes in children's and young adult fiction as well as graphic novels and adult genre fiction.
Goldblatt Literary Blog (inactive).
What He's Looking For:
Barry Goldblatt represents children's projects exclusively including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult. He likes quirky, edgy, and offbeat works and welcomes "older YA" as well as genre fiction including fantasy and science fiction. (Link, Link)
From an WD Article (03/2008):
"I need to find myself laughing hysterically or weeping my eyes out, or I need to be marveling at the intricate details of a plot or fascinated by an extraordinary voice." (Link)
From an Interview (07/2006):
"I'd love to see more American fantasy writers get published, and more different kinds of fantasy: Eastern and/or Indian themed fantasy (heck, any cultural fantasy that offers more than traditional Western settings and archetypes). I'd be thrilled to see science fiction make a comeback, at all age levels. I'd also like to see more recent historical fiction, set in the 60s, 70s and even 80s." (Link)
What He Isn't Looking For:
Adult projects, screenplays, educational or institutional non-fiction.
"I definitely have an editorial role with my clients, as well as the more typical agent one. It’s not so much that I edit—certainly not in the way a real editor will—but I definitely will talk with a client about a manuscript, about what works for me and what doesn’t, and I’ll often send them back for a revision before submitting to editors. [...]I want to be able to send out a manuscript that simply can't be refused, so I want it as polished as possible before I let anyone see it." (Link)
"The first thing I do after I read something I love is call the author. I've spent two or three hours with writers discussing their work, their goals, their favorite movies. I'm looking for a connection, a meeting of like minds, someone I can comfortably and without hesitation support and cheer on for twenty years or more. If I find that, I'll offer representation. If I don't feel that connection, odds are we're not going to be a good fit." (Link)
"I don’t like to blow smoke. I think one of the reasons I’ve been successful is when I call up an editor about a book I’m representing, they know I love it. I’m not sitting here creating a lot of hype over something that’s sub-par. I’m creating a lot of hype about something that I love. They may not agree, but they know that at least if I’m sending it to them that I’m passionately 120 percent behind it. I don’t think authors should expect anything less from their agent." (Link)
Regarding the retreat Mr. Goldblatt hosts for his clients each year:
"My retreat is probably the one thing I've gotten the most notice for, because it's unique and (in the minds of some agents) completely insane. But I feel that by bringing my clients together, building a community that's equally creative, supportive and just a whole heck of a lot of fun, that I've enhanced what I have to offer as an agent...not to mention, gotten some terrific book deals out of it, deals that almost certainly wouldn't have happened without the retreat." (Link, seems to be down)
“For me it's simply sending me things I don't represent. It drives me crazy.” (Link)
A full list of BG Literary clients is available on the website.
Mr. Goldblatt's clients include:
As of 2/12, Mr. Goldblatt is still listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 7 deals in the last 12 months, 8 six-figure+ deals, and 70 overall. Recent deals include 4 middle grade, 3 young adult.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query, synopsis, and the first five pages of your manuscript in the body of an e-mail with the word “Query” in the subject line. Query only one agent at the agency; querying one is querying all.
See the BG Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
“I don't know that there really is such a thing as an ideal query letter for me. A query letter has one purpose and one purpose only: does it make me want to read the manuscript? Anything else is just decoration. It needs to be concise and present the plot of the novel quickly and clearly, without a lot of flowery language and overly detailed plot description. It's a quick introduction, nothing more.” (Link)
The agency’s stated response time is 2-3 weeks on queries and 3-4 months on requested material (Link). Stats on the web show Mr. Goldblatt responding to queries and submissions within these timeframes, often much sooner.
What's the Buzz?
For nearly twenty years, Barry Goldblatt worked in subsidiary rights for various children's publishers including Dutton Children's Books and Dial Books for Young Readers, The Putnam & Grosset Group, and Orchard Books. When Goldblatt heard Scholastic was buying Orchard in 2000, he decided it was finally time to form his own agency and founded Barry Goldblatt Literary.
Since then, Goldblatt has become a very successful, well-respected literary agent with some of the best children’s and young adult authors in his clientele. He boasts a 98% sell-through rate and his clients absolutely adore him. He’s married to the ever-fabulous Libba Bray. If you have a chance to hear these two speak at a conference, do yourself a favor and go.
Follow him on Twitter @barrygoldblatt for daily updates.
Worth Your Time:
INTERVIEW: Barry Goldblatt - Founder of Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency at A View from the Top (05/2010).
Interview with Agent Barry Goldblatt by Todd Tuell (Date Unknown. Pre-2010).
Interview with Agent Barry Goldblatt on the Classof2k7 blog (07/2007).
SCBWI Bologna 2006 Agent Interview: Barry Goldblatt at Cynsations (03/2006).
Around the Web:
Barry Goldblatt Literary thread on AbsoluteWrite.
Barry Goldblatt Literary on P&E ($, AAR).
Mr. Goldblatt maintained a BG Lit blog from 2004-2009. While it’s inactive now, there are some still valid, informative posts that may be worth your time.
Agent Panel: Barry Goldblatt at the SCBWI Conference Blog (01/2012).
Video of Barry Goldblatt speaking at the 34th annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar on YouTube. (11/2011).
The Wisdom of Agents – Panel Discussion, SCBWI-LA 2011 conference notes including Barry Goldblatt at Karen Sandler’s blog (08/2011).
Agent Friday: Barry Goldblatt at Writing While the Rice Boils (12/2010).
Post by Cheryl Reif on Barry Goldblatt's fair but blunt critique style (10/2008).
Children’s Literary Agent Barry Goldblatt Knows What He Likes In The Ever-Changing and Expanding Children’s Market at Writer’s Digest (03/2008).
Recap of some "query lesson" tweets by Mr. Goldblatt at Chinook Update (07/2009).
Please see the Barry Goldblatt Literary website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 2/14/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last 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.