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Agent Spotlight: Beth Fleisher

This week's Agent Spotlight features Beth Fleisher of Clear Sailing Creatives.

Beth Fleisher About: “I’m one of the few people in publishing that has worked in all aspects of the business, as editor, author, and agent: in book production, taking manuscript pages to bound book and cover; in acquisitions, coordinating the efforts of author, sales force, and marketing to create a well-published book; I’ve written comics and prose; and as agent, negotiate prose and graphic novel contracts.”

Read Ms. Fleisher’s full bio on the Clear Sailing Creatives website.

Status: Open to submissions.

What She's Looking For:

Genres/specialties: Middle grade - all subjects, YA - all subjects, Adult genre- SF, fantasy,  some horror/thriller, Select children's non-fiction, especially on history, science and nature, Select graphic novels/hybrid books. (Link)

From the Website (02/2011):

“I would love to find: A true middle grade or YA mystery, a great ghost story, a wonderful animal story, adventure stories, whether dystopic YA, SF, or fantasy.” (Link)

From a Conference Bio (2010):

“She prefers nonfiction, including science, history, and natural science; books for boys, including adventure, thriller, and mystery; and science fiction and fantasy for middle grade and young adult.” (Link)

From an Interview (09/2009):

"I'm particularly interested in finding new voices in middle grade and young adult fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, historicals and action adventure as well as select children's and adult non-fiction. I welcome both prose and graphic novel formats." (Link)

From an Interview (06/2009):

"I have widely eclectic tastes, and see a value in many different types of books and styles of writing, from frothy fun books for middle readers like the Captain Underpants series to adult non-fiction, and just about everything in between." (Link)

What She Isn’t Looking For:

Picture books, romance, memoir, general adult fiction, how-to books. (Link)

About the Agency:

“Clear Sailing Creatives represents the culmination of my publishing journey. I have the opportunity to put all my past experience to good use. I can discover new talent, and work with young writers to develop their projects in the best way possible. I can work with established authors, on exciting new projects,  to explore new directions while building on strengths. I can place my authors at whatever publisher best suits them, growing careers in a way tailor-made to each author’s talent. I’m not limited to one publishing house’s program, or one type of book, but can work on a variety of projects, whether prose or graphic novels, non-fiction or fiction.

“The mode of publishing has changed over the millennia, but the creative substance remains the same. Today’s books aren’t produced in any way similar to a scribe copying text onto papyrus, or the first codex written on parchment, or Guttenberg’s invention of hand-placed moveable type printing with hot lead on 100% rag stock. We’re rushing into a new age, of iPads and Kindles and Nooks, of ebooks and comics read on smart phones, of text delivered through WiFi airwaves, to whatever new adaptation comes next. But here's the key: no matter what object or system delivers the content to the reader, whether bound book or bytes, the book always starts with the author. My job is to understand these changes, and help my authors develop their voice and find their audience in this quickly changing world. The course is set, and it’s Clear Sailing ahead!” (Link)


“Setting is so important to a book. Those who have ‘talked book’ with me will know my mantra is that setting is the unnamed character in a successful book -- and that if a book doesn't have that strong sense of place, the story just lies there on the page, lifeless. I can still smell the coverlet in Meg's attic room on that rainy night -- as well as a certain deli counter in Manhattan. I don't think either book would have garnered the Newbury if Ms. Stead or Ms. L'Engle had short-handed their own particular world.” (Link)

"Only write what you love. Think forward: a new creative voice, not a re-telling of a previous bestseller." (Link)

"I must feel strongly about a book — and also about an author. The author and I must “click.” I have to know that the author is committed to a career, and will be professional in his or her dealings with me, and their publisher. I will not commit to an author just on their manuscript. I need to talk with them, suss them out, make sure that we’re a good fit." (Link)


"It strikes me as very amateurish when the writer develops plot and characters, but not setting. Setting is a character in the best of books (think everything from Wuthering Heights to Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels, to Harry Potter). Take the time to make your book the best book possible. A good book lasts forever." (Link)

Web Presence:

Clear Sailing Creatives website.



QueryTracker, AuthorAdvance.


Will Alexander, Jared Axelrod and Steve Walker, Jacey Bedford, John Mantooth, among others. 


As of 02/11, Ms. Fleisher is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 1 deal in the last 12 months and 3 overall. Recent deals include 1 middle grade, 1 graphic novel.

NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

E-mail queries only.  Send a cover letter with synopsis and any professional credits or relevant experience and include the first 10 pages or first chapter, whichever is shorter, in the body of the e-mail.  No attachments.

See the Clear Sailing Creatives website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

"I don’t want self-aggrandizing statements. (This book is the next bestseller!). All I need is a brief paragraph outlining the plot and characters, and five pages so I can see if you can write. Please only include biographical information that is relevant to the content and sale of the book. And take into account what I’m looking for. It’s just a waste of time to send me material that I do not take on."

She prefers Times New Roman. (Link)

Response Times:

“In most circumstances I will respond within two weeks. If I have not responded in three weeks you may query me.” (Link)

What's the Buzz?

Beth Fleisher has 20+ years experience in the publishing industry, first as an editor and now as an agent (since April 2009).  Reports on the web are positive and her long-time interest in genre fiction, including sci-fi and fantasy, makes her quite the catch among genre writers.  Ms. Fleisher founded her own agency, Clear Sailing Creatives, in January of 2011 and I’m eager to watch it grow and succeed.

Worth Your Time:


Interview with Beth Fleisher on the QueryTracker blog (06/2009).

Around the Web:

Conference notes featuring setting tips from Beth Fleisher at Valerie Kemp’s blog (05/2010).


Please see the Clear Sailing Creatives website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 2/28/2011.

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Reviewed By Agent?  In progress.

Comments: More updates to follow.


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.


  1. Thanks, Casey, but what I really want to see are wedding pics! :)

  2. One thing I've never been able to figure out is if BG Literary is one of the "A no from one is a no from all" kinds of agencies, like Andrea Brown. Because they say "querying one of us is querying all of us," I assume so, but a little clarification is in order, if you ask me. Not that anyone did. :)

  3. Interesting. They have some great clients over there at BG.

  4. Casey, though this link was very interesting in light of an earlier discussion we had on your blog about the importance of "connections"