Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:

TUT through September 27th

SURVIVAL COLONY 9 through October 4th

Stuck In A Good Book Giveaway Hop through September 25th

Agent Spotlight: Quinlan Lee

This week's Agent Spotlight features Quinlan Lee of Adams Literary.

quinlanAbout: "Quinlan Lee brings to Adams Literary a love of literature as well as administrative and project management experience. Prior to joining Adams Literary, Quinlan worked for eight years as a freelance children’s writer for Scholastic, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, working on licensed projects for Clifford Puppy Days, Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty and the Planet Earth series.

"Quinlan has lived all over the United States—from the mountains of Western Colorado to the Garden District of New Orleans to downtown Chicago, and for the past eight years she’s been raising her family in Charlotte with her husband, Steve. She has three children who keep her busy with book clubs, homework and identifying creatures in the creek behind their home." (Link)

Status: Open to submissions.

What She's Looking For:

Genres of interest: Every age and genre in children's books from picture books to older, edgy YA.

From the website:

"Our clients’ work spans every age and every genre—from picture books to middle-grade and young adult fiction, from historical novels and fantasy to books that tackle important contemporary issues.

"While we give every submission its due consideration, we must admit a fondness for middle-grade and young adult novels with memorable characters and a unique voice. In particular, we're looking for literary stories, high-concept speculative fiction, unique fantasy adventure, humor, and character driven picture books. We gravitate toward the timeless, not the trendy." (Link)

From 03/2010:

"I love all children's and YA literature—from clever picture books to edgy YA. However, if I read the first pages of a middle-grade novel where the character's voice rings true or a YA novel that creates a world that seems familiar but lives only in the author's imagination, it goes to the top of my reading pile." (Link)

"Books that appeal to boys are often hard to come by—I'm always looking for something that would make my nine-year old son laugh out loud or stay up past his bedtime, reading with a flashlight under the covers. When I'm tackling the slush pile, I want the same experience—to be sucked in so completely by a character or story that I want to stay up past my bedtime to finish it." (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

"We don’t typically handle textbooks, novelty, craft, how-to or coloring books—and we don’t handle any adult works." (Link)


"I am a writer myself, so I know the absolute joy and horrors of a blank page. I am also aware of the dangers of thinking that being a 'published author' will make your life complete. I encourage all writers to learn the truth that Anne Lamott puts so beautifully in Bird by Bird, that 'Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. The thing that you had to force yourself to do—the actual writing—turns out to be the best part.'" (Link)

About the agency:

"Our philosophy is that we represent authors and artists, not books. As such, we don't work on a book-by-book or term basis, like some agencies do. Instead, we we work closely with our clients to intelligently manage the entirety of their children's publishing careers. We take a long-term view of the market, of our jobs—and of launching and building our clients' careers.

"Drawing upon our editorial expertise, knowledge of the industry, and extensive experience in contract negotiations, we provide editorial judgment and input, marketing consultation, rights management and long-term career planning and advice. In addition to placing and negotiating North American publishing rights, we actively market and negotiate film, UK, translation, audio, merchandising and other subsidiary rights on behalf of our clients." (Link)

Her Advice for Writers:

"Don't send something on the first day that you write the last word.  Patience! Let your writing sit for a while, let others read it and tell you what confuses or bores them, and then read it again yourself and see what worked better in your imagination than it does on the page. After that, revise. I see so many submissions with potential, but few with the confidence and maturity that comes from working on something until it is fully developed and ready for us to send it out editors." (Link)

Editorial Agent?

Unknown, though I believe she makes revision requests as needed.

Web Presence:

Adams Literary website.

Adams Literary on Twitter (the best way to receive news and updates on the agency).

AuthorAdvance, & QueryTracker.


A complete list of Adams Literary clients is available on the website here. Ms. Lee's clients include: Richard Ungar among others on the site.


As Quinlan Lee is currently not a member of Publisher's Marketplace, no sales data is available. Via online research, I was able to verify a few sales including Richard Ungar's MG novel, TIME SNATCHERS, in a two-book deal, planned for Fall 2011.

Query Methods:

E-mail: No.

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: Yes (only).

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

"We accept submissions and queries only through the online form on the SUBMIT page of our website. We will not review—and will promptly recycle—any unsolicited submissions or queries we receive by post. Through the online form, please attach your complete manuscript as an RTF, DOC or PDF file; for artists in particular, please send a PDF of your illustrations and/or provide your web site so we may view your art samples." (Link)

Query tips: Let them know if your query is exclusive or non-exclusive. Notify them of any offers of representation. If you need to follow up, use their online submission form and reference your submission.

Read what will make your query stand out in a good way or bad way in this interview at the Guide to Literary Agents blog.

See the Adams Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Response Times:

The agency's stated response time is 3-4 months, though they often respond sooner. I've seen reports of response in a matter of hours up to about the three month mark.

What's the Buzz?

There isn't a lot of info or buzz out there on Ms. Lee specifically, but the agency is well-respected and completely legit. Ms. Lee has verified sales and clients, though I can't tell how many given her (and the agency's) limited web presence and team philosophy. As a whole, they have a fabulous list of both. 

They were previously closed to submissions, so it's likely they have a pretty full list but are currently open to finding new talent with the addition of Ms. Lee to the agency a few years back.

Worth Your Time:

Interview with Quinlan Lee at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (03/2010).

Keep up with Adam's Literary News, Events, and Upcoming Conferences engagements on the website or by newsletter.

There's a fabulous line up of Adams Literary's recent titles on the website.

See all of Quinlan Lee's freelance books on Amazon.


Please see the Adams Literary website for contact and query information.


Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail.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. Wow! This agency sounds great, and so does Ms. Lee. Definitely one of my favorite Spotlights so far. Thanks!

  2. Well, she definitely reps what I write, but the Adams website lists 78 clients. Isn't that a lot for just three agents?

  3. Thanks so much, Casey, for another informative, in-depth profile! Ms. Lee sounds like a wonderful agent to be repped by. Looking forward to more of your awesome spotlights in the New Year!

  4. Kathryn, 78 isn't bad for three agents. Some of the bigger, well known agents have 40-50 just on their own. It really depends on the authors/illustrators an agent is representing and how prolific those authors are. That will really determine how much any one agent can handle I think.

  5. I had not heard about this agent. Thanks for the update.

  6. Ms. Lee has reviewed her profile 06/14/2010.

  7. Casey-so happy to see that you had a write up of Quinlan Lee. The agency sounds terrific, and Quinlan a real gem of an agent. (I look forward to meeting her when I give her a ride to the airport next month;)

  8. Quinlan Lee has left Adams Lit. Anybody know what her plans are?