This week's Agent Spotlight features Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: "Caryn has been an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency for ten years, and she has sold more than 200 books. She handles children's books only: young adult and middle-grade fiction and non-fiction, chapter books, and picture books (fiction and non-fiction). She represents NYT bestselling authors, award-winning authors, debut authors, and authors at every stage in between. No matter the genre, Caryn is looking for books with emotional depth and a strong voice; excellent writing in a tightly-plotted, commercial story; and characters that stick with her long after she has closed the book. In YA, she gravitates toward books that make her think and toward books that make her cry; in middle-grade and chapter books, laughter tends to be the common thread. She loves books that are intellectually challenging and take risks, but in a very logical way.
“Caryn represents Tom Angleberger, author of the NYT and national indie bestselling ORIGAMI YODA series (Amulet/Abrams), and Nate Evans, co-author of the NYT bestseller THE JELLYBEANS AND THE BIG DANCE and its sequels (Abrams). Award-winning books include RABBIT AND ROBOT: THE SLEEPOVER by Cece Bell (2013 Theodore Geisel Honor book), FAKE MUSTACHE by Tom Angleberger (2013 Edgar nominee), HORTON HALFPOTT by Tom Angleberger (2012 Edgar nominee), DARTH PAPER STRIKES BACK by Tom Angleberger (2011 ABC Best Books), THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA by Tom Angleberger (2011 ALA Notable and Kirkus Best Books of 2010), A YEAR OF GOODBYES by Debbie Levy (2010 Kirkus Top Ten Book of the Year and 2010 Sydney Taylor Notable Book), and ME, FRIDA by Amy Novesky (2010 Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor Award—illustrated by David Diaz and 2011 ALA Notable).
“2013 titles include ART2D2 by Tom Angleberger (Amulet/Abrams), TIME AFTER TIME by Tamara Ireland Stone (Disney-Hyperion), INDIGO by Gina Linko (Random House), THE GATHERING DARK by Christine Johnson (Simon Pulse/S&S), CRANKEE DOODLE by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell (Clarion/HMH), ON A BEAM OF LIGHT: The Story of Albert Einstein, by Jennifer Berne (Chronicle), IMPERFECT SPIRAL by Debbie Levy (Walker), DRAGON RUN by Patrick Matthews (Scholastic), HOPE'S GIFT illustrated by Don Tate (Putnam/Penguin), GOLDEN BOY by Tara Sullivan (Putnam/Penguin), ICE DOGS by Terry Johnson (Houghton Mifflin/HMH), RED KITE BLUE KITE by Ji-li Jiang (Disney-Hyperion), and more books in the BALLPARK MYSTERIES chapter book series by David Kelly (Random House) and in the JO SCHMO chapter book series by Greg Trine (Harcourt/HMH).
“Caryn holds an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA, and a BS from the University of Virginia. She is a member of SCBWI and she is a frequent speaker at writer's conferences.” (Link)
About the Agency:
"We are a mid-size literary agency based in California celebrating over 2,000 titles sold. We bring the best of both worlds to the table—the personal client attention of a small agency and the clout of a larger one. We invest a great deal of care in each project and each client. We devise a strategy at every stage of the writing process, from conception, to editorial, to publication, that is tailored to the client and will enable us to find the best publisher for his or her books. We are seeking long-term relationships with writers and illustrators whose careers we can develop and whose talent we can foster." (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult; fiction and nonfiction. (Link)
From her Website Bio (as of 6/13):
“Caryn is drawn to speculative middle grade or YA fiction—usually contemporary with a very smart science fiction or light fantasy element, but she also appreciates being carried away by great world-building in a unique story that isn't grounded in reality. Zombies, horror, and high fantasy will, most likely, not appeal. She would love to see a YA thriller with the pacing and twists of HOMELAND, and a YA Pitch Perfect or Big Bang Theory. She would be thrilled to see more contemporary multicultural middle grade or YA—books that deeply explore another culture, as well as books in which the ethnicity of the character is not the issue. She adores a swoon-worthy romance with an intelligent heroine who isn't simply swept off her feet by a hunky hero. A sweet, funny or poignant middle-grade novel, with a great hook that makes it stand out from the crowd, would hold great appeal, and she's partial to lyrical, non-institutional picture book biographies. She is always open to terrific children's work that doesn't fit these categories as long as it makes her laugh, makes her cry, and keeps her awake at night, either reading the manuscript or thinking about it. She does not represent adult projects. Please do not query her regarding adult work” (Link)
From an Interview (03/2013):
“Given today’s market, if you’ve got something paranormal or speculative, it needs to be unique and it needs to stand out from the crowd that’s already out there. I hate to say no to something that could be an amazing twist on themes that have been explored before, but dystopian is a pretty tough sell right now, so if you’ve got something dystopian, it’s unlikely that I’ll take it on, unless it has an amazingly fresh and unique spin. Same with paranormal. I’m not usually drawn to high fantasy, particularly if it requires maps, but if it’s something fresh and amazing, I’m open. Right now, I’d love to see a great contemporary YA – either completely realistic, or with a very smart science fiction or light fantasy element. No zombies, horror, or high fantasy. I adore a swoon-worthy romance with an intelligent heroine who isn’t simply swept off her feet by a hunky hero. Voice is paramount, but the writing and story need to be amazing, too. Specifically, I’d love to see a YA thriller with the pacing and twists of HOMELAND a YA Downton Abbey, a Southern gothic romance, and a YA Glee or Pitch Perfect or Big Bang Theory. I’d also be happy with a non-dystopian science fiction or light fantasy, in which the world-building just carries me off.
“For middle-grade, I’d love to see something hysterically funny that isn’t a one-trick pony, or a voice-driven, poignant story like WONDER, or a sweeping, epic adventure. I also love literary middle-grade like WHEN YOU REACH ME, as long as it has a great hook or twist.” (Link)
From an Interview (04/2010):
“Funny middle-grade, horror, dystopian, steampunk, multicultural fiction. No more vampires, werewolves or zombies. I’d like to see a middle-grade or YA novel that explores a fresh, new paranormal category or a new twist on a dystopian world. I’d love to see a wonderful middle-grade or YA novel in which the protagonist is multicultural, and that informs his/her decisions, but is not the focus of the story. I’d love to see a great environmental novel. Most of all, I’d just like to see manuscripts that make me laugh, make me cry, and keep me up at night.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Adult fiction or nonfiction projects.
“My personal agenting philosophy is to be honest and transparent with authors and with editors. I expect my authors to be honest in return. I only take on projects that I am passionate about. If I’m not passionate about your work, I’m not going to be able to sell it, even if it’s something commercial. I also hope that my authors will not be defensive, but will take time to think about editorial comments before responding negatively. This is a partnership, and it’s built on trust and mutual respect.” (Link)
"I knew that agenting would allow me to do the things that I love best - reading and editing - and that, as an agent, I could discover wonderful authors, and help them get their books published." (Link)
There is a list of ABLA clients on the agency website.
Ms. Wiseman’s clients include: Tom Angleberger, Cece Bell, Jennifer Berne, Ryan Van Cleave, Gene Fehler, Amy Fellner Dominy, Nate Evans, A. G. Henley, Tamara Ireland Stone, Ji-li Jiang, Christine Johnson, Terry Lynn Johnson, David Kelly, Laura Lascarso, Debbie Levy, Joanne Levy, Gina Linko, Kevin Markey, Patrick Matthews, Amy Novesky, Amjed Qamar, Deborah Raffin, Tara Sullivan, Rhonda Stapleton, Don Tate, Greg Trine, Pamela Turner, Deborah Underwood, Michele Wood, among others.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Brief query in the body of an e-mail. Put QUERY in the subject line. Include publisher submission history and previous publishing credits (if applicable). Only query one agent at the agency. Note if it's a multiple submission.
For PB: Include full text. Fiction: First ten pages. NF: Proposal and one sample chapter. No attachments.
Illustrators: Two to three jpegs of children and animals.
Please see the ABLA website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
The submissions page on the website contains query hints. The agency website offers Submission Advice, Do's and Don'ts, and Team Tips. Additional tips are available in the interviews linked below as well.
The agency tries to respond within 4-8 weeks but does not guarantee a response due to the large number of submissions they receive. If you have not heard back in 8 weeks, assume rejection. (Link)
Ms. Wiseman usually responds to requested materials within 1-3 months.
What's the Buzz?
Like all of the Andrea Brown agents I've profiled, Ms. Wiseman is a wonderful literary agent. She has a very strong list of sales to large publishers and her clients seem very happy with her representation.
Worth Your Time:
Interview with Literary Agent Caryn Wiseman at Stacey O’Neale’s site (3/2013).
Exclusive interview with ABLA literary agent Caryn Wiseman at LiveJournal and NaNoWriMo (11/2011).
Author-Agent-Editor Three-in-One Notebook Special | OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy at The Whole Megillah (09/2011).
Andrea Brown Literary Agent Chat with Jen Rofe, Kelly Sonnack, Jennifer Laughran & Caryn Wiseman at WriteOnCon (Press “Play”) (08/2011).
Caryn Wiseman - Andrea Brown Literary Agency at Tales From the Rushmore Kid (12/2010).
Lit Agent, Caryn Wiseman: No More Vampire Stories! at GalleyCat (04/2010).
Interview with Caryn Wiseman at Tales From the Rushmore Kid (01/2010).
Agent Advice Interview with Caryn Wiseman at Guide to Literary Agents (11/2007).
Around the Web:
Caryn Wiseman at P&E ($).
Andrea Brown Literary at P&E ($, Recommended).
Secret Agent Unveiled: Caryn Wiseman at Miss Snark’s First Victim (01/2013).
How I Met My Agent by client Tamara Ireland Stone at her blog (03/2011).
Successful Queries: Agent Caryn Wiseman and ‘Escape From Camp David’ at Guide to Literary Agents (12/2009).
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 6/4/13.
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.