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Agent Spotlight: Caryn Wiseman

This week's Agent Spotlight features Caryn Wiseman of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.
Status: Open to submissions.
caryn-2012-photoAbout: "Caryn has been an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 2003, and she has sold over 450 books. She handles children's books only: YA and middle grade fiction and nonfiction, graphic novels, chapter books, and fiction and nonfiction picture books. 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 story; and characters that stick with her long after she has closed the book.
Caryn is drawn to contemporary YA and middle grade novels that have a strong voice, multifaceted characters, complex relationships, beautiful writing, and a well-developed hook. Great world-building is essential, whether it's a real time and place that becomes almost a character in a book, or a light fantasy element in a unique story that's grounded in reality. Zombies, horror, and high fantasy will, most likely, never appeal. Caryn is particularly interested in books for children and teens that explore social justice themes. She would be thrilled to see more books by underrepresented authors that deeply explore their culture, as well as books in which the ethnicity or culture of the character is not the issue. She adores a swoon-worthy, layered YA romantic comedy; a funny or poignant middle grade novel with a hook that makes it stand out from the crowd would also hold great appeal. Caryn is partial to graphic novels by author-illustrators; from sweet and funny for the youngest reader to coming of age stories for the middle-grade and young adult reader to informative, non-institutional nonfiction for readers of all ages. She also enjoys character-driven, not-too-sweet picture book fiction, particularly by diverse author-illustrators. The common denominator in Caryn's list, no matter the category, is "smart with heart." 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.
Caryn’s clients include: Tom Angleberger, author of the bestselling ORIGAMI YODA series (Abrams/Amulet), and the adapter and illustrator of the forthcoming GERONIMO STILTON graphic novel THE SEWER RAT STINK (Scholastic); Cece Bell, author-illustrator of the bestselling graphic novel memoir, EL DEAFO (Abrams), which won a Newbery Honor and an Eisner Award; Debbie Levy, author of the bestselling and award-winning I DISSENT, and the graphic novel biography, BECOMING RBG (both S&S), and the co-author, with JoAnn Allen Boyce, of THIS PROMISE OF CHANGE (Bloomsbury), which won the 2019 Horn Book Award, and the 2020 Robert F. Sibert Honor; Kelly Starling Lyons, author of the 2020 Caldecott Honor book, GOING DOWN HOME WITH DADDY (Peachtree); Tamara Ireland Stone, author of the NYT Bestseller, EVERY LAST WORD (Disney*Hyperion); Don Tate, award-winning illustrator and author-illustrator of many books, including POET(Peachtree), NO SMALL POTATOES (Knopf) and the forthcoming SWISH (Little, Brown); Riley Redgate, author of YA such as NOTEWORTHY (Abrams/Amulet) and the forthcoming ALONE OUT HERE (Disney); Jennifer Berne, author of award-winning, lyrical picture book biographies such as MANFISH, ON A BEAM OF LIGHT, and ON WINGS OF WORDS (all Chronicle); Sarah Albee, author of nonfiction such as POISON (Bloomsbury) and the forthcoming FAIRY TALE SCIENCE (OddDot/Macmillan) and ACCIDENTAL ARCHAEOLOGISTS (Scholastic); Cindy L. Otis, former CIA Analyst and author of the forthcoming topical nonfiction title TRUE OR FALSE (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan); Terry Lynn Johnson, author of critically-acclaimed survival stories for middle-grade readers, such as ICE DOGS and DOG DRIVEN (both HMH); Mike Cavallaro, author of the NICO BRAVO series of graphic novels; Tim McCanna, author of WATERSONG, DINOSAUR SONG, and IN A GARDEN (all Paula Wiseman/S&S); Amy Novesky, author of award-winning picture book biographies ME, FRIDA and CLOTH LULLABY (both Abrams); and Kristin L. Gray, author of middle-grade novels VILLONIA BEEBE TAKES CHARGE and THE AMELIA SIX (both Paula Wiseman/S&S).
Caryn holds an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA, and a BS from the University of Virginia. You can find her on Facebook (caryn.wiseman) and Twitter (@carynwiseman)" (Via email)
About the Agency:
“The Andrea Brown Literary Agency was founded in August 1981 and has offices in the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
“Our agency works to bring to light the voices and perspectives of new writers as well as to nurture and develop the careers of experienced authors. Our goal, whether seeking to secure a publishing contract for a first book or a fiftieth book, is to make sure that clients are not only published, but published well.
“Our philosophy is to remain a ‘small’ agency at heart. We invest a great deal of personal care and attention in each project, and we are hands-on in all aspects of our interactions with clients. We work closely with clients in an editorial capacity and we devise a strategy at every stage of the writing process that will enable us to find the best publisher for each book. In doing so, we think about both short term and long term goals for our clients, always keeping the trajectory of a successful career in mind.
“Our agents have backgrounds in New York publishing, editing, academia, business, teaching, writing and film, and one of our strengths as an agency is that we work collaboratively. Our clients have the benefit not only of their individual agent's expertise but of the combined experience and vision of the group.
“As a West Coast based agency, we follow a tradition of West Coast innovation in our passion for discovering new voices, in our efforts to make New York publishing more inclusive of voices from other parts of the country, and in our attempt to see publishing trends that result from this broader perspective. We combine this approach with access, standing, and visibility in the publishing community at large. Our agents make regular trips to New York, attend industry conventions, and participate as faculty at writers' conferences all over the country. We ensure a high profile for our clients and actively keep our fingers on the pulse of publishing.” (Link)Web Presence:
Andrea Brown Agency website.
Publisher's Marketplace page.
Twitter @CarynWiseman.
What She's Looking For:
Picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult; fiction and nonfiction.
You can see more of what she is looking for in her bio above.
What She Isn't Looking For:
Adult fiction or nonfiction projects.
Agenting Philosophy:
“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 defunct)
Editorial Agent?
"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 defunct)
There is a list of ABLA clients on the agency website. A number of Ms. Wiseman's clients are listed in her bio above and on her Publishers Marketplace page.
Query Methods:
E-mail: No.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: Yes via queryme.online/CarynWiseman.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
“We accept email queries only. Please direct your e-query to ONE agent at our agency, and include the following:
“Fiction: query letter and first 10 pages.”
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines as well as the agency's Submission Advice, Dos and Dont’s, and Tips.Response Times:
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)
What's the Buzz?
Like all of the Andrea Brown agents I've profiled, Ms. Wiseman is a wonderful literary agent. She is a senior agent and has a very strong list of sales to large publishers and her clients seem very happy with her representation.
You can find Ms. Wiseman at the twice annual Big Sur Writing Workshop and on Twitter @CarynWiseman.
Worth Your Time:
7 Questions for Literary Agent Caryn Wiseman at Middle Grade Ninja (06/2016)
Query Questions for Caryn Wiseman at Michelle Hauck (10/2013).
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).
Caryn Wiseman - Andrea Brown Literary Agency at Tales From the Rushmore Kid (12/2010).
Interview with Caryn Wiseman at Tales From the Rushmore Kid (01/2010).
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 6/10/2020.
Agent Contacted for Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 6/11/2020.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7at)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.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for another super detailed, helpful agent post. While I don't have anything Caryn Wiseman would be interested in now, I am saving her name for future projects. Thanks so much.


Thanks for this! I attended the LA SCBWI conference last year, and a few of the Andrea Brown agents attended--their breakout sessions and agent interview panels were great, and I heard only positive things about their agency. My current WIP falls into one of the niches that Ms. Wiseman is interested in seeing, so I'll definitely consider querying her when it's polished!

Samantha Clark said...

Another great agent spotlight. Thanks, Casey.

Rhonda Helms said...

GREAT spotlight! :D

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Caryn is my agent, and just wanted to agree - YES, she is amazing. Her revision suggestions made my ms so much better. Her response time for me was within one hour of getting the query, and two weeks of getting the full. I consider myself very lucky.

Casey McCormick said...

Thanks for stopping by, Terry. She sounds fabulous!!!

lauralascarso said...

Caryn is my agent and I *heart* her. She's got an excellent sense of the market, great editorial feedback and her response time is incredibly fast. Submit, submit, submit.

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Laura! She sounds wonderful.