This week's Agent Spotlight features Emily van Beek of Folio Literary Management.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: "I moved to New York City from Toronto in 1999 armed with dual citizenship, a dream to work in children’s book publishing, and inspiration from my favorite (if clichéd) Zen magnet, ‘Leap and the net will appear’. Soon after my arrival in the city, I was hired as an editorial assistant at Hyperion Books for Children. During my three-and-a half year tenure at HBFC I became an editor working on projects by celebrated authors and artists, including Julie Andrews Edwards, Rosemary Wells, Susan Jeffers, and L.M. Elliott.
“In October of 2003, I decided to explore the view from the agent’s side of the desk, where I fell head over heels in love with my role as a literary agent. I spent the next six-and-a-half years as an agent and the rights director at Pippin Properties, Inc. Kathi Appelt’s Newbery Honor-winning THE UNDERNEATH (Atheneum/S&S, 2008), Jandy Nelson’s THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE (Dial, 2010), Jenny Han’s New York Times bestselling SUMMER series, and Erin Bow’s TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award-winning PLAIN KATE (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 2010) are examples of some of the titles I represented before joining Folio in May of 2010.
“At Folio Jr. I represent a select group of illustrators, including the Caldecott Medal winning creators of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead, award-winning artists Abigail Halpin, Irene Luxbacher, and Gabi Swiatkowska, among others. I also represent established authors, including New York Times bestseller Jenny Han, Siobhan Vivian, Erin Bow, Kallie George, and Laura L. Sullivan as well as debut voices who write for the youngest readers on up through teen, like Juli Brenning, Sandra Bradley, Crystal Chan, and Meg Fleming, to name a few. I completely love what I do and hope never to retire." (Link)
About the Agency:
“Folio Literary Management places both fiction and non-fiction with major publishers throughout the U.S. and around the world. We represent many first-time authors, some of whom have gone on to become bestsellers and major award-winners. We also represent many well-established authors, and work closely with them to take their careers to new heights. Folio is proud to offer a full complement of literary services in a changing publishing landscape, and provide our clients with access to marketing services, website development, and media training that it takes to make each book a success. We are dedicated to supporting authors across all platforms, from film adaptation to enhanced e-books and apps.
“Folio Jr, the division of Folio Literary Management devoted exclusively to the representation of today’s most stellar children’s book authors and artists, is wholly committed to offering our clients 360º of impeccable, hands-on care. We strive not only to find the most un-put-down-able new voices and the most can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it new styles of illustration, but also to guide our established writers and illustrators to new heights in their publishing careers.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
YA, middle grade, and picture books. (Link)
From the Website (as of 3/2013):
“I am exclusively interested in acquiring projects for young and teen readers, from picture books by authors and author / artists, to authentic and fresh middle-grade fiction, to lyrical and daring YA.
“I’m looking for voices that won’t be ignored. I am open to considering all sorts of YA from mysteries to well-written chick lit, coming-of-age, the lyrical, the literary, and the laughable. I am looking for fiction that has an impact—whether it packs a punch or effects change with a more subtle hand, but something that can’t be put down, a manuscript that begs me to turn the page, work that changes me with the reading. I’m really, really looking for something that feels new, that I haven’t read before. I am not the best agent for fangs, claws, and wings. These topics have been very successfully published already. I’m looking for what comes after vampires and werewolves. I would love to be surprised!
“I believe it was Ursula Nordstrom who once wrote (of the process of considering a manuscript) something along the lines of: ‘If you can resist it, do.’ A tough love sort of approach to the process, but it’s a litmus test I often use to help me decide if I am the right agent to represent a particular project and to help an author achieve his or her publishing goals.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Adult projects and illustrators who only illustrate.
"I am very actively looking to work with debut authors, so aspiring writers should certainly feel free to query me. I love launching careers and having the chance to work with someone from the very beginning." (via e-mail)
"I am passionate about children's and young adult books. I am passionate about negotiating the best deal possible. I am passionate about working together with our experienced and esteemed subsidiary rights and contracts teams to squeeze as much juice out of a single property as it will yield. I find it incredibly rewarding to work with new voices (and I'm thrilled to say that I've discovered several irresistible projects by debut authors and artists in the submissions pile). I'm also committed to helping established authors and artists continue to grow their careers. [...]" (Link)
Her Advice to Writers:
"It's really important for aspiring writers to do their research when it comes to selecting an agent. It's useful to know about an agent's current roster of clients and the types of projects they feel passionately about (in terms of genre, format, and audience). Are your tastes compatible?" (Link with more!)
"I am an 'editorial' agent, in that I'll work through as many drafts over the course of as many years as it takes to polish a manuscript I believe in to a high shine prior to submission. My goal is to build long-term relationships with authors and to help them publish books that will stand the test of time." (Link)
There is a page of Ms. van Beek’s clients on the Folio website.
Clients include: R.W. Alley, Erin Bow, Susane Colasanti, Katie Finn, Kallie George, Abigail Halpin, Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, Erin E. Stead, Philip C. Stead, Gabi Swiatkowska, Siobhan Vivian, among others.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Fill out Ms. van Beek’s submission form on the agency website. Do not submit simultaneously to more than one agent at Folio. For information on queries and manuscript formatting see the “Submissions” tab on the website.
You can read a "submission cheat-sheet" (that addresses common slip-ups) in this interview with Emily van Beek at Cynsations.
Ms. van Beek is unable to respond to all queries due to the volume she receives. (Link)
Stats on the web suggest she usually responds within 1-4 weeks when interested.
What's the Buzz?
Emily is a well-respected and talented literary agent with a successful list of clients and sales. She heads up the agency’s children’s division, Folio Jr., representing properties for the youngest of children to the oldest of teens. Her clients seem very happy with her representation.
Worth Your Time:
A Conversation (interview) with Emily van Beek and Holly McGhee at Hunger Mountain (02/2010).
Interview with Emily van Beek at Cynsations (02/2008).
Around the Web:
There's a great list of resources on the Folio Literary website.
You can sign up for the Folio Literary newsletter here.
Folio Literary Management at P&E (Recommended, $).
Folio Literary Management thread at Absolute Write.
Client success story at Kathy Temean’s site (08/2012).
Emily van Beek weighs in on using a freelance editor or book doctor at Through The Tollbooth (07/2009).
There are a few notes available on Emily van Beek in this post on the agent panel at a NJ-SCBWI conference at Writing For Kids (06/2009).
Great story about Emily van Beek and client Kathi Appelt at Day By Day Writer, if you like reading client-related stories (11/2008).
Please see Folio Literary Management website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 3/12/13.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/24/10.
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 profiles focus on agents who accept children's and/or teen 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.