This week's Agent Spotlight features Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Joanna Volpe has been a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, an editorial assistant with independent publisher Blue Martin Publications, an assistant and junior agent at FinePrint Literary Management and a full-time agent with Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation, all before starting her own company: New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. She has worked on a number of exciting projects, including Kody Keplinger’s The DUFF, Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow & Bone, Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, Sandy Williams’ Shadow Reader series, Shelby Bach’s Ever Afters: Of Giants and Ice, and Sarah Frances Hardy’s picture book, Puzzled by Pink. For a full list of the New Leaf projects, go here. What she is most excited for right now is working with her amazing team at New Leaf. The company is off to a strong start, and they are looking to sign on more wonderful talent!” (Link)
About the Agency:
“New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. is a full service agency. We represent both juvenile and adult literature and work with only high quality writers. Joanna is an active member of SCBWI, RWA and AAR.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
“Joanna represents all brands of fiction, from picture books to adult. She has an affinity for stories that have a darker, grittier element to them, whether they be horror, drama or comedy. Her recent publications include The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams (Ace), Divergent by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen Books), Sway by Amber McRee Turner (Disney*Hyperion), and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt).
“Joanna is currently on the lookout for solid fiction in the following genres: women's fiction, thriller, horror, speculative fiction, literary fiction and historical fiction. Joanna prefers her stories dark, in tone, style and even in humor. Some recent reads that she enjoyed are: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn,World War Z by Max Brooks, The Breach by Patrick Lee, and The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas.
“In terms of the juvenile market, Joanna would love to find (Young Adult) horror, dark high fantasy, or literary novels; (Middle Grade) all genres (Picture Book) art-focused, 200-500 words.” (Link)
What She ISN'T Looking For:
“Joanna is NOT looking for: chapter books, text-only picture book submissions, hard science fiction.” (Link)
"From children's to adult the most important part of a manuscript to me is the voice. The characters really need to come alive for me on the page whether it's a fast-paced adventure for kids, a beautiful, family-drama for women, or a dark, horror for teen boys. I often look for more character-driven stories rather than strictly plot-driven (although plot is important, obviously). So I guess my taste in children's, YA and adult is the same: strong voice, no matter what it's about." (Link)
Her Advice to Writers:
"Remember that everything you write is important, even the stories that will never see the light of day. Each one you learn from and it gets you to the next. It's okay to put something in the trunk to work on something else. Every author I know has trunked stories." (Link)
"Don’t try to find out what the next ‘hot thing’ is. Just write what comes to you. Trends or no trends, agents and editors are just looking for solid writing." (Link)
"Once I sign someone, I ALWAYS do another pass of the book before sending it out. So far, I have yet to sign anyone that has had the perfect manuscript. I am working with a lot of debut authors, but even my more experienced clients appreciate (at least, I think they do!) a polished revision before going out. I want to send it out in the best shape it can be." (Link )
Eric Etkin, Maple Lam, Realm Lovejoy, Kody Keplinger, Amber McRee Turner, Lee Nichols, Veronica Roth, Karen Schwabach, Allan Woodrow, Sarah Frances Hardy, Lynne Kelly, Monica Vavra, Amy Lukavics, Loretta Nyhan, Adam Watkins, Lori Nichols, Shelley Moore Thomas, Shelby Bach, April Genevieve Tucholke, among others.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send an e-query with the word “query” in the subject line, along with the agents name, i.e. “Query, Joanna Volpe.” You may include up to 5 double-spaced pages in the body of the e-mail. No attachments. Include all necessary contact information. You should receive an auto-response confirming receipt.
Do not query more than one agent at the agency.
See the New Leaf Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
See the New Leaf blog for submission FAQ.
"The query letter is very important, but I’m not the kind of agent that will reject because of a spelling error or two…I’m more concerned about the story. […] If a query really conveys the tone of the story or the voice of the protagonist, I tend to get more excited about it. If it’s kind of standard but the premise is really cool, I might request some sample pages. But if it’s too brief or too long or unfocused, I most likely will be passing." (Link)
The agency only responds if interested, usually within two weeks. If you’ve received a partial or full request, you may contact the agency for an update after eight weeks, not anytime before.
What's the Buzz?
Joanna has a fantastic list of clients and sales and is popular among aspiring authors for her generousity in doing contests, critiques, and giveaways. She founded New Leaf Literary in June of 2012. Follow her on Twitter and keep an eye on the New Leaf Literary blog for updates and happenings.
Worth Your Time
Agent Joanna Volpe - The Pre-#LA13SCBWI Conference Interviews at I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? (05/2013).
Agent Joanna Volpe, president of New Leaf Media at Honestly YA (06/2012).
INSURGENT Release Day: Perfect 10 Interview Agent Joanna Volpe at Julie Cross’ site (05/2012).
Introducing Joanna Volpe! at Pub(lishing) Crawl (01/2012).
A BBCHAT with Joanna Volpe at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire (08/2011).
Q&A with Joanna Volpe at Seeing Creative (10/2010).
Interview with Joanna Volpe at Renae Mercado's blog (09/2010).
Audio Interview with Joanna Stampfel-Volpe at AuthorMagazine (01/2010).
Interview with Joanna Stampfel-Volpe at Write About Now (11/2009).
Marvelous Marketer interview with Joanna Stampfel-Volpe over at Market My Words (07/2009).
Agent Advice interview with Joanna Stampfel-Volpe at Guide to Literary Agents (03/2009).
Interview with Joanna Stampfel-Volpe at WordHustler (05/2009).
Why Literary Agent Joanna Volpe Loves Middle Grade at Middle Grade Ninja (03/2013).
Middle Grade Memories: Agent Joanna Volpe at Claire Legrand’s site (08/2012).
How to Determine Your Author Fee at Pub(lishing) Crawl (08/2012).
The DOJ Settlement and Why We Should Care at Pub(lishing) Crawl (07/2012).
The Truth and Nothing but the Truth on Promotion and Publicity for Debut Authors at Pub(lishing) Crawl (05/2012).
NARB or Just Read! at Pub(lishing) Crawl (04/2012).
Bologna Book Fair for Beginners at Pub(lishing) Crawl (03/2012).
The Changing Role of the Literary Agent at Pub(lishing) Crawl (02/2012).
Guest blogger Joanna Stampfel-Volpe responds to a recent PW blog post on LGBTQ YA at The Swivet (09/2011).
Agent Joanna Volpe On: Why Realistic Teen Dialogue Isn’t Necessarily a Good Thing at Guide to Literary Agents (11/2010).
The Dreaded Pitch -- What to Include in that One Line at the QueryTracker Blog (04/2009).
Guest post by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe at The Swivet - "Reader's Block or, Stop and Read a Book Once in a While" (01/2009).
Guest post by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, "BNFFs," at Susan Adrian's blog (12/2009).
Guest post by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe at The Insanity of Writerhood (details how she got into the publishing biz/agenting) (08/2009).
Around the Web:
CONFERENCE 2013: Joanna Volpe, "The Dreaded Synopsis" at The Official SCBWI Blog (04/2013).
We Have News – New Leaf Announcement at the New Leaf blog (06/2012).
Query Series: April Tucholke and Joanna Volpe at YA Highway (05/2012).
Live Event With Molly O’Neill, Joanna Volpe and Michelle Andelman at WriteOnCon (05/2011).
Middle Grade’s Got Heart by Joanna Volpe at WriteOnCon (08/2011).
Synopsis Tips from Agent Joanna Volpe, Part 1 at Writing While the Rice Boils (05/2011
Synopsis Tips from Agent Joanna Volpe, Part 2 at Writing While the Rice Boils (05/2011
Professional Panel with Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, Mary Kole, Suzie Townsend, and Anica Rissi at WriteOnCon - Press "Replay" (08/2010).
Query Critique #1 from Agent Joanna Volpe at WriteOnCon (08/2010).
Query Critique #2 from Agent Joanna Volpe at WriteOnCon (08/2010).
Successful Query story over on the Guide to Literary Agent's blog featuring Joanna and her client, Amber Turner (author of SWAY).
NYC Publishing Tips: The Movie! at YA Highway. A cute video featuring Joanna at the end (02/2010).
Last updated: 9/26/13.
Last Reviewed By Agent: 09/12/10.
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 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.