This week's Agent Spotlight features Becca Stumpf of Prospect Agency.
About: "Becca Stumpf joined Prospect Agency in 2006 after working as an assistant at Writers House Literary Agency. After graduating from Grinnell College with a B.A. in English Literature, Becca lived and worked in England to indulge her yen for cobbled streets, neighborhood pubs, and barbed wit. She came to New York armed with naïveté and a love of books, and couldn't believe her luck when she found a field that allowed her to work closely with authors and their manuscripts. As a reader, Becca falls hard for sentences that are beautifully crafted, for humor in unexpected places, and for characters that come to life and follow you around for a while. She rereads the first chapter of A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle every year because it still knocks her socks off with its simple evocation of a family awoken by a storm in the nighttime." (Link)
Status: Accepting submissions and building her client list.
What She's Looking For:
Fiction: Middle grade, young adult, commercial, mainstream, fantasy (urban preferred), mystery, romance, science fiction, and graphic novels.
Non-fiction: Biographies, memoirs, celebrity, pop culture, music, film & entertainment, art, photography, cultural/social Issues, humor & gift books, journalism, narrative, travel.
"Becca is currently looking for Adult, YA and Middle-Grade literary and commercial fiction, with a special interest in SciFi/Paranormal/Fantasy books with broad appeal (genre fiction is not just for nerds anymore, so let's bring it to the masses!). She falls hard for high concept plots that balance drama, wit, and intrigue in equal parts, and has a long-standing weakness for anti-heroes, fringe-dwellers, troubled souls and the occasional scoundrel...provided such characters are richly drawn and demonstrate some serious soul.
"Becca also keeps an eye out for gritty, character-driven thrillers and mysteries and is always up for romance novels that are wry, witty and dark with a paranormal twist (or just very smart and sexy). Other interests include select non-fiction, including narrative non-fiction, memoir, journalistic perspectives, film studies, travel, and humor. (Link)
Other quotes I saw around the net just reaffirmed the above interests.
What She Isn't Looking For:
"Inspired by Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Prospect Agency takes inspiration from the park's peaceful energy and the diversity of the people who run its paths and explore its forests. Prospect Agency aims to provide just such a space for reflection, motivation and implementation of goals large and small.
"Clients receive professional and knowledgeable representation from our literary agents. We are committed to offering skilled editorial advice and advocating for our clients in the book publishing marketplace. With unsurpassed technological tools to make managing a literary career easier, and a forum for literary agent and client to engage in an artist's community, Prospect Agency takes a leadership role in shaping the changing face of book publishing." (Link)
"We're a young agency and that's good for you because we're definitely looking for new talent! Prospect Agency values literature that surprises, breaks conventions, transports the reader to a new world whether that be Planet X or Cleveland, but never forgets the basics of storytelling: strong characters and a gripping narrative." (Link)
She is likely editorial as needed, though I found no definite confirmations. The website does claim the following: "We are committed to offering skilled editorial advice and advocating for our clients in the book publishing marketplace." (Link)
As of this posting, Ms. Stumpf is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 3 deals in the last 12 months and 4 overall. Recent deals include 1 picture book, 1 young adult, and 1 women's romance.
Her most recent children's sale:
"Molly Backes's THE PRINCESSES OF IOWA, set in suburban Iowa, a reverse-Cinderella story in which an It-girl who seems to have it all - the gorgeous boyfriend, the perfect best friends, and a spot on the Homecoming Court - starts to wonder if there's more to life than being popular, to Kaylan Adair at Candlewick, in a nice deal, for publication in Spring 2012, by Becca Stumpf at Prospect Agency (World)." (Link)
Note: PM is often not a true representation of total sales.
Online-Form: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Online Submission: Include a query letter, three chapters (or first 30 pages) and a brief synopsis as a single Word, PDF, HTML, or Text file. Only submit to one agent and only submit one manuscript at a time.
"Your query letter should include your name, the date, contact information and a brief description of the work. Include only relevant personal information: previous publications, writing education, etc. For previously published authors, please also give a brief overview of your career thus far and your goals for the future."
See the agency's website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines before querying.
The stated response time on the Prospect website is one week to three months. If you do not hear back in six months, resend. Realistic response times for Ms. Stumpf seem to fall around the three to four month mark with occasional instances that are quicker or slower.
What's the Buzz?
Becca Stumpf has a pretty quiet web presence, but she's a frequent conference goer and everything I read on her seems to be very complimentary. Most of what you hear or read comes from the pitch sessions and contests she does at conferences and the general consensus is that she's very bright, professional, and approachable.
While she isn't listed on P&E and isn't a member of the AAR, the Prospect Agency is very much legit and adheres to the AAR Canon of Ethics as a whole. Plus, Ms. Stumpf started as an assistant at Writers House, joined Prospect in 2006, and became an agent in 2007, so her relative history in publishing is golden.
If you don't mind the response times, everything's in place to recommend her!
Worth Your Time:
I couldn't find very much on Ms. Stumpf, but here are a few things I did dig up.
There's a list of resources and a schedule of events on the Prospect Agency website.
If you didn't click out to Becca Stumpf's website bio already, there's a list of recent reads there as well.
You can read a "How I Got My Agent" post by Becca Stumpf's client Lark Howard at Vicky Dreiling's blog.
Some pitch advice, "Pitching to Becca Stumpf - Insights from a Client", at The Edge.
Please see the Prospect Agency 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(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.