This week's Agent Spotlight features Catherine Drayton of InkWell Management.
Status: Accepting submissions.
About: Catherine Drayton graduated with a Bachelor of Arts/Law from the University of Sydney and a Masters of Law from University of New South Wales. She worked as a copyright and defamation litigator in Sydney for four years before moving to the United States in 1995. She had a brief stint as a literary scout and then joined Arthur Pine Associates in 1998. She represents women’s fiction and books for children of all ages. Her clients include New York Times bestselling authors and a number of internationally successful writers. She represents Markus Zusak, John Flanagan, Becca Fitzpatrick and Beth Hoffman, amongst many others.” (Link)
About the Agency:
"InkWell was formed in the summer of 2004 through the merger of three agencies, Carlisle & Company, Arthur Pine Associates and Witherspoon Associates. In that short time, we have gained a considerable international reputation as a significant and innovative player in the industry.
“In addition to its full-time agents and their assistants, the InkWell team includes a tireless foreign rights department, a dedicated marketing and publicity expert, an experienced film and television strategist, an in-house editor, and a meticulous contracts manager. We also join forces with leading literary agencies in every foreign market and we have a full-time agent based in Australia.
“While we are proud to represent major literary prize winners as well as many of the world's bestselling and best-loved authors, we continue to be excited by and on the lookout for original ideas, riveting stories and great writing from new writers.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Women’s fiction, literary fiction, crime, world literature, young adult, middle-grade and picture books. (Link)
From a Tweet (01/2012):
“Someone please send me a fabulous picture book. I'm in the mood for good art!” (Link)
From a Tweet (09/2011):
“Anyone writing a YA psychological suspense novel? I keep hoping that a stunning manuscript is going to land in my inbox!” (Link)
From an Interview (09/2010):
“I tend to concentrate on all genres of children’s books (picture, middle-grade and YA) and women’s fiction. In young adult, I love the very literary novel such as The Book Thief by Markus Zusak or The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee, but I also enjoy compelling commercial projects such as Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick and Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan. I look for high-end women’s fiction such as Saving Ceecee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman and am always on the look-out for novels that will appeal to women’s book clubs. I’m excited about Cleo, a memoir by Helen Brown that is about to be published, but I don’t do much nonfiction these days.” (Link)
From an Interview (07/2009):
"My dream project in any genre has a wonderful imagination, a wry sense of humor, a distinctive, vibrant voice and memorable characters. I’m passionate about publishing books that will inspire teenagers to read and only want to take on those authors who are reaching for the stars." (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“I don’t represent much non-fiction (except memoirs), thrillers or science fiction.” (Link)
Regarding what she expects in an agent-author relationship:
“Honesty, professionalism and a sense of humor! I try to keep my list small so each client feels as if they are my top priority.” (Link)
She makes revision requests and edits as needed.
A list of InkWell management clients is available on the website.
Ms. Drayton's clients include: Katherine Battersby, Jane Bradley, Nathan Bransford, Helen Brown, Joshua Cohen, Andrew Fukuda,Becca Fitzpatrick, John Flanagan, Peter Hartcher, Jacqueline Harvey, Beth Hoffman, Tara Hudson, Katherine Longshore, Shawn Thomas Odyssey, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Craig Silvey, Markus Zusak, among others.
As of 5/2012, Ms. Drayton is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 5 deals in the last 12 months, 5 six-figure+ deals, and 66 overall. Recent deals include 1 debut, 1 young adult, 1 middle grade, 1 picture book, 1 international rights: children's.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
In the body of an e-mail include a query letter and short writing sample (1-2 chapters). Despite what it says on the InkWell website, she prefers to receive queries directly. The e-mail address is available on her AgentQuery page.
Please see the Inkwell Management website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines and terms of agreement.
"The query letter is very important to me. I want to know that an author has done their research and knows what I represent and why their book would be a good fit for my list. Then I look for imagination – a plot that is unusual, creative – and the ability to pitch the book in one paragraph. A brilliant query letter is very persuasive!" (Link)
The agency has a stated response time of up to two months but Ms. Drayton tends to be very fast. Stats on the web show she responds to most queries within days to two weeks and requested material within days to a month or so.
What's the Buzz?
Catherine Drayton seems to be an all-around fabulous agent. She's got the three Ps going for her - prompt, pleasant, and professional - along with a great list of clients, many bestselling, and big sales.
I recommend following her on Twitter @cjdrayton.
Worth Your Time:
Agent Advice Interview with Catherine Drayton at Guide to Literary Agents (09/2010).
Interview with an Agent: Catherine Drayton at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (06/2010).
Interview with Catherine Drayton and Stephen Fraser at Class of 2K9 (07/2009).
Around the Web
Successful Queries: Agent Catherine Drayton and “The Liar Society” at Guide to Literary Agents (01/2011).
Becoming A Career Author by Literary Agent Catherine Drayton at WriteOnCon (8/2010).
"The Agented Angle" an interview with Lisa and Laura Roecker with a focus on Catherine Drayton and their experience with her (12/2009).
Agent Appreciation Day post for Catherine Drayton by clients Lisa and Laura Roecker (12/2009).
Please see the InkWell Management website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 5/1/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
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 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.