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Agent Spotlight: Catherine Drayton

This week's Agent Spotlight features Catherine Drayton of InkWell Management.

Status: Accepting submissions.

catherinedraytonAbout: 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)

Web Presence:

InkWell Management website.

Twitter.

AgentQuery & QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

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)

Quotables:

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)

Editorial Agent?

She makes revision requests and edits as needed.

Clients:

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.

Sales:

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.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

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.

Query Tips:

"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)

Response Times:

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:

Interviews:

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

Catherine Drayton at P&E ($).

Inkwell Management thread at AbsoluteWrite.

WriteOnCon Live Event transcript featuring Catherine Drayton and Becca Fitzpatrick (06/2011).

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). 

Contact:

Please see the InkWell Management website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

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.

33 comments:

  1. Another great profile. I've been dying to know who's repping Nathan.

    I adore your blog and sing its praises to other writers. But I have a small suggestion--have you thought of changing your blog header? This blog is anything but desultory. It's focused, professional and very much to the point. So many blogs are full of time-wasting random thoughts, but this one is the opposite.

    However you describe it, I'll keep coming back

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  2. Thanks so much, Anne! That very thing was on my mind yesterday. When I started the blog, the name fit. Now? Not so much. Any suggestions for a new name?

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  3. Hey. I like Rambles, and rambling. It's what I like to do, ramble through blogs and listen to writers rambling. Whatever you do, don't use anything to do with musings. I mean, how many musing blogs are there?

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  4. Thanks for the info. She's had my query for months now, so I suspect it's a pass. Sigh. She sounds fabulous.

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  5. Casey, if I ever land an agent that you've spotlighted, you are SOOOO going in my acknowledgments page. Seriously.

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  6. A great profile and the name of Nathan's agent. I wonder if he'll mention it on his blog now.

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  7. Thanks for another great post. I just started Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. Hopefully it'll give me a feel if she likes the kind of fantasy I write.

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  8. sounds like another fabulous agent. I LOVE The Book Thief. She's got great taste. Plus Nathan Bransford's agent. Hmmm. I may have to see if she'll like my work.

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  9. She sounds like a fabulous agent and I'm a fan of multiple clients she reps. Thanks Casey!

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  10. Thank you. She sounds like a wonderful agent.

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  11. Thank you for the information. She sounds terrific!

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. I currently have a full out with Catherine! She actually just emailed me today to say she's about to start reading it.


    EEEEk.

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  14. I just googled Catherine Drayton and found your fantastic site. She sold the rights for my Alice-Miranda series to the US recently and I was thrilled to see my name listed among her clients (the hyperlink goes to books I did a number of years ago now here in Australia). I have a new website about go live www.alice-miranda.com and www.jacquelineharvey.com.au
    I met Catherine for the first time in person this morning and she's just as fabulous as you describe!

    Jacqueline Harvey

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  15. Hi Jacqueline!

    Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. Catherine does sound really great.

    I just updated your link to include your author website. Let me know if you'd rather it be the other. Can't wait to see them live!

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  16. hi! she sounds like an awesome agent! I recently emailed her but she hasnt responded and its been 5 days does that mean that its a no? or does she follow up even on rejections?

    -writer-in-training

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  17. Hi Anon,

    She's normally fast but 5 days is nothing in publishing. I wouldn't write her off or status query for several more weeks. Response times tend to fluctuate.

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  18. She's got my requested material right now, fingers crossed I get another email back soon. She sounds great and I loved Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick.

    Ellen

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  19. Something I would like to know is if she will email you a rejection or if she just ignores it after deciding no?

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  20. Anon, she normally sends a response, rejection or otherwise, but response times can really fluctuate. Hope you hear back soon!

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  21. And if two agents are reveiwing your work, one after the other, are you supposed to let them know? Or just wait and see if they're accepting you? I've tried to research this but I've come up blank.

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  22. If I have two agents looking at requested material am I supposed to clarify this between them or am I supposed to wait until either/or accepts my book?

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  23. Hi Anon,

    It's usually a good idea to note in your query that it's a simultaneous submission, but it's okay if you didn't. Most agents expect you to be querying widely. Same thing with partials and fulls. You can mention that it's with other agents when you send the material, but there's really no need to let them know. If one of them makes you an offer of representation, however, definitely let all other agents who have your work know.

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  24. thanks for this amazing forum Casey. As a first-time author trying to navigate the literary world, I'm sincerely grateful to have stumbled upon your great site. Thank you for all of this effort - it's amazing!
    Stephanie

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  25. Two months (for a Partial Manuscript) and no reply, do I consider it a rejection? Or do I wait it out? Or should I status query?
    Fretting...

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  26. Anon, consider status querying. She usually responds sooner than two months. Something might have fallen through the cracks.

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  27. What is status querying please?

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  28. Hi Anon,

    A status query is when you e-mail to check if your query was received and what the status is on it. Some writers do this after a couple months if the agent is known to respond (if you do, I recommend including the original query in the e-mail). Others will just write the silence off as a rejection or re-query.

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  29. First a little fangurl squeal, because I love your blog! Thank you so much for all the effort you've put in to helping us find the right agent!

    My question relates to Inkwell Management's disclosure statement on their submissions page. It's a very strange thing to see, and it quotes:

    InkWell Management and/or any of its clients may use without obligation to me any material which is not legally protected; (iv) InkWell Management and/or any of its clients may have created, may create, or may otherwise have access to materials, ideas, and creative works which may be similar or identical to the Material with regard to theme, motif, plots, characters, formats, or other attributes; and (v) I shall not be entitled to any compensation because of the proposed use or use of any such similar or identical material that may be or may have been created by InkWell Management and/or any of its clients or that may have been created by InkWell Management and/or any of its clients that may have come to InkWell Management and/or any of its clients from any other independent source.

    What does this mean? I know the agent is reputable, but the disclosure certainly makes me think twice about submitting to them, with all the blurry fine print... :(

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  30. Hi Tamara,

    I'm not expert on contracts but the way I understand it is that Inkwell Management is guarding the agency from any potential lawsuit. So, in the event one of their clients wrote a book very similar to yours ("with regard to theme, motif, plots, characters, formats, or other attributes, etc"), you can't sue them for it.

    Someone pretty much always tries to sue based on copyright when a book gets big (like HP). So they're being proactive.

    They're a respectable agency, so I really don't think you need to be concerned with them stealing anything, despite how that paragraph reads.

    Hope that helps!!

    -Casey

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  31. It sure does! Thanks Casey. It was the "identical" that got me thinking, that's all.

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