Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Agent Spotlight: Jim McCarthy

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jim McCarthy of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: "Jim McCarthy interned for Dystel, Goderich & Bourret while studying urban design at New York University. Upon graduating, Jim realized he would much rather continue working with books than make the jump (as he had originally intended) to the field of city planning. Eighteen years later, he remains at DG&B as a VP and agent. As an avid fiction reader, his interests encompass both literary and commercial works in the adult, young adult, and middle grade categories. He is particularly interested in literary fiction, underrepresented voices, fantasy, mysteries, romance, anything unusual or unexpected, and any book that makes him cry or laugh out loud. In addition to fiction he is also interested in narrative nonfiction whether it be memoir, historical, science, pop culture, or just a darn good polemic." (Link)
About the Agency:
"Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC is a dynamic literary agency boasting an impressive client list and a sterling reputation. Led by Jane Dystel, who founded the company in 1994, our agents are smart, hardworking, compassionate, and focused on their authors’ success. We are a full-service enterprise known for our business savvy and integrity.
"We don’t just sell books. We build careers." (Link)
Web Presence:
DGLM website.
Twitter @JimMcCarthy528.
AAR Profile.
DGLM Facebook.
What He's Looking For:
Middle grade, young adult, literary fiction, commercial fiction, literary women’s fiction, underrepresented voices, mysteries, romance, paranormal fiction, anything unusual or unexpected, narrative nonfiction, memoir, and paranormal nonfiction. (Link defunct)
Additional genres listed on his AAR profile and QueryTracker profile.
From the agency website:
Children's Nonfiction: "Jim says...On Saturdays when I was growing up, my family would pile into the station wagon and head off to the library. One of my earliest memories is of my oldest sister sitting in the kids’ section and reading Babar to me. Our quest, as a family, was always to find our new favorite books. I have never really stopped that search. No matter how many good, or great books I read, I always have faith that I’ll come across something that I like as much or more than my current favorite.
"Those moments of discovery are what have kept me reading as much as I always have. Whether it was the time a teacher gave me a copy of The Hunchback of Notre Dame as a gift, when I happened across a copy of Bee Season, or when I began reading The House of Leaves, these somewhat revelatory instances are among my most cherished memories.
"For me, the most exciting aspect of working at DG&B is the chance that I may have another one of these moments, and that this time I can help in some way to get that book published."From 
From His Manuscript Wish List:
"I'm always looking for fresh voices--whether that means authors from underrepresented communities, new takes on old tropes, something that hasn't been seen before, or all of the above. I love a great humorous novel, but I'm also not afraid of anything that's extremely dark. I'm always on the lookout for great fiction of any stripe but do gravitate towards YA and the fantastical--still, that doesn't mean I'm not very open to realistic adult fiction and anything in between.
"At this exact moment, I would particularly love to find fantasy or sci-fi in non-Western settings, sagas of family or friendship in the vein of Mary McCarthy's THE GROUP or J. Courtney Sullivan's MAINE, queer stories of any kind (particularly if yours has an asexual, non-binary, or intersex lead), and a super fun mystery.
"I'm probably not your go-to for political or medical thrillers or police procedurals or stories involving time travel (with very rare exceptions). And while I love YA fantasy, I have a strange aversion to stories about fae/faeries."
Twitter (4-6/2013):
“We’re tweeting wish lists? Let’s start with big, fun commercial fiction a la Valley of the Dolls, Jackie Collins, Crazy Rich Asians. #MSWL” (Link)
“If you have ANYTHING like the movie Heathers, I’m your man. #MSWL” (Link)
“Novels set in West Africa, epic sci-fi, realistic family dramas with wit or pathos. #MSWL” (Link)
“As always, if you can make me laugh out loud or cry, I am IN. Mostly, I just want all the good stuff! Adult or YA, fiction or non. #MSWL” (Link)
“Gang members, professional eating competitors, world record holders, knitting clubs…unique communities. #MSWL” (Link)
“I’m into alternate history, anything theater related, anything about a subculture (from cheerleaders to Radical Faeries or whatever). #MSWL” (Link)
“Hearing a lot of folks asking for hook-driven contemporary realistic. I too would like to see that!” (Link)
From a Blog Post (08/2012):
“Let’s take a quick moment to clarify what it is I’m looking for: just about anything. I know, I know. That’s not helpful. So let’s say this: it seems I’m known for YA fiction and paranormal adult fiction. And I certainly am always looking in those categories. I’d also love to find some wonderful middle grade, more literary adult fiction, and any breathtaking narrative nonfiction. Just because I don’t do something all the time doesn’t mean I’m not game to try it out (note: this is not a rule that applies for ALL agents).” (Link)
From an Interview (05/2012):
“Like everyone, I suspect, I just want to find thrilling, vital, original, fresh projects. I’ve been on the lookout for some amazing horror fiction for awhile now. I love a good high concept YA novel. I’d like to take a chance with some breathtaking literary fiction. And I’d kill for something laugh out loud funny. I’ve always said that if you can make me laugh or cry, I’ll represent you. So really, anything that provokes a gut level reaction.” (Link)
What He's Not Looking For:
Plays, screenplays, poetry, picture books. (Link)
Editorial Agent?
“I tell people that I would never sign on a project that I wouldn’t be willing to send wide as is, but at the same time, I have never sent a project out as is. I love the editorial stage, and I want to make sure that material is in its best possible shape before editors have a chance to consider.” (Link)
His Advice to Writers:
"If you think you can give up writing, then give it up. If you can't ... if you know that no matter how much stress or rejection or frustration you face, that you can never stop writing? In that case, never give up. Publishing is too hard to face if you aren't in it for the right reasons. But it's not too hard to break into if it's what you need to do." (Link)
A list of his clients is available on the website.
Mr. McCarthy's clients include: Adrienne Tooley, Bassey Ikpi, Candice Montgomery, Caroline Richmond, Christine Virnig, Claire Booth, Cliff Burke, Cristin Terrill, Cynthia Platt, Darcy Burke, Diana Urban, Eric Gansworth, Fonda Lee, Gae Polisner, Geoff Herbach, Ismee Williams, Jake Arlow, Jessica Spotswood, Josh Swiller, Joy McCullough, Juliet Blackwell, Kevin Scott, Kosoko Jackson, Laura Creedle, Laura Silverman, Lauren Spieller, Libby Cidmore, Linda Godfrey, Lisa Bunker, Livia Blackburne, Loan Le, Maria Romasco Moore, Michael Arceneaux, Michelle Rowen/Morgan Rhodes, Miranda Kenneally, Monica Gomez-Hira, Nathan Makaryk, Nicole Melleby, Olivia Abtahi, Richelle Mead, Robin Talley, Rusty King, Saundra Mitchell, Sean Easley, Shawntelle Madison, Tanya Boteju, Tess Sharpe, Victoria Laurie, and Zach Hines, among others.Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
E-mail: Query only; Paste 25 pages of your manuscript in your query. No attachments. Only query one agent at a time.
See the agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Response Times:
The agency's stated response time for queries is 8 weeks. If you do not hear back within the stated timeframe, feel free to resend (Link). Mr. McCarthy has very quick response times ranging from hours to a couple weeks for queries and just days to a month or so for requested material. 
What's the Buzz?
Mr. McCarthy is top notch. He has fabulous clients and sales, a great work ethic, fast response times, a terrific sense of humor, and his clients really seem to love him.  I've heard nothing but good about him and Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC..
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Guest Post: 
Agent of the Month Part 1 and Part 2 at Writing and Illustrating (01/2021)
Podcast Interview with Jim McCarthy at Middle Grade Ninja (9/2020).
Literary Agents Answer Your Burning Questions, Part 3 at The Nasiona (06/2019).
Jim McCarthy and Remy Lai Guest Post at Literary Rambles (05/2019).
7 Questions for Literary Agent Jim McCarthy at Middle Grade Ninja (09/2017).
Interview with Literary Agent Jim McCarthy at Slice Magazine (08/2016).
Interview with Literary Agent Jim McCarthy at Amy Newman (08/2014).
Behind the Scenes with Agent Jim McCarthy at Night Owl Reviews (02/2013).
LitChat Interview: Jim McCarthy with Dystel & Goderich Literary Management at Lit Stack (05/2012).
A Q&A with Agent Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich at Writer’s League of Texas (11/2011).
Interview with Agent Extraordinaire, Jim McCarthy at Caroline in Space (06/2010).
Blog Stuff:
How to Grab an Agent's Attention in a Query, featuring a couple quotes by Mr. McCarthy, at the QueryTracker Blog (06/2010).
Guest Blogger: Agent Jim McCarthy at What Women Write (06/2010).
Please see the Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC website for additional contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last Updated: 5/16/2020.
Agent Contacted for Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/17/2020.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's/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.


Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for another great agent spotlight. They are always so helpful. Someone on my Michigan SCBWI e-mail list was looking for info on an agent that you recently spotlighted and I referred her to your blog because you had recently spotlighted the agent. She found it really helpful.

Unknown said...

I'm a HUGE fan of several of Jim's clients and think anyone would be uber-lucky to have him for an agent. I love the links and intend to read them all -- thanks Casey!

Suzanne Young said...

Great spotlight, Casey! You mange to make learning fun! :-)

And I agree with the buzz, Jim is a fantastic agent.

Thermocline said...

Hey Casey--

Thanks for the "Agents that rep PB/MG/YA" categories. Those are great! Have they always been there and I've been missing them?

Unknown said...

Jim is my crit partner's agent, and she has nothing but praise for the guy. Definitely a top notch agent!

Casey Something said...

They've been there awhile Thermocline. I should probably make them more visible somehow. I think they really help!

kathrynjankowski said...

Jim requested a full ms, and while he passed, he did say I was a strong writer. Just taking the time to send that little bit of encouragement meant a lot to me.

Christina Farley said...

Great and through post. I really like how you bring in everything out there on an agent. It's impressive.

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

Casey, when I am ready for an agent, I will be sending you my synopsis and asking who you think I should submit to...

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Casey--You are awesome! I posted my first agent (Mark McVeigh) interview today. I aspire to be as good as you! :-)

Unknown said...

WOW! Great interview. Don't know how I missed this blog, but I am so glad to have found it. I'll use it for research when I start to query. Thank you, Casey!

Casey McCormick said...

Mr. McCarthy reviewed his profile and offered a few updates 02/25/2010.