This week's Agent Spotlight features Adriann Ranta of Wolf Literary Services, LLC.
Status: Accepting submissions.
About: "Adriann Ranta is a literary agent at Wolf Literary Services, actively acquiring both fiction and nonfiction, specializing in children's and young adult novels. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Arizona, she served as managing editor of Between the Lines, The Editorial Department's e-zine focused on the business of publishing, before moving to New York and working as foreign liaison, permissions and rights manager, and scout for Anderson Literary Management. While an avid reader of most subjects and themes, she is most interested in gritty, realistic, true-to-life stories with conflicts based in the real world. She likes edgy, dark, challenging voices, unique settings, and everyman stories told with a new spin." (via e-mail 2010)
About the Agency:
“Wolf Literary Services is a full-service literary agency specializing in dynamic, quirky books written for all ages. As an agency, we have a deep respect for the place where “low” art meets high art—we like a good story, regardless of genre.
“We specialize in the kinds of books that meaningfully connect with their readers—the stories that keep you up all night so you know what happens next. We are excited by books that are provocative within a familiar context—we love writers that can subvert a reader’s expectations.
“WLS provides our clients with support, experience, and the assurance that their literary careers are in reliable hands. We believe in passionate representation, open-minded mediation, and a quality, professional presence in an unpredictable industry.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Children's picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult. Adult fiction and non-fiction.
From Publisher’s Marketplace:
“Adriann Ranta represents both fiction and non-fiction, and is most interested in realistic, true-to-life stories with conflicts based in the real world. She likes edgy, dark, challenging voices, unique settings, and everyman stories told with a new spin. Her emphasis is narrative nonfiction, approachable pop culture analyses, punchy literary fiction, middle grade, and young adult books.” (Link)
From an Interview (04/2011):
“I love dark, quirky projects that approach classic themes in new, fresh ways. Like, say, witches, only funny and with cheerleaders. I love ghost stories à la ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, cool sci-fi/steampunk projects like CINDER, I adore smart boy books like OKAY FOR NOW or anything by David Almond. While I’m always looking out for YA and MG, and the occasional author/illustrator for picture books, I also represent adult fiction and non-fiction and I’d love more narrative non-fiction on quirky subjects.” (Link)
From an Interview (04/2011):
“I’d love a great ghost story, a fresh YA romance, a reimagining of a classic boy’s adventure story, some quality kid’s nonfiction… but am open to pleasant surprises too!” (Link)
From an Interview (1/2010):
"I personally enjoy edgier books with quirky, unique protagonists. I love spunky, fresh narrators that show a different view of the world we see every day. I have a hard time with fantasy with no rooting in the real world.
"An engaging voice is crucial in trade non-fiction, and a bizarre topic, new perspective, or unique credibility usually hooks me." (Link –broken)
From an Interview (12/2009):
"WLS as a whole is specializing in children's books (picture books, middle grade, and young adult), but we're both open to adult works as well. I still love gritty mysteries and procedurals, and both Kirsten and I have a penchant for weird/disturbing thrillers and horror stories. Literary fiction is really tough right now, especially in adult, so it would have to be spectacular, but I'm still open to nonfiction as long as it has some fresh, cool angle." (Link –broken)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“She is open to all genres for all age levels, though is not currently considering academic non-fiction, self-help, spiritualism, religion, or sci-fi.” (Link)
"Fantasies on weird planets featuring characters with unpronounceable names are a little too much for me—ditto to faeries, ‘chosen ones,’ or sci-fi in general. I'm sick to death of vampires, angels, zombies, and werewolves. I'm open to picture books, but not ones about Jesus. " (Link –broken)
"I love quirky, funny books like ones by Tom Robbins, Christopher Moore and Carl Hiaasen; creepy, un-put-downable mysteries like ones by Tana French, Steig Larsson, and Boris Akunin; groundbreaking young adult books like ones by Sherman Alexie, Cory Doctorow, and Barry Lyga. I'm also a huge fan of Mary Gaitskill, Jonathan Lethem, David Sedaris, Norman Maclean, Junot Diaz ... etc!" (Link –broken)
"There are a lot of aspects of a manuscript that can be fixed through the editing process, but voice seems to be one of those things that you either have or you don’t. If the writing itself is boring, stilted, awkward, unrealistic, or self-conscious I don’t care what it’s about, I can’t read it." (Link –broken)
Her Advice to Writers:
"Read, read, read, read, read! No matter what happens with ebooks, iphone apps, hardcover editions, self-publishing, print-on-demand, or Google, write because you can't live without reading." (Link –broken)
"The representation process is very subjective, which makes personalization and research incredibly important. Sending a manuscript to an agent that pointedly doesn’t represent your genre is a waste of everyone’s time. Be patient, be persistent, be positive-just like any other professional relationship, sometimes random timing is everything. (That was unintentionally alliterative.)" (Link –broken)
Things not to say:
“’The book I’ve written defies comparison or genre.’ ‘I’ve invented my own language, in which I’ve written this high fantasy novel. I’ve included a glossary for your convenience.’ ‘Let’s make some money!’
“Also, query letters that go on and on about the lessons and moral underpinnings of the book, without saying what the friggin’ book is about.” (Link)
Given quotes in her interviews and her editorial background, I believe she is editorial as needed.
"[...] An agent is present in most every aspect of publication (from line-editing a rough manuscript to cover consultation and publicity) so it feels impossible to have a boring day. [...] I still enjoy the editing process, but I find agenting more varied and eventful." (Link –broken)
As 7/2012, Ms. Ranta is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 6 deals in the last 12 months, 2 six-figure+ deals, and 8 overall. Recent deals include 1 biography, 1 general, 1 parenting, 2 young adult.
Note: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query letter and the first 50 pages for fiction or a proposal and sample pages for non-fiction. Queries should be directed to queries(at)wolflit(dot)com.
"The query letter is indescribably important! We do ask for the first 50 pages of the manuscript, but if the query letter doesn’t exhibit the author’s skill as a writer or the hook of the manuscript, there’s no reason to read beyond that pitch letter. The query letter should be the apex of an author’s writing skill." (Link –broken)
The agency only responds if interested. However, Ms. Ranta still tries to respond, usually within a month.
What's the Buzz?
Ms. Ranta has been with Wolf Literary Services since Aug 2009. She is still actively building her client list and most interested in children’s book.
I recommend following her on Twitter @AdriannRanta where you can get a peak at her personality and see some commentary on queries, manuscripts, and more.
Worth Your Time:
Interview with literary agent Adriann Ranta at client Michelle Krys’s site (04/2012).
Agent-Author Chat: Adriann Ranta and Mindy McGinnis at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (05/2011).
BBCHAT's With Her Favorite Agent Lady - Adriann Ranta! at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire (05/2011).
7 Questions For: Literary Agent Adriann Ranta at Middle Grade Ninja (04/2011).
An Agent at the Table: An Interview with Adriann Ranta at WordHustler (01/10). – Link Broken.
Agent Advice Interview with Adriann Ranta at the Guide to Literary Agents Blog (12/2009). – Link Broken.
Around the Web:
Query Series: Mindy McGinnis and Adriann Ranta at YA Highway (04/2012).
"Book Advances, Royalty Checks, and Making a Living as a Writer" - an article by Adriann Ranta (01/2008).
Last updated: 7/11/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/11/10.
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 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.