This week's Agent Spotlight features Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media.
Status: Accepting submissions, actively building her list.
About: “Suzie Townsend started at FinePrint Literary Management in January 2009 and worked her way up from intern to agent. Now an agent at New Leaf Literary, she represents adult and children's fiction. She is actively looking to build her list. In adult, she's specifically looking for romance (historical and paranormal), and fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy). In Childrens' she loves YA (all subgenres) and is dying to find great Middle Grade projects (especially something akin to the movie SUPER 8). She's an active member of AAR, RWA, and SCBWI.
“She’s interested in strong characters and voice driven stories: she’s particularly keen on strong female protagonists, complex plot lines with underlying political, moral, or philosophical issues, and stories which break out of the typical tropes of their genre. Some of her favorite novels (that she doesn't represent) are Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, Jellicoe Road and Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Jeaniene Frost's Vampire Huntress series, Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series, and Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series.
“She drinks too much diet orange soda, has a Starbucks problem (those soy chai lattes are addictive), and lives in New York with her two dogs, Slevin and Fate, who know that chewing on shoes is okay but chewing on books is not.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
Mystery, Romance, Suspense/thriller, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Juvenile fiction, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Historical Romance, YA, Middle Grade. (Link)
From her Blog (as of 7/2012):
“YA -I love all subgenres of YA, but I'm especially looking for contemporary (and scary!) YA thrillers and YA Horror, and a YA epic fantasy--Graceling meets Game of Thrones.
“MG -I'm especially looking for high concept literary middle grade like Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me and high stakes MG like the movie SUPER 8 in novel form.
“Adult - Upmarket and issue driven women’s fiction. I love novels that would be great for book club discussions. I especially love authors like Jodi Picoult, Sue Monk Kidd, Anna Quindlen, and Alice Hoffman.
Paranormal romance. I’m an absolute junkie for steamy page turning paranormal romances. I own every Jeaniene Frost, Sherrilyn Kenyon, JR Ward, and Gena Showalter novel.
“Historical romance sagas. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet is one of my favorites, and I recently loved novels by Phillippa Gregory, Karleen Koen, and Elizabeth Chadwick. The Tudors is also a guilty pleasure of mine, and I find especially English and French history fascinating.
“Urban fantasy. This is my absolute favorite genre as a reader, but I’m looking for something other than just vampires. The darker the better. Kim Harrison and Kelley Armstrong are on my must read list.
“Dark romantic fantasy. The more epic the better. Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy and Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series cost me friends since I spent days holed up reading.” (Link)
From an Interview (08/2012):
“I’d still really love to see a Graceling meets Game of Thrones type of YA fantasy. Something with strong characters and a complex world and high stakes. A YA contemporary written like Sarah Dessen or Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall with great emotion and characters. A middle grade with great characters but high stakes adventure (like Stand by Me or Super 8, but as a middle grade novel). A YA or an adult historical with the wit and romance of Jane Austen and Downton Abbey.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“I only sign writing that I'm so in love with that it keeps me up at night. I'm hands on and very editorially inclined. I read and edit, read and edit, read and edit, until it's as perfect as I can make it. A book I sold just recently, I had read it multiple times before we went on submission. And each time I read it, I loved it just as much as I did the first time.
“I enjoy brainstorming and working with authors, bouncing ideas off each other. This means my authors and I need to share the same vision for the project and who are as committed to putting in the hard work on the project as I am.” (Link)
"My pet peeves include diabolical monologues, romance without plot or character development, and damsel in distress protagonists." (Link)
“Don't send gifts or bribes. As for the actual query letter, all I want to know is what the book is about. I'm not that interested in the writer's personal details, the marketing plan, or who in Hollywood they know. My personal pet peeves are also when queries open with a rhetorical question (or a series of them!) or when a writer insists this book will make me millions.” (Link)
Mindee Arnett, Rebecca Behrens, Kathy Bradey, Jessica Corra, Julie Cross, Lisa Desrochers, Chelsea Fine, Kristin Halbrook, Cat Hellisen, Jennifer Hoffine, Dan Krokos, Lori M. Lee, Nikki Loftin, Ruth Frances Long, Sheryl McFarlane, Josin L McQuein, Hannah Moskowitz, Kara Mustafa, Allison Pang, Ingrid E. Paulson, Farrah Penn, Sara Polsky, Kara Taylor, Arlaina Tibensky, Sarah Wylie, among others.
As of 8/12, Ms. Townsend is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 9 deals in the last 12 months, 1 six-figure+ deal, and 32 overall. Recent deals include 5 young adult, 2 film rights, 1 middle grade, 1 international rights.
Note: PM is often not a complete representation of sales.
You can also find recent deal info on Ms. Townsend’s public PM page.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query to the group agency address. Make sure to include the words “QUERY--SUZIE” in the subject line. Paste the first five-ten double-spaced pages into the body of the e-mail with the query. No attachments.
You will receive an auto-response confirming receipt of your query. Multiple submissions within the agency are not allow.
For complete, up-to-date submission guidelines, see this post on Ms. Townsend's blog.
“Don't send me a synopsis--they're totally evil.” (Link)
See the New Leaf blog for submission FAQ.
“Queries are on average about 250 words. A strong one is going to introduce me to a character and a set up, (the conflict or hook), and leave me wondering what happens next. It’s tough, and it requires as much attention and revision as the manuscript probably did, but it is possible.” (Link)
Ms. Townsend has really fast response times. Her stated time is up to two weeks on queries though she often responds within hours to a couple days. Requested material can take days to a month or so. She usually indicates how long she expects it to take during the process.
What's the Buzz?
Suzie Townsend became an agent mid-2009. In the past two years, she’s made an impressive number of deals and started more than a few authors’ careers. Suzie is popular among aspiring authors and her colleagues and clients are quick to praise her. Her dedication to books and authors is apparent in everything she does.
Worth Your Time:
Lit Chat Interview with Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary at Lit Stack (08/2012).
Crits for Water Interview with Agent Suzie Townsend at Not an Editor (04/2012).
The Novel Road Interview: Suzie Townsend (08/2011).
Q&A Chat with Literary Agent Suzie Townsend at WriteOnCon (08/2011).
Interview with Suzie Townsend Literary Agent at Wannabe Lit Agent (05/2011).
Interview with Agent Suzie Townsend at Fiction Writing Tools (04/2011).
Interview with Suzie Townsend at Victoria Scott’s blog (03/2011).
Live Chat with Maria Gomez and Suzie Townsend at WriteOnCon (02/2011).
Interview with Suzie Townsend at The Punching Bag Fights Back (01/2011).
Interview with Suzie Townsend at The Awl (11/2010).
Agent Advice Interview with Suzie Townsend at GLA (10/2010).
An Interview with A Literary Agent: Suzie Townsend at YA Fantasy Guide.
Ask the Pro: Assistant Agent Suzie Townsend at Writer’s Digest (09/2010).
Interview with Agent Suzie Townsend at Fiction Groupie (08/2010).
Chat with Literary Agent Suzie Townsend at WriteOnCon (08/2010).
Interview with an Agent: Suzie Townsend at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (05/2010).
Interview with Suzie Townsend at The Blog Realm (2009).
Ms. Townsend blogs at Confessions of Wandering Heart. There are too many great posts for me to list, including some great critique series. Please check the links in the sidebars and read through the archives.
Agent Suzie Townsend Puts Out Call for Adult Fiction at GLA (01/2011).
Around the Web:
Client Mindee Arnett’s query pitch in this interview with Chasing the Crazies (08/2012).
Middle Grade Memories: Agent Suzie Townsend at Claire Legrand’s site (06/2012).
Farrah Penn’s "How I Got My Agent" Blog Post (04/2012).
Agent Profile: Ms. Suzie Townsend at The Leaking Quill (11/2011).
Why I Followed My Agent, post by client Allison Pang (10/2011).
Agent and Editor Panel Recap, including brief notes on Ms. Townsend at Susanna Carr’s Blog (10/2011).
Tips for Writing a Great Novel, video by Ms. Townsend (08/2011).
Query Series: Emilia Plater and Suzie Townsend at YA Highway (10/2010).
Query Series: Kristin Miller and Suzie Townsend at YA Highway (06/2010).
Last updated: 8/22/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/4/10.
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 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.