Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

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: Suzie Townsend

This week's Agent Spotlight features Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media.
Status: Open to submissions
About: “Prior to joining New Leaf, Suzie graduated film school, earned her Masters of Education, taught high school English, and coached a swim team. In her spare time, she read everything she could, which prompted her move to publishing. She got her start as an intern at FinePrint Literary Management where she was hired as an assistant before making the move to literary agent. She’s been part of the team at New Leaf Literary & Media since its inception in 2012.
"Suzie represents all brands of children’s and adult fiction. She loves women’s fiction, narrative non-fiction, memoir, and debut fiction. On the children’s side, she is interested in select YA and MG. Suzie loves strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres, and she’s always looking for unique new voices in stories.” (Link)
About the Agency:
"New Leaf Literary & Media is a full service management and representation firm that will be with you before and beyond the sale." (Link)Web Presence:
New Leaf website.
New Leaf Facebook.
New Leaf Twitter.
New Leaf Pinterest.
Publisher’s Marketplace page.
Confessions of a Wandering Heart (Old blog).
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
What She's Looking For:
She represents all brands of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction. She's specifically looking for women's fiction, debut fiction, and narrative non-fiction. Suzie loves strong characters, unique and diverse voices, and stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres. (Via email)From Her Manuscript Wish List:
"SUZIE IS LOOKING FOR: Women’s Fiction, Psychological Suspense, Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult and literary Middle Grade. She’s especially looking for inclusive and diverse stories with new and unique voices in all genres and age groups.
"In Women’s Fiction, she’s looking for upmarket bookclub fiction, historical that explores cultural heritage particularly untold non-European historical events, contemporary fiction that exposes a new light on a topical issue, or that features quirky, dysfunctional families. She also loves magical realism in the vein of Sarah Addison Allen or Alice Hoffman. She’s also especially interested in Psychological Suspense featuring strong and complicated protagonists who have dark secrets.
"In Romance, she’s a fan of strong characters with agency who are proactive participants in their own stories. She enjoys when the heroes/heroines act against their stereotypes and surprise her while still being swoonworthy. Some of her favorite historical romance authors are Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Courtney Milan. In contemporary, she loves high concept trope driven stories by authors like Christina Lauren and Jill Shalvis, and she’d love to a great and dark romantic suspense series like Karen Rose and Elle Kennedy.
"In SFF in both the Adult and YA spectrum, Suzie loves strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres. She’s a huge fan of expansive world building and atmospheric settings. She’s excited about stories rooted in history, mythology and legends, especially those that are lesser-known or underrepresented in traditional publishing.
"In contemporary YA, she’s particularly looking for authentic teen voices and raw emotional stories that will make her laugh, cry, and swoon, as well as novels that tackle social justice issues with nuance and empathy. Some of her YA favorites are The Sun is Also a Star, I’ll Give You the Sun, All the Bright Places, Before I Fall, Where She Went, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and The Hate U Give
"And in Middle Grade, she’s looking for literary and character driven stories with poignant prose, whether it’s historical, contemporary, magical realism, or even fantasy. In addition to the novels she’s worked on, some of her favorites are Savvy, When You Reach Me, Summer & Bird, Lost in the Sun, The Thing About Jellyfish,Brown Girl Dreaming, Inside Out and Back Again, The Girl Who Drank the Moon, and Wolf Hollow. She’s also an animal lover and a sucker for beautifully written emotional stories that involve animals like A Dog’s Way Home and Pax.
"Suzie loves novels with a commercial hook, compelling storytelling, and beautiful writing, and she’ll follow a character that she loves anywhere. She’s excited to add more writers of diversity (including, but not limited to, all ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental and physical health, and socioeconomic status) to her list."
You can find more about what she is looking for from her AgentQuery and Publishers Marketplace pages.
What She Isn't Looking For:
Screenplays, poetry, picture books, illustrators. (Link)
Editorial Agent?
“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 defunct)
"My pet peeves include diabolical monologues, romance without plot or character development, and damsel in distress protagonists." (Link)
Clients: There is a list of clients on the agency website and Ms.Townsend's Publisher Marketplace Page. They include Victoria Aveyard, Cassandra Clare, MaryKate Connolly, Heather Kassner, Natalie Lloyd, Jennifer Ryan, among others.
Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes (only).
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
  • "Send query to query@newleafliterary.com. Please do not query via phone.
  • The word “Query” must be in the subject line, plus the agent’s name, ie – Subject: Query, Suzie Townsend. Please also include the category (ie, PB, chapter book, MG, YA, adult fiction, adult nonfiction, etc.)
  • You may include up to 5 double-spaced sample pages within the body of the email
  • NO ATTACHMENTS, unless specifically requested
  • Include all necessary contact information
  • You will receive an auto-response confirming receipt of your query
We only respond if we are interested in seeing your work" (Link)
Please see the agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Response Times:The agency only responds if interested.

Query Tips:
“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)
Response Times:
Ms. Townsend only responds if she's interested.
What's the Buzz?
Suzie Townsend became an agent mid-2009 and is now the Vice President of New Leaf Literary. She has an impressive client list 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.
Follow her on Twitter to learn more and get a feel for her personality and agenting style.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Guest Posts:
Susie Townsend, Taylor Haggerty, and Victoria Lee Guest Post at Literary Rambles (03/2019)
Susie Townsend Podcast at 88 Cups of Tea (11/2018).
Susie Townsend & 10 Questions Podcast at Write or Die (07/2018).
Elly Blake and Susie Townsend Guest Post at Literary Rambles (02/2017).
Query Writing Workshop on YouTube at Lily Meade (07/2016).
How to Pitch Your Book to a Literary Agent on YouTube at Lily Meade (07/2016).
Susie Townsend on Query Etiquette at Color Me a Kidlit Author (10/2016).
A Day in the Life of a Literary Agent at Pub Crawl (02/2015).
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).
Interview with Suzie Townsend Literary Agent at Wannabe Lit Agent (05/2011).
Blog Stuff:
Ms. Townsend used to blog 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. 
Please see the New Leaf Literary and Ms. Townsend's Publisher's Marketplace page for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 6/4/2020.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 6/4/2020.
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 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.


Suzette Saxton said...

It's great to see Suzie on here! She is fantastic. Thanks for linking to my blog!

Christina Lee said...

Suzie requested a full of my first manuscript (which is now hidden away, I might add)and she gave me very in-depth feedback when she rejected it. It was awesome (yes, disappointing too) and it actually helped me to finally move on.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

I am an intern and assistant at FinePrint. Suzie is one of the most passionate people I have ever worked with. No matter what the final outcome(rep or reject), Suzie gives everything that comes across her desk due dilligence...even when it means she doesn't sleep or eat. :) I really admire that about her, although I do think she should sleep more.

Elana Johnson said...

Suzie is simply adorable! Great links for her, Casey. And dude, your new picture is gorgeous!

Jude said...

Suzie is my hero. She makes perceptive editorial suggestions and cares about all her clients!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the great spotlight and all the helpful positive comments on Suzie Townsend.
Casey, I noticed your new picture too and really like it.

Casey Something said...

Thank you so much for the feedback Suzette, Christina, Meredith, and Judith! She sounds absolutely fabulous.

Thanks Elana and Natalie!

Janet Reid said...

I work with Suzie at FinePrint. I think everyone should stop querying her and go away. I mean honestly, if she keeps making all these big deals at auciton who will fix the fax machine when I jam it, figure out why my hair is caught in the shredder and explain TWILIGHT to me??

This selling stuff, and client signing stuff MUST END.

Oh wait, she just brought me a cookie from Jacques Torres. I guess I better say nice things.


Kelly Polark said...

Another great spotlight, Casey. Thank you! (I like your new pic on the right, too! Very cute!)

Connie Keller said...

Your new photo is great!!

Casey Something said...

Poor Janet, FinePrint is just going to have to lower its entry-level standards. I mean, if you keep hiring such fabulous godsends, the trouble will never stop. How can they resist around such fine company? I'm talking about the books, of course. ; )

Thank you Kelly and Connie!

lotusgirl said...

Casey, this is perfect timing for me. I have her on my short list of agents to query and there were a couple links that you provided that I hadn't seen yet. I'm thinking she may like my premise and writing. We have a lot of favorite books in common. *crosses fingers and takes a deep breath*

Of course, now that you have posted this, she'll have a huge bump in queries making for stiff competition. Oy. I should have queried her last week.

Thanks for all the great info. Brilliantly done. As ever.

Melinda R. Cordell said...

Casey, we need an update for Suzie, who is now at Nancy Coffey -- http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com/2010/01/submission-guidelines.html

I love going through your blog posts when I'm gearing up to start querying -- but (this is general advice to the masses) ALWAYS do a quick Google search of the agent's name, just in case something new has come up! Because you know it will.

Melinda R. Cordell said...

P.S. Thanks for doing all this work on our behalfs -- your blog is a great resource and I tend to start out here when I'm writing my agent list.

Casey McCormick said...

I've just completed a much-needed update on Ms. Townsend. Thank you for your patience, everyone!

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you, Melinda. This is VERY important. Many of the spotlights have become outdated. If you rely only on Lit Rambles you're bound to miss new interviews and/or the most current information available.

Casey McCormick said...

You're welcome! So glad the blog is helpful to you.

Ashley K said...

Suzie is great and a lightning-fast responder. It took 3 days to get the initial form rejection, but then a few hours later I got another email from her saying she'd changed her mind and requested the full. She warned me that it could take 60 days to get back to me, but after just 10 days she'd read the whole ms and made editorial notes to the first chapter.

She was the first agent to request my full and gave me wonderful feedback and had such a positive attitude and enthusiasm. We did a quick round of edits to the first two chapters. Even though it was eventually a rejection, it was the nicest, least-painful, most-helpful rejection I've ever had.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the reviews Suzette, Christina, Meredith, and Judith! She appears to be definitely fantastic. Clara Bush