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Agent Spotlight: Suzie Townsend

This week's Agent Spotlight features Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media.

Status: Accepting submissions, actively building her list.

20100725_27About: “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)

Web Presence:

New Leaf website.

New Leaf  blog.

New Leaf Facebook.

New Leaf Twitter.

New Leaf Pinterest.

Publisher’s Marketplace page.

Confessions of a Wandering Heart.

Twitter.

Goodreads.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker.

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:

Screenplays, poetry, mysteries, most non-fiction, picture books, illustrators. (Link, 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)

Pet-Peeves:

"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)

Clients:

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. 

Sales:

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.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.  

Online-Form: No.

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.

Query Tips:

“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)

Response Times:

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.

Follow her on Twitter and read her blog to learn more and get a feel for her personality and agenting style.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

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).

Blog Stuff:

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:

Keep an eye the sidebar of Ms. Townsend's blog for conferences she'll be attending.  She also posts great book reviews and contests.

New Leaf Literary & Media page at AbsoluteWrite.

New Leaf Literary & Media at P&E.

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).

You can read Agent Appreciation day posts here, here, and here

Contact:

Please see Ms. Townsend’s blog and PM page for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

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.

19 comments:

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

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  2. 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.

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  4. 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.

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

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

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  7. 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.

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

    Thanks Elana and Natalie!

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  9. 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.

    http://jetreidliterary.blogspot.com/2009/07/trouble-with-godsends.html

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

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  11. 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!

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  12. 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.

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  13. 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.

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    Replies
    1. 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.

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  14. 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.

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

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

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  16. 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.

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