This week's Agent Spotlight features Tina Wexler of International Creative Management (ICM).
Status: Accepting submissions.
About: "Tina Wexler is an agent at ICM, representing writers in both the children’s and adult marketplace. Prior to joining ICM, she was with the Ellen Levine Literary Agency/Trident Media and the Karpfinger Agency. She is from southern Maine, holds an MFA in poetry, and lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband." (Link)
About the Agency:
"ICM is one of the world's largest talent and literary agencies, with offices in New York , Los Angeles , and London. ICM represents creative and technical talent in the fields of motion pictures, television, books, music, live performance, branded entertainment, and new media. Our clients include the only living American Nobel Prize winner – Toni Morrison, recent National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winners – Richard Ford, Cormac McCarthy, E.L. Doctorow, and the most lucrative writer in publishing history – Dr. Seuss. We also represent a high portion of today's consistent #1 bestsellers – Patricia Cornwell, John Sanford, Suze Orman and Carl Hiaasen." (Link)
"The advantage of being at a big agency is that everything is kept in-house , which means having more control of what is happening with my clients' projects (and for the client, only one commission). We have the Los Angeles office shopping our books for film/TV; we have the London office securing UK and translations deals; we have an in-house lecture department; an agent who sells audio, ebook, and serial rights; and a theater department ready to negotiate stage adaptations of our books. I'm able to pull from a number of resources: our in-house attorneys, our tax and royalty departments, the knowledge and experience of the ten other agents working in our literary department. All of these elements come together to make my office run smoothly so I can focus entirely on my clients and their needs." (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Fiction: Children's, middle grade, young adult, literary fiction, women's fiction, humor/satire, multi-cultural, offbeat/quirky.
Non-fiction: Select children's, religion, food & lifestyle, multi-cultural, memoirs, travel, art, current affairs, women's issues, pop culture, narrative, film & entertainment, cultural/social issues, humor, journalism, juvenile. (Link)
From an Interview (07/2010):
"Within middle grade and YA, anything that’ll make me laugh, cry or get angry. More specifically, I’d love to see more magical realism and contemporary sci-fi, gothic romance and ‘puzzle-solving’ mysteries." (Link)
From a Q&A (07/2010):
"I know everyone says it, but it’s all about voice. If the narrative voice pulls me in, I’ll follow it most anywhere. I also want characters I connect with—love ‘em or hate ‘em, I want to feel something toward them. Lastly, I want to enter a fully-realized world, with rules and boundaries. That goes for all fiction. The world needs to have limits; that’s what gives us conflict. Within fantasy, I like urban/contemporary, dystopian, paranormal, sci-fi/fantasy hybrids…" (Link)
From an Interview (03/2010):
“I am accepting queries, so if anyone's visited ICM's website and read that we won't read unsolicited materials, consider yourself solicited. (Wait. That didn't come out right AT ALL. Um.) I'm looking for middle grade and YA. I love characters who will make me laugh and stories that will make me cry. I'm not looking for high fantasy or general non-fiction, though I would love a YA memoir. I'm a big fan of novels-in-verse, adventure stories, mysteries, contemporary sci-fi, paranormal, tall tales.” (Link)
From an Interview (01/2010):
"I represent mostly YA and MG (and adult non-fiction too). Within those categories, I'm interested in most everything: magical realism/paranormal, mysteries, adventure, suspense, contemporary, and some non-fiction for teens. I tend to shy away from high fantasy and poetry collections, but I love novels-in-verse. In short: make me laugh, make me angry, make me cry, make me pause." (Link)
From an Interview (11/2009):
"In children's, I'm keen to acquire middle grade and young adult fiction, with the occasional non-fiction project thrown in. I'd really like to see more action/adventure stories or mysteries with ensemble casts. I love magical realism, but am up to my neck in fantasy. I enjoy tall tales or fairy tales retold for contemporary readers, but don't know that Cinderella can handle any more re-imaginings. I love near-future dystopia stories for both markets, and would love a great gothic love story." (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
High fantasy, political thrillers, dramatic works (screenplays), poetry collections, general fiction, and picture books (at this time).
"With fiction, what jumps out at me first is the premise--is this a story I'm interested in hearing?--though it's far less important to me than the voice--how is this story being told and is it engaging? The voice needs to be alive, pull me in, demand I keep reading. It needs to do more than just tell me what's happening. It needs to have a distinct point of view. It's the story's voice that is hardest to master; I can work with an author on plotting, on pacing, on the mechanics, and often do if I feel enthusiastic enough about the work, but I can't help with voice. That comes from within, from the characters, from I don't know where." (Link)
"I'd hope that my clients always feel comfortable contacting me, regardless of the frequency at which they do so. Indeed, if I haven't heard from a client in a while, I'll drop him or her a ‘Just checking in, hope you're well’ type of email, and I appreciate it when they do the same. Beyond that, I think it's common sense. No one wants to feel badgered. At the same time, no one should be so afraid of contacting his or her agent that important information or updates aren't passed on." (Link)
Her Advice to Writers:
"Take your time. Too often I read manuscripts that come to me too soon. To drag out a tired cliche: you never get a second chance to make a first impression." (Link)
"Do your homework: read what's being published in the area you aspire to be published in, research the agents who represent those authors, draft and redraft your query letter to send to those agents, and, most importantly, finish writing your manuscript. Revise. Revise. Revise. And read your work aloud." (Link)
"My biggest pet peeve is when people send me their complete manuscript without first sending a query letter to gauge my interest. [...] My other pet peeve is the mass e-query, especially when the email list isn’t even hidden. Mass e-queries make me want to pull my hair out; if you can’t take the time to personally address me in your query, I can’t take the time to read your query. [...] If you aren’t willing to put the effort into writing a strong query letter, researching agents, proof reading both your query letter and your manuscript, revising your manuscript, etc. then you aren’t up to the task of being an author. Because the work doesn’t stop once you land that book deal. That’s only the beginning!" (Link)
Yes, she makes revision requests and editorial suggestions as needed.
Ms. Wexler’s clients include Jonathan Bernstein, Helen Brenna, Lesley Dahl, Gina Damico, Sara Lewis Holmes, Jeannine Garsee, Donna Gephart, James Kennedy, Brian Klems, Ruthie Knapp, Joel Naftali, Sanjay Patel, Ani Phyo, Mara Purnhagen, Kurtis Scaletta, Angie Smibert, Laurel Snyder, Erin Torneo, Anne Ursu, among many others.
As of 10/2012, Ms. Wexler is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 15 deals in the last 12 months and 82 overall. Recent deals include 7 middle grade, 5 young adult, 1 picture book, 1 humor, 1 parenting.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
E-mail: Query with sample pages (one chapter) pasted in the body of the e-mail. No attachments.
Snail-mail: Query with SASE.
"My ideal query letter is one-page, clear, concise, friendly yet formal, written in a style that shows me a bit of what you’re like without being precious, realizes I’m busy busy busy and so gets right to the point, and comes with a/an SASE." (Link)
"I don’t mind re-queries so long as the writer mentions that they’ve queried me before for a different project. If it’s for the same project, I’ll want to know what they’ve changed about the manuscript/why they are trying my again." (Link)
Response times seem to fluctuate between hours and several weeks. She generally asks for an exclusive on fulls but seems willing to waive if an exclusive is not possible.
What's the Buzz?
Ms. Wexler is active on the web, attends conferences regularly, and is said to be one of the nicest agents out there. Great (happy) clients, frequent sales, good response times, great word of mouth and agency—sounds like a fab agent! I recommend following her on Twitter @Tina_Wexler.
Worth Your Time:
Interview with the Agent: Tina Wexler of ICM at Gina Damico’s site (03/2012).
A BBCHAT with Tina Wexler of ICM at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire (12/2011).
2011 Conference Series- Faculty Q & A with Tina Wexler at Chinook Update (04/2011).
TINA WEXLER: An Über-Cool Literary Agent Interview at Stories are Good Medicine (10/2010).
7 Questions For: Literary Agent Tina Wexler at Middle Grade Ninja (07/2010).
Q&A with Tina Wexler of ICM here at Literary Rambles (07/2010).
Agent Interview with Tina Wexler on Tagged at Class of 2K10 (03/2010).
Pre-Conference Interview (SCBWI-NY) with Tina Wexler at Alice Pope's CWIM Blog (02/2010).
Interview with Tina Wexler at Teens Writing for Teens (07/2009).
Interview with Tina Wexler at Gumbo Writers (02/2009).
Interview with Tina Wexler at Seanchai (03/2009).
The Voice Needs to Be Alive - A Conversation With Tina Wexler at the Algonkian Conference site (2008).
An Interview with Literary Agent Tina Wexler at Riding with the Top Down (2006).
You can read yet another interview with Tina Wexler by Anita Nolan if you subscribe to Sprouts, the SCBWI-NJ magazine.
Around the Web:
How I Got My Agent: Gina Damico at Guide to Literary Agents (07/2012).
Agent Panel: Tina Wexler at the SCBWI Blog (08/2011).
Tina Wexler: Hook, Line, and Sinker! at the SCBWI Blog (08/2011).
Writing Dialogue by literary agent Tina Wexler at WriteOnCon (08/2011).
Dear Editor/Agent, video at Leigh Fallon’s site (07/2011).
What an agent wants to see- Tina Wexler, ICM at The Write Path (06/2011).
Agent Appreciation post for Ms. Wexler at Wild About Words (03/2011).
Successful Queries installment featuring Tina Wexler and TAGGED at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (02/2010).
Agent Panel summary on Tina Wexler from SCBWI-NY 2010 at the Official SCBWI Conference Blog (01/2010).
Chat Transcript with Tina Wexler at AgentQuery (06/2008) - Must be logged in.
Please see one of the query databases above or the submission guidelines section for contact and query information.
Last updated: 7/11/12 -
(Added recent links, updated sales.)
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/18/10.
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.