This week's Agent Spotlight features Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency.
About: "Amy Tipton joined the agency in 2009. She graduated from Naropa University with a B.A. in Writing and Literature and received her MFA from New College of California in Writing. She comes to the agency after working as a literary assistant and office manager at several literary agencies including JCA Literary Agency, Diana Finch Literary Agency, Gina Maccoby Literary Agency, and Liza Dawson Associates. Amy has also worked as a book scout for Aram Fox, Inc. dealing with foreign rights. She became an agent with Peter Rubie and continued to agent with FinePrint Literary Management. In addition to her agenting experience, Amy also worked as a freelance editor to Lauren Weisberger, author of The Devil Wears Prada. Her work is published in the anthology, Controlled Burn, and pieces of her first and second novel can be found in a variety of literary journals." (Link)
Status: Accepting submissions.
What She's Looking For:
Genres of interest: Middle grade, young adult, commercial fiction, literary fiction, women's fiction, and limited non-fiction including women's studies/academia, fashion/beauty, and pop culture.
Per the website:
"I am looking for both fiction and nonfiction–edgy or quirky, commercial or literary–in particular, I'm interested in YA, middle grade, and women’s fiction. In nonfiction I'm looking for women’s studies/academia, fashion/beauty, and pop culture." (Link)
From 07/2010 on MG:
"I am looking for boy-centric MG. Maybe reality-based, adventure more than fantasy. And no redheads! (Do you notice MG is saturated with redheads? Ever since another agent pointed it out, it's all I can see!)" (Link)
"I handle both YA and MG—and I love them! I really believe that Flux statement, 'YA is a point of view, not a reading level.' I think the line between YA and adult has become transparent. I think MG is a little easier to distinguish. The language is simpler but you have to be careful with MG—you wonder if it’s just dumb (because you’re not used to reading at that level) or if it’s MG. Everyone wants a good boy-book! I would like a good boy MG, though I’m very girl-centric when it comes to YA. But in both categories, I’m big on reality-based stuff. No vampires here! Please …." (Link)
"I do very little nonfiction. I like academia/feminist work. I also like beauty/fashion projects. I’m doing a retro-fashion/beauty guide right now." (Link)
"I am attracted to strong characters, and projects with cool concepts. I am always on the lookout for unusual and remarkable (reality-based) YA and middle grade." (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Fantasy, science fiction, picture books, chapter books, exercise/fitness/health, mysteries/cozies, romance, short stories, poetry, and screenplays.
She is also likely to pass on: 9/11/terrorist stories, rape/cancer/abuse stories, drug addiction stories, and death/grieving stories. (Link)
"...one of the biggest misconceptions is that all an agent does is sell the book—that's only a small part of the job. When I take on a project, I'm a big believer in that author and that book. I do more than just sell; I'm a champion and advocator for writers and reading." (Link)
"I joined Signature Literary Agency in 2009. I became an agent after working as a literary assistant and office manager at several literary agencies including JCA Literary Agency, Diana Finch Literary Agency, Gina Maccoby Literary Agency, and Liza Dawson Associates. I also worked as a book scout for Aram Fox, Inc. dealing with foreign rights. So, I worked hard and paid my dues! But, really, it was working with Peter Rubie that I got to be an agent. One day, he just asked me if I wanted to be an agent and I said yes." (Link)
About the Agency:
"Signature Literary has offices in Washington, DC and New York, NY. Our agents offer expert representation and creative strategies to help writers not just sell books but to develop their careers. We have broad experience and skills in law, writing, editing and marketing and work closely with all our clients to help them develop their platforms, writing and publicity skills. We follow the Code of Ethics of the Association of Authors Representatives and will never charge reading or editorial fees." (Link)
Her Advice to Writers:
"To minimize your rejections--do your homework!--research the agent before you query them; make sure they rep what you write." (Link)
"Misspelling is a problem for me--you have spell check on the computer. I also dislike when people don't address me properly--that's rude." (Link)
"I hate books that jump on already-tired bandwagons—like right now, it's vampires; a while ago it was wizards." (Link)
Yes. "I am a writer so, as an agent, I also edit. I'm very hands-on. I read and revise and read and revise. I enjoy bouncing ideas back and forth. I want the author to be as committed to the work as I am." (Link)
Marci Blackman, Ed Glazar, and Mike Green, Teri Brown, Vicki Burgess, Sherilyn Connelly, Sandy DeLisle, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Amy Reed, Victoria Schwab, Scot Sothern, Stephanie Strowbridge, and Courtney Summers.
As of this posting, Ms. Tipton is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 3 deals in the last 12 months and 7 overall. Recent deals include 2 YA and 1 non-fiction.
Note: PM is often not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (preferred).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
E-mail preferred. Send a query letter including a brief description of your novel, relevant background, and writing credentials. Paste the first five pages into the body of the e-mail. No attachments.
For non-fiction, send a query letter, a detailed bio or resume including platform info, and the first five pages of the manuscript, if written.
See the Signature Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
The agency has a stated response time of 2-3 weeks on queries and 8-12 weeks on requested material and only responds if interested. However, Ms. Tipton seems to have very a quick response time averaging a day on queries and a few days to a month for requested materials. She also appears to send rejections despite the agency policy.
What's the Buzz?
Amy Tipton has great buzz. She's known to have super fast response times, a fun personality, and a great work ethic. Her clients really seem to love her and praise her any chance they get. She's been in the publishing industry since 2004, assisting many fabulous agencies, and seems to be doing really well since becoming a full-time agent. Signature Literary adheres to the Code of Ethics of the Association of Authors Representatives and has a good reputation.
Worth Your Time:
7 Questions For: Literary Agent Amy Tipton at Middle Grade Ninja (07/2010).
Interview with an Agent: Amy Tipton at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (04/2010).
Agent Advice Interview with Amy Tipton at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (12/2009).
Interview with Amy Tipton at Gumbo Writers (02/2009).
Cute Agent Wish List post featuring Amy Tipton at See Pam Write, See Pam Run.
More praise for Amy Tipton at Fumbling with Fiction, Make-A-Fan Monday: Amy Tipton.
And, finally, here's a link to the few blog posts Amy Tipton did for the FinePrint blog while she worked there.
Please see the Signature Literary website for contact and query information.
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.