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Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Josh Adams

This week's Agent Spotlight features Josh Adams of Adams Literary.

Josh Adams About: "Josh Adams, together with his wife Tracey, runs Adams Literary. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia Business School—where he studied finance and accounting, and was awarded the Abe Shuchman Memorial Award in Marketing—Josh spent more than a decade in publishing and media before bringing his editorial and business backgrounds together as a literary agent.
“A media management specialist, he led teams of creative and business professionals in developing the editorial strategy and positioning of several national publications, and directed the marketing and brand strategy of many well-known international companies as a consultant. (Link)
About the Agency:
“Adams Literary is a full-service, boutique literary agency exclusively representing children's and young adult authors and artists. Founded by Tracey and Josh Adams, Adams Literary prides itself on nurturing the creativity of its clients and maintaining close relationships with editors and publishers in New York City and around the world.” (Link w/more)
Web Presence:
Adams Literary website.
What He's Looking For:
Every age and genre of children's books from picture books to older, edgy YA.
From the website (as of 3/7/17):
"We know that you are just as passionate about children’s books as we are. Our clients’ work spans every age and every genre—from picture books to middle-grade and young adult fiction, from historical novels and fantasy to books that tackle important contemporary issues.
"While we give every submission careful consideration, we look for unforgettable, life-changing books: literary stories, high-concept speculative fiction, unique fantasy adventure, humor, and character-driven picture books. At this time, we only consider picture book submissions from author-artists (someone who is both author and artist of their work, not a team). We gravitate toward the timeless, not the trendy. We don’t typically handle textbooks, novelty, craft, how-to or coloring books—and we don’t handle any adult works." (Link)
What He's Not Looking For:
"We don’t typically handle textbooks, novelty, craft, how-to or coloring books—and we don’t handle any adult works." (Link)
Editorial Agent?
"Yes, but my suggested revisions are typically more high-level--I don't line-edit, as I believe that's the editor's job--and they are only recommendations. My comments are aimed at clarifying any questions or issues I think readers will have, giving an overall sense of what I think works well or can be improved, and strengthening the work." (Link w/more info)
A complete list of Adams Literary clients is available on the website here.
Query Methods:
E-mail: No.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
NOTE: Adams Literary is currently CLOSED to submissions.
"We take submissions only through the online form on our website. (We recycle any unsolicited submissions we receive by post.) On the form, attach your complete manuscript as a DOC or PDF file; for artists in particular, include your website or attach a PDF of your illustrations so we may view your art samples. We cannot accept any files over 10MB in size." (Link)
Query tips: Let them know if your submission is exclusive or non-exclusive. Notify them of any offers of representation. If you need to follow up, use their online submission form and reference your submission. Mr. Adams prefers personalized query letters. 
Via e-mail (04/2010) Mr. Adams shared the following:
"We do give priority consideration to people who've attended and met us at conferences, not only because we support SCBWI, but because we feel it's important for people to get a good sense of who we are and what we're about, since our philosophy and approach is different than other agencies."
See the Adams Literary website for complete, updated submission guidelines.
Response Times:
The agency only responds if interested, usually within 6 weeks (link).
What's the Buzz?
Adams Literary is successful, well-established agency with a wonderful roster of clients.  They have a great team philosophy and their clients seem pleased with their representation. They have made quite a number of big deals.
I recommend following them on Twitter @AdamsLiterary for the latest.
Worth Your Time:
Josh Adams from Adams Literary stops by before our Agent Pitch Contest tomorrow at SR Johannes (12/2010).
Josh Adams, Literary Agent: An Exclusive Pre-Conference SCBWI Team Blog Interview at Leewind.org (07/2010).
SCBWI Bologna Interview with Josh Adams at Cynsations (2008). 
Around the Web:
Keep up with Adams Literary’s News, Events, and Upcoming Conferences on the website or by newsletter.
There's a fabulous line up of Adams Literary's latest releases on the website.
Agents Panel: Josh Adams at SCBWI Conference Blog (08/2012).
Meagan Spooner and Josh Adams discuss SKYLARK at Ya Highway (07/2012).
You can read an Agent Appreciation Day post on Josh Adams on R.J. Anderson's blog.
You can read about Josh Adams' discussion of query mistakes and his wish list on Thinking Through Our Fingers (7/2015)
You can read a guest post with debut author Kim Liggett at Literary Rambles (10/2015)
Please see the Adams Literary website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 3/7/17. Updated 5/10/2020 just to confirm that the agency continues to be closed to submissions
Agent Contacted for Review? No.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/13/17.
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 literature. 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.


  1. I love that Josh and his wife seem to work so well together as a team. Great spotlight, Casey!

  2. Great agent spotlight. I met Tracey Adams at a SCBWI conference in Michigan about 5 years ago. She was the first agent I ever met. She was very nice and knowledgeable. I am going to add this to my list of agents to query.

  3. Thanks Casey for another great post. Adams Literary is an agency to keep in mind. Their approach to authors is highly admirable!

  4. I saw Tracey speak at a SCBWI conference several years ago. Back then you could only query the agency if you had been to a conference she spoke at. Glad they're opened up to unsolicited queries.

    Thanks, Casey, for the great post.

  5. Josh Adams was on the faculty at the SCBWI Southern Breeze Springmingle in Feburary and I was very impressed with him.

    He was very knowledgeable and shared a lot of information.

    I was really impressed with him and I met a client of his and she said that he was the best!

  6. I love the books they represent.

    However, they are slow to respond. 8-9 months is what I've been seeing lately. So I definitely wouldn't go the exclusive route.

  7. Mr. Adams reviewed his profile and provided some updates 04/2010.

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