This week's Agent Spotlight features Marcia Wernick of Wernick & Pratt Agency.
Status: Accepting submissions.
About: "After working and traveling around Europe after college, and working in different jobs in New York City, Marcia Wernick finally found her calling in children’s publishing. She began working at the Sheldon Fogelman Agency, in subsidiary rights, advancing to director of subsidiary rights. She has attended the Bologna Children’s Book Fair more than a dozen times, enjoying the international camaraderie of the children’s book industry. When she realized that working directly with the authors and illustrators brought her the most joy, she focused on the agenting side of the business. She became a full time agent, bringing in many authors and illustrators to the agency. Among the clients she brought in, and with whom she continues to work, are Bryan Collier, Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, Kathleen O’Dell, Jackie Urbanovic, Alexandra Boiger, and Mo Willems, who she introduced to the children’s book publishing world. Her clients now range from the well-established to those just beginning their careers. She continues to use her subsidiary rights experience by handling the foreign rights side of Wernick & Pratt Agency and working with film agents on the licensing of motion picture/television rights. She has had great fun licensing merchandising rights such as ring-tones, game apps, plush dolls, pajamas, back packs, toys, and games. She is accepting new clients in all genres for children.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“Wernick & Pratt Agency is a full service agency focused exclusively on the children’s book industry. Established in January 2011 by industry veterans, Marcia Wernick and Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt represents established and emerging authors and illustrators, whose work ranges from fiction to non-fiction, from very young picture books and novelty books, through early readers, middle grade and young adult. Our philosophy is to represent people rather than merely the books they create, so our approach to representation is to create strategies for our clients’ long term careers.
“Wernick & Pratt Agency provides each client with personal attention and the highest quality of advice and service that has been the hallmark of our reputations in the industry. We have the resources and accumulated knowledge to assist clients in all aspects of their creative lives including editorial input, contract negotiations, and subsidiary rights management. Our goal is to represent and manage the careers of our clients so they may achieve industry wide and international recognition, as well as the highest level of financial potential.” (Link)
AgentQuery (not up-to-date).
What She's Looking For:
Children’s books of all genres, fiction and non-fiction, as well as author/illustrators. (Link)
From the Website (as of 5/2012):
“We are most interested in the following: people who both write and illustrate in the picture book genre; humorous young chapter books with strong voice, and which are unique and compelling; middle grade/YA novels, both literary and commercial.” (Link)
From Ms. Wernick’s website Q&A (02/2012):
“For me, when I start reading a manuscript, I want the character and voice to come through so clearly, and in such a compelling manner that I’m drawn into the story and want to keep reading to find out more. I’m sorry to say, but honestly, life today has so many distractions for all of us, so the manuscript has to have the strength to keep me from refocusing on all the other tasks and jobs at hand. I think it would hold true for the reader, as well. There has to be immediacy in connection and appeal. There is no chapter more important than your first chapter, no page more important than your first page and no line more important than your first line.
“For illustrations, I’m looking for a character whose personality and voice jumps out of the illustration in a unique way and says come join me on my adventure. Good technique is not necessarily enough. What I look for is how an artist uses that technique to make the look their own. It’s not only in the eyes of the beholder, but so frequently in the eyes of the characters drawn. The line between a more mass market illustration style and that in trade books tends to come down to the drawing of the eye more than anything else.” (Link)
From an Interview (03/2010):
"Although Marcia takes on relatively few clients in a year, she is always drawn to strong voices and age appropriate stories that engage, entertain and amuse the reader. In fiction, strong opening lines and first chapters that compel one to read on are key. She's a sucker for Southern voices, but overall shies away from mean-spirited characters and horror. She's not currently looking for traditional nonfiction." (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Adult fiction and non-fiction projects.
She shies away from "mean-spirited characters and horror." (Link)
"I'm particularly interested in people who are prolific, so I prefer to see a couple of picture book manuscripts. I'm also interested in people who can work in more than one genre, so I’d be interested in seeing the broader scope of a potential client’s work. If a writer has multiple novels, I’d recommend including descriptions and synopsis of each of them, together with the first three chapters of one of them. For illustrators, I'd also like to see the broader scope. If a potential client can illustrate with both anthropomorphized animals and people, I recommend including both. And, since it's so crucial to the picture-book genre, again, their portfolio should demonstrate their ability to illustrate with a continuity of character." (Link)
"I really appreciate being given a straightforward presentation of the person’s own work, and their reason for seeking representation. Believe it or not, everyone does not have the same reason for wanting an agent. It’s helpful to clarify the reasons. Some people are particularly interested in editorial feedback, while others want to focus mostly on the business side. And some people just think they ‘should’ have an agent, even though they don't really want one!" (Link)
“We have the resources and accumulated knowledge to assist clients in all aspects of their creative lives including editorial input, contract negotiations, and subsidiary rights management.” (Link)
Katherine Applegate, Alexandra Boiger, Laurie Caple, Bryan Collier, Nikki Grimes, Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, Vincent X. Kirsch, Kathleen O'Dell, Peggy Rathmann, Jackie Urbanovich, Mo Willems, and Jake Wizner, among others.
As of 05/2012, Ms. Wernick is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 2 deals in the last 12 months and 14 overall. Recent deals include 2 picture books.
Note: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales and Ms. Wernick does not appear to actively report.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
“Please send us your contact information, including your email address, your mailing address and your telephone number. Please also indicate if you were referred to us, and by whom.
“Please indicate if this is an exclusive or non-exclusive submission. We prefer exclusive submissions for at least 1 month, but it is not a requirement for submission.
“Please include a brief synopsis of your work of no more than 1 page, your background, including any publishing history, and if you have any other work available for consideration.
“If you are a novelist, please include the first three (3) chapters of the work and a synopsis; please do not submit the entire work or include chapters from more than one work unless specifically requested.
“If you are a picture book writer, please include two (2) manuscripts; please do not submit any additional manuscripts unless specifically requested.
“If you are an illustrator, please include PDF samples of your work, as well as a link to your website, or to a portfolio of your work. Please do not send any original artwork as we do not assume any responsibility for original artwork that is submitted.
“Please send all submissions to [see website for e-addy], and please indicate if you are submitting to Marcia Wernick or Linda Pratt.”
See the Wernick & Pratt Agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
"They should describe what they are submitting, (i.e., a 600-word picture book manuscript or a 30,000-word middle grade contemporary novel), whether or not it's been submitted and/or rejected by any publishers. They should also let me know what other types of projects they may be working on, if any. It's helpful to know if they've attended any writer's conferences, and whether or not they're a member of a critique group, or SCBWI. Also, I do like to know if they are submitting to other agents at the same time. For illustrators, their portfolio should show their range and must demonstrate continuity of character." (Link)
See the “Quotables” above for more submission preferences.
The agency only responds if interested. If you do not hear back within six weeks, assume rejection. (Link)
What's the Buzz?
Marcia Wernick has an impressive 20+ years in the industry with experience not only in agenting but in rights and licensing. Wernick founded the Wernick & Pratt Agency with long-time colleague Linda Pratt in January 2011. Many, if not all, of her clients appear to have followed her and seem quite happy with her representation.
Worth Your Time:
Q&A with Marcia Wernick on the agency website (02/2012).
Agent Panel: Marcia Wernick at the SCBWI Conference Blog (08/2011).
SCBWI Bologna 2010 Agent Interview: Marcia Wernick of Sheldon Fogelman Agency at Cynsations (2010).
Around the Web:
See the Wernick & Pratt Agency “News” page for updates and happenings.
Marcia Wernick's Workshop: Ain't Nobody's Business but my Own: Creating Your Own Career Path, workshop notes at the SCBWI Conference Blog (08/2011).
Bits of Wisdom: SCBWI Bologna 2010 at Bethbeck's blog, featuring a quote about rhyme. (03/2010).
What's Hot.... And What's Not: Current Trends in Children's Book Publishing, including a quote from Ms. Wernick, at Walking in Public (07/2009).
Please see the Wernick & Pratt Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 5/17/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Reviewed By Agent? N/A.
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.