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Agent Spotlight: Kate Schafer Testerman

This week's Agent Spotlight features Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary.

Status: Accepting submissions.

DSC_5709-1-300x300About: "After a dozen years working in publishing in New York City, Kate moved to Colorado and formed kt literary in early 2008, where she concentrates on middle grade and young adult fiction. Bringing to bear the experience of being part of a large agency, she enjoys all aspects of working with her authors, offering hands-on experience, personal service, and a surfeit of optimism.

“Her clients include Maureen Johnson, Ellen Booraem, Stephanie Perkins, Carrie Harris, Trish Doller, and Matthew Cody, among other exciting and acclaimed authors. Kate is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s Honors Program, a former cast member of the New York Renaissance Faire, and an avid collector of shoes, bags, children, and dogs. Her interests cover a broad range including contemporary drama, urban fantasy and magical realism, adventure stories, and romantic comedies. She is an active member of the SCBWI and AAR." (Link)

About the Agency:

"Books aren’t just what we do, they’re who we are. We become the sum total of our reading experiences – the romance, the adventures, the coming-of-age, the fantasy, the dare-to-believe. At kt literary, we want to be more.

“Madeleine L’Engle once said, ‘You have to write whichever book it is that wants to be written. And then, if it’s going to be too difficult for grown-ups, you write it for children.’ Write for children. Write for adults. Write for yourself. And then, when you’re ready to find a literary agent to take your work to the next level, think of us.

“kt literary is a full-service literary agency operating out of Highlands Ranch, in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, where every major publishing house is merely an email or phone call away. We believe in the power of new technology to connect writers to readers, and authors to editors. We bring over a decade of experience in the New York publishing scene, an extensive list of contacts, and a lifetime love of reading to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

“And did we mention our boundless optimism?" (Link)

Web Presence:

kt literary website.

Publisher's Marketplace page.

kt literary blog.

Twitter @DaphneUn.

Daphne Loves Books (tumblr).


AAR profile.



What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties: 
“We’re thrilled to be actively seeking new clients writing brilliant, funny, original middle grade and young adult fiction, both literary and commercial.” (Link)

From an Interview (06/2014):

“I want voices that offer unique perspectives and experiences, that can speak to me on a personal level even if I can’t relate to an individual experience. I want to get lost in a story. And like so many of my colleagues, I desperately want multicultural, authentic stories.

“I want to rep a novel about a professional teen athlete — maybe an ice skater or a gymnast, but definitely someone who has chosen to live outside the “traditional” high school experience for the sake of a career.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Picture books, adult fiction and nonfiction projects. (Link)

"Mainstream thrillers, hardboiled detective stories, traditional westerns, high fantasy, cold war spy novels, cosies (or is that cosys?) Lots of different types of adult fiction, really, although some of these genres, if well told in a YA or middle grade novel, might be right up my alley." (Link)

Her Advice to Writers:

"Read everything you can get your hands on!  Read novels in your genre, read books about writing, read author blogs.  And know that just finishing a manuscript, while a personal triumph, doesn't mean your novel is ready to be shopped.  Learn to love to edit, and find a critique group." (Link)


"In queries, telling me what happens without spending time allowing me to invest in the character. Without that connection, I don't care what happens. I also hate being told that that everything out there in the market is bad, or that the author couldn't find anything good to read, so they decided to write a book themselves. It's insulting to me and to my clients." (Link)

See the "Worth Your Time" blog section below for links to other query tips.

Editorial Agent?

"I like to think of myself as a ‘big picture’ editor for my clients. Often when I'm considering a manuscript for representation, I can see ways in which the manuscript can be improved. I like to have a conversation with the author and talk about these possible revisions, see if they mesh well with the author's own thought about their novel. Usually, I will ask for a revision even before officially signing a client, so I can see how they work with editorial suggestions. It's not a line edit, however, I might comment on the pacing of the plot, the characters' motivations and how they're expressed, parts I like and want to see more of, and parts that might detract from the bigger story." (Link)


A list of clients is available on the kt literary website. Clients include:
Susan Adrian, Sara Beitia, Josie Bloss, Ellen Booraem, Elizabeth Briggs, Susan Casamento, Kater Cheek, Matthew Cody, Erin Danehy, Trish Doller, Alexandra Duncan, S. Terrell French, Carrie Harris, Maureen Johnson, Julie Karr, Stephanie Perkins, Rebecca Petruck, Ransom Riggs, Daniel Rogge, Thomas E. Sniegoski, Amy Sonnichsen, Amy Spalding, Krista Van Dolzer, Lili Wilkinson.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only.)

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query letter and the first three pages of your manuscript in the body of an e-mail.  No attachments.  E-mails with attachments will be deleted unread.

Put “Query” along with the title of your manuscript in the subject line. If you've submitted to Kate in the past and she requested pages, do say so in your query.

If she requests, she will usually request the first five chapters and a complete synopsis. The synopsis should include the full plot of the book including the conclusion. No teasers.

See the kt literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines and e-mail address.

Response Times:

The agency's stated response time is two weeks, which seems fairly accurate.  Stats on the web show a range of just hours up to three weeks (with an average around two). Requested materials range from a couple weeks to 3 months, most falling in the one- to two-month range.

What's the Buzz?

Kate Schafer is a successful, well-established literary agent. Her presence in social media and willingness to help writers though her blog and Twitter make her very popular among aspiring authors. She's a member of SCBWI, the AAR, and is actively making sales. Her clients seem very happy with her. 

I recommend subscribing to her blog and following her on Twitter for the latest and greatest.

Worth Your Time:


Agent Interview: Kate Testerman of KT Literary at Alexa Donne’s site (06/2014).

A (Slightly Unconventional) Interview with Kidlit Agent Kate Schafer Testerman at Kidliterati (08/2013).

Query Questions with Kate Schafer Testerman at Michelle4Laughs (04/2013).

Triplet Talk with Kate Schafer Testerman and Her Three Newest Clients; Part I at the kt blog, Part II at Liz Writes, Part III at Mother. Write. (Repeat). and Part IV at Susan Adrian’s blog (06/2012).

Live Panel of Industry Professionals: Kate Testerman, Martha Mihalick, Joanna Volpe, Jen Rofe, Diana Fox at WriteOnCon (08/2011).

PitchFest Interview & Feedback - Kate Schafer Testerman with kt literary at Pitch University (06/2011).

Live Industry Professional Panel (Michelle Andelman, Molly O’Neill, Kate Testerman) at WriteOnCon (08/2010).

Interview with an Agent: Kate Schafer Testerman at Mother. Write. Repeat (07/2010).

AGENT INTERVIEW: Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary at Tall Tales and Short Stories (07/2010).

Pointers from the Pros: Q&A with Agent Kate Schafer Testerman at My Daytime Drama (07/2010).

Booklovers Interview with Kate Schafer Testerman at Kay Cassidy's site (01/2010).

Agent Advice Interview with Kate Schafer Testerman at the Guide to Literary Agents Blog (11/2009).

Interview with Kate Schafer Testerman at A View From the Top (11/2009).

Marvelous Market Interview with Kate Schafer Testerman at Market My Words (08/2009). 

Agent Interview: Kate Schafer Testerman at Literary Life (06/2009).

Interview with an Agent: Kate Schafer at Teen Book Review (03/2008).

Blog Stuff:

Definitely check out the Ask Daphne blog for an invaluable amount of information (check the archives too!).  Her Quarterly Status Updates, Live Blogs, and Ask Daphne About My Query posts may be of particular interest.

So You Want to Read YA?: Guest Post by Kate Testerman, Literary Agent at Stacked (04/2013).

Musical Theatre Monday – Kate Schafer Testerman on Into the Woods at The Amy Spalding (01/2013).

Around the Web:

An Interview with Erin Danehy -A QueryTracker Success Story.

Are You Ready to Query? at WriteOnCon (08/2011).

Successful Queries: Literary Agent Kate Schafer Testerman and “The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon” at Guide to Literary Agents (10/2010).

Do’s and Don’t’s of Querying by literary agent Kate Testerman at WriteOnCon (08/2010).

Young-adult author, literary agent form lasting connection at University of Delaware Messenger.

You can read 2009 Agent Appreciation Day posts by clients here, here, and here.

Kate Schafter Testerman was the April 2009 Secret Agent at Miss Snark's First Victim.  You can read through the archives to see what she said in her critiques.

Kate’s love story behind moving to Colorado and founding kt literary at Media Bistro (01/2008).

Fun fact: She is the author of THE KING'S SISTER.


Please see the kt literary website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 6/24/14.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 6/24/14.


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.


  1. Awesome info, Casey! Kate is top notch. :)

  2. This is a fabulous collection of info, Casey! Wow. Nice job! And thank you. ;-)

  3. Wow, this would have been SO useful when I was querying. Nicely done! (And Kate is awesome btw!)

  4. As always, you have outdone yourself on such a thorough post! I especially liked reading her advice to writers. Thank you for giving us such a detailed piece!


  5. Kate is awesome! Her Ask Daphne blog is the first place I started to even get a hint of how to write a proper query.

  6. Casey - as always, your information is so helpful and well done. I seriously thank you for all of your dedication to this.

  7. love it - off to follow her on twitter ;)

  8. Okay, I'll hammer this nail again!

    What do Middle Grade lit agents consider a modern day "Boy's Book?"

    Most of what I see is nerdy-type boys winning in some way.

    Is that because nerdy-type boys read more, but not as much as girls, (hence sales) and wouldn't be interested in..... Ah shit, let me put it this way - when I was a boy, if, by the age of 12, you hadn't accumulated at least 25-30 stitches and several broken bones... YOU WEREN'T *BOYIN'* HARD ENOUGH!

    Now, ya don't get that way by sitting inside reading all summer or playing video games!

    Haste yee back ;-)

  9. You are "the man" when it comes to agent info...

  10. I thought about trying to do agent features on my blog, but you already do such a great job I thought better of it. :) Thanks for sharing! And I second what Sharon said, you're the man. lol

  11. Very detailed! I like your fun fact portion!

  12. Another great interview and useful information. You are fabulous, Casey.

  13. EXCELLENT work as ALWAYS!

    So thorough and well researched!


  14. Casey, you've done an AMAZING job compiling this information. Thanks for featuring me. I'm going to use your site as my own reference as well!

  15. Casey, Thank you so much for this amazing resource! After I saw Kate's session at WriteOnCon (Do's and Don't's of Querying), I researched her on your site--and now I am her client! If you're ever near Wilmington, NC, I'll bake you a cake.

  16. Thank you so much, everyone!

    Kate, you're the best. THANK YOU so much for linking to me on your site.

    YAY Rebecca! Congratulations to you and Kate. I'm so, so happy for you both!

  17. Just found a link to this post. Thanks for the info!

  18. Her website says she is open as of June 1, 2011.

  19. This is an informal interview that she did recently:

    Good for getting a sense for her personality!

  20. Her agency website says she's closed to queries again, as of August 1, 2013.

    1. Thank you, owlandsparrow! I've made a note on her profile.

  21. Looks like they're open to queries again as of 1/29/2014


  22. Hi Casey! I'm happy to send an update to your profile. I'm open to queries, still looking for that teen athlete YA manuscript, and have a new address for queries:

    I also have a new agent looking for clients working with me, Renee Nyen. Her query address is


    1. Hi Kate,

      Nice to hear from you! I'm sorry I haven't updated your status since you last closed to queries. I'll do that now and see what else needs updating.

      Thank you!