Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

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, Stephanie Perkins, Amy Spalding, Trish Doller, Diana Peterfreund, Emily Ecton 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, a hobbyist lifestyle photographer, 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.
Daphne Loves Books (tumblr).
Agency #mswl on Twitter.
AAR profile.
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties: 
Young adult and middle grade fiction and selective nonfiction for those ages (Link)
"I would love to find the next WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI! I love contemporary YA, especially rom-coms, and I love reading stories being told from different cultural perspectives than my own. I’d love to see more mysteries, especially in middle grade, and more YA thrillers like the Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan novels I loved as a teen (but better showcasing the true diversity of our world). Additionally, I recognize that I come from a privileged background as a white, middle-class, cisgender woman, and I want to use my voice to help others be heard." (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 defunct)
"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 Defunct)
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, Josie Bloss, Ellen Booraem, Elizabeth Briggs,Matthew Cody, Trish Doller, Jamie Harrington, Kim Harrington, Carrie Harris, Maureen Johnson, Julie Karr, Nikki Katz, Niki Lenz, Mike Mullen, Stephanie Perkins, Jen Petro-Roy, among others.
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. 
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Posts:
SCBWI Exclusive with Kate Testerman at SCBWI Insight (Date unknown).
Meet Kate Testerman at the word for diversity (Date unknown).
Kate Testerman Podcast Interview at Simplecast (09/2019)
Query Etiquette: Kate Testerman at Color Me a Kidlit Author (10/2016).
Bologna 2016: Agents Talk Children's and YA Trends at Publishers Weekly (03/2016).
Kate Testerman and Susan Adrian Guest Post at Literary Rambles (01/2015).
A (Slightly Unconventional) Interview with Kidlit Agent Kate Schafer Testerman at Kidliterati (08/2013).
So You Want to Read YA?: Guest Post by Kate Testerman, Literary Agent at Stacked (04/2013).
Query Questions with Kate Schafer Testerman at Michelle4Laughs (04/2013).
Triplet Talk with Kate Schafer Testerman and Her Three Newest Clients; Part IV at Susan Adrian’s blog (06/2012).
The Do's and Dont's of Querying by Literary Agent Kate Testerman on YouTube at WritonCon (08/2010).
Pointers from the Pros: Q&A with Agent Kate Schafer Testerman at My Daytime Drama (07/2010).
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.
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: 5/29/2020.
Agent Contacted for Review? Yes
Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/29/2020.
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 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.


Elana Johnson said...

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

Shannon O'Donnell said...

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

Shannon Messenger said...

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

Martina Boone said...

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!


Matthew MacNish said...

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.

K. M. Walton said...

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

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

love it - off to follow her on twitter ;)

Haste yee back ;-) said...

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 ;-)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

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

Unknown said...

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

Christina Farley said...

Very detailed! I like your fun fact portion!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

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

kanishk said...

This is a fabulous collection of info
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Ann Marie Wraight said...


So thorough and well researched!


Kate Schafer Testerman said...

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!

Anonymous said...

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.

Casey McCormick said...

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!

Theresa Milstein said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

Casey McCormick said...

Thanks Anon, I did some updating!

Ashley K said...

This is an informal interview that she did recently: http://www.kidliterati.com/2013/08/a-slightly-unconventional-interview.html

Good for getting a sense for her personality!

Anonymous said...

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

Casey McCormick said...

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

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you, Ashley! I added it in.

Antonin said...

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


ktbuffy said...

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: katequery@ktliterary.com.

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


Casey McCormick said...

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!

BT said...

This agent spotlight should be updated. I sent Mrs. Testerman exactly what she wanted in a manuscript proposal (speed skating story with multicultural female athletes) and she gave the same generic response for rejection queries. So i don't know what she actually wants.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Hi BT, I will be updating this agent spotlight in the next few weeks.