This week's Agent Spotlight features Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary & Media.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Kathleen Ortiz is Director of Subsidiary Rights and a Literary Agent at New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. -- a full service agency that represents both juvenile and adult literature and works with only high quality writers. She is an agent member of the Association of Authors' Representatives and New Work Women in Communication. The agency is an active member of SCBWI, RWA and AAR.
“On the children’s side, Kathleen is interested in acquiring all genres of YA (she especially gravitates to darker YA), but would specifically love a beautifully told story set within another culture (historical or modern, in the vein of BLOOD DIAMOND or MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA). She's also looking for darker middle grade for older kids (especially in the vein of LABYRINTH). On the adult side, she’s looking for lifestyle or technology non-fiction, as well as urban fantasy or paranormal romance. Please, no picture books, chapter books or adult books outside of romance.
Ms. Ortiz’ Blog - Neverending Page Turner.
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
Middle Grade, Young Adult, Adult Romance, Selected Non-Fiction. (Link)
From her Bio (as of 8/2012):
“On the children’s side, Kathleen is interested in acquiring all genres of YA (she especially gravitates to darker YA), but would specifically love a beautifully told story set within another culture (historical or modern, in the vein of BLOOD DIAMOND or MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA). She's also looking for darker middle grade for older kids (especially in the vein of LABYRINTH). On the adult side, she’s looking for lifestyle or technology non-fiction, as well as urban fantasy or paranormal romance. Please, no picture books, chapter books or adult books outside of romance.” (Link)
From a Blog Post (07/2012):
“Young adult: I'd really love a cyberpunk, thriller, sci-fi, horror, romance, or historical fantasy; however, I'm open to all YA manuscripts, though I do tend to skew toward dark and edgy.
“Middle grade: I'm only looking for stories for upper middle grade.
“Romance: paranormal, urban fantasy, suspense, thriller, only.
“Non-fiction: pop culture, women's issues, technology or lifestyles, only.” (Link)
From a Blog Post (last updated 05/2012):
- I tend to skew toward darker/edgy YA. I'd love to see a YA romance from a male POV. I'm all about an authentic teen voice.
- Still looking for an awesome thriller -- a true contemporary thriller with the countdown element and preferably high tech or at least of this world (aka no paranormal elements)
- A story set within another culture, whether it be contemporary or historical, within the US or outside of it -- think a YA version of MEMOIR OF A GEISHA or ANNA AND THE KING or BLOOD DIAMOND.
- A lovely YA historical with a strong commercial twist -- and by commercial I mean speculative (but not paranormal) or a very strong, suspenseful plot to keep me going.
- I'm interested in only older MG at this time.
- Something like a cool, darker twist on LABYRINTH or NEVERENDING STORY (world building, not necessarily 'world in a book') would be fantastic.
- Something different than what's already out there. Not really into "how to find the perfect guy" or "how to apply makeup" or "100 awesome things of being a teen."
- Anything with technology, pop-culture, entertainment or women's issues is a bonus.
- You must have a strong platform or be considered an expert in your field for me to consider a non-fiction project.*
“Romance: contemporary, urban fantasy or paranormal, only” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“I am not looking for chapter books, picture books, screenplays, poetry (this includes novels in verse), erotica, regency romance, inspirational, adult thrillers, adult horror, or women's fiction.” (Link)
Her Advice to Writers:
"If this is what you want, don’t stop practicing your craft and gaining experience. Conferences, critique groups, even Twitter chats like #kidtlitchat and #yalitchat can be SO much help when you’re starting out. Use all the tools available to you to help improve your craft." (Link)
"Something I've been seeing a lot of recently are fabulous opening chapters (typically the first 3 or first 30 pages) and then after I request the full, it feels as though someone else wrote it. I have a hunch this is typically from those writers who enter and win partial critiques. If this is the case, you must apply the revisions to the entire manuscript - not just the first section that was critiqued." (Link)
Not following submission guidelines. Querying a genre she doesn't represent. Using "Dear Sir." Etc. (Interview w/details).
There's also a healthy list of unprofessional query tactics in this post on Query Etiquette at Neverending Page Turner by Ms. Ortiz.
And... even more Query Blunders in this post at OPWFT.
Yes, she makes revisions requests and gives editorial guidance as needed.
"I've never signed, or seen for that matter, an MS that is ready to go from the start. I don't believe a manuscript like that will ever cross my inbox, and that's ok. It's a really subjective business and even if it's something as minor as a few comma issues, everyone's going to read it differently and have input." (Link)
As of 8/2012, Ms. Ortiz is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 40 deals in the last 12 month and 56 overall. Recent deals include 21 international rights: children’s, 2 international rights: fiction, 1 audio rights, 1 young adult.
Ms. Ortiz also keeps her PM page updated with recent deals.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query to the group agency address. Make sure to include the words QUERY and "Kathleen Ortiz” in the subject line. Paste the first five pages into the body of the e-mail with the query. No attachments.
You will receive an auto-response confirming receipt of your query. Multiple submissions within the agency are not allow.
Please see Ms. Ortiz’s Publisher’s Marketplace page for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
See the New Leaf blog for submission FAQ.
"Even if the rest of the query isn’t as stellar as it should be, if you have a great hook, I’m requesting pages. I totally get that some people just have issues with queries and that’s ok with me. But you have to grab me somehow. I’m also a big fan of personalization. A lot of agents don’t care how you say you found them, but I like when writers put a little effort." (Link)
The agency only responds if interested. If you do not hear back within two weeks, check Ms. Ortiz’s blog for current query stats. If she’s passed the date you sent your query, it’s a pass.
What's the Buzz?
Ms. Ortiz has great buzz. Her online presence through blogging and twitter make her popular among aspiring authors, and she's known for having a fun, approachable personality and love of slush. She maintains a small list of clients but is actively seeking fantastic new talent.
Definitely follow her blog and twitter to stay up-to-date on preferences and peeves. She keeps a list of conferences she'll be attending on her blog, and regularly participates in informative twitter sessions such as #yalitchat, #kidlitchat, #askagent, etc.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Q&As:
Meet the Agents: Kathleen Ortiz at MidWest Writers (07/2012).
Live Panel of Professionals: Natalie Fischer, Anica Rissi, Kathleen Ortiz at WriteOnCon (08/2011).
A BBCHAT with Kathleen Ortiz at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire (08/2011).
Mystery Agent Revealed: Kathleen Ortiz at Operation Awesome (03/2011).
Agent Advice Interview with Kathleen Ortiz at GLA (02/2011).
Interview with an Agent: Kathleen Ortiz at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (12/2010).
Interview with Kathleen Ortiz at Points of Claire-ification (11/2010).
Interview with Neo Agents’ Kathleen Ortiz at YA Highway (11/2010).
Live Industry Professional Panel (Elana Roth, Kathleen Ortiz, Martha Mihalick) at WriteOnCon (08/2010).
Interview with Kathleen Ortiz at Oasis for YA (06/2010).
20 Questions Answered by Kathleen Ortiz at WOW (2010).
Interview with Kathleen Ortiz, Literary Agent at YA Highway (03/2010).
Ask Agent Session with Kathleen Ortiz on AbsoluteWrite (05/2010).
Mr. Ortiz has too many great posts to list. Before you query, read through the archives of her blog for fantastic advice, preferences, and information.
Cool Writers Club, Queries, Partials, etc (04/2010).
Query Etiquette (03/2010).
Query Etiquette Part 2 (03/2010).
Around the Web:
Kathleen Ortiz - The Changing Role of the Agent on YouTube (03/2012).
Secret Agent Unveiled: Kathleen Ortiz at Miss Snark’s First Victim (05/2010).
NYC Publishing Tips: The Movie! featuring Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, Michelle Andelman, Laura Whitaker, Suzie Townsend and Kathleen Ortiz.
Query Blunders Take Two: Agent Stories at OPWFT featuring Kathleen Ortiz.
An Interview with client Kimberlee Turley (A QueryTracker Success Story) (03/2012).
An Interview with client Sarah Fine (A QueryTracker Success Story).
Please see the Ms. Ortiz’s Publisher’s Marketplace page for contact and query information.
Last updated: 8/9/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/21/10
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.