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INK IN THE BLOOD through February 8th

OASIS through February 22nd

Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews and Guest Posts w/ Debut Authors & Query Critique Giveaways

Megan Manzano Agent Spotlight Interview & Query Critique Giveaway on 2/24/2020

Carrie Pestritto & Author E.M. Castellan Guest Post & Query Critique Giveaway on 3/4/2020

Ann Rose Agent Spotlight Interview & Query Critique Giveaway on 3/18/2020

Kristy Hunter & Author Loriel Ryon Guest Post & Query Critique Giveaway on 4/20/20

Lindsay Davis Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/27/20

Agent Spotlight: Kathleen Ortiz

This week's Agent Spotlight features Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary & Media.

Status: Open to submissions.

KathleenAgent-PhotoAbout: “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.

“Kathleen also handles foreign and audio rights for Red Tree Literary.” (Link)

Web Presence:

New Leaf website.

New Leaf  blog.

New Leaf Facebook.

New Leaf Twitter.

New Leaf Pinterest.

Ms. Ortiz’ Blog - Neverending Page Turner.

Publisher's Marketplace page.


AAR profile.

QueryTracker, AgentQuery.

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):

Young adult:

  • 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.
Middle Grade
  • 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.
Non-fiction (YA or adult):
  • 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.

Editorial Agent?

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)


Sarah Fine, Dan Haring, Bree Hester, Sarah Marino, Gail Perry Mason, Dawn Miller, Jamie Reed, Patricia Rushford (Jennie Series), and Kimberlee Turley.


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.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.  

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

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.

Query Tips:

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)

Response Times:

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).

Blog Stuff:

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.

How-to: Crafting a Query for FICTION (a.k.a. your first impression) (08/2011).

Cool Writers Club, Queries, Partials, etc (04/2010).

Query Etiquette (03/2010).

Query Etiquette Part 2 (03/2010).

Around the Web:

New Leaf Literary & Media page at AbsoluteWrite.

New Leaf Literary & Media at P&E.

See this page at Ms. Ortiz’s blog for conference she’ll be attending, and this page for writing courses she’ll be teaching.

Kathleen Ortiz - The Changing Role of the Agent on YouTube (03/2012).

The First Five Pages Part One, Two, & Three by literary agent Kathleen Ortiz at WriteOnCon (08/2010).

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.

Profile Details:

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.


  1. Kathleen recently spoke at a conference I attended. She's a class act.

  2. Casey, congratulations on winning our underappreciated YA contest over at our blog! Thanks for this fantastic spotlight on Kathleen Ortiz. Martina and I are hunting for chapter book agents! Perfect timing :)


  3. another amazing spotlight, Casey! you're incredible :D

  4. Thanks for this Spotlight, Casey!

  5. Thanks for the spotlight. I'm going to add Kathleen Oritz to my list.

    And congrats for winning the Adventures in Children's Publishing's contest.

  6. GREAT job! You work so hard on these.
    Kathleen has been on the top of my list (fingers crossed for me)b/c she wants a boy book AND she is so dang funny on Twitter!

  7. And this wonderful, awesome agent has also agreed to judge the next QueryTracker blog contest that was just announced.
    The contest is for Young Adult and Middle Grade only.
    It opens June 1 at 9 p.m. EST. Only 100 entries will be accepted.
    Check out this post to see what Kathleen is doing. I love and have so much respect for people who give back. Good luck everyone! And thanks so much Kathleen for this great opportunity.

  8. KOrtizzle is awesome!

    I am thoroughly enjoying her "Ask the Agent" comments at

    Her response time is very quick!

  9. Thanks to Buffy for the QueryTracker blog contest. I'll definitely give it a shot!

  10. Thanks so much, everyone! Buffy, thank you for plugging the contest. Perfect timing!

    Ms. Ortiz has reviewed her profile. Everything should be up-to-date as of today.

  11. Casey, thanks for the great information about Ms. Ortiz. I calendared June 1st for the QueryTracker contest too.

  12. Wow, that was a lot of info. Thanks. Perfect timing for the QT contest.

    I loved this part: What teen girl DOESN'T want to know how a guy thinks when it comes to love? Seriously. it's a secret they want to unlock.

    Too bad I haven't figured that out yet, either. Hmmm. I guess I could always interview my teenage nephew.

  13. That was an ENORMOUS amount of info Casey - WELL DONE SHERLOCK McCormick/HOLMES!!

    Funnily, I'd just been over to Ms. Ortiz's blog and saw the pics of mass destruction there! Glad to see that it's not only my boys who create such nuclear fall out!

    I was also going to mention the competition but Buffy was quicker and has given ALL the details.

    I ESPECIALLY love the fact that Ms. Ortiz understands that nobody is perfect and seems VERY flexible about overlooking minor blunders in a manuscript as long as the writng is good. VERY encouraging!


  14. What a heap of information! She sounds like a proactive agent.