This week's Agent Spotlight features Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.
Status: CLOSED to submissions
About: “Tracey Adams co-founded Adams Literary in 2004, after nearly a decade with literary agencies Writers House and McIntosh & Otis, where she was the head of the children's department. Prior to becoming an agent, she worked in the marketing and editorial departments of Greenwillow Books and Margaret K. McElderry Books.
“A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Tracey speaks frequently about her profession and the children's book industry at conferences across the country. She is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Association of Author Representatives (AAR), and a founding member of the Women's National Book Association (WNBA) chapter in Charlotte, NC.
“In her spare time, Tracey enjoys Taekwondo, kickboxing, and test-marketing children's books with her two daughters.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“Adams Literary is a full-service, boutique literary agency exclusively representing children's and young adult authors and artists. Founded by Tracey and Josh Adams, Adams Literary prides itself on nurturing the creativity of its clients and maintaining close relationships with editors and publishers in New York City and around the world.” (Link w/more)
What She's Looking For:
Every age and genre of children's books from picture books to older, edgy YA.
From the website (as of 9/22/14):
"Our clients’ work spans every age and every genre—from picture books to middle-grade and young adult fiction, from historical novels and fantasy to books that tackle important contemporary issues.
“While we give every submission careful consideration, we look for unforgettable, life-changing books: literary stories, high-concept speculative fiction, unique fantasy adventure, humor, and character-driven picture books. We gravitate toward the timeless, not the trendy." (Link)
From an Interview (09/2013):
“Something startlingly FRESH, something very different and surprising, like M.T. Anderson's FEED. I love when authors play with language and brave new ideas! I'll know it when I see it...” (Link)
From an Interview (10/2011):
“We love classic, timeless, coming-of-age middle grade (because what could be better than a book that will make a difference in young readers’ lives for years to come?) and of course YA is a great market right now. In YA, we see thrillers/suspense as a new trend.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
"We don’t typically handle textbooks, novelty, craft, how-to or coloring books—and we don’t handle any adult works." (Link)
"Because there is a definite need for manuscripts to be more polished when submitting today, I am happy to work with an author editorially. I feel confident in doing so because of my editorial background. But I always tell an author only to revise to my suggestions when it rings true and she believes it is making the work stronger - because once you have an editor, you'll be starting from scratch with a new partner. That said, I am very happy to have a manuscript which is strong enough to submit as is, so I can leave the editing where it really belongs - in the hands of the editor who will publish you." (via e-mail)
A complete list of Adams Literary clients is available on the website here.
Online-Form: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
NOTE: Adams Literary is currently closed to submissions.
"We take submissions only through the online form on our website. (We recycle any unsolicited submissions we receive by post.) On the form, attach your complete manuscript as a DOC or PDF file; for artists in particular, include your website or attach a PDF of your illustrations so we may view your art samples. We cannot accept any files over 10MB in size." (Link)
"I throw away anything that says ‘Dear Sir’ immediately." (Link)
"Of course a picture book should never be illustrated by someone who is not an artist, and a rhyming text needs to rhyme. In novels, I'm turned off by telling rather than showing, whiny main characters, too much directly addressing the reader, and violence and profanity when it's only there for shock value." (Link)
"It should be properly addressed, include a one paragraph summary (think flap copy) of the work, and list any professional credentials relevant to children's book publishing. The ideal cover letter shows that the writer has done research on my agency, and perhaps even mentions specific authors we represent." (Link)
See Interviews below for more.
The agency only responds if interested, usually within 6 weeks (link).
What's the Buzz?
Adams Literary is successful, well-established agency with a wonderful roster of clients. They have a great team philosophy and their clients seem pleased with their representation. They have made quite a number of big deals.
Worth Your Time:
Agent Interview: Tracey Adams, of ADAMS LITERARY at Multiculturalism Rocks! (05/2014).
Your Best Book Staff: Tracey Adams at Free Expressions (09/2013).
An Interview with Agent Tracey Adams at The Valentines (04/2013).
Interview with Agent Tracey Adams at Dreams Can Be Reached (08/2012).
An Interview with Tracey Adams at Humor Me (10/2011).
Tracey Adams (Adams Literary) Interview by Brenda Sturgis (08/2010).
SCBWI Bologna Interview with Tracey Adams at Cynsations (2008).
Around the Web:
Keep up with Adams Literary’s News, Events, and Upcoming Conferences on the website or by newsletter.
There's a fabulous line up of Adams Literary's latest releases on the website.
Tracey Adams at P&E ($, AAR).
A Day in the Life of Adams Literary at Carol Baldwin’s Blog (04/2014).
Don’t Rush Your Writing: With Literary Agent Tracey Adams at Pub Smart (03/2014).
Query Questions with Tracey Adams at Michelle4Laughs (10/2013).
Read Kristen O'Donnell Tubb's query that worked at her blog (01/2010).
"How I Got My Agent: Kristen O'Donnell Tubb" client story featuring Tracey and Josh Adams at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (06/2009).
You can read client Kimberly Griffith Little's "The Great Agent Hunt" story (10/2008).
Please see the Adams Literary website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 9/22/14.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/14/10.
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 literature. 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.