Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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  • Ginger Clark Agent Spotlight Interview & Query Critique Giveaway on 10/25/21
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Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Tracey Adams

This week's Agent Spotlight features Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

Tracey Adams 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 traveling, playing tennis, cheering for the Carolina Panthers, 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)
Web Presence:
Adams Literary website.
AAR profile.
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 3/7/17):
"We know that you are just as passionate about children’s books as we are. 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. At this time, we only consider picture book submissions from author-artists (someone who is both author and artist of their work, not a team). We gravitate toward the timeless, not the trendy. We don’t typically handle textbooks, novelty, craft, how-to or coloring books—and we don’t handle any adult works." (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)
Editorial Agent?
"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.
Query Methods:
E-mail: No.
Snail-Mail: No.  
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)
See the Adams Literary website for complete, updated submission guidelines.
Query Tips:
"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.
Response Times:
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).
SCBWI Bologna Interview with Tracey Adams at Cynsations (2008).
Interview with Tracey Adams at Fiction Southwest (5/2016).
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.
A Day in the Life of Adams Literary at Carol Baldwin’s Blog (04/2014).
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).

Please see the Adams Literary website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 3/12/17. Updated 5/10/2020 just to confirm that the agency continues to be closed to submissions
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/13/17.
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 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.


  1. Thanks, Casey! My list of agents to query keeps growing...and growing. :)

  2. Casey, you are an endless fountain. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for another informative post. I've sent my ms to the agency. From what I've gathered, any of of the agents: Tracey, Josh and Quinlan, would be great.

    To provide more data for your response-time: they've had my ms for almost 6 months now.

  4. Tracey Adams was the first agent I ever met at a SCBWI conference about 5-6 years ago. She was so approachable. I have her on my list to submit to.

  5. Another fantastic, thorough profile, Casey. You are so generous to us!

  6. Edgy YA! I'll definitely add her to my list!

  7. Thanks for always posting these great in-depth looks Casey, and please don't ever take them down. I don't need them so badly right now as I'm not querying, but one day they will come in VERY handy!

  8. BRILLIANT WORK as always Casey!

    THANK YOU for the in depth research!

  9. Thanks so much for all this great information!

  10. Yay, the agency's finally opening its door to all writers, not just the ones the agents meet at a conference. Thanks for the update!

  11. Thanks for always posting these great in-depth looks
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  12. Thank you for the comments, everyone! I really appreciate them.

    Ms. Adams has reviewed her profile. I've made some updates and added new quotes given over e-mail.

  13. Tracey is currently open is submissions, according to the Adams Literary website.