This week's Agent Spotlight features Diana Fox of Fox Literary LLC.
About: "Diana Fox is the owner of Fox Literary LLC, a full-service boutique literary agency specializing in commercial fiction along with select works of literary fiction and non-fiction with broad commercial appeal.
"Before founding Fox Literary in 2007, Diana spent several years learning the business of publishing at Writers House. Since then, Fox Literary has represented a steadily growing client list, including the agency's first New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Diana studied English literature and creative writing at Smith College, and grew up in the suburbs of New York City; she now lives in Manhattan, where she has no room for dogs or cats as the books have taken over the apartment." (Link)
Status: Accepting submissions, actively seeking new clients.
What She's Looking For:
Genres of Interest: Young adult, literary fiction, science fiction, fantasy, romance, historical fiction, thrillers, suspense, and graphic novels. She is also interested in non-fiction memoirs, biography, popular science, history, pop culture, narrative nonfiction and books about sex work, addiction and recovery.
From Publisher's Marketplace:
"I am actively seeking the following: young adult fiction (all genres), science fiction/fantasy, romance, historical fiction, thrillers, and graphic novels. I'm always interested in books that cross genres and reinvent popular concepts with an engaging new twist (especially when there’s a historical and/or speculative element involved).
"On the nonfiction side I'm interested in memoirs, biography, and smart narrative nonfiction; I particularly enjoy memoirs and other nonfiction about sex work, addiction and recovery, and pop culture." (Link)
From an Interview (06/2010):
"My taste in YA probably tends more toward edgy than clean (unless you’re referring to the prose), but I really don’t care whether a book has sex or swearing in it or not, or whether it’s paranormal, historical, or realistic contemporary... as long it’s beautifully written and has a great concept, I’m there. I represent a lot of retellings of myths, fairy tales, poetry, etc. in both adult and young adult fiction, so it’s always a safe bet to send those my way--if it’s got an original twist and a strong voice, I’ll probably be all over it.
"I go for books for older teens rather than middle grade, as a general rule; while there is some middle grade that I enjoy, I read far less of it and therefore it’s much more rare for me to request middle grade manuscripts as opposed to YA for older teens." (Link)
From an Interview (11/2009):
"I'm looking for young adult fiction (all genres, for older teens as opposed to middle grade), as well as romance, science fiction/fantasy, historical fiction, thrillers, crime fiction, and graphic novels. I also represent some literary fiction. On the nonfiction side, I'm looking for memoirs, biography, history, popular science, and smart narrative nonfiction; I’m particularly interested in memoirs and other nonfiction about sex work, addiction and recovery, and pop culture." (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
"Fox Literary does not represent screenplays, poetry, category Westerns, horror, Christian/inspirational fiction or nonfiction, or children's picture books. I am also not looking for category romance UNLESS the author also writes single title books or is on the verge of breaking out of category." (Link)
"My client list is small by design, since I want to make sure I have enough time and energy to give one hundred percent to the clients I have. I have a high sell-through rate (in other words, I sell most of the projects I take on), and having such a small list is part of what allows me to do that." (Link)
"[...] I hope people understand that most agents get into publishing because we genuinely care about books and authors--trust me when I say there are far easier ways to make money if that were all we wanted out of a career! Our purpose is ultimately a positive one, and we are being genuine when we say we’re sorry something isn’t right for us but that we wish you success with your writing." (Link)
"Yes. How much I will edit a given manuscript depends on the project and the author, but I still almost always ask for some revisions before we go on submission. When I edit, my goal is to do whatever the manuscript requires. At the same time, I try not to over-edit, because I know that the editor who buys it will have their own vision for the book. (And whenever I suggest an author cut something, I tell them to save it in an outtakes file, because often that's the very thing the editor will ask them to add!)" (Link)
I believe an official website is in the works, stay tuned!
Katharine Beutner, Gwynne Garfinkle, Hannah Harrington, Michelle Hodkin, Anna Katherine, Catherine Knutsson, Nadia Lee, Elizabeth Loupas, Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire, Christine Merrill, Claudia Gray, Prudence Shen, among others.
As of this posting, Ms. Fox is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 5 deals in the last 12 months, 1 six-figure+ deal, and 12 overall. Recent deals include 2 young adult, 1 graphic novel, 1 general other, and 1 sci-fi fantasy.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (preferred).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
E-mail: Send a query letter and the first five pages in the body of the e-mail. No attachments. Put QUERY and the title of the work in the subject line.
Snail-mail: Send a query letter including an e-mail address. Ms. Fox only responds and requests via e-mail. Do NOT send a SASE or unsolicited manuscript.
"What catches my interest in a query letter is the same as what catches my interest in a book: good writing. The writing needs to be clean and hopefully polished, but at the very least without obvious errors in punctuation, grammar, etc. (I'm not talking about an obvious typo in an otherwise well written letter). I focus a lot on style and voice, as well as the story. I always ask that authors paste the first five pages of the manuscript into the body of the email, because sometimes the query isn't terrific but the book itself is." (Link)
There are some other great query tips in this interview at client Michelle Hodlkin's blog.
Definitely varied. Ms. Fox tries to respond to queries within 4 weeks and generally seems to do so. She often sends rejections quicker than she makes requests, keeping a maybe pile as she goes through queries. With requested material, however, I see averages around 3 months with other instances nearly a year out. Note: She almost always requests fulls when she requests.
What's the Buzz?
Diana Fox has great buzz. She's known to be super nice, friendly, and an all around class act. She maintains a small but successful clientele with a high sell-through rate, and her clients seem very happy under her representation. Despite sometimes long, fluctuating response times, she's known to love and appreciate slush. Definitely follow her on Twitter and subscribe to her blog to get the latest updates and a great feel for her personality.
Worth Your Time:
Interview with Diana Fox at Michelle Hodkin's blog (06/2010).
Agent Interview: Diana Fox at The Blog Realm (11/2009).
Select Blog Posts:
New Adventures in Slush (12/2008).
Post with some submission preferences (04/2008).
Consider subscribing to Ms. Fox's blog. She doesn't update regularly but she talks about client news, submission updates, and appearances when she does.
Around the Web:
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.