This week's Agent Spotlight features Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown LTD.
About: "Ginger Clark has been a literary agent with Curtis Brown, LTD. since the fall of 2005. She represents science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, literary horror, and young adult and middle grade fiction. In addition to representing her own clients, she also represents British rights for the agency’s children’s list. Previously, she worked at Writers House for six years as an assistant literary agent. Her first job in publishing was as an editorial assistant at Tor Books. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and a member of the Contracts Committee of the AAR. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband." (Link)
Status: Accepting submissions.
What She's Looking For:
From her Publisher's Marketplace Page:
"Since arriving in the Fall of 2005, I have been looking to build my list, particularly in science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance. I'm also looking to take on a bit of literary horror (think Peter Straub/H.P. Lovecraft, not splatterpunk). I'm also looking for great young adult and middle grade novels." (Link)
From an Interview (05/2010):
"If anyone has a book about a mermaid/selkie/angel/some other not overused magical creature, please email me a query IMMEDIATELY." (Link)
From an Interview (11/2009):
"Currently, on the adult side of my list I represent science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance. On the kids side of my list, I do everything for ages 8 and up—so, middle grade and young adult." (Link)
From an Interview (03/2009):
"Right now, I am focusing more on building the kids side of my list than the adult side. I’d like to see more YA post-apocalyptic fiction; more YA urban fantasy that involves more unusual paranormal elements (less vampires, more witches, ghosts, were-creatures); more middle grade fantasy of all kinds; and more YA military science fiction. I’d really, really love more military SF on my adult side of my list, too, but I think that YA military SF could do well right now, as long as it was the right kind of military SF." (Link)
From an Interview (12/2007):
"What I am specifically looking for right now on that side is YA or MG science fiction—series based would be great, but not required. I'd love a fresh YA fantasy series, too (particularly YA urban fantasy) and contemporary "boy books." And of course, YA paranormal romance/chicklit would be great as well. On the adult side, I do science fiction, fantasy, literary horror, and paranormal romance. I'd love to see some military SF; alternative history; post apocalyptic SF; urban fantasy; romantic fantasy; and paranormal romance that is not heavily focused on vampires." (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Picture books, illustrators, graphic novels, non-fiction.
"When I offer representation, I do so thinking this person will be with me for many, many years. I dont know how other agents are, but the lower the turnover, the better as far as I am concerned." (Link)
"Plenty of authors who are starting out self publish or have e-books. I don’t view it as a stigma, or a career-breaker." (Link)
About the Agency:
"Curtis Brown currently employs 32 people in our New York and San Francisco offices. Since its inception, the agency has handled more than 50,000 contracts. Our clients include many bestselling authors, award winners, and some of the leading minds and voices in the world. Curtis Brown boasts innovative and successful film and foreign rights departments, and is one of the few literary agencies that handle ancillary rights in-house, providing a motivated team working on our clients' behalf across all platforms. We are well positioned to take advantage of the new opportunities afforded by technological innovations, and we are aggressive in achieving the best possible terms for our clients. With the media industries constantly changing, Curtis Brown continues to evolve and excel while maintaining its commitment to the principles that have made it a key player in the publishing and entertainment world for nearly a century." (Link)
Her Advice to Writers:
On researching Agents:
"Look up the agent on Publishers Marketplace and see what deals they’ve done. Google them, and see where they’ve worked. If you are still worried, ask nicely to speak to current clients. Having a bad agent, as you say, can be harder on your career than having no agent. A bad agent won’t have an accurate idea of what editors to send your book, or they might not be good at negotiating deals or contracts. A bad agent (which I consider different from “scam agents” who are truly, truly evil) is often ignorant of the industry, or behaves very unprofessionally." (Link)
There is other situation-specific and general advice in this Q&A thread, as well as more in the interviews and Q&As below.
"Oh, I have A LOT but here are two: not being patient with me when I have your partial, and calling the agency to see if I have gotten to your query yet." (Link)
"...what makes me hit “delete” are the usual mistakes—addressing the letter “Sir/Madam,” calling me someone else’s name, misspelling my name, lots of typos, a weak command of the English language, etc. etc." (Link)
"Unrealistic dialogue is a big turn off for me. And this is key with writing for the children's market--kids are very good at picking out what is legit and what is not. They know when characters don't sound like themselves or their friends. I also am not a fan of a lot of "info dump" early on in the manuscript--or really, at any point in the manuscript. World building and communicating background information can be conveyed by dialogue or interior monologue." (Link)
There are more more query turn-offs in this interview at Charge of the Writer.
Only broadly. "I don't line edit. I rarely, however, send out a book on submission that has not been through at least one round of suggested edits by me." (Link)
Jon Armstrong, Tina Connolly, Lynn Colt, Paul Crilley, Mark del Franco, John Dickinson, M. K. Hobson, Richard Kadrey, Kasey MacKenzie, Janet McNaughton, Gretchen McNeil, Tim Pratt, Cat Rambo, Jeri Smith-Ready, Kristin Walker, Elizabeth Wein, Patricia Wrede, among others.
As of this posting, Ms. Clark is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 4 deals in the last 12 months, 4 six-figure+ deal, and 29 overall. Recent deals include 1 young adult and 3 international children's deals.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (preferred).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
E-mail queries: Preferred. Keep them brief. One page at the most. Include contact info. No attachments.
Snail-mail queries: Send a brief query by regular mail. Include a SASE.
Please see Ms. Clark's Publisher's Marketplace page for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
"It begins by spelling my name correctly! There is a sentence that sums up the plot nicely, along with a sentence or two as to why the author thinks I'd be the right agent for the book. Then, no more than two paragraphs of plot description. Then please suggest authors whose work yours is similar to." (Link)
"If you are querying the first book of a series, be sure to tell her that in your query." (Link)
"If you do email me a query and cc other agents, it will probably be caught by our super smart spam filter here at CB and I will never see it. And then you will miss out on having me as your agent. Do you really want to lose that opportunity? I thought not." (Link)
"All writers hate synopses, including my clients. A page or two at the most. It can even be less. Just give me the basics of the plot and tell me the ending. Authors: stop freaking out about synopses." (Link)
Ms. Clark only responds if interested. Her stated response time on e-mail queries is 2 weeks and several months on snail-mail. She asks for 5 weeks on requested partials. Upon reviewing stats on the web, it looks like these are very realistic response times.
What's the Buzz?
Ginger Clark has fabulous online buzz. She's a top-notch agent with a fabulous stable of clients and sales. She's a recommended agent on P&E, a member of the AAR, and her clients seem very happy under her representation. Definitely follow her on Twitter where she tweets quite regularly.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Q&As:
SCBWI Pre-Conference Interview with Ginger Clark at Cuppa Jolie (07/2010).
Agent/Editor Perspective Q&A with Ginger Clark and Annette Pollert at Class of 2K10 (05/2010).
Interview with Literary Agent Ginger Clark at Charge of the Write Brigade (01/2010).
Interview with Ginger Clark by Theresa Rizzo (11/2009).
Q&A with Ginger Clark at Editor Unleashed (11/2009) - site currently down.
Podcast Interview with Ginger Clark at If You're Just Listening In (09/2009).
Agent Workshop (transcript) with Ginger Clark at Verla's (07/2009).
Interview with Ginger Clark. Literary Agent at Seanchai (03/2009).
SCBWI Bologna Interview with Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown at Cynsations (3/2008).
Q&A with Ginger Clark at Fangs, Fur, & Fey (02/2008).
Agent Interview: Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown at Cynsations (12/2007).
AbsoluteWrite Q&A with Ginger Clark (07/2006).
Interview with Ginger Clark, Assistant Literary Agent at Gawker (8/2004).
Agentfail - a Response From a Non-Failing Agent featuring Ginger Clark at Seanchai (04/2009).
Ginger Clark on the Frankfurt Book Fair at Nathan Bransford's blog (11/2008).
Ginger Clark on How To Handle an Offer of Representation at Nathan Branford's blog (10/2007).
Guest Blogger: Agent Ginger Clark at Magical Musings (02/2007).
Around the Web:
Keep an eye on her Publisher's Marketplace page for upcoming conferences she will be attending.
Ms. Clark is a Recommended agent at P&E.
Ginger Clark on Dos and Don'ts - notes at The Ron Empire from the Crested Butte Writers Conference (07/2010).
Successful Queries: Agent Ginger Clark and "A Match Made In High School" at the Guide to Literary Agents blog.
Ms. Clark was the September 2009 Secret Agent at Miss Snark's First Victim. You can check out her entry comments in the archives.
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.