This week's Agent Spotlight features Jennifer Laughran of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.
Status: Accepting submissions.
About: “Jennifer began her career in agenting after working as a long-time children's bookseller and buyer. She is also the founder of the extremely popular YA event series ‘Not Your Mother's Book Club’. She joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2007. Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she is drawn to all kinds of books, whether realistic comedies or richly imagined magical adventures. However, the common thread in her favorite stories is an offbeat world-view. Jennifer adores simplicity, but she is not interested in the conventional, predictable, mechanical, gimmicky or ordinary. Jennifer loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books... and her true favorites are all of the above.
“Clients include: The author of over 100 books for young readers, Daniel Pinkwater, and his wife, the talented illustrator Jill Pinkwater, who, among other collaborations, created BEAUTIFUL YETTA (THE YIDDISH CHICKEN) (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan). Author/illustrator Calef Brown, whose whimsical drawings and poems have garnered him praise and the number one spot on the NYT bestseller list. Middle grade maestros like Kate Messner and Linda Urban, and debut middle grade authors like Alex Gino. Ilsa J. Bick, author of the ASHES series (Egmont), who is quickly becoming one of the most gripping voices in YA thrillers. And Erin Lange, author of edgy YA like BUTTER (Bloomsbury). These are to name just a few.
“Jennifer attends several conferences each year. Past conferences include Willamette, Writer's League of Texas, SCBWI-NY, NE-SCBWI, Oregon Coast Children's Book Writers Workshop, Book Passage Children's Writers Workshop, and Big Sur Children's Writer's Workshop. She spends most of her free time... well, reading, what else?! You can find out more about Jennifer and her clients on her website.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“The Andrea Brown Literary Agency was founded in August 1981 and has offices in the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
“Our agency works to bring to light the voices and perspectives of new writers as well as to nurture and develop the careers of experienced authors. Our goal, whether seeking to secure a publishing contract for a first book or a fiftieth book, is to make sure that clients are not only published, but published well.
“Our philosophy is to remain a ‘small’ agency at heart. We invest a great deal of personal care and attention in each project, and we are hands-on in all aspects of our interactions with clients. We work closely with clients in an editorial capacity and we devise a strategy at every stage of the writing process that will enable us to find the best publisher for each book. In doing so, we think about both short term and long term goals for our clients, always keeping the trajectory of a successful career in mind.
“Our agents have backgrounds in New York publishing, editing, academia, business, teaching, writing and film, and one of our strengths as an agency is that we work collaboratively. Our clients have the benefit not only of their individual agent's expertise but of the combined experience and vision of the group.
“As a West Coast based agency, we follow a tradition of West Coast innovation in our passion for discovering new voices, in our efforts to make New York publishing more inclusive of voices from other parts of the country, and in our attempt to see publishing trends that result from this broader perspective. We combine this approach with access, standing, and visibility in the publishing community at large. Our agents make regular trips to New York, attend industry conventions, and participate as faculty at writers' conferences all over the country. We ensure a high profile for our clients and actively keep our fingers on the pulse of publishing.” (Link)
Ask the Agent (Tumblr).
Jennifer Represents (no longer posts).
What She's Looking For:
Children’s fiction, middle grade and young adult.
From Her Bio (as of 09/2015):
“Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she is drawn to all kinds of books, whether realistic comedies or richly imagined magical adventures. However, the common thread in her favorite stories is an offbeat world-view. Jennifer adores simplicity, but she is not interested in the conventional, predictable, mechanical, gimmicky or ordinary. Jennifer loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books... and her true favorites are all of the above.” (Link)
From an Interview (02/2015):
“I'm actively looking for diversity in both the stories and authors I read and represent. Writers from marginalized groups are encouraged to query. Diversity is hugely important to me, and I really want to have a list that reflects ALL kinds of perspectives. That means (and I'm gonna go ahead and put this in bold too):
”I am MUCH more likely to read further, to spend more time, and really to give a story more of a chance to wow me if it has diverse themes.” (Link)
Via Twitter #MSWL (2013-2015):
“I'd like to see in the inbox: Diverse authors and narratives; Funny, thrilling, romantic, tearjerking, EFFING UNPUTDOWNABLE stories!” (Link)
“Basically I guess I'd just like more dykes in my query inbox.” (Link)
“I would like to read an amazing-tragic-epic YA about a teen Tejano star, like Selena. (Or maybe gripping YA NF about actual Selena!)” (Link)
“I just want a book that is going to make me cry my little eyes out but then feel HAPPY by the end. Catharsis. Is that so much to ask?” (Link)
“I'd like a mg survival/adventure story that is NOT fantasy/SF/dystopian. Just a great, exciting adventure a la My Side of the Mnt.” (Link)
“In any ms I seek engaging voice. I'd like to see more PoC, queer, gender-nonconforming, and otherwise non-cookie-cutter perspectives.” (Link)
“I'd love an EPIC YA love story - maybe historical, maybe even magical. A sweeping tale with a great romance at it's core.” (Link)
“YA/MG that'll keep me up all night reading + provoke an authentic emotional reaction -- tears, laughter, goosebumps, all of the above?” (Link)
“I'd be interested in mss set in New Orleans that are NOT about a white girl whose family moves into a haunted/voodoo/vampire house.” (Link)
“Would be into YA inspired by hip-hop, b-girls/boys. I'd LOVELOVE a YA book set in the world of the Drag Ball.” (Link)
“If your book is amazing, but weird... I might just love it. I'm not interested in ‘average’ or ‘normal’” (Link)
“A YA w mystery elements (ghostly or otherwise) featuring Gibson Girls. Think Evelyn Nesbit / Ragtime type setting.” (Link)
“High concept YA/MG w diverse cast, strong characters, great writing, fast pace, and that make me laugh AND cry. (Too much to ask?)” (Link)
“YA historical: Regency, Victorian, Gilded Age. Preferably sexy and FUN, great banter a plus.” (Link)
“I'd like a fast-paced, rollicking middle grade adventure - with or without magic.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Adult fiction or nonfiction, picture books, early readers, nonfiction, high fantasy, religious stories, or talking animals. (Link)
"Ugh. I am so NOT fascinated by trends. I am the opposite of fascinated by them. I would say 95% of my inbox at the moment is paranormal romance with some sort of creature (mermaid, selkie, siren, werewolf, unicorn, vampire, zombie, mummy, or some combo like selkwolf or mercorn) - and I am totally not interested, unless it is truly, totally genre-busting. I have enough. No more room at the inn! (Link)
"I want the manuscripts to be in the best possible shape before they go out. However, the author is the artist, and I don't believe in imposing my sensibility on their work. Therefore, while I do give notes, the notes I give tend to focus on clarity rather than extensive re-working." (Link)
Ms. Laughran’s clients include: Ilsa J. Bick, Gwenda Bond, Calef Brown, Sonia Gensler, Alex Gino, Ward Jenkins, Tara Kelly, Kristen Kittscher, James Klise, Erin J. Lange, LK Madigan, Kate Messner, Whitney Miller, Stephanie Oakes, Daniel & Jill Pinkwater, Mara Rockliff, Patrick Samphire, Tiffany Trent, Ellen Emerson White, Diane Zahler, among others.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
“We accept email queries only. Please direct your e-query to ONE agent at our agency, and include the following:
“Fiction: query letter and first 10 pages.”
"FYI, I delete queries that don't follow sub guidelines, are for something I don't rep, aren't addressed to me. Everyone else gets response." (via Twitter)
“If you want to give me a line about why you're querying me, that is fine - but you have a very short window. I REALLY want to know about the manuscript. And at the end, yes, a short bio is fine, but I have no interest in digging deep into your personal life.” (Link)
Ms. Laughran usually responds within a month with an average around two weeks. If you do not hear back within 4-6 weeks, however, assume rejection.
What's the Buzz?
Ms. Laughran has been an agent at Andrea Brown Literary since 2007. Not only does she have invaluable experience as a bookseller, buyer, and reviewer, she has a fantastic list of clients and sales, the backing of an extremely well-respected agency, and a great passion for books. Her clients seem very happy with her representation.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Q&As:
Jennifer Laughran (Andrea Brown Literary Agency): Agent Looking For Diversity at Lee Wind’s site (02/2015).
Query Questions with Jennifer Laughran at Michelle4Laughs (07/2013).
Literary Agent Jennifer Laughran: Ask Me Anything at YAWriters (07/2013).
7 Questions For: Literary Agent Jennifer Laughran at Middle Grade Ninja (02/2011).
An Agent's View: Talking with Jennifer Laughran at Shrinking Violet Promotions (02/2011).
Publishing Interviews: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary at YA Highway (06/2010).
Marvelous Marketer: Jennifer Laughran at Market My Words (04/2010).
Writing Wednesday with Jennifer Laughran, Agent Extraordinaire at Margie Gelbwasser's site. (03/3010).
Guest Post: Ask Agent Jennifer at Justine Larbalestier's blog (02/2010).
Introducing Jennifer Laughran/Not Your Mother's Bookclub at Beth Kephart Books (07/2008).
Going to Market! an interview with Jennifer Laughran on book selling at Class of 2K8 (07/2008).
Agent Interview: Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary Agency at Cynsations (06/2008).
Heidi R. Kling's Author Chat: With...Jennifer Laughran, Famous Book Buyer/NYMBC Founder! (08/2007 - pre-agent).
A Conversation with a Bookstore Buyer at The Flux Blog (03/2007 - pre-agent).
Around the Web:
Andrea Brown Literary on P&E (recommended).
Check out the Andrea Brown Lit Big Sur Children's Writing Workshop that Ms. Laughran often attends.
Agent Jennifer Laughran loves YA lit at YA Interrobang (08/2013).
Musical Theatre Monday – Jennifer Laughran on Annie at The Amy Spalding (01/2013).
Agent Jennifer Laughran Talks Juvenile Writing at the Guide to Literary Agents Blog. (07/2009).
Ms. Laughran was the Secret Agent at Miss Snark's First Victim April 2010. You can dig through the archives that month and read Ms. Laughran's comments.
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary website for contact and query information.
Last Updated: 9/9/2015.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 9/9/2015.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updated? 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/teen fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying. The information found herein is subject to change.