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  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Agent Spotlight: Steven Chudney

This week's Agent Spotlight features Steven Chudney of The Chudney Agency.
Status: The Chudney Agency is closed to queries and submissions except through professional referral.
chudney_agency About: "After more than fifteen years in book publishing I founded The Chudney Agency in 2002, specializing in the wonderful world of Children's books.
My very first job in publishing was selling paperbacks for Dell Publishing in their small telemarketing department. Since then I have held various sales and marketing positions at Viking Penguin, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, and Simon & Schuster where I was first the marketing director and then director of licensing and brand development. My last publishing position was with Winslow Press where I held the position of Senior Director of Marketing, Sales & Subsidiary Rights. I have sold and marketed every imaginable type of book — adult and children's, hardcovers, pop-up books and paperbacks — to wholesalers, independent bookstores and chain stores alike. And, having worked at various publishing houses, I know many editors and art directors in the industry.
Successes along the way included the marketing campaign to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Eloise, by Kay Thompson, the launch of the Nickelodeon line of books, and the acquisition and initial development of the Cheerios brand for Simon & Schuster into one of the bestselling board book series' of all time. Not to mention all the first time novels and picture books I worked on as well. Now, as an agent, I find that I really love the beginning of the process: reading manuscripts and discovering new talent. I also enjoy the challenge of developing authors and illustrators, and making sure their books find the largest audience possible.
Since I began my agency in 2002, I have had the good fortune to work with new and established writers and illustrators, pairing them with the right editor at the right publishing house, and guiding and managing their careers. Working with sub-agents covering TV and film rights, as well as foreign language agents in key territories and countries all over the world, I continue to be excited about the opportunities for my authors and illustrators." (From the agency website)
About the Agency:
"The Chudney Agency is a small, independent literary agency (mostly*) devoted to the wonderful world of books for children and teens. " (From the agency website)
What He's Looking For:
Interests: Children's picture books (author/illustrators only) through young adult as well as select adult material including general wonderful fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and some humor. He is not looking for fantasy, paranormal, or nonfiction for children or adults.
From the website:
"At this time, the agency is only looking for Author/Illustrators (one individual), who can both write and illustrate wonderful picture books. The author/illustrator must really know and understand the prime audience's needs and wants—the child reader! Storylines should be engaging, fun, with a hint of a life lesson—and cannot be longer than 700 words.
"With chapter books, middle grade and teen novels, I’m primarily looking for quality, contemporary literary fiction and magical realism, some historical: novels that are well-written, with wonderful settings and developed, unforgettable characters.
I am completely open to all kinds of subjects, including LGBTQ (I’m gay and married) and BIPOC stories, rom-coms, coming of age, gender, faith and spirituality (but not religious) and humor, etc. I am also interested in books that cover cultural issues, both here and abroad—I grew up in Israel and so I love books about the Middle East. And I’m open to all other genres like mysteries and historical fiction (see below). Since opening the agency, I have always sought out novels covering diversity in characters and settings by own voices authors.
Some favorite authors of mine are Gary D. Schmidt, Jacqueline Woodson, Polly Horvath, Kate DiCamillo, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Lisa Yee, Sarah Dessen, Mark Zusak, Adam Silvera, Judy Blundell, Jennifer Holms, E. Lockhart, Ruta Sepetys, Christopher Paul Curtis and many, many more. (From the agency website)
What He Isn't Looking For: For Picture books: Picture book texts, illustrators only, fables, folklore, or traditional fairytales, poetry, mood pieces, stories for all ages, and message-driven stories. For middle grade and young adult: Early and leveled readers, fantasy, science fiction, plays, screenplays or film scripts. (From the agency website) 
Editorial Agent?
"I do get involved editorially on all my clients' manuscripts, both picture books and novels. I routinely work with my clients on as many revisions as it takes to bring out the best in every manuscript. Once I've placed a manuscript with a house, I then switch gears and begin to work with the client on marketing, promotion and sales concerns." (Link unknown)
Web Presence:
The Chudney Agency website.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
A client list is available on the Chudney Literary website. 
Query Methods: Mr. Chudney is closed to queries.
Email: No.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
NOTE: Mr. Chudney will not review any submissions that do not follow his guidelines. Check the agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Response Times:
What's the Buzz?
Steven Chudney has a strong list of authors and sales, and is refreshingly clear on what he is and isn't looking. I've seen more than one client describe him as "fantastic" and "communicative," which suggests he's attentive. 
Worth Your Time:
Interview at Only Picture Books (05/2020)
Bologna 2016: Agents Talk Children's and YA Trends at Publisher Weekly (03/2016)
Please see The Chudney Agency website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 1/21/2023.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 2/8/2023

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 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.


Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm totally impressed that you posted a spotlight with all the work you're doing on the conference this week. Thanks for the spotlight even though he doesn't like fantasy. And a big thanks for all the work you are doing on the conference. It's awesome. I just wish I didn't have to go to work. It's torture. Sigh.

Tahereh said...

MORE AND MORE GENIUS. my goodness i love you.

Ammie :) said...

Thanks for this one, Casey! I submitted a query and he got back to me VERY quickly, I think 2 days later? He was too busy to request pages at the time, but asked if I didn't have representation to please try again. I just sent out my partial last week, so wish me luck! He's A DREAM agent!

Ammie said...

Just got one of the NICEST rejections. Great feedback with tons of details--query this guy! Now I will go crawl in a fetal position and cry. *Sniff*

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you Natalie, Tahereh, and Ammie!

Sorry about the R, Ammie, but thank you for the feedback!

Carolyn V. said...

Casey, I love that you do this. Steven sounds like a great agent! Thanks for the info. =)

Katharina Gerlach said...

Thank you so much for all the work you put into this website and the WriteOnCon. You're awesome!

tanita✿davis said...

Just now that it's OVER I'm hearing about the WriteOnCon, but it sounds like you've done an awesome thing. And Steven's my agent - he is truly a generous, straightforward and lovely person -- good luck to all who are pitching to him!

storyqueen said...

Just wanted to say thanks for all of your hard work.

Write On Con was amazing!


Lisa Nowak said...

Another guy who doesn't follow trends, and this one doesn't take fantasy to boot. You gotta love people who are looking for something different. So many agents are listing fantasy and other hot topics in their list of wants these days.

Jan Markley said...

Great overview! thanks!

Casey McCormick said...

Thanks all!

Mr. Chudney has reviewed his profile. I've added what he's repping for adult material.

Sarah said...

Mr. Chudney had a very quick turnaround on my submission (2 weeks) and while he ultimately rejected my manuscript, he sent a personalized, signed letter with a couple critique points to take into consideration for revision. I found his reply very professional and it was nice to finally have some feedback from an agent.

Anonymous said...

Chudney is difficult. He dumps clients and takes forever, forever and even longer to slowly submit mss one editor at a time, giving up after about two rejections. Beware!

Anonymous said...

I was very happy with the working relationship we had until the day I received an email saying he would no longer represent me or my book that was still on submission. BOOM.

I asked all the right questions and went with my gut when deciding to accept his offer of representation, but you can never know for sure.

Casey McCormick said...

I'm so sorry to hear this, Anon. I received your other details. From your report and the other ex-client above it sounds like he dumps clients when their projects don't sell as expected. I'll keep an eye out.

Casey McCormick said...

I've received word via e-mail from yet another client who was dumped by Chudney after just a few months. Like the above two clients they were dropped very suddenly after their project didn't sell right away.

K. L. Hallam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Steven is my agent and my experience with him has been the EXACT opposite of the criticisms above about dumping people. My book has been out there for a year and hasn't sold yet and he's offering encouragement and suggestions and sending it out over and over again. He's prompt, professional and a nice guy to boot.

Casey McCormick said...

I'm glad to hear it, Anon!

Anonymous said...

Like the three other people cited in this comment section, I, too, was dumped by Steven after being on submission for quite a while and not having my book sell. I knew this about him when I signed, so was not surprised. I would advise that if you want to sign with him, do so. He knows lots of top-notch editors and can get eyes on your MS, which will give you a good opportunity to sell your book to a publisher. I'm very grateful I had this chance. If your book doesn't sell, however,l and he does pull the plug, write another novel and find a new agent. As an agent working on his own, I believe he does this because his time is limited and he wants to focus it on writers whose work he believes will sell going forward. Fair enough.