This week's Agent Spotlight features Ann Behar of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, Inc.
About: “It has always been books for me, even if I veered off my path at times. I majored in English and received my B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1981. I went on to receive an M.A. in English literature in 1982 from the University of Virginia and my J.D. from the University of San Diego Law School in 1985. Things happened quickly after that. My husband began practicing medicine (he is a neurologist) in 1986, and my first daughter was born that August. My second daughter was born 16 months later, and for the next 15 years or so I was a full-time mother and wife. What to do with my degrees stayed on a back burner.
“In 2002, with my high school-age daughters half-way out the door, I was ready to go back to work. I found one of the few businesses in the world - the literary agency business - where an English degree and a law degree are equally valuable.
“I joined SCG, learning the business from top to bottom, doing everything from reviewing and negotiating contracts to evaluating manuscripts, with heavy, constant contact with writers.
“After five years, Russell asked me to take over the firm's small but growing list of juvenile writers and grow it into something more substantial. I accepted the challenge, and have been searching for wonderful children's books, from picture books to YA, ever since.” (Link)
Status: Accepting submissions.
What She's Looking For:
Interests: Children’s books, picture book to YA.
From her bio:
“I am looking for anything that is beautifully written, with a strong, distinct voice and characters that come alive on the page. Ideally, a book should grab my attention from the very beginning and hold it there, and leave me thinking about it for a few days after I am finished.” (Link)
From Twitter (03/2010):
“I personally love literary fiction but I'm open to commercial stuff too.” (Link)
“I am looking for absolutely anything that is beautifully written and original.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Adult projects, screenplays. I also don’t see anything that indicates she is interested in nonfiction.
About the Agency:
“Founded (under the name Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency) in 1992 by three of the industry's most successful and experienced agents, the firm was renamed when our senior colleague Anna Ghosh became a partner.
“Works represented by the agency have appeared scores of times on national bestseller lists and been made into dozens of Hollywood movies and translated into more than 40 languages.
“Our list is eclectic and chaotic, rich and diverse, and there is no type of book that doesn't interest us if it is first-rate. We take on clients who interest us deeply as people and as writers, whatever their background and prior accomplishments. At any given moment we might be working on a first sale for an exciting new author or an eight-figure deal for a veteran of the New York Times bestseller list, or anything in between.” (Link)
I’ve seen mention of client revisions, such as in this interview with Kate Milford.
Ms. Behar handles SGG’s children’s list including: Sabrina Benulis, M.B. Brown, Frank L. Cole, Cory Doctorow, Ty Drago, Esther Friesner, Stephen Giles, Charles de Lint, Robert Jeschonek, Juliet Marillier, Kate Milford, William Sleator, Farhana Zia, among many others.
There is a select list of the agency’s juvenile titles on the website.
As of this posting, Ms. Behar is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 4 deals in the last 12 months and 8 overall. Recent deals include 3 young adult and 1 middle grade.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only!).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
No snail-mail - E-mail queries only (info via e-mail)!
Send a query letter only. No attachments. A request for additional materials will be made if Ms. Behar is interested.
See the SGG website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
“A good title can catch my eye, even if the query letter isn't particularly good, and make me request the manuscript where I might not otherwise have done so…Basically, if someone has come up with an interesting, original title, my suspicion is that s/he has something interesting to say.” (Link)
The agency has a no-response-means-no policy. Ms. Behar seems to respond to queries within a week or two, if interested. Her response time on requested material seems to range from days to a month.
What's the Buzz?
Ann Behar has been with SGG Literary Agency since 2002, representing the agency’s impressive juvenile list since 2005. I see every reason to recommend her: top notch agency, specialization in children’s literature, great track record, high profile clients, no web-based complaints, etc! Please let me know if the comments if you’ve had any experience with her.
Worth Your Time:
None that I could find online.
Around the Web:
There are several essays on publishing on the SGG website that may be of interest.
Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency on P&E (Highly Recommended).
Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.
Please see the Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
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 or teen 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.