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Agent Spotlight: Amy Boggs

This week's Agent Spotlight features Amy Boggs of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

AmyBoggsAbout: “After a summer internship, Amy Boggs joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2009 as the assistant to Donald Maass. She was promoted to Contracts Manager in 2010. 

“She previously interned at the Beth Vesel Literary Agency and worked in a children’s bookstore while attending Vassar College.

“She is looking for fiction with vivid stories and strong characters in unique, well-wrought settings. Her focus is on fantasy and science fiction, especially urban fantasy, paranormal romance, steampunk, YA/children’s and middle-grade, and alternate history. Historical fiction, multi-cultural fiction, Westerns, historical romance, and works that challenge their genre are also welcome.” (Link)

Status: Accepting submissions, actively building her list.

What She's Looking For:

From her Bio:

“She is looking for fiction with vivid stories and strong characters in unique, well-wrought settings. Her focus is on fantasy and science fiction, especially urban fantasy, paranormal romance, steampunk, YA/children’s and middle-grade, and alternate history. Historical fiction, multi-cultural fiction, Westerns, historical romance, and works that challenge their genre are also welcome.” (Link)

From an Interview (08/10):

“I tend to prefer works with a fantastical bent. I love being taken into new and fantastic places, and as a kid I was wild about works that took me on an adventure (that I would then reenact with friends). This sense of adventure is possible without the fantastic as well, like the wildly inventive Big Splash or the realistic portrayal of "the kids I wasn't friend with in school" that Sachar specializes in. But really all I want is a fun and engaging plot set in a vividly drawn setting filled with uniquely wrought characters. That doesn't sound too hard, does it?” (Link)

From an Interview (05/10):

“I'm looking for a manuscript that takes the idea of steampunk but draws from 1st century Maya instead of 18th century Europe. Too specific? ;) I'm looking for plenty beyond that, of course, but if someone already has it, send it along!

“In broader terms, I want something that draws me right in and refuses to let go. Some aspects that can help with that are unique and complex settings, characters who challenge or break the mold while retaining that appealing blend of strength and humanity, plots that are tightly woven and keep me guessing, and writing that can effortlessly make me cry one paragraph and laugh the next.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Picture books, poetry, scripts, non-fiction. (Link)

About the Agency:

“The Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York City is a literary agency for professional novelists.

“Donald Maass’s pioneering work and writing about the development of fiction careers has made DMLA a leading agency for fiction writers.

“Agents Donald Maass, Jennifer Jackson, Stacia Decker, Cameron McClure, J.L. Stermer and Amy Boggs together represent more than 150 novelists and sell more than 100 novels every year to leading publishers in the U.S. and overseas.” (Link)

Her Advice For Writers:

“Be daring. It's far better to fail spectacularly than to stay safe and achieve ‘meh.’ Push your stories beyond the boundaries of what makes sense, make your characters do things that they would never, ever do. Of course it is then up to you to make those plots and actions seem perfectly logical, but by writing big you'll surprise the reader and yourself.” (Link)

Dislikes (Don'ts):

“The biggest mistake that queriers make is not following our submission guidelines. […] the biggest mistake folks who follow guidelines make is talking too much about things that aren't in their story.” (Link with more details)

“…queries that go on and on about what a genius the writer is; similarly, I don't like queries where the writer is humble to the point of trying to convince me the work isn't worth my time. The first kind is like a used car dealer trying to hassle me into a car, the latter is like a needy person trying to guilt me into giving a compliment. Neither type is appealing. Along those same lines, a good rule of thumb is to not use any adjectives to describe your writing or plot, such as ‘thrilling,’ ‘heart-warming,’ or ‘beautifully written.’ You don't need to say these things; they should come across in the writing.” (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“To borrow from Don's philosophy, good books sell themselves. I like to work with authors on an editorial level, sometimes before representation, to make the book shine. This doesn't mean good books always sell right away, but with persistence and an open editorial mind, great things can happen.” (Link)

Web Presence:

DMLA website.


AgentQuery, QueryTracker.


There is a list of DMLA clients on the website. Ms. Boggs clients include: Teddy Harrison, Sara King, Ada Palmer, among others.


As of this posting, Ms. Boggs is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 2 deals in the last 12 months and 2 overall.  Recent deals include 1 women’s fiction and 1 sci-fi/fantasy.

NOTE:  PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.

Snail-Mail: No.  

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

E-mail a query letter and the first five pages pasted into the body of the e-mail.  No attachments.  While the agency does accept snail-mail queries, Ms. Bogg’s really prefers not to receive them.

See Ms. Bogg’s bio on the DMLA website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

“All you need in a query is a summary that touches upon the main protagonist(s), the main conflict, and the main antagonist(s). Rather than trying to summarize the whole work, stick to the first fifty pages; makes the task less daunting.” (Link)

Response Times:

The agency has a stated response time of up to four weeks on queries and about the same on requested material.  Their policy is as follows: “We will respond to every e-query that is properly addressed and follows the submission guidelines.  We will not respond to e-queries that are addressed to no one, or to multiple recipients.

However, Ms. Boggs seems to respond anywhere from days up to five or more months and has many outstanding cases of no response.  She may have adopted the no-response means no policy due to business. 

What's the Buzz?

Amy Boggs is a very new agent having just been promoted to contracts manager and acquiring agent earlier this year (2010).  She is actively building her list and has already made two sales for her client Teddy Harrison. 

This is a great opportunity to query an agent actively looking for talent.  Given her response times, however, I suggest you mark her down as a no-response means no agents and be thrilled if you hear back. 

Definitely read the interviews linked below and follow her on Twitter to learn more. 

Worth Your Time:


7 Questions For: Literary Agent Amy Boggs at Middle Grade Ninja (08/10)

Interview with an Agent: Amy Boggs at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (05/10).

Around the Web:

Agent Insights: Narrative Preference - Amy Boggs talks about first person narrative at Flogging the Quill (09/2010).

Keep an eye on the What We’re Looking For This Month page on the website for info and updates.

Donald Maass Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Donald Mass Literary Agency on P&E (AAR, $).


Please see the Donald Maass 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 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.


  1. Thanks for the great spotlight. I'm definitely adding Amy Boggs to my list of agents to query. She likes fantasy (Yea!) and is an editorial agent. Thanks for doing my research for me, Casey.

  2. I started reading this and thought "Oh, she sounds perfect!" Then realized I queried her in October and haven't heard anything yet. I'm still holding out for maybe she hasn't gotten around to me? *fingers crossed*

  3. Thanks, Casey. She looks intriguing -- anyone with the Donald Maass agency has got to be special.

  4. Thanks for the great info. Will keep her on my radar. :)
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  5. Thanks, Casey. I'll keep her in mind for the next round of submissions.

  6. Thanks for the Agent Spotlight posts you do. Your blog is a definite must when getting ready to query!