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Agent Spotlight: Anna Olswanger

This week's Agent Spotlight features Anna Olswanger of Olswanger Literary, LLC.
Status: Accepting submissions.
lda_staffphoto3-07-26-10About: “Anna Olswanger has been a literary agent since 2005. She started her career at Liza Dawson Associates in Manhattan, and in 2014 launched her own literary agency, Olswanger Literary LLC, where she represents a wide variety of genres, but is currently focused on illustrated books (picture books and graphic novels). She is a member of the AAR, Association of Authors' Representatives.
"Anna has sold to major publishers, including Bloomsbury, Chronicle, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster.
"Her clients' books have won the Newbery Honor, Asian Pacific American Award for Literature Honor, Flora Stieglitz Strauss Award for Nonfiction, Orbis Pictus Honor, PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing, Parents Choice Gold Award, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books, Sibert Award Honor, Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Honor, Sydney Taylor Silver Medal, Boston Globe Horn Book Nonfiction Honor, International Bologna/Ragazzi Nonfiction Honor, CCBC Choices, and been Junior Library Guild Selections and on The New York Times Bestseller list. You can view many of her clients' books on Pinterest.
"Anna enjoys discovering new authors and illustrators, and is looking for “voice,” the sound and rhythm of an author that is hers alone. She has a particular interest in picture books (author-illustrators only) and graphic novels.
"She works hard with authors to get their manuscripts into shape for submission. She finds that most manuscripts need work on plot, so if you're a potential author or illustrator client, be ready to go through many revisions before Anna agrees to send out your manuscript. Her job is to get the story to the point where an editor will make an offer. (And then be prepared to make more revisions for the editor.)
"Through her work as an agent of children's books, Anna has developed a special interest in animal advocacy. She is the agent for Jill Robinson and Marc Bekoff's Jasper's Story: Saving Moonbears, the story of a moon bear held captive in a cage by bear farmers in rural China until rescued by Animals Asia, the organization that Jill founded, and Alan Rabinowitz's A Boy and a Jaguar, the story of a boy who fulfills his promise to speak for animals who cannot speak for themselves.
"Anna is also interested in finding unusual books with a Judaic or Israel theme. She is the agent for Ruchama Feuerman’s novel In the Courtyard of the Kabbalist, about the friendship between a rabbi’s assistant and a devout Muslim janitor, and Santiago Cohen’s picture book The Yiddish Fish, about a fish who speaks Yiddish." (Link)
About the Agency:
"In 2014 she launched her own literary agency, Olswanger Literary LLC, where she represents a wide variety of genres, but is currently focused on illustrated books (picture books and graphic novels)." (Link)
Web Presence:
Olswanger Literary website,
Publisher's Marketplace page.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
What She's Looking For:
From the Agency Website:
Picture books (by author-illustrators ONLY) and nonfiction graphic novels (by author-illustrators ONLY)Also see her Manuscript Wish List to learn what she's looking for.
What She Isn't Looking For:
Anything other than the above.Editorial Agent?
Yes, see her bio above.
“If you're blogging, twittering, and posting on Facebook, when are you writing your novel or picture book? I'm not impressed by anything other than the quality of your manuscript.” (Link)
Dislikes (Don’ts):
"I don’t like it when authors or illustrators ask me to jump through hoops to see a submission (go to a website, go to a Dropbox account, look at a dozen JPEG attachments)." (Link)“A query or cover letter that starts with ‘Dear Agent.’ The next biggest no-no is telling me that your manuscript has been professionally edited. I'd like to work with authors who can edit their own manuscripts.” (Link)
There are lists of client titles on the website.
Ms. Olswanger’s clients include Jim Carroll, Cathy Fishman, Devorah Goldman, Luli Gray, Michael Hall, Marvin Hamlisch, Michelle Markel, Zack Miller, Margaret Peot, Barry Rothstein, Jennifer Sattler, among others.
Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Email text with sample art.See the Olswanger Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.  
Query Tips:
“Write a strong first sentence. ‘Strong’ can mean dramatic, stark, or surprising.”
“Pick your best manuscript and query about it. Don't mention the five other manuscripts you have ready to send. That will overwhelm the agent and make her or him wary of working with you.” (Link)
Response Times:
Ms. Olswanger only responds if she is interested in reading more.
Worth Your Time:
Author Agent Spotlight: Anna Olswanger at KidLit411 (04/2019).
November Agent of the Month: Anna Olswanger interview Part 1 and Part 2 at Writing and Illustrating (11/2018)
Interview with literary agent Anna Olswanger at Amy Newman (02/2014).
Anna Olswanger: An Insider’s Guide to Finding an Representation and Working with an Agent at artistsnetwork.com (11/2010).
Remain Optimistic: Interview with Agent Anna Olswanger at The Chinook Update (08/2010).
Please see the Liza Dawson Associates website and Ms. Olswanger’s website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/21/2020.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent?  5/22/2020.
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.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

Thanks for the awesome spotlight, ladies! :-)

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Anna Olswanger is a class act.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great spotlight. And perfect timing since I just interviewed Judith Engracia from Liza Dawson.

Matthew MacNish said...

Thank goodness I can finally post a comment. I think my browser is broken.

Another well done spotlight, thanks all!

Thermocline said...

Thanks for this Spotlight, Casey!

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you for stopping by, Shannon, Caroline, Matthew, Thermocline. I appreciate it!

Theresa Milstein said...

Thanks for the info. Wonder if she'd be interested in a Jewish vampire (YA)?

Laura Pauling said...

Thank you so much for all your hard work! She seems like a great agent. :)

Anonymous said...

Theresa - Can't speak for Anna, but I know I'd be interested in reading that!

Casey, thanks so much for doing this! Super helpful!

-Anon profile requester!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

(Swoon) I hear Ms. Olswanger is a picture book writer's dream.

Great spotlight!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Casey! I had the chance to meet Anna and she's indeed a class act.