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Agent Spotlight: Rachel Coyne

This week's Agent Spotlight features Rachel (Vater) Coyne of FinePrint Literary Management.

Status: Open to submissions.

rcoyneAbout: “Rachel has worked in the publishing industry for the past twelve years, first as an editor and for the past eight years as an agent.  Over the course of her agenting career, she has represented four New York Times bestselling authors, and is always on the lookout for the fifth.

“She represents young adult novels of all stripes (historical, fantasy, romance, contemporary, literary, humorous), as well as middle grade novels, especially with a humorous voice.  She’s also looking for adult historical, fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction.  Recent sales include the Black London series (St. Martin’s Press) and The Iron Codex series (Delacorte) by Caitlin Kittredge; The Education of Hailey Kendrick (Simon Pulse) and Fourth Grade Fairy series (Aladdin) by Eileen Cook; A Star Shall Fall (Tor) by Marie Brennan; and the I So Don’t Do Mysteries series (Delacorte) by Barrie Summy.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“FinePrint Literary Management is a full service literary agency based in New York City. FinePrint launched in September 2007 as the merger of the Peter Rubie Literary Agency and the Imprint Agency. We represent both fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. Our agency maintains active memberships with AAR, RWA, MWA, SFWA, WNBA, and SCBWI.” (Link)

Web Presence:

FinePrint Literary.

FinePrint Literary blog.

FinePrint PM page.

QueryTracker, AgentQuery.

What She's Looking For:


“She represents young adult novels of all stripes (historical, fantasy, romance, contemporary, literary, humorous), as well as middle grade novels, especially with a humorous voice.  She’s also looking for adult historical, fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction.” (Link)

From AgentQuery:

“She specializes in fantasy novels (including sword & sorcery as well as modern urban fantasy), as well as thrillers/mysteries, paranormal romance and chick-lit (including chick-lit mysteries and vampire/paranormal chick-lit)

“You'll catch her attention with edgy or funny young adult or middle grade books with a lyrical writing style or zingy tone

“She's open to everything -- sweet love stories, funny mysteries, scary thrillers, high concept urban fantasy, well-researched historical novels, and mainstream edgy or glam... so long as the voice feels authentic and speaks to social pressures and desires that younger readers can relate to.

“For mainstream adult novels, she loves character-driven stories with a great hook and beautiful writing -- or anything that makes her laugh.” (Link)

From a Conference Bio:

“She is open to first-time authors and is especially looking for beautifully written fiction with an original concept and unique voice. She is looking for young adult fiction dealing with contemporary teen issues and also young adult fantasy.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Poetry, screenplays, stage plays, horror, westerns, category romance, picture books. (Link, Link)

“She's not the right agent for super dark horror with graphic violence, category romance, memoirs or novels about surviving rape / cancer / child abuse.

“She also has a tough time getting excited about very hard SF, or fantasy with too many cliché elements (prophesies, portals, hero quests, a magical object that will save the day or destroy the world if it falls into the wrong hands, etc.).” (Link)

Editorial Agent?

Clients have mentioned doing revisions for her, and she was previously an editor, so I assume yes, as needed.


Marie Brennan, Eileen Cook, Caitlin Kittredge, Barrie Summy, among others.


As of this posting, Ms. Coyne is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 0 deals in the last 12 months. There are 17 deals under Rachel Vater, including 3 six-figure+ deals, from 2004-2009.

NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales, and Ms. Coyne does not appear to actively report her deals.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query letter, synopsis, and the FIRST two chapters via e-mail. No attachments unless requested.

See the FinePrint Literary website for complete, up-to-date submissions guidelines.

Query Tips:

“When it's time to submit, check each agency's website and read their submission guidelines. You can and should submit multiple queries at a time, but submit to only one agent at a time within an agency. (We often refer authors to each other, and it can cause confusion if two agents request the same manuscript within the same agency.) Be sure to follow the individual agent's guidelines, because some agents want just a query letter while others also want a synopsis and/or first pages…” (Link)

Response Times:

When Ms. Coyne responds it’s usually within days to a couple weeks. Stats on the web show she doesn’t always respond, however.  If you do not hear back within a couple months, assume rejection. Response times on requested material range from a few days to a few weeks.

What's the Buzz?

Rachel Coyne is a well-respected agent with solid experience in the industry, first as an editor and then as an agent. Her current clients speak highly of her, and her blog, when she had one, was very popular and informative.  She definitely knows her stuff.

Of note, she has changed agencies a few times and lost several clients over the years. I recommend reading this thread on AW that features former client feedback (around pages 7-9). The concerns are subjective and may or may not have changed in recent years. I know FinePrint is thrilled to have her.

Worth Your Time:


None online that I could find.

Around the Web:

FinePrint Literary Management on P&E ($, Highly recommended).

Rachel (Vater) Coyne on P&E ($, Recommended).

FinePrint Literary Management thread on AbsoluteWrite (2004 – present).

Rachel Vater thread on AbsoluteWrite (2006-2009).

Keep an eye on the FinePrint News page for recent deals and client news.

Writing Tips from 2011 AWW Faculty -- Rachel Coyne – at the Antioch Writers’ Workshop blog (05/2011).

I found these “Ask the Expert” Q&As, but they may be several years old:

Ask the Expert: A Literary Agent’s Response Time, answered by Rachel Vater.

Ask the Expert: Finding Agents of Famous Authors, answered by Rachel Vater.

Ask the Expert: Selling Your Book Internationally, answered by Rachel Vater.

Ask the Expert: Literary Agent and Author Contracts, answered by Rachel Vater.


Please see FinePrint Literary website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 8/25/11.

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Last Reviewed By Agent? N/A.


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. Ms. Coyne offered me representation for my current project. Though I ultimately decided to sign with another agent, Rachel was absolutely lovely to speak with; she's enthusiastic, kind, and so professional. She knows her stuff and is a class act, all the way. Her clients are lucky to have her!

    So for anyone wanting to query this amazing lady, go for it! Your MS would be in good hands.

  2. Thanks for the spotlight on Rachel Coyne. I'm excited she likes high fantasy and middle grade. Not all agents like high fantasy.

    And Anonymous, thanks for sharing your experiences with her.

  3. Great profile and I think it is also great to have someone provide their take as well.

  4. Awesome spotlight! Thank you so much!

  5. Absolutely fantastic blog!!! Glad I found it! Love it!!!

    Lola x

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Thanks so much for this, Casey! She's someone I can submit to, though I think I'll wait until I've got my current submissions back. Normally I don't do that, but I'm hopeful this time. :D

  8. Great profile and thank you Anon! The agency website guidelines under her specific profile merely say to send her "queries", though the the general guidelines say query + synopsis + first two chapters (via snail mail only?). Does anyone know which is preferred?

  9. Rachel has been my agent since 2006. I've been consistently happy with her representation and negotiation skills.

  10. That's so fantastic to hear, Eileen! Thank you for the feedback.

  11. Thank you, Casey and Natalie! Literary Rambles is my regular "go to" site. I love the resources. Even though this spotlight is over one year old, I appreciate the opportunity to discover yet another fabulous agent. Thank you, too, Rachel Coyne.