This week's Agent Spotlight features Jessica Sinsheimer of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Jessica Sinsheimer has been reading and campaigning for her favorite queries since 2004. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she went east for Sarah Lawrence College and stayed for the opportunity to read soon-to-be books for a living.
“Now an Associate Agent at the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, she’s developed a reputation for fighting office members to see incoming manuscripts first—and for drinking far too much tea. Her most recent sale is RIPPER, a paranormal/historical YA novel, about a Victorian girl who takes down Jack the Ripper–and its sequel.
“Always on the lookout for new writers, she is most excited about finding literary, women’s, and Young Adult fiction, and—on the nonfiction side—psychology, parenting, self-help, cookbooks, memoirs, and works that speak to life in the twenty-first century.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“Sarah Jane Freymann has been a literary agent since the 1970s and is the founder and president of the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, LLC.
The agency team includes associates Steven Schwartz, Katharine Sands, and Jessica Sinsheimer.
“The Agency has a strong commitment to serious self-help and spiritual books, with titles that have sold more than 100,000 copies in the U.S. and throughout Europe and Asia.
“At least five of the agency’s cookbook authors have won the prestigious Julia Child Award.
“The agency also has a strong affinity for narrative nonfiction, and represents world-renowned naturalists, award-winning journalists, and memoirists. We also represent books on lifestyle, illustration and design, many of which have become classics.
“In addition, we represent a growing number of literary, commercial and young adult-fiction titles.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Literary, women’s, and young adult fiction, Non-fiction interests include psychology, parenting, self-help, cookbooks, memoirs, and “works that speak to life in the twenty-first century.” (Link)
From a Q&A (08/2011):
“Current wishlist: Thrillers (preferably with female protagonists). Historical fiction (especially with thriller/romance/paranormal elements). FOOD MEMOIRS. I always ask for them and never get them! In fact, anything with food as a central focus. Cookbooks. Pop psychology. Just read a book called The Price of Privilege. It's old, but I love it. It's got at least as much of my attention as the trashy fiction I'm reading for book club. Women's fiction--preferably (but not necessarily) upmarket. Popular fiction, Literary fiction.” (Link)
“I do rep middle grade! SEND ME YOUR MIDDLE GRADE.” (Link)
From an Interview (08/2009):
“I’ve loved literary fiction since a very young age, and I love when manuscripts come across my desk that make me sit up after a brilliant sentence and pause to savor the image—to think, Yes, this is why I love books.” (Link)
“I’m happy to see YA works of any subgenre. Young Adult can be more tender -more emotionally raw, and messy, and thus truer to life than works for adults.
That said, my personal preference is for YA that would be of interest to young women. We’re primarily looking for YA crossover—works that are multilayered so that they are interesting to adult readers as well. My favorite manuscripts include but also deal with larger concepts than shopping/romance/school issues: they examine the emotional nuances of this life stage, with writing that is beautiful but accessible to young adults.” (Link)
“I’d especially love to see women’s fiction, literary fiction, food memoirs, travel memoirs, Parenting, Psychology, and cookbooks. Naturally, many works are some combination of the above. I also have a lot of respect for writing of the Aimee Bender/Amy Hempel variety, but know this is hard to find in full-length form. If the writing was extraordinary, I’d consider anything—though violent works about alien wars would, admittedly, have an uphill battle.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Not actively looking for picture books. No screenplays.
“I am VERY editorial. I love it! I love watching a book take shape. That said, would I turn down something because it was already perfect? No. As always, it's a balance of ‘how much work is this?’ vs. ‘how much do I love this?’” (Link)
There are lists of agency clients and titles on the website.
As of this posting, Ms. Sinsheimer is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 1 deal in the last 12 months and 3 overall. Recent deals include 1 young adult.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (preferred).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query letter including a summary of your work, bio, and contact information addressed to Ms. Sinsheimer to the agency e-mail address.
See the Sarah Jane Freymann Agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
“I love seeing the first 10 pages in the body of the email, just after the query.” (Link)
The agency’s stated response time is a few weeks. Stats on the web show Ms. Sinsheimer responding to queries usually within hours to a week and requested material within days to a few weeks with occasional outliers and no-responses.
What's the Buzz?
Sarah Jane Freymann Literary is a well respected agency. Jessica Sinsheimer has been with them since 2009, I believe, and has made a few sales since her promotion from assistant to associate agent. She’s very sweet and personable and her clients seem to love her.
I recommend following her on Twitter @jsinsheim. For tons of great info on her agenting style and interests, I recommend reading through this Q&A in the WriteOnCon forum (registration is easy and free).
Worth Your Time:
WriteOnCon Q&A with Jessica Sinsheimer in the forum (08/2011).
Talk show recording featuring Jessica Sinsheimer at BlogTalkRadio (01/2011).
Agent Advice Interview with Jessica Sinsheimer at Guide to Literary Agents (08/2009).
Around the Web:
Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.
Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency on P&E ($, Recommended).
Live Query Event transcript with Jessica Sinsheimer at WriteOnCon (08/2011).
Agent Appreciation Day post by client Gwen Hayes (12/2009).
Please see the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 10/13/11.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 10/13/11.
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.