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Agent Spotlight: Karen Grencik

This week's Agent Spotlight features Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary.

Status: Open to submissions.

karengrencikAbout: “California native KAREN GRENCIK makes her home in Shell Beach, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A court reporter by training, Karen initially launched her own literary agency in 1999 to champion writers and manuscripts she discovered on the Central Coast of California.

“The opening chapter of The Karen Grencik Literary Agency was an astounding success, propelled largely by Karen’s major sale of the middle grade memoir Double Luck: Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan by Lu Chi Fa with Becky White. Karen quickly found herself on the New York publishing circuit and in regular contact with editors and publishers, while also finding time to be a favorite presenter at several West Coast writers’ conferences.

“Karen signed new clients and sold award-winning titles. Among the awards garnered by her authors are the Parents' Choice Gold Award for Best Nonfiction, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Best Picture Book, and the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best New Fiction.

“Karen regularly consults with Emma D. Dryden, former children’s book publisher and founder of the children’s editorial consultancy company, drydenbks. Karen’s mentor, San Francisco agent Linda Allen, will partner on special projects with Red Fox Literary as needed.

“Karen’s philosophy is simple: ‘When you choose to write children’s books, it’s just that—it’s a choice. You do it because you love it. You do it because it fills you with passion. You do it because it brings you joy. You are among the lucky ones who live life with purpose. But you also must do everything you can possibly think of to achieve your goals.

“And you must be nice.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“The story of Red Fox Literary began nine years ago when a young, novice editor named Abigail Samoun acquired her very first picture book from a talented agent named Karen Grencik. That book, author Sarah Wilson’s George Hogglesberry, Grade School Alien, went on to win the coveted SCBWI Golden Kite Award. Not bad for a first collaboration.

“In 2006, Karen left agenting to pursue adventures in the tropical forests of Costa Rica. Abigail and Karen’s paths didn’t cross again until the Los Angeles 2010 SCBWI National Conference, where Abigail was delighted to discover that Karen had returned to the States and was plunging back into the world of children’s books. Karen and Abigail decided in March 2011 to form Red Fox Literary, a boutique agency specializing in picture books, middle-grade, and young-adult titles.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Red Fox Lit website.

Red Fox Blog.

Facebook.

QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

“Our agency represents children’s book illustrators and authors whose work is aimed at picture book, middle-grade, and young-adult readers.” (Link)

From an Interview (06/2011):

“I want to see beautifully written books that will make me grow as a human being and increase my understanding of the world in which I live. Dystopia, paranormal, high fantasy and science fiction aren’t for me. I prefer reality-based stories that will show me a world I would not otherwise have the opportunity to know or a picture book that will literally take my breath away or make me laugh out loud.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Adult Projects, Mass Market Board or Novelty Books, Activity Books/Workbooks
Self-Help, Science Fiction, High Fantasy, Dystopia, Memoir. (Link)

Editorial Agent?

A few clients have mentioned revision notes, so I believe so.

Clients:

There are lists of authors and illustrators on the Red Fox website.

Ms. Grencik’s clients include: Lana Bloch and Tanya Bloch, Sandra Brug, Amy Dixon, Lu Chi Fa, Julie Musil, Michele Shaw, Mary McKenna Siddals, Sarah Wilson, Natasha Yim, among others.

Sales:

As of this posting, Ms. Grencik is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 1 deal in the last 12 months and 1 overall.  Recent deals include 1 picture book.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

“Due to the volume of queries I’ve been receiving, submissions will only be accepted from the 1st through the 7th of each month.”

PICTURE BOOKS: Submit a query letter with the full manuscript.

FICTION: Submit a query letter, synopsis, and the first ten pages.

NON-FICTION: Submit a query letter, proposal, and one sample chapter.

Send your query and sample pages in the body of an e-mail.  No attachments. Put QUERY in the subject line.

For complete, up-to-date submission guidelines see the Red Fox Literary submissions page.

Response Times:

The agency’s stated response time is six weeks, and Ms. Grencik strives to respond to all submissions that follow her guidelines.

Stats on the web show query and submission response times ranging from hours to several weeks with an average around one week.

What's the Buzz?

I hadn’t heard of Ms. Grencik until the opening of Red Fox Literary earlier this year but everything I’ve read since has been very positive. The agency is already listed as “Recommended” by P&E and her clients seem enthusiastic about her representation. 

Before querying, take note of her unique submission policy (being only open to queries the first through the seventh of each month) and proclivity toward reality-based projects.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Interview with Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary Agency at Becky Levine’s blog (06/2011).

Around the Web:

Red Fox Literary thread at AbsoluteWrite.

Red Fox Literary Agency at P&E ($, Recommended).

Karen Grencik at P&E ($, Recommended).

The agency has a “Highlights” page for client news and happenings.

Client Julie Musil’s “I Have an Agent” post (06/2011).

Contact:

Please see the Red Fox Literary website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 10/27/11.

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 10/27/11.

***

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.

9 comments:

  1. Karen sounds like an awesome agent. I was super excited because my main character is a Chinese adoptee, but then I saw she doesn't want any high fantasy. Oh well, she still sounds awesome.

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  2. I had a great interaction with Ms. Grencik earlier this year, and although she ended up passing on my project she was extremely persoanble and professional. I think she'd be a great advocate and agent.

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  3. I met Karen at a recent SCBWI Oregon retreat, and she's definitely personable--and sweet! Thanks for the informative run-down on Karen. It's nice to see she represents picture books, because a lot of children's book agents don't. :)

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  4. My interaction with Karen has left me with a great love for literary agents, she has literally made me change my opinion about agents. She had the nicest things to say about my 10 pages. I am sure she would be an absolute delight to work with. I wish Karen all the best with her agency. She comes across as a wonderful person and agent.

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  5. Great post. Thanks for sharing about Karen and Red Fox Literary Agency.

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  6. Karen just happens to be my agent, and I can tell you all the positive things you've heard are correct! She is a dream to work with, so enthusiastic about my work and supportive at every turn. We immediately clicked and she felt like an old friend. When she offered, I had other fulls out, but knew in my gut that she was the one. I'd met other agents and pitched them, but never felt quite as comfortable as I did just talking to Karen on the phone! She has an amazing attitude that is contagious!

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  7. Karen Grencik is the first literary agent I have met in person. Her professionalism and kind heart are a great combination!
    It was a highlight for me to meet her at the recent SCBWI retreat in Oregon. Thanks for the interview. Victoria

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  8. According to the "Red Fox" website, it looks like they're not accepting unsolicited submissions.

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  9. Thanks for a lovely profile of an awesome agent!

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