This week's Agent Spotlight features Roseanne Wells of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Roseanne Wells joined JDLA as an associate agent in 2012. Previously with the Marianne Strong Literary Agency, she has also worked as a proofreader and a special sales and editorial assistant. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with degrees in Literature and Dance. An avid reader, Roseanne discovered her passion for book publishing during her internship at W. W. Norton, and she approaches agenting as a writer's advocate, editor, and partner. She is also an arts reviewer for PlayShakespeare.com and a volunteer for Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Soho, NYC.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency is a New York City-based full-service literary agency founded in 2001 and named one of the top 25 literary agencies in the country by Writer’s Digest.
“The agency represents children’s literature for all ages – picture books and middle-grade and young adult novels – but also represents high-quality adult fiction and non-fiction in a wide range of genres. The categories we are most enthusiastic about agenting are literary and commercial fiction; mysteries, thrillers, celebrity biographies; humor; psychology and self-help; parenting; health and fitness; women’s issues; men’s issues; pop culture; film and television; social issues and contemporary affairs.
“JDLA is proud to be one of the few literary agencies to represent illustrators, as well as screenwriters for both television and film, including Emmy-winning writers and a Peabody Award-winning illustrator.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Fiction: Literary fiction, young adult, sci-fi, fantasy, and mysteries (more Sherlock Holmes than cozy mysteries).
Non-Fiction: Narrative, science (popular or trade, not academic), humor, history, true crime, religion, travel, food/cooking, and similar subjects. (Link)
From the website (as of 7/2012):
“Nonfiction: I'm interested in authors who have a unique story to tell and are dedicated to building their platform and reaching their audience. I like narrative nonfiction, select memoir, science (popular or trade, not academic), history, religion (not inspirational), travel, humor, food/cooking, and similar subjects. I'm also interested in fresh, modern self-improvement that not only inspires but energizes readers to strengthen and empower themselves in this rapidly evolving world.
“Fiction: I'm looking for strong literary fiction that emphasizes craft and style equally, and doesn't sacrifice plot and character for beautiful sentences; young adult of all genres; very selective middle grade that connects me to a strong main character; science-fiction and fantasy; and smart detective novels (more Sherlock Holmes than cozy mysteries).” (Link)
From an Interview (12/2010):
“The first thing I look for is a good story, and then if it’s nonfiction, platform. It is essential because nonfiction is about authority (why should I listen to this person about their advice or their story?) and audience (who is going to buy the book?). Platform is easier to build these days with social media and digital networking, but it doesn’t mean that you have enough to write a book.”
“I only represent young adult, as I am drawn to the personal journey and transformation of the protagonist that helps define YA as its own genre. Middle grade is a different kind of book with distinct elements and market, and I am drawn more to the YA market. It can be tricky, as there are points where the two can overlap—just look at how the Harry Potter series morphs from a middle grade to a crossover young adult book that is really for all ages. I do mistakenly get middle grade queries, or queries for YA projects that are actually MG, but most curiously, I also get a lot of submissions for other children’s books (picture books, early reader, chapter books, etc).”
“I’m hungry for singular YA clients, contemporary or fantasy, that will grab me by the lapels and never let go. I’m also scouring market stalls and fine dining establishments for new food and cookbook ideas.”
(Link with more on mystery, sci-fi, & religion interests)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Children’s picture books through middle grade.
As of this posting, Ms. Wells is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 0 deals in the last 12 months and 2 overall. The agency is listed as having made 10 deals in the last 12 months, 1 six-figure+ deal, and 69 overall.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a one page query letter addressed to Ms. Wells, contact info, and the first ten pages in the body of an e-mail. Put “Query” in the subject line.
See the JD Lit website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
“Don't use quotes or rhetorical questions in queries--all questions end with no.” (Link)
For more query tips and preferences read through the two live events (linked below) Ms. Wells did with WriteOnCon.
Prior to joining JD Lit, Ms. Wells’ response times ranged from days to a few months with occasional instances of no-response. Stats at the new agency to come.
What's the Buzz?
Roseanne Wells began agenting in July of 2009 and is actively building her client list. In June 2012 she moved from the Marianne Strong Literary Agency to the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency.
Ms. Wells frequently attends conferences and is looking for new YA clients in particular. My experience with her through WriteOnCon and e-mail correspondence has been great.
I recommend following her on Twitter @RivetingRosie.
Worth Your Time:
Agent Advice Interview with Roseanne Wells at Guide to Literary Agents (12/2010).
Around the Web:
Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.
Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency on P&E ($ Recommended).
Live Query Event (transcript) with Literary Agent Roseanne Wells at WriteOnCon (04/2011).
Successful Queries: Agent Roseanne Wells and DUMBEMPLOYED at Guide to Literary Agents (06/2011).
Writing Tips from 2011 AWW Faculty -- Roseanne Wells at Antioch Writers’ Workshop (05/2011).
Guest blogger: Agent Roseanne Wells talks kitchen sink plots, or "Adding a dragon won't help" at The Swivet (05/2010).
Please see the Jennifer DeChiara website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 7/11/12 – (New agency updates.)
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/11/12.
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.