This week's Agent Spotlight features Marie Lamba of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency.
Status: Open to submissions, actively building her client list.
About: “Marie Lamba joined JDLA as an Associate Agent in 2011. She is the author of the young adult novel WHAT I MEANT . . . (Random House), and her work appears in the short story anthology LIAR LIAR (Mendacity Press) and the anthology CALL ME OKAASAN: ADVENTURES IN MULTICULTURAL MOTHERING (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing). Marie's articles appear in more than 100 publications, including national magazines such as Writer's Digest, Garden Design, and RWR. She has worked as an editor, an award-winning public relations writer, and a book publicist, has taught classes on novel writing and author promotion, and is a member of Romance Writers of America and The Liars Club.” (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:
Middle grade, young adult, general fiction, women’s fiction, memoir.
From the Website:
“I am currently looking for: Young adult and middle-grade fiction, along with general and women's fiction and some memoir. Books that are moving and/or hilarious are especially welcome.” (Link)
From an Interview (05/2012):
“Something fresh and unusual that doesn't simply echo what's already popular. Do this with a voice that grabs me, and you'll really be cooking.” (Link)
From an Interview (02/2012):
“I don’t represent category romance, but I do like novels with romance in them. Women’s fiction is a broad term (ha ha) that encompasses chick lit as well as fiction with strong female characters in either a literary or commercial form. I’m open to them all.
“What keeps me reading? Brilliant writing, an unforgettable character, a problem that makes me worry and wonder, a fresh voice that I can’t get enough of…” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“I am NOT interested in picture books, science fiction, or high fantasy (though I am open to paranormal elements), category romance (though romantic elements are welcome), non-fiction, or in books that feature graphic violence.” (Link)
Yes, as needed.
“Some recent favorite titles on my shelf include: SEARCHING FOR CALEB by Anne Tyler, JUST LISTEN by Sarah Dessen, PAPER TOWNS by John Green, THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffeneger, TWENTIES GIRL by Sophia Kinsella, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman, SHUG by Jenny Han, and DOING IT by Melvin Burgess. I also admit to watching many, many chick flicks.” (Link)
“I’m so glad I came to agenting after being a full-time author for such a long while. Because I worked so hard myself to get published, including spending 10 years on a manuscript that was never accepted, I’m endlessly empathetic to writers. I understand how huge it is to get ‘the call’ from an agent, and how important the agent is to the happiness and well-being of an author. […] And because I come at this from the writerly end, I’m a strong editor and have really decent marketing skills too. Skills that not only help me as a writer, but that help me to be a supportive agent as well.” (Link)
The agency represents over 200 clients, including a PEN Award-winner and a Newbery Honor Medal winner. A list of selected clients can be found on the site here.
As of 7/2012, Ms. Lamba has not reported any deals to Publisher’s Marketplace. The agency is listed as having made 8 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):
“Please email a query and put ‘Query’ in the subject line of your email.
“For queries regarding children's and adult fiction, please send the first twenty pages in the body of your email, along with a one-paragraph bio and a one-paragraph synopsis.” (Link)
Query only one agent at the agency at a time.
See the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
“In the query, if you don’t include my name, if you address the query To Whom It May Concern, or you misspell my name, things start off on a bad foot right away. If your letter is riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors, I’m going to be really turned off (if you can’t pull off one page, how are you going to write an entire book?). And if you show off a bad attitude in your query, saying things like ‘I know you agents don’t really care and I’m pretty sick of trying to get your attention,’ or ‘If you know what’s good for you, then you’d better write back to me right away,’ then there is no way I’m going to want to work with you.” (Link)
See the interviews below for more query tips and preferences.
The agency’s stated response is 2 weeks for queries. Stats on the web show Ms. Lamba responding to most queries in this time frame. Data on requested material is limited but suggests a response time within four weeks.
What's the Buzz?
Marie Lamba began agenting July of 2011 and is actively building her client list. She has been very selective so far. The Jennifer De Chiara Agency is recommended by P&E.
Worth Your Time:
Interview with Marie Lamba of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency at MiG Writers (05/2012).
Q&A with literary agent and author Marie Lamba - Part 1 at An Englishman in New Jersey (03/2012).
Q&A with literary agent and author Marie Lamba - Part 2 at An Englishman in New Jersey (03/2012).
Interview with Literary Agent Marie Lamba at All the Write Stuff (02/2011).
Marie Lamba, Literary Agent (10/2011).
Around the Web:
Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.
Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency on P&E ($ Recommended).
If interested, there are a lot of other interviews and guest posts related to Ms. Lamba’s writing available with a web search.
Please see the Jennifer DeChiara website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 7/12/12 - (added new interviews.)
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 2/23/12.
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.