This week's Agent Spotlight features Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Laura Rennert has been a Senior Agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 1998. She thinks of herself as a ‘literary omnivore’ and specializes in all categories of children's books, from picture books to young adult, and in up-market women's fiction and narrative nonfiction. She represents award-winning and best-selling authors, including #1 NYT bestsellers Ellen Hopkins, Jay Asher, #1 NYT bestseller and Printz Honor Finalist Maggie Stiefvater, and National Book Award Finalist Kathleen Duey, as well as brand new, first-time authors. […]
“Laura's work as an agent is enhanced by her experience on the other side of the table. She's the author of a picture book, BUYING, TRAINING, AND CARING FOR YOUR DINOSAUR (Knopf/RH), illustrated by Marc Brown, creator of Arthur. She's also the author of an illustrated chapter book, ROYAL PRINCESS ACADEMY: DRAGON DREAMS, forthcoming with Dial/Penguin in 2012. Laura has a Ph.D. in English Literature and was a faculty member in English Departments of the University of Virginia, Osaka University of Foreign Studies, and Santa Clara University. She speaks at writers' conferences and book festivals throughout the country and overseas. She loves helping to bring breath-taking, unforgettable books to readers, and believes she has the best job in the world.” (Link)
About the Agency:
"We are a mid-size literary agency based in California celebrating over 2,000 titles sold. We bring the best of both worlds to the table—the personal client attention of a small agency and the clout of a larger one. We invest a great deal of care in each project and each client. We devise a strategy at every stage of the writing process, from conception, to editorial, to publication, that is tailored to the client and will enable us to find the best publisher for his or her books. We are seeking long-term relationships with writers and illustrators whose careers we can develop and whose talent we can foster." (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Children’s picture books through young adult, women’s fiction (upmarket / literary), crossover fiction (women’s / YA), mysteries, thrillers, and narrative nonfiction. (Link)
From the Website (as of 04/2012):
“Laura loves character-driven, page-turning fiction with real emotional power. The common thread in the diverse range of projects Laura represents is a strong voice and a propensity to make readers both feel and think. She has a special fondness for characters with an insider-outsider perspective; for narrative risk-takers; and for books that make her laugh and cry. Laura likes surprises, and would love to find a stunning, unexpected, can't-put-me-down novel with a swing for the fences literary voice and an amazing commercial hook in any genre.
“Right now she's particularly seeking upper middle-grade and YA fiction. She's drawn to contemporary and multi-cultural fiction; speculative fiction and alternate histories/realities; dystopian, fantasy, and paranormal; thrillers, science fiction and horror; neo-gothic novels and steampunk; subversive fairy tales; and other genres that hark back to her 19th century Brit Lit roots. She has a weakness for novels that turn her favorite classics (hint, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, original fairy tales, Dante, the Pre-Raphaelites) or myths inside out, give them an intriguing new context, and bring something unexpected to the table. She'd be thrilled to find a Hugo Cabret-like illustrated novel for older readers.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“Romance, Western, Prescriptive Non-fiction, Spirituality” (Link).
“My MO from the very beginning of my career as an agent has been that I feel like -- especially with my background, which includes a PhD on literature and
freelance editing -- that my editorial eye is one of the benefits I bring to the table. And I would rather work with a client on a number of iterations -- and sometimes, it is a number -- and make sure a work is absolutely as strong and enticing as we can make it before we go out with it and then, get a bigger deal.” (Link)
Jay Asher, Sarah Cross, Kimberly Derting, Kathleen Duey, Tessa Gratton, PJ Hoover, Ellen Hopkins, Chris Howard, Cindy Jones, Lia Keyes, Christina Meldrum, Shannon Messenger, Mitali Perkins, Tammi Sauer, Hilary Smith, Maggie Stiefvater, Jeff Stone, among others.
There is also a select list of Andrea Brown Lit titles on the website.
“Noteworthy sales include seven-figure deals to Simon & Schuster and Scholastic; deals for over half a million dollars to Random House, Scholastic, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster; and film deals to Nickelodeon/Paramount; Warner Bros; and Universal Pictures.” (Link)
As of this posting, Ms. Rennert is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 33 deals in the last 12 months, over 24 six-figure+ deals, and 162 overall. Recent deals include 14 international rights, 10 young adult, 3 audio rights, 2 picture book, 2 film rights, 1 fantasy, and 1 middle grade.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales. You can also see a small sample of past deals on the Andrea Brown website here.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Brief query in the body of an e-mail. Put QUERY in the subject line. Include publisher submission history and previous publishing credits (if applicable). Only query one agent at the agency. Note if it's a multiple submission.
For PB: Include full text. Fiction: First ten pages. NF: Proposal and sample chapter. Illustrators: Two to three jpegs of children and animals. No attachments.
Please see the ABLA website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
“The best way to approach me is to follow the submission guidelines on our agency website, and to email a professional, personalized, smart query letter that showcases your great writing and voice, pitches your project succinctly and well, and shows me you’ve done your homework regarding the market. Then, you ace the audition by including a tantalizing ten pages (unless it’s a picture book, in which case you’ll email the full manuscript) that raises questions in my mind and compels me to ask for more.” (Link)
The agency tries to respond within 4-8 weeks but does not guarantee a response due to the large number of submissions they receive. If you have not heard back in 8 weeks, assume rejection. (Link)
What's the Buzz?
Laura Rennert is a highly respected agent who consistently ranks among the top dealmakers on Publisher’s Marketplace for children’s/YA. She has an amazing stable of authors, including many bestsellers and award winners, who seem very loyal and happy with her representation.
Worth Your Time:
Lit Agent Laura Rennert Wants “Smart Boy Books,” an interview with MediaBistro GalleyCat (05/2010).
Audio Interview with Laura Rennert at Author Magazine (2010).
INTERVIEW: Laura Rennert, Sr. Literary Agent - Andrea Brown Literary Agency at A View from the Top (02/2010).
SCBWI Bologna 2010 Agent Interview: Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary Agency at Cynsations (01/2010).
Interview with Laura Rennert at CBI Clubhouse (10/2009).
Articles / Advice:
Big Deals for Little Books by Laura Rennert at Writer’s Digest.
Writing Wisdom: Laura Rennert at LuAnn’s Library (02/2011).
Agent Laura Rennert's Tips on Queries, conference notes from Storymakers 2010 at Goddess of the Corn (05/2010).
Agent Laura Rennert’s Five Writing Do’s and Don’ts, lecture notes at OPWFT (12/2009).
Around the Web:
Laura Rennert at P&E ($, Recommended).
Andrea Brown Literary at P&E ($, Recommended).
I Love My Agent post by client Lia Keyes (04/2011).
How I Got My Agent by client Shannon Messenger at Guide to Literary Agents (06/2010).
How I Got My Agent by client Frankie Mallis at Guide to Literary Agents (06/2010).
Agent Appreciation Day Post by client Tammi Sauer (12/2009).
BEA Digital Panel at Kidlit Apps - ABLA colleague Mary Kole discusses the agency’s digital initiative (05/2011).
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 4/12/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 4/12/12.
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.