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Agent Spotlight: Emily Keyes

This week's Agent Spotlight features Emily Keyes of Foreword Literary.

Status: CLOSED to submissions as of August 29th, 2014.

EmilyFWD About: “Emily S. Keyes joined Foreword Literary in 2013 after working as an agent at the L. Perkins Agency for 2 years. Before entering the world of agenting, she worked in the contracts department of Simon & Schuster, Inc and graduated from New York University’s Center for Publishing. She uses her knowledge of contracts, copyright and the publishing business to benefit her clients and the Foreword team.

“Emily is a particular lover of all types of young adult and middle grade books. She wants to represent the kind of stories that will resonate with kids for the rest of their lives. She loves strong voices and unique characters, not knock-offs or trend chasers. Some of her favorite authors include Deb Caletti, Laurie Halse Anderson, Gary D. Schmidt, and Megan Whalen Turner. She thinks books are best when they make you laugh and cry.

“Emily is also looking for a select list of commercial fiction which includes fantasy & science fiction, women’s fiction, new adult fiction, along with pop culture and humor titles. She is not looking for poetry, short stories, picture books or anything that is ‘publishable’ and not amazing.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“Foreword Literary is a full-service, hybrid literary agency based in the Silicon Valley with offices throughout the country. We blend the tried-and-true methods of traditional publishing with the brash new opportunities engendered by digital publishing, emerging technologies, and an evolving author-agent relationship.

“Foreword manages a wide variety of clients, from bestsellers to debut authors, working with fiction and non-fiction for children and adults worldwide. We combine technical efficiency with outside-the-covers creative thinking so that each individual client’s career is specifically fine-tuned for them.

“We are not an agency that sells a book and then washes our hands of the project. We realize that our ongoing success directly results from that of our clients, so we remain at their side to cultivate and strategize throughout the many lives of each book, both before and after the initial sale. Innovations, such as our FastForeword publishing program, help bridge the gaps between books, growing and maintaining the author’s fan base without lag.

“The partners launched Foreword following tenures at established agencies, bringing with them experience in writing, teaching, professional editing, book marketing, blogging and social media, running high-tech companies, and marketing new technologies. A boutique, collaborative agency, Foreword provides each client with the expertise and forward vision of the group.

“We pride ourselves on our flexibility and passion for progression in an ever-changing publishing environment. We believe that the agency of the future will not just react to change but will actively create change, pushing markets and advancing formats to provide authors with the best possible outlets for their art.

“Foreword Literary, Inc. Moving Publishing Forward” (Link)

Web Presence:

Foreward Literary website.

Foreward Literary blog.

Life Is An Open Book (blog).

Twitter.

Tumblr.

Query Tracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

Middle grade, young adult, and select commercial adult fiction.

From Her Website Bio (as above):

“Emily is a particular lover of all types of young adult and middle grade books. She wants to represent the kind of stories that will resonate with kids for the rest of their lives. She loves strong voices and unique characters, not knock-offs or trend chasers. Some of her favorite authors include Deb Caletti, Laurie Halse Anderson, Gary D. Schmidt, and Megan Whalen Turner. She thinks books are best when they make you laugh and cry.

“Emily is also looking for a select list of commercial fiction which includes fantasy & science fiction, women’s fiction, new adult fiction, along with pop culture and humor titles.” (Link)

From A Contest (4/2012):

“I'm looking for YA of all types, story-driven (as opposed to ‘lesson’-driven) middle grade. I'm also looking for a range of commercial adult fiction.” (Link)

From a Blog Post (08/2009):

"I love YA books. I loved them when I was a kid and I still love them now. I want to see manuscripts from people who love it as much as I do. I want to find the books that kids are going to remember with fondness. I inhaled Lois Duncan, LJ Smith, Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley, etc, etc. These days I’m excited by the writing done by Suzanne Collins, Kristin Cashore, Claudia Gray. I’m also into the teen novels by people like Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti, Barry Lyga and others. I’m looking for smart middle grade and teen novels. (No picture books, please.) I like fantasy and paranormal, and other odd things. […] I like strong, female heroines and books with fresh voices and a quirky sense of humor. I’m really sick of knock-off 'Harry Potters’ and Twilights.'" (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Poetry, short stories, pictures books, erotica, or “anything that is ‘publishable’ and not amazing.” (Link, Link)

In the QueryTracker comments on her profile, one writer reports she doesn’t care for sports stories. (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“Certainly, if you work with me, you're going to have to learn to love [revisions]. Although I don't think I could ever be an editor, I do rather enjoy the creative aspect of this business. I want things I send out to be as polished as possible before a real editor sees them.” (Link)

Clients:

Kenneth G. Bennett, Kit Forbes, Dale Lucas, Nikki McCormack, Sara V. Olds, Katie M. Stout, Amy Zhang, among others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

NOTE: Ms. Keyes is CLOSED to submissions as of August 29th, 2014.

Query and first ten pages in the body of an e-mail. No attachments.

Please see the Foreword Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines. 

Response Times:

Ms. Keyes tries to respond to all queries. Stats on the web show Ms. Keyes responding to most queries between 1-6 weeks and requested material 1-4 weeks.

What's the Buzz?

Emily Keyes joined Foreward Literary November 2013. Previously, she worked with the L. Perkins Agency and Simon & Shuster. She is experienced in handling contracts and foreign rights.

I recommend following her on Twitter @esc_key for the latest.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Doing What You Love: Agent Emily Keyes at YA Interrobang (02/2014).

An Interview with Emily Keyes at Brenda Drake’s site (01/2014).

Interview with literary agent Emily Keyes of Foreword Literary at Amy M. Newman’s site (12/2013).

Welcome Emily! at the Foreward Literary Blog (11/2013).

Interview with Literary Agent Emily Keyes at Inkygirl (09/2013).

Casual Friday: Interview with Literary Agent Emily Keyes at YA Misfits (08/2013).

A BBCHAT with Emily Keyes at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire (06/2013).

Interview with Emily Keyes at All the Right Stuff (03/2013).

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with Emily Keyes at Andrea Hurst and Associates (03/2013).

Contest Winners & Interview with Emily Keyes at Operation Awesome (04/2012).

Selected Blog Posts:

How to Read Queries, A Step By Step Guide (05/2012).

Most of My Favorite Books… (02/2011)

Around the Web:

Foreword Literary thread at AbsoluteWrite.

See the “Conferences” page on the Foreword Literary website for upcoming conferences and events for each agent.

Subscription to the Foreword Literary Newsletter can be found here.

Emily Keyes on P&E.

Getting an Agent by Self-Publishing Your Manuscript: What Some Agents Think at The Blabbermouth Blog (06/2014).

How to Hook a Literary Agent: 16 Agents Share What Gets Them Reading at Adventures in YA Publishing (02/2014).

Contact:

Please see the Foreword Literary website for additional contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 9/23/14.

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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 focus on agents who accept children's literature. 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.

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for this Spotlight, Casey! I appreciate the work you put into them each week.

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  2. Great spotlight, Casey. Thanks for the watch on the agency - very thought-provoking.

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  3. Thanks for another awesome agent spotlight Casey.

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  4. thanks so much! On my way to send out another query:)

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  5. I didn't realize she had left the agency to work at SS. I'll have to add her to my list for when I start querying again. :)

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  6. Now at Foreword Literary. Thanks for these wonderful profiles, so useful when querying.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Eric. I'll try to get her profile updated soon.

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