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Agent Spotlight: Peter Knapp

This week's Agent Spotlight features Peter Knapp of New Leaf Literary & Media.

Status: Open to submissions.

static1.squarespace.comAbout: “Peter Knapp joined New Leaf as an agent in July 2015. Previously, he worked at The Park Literary Group, where he represented authors of middle grade and young adult fiction, and prior to that he was a story editor at Floren Shieh Productions, consulting on book-to-film adaptations for Los Angeles-based movie and TV entities. He graduated from NYU summa cum laude and lives in Brooklyn.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“At New Leaf Literary & Media we believe in total client representation, before and beyond the sale. By providing editorial direction and working together to develop promotional plans that enhance and support the publisher's outreach, we ensure that our clients have the tools they need to excel in the market. With comprehensive foreign and film departments in-house, we are able to collaborate with clients to truly maximize the value of their work on a global and multimedia level. 

“Most importantly, we believe in open and direct communication with our clients throughout the entire process.

“As the publishing industry continues to evolve, New Leaf Literary & Media is committed to staying informed and educated to best meet our clients' needs.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Agency

New Leaf website.

New Leaf Tumblr.

New Leaf Facebook.

New Leaf Twitter.

New Leaf Pinterest.

Personal

Website.

Twitter @petejknapp.

Instagram.

Pinterest.

Youtube.

LinkedIn.

AgentQuery.

QueryTracker.

What He's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

Middle grade and young adult fiction, select high-concept adult fiction.

From the New Leaf Website (as of 07/2015):

“At New Leaf, Peter will continue to represent authors of middle grade and young adult fiction across all genres, and he's also seeking out smart, high-concept adult fiction. He is genre-agnostic, as long as the writing is great—meaning a standout voice, complex characters (not just the protagonist), and plotting that keeps the reader hooked from the first page through to the very end. In middle grade, he likes literary award-contenders, epic adventures (fantastical or not) and everything in-between. He has a special place in his heart for middle grade that is spooky, funny, irreverent—or all three. In YA, he wants character-driven contemporary, magical realism, epic fantasy (but it must feel fresh), and realistic stories with some type of twist (speculative, fantastical or otherwise—such as THE RAVEN BOYS, BONE GAP, WE WERE LIARS, etc). For adult fiction, he wants high concept, voice-driven stories, ranging from the highly commercial (such as THE MARTIAN or Blake Crouch's books) to the more literary (THE AGE OF MIRACLES, THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS). For all ages, Peter is always on the lookout for character-driven horror and suspense.” (Link)

From Mr. Knapp’s Wish List (as of 7/2015):

#MSWL - YA that plays with format

“I will always remember when my mom, saint that she is, shoved THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER into my hands and told me I was grounded until I finished. Okay, she didn’t actually ground me, but she implored me to read it ASAP, and I’m glad shes did: the letters written in Stephen Chbosky’s novel were so deeply personal that they felt like they must’ve been written specifically for me.

“My love of novels that play with format persists to this day. Whether the fan-fiction interwoven througout rainbowrowell’s FANGIRL (yes, I will be buying CARRY ON), the relationship keepsakes documented in Daniel Handler’s WHY WE BROKE UP, the tapes left behind in Jay Asher’s 13 REASONS WHY, or the comics in Sherman Alexie’s THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN, I continue to gravitate toward these books. A recent favorite is Ava Dellaira’s LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD—check it out.

“And if you’ve written a book that plays with format, please keep me in mind.”

#MSWL - Great realistic contemporary YA

“Anyone who knows me, knows I love realistic contemporary YA. From Katie Cotugno’s kick-ass HOW TO LOVE to my client willwaltonauthor’s tenderly written, optimistic ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN, great stories about kids facing life’s challenges with courage, compassion and humor always win me over. I particularly love when YA manages to be at once heartrending and humorous, such as SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA and THE DISENCHANTMENTS.”

#MSWL: BITTERSWEET, REALISTIC MIDDLE GRADE

“I have always had a love for bittersweet middle grade. I still remember crying my eyes out while reading WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, and my childhood copy of SHILOH (which I still keep on my shelf) is so worn-in from rereading that I had to tape the spine. Don’t get me started on WALK TWO MOONS.

“So, I’m excited to find great voices in realistic middle grade fiction. Whether it is Auggie in WONDER, Doug in OKAY FOR NOW, Summer in THE THING ABOUT LUCK, or Thyme in my own client @mlconklin’s forthcoming debut COUNTING THYME, there are certain middle grade voices that are simply unforgettable. They perfectly capture that age where caught uncomfortably between childhood and adolescence, where the world is opening up in ways that are at once exciting and terrifying. In these stories, we see characters as they first truly begin questioning, then challenging the viewpoints they’ve inherited, upending assumptions about themselves, about others, and about the world at large. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and in their very best moments, they have us doing both. I love them, they are how I first came to fall in love with books. If you’ve written a great realistic middle grade with an unforgettable voice, I want to see it!”

#MSWL - Cool YA fantasy (either epic or grounded).

“I want high concept fantasy that feels COOL. Fresh ideas, richly imagined worlds, and magic that feels unfamiliar. Whether it’s the fantastical future in RED QUEEN, the magic academia of Tam Lin, the frightening magic of DAUGHTER OF SMOKE & BONE, or the relationship-driven contemporary fantasy in THE RAVEN BOYS, I like stories that fantasy that either shows me a cool, previously-unknown world or makes our own world feel new again. If you can marry a cool fantasy concept with great, complicated characters, I’m going to be excited!”

SCARY MIDDLE GRADE

I am always on the lookout for scary middle grade, whether straight-up horror, like R.L Stine or THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS, more literary adventures with a ghostly twist, like LIESL & PO, or irreverent, humorous middle grade with a horror bent, like THE WITCHES. Anything with ghosts or graveyards or Halloween-vibes is of interest to me. An all-time favorite is THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, a reimagining done really well.”

FUNNY MIDDLE GRADE AND MIDDLE GRADE THAT PLAYS WITH FORMAT

“I am always looking for laugh-out-loud middle grade that play with format–irreverent stories that I’ve loved ever since reading and re-reading Judy Blume’s FUDGE books as a kid. Think DIARY OF A WIMPY KID, THE TAPPER TWINS GO TO WAR, TIMMY FAILURE. These books aren’t afraid to poke fun at their own protagonists, and they often find humor in the small moments, in common misunderstandings, and in the everyday. I laugh my way through them again and again.”

#MSWL: MIDDLE GRADE ADVENTURE SERIES

“Whether it has the humor of Rick Riordan’s work, the spooky comedy of my client Soman Chainani’s SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL series, or the epic sweep of THE GLASS SENTENCE, these are stories with excellent, high-concept premises and lots of action. They have edge-of-your-seat, what’s-going-to-happen-next plotting that makes you cancel your weekend plans so you can tear through the entire series at once, or, if the series is still ongoing, has you stalking your local book rep on the off-chance they received an early shipment of the next installment. If you’ve written a great middle grade adventure with series potential, I’d love to see it!”

#MSWL: BITTERSWEET, REALISTIC MIDDLE GRADE

“I have always had a love for bittersweet middle grade. I still remember crying my eyes out while reading WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS, and my childhood copy of SHILOH (which I still keep on my shelf) is so worn-in from rereading that I had to tape the spine. Don’t get me started on WALK TWO MOONS.

“So, I’m excited to find great voices in realistic middle grade fiction. Whether it is Auggie in WONDER, Doug in OKAY FOR NOW, Summer in THE THING ABOUT LUCK, or Thyme in my own client @mlconklin’s forthcoming debut COUNTING THYME, there are certain middle grade voices that are simply unforgettable. They perfectly capture that age where caught uncomfortably between childhood and adolescence, where the world is opening up in ways that are at once exciting and terrifying. In these stories, we see characters as they first truly begin questioning, then challenging the viewpoints they’ve inherited, upending assumptions about themselves, about others, and about the world at large. They make us laugh, they make us cry, and in their very best moments, they have us doing both. I love them, they are how I first came to fall in love with books. If you’ve written a great realistic middle grade with an unforgettable voice, I want to see it!” (Link)

What He Isn't Looking For:

Poetry, screenplays, non-fiction, picture books, paranormal romance. (Link)

Editorial Agent?

"I return an edit letter outlining my thoughts on the manuscript: what I love, what I think it’s achieving and trying to achieve, how I think it might do this better. I try to ask questions, and I try to give some specifics while leaving ample room for the author to outsmart me and surprise me in revisions. Inevitably, they do." (Link)

Clients:

There are lists of author and illustrator clients on the agency website.

Mr. Knapp’s clients include: Soman Chainani, Melanie Conklin, Brenda Drake, Marcia Hoehne, Lucy Keating, Anna Michels, Will Walton, among others. 

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

To submit a manuscript for consideration, send a query letter and up to 5 double-spaced sample pages within the body of the email to query [at] newleafliterary [dot] com. Please include ‘Query - Pete Knapp’ in the subject (this is important so that our mail system files it into my submissions folder). All material must be in the body of the email. NO ATTACHMENTS. Include all necessary contact information.You will receive an auto-response confirming receipt of your query.”

See Mr. Knapp’s submission guidelines on his site and the New Leaf website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

“What I want established in a query letter is: who is the character, what is the conflict, what are the stakes, and why is the character uniquely qualified to be our hero?” (Link)

“I like character-driven stories with a hook, so I love it when a query letter taps into a really interesting character dynamic. If you can combine a unique concept with a fascinating character story, there’s a good chance I’ll read on.” (Link)

See this interview at I Write for Apples for more great query information.

Response Times:

Due to the volume of queries received, New Leaf only responds if interested. 

What's the Buzz?

Peter Knapp maintains a small, successful list of clients and has been an agent since January 2013. He recently joined New Leaf Literary where he will continue to represent middle grade and young adult fiction.

I recommend following him on Twitter @peterjknapp and his website for current query info and wish list information.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Query Questions with Peter Knapp at Michelle 4 Laughs (05/2015).

A Cafe Chat with Peter Knapp, Agent with Park Literary, by Lindsay Bandy at Eastern Penn Points (10/2014).

Fizzy Fangirling – An Interview with Peter Knapp at Fizzygirl (07/2014).

Query.Sign.Submit. with Peter Knapp at I Write for Apples (11/2013).

An Interview with Peter Knapp at Brenda Drake’s site (11/2013).

Interview with literary agent Peter Knapp of The Park Literary Group at Amy Newman’s site (10/2013).

FIRST FIVE FRENZY with Pete Knapp of The Park Literary Group at Chasing the Crazies (09/2013).

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Peter Knapp at Middle Grade Ninja (06/2013).

Casual Friday: Interview with Park Literary Agent Peter Knapp at YA Misfits (3/2013).

Interview One – Peter Knapp at Bethany Hensel’s blog (11/2012).

Interview Part Two – Peter Knapp at Bethany Hensel’s blog (11/2012).

Around the Web:

New Leaf Literary & Media page at AbsoluteWrite.

New Leaf Literary & Media at P&E.

Peter Knapp at MS Wishlist.

Keynote from Literary Agent Peter Knapp at WriteOnCon (08/2014).

Client Marcia Hoehne’s agent story (06/2013).

What Makes a Great Story is a Great Storyteller by Peter Knapp, guest post at Wovenmyst (3/2012).

Agentopia: Peter J. Knapp, wish list posted at Yatopia (03/2013).

The Beginning: How I Found My Agent by client Melanie Conklin (02/2013).

WriteOnCon! Pitch Fest Pep Talk (02/2013).

Contact:

Please see New Leaf Literary website and Mr. Knapp’s site for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 7/24/15.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/24/15.

***

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 profiles feature agents who accept children's and/or young adult 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.

14 comments:

  1. A great and comprehensive intro to Mr. Knapp. Thanks so much!

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  2. Thanks, Casey! My reading likes are so similar to Peter's - it'd be fun to talk books with him.

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  3. Great spotlight. Too bad Peter doesn't like high fantasy. Thanks, Casey!

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  4. I know someone who might be interested in this agent. Thanks!

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  5. So glad you keep up with these. Great resource!

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  6. Hi, good post!
    Blog hopping,stumbled upon your wonderful blog !
    Take some of your valuable time and visit mine too please; your valuable comments appreciated !
    Happy blogging!

    Rajiv
    www.magicalpresent.blogspot.com
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  7. These are so helpful - I wish they would magically appear for every single agent out there. :-) But seriously, we really appreciate the hard work that goes into these.

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  8. Hi Casey, Hi Natalie, I quite fancy that mist on Bronte moor - strikes me a intriguing.

    Maria RR

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  9. Holy cow, but he looks young! I'm getting old. lol

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  10. This is a great spotlight. Just reading through his wish list gave me at least three good ideas for a book. (If only my typing fingers could keep up with my brain.)

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  11. Thanks Casey! This is really helpful--I'll be adding him to my list of agents to query!

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. Hi Natalie, many thanks for your comment on my blog post about Burj Al Arab.

    I have posted some new pics of Burj Al Arab.
    Kindly visit again and write your comments.

    Thanks a lot, best of luck !

    Rajiv
    www.magicalpresent.blogspot.com
    www.magnificentdewdrops.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Casey, an update: Peter's with New Leaf Literary now.

    ReplyDelete