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Agent Spotlight: Christa Heschke

This week's Agent Spotlight features Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis, Inc.

Status: Open to submissions, actively building her client list.

Christa-HeschkeAbout: “Christa Heschke graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children's Literature Department since 2009 where she is actively looking for picture books, middle grade and young adult projects and is currently building her list. Christa is a fan of young adult novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists. In young adult, Christa is especially interested in contemporary fiction, horror and thrillers/mysteries. She’d also like to see any steampunk and fantasy (urban and high), that pushes the boundaries of what’s currently on the shelves, perhaps a new take on these genres that has yet to be seen. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys contemporary (especially humorous), adventure, mystery, and magical realism for boys and girls. For picture books, she’s drawn to cute, character driven stories. She is open to considering new adult projects. ” (Link)

About the Agency:

“Established in 1928, McIntosh & Otis, Inc. is a full-service literary agency located in New York. M&O represents a broad range of adult and children's fiction and non-fiction, including many bestsellers, literary icons, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners. In addition to representing the subsidiary rights for its own clients, M&O also represents the sale of subsidiary rights for Louisiana State University Press and University of Nebraska Press.

“M&O is committed to working with writers to develop their careers. Our agents are able to provide detailed and substantive guidance to our clients throughout the publication process.” (Link)

Web Presence:

McIntosh & Otis website.

Twitter @ChristaHeschke.

Neverending Stories (blog).

QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

Picture books, middle grade, young adult, and new adult.

From her Website Bio (as above):

“Christa is a fan of young adult novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists. In young adult, Christa is especially interested in contemporary fiction, horror and thrillers/mysteries. She’d also like to see any steampunk and fantasy (urban and high), that pushes the boundaries of what’s currently on the shelves, perhaps a new take on these genres that has yet to be seen. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys contemporary (especially humorous), adventure, mystery, and magical realism for boys and girls. For picture books, she’s drawn to cute, character driven stories. She is open to considering new adult projects. ” (Link)

From her Blog (as of 5/2013):

Young Adult:

  • Contemporary (all types: dark, humorous, romance, issue-driven, coming-of-age/first love)
    • --Fun fact: One of my favorite contemporary YA romances is Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles.
    • Something that tackles our society's fascination with celebrity and fame (think The Bling Ring)
    • Stories with musicians (from band geeks to kids in rock bands and orchestras)
    • A story dealing with the prominence and power of technology for fame or ruin (youtube blogs, facebook, texting).
  • Mystery/suspense (think Veronica Mars, The Lying Game or Gone Girl) 
  • High-stakes thrillers (I Know What You Did Last Summer-Lois Duncan, Slide-Jill Hathaway, Mind Games--Kiersten White ).  
  • Some fantasy/sci-fi (all types, but must stand out from what’s currently on shelves. No werewolves, vampires or shapeshifters please.)  
  • Modern-day fairytale/folklore/myth re-tellings (especially those with a twist). Think Heather Dixon's Entwined.
  • Historical fiction with a compelling voice and hook. 
  • Horror (think eerie and creepy like Anna Dressed in Blood or The Fatal Frame video game series). 
  • Anything else with a good voice and strong story. I am certainly open to other genres! 

Middle grade:

  • Adventure, magical realism, fantasy, coming of age, contemporary, mystery, humor. I am very actively looking in this age-range.  Something with a  musical element ( a kid who is in band, sings, loves music)

Picture books:

  • Character-driven picture books or plot driven with a fun twist. I’d love to read about a character (animal or human) who resonates with me and makes me want to read more. I especially like cute and funny stories with read-aloud potential. A nice, subtle message/moral is also a plus.” (Link)

From an Interview (4/2013):

“I have always been a big fan of fantasy, for as long as I can remember, and working with writers on world building is something I always look forward to for any fantasy project, but I’m pretty selective when it comes to high fantasy.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Screenplays, poetry, dramatic works, adult books, non-fiction (Link).

Editorial Agent?

“I am very hands on with my clients and pride myself in getting back to everyone in a timely manner.” (Read more).

Clients:

Jim Aylesworth, Ellen Conford, Nancy Garden, Jamie Gehin, Hilary Harwell, Dahlov Ipcar, Vincent X. Kirsch, Marijane Meaker, Shelia P. Moses, Rachel Pudelek, Ed Young, among others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (preferred).

Snail-Mail: Yes.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query letter, synopsis, and the first three chapters (or 25 pages) of your manuscript.  No attachments. Include SASE if sending by mail.

For picture books, send the complete manuscript. No original pages or artwork.

See the McIntosh & Otis website and Ms. Heschke’s blog for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

“Anything longer than a page is too long and often won’t get read. You should have three to five paragraphs, an introduction, your pitch/info about the project, any pertinent info about yourself (other books you’ve written or have already been published, any other writing experience/credits) and a closing (thank you for your time, this is not an exclusive submission etc.) Also, include what you’ve enclosed with the letter (a synopsis, first pages, SASE etc.).” (Link)

See also: Agent Tips-From Querying to Accepting an Offer at her blog, Neverending Stories.

Response Times:

Due to the volume of queries received, the agency only responds if interested, usually within 6-8 weeks (Link). 

Ms. Heschke responds to all referrals, conference submissions, snail-mail submissions, and requested material (info via e-mail).

What's the Buzz?

Christa Heschke joined McIntosh & Otis in June of 2009 following internships with Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic. Promoted to Literary Agent in February of 2013, Ms. Heschke is actively building her list and excited to find new talent. In addition to client representation, she handles various rights for the agency’s children’s list.

I recommend following her on Twitter @ChristaHeschke and subscribing to her blog for further insight, tips, and news.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Interview with Literary Agent Christa Heschke at Stacey O’Neale’s site (4/2013).

Around the Web:

McIntosh & Otis, Inc. at P&E.

For upcoming event and conference dates, see the right-hand sidebar of Ms. Heschke’s Neverending Stories blog.

Blog Post: Agent Tips-From Querying to Accepting an Offer (05/2013).

Client Hilary Harwell’s “I Have an Agent!” post at her blog, A Life Inspired (05/2013).

Client Jamie Gehin’s “How I Got My Agent” post at her blog, YABookWriter’s Blog (05/2013).

Client Rachel Pudelek’s “How I Quit Writing & Signed an Agent” post at her blog, A Rainy Day Writer In the Evergreen State, plus Part II (04/2013).

Agent Round-Up: Reading as an Agent, including Ms. Heschke, at Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing (04/2013).

New Literary Agent Alert: Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis at Guide to Literary Agents (04/2013).

Contact:

Please see the McIntosh & Otis website and Ms. Heschke’s blog for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last Updated: 5/23/13.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/23/13.

***

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.

20 comments:

  1. Casey, I can't believe you're still doing these spotlights and passing along so much great information. Thank you!

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  2. What perfect timing on this spotlight! Christa requested my first 15 pages through WriteOnCon's Pitchfest, and as I've been waiting to hear back, I've been doing some cyber stalking to find out more about her. I hadn't stumbled on the various blog posts by her clients yet, so I can't wait to read them. Thanks for all the info!!

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  3. Great information. Thanks for all you do in keeping writers informed.

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  4. Thanks for the great spotlight. So glad Christa likes middle grade and high fantasy. And fingers crossed for Jocelyn.

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  5. Such a great spotlight, with links and everything! Christa is an amazing agent and I love working with her. :)

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  6. The wants the book's synopsis portion of the query to be short then. And an introduction paragraph. That's how I pitched to my publisher, but after coming online, I kept reading that the right way was to dive straight into the three paragraph synopsis and then a short paragraph of information.
    I guess it really comes down to the agent or publisher's preference, doesn't it?

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  7. Christa sounds like my kind of an agent. And she likes MG and Fantasy. Cool. She is on my list of agents to query now.

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  8. I have a great twist on steampunk that I think she might like. But alas, it's in the first draft stages.

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  9. Another great spotlight. Thank you.

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  10. I'm pleased to meet Christa.

    I love these spotlights. Keep them coming.

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  11. Nice to meet Christa! Glad you are keeping up with these. :)

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  12. Sounds like a great agent. Here's to awesome industry peeps! *raising a wedge of cheese*

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  13. This is a great spotlight! She sounds like a great agent.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  14. Thanks for another great agent spotlight. :)

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  15. This is such great information to pass on!

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  16. Awesome. Thanks for all your hard work with these agent spotlights.

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  17. Great interview. Nice to see an agent who accepts NA! It just so happens that I'm working on a YA novel right now that addresses people's fascination with fame.

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  18. I loved this interview, and I can tell you that Christa is absolutely LOVELY to deal with. Jump on the opportunity to submit to her!

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  19. Great spotlight, and I can't second loudly enough what a dream Christa is to have for an agent! Plus, she has excellent taste. ;)

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

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  20. Great post! I just signed with Christa in December and I can say she is fantastic. She's editorial, has incredible insight, and is a great communicator. She's also fun to talk to. I'm so happy to have found her and it was all because of this post!

    Thanks, Casey & Natalie ;o)

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