This week's Agent Spotlight features Lana Popovic of the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary & Entertainment Agency.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “Lana holds a B.A. with honors from Yale University, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, and an M.A. with highest honors from the Emerson College Publishing and Writing program. She joined Zachary Shuster Harmsworth in 2012, after working at the Perseus Book Group foreign rights department and the Kneerim & Williams Literary Agency.
“At ZSH, Lana works closely with authors on a wide range of both fiction and nonfiction projects, and is committed to providing extensive editorial guidance. She is particularly interested in edgy YA, from gritty coming-of-age novels to contemporary fantasy and supernatural romance. She is also keen to represent thoughtful chick lit, literary thrillers, and well-crafted projects in the fantasy and mystery genres. In terms of nonfiction, Lana is looking for fresh perspectives on popular culture and science from bloggers, academics, and journalists.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“The agents at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth are respected across the industry for our eye for talent, our strong editorial skills, our negotiating ability, the success of our books and our strong relationships with clients, publishers, film and television producers and other media firms.
“In addition to placing projects with all the major publishers in the United States—Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Books, HarperCollins, Little, Brown, Hachette, Macmillan—we sell our authors' works directly in the United Kingdom and, through a network of first-rate sub-agents, in territories throughout the World.
“A full-service entertainment agency, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, has built a sterling reputation in the film and television industries. Each year, we place projects with large film studios such as Warner Bros., Universal, and Fox, major television networks such as CBS, ABC, and NBC and cable networks such as FX, Lifetime, and HBO.
“We are also skilled at placing our clients' work in magazines and selling audio and internet rights to books.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
Young adult, middle grade, chick lit, thrillers, fantasy, mystery, select non-fiction (Link).
From her Bio (as above):
“She is particularly interested in edgy YA, from gritty coming-of-age novels to contemporary fantasy and supernatural romance. She is also keen to represent thoughtful chick lit, literary thrillers, and well-crafted projects in the fantasy and mystery genres. In terms of nonfiction, Lana is looking for fresh perspectives on popular culture and science from bloggers, academics, and journalists.” (Link)
From an Interview (07/2013):
“I would really like to see more contemporary, realistic YA—partly because the market is currently saturated with fantasy and paranormal romance and editors are really shying away from those titles, but mostly because I love real and compelling stories. YA dark mysteries and thrillers are especially close to my heart; I love Barry Lyga’s I Hunt Killers and Game, because while serial killers terrify me (sweet baby Jesus, so much), I’ll also read about them all day. I would also love to see what the brilliant Georgia McBride calls “’saucy’ NA, something in the vein of Rebecca Donovan. And really well-written contemporary romance would be welcome too. On the other hand, I’m all set with protagonists with names like Illuminata Jones—Lu for short. I already know what that story’s going to be.” (Link)
Via Twitter (6-7/2013):
“Great query day! In the event that the universe would like to keep catering to my whims, I'd love a dark YA mystery or some saucy NA.” (Link)
“If someone could write me a YA or MG mystery solved by the ‘descendants’ of Holmes and Moriarty, I think I would genuinely be happy forever.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Picture books, screenplays; otherwise unknown.
“I am definitely an editorial agent. I typically go through at least one or two revisions with clients before submission.” (via e-mail 7/2013)
There is a list of agency clients on the website. Ms. Popovic’s clients include:
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query letter addressed to Ms. Popovic through the online form on the agency website.
Query Tips (via Twitter):
“We don't accept unsolicited submissions, but all of us accept queries through the contact form on our website.” (Link)
“The 1,000 character max doesn’t seem to apply to our contact form despite the language on the website. I’ve had plenty of much, much longer queries through our contact form, and I prefer more fleshed-out queries to bare-bones ones.” (via e-mail 7/2013).
“Please don't query me twice, even with a new and improved query. I will a) recognize it and be a teensy bit peeved or b)request your ms based on query redux and discover it still isn't what I'm looking for. Sad feelings all around.” (Link, Link)
Stats on the web suggest Ms. Popovic usually responds to queries within days to a couple months, when she does respond, and within one to two months to requested materials.
What's the Buzz?
Lana Popovic joined Zachary Shuster Harmsworth in 2012 and is actively building her list. She also manages the agency’s foreign rights.
I recommend following her on Twitter @LanaPopovicZSH where she tweets about what she’s looking for, offers query tips, and participates in PitchMAD.
Worth Your Time:
Agent Interview: Lana Popovic at Rachel Russel’s blog (07/2013).
Around the Web:
Please see the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth website for additional contact and query information.
Last Updated: 7/25/13.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/25/13.
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/teen 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.