This week's Agent Spotlight features Victoria Wells Arms of Wells Arms Literary.
Status: Open to submissions.
About: “After twenty years on the editorial and publisher side of the business, in houses big, small, and in-between, Victoria has jumped the fence and is thrilled to open the doors of her New York City-based agency, Wells Arms Literary.
“Victoria’s career began at Dial Books for Young Readers, where she worked with Phyllis Fogelman and such esteemed author/illustrators as Jerry Pinkney, Richard Peck, Jean Van Leeuwen, and Nikki Grimes. Later Victoria moved to Putnam, working with Nancy Paulsen and such authors and illustrators as Joan Bauer, Jan Brett, Tomie dePaola, Brian Karas, Suzy Kline, Mark Kurlansky, Steven Schindler, Gary Soto, and many more.
“When one day she spotted a little piece in Publishers Weekly advertising for an editorial director at Bloomsbury she applied and soon was setting up Bloomsbury USA’s new children’s division. Bloomsbury USA Children’s started with three people (and a dog), but grew quickly, soon hitting the bestseller lists, acquiring major awards, and adding on another publishing house (Walker Books). The authors and illustrators she published there include favorites and bestsellers E D Baker, Paulette Bogan, Herbie Brennan, Trish Doller, Susan Middleton Elya, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Mary Hoffman, Kirsten Miller, Dale Peck, Le Uyen Pham, Celia Rees, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Dan Santat, Michael Slack, Alexander McCall Smith, Susan Vaught, Renee Watson, and many others.
“Now as the founding agent at Wells Arms Literary, Victoria is creating a list of wonderful writers and artists to present to the publishing industry.” (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
“We focus on books for readers of all ages, and we particularly love board books, picture books, readers, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult fiction, both authors and illustrators.” (Link)
From an Interview (02/2014):
“We tend to ask for things that seem unique or interesting in some new way, and of course, for authors who can pull off some genuinely good writing.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“We do not represent to the textbook, magazine, adult romance or fine art markets.” (Link)
“We see a lot of things with weird death and freaky, gratuitously gruesome after-death scenarios that we try to avoid. I don’t have much interest in self-help (such as potty training type books), or books that feel worthy or overly moralistic.” (Link)
There is a page of clients on the agency website.
Ms. Wells Arms’ clients include: Salomon Altschuler, E. D. Baker, Paulette Bogan, Trinity Doyle, Susan Elya, Rebecca Grabill, Katherine Hannigan, Jamie Harper, Anik McGrory, Jamie Michalak, and Sandra Nickel.
E-mail: Yes (preferred).
Snail-Mail: Yes (by request).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query with the word “query” in the subject line.
See the Wells Arms Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
The agency’s noted response time is one month (link). Stats on the web are limited but appear consistent with this timeframe.
What's the Buzz?
Victoria Wells Arms founded Wells Arms Literary in 2013 after twenty years on the editorial / publishing side of the industry. Her first deal, a picture book to Greenwillow, was reported in December.
Worth Your Time:
Agent Interview: Victoria Wells Arms at Writers’ Rumpus (02/2014).
Interview with Victoria Wells Arms, Editorial Director at Robin Friedman’s site (2004).
Around the Web:
Check out the “What We’re Reading” page on the website for recent reads.
Wells Arms Literary thread at AbsoluteWrite (2013 – present).
Wells Arms Leaving Bloomsbury Kids to Start Agency at PW (06/2013).
Please see the Wells Arms Literary website for additional contact and query information.
Last Updated: 2/20/14.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 2/24/14.
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. The information found herein is subject to change.