Today I’m thrilled to have agent Ronnie Ann Herman here. Ronnie Ann began Herman Agency in 1999.
FYI, I’m taking over the agent spotlights from Casey. I will be providing all the same information we’ve shared in the past in an interview format. In addition, one lucky person will win a query critique from the agent being interviewed.
Status: Open to submissions.
Hi Ronnie Ann! Thanks so much for joining us.
BIO: Ronnie Ann Herman was born in New York City, attended the Ethical Culture/Fieldston Schools pre-K -12 grade, the University of Wisconsin, Madison and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley where majored majored in English, French and Italian and received her BA. Ronnie taught high school English and French in California before moving to Paris, France. There she taught English as a second language and translated French into English. On returning to the States, Ronnie apprenticed herself with a design studio, Antler and Baldwin, and a year later became the sole member of the art depart at Prentice Hall's small children's book division. 2 years later Ronnie was the Art Director at Random House where she worked for 9 years and then moved to Grosset & Dunlap, then a division of Putnam books, and now part of Penguin Random House, worked at Prentice Hall where she worked for 9 years. Ronnie is the author of 12 children’s books and one of her books was on the NY Times best-seller list. Ronnie started the Herman Agency 16 years ago, in 2000 where she works with remarkably talented authors, artists and author/artist for the children's book market. Ronnie and the Agency are affiliated with the following organizations: SCBWI, Authors' Guild, Graphic Artists' Guild, U.S. Association of Accredited Business.
1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.
A long story, as you can see from my long bio above, but briefly over the 20 years I work in publishing houses in New York, publishing had increasingly become quite corporate and both of my daughters had from graduated college, my husband left his jobs in adult publishing and was writing at home, so I felt I could take some risk and leave my 9-7 job. Agenting was a natural choice and I was blessed to have so many of the talented, wonderful artists I had worked with over the years ask if they could join the Herman Agency. And here I am, 16 years later still representing fabulous talent--artists, authors and author artists.
I have been trying to cut back the number of people that I represent and have it down now to a small group of amazing people. The Herman Agency is definitely a boutique agency and will remain as such. My daughter, Katia, has joined the agency and is representing middle grade and YA authors.
About the Agency:
2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.
I work with authors and artists whom I care a great deal about and whom I want to see succeed in this very competitive field. I encourage my artists to try their hands at writing and a great many of them have succeeded beautifully. I love editing and art directing my clients/ work when they as me to or when I feel like putting on my art director's or editor's hat. I tell them they are free to ignore my suggestions, after all it is their work, not mine, but almost all of the time they tend to welcome my input.
What She’s Looking For:
3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?
I ADORE all picture books and highly illustrated middle grade books. My daughter is representing middle grade and YA books and is open for submissions. We are not the right agency for Sci-fi and paranormal works. Strong voices and excellent writing styles are a must.
4. Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?
I prefer author/artist works at this point. but if you have an amazing portfolio or manuscuript, feel free to send it to me. I am being HIGHLY selective as I have no desire to have a large agency again.
What She Isn’t Looking For:
5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?
Anything that feels familiar or that has a strong lesson or moral. Fiction picture book that are longer than 700 words.
6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?
I want authors and artists who have more than one book in them and who are adaptable. Publishing is a corrobative procedure. Authors and artists need to be able to make work well with their editors and art directors and work well in a team environment. They also need to be professional and meet their deadlines. Artists need to be consistent--their characters and style need to be consistent through their book and be good at keeping details accurate throughout. For instance, the characters need to be the same size and have the same look throughout the work and if there is a tree to the left of the house, that tree can't suddenly move to the right. Having been an art director for so many years, I know how frustrating these things are for the art department and editorial team.
7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?
I almost always have some comments and sometimes have thoughts on restructuring the work. I believe we need to get the manuscript, and art, as right as possible.
Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)
8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?
Full picture books manuscripts: fiction, NO LONGER than 700, I actually prefer 500 or less. Remember that the ideal audience for fiction picture books is 2-5 year-olds. Non-fiction picture books can be up to 1000 words. Non-fiction books need to have voice and move along smoothly. They are not text books! Read the best selling non-fiction picture books to see how they are constructed.
Middle grade: Full manuscript of highly illustrated books by author/artists should include around 6 spreads of tight sketches and 2 sample pieces if book is to be full color. Full manuscripts of authors only.
Midddle grade and YA novels go to firstname.lastname@example.org: Query letter with first 20 pages as an attachment--PDF or Word files.
9. Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?
The first manuscript pages of middle grade and YA novels need to be compelling. If you don't grab your young audience by page 20, that is a problem.
10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?
Self-Published and Small Press Authors:
11. Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?
Prefer not to as publisher prefer not to publish them, but if they are spectacular, I would consider them.
12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?
Agents are here to guide their clients in the right direction and help them negotiate fair agreements with their publishers. The road to self-publishing is wide open and great. I wouldn't dismiss it since the marketing of you books will still be mostly on responsibility with a traditional publisher anyway. But distributing you self-published book and getting it noticed, is even more difficult than publishing your work through a main stream publisher.
13. Who are some of the authors you represent?
Please check out my website: www.HermanAgencyInc.com
Interviews and Guest Posts:
14. Please share the links to any interviews and guest posts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.
Links and Contact Info:
15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.
www.HermanAgencyInc.com, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Ronnie Ann.
Ronnie Ann is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. She would do critique for a picture book manuscript or illustrations and Katia Herman would critique a middle grade or YA query lettr. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follower button if you're not a follower) and leave a comment through May 28th.
If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at email@example.com
Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.