Bookends Literary Agency.
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 commenter will win a query critique from the agent being interviewed.
Status: Open to submissions.
Hi¬ Tracy! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.
I’m thrilled to be back in publishing as an agent, where I represent fiction, non-fiction and illustration for children and teens.
About the Agency:
2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.
Jessica Faust founded BookEnds Literary after working for years at an acquiring editor. BookEnds specializes in representing fiction and nonfiction for adults, young adults and children and can proudly call a number of award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors clients.
What I personally love about BookEnds is how collaborative it is. As agents, we agonize over our submission letters just like an author might agonize over the query. At BookEnds, we’re constantly helping each other refine our pitches, sharing information about editor and publisher needs, and giving each other advice when asked. So while someone might sign with me, they also have the benefit of my colleagues’ expertise.
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 represent picture book, middle grade and young adult.
In picture book fiction, I love things that are deliciously dark, or have a great sense of humor. In picture book non-fiction, I love stories of unsung heroes and heroines. (For non-fiction, I’m looking for projects for the trade market, not educational.)
For illustrators and author-illustrators, I’m looking for art that has a certain warmth to it. Something to bring the reader closer. I also love seeing illustrators that work with a variety of mediums in new and interesting ways (though I might not be a fit for all collage work.)
In middle grade, the most important thing is the voice. I’m open to almost all genres (though not a great fit for high fantasy or sci-fi) and would love to see fun, spunky commercial projects as well as more literary middle grade fiction.
In young adult, I’m looking for characters that I can relate to. Stories that are asking some of those big YA questions – who am I? What am I going to be in this world? Like middle grade, I’m open to most genres, though not YA horror, high fantasy or sci-fi.
4. Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?
In middle grade, I would love to find a mystery staring a spunky ,underdog heroine. Still haven’t found it yet, but I’m going to keep looking!
In YA, I would love to find a contemporary or historical fiction story that’s relevant to today’s news headlines.
In all genres, I’m open to #ownvoices authors and would love to add more diversity to my list.
What She Isn’t Looking For:
5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?
I’m not looking for early readers or chapter books for the very young at the moment. I’m also not a good fit for most high fantasy (dragons, elves, etc.) and sci-fi. I don’t want to say never, but my colleagues Beth Campbell (YA) and Moe Ferrera (MG and YA) would definitely be a better fit. (I really prefer magical realism, and love finding hints of magic in worlds that are relatable to our own.)
In picture books, I’m generally not interested in stories written in rhyme (particularly if it’s done all in couplets.) Again, I don’t want to say never, but unless you’re a previously published children’s poet, I’m probably not a great fit.
5. 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?
As an agent, I want to help my authors grow – both on a career level and on a craft level. The authors I want to work with are professional, committed and open to revising until the book is as strong as we can make it. (By committed, I don’t mean that you have to be a full time writer – as a writer myself, I know that this isn’t the reality for most authors!)
I want to represent books that really speak to children and teens. That honor the whimsy of childhood, or tackle some of the things that real teens might be dealing with. I love books that have a feeling of hope (without being didactic or saccharine). I mean, childhood/adolescence was tough for almost everybody at some point – I want to help put books on the shelves that - on some level - empower, engage and/or inspire their readers.
(This sounds really cheesy, doesn’t it? But it’s true.)
6. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?
I am definitely an editorial agent, but the process changes for each manuscript. Some manuscripts will require a couple rounds of developmental editing before we get into a line edit. Some will be more heavily focused on a round or two of line editing. It really depends on what that particular manuscript needs in order to make it as submission-ready as possible.
When I make that first call to offer on a book, I always talk a bit about what is working and what could be stronger in a manuscript, and try to estimate what the revision process will look like (e.g. two rounds of developmental and a line edit). Again though, every book is different, and the goal is always to get to the point where editors are going to want to say “yes!”
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?
BookEnds uses QueryManager, so you can query me here: https://querymanager.com/query/tmarchini
In a query letter, I want to see a short one or two paragraph summary/pitch for the book (what the protagonist wants and what or who is going to stop them from achieving their goals); a short bio with any relevant writing credits; and whether or not the book has been previously published or seen by editors (if applicable).
Above all, I’m looking for a professional tone and manuscripts that would be a good fit for my list!
9. Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?
I talked a bit about first pages on another blog (I’ll link below), but in query letters I think the worst thing an author can do is be overly verbose. When an agent sees a wall of text or two page query letters, it gives the impression that the author is new to the field or hasn’t done their research. It also raises questions about the manuscript they’re pitching.
For example, if it takes an author seven paragraphs to explain their story versus one or two, that makes me wonder why they can’t distill the heart of their manuscript into a paragraph. Does that point to a manuscript with structural issues, e.g. too many unrelated subplots?
10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?
At BookEnds, we try to answer all queries within six to eight weeks. My requested manuscripts are, unfortunately, several months behind at the moment. But I am still reading and responding to everything as soon as I can.
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?
I am open to authors that have previously self-published or been published by smaller presses, but I am less open to trying to shop a manuscript that has already been self-published unless the sales numbers are phenomenal.
Because most publishers are hesitant to relaunch a book that’s already been published, my advice to authors would be to write a new book that is not in the same series as your self-published books and shop that to agents.
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?
I think the basic role of agents is the same – to guide an author in their career, act as their advocate, and help them make the best decisions for their books.
I think self-publishing, more small presses, digital only imprints, etc. gives authors and agents more options, but also more things to consider when moving forward (e.g. how long has that small press been around and what feedback are you getting from other agents/authors who’ve worked with them? If self-publishing, then what happens if your primary distributor shuts down? How much marketing can the author successfully do on their own?)
Not every book may be right for a big 5 publisher or established independent press, and so the role of the agent is to help layout an author’s options and help them make the best decision in both the short and long-term.
13. Who are some of the authors you represent?
I represent Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie (Shark Nate-O, Little Bee), Lee and Low New Voices Award winner Rita Lorraine Hubbard, illustrator Charlene Chua, as well as some new voices in children’s literature that I hope you’ll be hearing from soon!
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.
I mentioned the first pages post earlier, and you can find that here.
You can also find my interview on BookEnds Literary’s blog for a bit more about me and what I’m looking for.
Links and Contact Info:
15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.
To query, please submit using https://querymanager.com/query/tmarchini
News and updates about my #TeamMarchini clients at BookEnds can be found here:
I can also be found at:
16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?
I think the only thing that I would add is that you’re never too far along in your career to learn something new. As a writer, I think that means continuing to work on the craft with the same intensity as when you first started.
I know there are times where I give advice to clients about a manuscript, and then I’ll realize that I have the exact same problem in my current work-in-progress – be it a character issue, dialogue issue, etc.!
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Tracy.
Tracy is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. 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 April 29th. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS
Here are my current Giveaway Contests
THE PRINCESS AND THE PAGE through April 22nd
Natalie Lakosil Query Critique and THE STAR THIEF through April 22nd
Happy Easter Giveaway Hop through April 30th
Tracy Marchini Query Critique through April 29th
THE WINGSNATCHERS through May 4th
Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways
Laura Spieller on 4/26/2017
Loren Oberweger on 5/10/2017
Alyssa Jennette on 5/24/2017
Bibi Lewis on 6/12/2017
Kelly Van Sant on 6/21/2017