Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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  • Stuti Telidevara Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/20/2024
  • Agent Rachel Orr and Author Cathy Carr Guest Post and Lost Kites and Other Treasures Giveaway on 3/25/2024
  • Paula Weiman Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/8/2024
  • Hillary Fazzari Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/22/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "H" as of 5/11/2023 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Today I’m thrilled to have agent Weronika Janczuk here. She is a literary agent with her own literary agency, the Janczuk Literary Agency (JLA).

Update as of 9/19/21: Weronika has opened up to queries after being closed for awhile and is actively looking for submissions. She is now also seeking picture books, graphic novel, and illistrator submissions.

Hi­ Weronika! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Weronika:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.

Oh, this is—in my case—a bit of an interesting answer!

I broke into publishing when I was in high school, as part of a work-study, and then went on to intern with a series of agents—Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency, Kathleen Anderson at Anderson Literary Management, and Mary Kole, formerly with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency—before connecting with Bob Diforio at D4EO Literary Agency.

I worked with him and one other agency from 2010-2012, while still an undergraduate at NYU, during which I represented a slew of talented and award-winning projects, including Max Gladstone’s Three Parts Dead (Tor/Macmillan) and Sekret by Lindsay Smith (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan). I then departed publishing to make space to cope with the passing of my mom, among other things—and, six years later, in the summer of 2018, following work in the non-profit realm, I returned to build a comprehensive list of fiction and non-fiction writers along a wide spectrum.

In the fall of 2019, I started my own agency, and returned to work after the unexpected passing of my dad in the late spring of 2020, having sold Zoe Hana Mikuta’s Gearbreakers to Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan (2021), and Hayley Stone’s Render Up the Ghost to Aethon (forthcoming), in the months since returning. I’m excited to be building and re-building a list, with one client in Francesca Niewiadomski, who writes YA fantasy.

About the Agency:

2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

I love the boutique feel of smaller agencies: agents and writers who enter into deeply personal, collaborative relationships, and who through and within those relationships manage to become deep friends and partners in business. The agency’s mission is to identify and nurture the best writers, looking to build lifelong careers. We offer literary representation for print and digital media, and partner with the best agents to place translation, film/TV, and other subsidiary rights for our authors and their projects.

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 a whole gamut of genres:
·         young adult
·         fantasy & sci-fi
·         literary fiction
·         commercial fiction
·         women’s fiction
·         romance
·         crime, mystery & thrillers
·         memoir
·         non-fiction (innovative ideas & research; projects with a potential for social & cultural impact, etc.)

I am not actively open to queries, at least for the time being, for picture books or MG, but would certainly represent those for writers of YA or adult fiction.

In general, I look—across genres—for the strongest writers, with the greatest intuitive awareness of as well as practice in craft: their building of scenes, their world-building, their precision in vocabulary and syntax; a general intelligibility that is clever and fun, etc. I love writers who possess their own writing, and demonstrate great maturity and consideration. This means that I have a general preference for voice-driven fiction, and fiction with a more literary bent, as well as commercial fiction that rides the fine line.

For a more extended description of my wish list, you can see my submissions page.

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?
I’m—to be entirely honest—not an agent who is overly concerned with tropes or categories. The best stories transcend those categories, or break them apart, or bring something so captivating to them that you forget why you hated the trope in the first place.

I, simply, have a heart for remarkably told stories, and writing proportionate to those stories.

In my first round of agenting, certain writers that I signed did have a debut novel that editors found “too similar” to something on the market, or didn’t add anything to a niche “too flooded.” Fine! This is part of the risk, and the puzzle, and the hard work! It so happens that most went on to write novels that sold, and sold brilliantly, and (in one or two cases) debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. All those that sold have also built sustainable, ongoing careers, and this to me is the essential marker of any worthwhile success. To give a specific example: I never thought I’d love a novel about zombies…but signed a former client, now a USA Today bestseller, who wrote the most delicious literary zombie novel, which didn’t go on to publish but helped break her into serious publishing—and, boy, I still hope to this day she’ll have a chance to place it, when people don’t feel tired of zombies.

Novelists who know their craft I will sign and work with, over long periods of time, any day.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?

As noted above, I’m not—for the moment—looking to start with picture books or middle grade for writers, nor am I in the market for graphic novels. I also stray away from overly-explicit romance (i.e., erotica), and—as alluded to—genre novels that don’t capture the need in me for a voice that sparks and captivates my mind and heart.

Agent Philosophy:

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?

Where I and my clients agree that it is necessary and good, I am a heavily editorial agent, with much experience and background in structural editorial work. My task is also to be a writer’s expert in contracts, with the support of the agency and its multi-decade experience in high-quality negotiations; the sale of translation rights, where applicable; and working on additional dimensions, rights- and platform-wise.

Beyond this, I agent very personally: in transparency, my task is to set a writer up for a writing career–ideally, one in which writing full-time or part-time becomes easy and reasonable, and earns back the necessary profit. This means close work on the manuscript, to prepare it, as well as marketing, teaching writers the nature of the field, and placing writers well for growth and success. I am also of the mind that, where there is something personally shared, we’ll love and do our mutual work with greater joy and freedom. It is not rare, and much preferred, for this work to become friendship.

Editorial Agent:

7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?

As per above, yes! Very much so!

We work through editorial letters of different lengths—anything from 3-15 pages has been my average—as well as editorial feedback at the level of the manuscript itself. This will always include strengthening anything that is important, from the depth of characterization and the character development arcs, to the plot arc and the rise in/fall of tension, to the world-building, to the pacing, to the structure of scenes (how they begin, proceed, and end).

I, ultimately, see myself as a mentor for the writers with which I work—part of building careers is ever-improving craft, and receiving and internalizing editorial challenge.

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?

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

There are millions of mistakes that can be made—my only recommendation, overall, as this is important for learning to grow in the craft long-term, is that writers find and work with critique partners in one dimension or another.

Don’t send your query or your pages out without vetting them deeply. Most importantly, don’t vet your first 250 words or your first ten pages without vetting the rest of the manuscript—so much work, to build long careers, requires intentional craft-learning and -practicing, over and over and over.

Response Time:

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

I’m averaging 24-48 hours at this point on queries, and anywhere from 3-30 days or so for partial or full manuscripts.

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?

Yes, of course.

As above, however, I need writers to demonstrate a capacity for craft—so, ultimately, this is a sort of “neutral” point (to be honest), as is having a former agent, or having a writing degree, or having won awards. Great, fine—but show me that you can write very well, and that you can own your crafting. Just because you have any/all the above doesn’t mean that you can do the latter.

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?

On the most part, in the core way, no—agents serve as editorial guides, as guides in business, as gatekeepers, and as managers in a way that editors don’t and—considering the breadth of their own responsibility—never will. The challenge on the agents’ end is to allow their own business/agenting model to evolve with the industry—helping writers learn to support their traditional publishing with, for example, novellas or self-published smaller works; maximizing e-publishing platforms as well as seeking out innovative ways to market; and more.


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

My publishing background is explained here, including the novelists with whom I have worked.

My two current, new clients include YA novelist Jill MacKenzie—author of Spin the Sky (2016) and the forthcoming Breathe the Dragon (2019), from Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse—as well as debut novelist Zoe Makuta.

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.

This interview will be the most recent/updated one, but most of these older interviews apply entirely in terms of the bulk of content:

· Hippocampus Magazine
· Victoria Mixon
· Pitch Wars

Links and Contact Info:

15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.

Follow the link above for the remainder of my blog, and find me on Twitter @weronikajanczuk.

See also Weronika's Manuscript Wish List for more information on what she is looking for.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Weronika.

­Weronika 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 December 8th.  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.

Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/12/20
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/12/20

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.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.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What an amazing opportunity to be able to start out in publishing while still in high school!

Love Weronika's thoughts on tropes...I totally agree with that. As a reader, there's something comfortable and familiar about tropes as long as a writer can pull it off in an original way.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

This was a great interview. I do so like her approach and energy. I'm actually going to query her for my mystery novel.

Faith E. Hough said...

I'm so excited Weronika's back in the agenting world! I'll definitely be querying her when I have a YA novel polished up.

Snuffalupagus said...

Great read!

Mary Holm said...

Great interview! Weronika sounds like a dream agent. Now I just have to finish revising so I can start querying.

jean602 said...

Loved the interview.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Great interview!

Entering the giveaway. Mentioned it on twitter, too.

Email: monique@ssaprsolutions.com

Bridgette said...

Great interview! I love reading agent interviews. Also entering the contest: cecilewrites@gmail.com.

Dana said...

Thanks for the interview!! Entering the contest, my email: danasayles17@gmail.com

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Excellent interview with lots of good information. Thanks for sharing.

Rosi said...

That is quite a journey from high school into agenting. Thanks for an interesting interview. I really need help with my query, so thanks for the opportunity.

Unknown said...

Hi! I'd love to enter the giveaway. I've retweeted the post as @lc_riley too :)

Tonja Drecker said...

Nice interview! And what a wonderful attitude.

Patchi said...

What a great interview! Nice to know Weronika's interests and agenting philosophy.

Chelly Writes said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing!

Ella said...

Great interview! Entering the contest, my email:

rena traxel said...

Love these interviews. Entering the contest. Email: rjtraxel@gmail.com

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Weronika really has a great background in publishing. Sounds like a first rate agency.

Rebecca E. Bailey said...

Impressive that Weronika has devoted her life to publishing! Thank you for entering me in the contest at profrbailey@aol.com. Have a great day!

Denise Covey said...

I was thoroughly captivated by Weronika's interview. Especially like that she goes beyond the usual tropes. I might return if I'm ever looking for an agent!

Debra Branigan said...

I enjoyed reading the interview. Good luck with your publishing adventures.

Shamaila J said...

Very interesting, I didn't realize the amount of hours spent on queries. Please do enter me for the giveaway - shamaila.siddique@gmail.com

Rosi said...

Thanks for all the info. Terrific interview as usual. I will pass on the giveaway.

Natalie Aguirre said...

This interview and query critique contest was in 2018. There's no query critique contest for this agent going on right now. Sorry. But I have many upcoming agent spotlight interviews and query critique contests that you can take advantage of.