Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 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 Amy Stapp here. She is a literary agent at Wolfson Literary Agency.

Hi­ Amy! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Amy:

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

Hi, Natalie! Thanks so much for having me. I’m quite new to agenting actually. I spent seven years on the other side of the aisle, working as an editor with Macmillan, where I was lucky enough to work with a few of Michelle Wolfson's amazing authors. I knew firsthand how much Michelle's authors loved her, and I knew WLA had a great reputation among editors, so when I decided to move into agenting last fall, Michelle was my first call. 

About the Agency:

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

Wolfson Literary is a full-service literary agency. We represent both adult and young adult commercial fiction, as well as select nonfiction. Many of our New York Times bestselling authors have been with WLA almost since its inception over a decade ago. Since we are a small agency with a small list, we are proud to offer very focused, personalized attention. Michelle has a business degree and built the agency with an eye toward managing careers versus just selling one book at a time.

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?

In YA I’m looking for mystery, thriller, romance, historical fiction, and contemporary coming-of-age. I tend to gravitate toward upper-grade, more mature voices with adult crossover appeal.

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?

Right now, I’ve been loving YA suspense and psychological thrillers. I’m a big mystery reader on the adult side, and it’s fun to watch this genre grow and evolve in young adult fiction as well. I am always looking for YA romance; there’s just something about that first love story that never gets old. But I’d also love to see more friendship stories; maybe there’s still a romance, but the central plot is an amazing friendship. I want to see more stories about kids from blue-collar families, farming communities, small towns, or a unique region I’ve not seen before. I’d love to find a YA Indiana Jones, or a story with an international adventure. I also have a soft spot for vintage Hollywood, and I’d love to find a historical that captures this era.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I’ve grown a little weary of hyper-insecure, bumbling protagonists who don’t know they’re pretty. Ha! You’d be surprised how much of this I still see. I’m always open to fairytale/myth retellings or magical realism, but I’m leaning away from epic fantasy right now. And I’m probably not the best fit for science fiction.

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?

I want to represent career authors—true professionals who get excited about revisions and always have a new idea simmering on the back burner.

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?

Oh yes… Ha! It’s in my DNA. I get excited when I can tell how talented an author is but can immediately spot the little ways to take a solid manuscript to the next level. It feels like a puzzle and it’s incredibly rewarding when those pieces click together. I think the process varies each time, but having worked at a publishing house, I know what it takes to get even the best manuscripts through an editorial board, and it’s my job to ensure your manuscript is as close to perfect as I can get it.

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?

You can reach me at amy@wolfsonliterary.com, and check out our full submission guidelines at wolfsonliterary.com. Just keep query letters simple: as they say—the hook, the book, and the cook. And if you need a little more help, we post advice, insider tips, and publishing news on the WLA blog.

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

Just keep it professional. Your hook should tell me everything I need to know. And I read every query I’m sent.  

Response Time:

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

This can vary, but we tend to respond to queries that interest us very quickly, usually in under a week.

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?

Absolutely. A great book is a great book, and while I definitely want to know about previous publications, I judge each manuscript on its own merits.

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?

Yes and no. We are our clients’ fiercest advocates and biggest cheerleaders, so that hasn’t changed. We want authors to succeed in whatever their personal career goals may be. At the same time, self-publishing, hybrid publishing, more small publishers, etc., have opened up more opportunities for authors and we are here, as always, to help our clients evaluate opportunities and take advantage of the ever-changing landscape.


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Well I’m just a couple months in, so I’m still eagerly looking for my first client. (So query me!) But some of WLA’s best-known clients include Kiersten White, Kasie West, Lauren Blakely, Lindsey Pollak, Tawna Fenske, and up and coming star Jessica Pennington, whom I acquired as an editor and am thrilled to still be working with on the other side.

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.

Feel free to check out the Wolfson Literary website and blog for more specifics on what we’re looking for. We love connecting with writers there. And I’ve posted a little bit more about some of my favorite topics and tropes on my Manuscript Wishlist page.

Links and Contact Info:

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

Writers can query me at amy@wolfsonliterary.com (just be sure to write Query in the subject line), and feel free to follow me (@AmyStappNY) on Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest where I share my manuscript wishlist, current books I’m loving, writing tips, and publishing advice.

Additional Advice:

16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?

The biggest mistake I see is writers submitting their work before it’s ready to be seen by an agent. It’s really exciting when you finally finish a manuscript you’ve worked on for months or even years. But take your time to workshop the manuscript with a critique partner or writers circle. Then attend a few writers conferences to learn as much as you can about the industry, taking time to think about what your long-term publishing goals are. Once you’ve done your homework, you can submit your work confidently, knowing agents like me are eager to find your unique voice.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Amy.

­Amy 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 March 2nd.  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: 6/2/2020.
Agent Contacted for Review? No.
Last Reviewed By Agent? N/A.

Comment: 6/2/2020 update was done to confirm that Ms. Stapp is at the same agency and open to submissions. 6/11/2020 update: The agency website says that Ms. Stapp is on maternity leave and closed to submissions until 7/6/2020.

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.


Heather Erickson said...

Great interview. As someone who has never worked with an agent, this was really helpful information. Sometimes the process seems overwhelming, so this was encouraging.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Good, informative interview. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this!

Snuffalupagus said...

Very helpful!

Wendy Wahman said...

I love this: "Just keep query letters simple: as they say—the hook, the book, and the cook." Great interview!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the interview!

Unknown said...


nancywestbooks said...

Lovely interview. Lot's of helpful information about both agency and agent.

Rosi said...

I always learn things when I read your agent interviews. Thanks for the post.

Unknown said...

Awesome interview!

Gina Gao said...

This is such an informative interview, thank you so much for sharing!


Looking Forward said...

So glad I found this! I love getting a deeper insight into the agent, to see what they really want.

Rita Davie said...

Thank you for posting this interview!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing and the chance to win.

LAWonder said...

It was fun learning about your agency. there is a big demand for quality literary agents.
Thank you!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

WLA sounds like the perfect sort of agency. I doubt you'll have any trouble filling up your client list!

douglasesper said...

Good luck on your new adventure and thanks for helping us try to start our own.
douglas esper

Denise Covey said...

Hi Natalie! Hi Amy! This was an excellent agent interview. I confess I read every word!

Angie Quantrell said...

Great interview! It's always nice to learn more about the industry and what different agencies want to discover. Thanks! angelecolline at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

Great interview--thank you for your insight! I've shared this on my Twitter account as well! :)

Cynthia said...

Great interview. I am taking my time to refine my WIPs- I don't want to be that writer who submits their work before they're ready.

RocheleSmit said...

I love these interviews! Thank you Amy for your time and insight and I appreciate the chance.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great post--thanks, Amy! Will keep you in mind when I finish my YA historical mystery!

Vercingetorix said...

Very cool to hear an agent express interest in YA thrillers -- an underappreciated genre, and one I don't hear enough about from the literary community.

Judy Mc said...

Thanks for putting Amy on our radar. She sounds terrific!

L.S.S said...

The hook, the book, and the cook. I like that. Going to go and change my query right now! Thanks!

L.S.S said...


Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for this interview! I love Kiersten's and Kasie's books.