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 Devin Ross here. She is a literary agent at New Leaf Literary & Media

Submission Status 5/25/2020: Ms. Ross is no longer listed as an agent at New Leaf Literary, and I can find no other information abut her.

Hi­ Devin! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Devin:

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

I’ve been agenting for just under a year now. It was a natural progression for me. I had been working with Joanna Volpe at New Leaf for several years. My responsibilities grew with the job and then it was time for me to start growing my own list. As an agent, I represent both children’s and adult projects. Right now, my priority is growing my client list, and finding exciting new projects to work on!

About the Agency:

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

New Leaf Literary is a full service agency. We have the infrastructure in-house to support our clients in all of their creative endeavors. New Leaf clients work with our film, foreign rights, and marketing teams directly. However, I think one of the best parts of working with New Leaf, is being a part of the New Leaf family. Our authors are SO supportive of each other, no matter what point in their career they are.

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?

As of right now, I mostly represent YA, with a few MG projects as well. In YA, I love contemporary stories that speak to what it means to be a teen. Whether the story is happy, sad, inspirational, doesn’t matter as long as it tells a truth. I love magical realism. Stories that change the world just slightly but make me believe it could be possible are my absolute favorite. I also love when magical realism is used to investigate emotions.

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

A recent wish list item of mine: I’d love to see a great holiday season story in my queries (in MG or YA!). It can be Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, any holiday! But I’d love to see a holiday story with family, traditions, love, and food! 

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Currently, I’m not looking for science fiction. Although I love sci-fi stories, I am not requesting much now that have several projects on my list.

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?

My philosophy is always to always work in the best interests of an author’s long-term career. Working with authors that have lots of ideas and long-term ambitions is a priority of mine. In terms of the books to represent, I want my list to reflect the world we live in. I hope that, as my list grows, I’ll be working with more and more diverse authors, telling stories of their own in any genre.

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?

I work editorially on every project that I sign. What that means for each author, and each project, is different. But I am there every step of the way, from brainstorming pitches, helping to plot or fill in a synopsis, to larger developmental edits and line edits. Some authors prefer feedback at the earliest stage, and some work with their critique partners and I only see the project once it’s fully developed.

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?

The things I look for in a good query letter are good comp titles, a good one line pitch, and why an author thinks their project is a good fit for me and my list. If you decide to query me after reading this interview, mention it! Tell me why! Adding that personal touch gives me the sense that you know what I am doing, what I am looking for, and that you think your project falls within those lines. Good comp titles are crucial to showing your projects marketability. Finally, a snappy one line pitch shows your books has a nook and is easily pitched to editors. If an agent signs your book, they’ll be pitching it all over the place, so this is always one of the first things I look for.

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

I don’t like generic queries that aren’t personalized and don’t speak to how a project fits with my list or with New Leaf. I know writing query letters can be exhausting. But this is your first interaction with your potential agent. Putting your best foot forward, and taking the time to do your research is always going to be in your best interest. Not to mention, it will definitely draw my attention and will result in my spending more time with your pages.

Response Time:

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

I respond to queries within a month of receipt. I always try to aim for this with requested material as well. However, client projects always take precedent on my reading list so sometimes it does take me a touch long to respond to requested 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?

I do currently represent a self-published author, as well as several authors who have plans to self publish! My advice would be to be honest about what you have published already, and if you have substantial numbers from self-publishing, share them! I would also suggest querying with a project you have not yet self-published. Many publishers want projects that have not already been made available online, so querying with a fresh project will draw more interest from agents than a project that’s up online.

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?

There’s space for everyone in this industry! Currently agents work with all different types of authors, and different publishers. Authors’ goals are different. It doesn’t always make sense to send their projects to only big publishers; sometimes independent publishers are the better fit. Similarly, many authors choose to self-publish works that don’t sell traditionally. Many agents are already working in many spaces, and I’m sure that will continue to be true.


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I work with an amazing group of authors! You can see my full client list on the New Leaf website.

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.

Authors should query me through the New Leaf Querying channels. They can send their queries to query@newleafliterary.com. They need to include Query, Devin Ross in the subject line, as well as the category (ie, YA Contemporary) in order for it to get to me. Authors can find the detailed query guidelines at http://www.newleafliterary.com/submissions/

Additional Advice:

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

My best advice is to just keep going! Querying is hard. You get a lot of rejections, or even just non-responses. My best advice is just to keep writing. One project does not define you, and it is not the end all be all. Write another book, query again. Your craft will get better with every page you write, and you work will find it’s place in the world.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Devin.

Profile Details:
Last Updated: 5/25/2020.
Agent Contacted for Review? No
Last Reviewed By Agent? N/A.

­Devin 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 May 11th.  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 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.


Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Ah! A story with food and holidays. I'd like that one. Thanks for an interesting interview, Natalie and Devin.

Ilona Bray said...

It's always great to hear the thoughts of agents working with New Leaf, thanks!

Sarah Jane said...

Great interview!! Thank you!

Tan said...

Great interview! I love blog posts that help know agents better.

Tan said...

My email: tkjoly@hotmail.com

Unknown said...

Great interview! A great way to learn about an agent's interests. I posted this on Twitter! use email: chelsealaurenya@gmail.com

Unknown said...

Entering for the query critique! :)

Snuffalupagus said...

Great article!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the awesome interview! :)


Jade Hemming said...

Such a great interview, thanks so much for taking the time! I've shared this article on Twitter, and my email is jadewritesbooks@gmail.com. Thanks!

Veronica Jorge said...

Thank you for your willingness to share. Love that you are growing your client list.

Angie Quantrell said...

Nice interview! It's always interesting to learn about agents and agencies. Thanks for sharing with us, Devin and Natalie!

Jamie said...

Thanks for the interview and giveaway! My email is: starvingartistjz@gmail.com

DreamCatcher said...

This is so great. Thanks for doing these!

Rosi said...

Another informative interview. Thanks for that. I will pass on the giveaway as I won a query critique from you recently.

KaitlynM_writes said...

Retweeted this on Twitter LOVE the idea thanks for doing this ☺️

-Kaitlyn Manktelow

Unknown said...

Much obliged to you for the advice. connordesai@gmail.com

Laura Rueckert said...

Very helpful interview - thank you so much for doing these! I also tweeted about it. :)
laurarueckert (at) web (dot) de

Dana said...

Thanks so much for all you do!!!
danasayles17@gmail.com :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this contest! I've been chasing this dream for years, and I'm not giving up anytime soon.

YesOtis said...

Love this interview series. Glad I came across it. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Entering for critique! Also posting on Twitter @CatMallette!

Kathy said...

Oh my goodness--stumbled on this interview of Devin Ross and query critique by chance. On May 11. Don't know how to play this enticing game--can't even find the "follower" button. But DR said, "Stories that change the world just slightly but make me believe it could be possible are my absolute favorite." What a lovely, original, and rather specific wish! kwren2@gmail.com