Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

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 Jessica Reino here. She is a junior literary agent at Metamorphosis Literary Agency.

Update as of 10/27/2021: Jessica has been promoted to a senior agent.

Hi­ Jessica! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Jessica:

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

First off, thank you so much for having me! I officially came into my role as a Junior Agent this past August, but, while I am new to agenting, I am not new to the publishing industry. I am a multi-genre author myself and have worked for many years as a freelance editor. One of my favorite parts of editing was as a developmental editor working directly with authors. When I saw an internship open up with Metamorphosis, I jumped at the chance. I fell in love and the rest is history!
Since I am a new agent, I am still building my list and have been very busy reading queries, signing clients, and speaking with editors. It’s been a lot of fun and great to jump right in.

About the Agency:

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

As stated on our website, Metamorphosis Literary Agency’s mission is to help authors become traditionally published and we work with our authors to make sure that their projects are in the best possible shape. We have a great team of agents and interns who care about our clients and their careers. When you sign with Metamorphosis, it is very much a team atmosphere and that was one of the things that drew me to the agency as an agent.

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?

Right now, I represent MG and YA as well as adult projects in both fiction and nonfiction. While I am not looking to sign strictly PB authors, if an author has a MG or YA project as well as a PB, I would be open to that.
In fiction I’m looking to represent contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I’m looking to add more YA contemporary romance to my list as well.

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

I am a big advocate for invisible illnesses, chronic illness, autoimmune issues, and mental health so characters dealing with these are always welcome.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I’m not looking for picture books or anything historical at this time.

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?

As an agent, I am looking to sign authors for the scope of their career not just one project. We’re a team and I will always be honest and have my authors’ best interests. I want to work with authors who are willing to put in the hard work and be open to feedback and advice to make their work the best it can possibly be. I want to represent books that make an impact on their readers and evoke emotions.

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?

Absolutely! I am definitely an editorial agent and I think this comes from my background as a freelance editor. Before submitting to editors, I go over my authors’ manuscripts several times and make comments/suggestions utilizing Tracked Changes in Microsoft Word. We have a back and forth to make it the strongest manuscript it can possibly be before sending it off. I make a list of editors that I think would be a good fit and we discuss the list along with comments and revisions.

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?

I utilize Query Manager and authors can query me by going to this link: https://querymanager.com/query/JessicaReino
The link is also posted on our Metamorphosis Literary Agency’s website under the Submissions tab.
In a query, I like to see the usual things like the word count and genre, but most importantly, I need to know what the book is about. If an author is querying me for a specific reason then that’s great, but if not, feel free to jump right into the query as long as it fits what I am looking for.
I also like to remind authors that the query letter is to entice an agent to read more. It is not meant to be a synopsis, but it does have to give enough information that I know what the book is going to be about.

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

Most queries I receive are professional and well-done. However, I have gotten a few that talk down to the suggested target audience, which is an automatic pass from me.

Response Time:

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

I try to give an initial response to queries within two weeks which would be either a pass or request for more pages. I am extremely behind in my partials and fulls. I am currently still reading my partials and fulls from August, but I hope to give a definitive response in the next few weeks. I have gotten some great manuscripts and thank you to all who have queried me with your work!

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?

Of course! With that being said, I cannot sell an already self-published work, but please feel free to query me with a new project. For self-published authors or authors who have been published with a small press, I think it is important to ask why they want an agent. Some authors I know who are self-published or who have sold to smaller presses are very content with doing it all themselves. I think it is important to decide what they want out of their writing career. There are a bunch of great resources to look for agents like Manuscript Wishlist, Twitter, writing or critique groups, other authors, and blog interviews like this.

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?

This is such a great question. The publishing landscape has changed immensely and I think the role of agents has definitely changed over the years to encompass giving assistance to their authors editorially or even giving advice about approaching social media/marketing although these things are not technically something an agent needs to do. First and foremost, and something that will never change, is that an agent is their client’s best advocate. Agents need to be able to advise clients on the right publishing path for them and their manuscript, as well as be knowledgeable of the marketplace to sell books.

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I have a wonderful group of authors. My clients include:
MG fantasy writer Stephenie Peterson;
YA gothic/paranormal fantasy writer Destiny Rae Smith;
YA contemporary writer Heather DiAngelis; and
Family Saga/Contemporary writer Rene Perez II.

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 was interviewed on Kate Foster’s blog this past August regarding how I work as an agent and what I’m looking for. Here is the link: http://www.katejfoster.com/general-blog/literary-agent-interview-jessica-reino

Links and Contact Info:

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

To submit a query, writers can query me through Query Manager. Here is the link again:
The link to our agency website is: https://www.metamorphosisliteraryagency.com/
I can always be found on Twitter @JNRlitauthor
I run a monthly Twitter chat the first Sunday of every month at 8 PM (Eastern) to help writers stress less during the writing process #thewriterszen and would love to have anyone join in.

Additional Advice:

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

I can’t say this enough, but if you write, then you’re a writer. Own that title and be proud of the work you are doing. I think it is also important to say that this business is still subjective and what might not sell one minute might sell the next. Never write for trends, but write the story that you want to tell.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jessica.

Thanks so much for having me and for being such a great resource for writers!

­Jessica 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 November 9th.  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: 5/23/2020
Agent Contacted For Review? N/A.
Last Reviewed By Agent? N/A
Comment: Updated to confirm she is still at the same agency and open to submissions.

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.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Talking down to your readers seems like a really dumb idea.

Computer Tutor said...

You sound like a wonderful agent and a great opportunity for authors. Unfortunately, I'm historical (prehistoric, aka Jean Auel) so I'll keep looking!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Editorial agents are the best! I also love that Jessica says, "If you write, then you're a writer." So many of us are reluctant to own that. (Natalie, please don't include me in the query critique giveaway.)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's nice she lets them know if the answer is no. It's only polite to give a response.

Jemi Fraser said...

Kids dump books as soon as they think the author is talking down to them or treating them as "just" kids. I dump them too :)

Powdered Toast Man said...

Fantastic interview. I fancy the word query.

nashvillecats2 said...

Loved the interview Natalie.


1flexymomma said...

I think it's great that you are an advocate for both mental health issues as well as various invisible and chronic illnesses. Those issues need to be represented as parts of the human experience (without necessarily being the focal point of the story). azylstra.stayback@gmail.com

Kristen said...

Sounds like a fantastic agent. Thanks for letting us know about her and for the chance at a query crit.

Liesbet said...

Thanks for creating and posting another agent interview, Natalie. Jessica sounds like a nice and fair agent. I hadn’t heard about her agency before, so I’ll be sure to check it out and research whether anyone there is looking to represent memoir authors. Please, enter me into the query critique contest. Thanks!

Rosi said...

I always enjoy your interviews, Natalie. I will pass on the drawing since I just won a query critique here. And thanks for picking me!

Mattea Orr said...

Yet another fabulous interview. Sounds like a lovely agent to work with. I'd like a shot at the query critique, please.

Tonja Drecker said...

Great interview!

Megan B. said...

I’m a Ya fantasy writer with ideas for a couple PBs as well. Sounds like a good agent to query!

Chrys Fey said...

Great interview. I have a MG book I think I'll send Jessica. And I probably just jinxed it by announcing that. LOL

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Great interview! I don't write what she's looking for (so please don't include me in the query giveaway), but I enjoy reading what agents look for in queries, which is good advice for any genre. She sounds like a terrific agent. I, too, like an editorial agent. You can learn so much from them.

Vercingetorix said...

I'm always encouraged when agents write or writers agent. I think it adds an interesting perspective to the process. I'm interested in the critique, BTW.

Emily L. said...

Thank you for sharing this interview! I would be grateful to be added to the contest for a query critique, please.

Nick Wilford said...

Great interview. I think an agent who can also write and edit would be the best type to have!

Jennifer Lane said...

Informative interview!

Crystal @ Lost in Storyland said...

Thanks for sharing this interview. It's always great to hear from agents!