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  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

AGENT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH KATELYN DETWEILER AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY


Today I’m thrilled to have agent Katelyn Detweiler here. She is a literary agent at Jill Grinberg Literary.

Hi­ Katelyn! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Katelyn:

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

I worked for two years in the marketing department of a big children’s publisher, which was a great intro to the industry, but I craved a more direct, deeper working relationship with writers and their work. I was lucky enough to find the position at Jill Grinberg Literary Management as an assistant to Jill in 2010, helping to support her fabulous list of authors, and began building my own list a few years after.

About the Agency:

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

JGLM is a hands on, full service literary agency—small but mighty, we like to say, big business with a boutique feel. We work with authors writing across the spectrum, picture books through adult fiction and non-fiction, with an emphasis on strong voices, quality writing, and compelling story telling.

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, MG, and YA (as well as adult). This range feels important to me and JGLM generally, as we aim to grow with our authors throughout their career, and their interests and goals might change as they develop and evolve in their craft.
I’m drawn to stories of all stripes—contemporary, magical realism, speculative, historical, and light sci-fi, as long as the characters feel relatable and grounded in the kid/teen/coming-of-age experience. I care more about voice and style than plot when taking on a new client. A good hook is important, yes, but I want to have faith that I’ll connect with not just this one manuscript, but all the projects we’ll hopefully collaborate on together in the span of our working relationship.

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

Honestly, I never really know what I’m looking for until it lands in my inbox. But I’m always hoping to really feel all of the weird/funny/sad/hard/awkward/beautiful moments that come with growing up. Bonus points if I tear up—especially a good happy cry! And in all submissions across the board, I’m very interested in reading work from diverse and underrepresented voices.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I hate to say I’d never consider a certain genre—I like to keep an open mind. As long as the characters feel grounded in whatever world the author has created, I’m on board to consider.

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?

So much of the author-agent relationship is about chemistry, and a shared vision and passion. It’s a deep bond. I’m selective about the authors I take on, very much focused on quality over quantity. A good author-agent relationship, in my opinion, is about communication and transparency and respect—being able to voice our thoughts and concerns and strategies in an open dialogue. While the types of projects and writers I represent varies widely, every author on my list has valuable things to say about our world.

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?

Yes, most definitely. The amount of back and forth varies with each project, but I tend to dive in deep with authors on the editorial process. The project doesn’t have to be perfect by any means to go out to editors, but it does need to feel strong and competitive—the bones in place enough for an editor with a vision to fall in love.

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?

Please send your submission to info@jillgrinbergliterary.com addressed to my attention. For a novel, please attach the first 50 pages to the email. Full text for picture books, including art if you’re also the illustrator. For more detailed instructions, please refer to our (brand new!) site: https://jillgrinbergliterary.com/contact/.

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

I don’t love when queries are written in third person, or from the POV of a character. Be yourself. But mostly I’m looking for a good teaser synopsis, and enough of a bio to give me a sense of who you are and why you wrote this story. (And perhaps don’t say that you’re SURE this project will become a bestseller! J)

Response Time:

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

While I’d love to say that I respond to each and every query, due to the volume of the submissions I receive and my prioritizing of existing clients, it may not always be possible. If I decide to pursue your submission, I’ll be in touch. And if your timing changes due to an offer of representation or otherwise, please do send a follow up note.

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. I’m focused on an author’s current project, and what lies ahead in their career. While it’s good to have a full picture of past publications—and this should certainly be included in your query—this kind of history wouldn’t influence my decision to offer/not offer on a new manuscript.

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 as agents we need to be open to all avenues of publication, and sometimes this might include considering smaller houses, self publishing, etc. It’s dangerous to get too stuck in the idea of the “traditional route” and what that might look like, and I believe authors and their books can find success in different ways, and this might evolve through phases of their career.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Some of my published children’s and YA authors include: Nafiza Azad, Nora Raleigh Baskin, Peter Bunzl, Matt Burns, Lori Goldstein, S. Jae-Jones, Alycia (Lee) Kelly, SA Patel, Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina, Sarah Glenn Marsh, Kara McDowell, Shivaun Plozza, Addie Thorley, Jenn Marie Thorne, Lili Wilkinson, and Fiona Wood.

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.

Our agency website has all of the necessary information, and also gives a good snapshot into our overall philosophy and mission. Please visit https://jillgrinbergliterary.com.

Additional Advice:

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

Keep writing. Keep querying. And remember that it’s all wildly subjective. What one agent or editor passes on, others might love. I say it constantly to my authors on submission, but it’s true: it only takes one. That one person who wholly understands you and your words and your intentions. There are no guarantees in this career at any level—that can be disappointing, but it can also be inspiring and motivational. One project didn’t sell? Okay. Maybe the next one will. Or the one after that. Keep working on what inspires you, and keep trusting in the process.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Katelyn.

­Katelyn 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 February 1st.  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.




52 comments:

Gabriele Davis said...

Thanks for a great spotlight! Katelyn sounds like an amazing agent. I'd love to be entered in the query critique giveaway: gabrieledavis247 (at) gmail (dot) com

Eleanor T said...

Thank you for the insight regarding submissions with your agency. Glad to read that you are open to self published writers.

Eleanor T said...

Sorry, but I forgot to leave my gmail address for query critique giveaway.
Here it is. mauricethebook (at) gmail (dot) com

Rita said...

I like that Katelyn mentions that an agent-author relationship is based on honesty and so much more. When I write,I often think of the day when I would have a friendly cheerleader to keep me motivated all the way to THE END. That would be something! rita@ritaborg.us just in case

Athena Freya G said...

WHat a thoughtful, lovely interview! My email is athenagreyson *dot* author *@* gmail *dot* com

Caren Shiloh said...

Another great interview, Natalie. I really appreciate Katelyn's open mind, and her agent philosophy of communication, transparency, and respect is right on target! muthecaren@gmail.com

sharalyn said...

Thank you for this interview. I appreciate Katelyn’s friendliness and her willingness to help an author. sharalynwrites@gmail.com

Jessi Rae said...

Thank you for this spotlight! It is refreshing to see an agent with a broad portfolio. I think it also wonderful that she didn’t want to say what she is not looking for! Really shows her passion for agenting.
Lovely interview!
Fournier.jessi (at) gmail (dot) com

BetW said...

Thank you for this interview, Katelyn. I'm especially pleased to see that you're open minded to anything that crosses your desk and will give it a chance. Terrific interview! My email is: elizabethwestra@gmail.com

cordelianchronicles.com said...

Great interview.

waughwright@gmail.com

jjsewell said...

As a picture book author (primarily) I've been on the fence about trying to find an agent but if I could work with an agent like Katelyn who cares about the quality of my writing and not my "numbers" I think I would hop that fence in a heartbeat. Thanks Katelyn for taking the time to connect with all of us in kidlit land.

Greg Pattridge said...

Great interview. I loved the never give up attitude she hopes for in her future clients. Thanks for the opportunity for a query critique.

Lkrei said...

I enjoyed this interview and all of the pointers Katelyn relayed throughout the interview. Thanks for the helpful tips!

Veronica Jorge said...

So happy to hear Katelyn share about her openness to all types of books and voices. Please enter me for a chance to win a query critique. Thank you! E-mail: verojorg@rcn.com

Angie Quantrell said...

Great interview! It's nice to learn about your work, Katelyn, and your agency. Thank you for the opportunity for a query critique. angelecolline at yahoo dot com

I shared this post on Twitter. :)

Wendy Wahman said...

Such a warm and insightful person, Katelyn is. I would love her expertise on a pb I've been working on. Throwing my hat in the ring too. wendy@wendywahman.com

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Thank you for sharing your requirements, Katelyn. Your work is so important for authors. Best of luck to all.

Heather said...

I enjoyed reading this interview - thank you. I like that Katelyn is an editorial agent - I think it's important to work with someone who wants to help you dig in and strengthen your work. I'd love a query critique: heathermcappsauthor@gmail.com

Kristen said...

Great interview! She's been on my list for awhile, and it would be amazing to win a query critique. Thanks for the change. I also posted on Twitter and FB. Thanks. kristengjohnson at gmail dot com

Kim A. Larson said...

Katelyn sounds like a great agent. Wonderful interview, ladies. I shared this on Twitter.

Carolyn Chambers Clark said...

Great interview. Please enter me in the query critique contest. I shared this on Twitter

Brenda Whitehead said...

This interview is so helpful, thank you so much! I'd love to enter the query contest.

Brenda Whitehead said...

Sorry, my name is Brenda and my email is brenda(dot)r(dot)whitehead(at)gmail(dot)com

Marty said...

Thanks for making this possible for readers...a refreshing, up-to-the-minute interview with Katelyn!! Regards from Marty.

martygra1(at)sbcglobal(dot)net


Liesbet said...

Another wonderful interview. All Katelyn’s answers were spot on. I especially liked her take on a good author-agent relationship, that it is “about communication and transparency and respect”. Well said. :-)

I’d love to take part in the query critique giveaway again. I’m pretty sure my email address is in my Google profile. Thanks, Natalie.

Rosi said...

You have done it again. Another helpful, rich interview. I have a new manuscript I am getting ready to query, so please drop my name in the critique hat. Thanks.

Shanda Trent said...

Great interview. I will definitely be querying. Being selected for the critique would be the icing on the cake. Once again, thanks! Shanda.trent at gmail

Ashley C said...

Thanks for sharing your insight. Acongdon85@gmail.com

Sarah Meade said...

Thank you for this interview! sjw2lilo at gmail

Diane T said...

Thanks to Natalie for another great interview, and to Katelyn for her thoughtful responses. Pretty sure my email is in my profile.

Cheryl Dix said...

Thanks for such a wonderful interview. Literary Rambles has been such a great resource. Please enter me in the query critiques giveaway. cheryldix55@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Katelyn will definitely be on my list of agents to query!

DreamCatcher said...

Amazing! My email is j.m.voris@gmail.com

Lynn Baldwin said...

Thanks for another great interview. Please enter me in the contest. My email is lynnbaldwin5@gmail.com and I am about to post this on Twitter. Thank you.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Big business with boutique feet. LOL. I like it!

BarbaraB said...

Thanks for the very the interview with an interesting and generous agent. Please enter me in the query critique offer: BarbaraB@cox.net

Laurie Carmody said...

Great interview! I would love to be entered for the critique.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the interview and opportunity, Natalie and Katelyn! I would appreciate being considered for the query critique offer too! writerem.mcbride@gmail.com

Sherry Ellis said...

Great interview! It sounds like she is very open-minded about accepting manuscripts. That's refreshing!

Jay Linden said...

I like Katelyn's comment that her authors have something valuable to say about this world. And it is always helpful to be reassured that we only have to find one agent and then one publisher who loves our work. Thanks for entering me into the query critique.

Janet Frenck Sheets said...

Love your agency's mission statement. Thank you for your insights and the query critique giveaway. (Natalie, I subscribe to Literary Rambles. My email is jesheets@alaska.net.)

Tonja Drecker said...

Interesting interview, and how nice of her to take the time to do it! I love that she's open to everything and that it's a story that grabs her...not the specific genre.

Marykate said...

Such a great interview! Katelyn sounds incredible to work with. I will definitely be querying her!

Amanda C said...

Thank you for doing this interview, Katelyn. I would definitely want to query you in the future if I don't win this giveaway! My email is achernek@gmail.com

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Tattoo magic, Faith, Eccentric theater. Sounds fascinating. Love how your agent accepted your work. Never give up. Thanks for sharing with us.

Mrs. Brownlow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mrs. Brownlow said...

Thank you so much for this excellent interview! Please enter me (Lydia Brownlow) in Katelyn's query critique giveaway (LKPB05@gmail.com). I will post the contest on Twitter as well. Thanks!

kathrynjankowski said...

Another great interview. Thanks, Natalie and Katelyn! I'd love a query critique. author@kathrynjankowskibooks.com

Stephanie Lau said...

So many weird/funny/sad/hard/awkward/beautiful moments growing up!!!

Lori S. said...

Thank you for another great interview and critique giveaway! Enjoyed the discussion with Katelyn very much. Please enter me in the giveaway. Lori S.

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Cindy Williams Schrauben said...

I LOVE those 'happy tears', too. Sending them your way. :) Thanks for a great interview