Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • 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 Megan Manzano here. She is a literary agent at D4EO Literary.

Hi­ Megan! Thanks so much for joining us.

It’s my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me!

About Megan:

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

I’m a newer agent, but started off as a literary intern/apprentice for about a year and a half before joining D4EO Literary. Prior to agenting, I worked in editorial for academic and indie fantasy publishers for about four years and freelanced alongside that. I am currently building my client list and am really on the hunt for new and fresh voices in kidlit.
About the Agency:

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

Robert G. (Bob) Diforio launched the eponymous D4EO Literary Agency in 1989 after a long career at the New American Library (NAL/Dutton), now an imprint of Penguin Random House. The agency is named after him (D4EO, for Diforio). 

Today D4EO is a full-service, multi-agent literary agency representing authors of a very broad range of commercial fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults.

Books represented by the agency have topped the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, and agency authors have received awards that include the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and the Nero Award, as well as nominations for the Hugo Award, among many other notable successes.

With over 2,000 published books under contract, the agency has launched the writing careers of more than two hundred authors.

What D4EO really offers to authors is a wealth of knowledge about the industry and agents who are passionate about the clients they take on.

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 MG and YA across most genres; I do not accept nonfiction, chapter books, picture books, or graphic novels however.
What I’m most looking for are strong character voices, stories from marginalized authors, and stories that keep me hungry for more or I read in one sitting. Whenever I read I want to fall into the world and walk alongside the characters. I’m a sucker for punchy openings, darker characters, and speculative elements.

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

Absolutely. These are the genres I’m most interested in and what I’m looking for, but at the moment, I’d love some contemporary MG!
  • Science Fiction: Literally everything. Give me your end of the world disasters, your post-apocalyptic societies, your stories of survival, your stories set in space, time travel, your gripping futuristic worlds filled with robots. Give me virtual reality, AIs, and overall chaos.

  • Fantasy: Give me a spin on classic fairytales, light fantasy, magical realism, your everyday societies with a spark of magic, and your gritty urban underground worlds. Got Fae? Yes, please. Got someone overthrowing a magical overlord? Even better.

  • Contemporary: Give me some darker contemporary with complex family dynamics or odd jobs or shadows lurking in a forest. I am also massively requesting quiet young adult stories – ie stories with more personal and character driven stakes.

  • Romance: I’d absolutely love more diverse romances, best friends to lovers, slow burn, and stories that make me feel good while reading.
What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?
I am not the best fit for:
  • Stories containing vivid descriptions of demon possession, exorcisms, or hauntings. Gore, creepy elements, and atmosphere are fine.
  • Animal protagonists
  • Erotica
  • Historical 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?

As an agent, I’m here to work alongside an author and make their work as strong as it can be while also trying to get it into the hands of publishers who will love it as much as I do. I’m not an agent that’s around for a project but rather an author’s career. I want to see an author grow and bring their stories into the world. I want an author who’s passionate and hardworking and open to revisions.
I want books that will be able to reflect someone in its pages. Being a kid/teen is challenging and the more stories we have to show them they’re not alone, the better.

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’m 100% an editorial agent. With every manuscript I read, I’m taking notes as I go about plot structure, character development, pacing, etc. If I offer on a client and they choose to work with me, I will go over the notes I have with them via an edit letter and then through a call so we can brainstorm how to work through them together. I like the editing process to be a collaborative experience so the author’s message doesn’t get lost, but also so they understand where I’m coming from. I go over what’s working and what isn’t and come up with solutions to make the manuscript as polished as possible.
For some manuscripts, this may be one round of edits. For others, it may be multiple. But once the developmental editing is done, I will line edit and proof read before going out on submission to editors.

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?

Authors should query me with their query, synopsis, and first five pages of their manuscript via QueryManager. What I love to see in a query is who your main character is, what they want, what is preventing them from getting what they want, and the stakes of the story. I also want to know the brief technical details of your story: title, word count, genre, and comp titles.

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

For query letters, I’m not a fan of submissions that only include a biography about an author. While I’d like to know a little bit about a writer, I’m more interested in getting the hook of the story.
For first pages, I’m not a fan of submissions that are exposition heavy (more focused on details than character) or pages that start directly in the action. While the latter can work, oftentimes I don’t get enough about the character or the world to properly ground myself in the story.

Response Time:

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

This really depends on my day job and what’s happening in my life but I try to be as time effective as possible with responses. You can expect to hear back from me within 24 hours to a month and a half for most queries or requests. If it’s taking me longer, I’ll post about it on my twitter or leave a note on my submission form. 

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. If you have self-published or been published by smaller presses, makes sure to include the titles and publishers in the bio section of your query so agents are able to easily find your books. 

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 don’t think the role of the agent will change as there will always be authors who want to pursue the traditional publishing route. However, I can see more hybrid authors in the future or more authors with self-published works prior to seeking representation. An agent will still be an author’s champion and advocate regardless of how the industry changes.


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Natalie Crown who is a pro at writing vivid and plot twist galore YA fantasy.
Esme Symes-Smith who is so good at writing characters that stick with you in MG and YA.

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.

How to Craft Strong Opening Pages:
The QueryHack Series – Where me and former literary agent Meg LaTorre review opening pages/queries and answer questions about the industry:
Podcast with Sarah Nicolas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abewI_ybmIQ (11/2020)

Links and Contact Info:  

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

Writers should always query me via QueryManager. Any queries sent to my personal or work email will be deleted, unread. If you’d like to find me, here are my social media accounts.

Additional Advice:

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

Always do your research when building a list of agents to query as well as if you get an offer of representation. You want to make sure an agent is the best fit for not just you as a person but for your career goals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the call, whether it’s about the agency contract, an author’s clients, where they foresee submitting your book to, etc. You want to have all the answers and information needed to make the right decision for your work.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Megan.

­Megan 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 7th.  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.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Good point about researching agencies before querying and then asking questions when agents call! Writing is a business and so often writers can forget this. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I do write science fiction but sadly not for kids!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

Editorial agents are the best! Megan has lots of good advice here. Natalie, please don't enter me in the query critique giveaway, since I have an agent (and she's an excellent editorial agent!).

L. Diane Wolfe said...

She sounds like she really cares about the writer's original story and wants to make it shine.

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like a fabulous agent!! Great interview :)

Jenni said...

Sounds like a great agent! I like what she said about her agent philosophy!

nashvillecats2 said...

A wonderful interview Natalie.


Shanah Salter said...

Great interview! I shared it on twitter and would love to be entered in the critique giveaway

Flower T. said...

What an informative interview! Thanks for sharing.

Sherry Ellis said...

Agents who take notes on how to make a story better are the best! Thanks for the interview. Well-done!

Joanne Roberts said...

That's very generous. Thanks, Megan and Natalie! Please enter me for the query critique. I was researching D4EO late last year, so this info is the perfect update. Thank-you. You'll find me at BookishAmbition@gmail.com

Elizabeth Seckman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Seckman said...

Okay, I'm back to my original comment. I wrote it, then deleted it thinking I misread. Shouldn't it go without saying that not to send erotica to a YA/MG agent? So, I'm assuming people are doing that and my tiny mind is a bit blown. Are they just not checking out who they're sending it to at all or is YA erotica a thing people are trying?

Howard Wolke said...

Megan always has great advice! Thanks for sharing the interview.

Rosi said...

Another informative and useful interview. Thanks for that. I will pass on the query critique since I won one recently.

Crystal @ Lost in Storyland said...

Megan sounds like a fabulous agent. I enjoyed reading this interview. Thanks for sharing!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A wonderful interview. Megan sounds like a great agent who would have great advice about the story and what it needed. Thanks.

Nick Wilford said...

Another great interview. Nice to hear that Megan seems to have the best interests of both readers and writers at heart.

Tara Tyler said...

love all the wonderful advice and info here, Natalie!
great meeting Megan Manzano - love to see agents continuing to have faith in writers and well-written stories!

and wanted to say thanks for stopping by my Beast World campaign =)

Tara Tyler Talks

Morgan said...

I appreciate Megan's philosophy as an agent. I read about her on the D4EO website and loved the way you dug deeper here into her interests and outlook. Great interview!


Cindy Stagg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cindy Stagg said...

Thanks so much for the insightful interview!

Elephant's Child said...

How fascinating to hear from an agent - and with such a comprehensive interview as well. Thank you both.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the bit about your preference for query letters. I’ve been revising mine lately, so I’ll definitely take another pass after this.