Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • 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
  • Alex Brown Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/9/2024
  • Leslie Zampetti Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 10/7/2024

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.

Agent Spotlight: Pam Gruber Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Pam Gruber here. She is a literary agent at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Update on 7/6/2023: Pam has left Irene Goodman Literary Agency and is now an agent at High Line Literary Collective. She is open to submissions. Check the agency website for her submission guidelines. Update on 11/23/2023: Pam is currently closed to queries. Check the agency website to find out when she reopens to submissions.

Hi­ Pam! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Pam:

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

I joined IGLA as a literary agent in May of 2020, because there’s nothing like a pandemic to make you reexamine your priorities! I realized that my favorite part of the publishing business is working directly with authors and artists, helping them to shape not only their stories, but also their careers. Since then, I’ve been eagerly building my list of clients and revising their manuscripts to submit later this year, as well as connecting with editors to ensure I can get each project into the right hands when the time comes. Before becoming an agent, I worked in editorial for over 12 years, most recently as the Editorial Director at Rebel Girls, and as a Senior Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

About the Agency:

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

I chose to join IGLA because of its incredible collaborative spirit. Any author working with one agent gets the brainpower and support of the entire team when it comes to making the right editorial contacts, devising submission lists, and strategizing the best deal terms. We have strong relationships in subrights and film as well, and always think about an author’s career holistically, not just one book at a time. 

More formally, the IGLA list includes all kinds of fiction — both commercial and literary — topical nonfiction, social issues, pop culture, cookbooks, design, middle grade and young adult books, and anything that captures our interest. We have more bestselling authors than ever before, both in the U.S. and abroad, and the numbers continue to climb.

At the end of the day, our agency relies on one simple and timeless fact: a great story always sells. Good writing never gets old. The technology may change, but we're ready to embrace all emerging formats, as long as it contains a story that stops us in our tracks. That is why we are thriving, and that's why we find new and delightful success in a sea of changes.

We have a unique perspective, because we're just a tiny bit unorthodox. We all work like mad, because we love what we do. You won't find anyone punching a clock or adhering to fancy dress codes here, but you will find consummate professionalism that stems from true respect and unrelenting drive.

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 these categories, I’m primarily looking for young adult and middle grade fiction with literary voices that explore deeper themes within the package of a more commercial hook. I like authors who know that what a book is “about” is different from a book’s plot. Genre-wise, I’m particularly interested in light fantasy, speculative fiction, books with a touch of horror, magical realism, rom-coms, and coming-of-age stories with a twist. I would also love to see more realistic middle grade and YA graphic novels (think The Plain Janes, Spinning, or This One Summer). And I’m always looking out for fresh perspectives and representation that reflects the diversity of our world.

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

I look for voices that are gripping from page one, whether they make me break out in a smile or give me goosebumps (from the evocative writing, not fear). I love messy female protagonists, innovative twists on old tropes, and getting swept away by fully realized worlds—be they portraits of the next town over or an imagined universe unlike our own.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Although I would represent picture book projects from a client who also works in other categories, I’m not actively seeking authors who exclusively write picture book texts.

I’m also not the best fit for prescriptive non-fiction, anthologies, poetry, potty humor, paranormal, hard sci-fi or high fantasy, or Christian 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 look for authors who are passionate about what they do, with a strong sense of their own narrative voice and clear grasp of what it is they want to say with their work. I also love when writers have a lot of ideas and the wherewithal to carry those ideas to completion. I’m not just in it for one book -- my goal is to build long-term relationships that will grow along with an author’s career. In terms of working style, I’ve always found open and honest communication is key, and I strive for that sort of back-and-forth with both clients and publishers to ensure the best collaborations for everyone.

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. Because of my background as an editor, I know first-hand what it takes to get through a publisher’s acquisitions meeting. I typically provide editorial feedback to clients before we go on submission, and while I try to stay out of the way once an author has an editor, I’m there as a resource in case a client needs help understanding any editorial notes or publisher feedback once a book is in process.

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 can query me by sending their query letter and the first ten pages of their manuscript in the body of an email to pam.queries@irenegoodman.com. Query letters would ideally include a short description of the book, a couple of comp titles (similar books in the category based on the subject, tone, or voice), and a brief author bio.

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

I strongly prefer when all text is included as part of the body of the email, not as attachments. There is one exception – for graphic novel queries that include illustrations, sample pages can be sent as an attachment or link.

Response Time:

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

I try to respond within four to six weeks, although it can take longer when I’m really overloaded with queries.

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 am open to representing previously self-published or small press authors, particularly for new work that may have more mainstream appeal. The key thing for these authors to know, however, is that the traditional publishing process is a lot more collaborative than they may be used to. The writer needs to be willing to trust the professionals at these bigger houses and relinquish a bit of control over the packaging of their work. Keep in mind that everyone has the same goal – to get your book into the hands of as many readers as possible!

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?

With so many new avenues for publishing, having an agent is more important than ever. Authors deserve to have an experienced and reputable advocate to help them navigate the ever-evolving publishing ecosystem, to protect their rights to their work, and ensure they get the best deal possible in any given offer situation.


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I’m thrilled to represent Tracy Banghart, Emily C. Bernstein, Kitty Curran, Monica Sanz, and Katy Upperman. As an editor, I was lucky enough to work with folks such as Christiane M. Andrews, Jen Calonita, Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg, Emily Lloyd-Jones, Kass Morgan, and Sarah Watson, among others.

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.

Please send queries to pam.queries@irenegoodman.com

For additional info, writers can visit irenegoodman.com/pam-gruber and manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/pam-gruber/

Update on 2/11/2023

Query Tracker


MS Wish List

Additional Advice:

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

Don’t worry too much about what’s trendy in a certain category. For one thing, by the time your manuscript is acquired and published, years will have gone by and trends change quickly. Instead, write the story that you’re most passionate about! That passion and personal connection is timeless, and it’s what will resonate with readers above all else.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Pam.

­Pam is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through March 6th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the 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: 2/11/2023.
Agent Contacted for Review? Yes
Last Reviewed By Agent: 2/17/2021

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...

Nice to meet you, Pam. Great interview. I love to read a great story and hope I always write one. Thanks for sharing what you like with us.

A. George said...

Thank you Natalie and Pam! Loved reading this interview. It was great to get to know Pam better. Thank you so much for the kindness of your query critique interview.

Lauren H. Dowdle said...

I love how she looks to work with authors for the span of their career, not just one book. Great interview and insight! lhdowdle@gmail.com

Liz A. said...

Very informative.

Rajeeva Jayaratne said...

Best of luck with the book.

ken ohl said...

this book sounds intriguing

Kiley said...

Thank you for the interview! orchardka@gmail.com

Benjamin Thernstrom said...

Such good information.

Amy Hillman said...

Lovely interview


Shanah Salter said...

wonderful, informative interview. Have shared on Twitter.

miriam said...

Thanks for the great interview, Pam and Natalie!

Melissa Miles said...

Thanks for the great interview and the offer for a critique! Congrats on following your heart to a job you love.

Malia said...

Nice to meet you, Pam! IGLA sounds like a wonderful fit for you.

Sarah Marriott said...

Thank you so much Pam for your great insights and advice!

Angie Quantrell said...

Lovely interview. Thanks so much for sharing, Pam!

Marie said...

Definitly adding Pam to my agents list! But I'd also love her input on my QL.

Jay Linden said...

Write what your passionate about rather than trying to fit yourself to the current market - great advice to all writers - thanks Pam - I've added you to my list of agents.

Rosi said...

Thanks for another informative interview. I will pass on the giveaway.

Tonja Drecker said...

Lovely interview! I hadn't heard of IGLA before, so this was interesting. (And no giveaway for me, this time. Thanks :) )

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

Good info in that interview. Thanks!

Carolyn said...

Great interview. Thanks for the information. I'll definitely be sending my query to Pam. Posted on Twitter. Email carolynmildern@hotmail.com

Jayme Inman said...

Interesting to hear what Pam had to say about the publishing ecosystem. As an author, that's something that makes me edgy these days. Thanks for the interview. I tweeted it! jayme.inman@gmail.com

1flexymomma said...

Regarding Pam's comment about authors distinguishing between what the story "is about" verses its actual plot; I'd love to know her recommendations on articulating that in a query. (Pitch concept or dive into the plot first?) azylstra.stayback@gmail.com

Sandra Cox said...

Pam, with an editorial background, sounds like you're a double bonus as an editor:)
Natalie, I hope you are having a good day. Thinking about you.

Nick Wilford said...

Excellent interview. Yes, the story has to come above all else.

Amanda C. said...

Great advice to just focus on the story, rather than trends. :)

Kim said...

Informative interview! Amazing advice too!

Anonymous said...

Love the teamwork philosophy of Pam and IGLA. My dad always said "Many hands make light work." In this case, many hands make for happy authors! Great interview; tweeted it.

Mary said...

Pam, so interesting to hear how the pandemic inspired your career change. Tweeted to my followers.

Raymond Lane said...

Thank you for the great interview, filled with personality as well as critically useful information. I just submitted my query and ten pages to Pam, and retweeted the contest information. Would love a critique (or a request).

Amy Morse said...

Great interview and helpful advice!

Anna said...

Thanks for the insights! I'm planning to query Pam soon!

DonnellySports said...

Thanks for the insight and tips! Fingers crossed for a query critique! Donnellytim9@gmail.com.

Jenelle Theis said...

great interview!

Unknown said...

Great interview

Unknown said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing!