Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Sarah Stephens Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveawawy on 10/10/2022
  • Eve Adler Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 10/17/2022
  • Adria Goetz Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 11/14/2022
  • Kelly Dyksterhouse Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/12/2022
  • Savannah Brooks Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/19/2022

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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: Jazmia Young Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Jazmia Young here. She is an associate literary agent at Curtis Brown, LTD.

Hi­ Jazmia! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Jazmia:

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

Sure thing! I am an associate agent at Curtis brown, Ltd and have been for almost 4 years now. Initially I didn’t think I wanted to work in publishing, I only knew that I had a love for writing and reading but didn’t know what to do with it. I just told everyone I wanted to be a writer. At my alma mater, City college of New York – a CUNY school – I studied English with a concentration in creative writing. Through the English department and my creative writing professors, I learned about the Publishing Certificate Program. It was a 5-course program taught by publishing professionals with the final course being an internship with a publishing company. One of the many great things about the PCP program is that they circulate various scholarships, grants, and job listings for students to apply to. While I was completing courses, the assistant director of the program, Retha Powers, reached out to all the students about an opportunity to apply for the AAR (now known as the AALA) diversity fellowship. If won, you receive a stipend and get to work at a literary agency of your choice. 

I didn’t know much about working at a literacy agency besides what was taught in class and it didn’t seem to interest me so I wasn’t going to apply. But Retha reached out to me personally and encouraged me to apply. I did and within a month’s time, I was one of the students who received the grant. I started to receive a slew of emails for interviews and the first agency that I interviewed with was Curtis Brown. I met with two senior agents who were truly insightful and super kind. After going on a few more interviews, I ultimately choose to intern at Curtis Brown and they were more than happy to have me. I had a wonderful experience there and on the very last day of my internship, an assistant position opened up for two other agents at the agency. One of the agents I was interning for immediately forwarded my resume to the hiring manager and I have been here ever since. 

I was an assistant for three out of the four years I’ve been at Curtis Brown and most of that job consisted of heavy admin work. As I started to grow in the position, I realized I wanted to do more agent work so I can potentially build my list. So, I spoke with my bosses about elevating and they were more than happy (and encouraging) to help. I became an Associate Agent early last year and having been building my list ever since. I juggle between still assisting and agent work daily and that can consist of liaising with editors, handling incoming payments, monitoring my query inbox, editing manuscripts, executing small contracts, i.e., magazine, audio, and etc. The responsibilities vary each day. 

About the Agency:

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

Curtis Brown, Ltd. is a prestigious agency that has been around for over 100 years. I enjoy working here because we have a variety of agents who represent authors across all genres. What really attracted me to Curtis Brown is the hard work that goes in for representing a client in all aspects of their career. I’ve learned so much about what it takes to have a healthy and sustaining agent-author relationship. We have the utmost respect for our authors and I am so happy to be a part of this agency. 

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 exclusively acquire children’s books. I’m interested in picture books through YA, focusing on middle grade fiction and picture books. Here is a breakdown of what I’m looking for in each category: 

PICTURE BOOKS: I’m looking for stories that are steeped in culture. Exploring deep emotions like in Remembering Ethan by Lesléa Newman, is important to me. But I do love and enjoy dreamy lyrical prose and creative stories like Bedtime for sweet creatures by Nikki Grimes

MIDDLE GRADE: I gravitate towards voice and the ability to capture the complexity of emotions of that age. I am in love with King and the Dragonflies! So, if your work is similar to that, I’d love to see it. I’m always interested in characters with unbeatable courage, anything filled with heart as in Front Desk or stories that make your heart clench like The Thing About Jellyfish. Most importantly, give me little black girls saving the world!

YOUNG ADULT: With YA, I’m looking for stories that attach themselves to you and don’t let go. Books that amplify LGBTQ voices while exploring what it means to fall in love for the first time like Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, immigration stories that open your eyes as in The Book of Unknown Americans, and standout voices like You Should See Me in A Crown.

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

            Anything that explores grief or loss across picture books through YA. I tend to gravitate towards darker emotions more.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I’m not a fan of high fantasy, historical fiction, fart humor or a story that relies on the punchline of a jokes, and sports or Animal stories. My list for what I don’t want to see isn’t long but I’ll know what I won’t like when I read it. 

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’m looking for authors that want to build a partnership with me, and have a long-lasting career in publishing. I want to work with authors that are receptive to feedback and continue to perfect their craft. Publishing is a long game and there’s a lot of rejection, so I’m looking for clients who can take that rejection in stride.

For the books I want to represent, I’m looking for black children’s stories that are going to have an impact on black kids. I want to for those children to see themselves in a variety of stories that help them explore their 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? 

            Yes! I go through several rounds of edits before going out on submission. 

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 send me an email the word query in the subject line and the name of their work with the first ten pages in the body of the email to jky@cbltd.com. 

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

            My one major dislike in query letters is when someone writes my name wrong. It shows that you either didn’t double check your work or you just disregarded the spelling of my name. 

Response Time: 

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

            I try to respond within 4-6 weeks. 

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? 

            Yes, I am! I would say to lead with a work that isn’t published yet. 

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 publishing is forever changing and agents should always adapt to fit the needs of their clients. 

Clients: 

13. Who are some of the authors you represent? 

            As of right now, I only represent one author, Karly Pierre. She’s an amazing black children’s book author and I’m excited to sell her debut picture book. 

Interviews and Guest Posts: 

14. Please share the links to any interviews, guest posts, and podcasts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you. 

My SCBWI interview. 

Links and Contact Info: 

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

Either on the Curtis Brown website here: https://curtisbrown.com/agents/jazmia-young/ or Manuscript Wish List: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/jazmia-young/. 

Additional Advice: 

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

            I would say be sure of who you want to represent you as much as they are sure of representing you. There should be a mutual feeling of certainty from both parties. It can be so tempting to say ‘yes’ to the first agent that shows interest in you but you have to be sure that agent is the right fit for you as you are to them. 

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jazmia.

­Jazmia 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 October 8th. 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.

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.

 

 

 

18 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

Lovely information about Jaxmia, she sounds a great person and I'm sure she is an excellent writer.
Thanks for sharing.
Take care.
Yvonne.

Cathy Sheafor said...

Thanks for the giveaway and best of luck to you in your career Jazmia.

Liz A. said...

It's funny how sometimes the thing you're not looking for is the right thing for you. Falling into the right position can just happen.

Aryn said...

Just added another agent to my query list!

Andrea Strahan said...

I remember Jazmia from her SCBWI interview! Thank you for bringing her to the forefront again for those of us looking to make an agent-connection.
Andrea Strahan

Ken said...

This is a great intervieww and she woundslike a wonderful person to be able to work with!

Jacqui Murray said...

Nice to meet you!

ELIZABETH said...

These are always so insightful! Thank you for sharing. I'd love to be entered to win the critique.

helloelizabethjames - at - gmail(dot)com

Martin Porter said...

Thanks for this interview and I'll be sure to check out the SCBWI interview.

Tracy said...

Just found this interview after reading a few others, and am so glad Jazmia landed in a supportive and nurturing environment at CB. I'd love to be entered for the critique.

Anonymous said...

Great interview and awesome prize! Will Twitter boost, too!

Emilyholewczynski@gmail.com

Shamaila J said...

Great interview! I would love to do the critique giveaway - shamaila.siddique@gmail.com

Tonja Drecker said...

Thanks for sharing the story of your journey, Jazmia. It's always so interesting to learn how people get to where they are.

Rosi said...

Thanks for an informative interview. It sounds like Jazmia ended up in the perfect place.

Mary Warth said...

Thanks for the great interview!

Danielle Pramick said...

Thanks for a great interview! I cant wait to read the SCBWI interview!

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Katie said...

Thanks so much for this offer, and best of luck building your list!

I subscribe via 1logonaut @ gmail and tweet as @katie_mcenaney