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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.

Literary Agent Interview: Adria Goetz Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Adria Goetz here. She is a senior literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency.

Hi­ Adria! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Adria:

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

In college I thought I wanted to be an editor, because it seemed like the dreamiest possible job you could have. But the more I learned about the industry, through research and through internships, the more I saw my strengths aligning with the job duties of a literary agent. I had an internship with Martin Literary for a couple years in college, and became a part-time assistant there once I graduated. I still felt so green at that point and felt like I needed to have a better understanding of the innerworkings of the industry, so I applied to the Columbia Publishing Course where I learned so much. When I returned, I was hired as an agent at Martin Literary the fall of 2016 which is where I agented for over five years. And then I recently joined the wonderful team at P.S. Literary which I’m really excited about! So far in my career I have been mostly focused on books for kids, and have got to work on some really incredible projects, like THE WHATIFS by Emily Kilgore, THE OCEAN CALLS by Tina Cho, BATTER ROYALE by Leisl Adams—just to name a few! I’m now looking to expand my list to include more adult fiction.

 About the Agency:

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

 P.S. Literary has offices based in New York as well as Ontario, Canada. We have agents who represent everything from picture books through adult fiction and nonfiction. We work with co-agents for film and television adaptations, work with Taryn Fagerness for foreign rights projects, and shop audio rights ourselves when we retain them. It’s an incredibly collaborative team, so I think it’s special that you sign with one agent, but really you have an entire team supporting your work.  

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 books, with a special focus on author/illustrators, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, adult fiction, and some select gift book titles. In picture books I love humor and heart and magic. In the middle grade space I love magical realism, grounded fantasy, mysteries, and historical fiction. In the YA space, the only type of project I’m interested in right now is graphic novels. In the adult space I love thrillers, rom coms, commercial fiction and upmarket/book club type fiction. I’m always excited to see graphic novels of any sort, from MG to YA to Adult. When it comes to stories within speculative genres, I tend to prefer grounded stories that have light touches of magic and lower stakes. 

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

In the picture book space I’d love to see more humor, adventure stories, stories about food, cultural traditions, mermaids, and spooky stories.

In the adult space I am always really excited to see something with a dual timeline. That always makes a submission jump to the top of my inbox. I love enemies to lovers rom coms, and I’d also love to see rom coms with light magical/speculative touches like THE VERY SECRET SOCIETY OF IRREGULAR WITCHES. I also love sweeping cradle to grave stories about fictional characters, like VIOLETA by Isabel Allende as an example. I also love mixed media novels that are told through texts, emails, receipts, things like that.

I have an overwhelmingly detailed manuscript wishlist on my website adriagoetz.com if anyone is interested in seeing more specific requests! There’s also a link there to a Pinterest board MSWL for those like me who are more visually minded.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

As a general rule of thumb, I am not the right for: memoirs, sports stories, space operas, Amish fiction, angel/demon narratives, ancient era historical fiction, high/epic SFF and thrillers of the military/FBI/espionage thriller variety.

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’ve noticed that both the books I love to read and the people I love to work with both tend to be very warm and have a lot of heart. And since I work heavily in the kid lit space, I always have in the forefront of my mind that the readers I’m facilitating content for are at a very formative age of their lives. The books I read as a kid have stuck with me, and I’m always thinking about how stories plant seeds in a young mind, which is a weighty thing to think about and something I try to take very seriously.

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 do consider myself an editorial agent. For novels, I typically do two rounds of edits. The first round is big picture, where I’ll put write up an editorial letter with any developmental edits I have for the client. This character arc needs developed, this section needs to be trimmed up to help with pacing, things like that. And then the second round is when I do more of a line edit of the manuscript. For picture books, it’s sort of a ping pong match where we volley the manuscript back and forth as many times as it takes to feel really confident in it. Sometimes it takes a pass or two, and sometimes it takes more than a dozen passes. Usually it’s somewhere in the middle. For author/illustrators, the process varies from person to person because everyone has their own unique process, but for these projects I give notes on both the text manuscript and the illustrations/sketches.

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 direct their query to query@psliterary.com with my name mentioned in the subject line. I’d like to see the query letter, the first 10 pages (or full manuscript if you’re a picture book writer), and if you’re an illustrator then I’d love to see a link to your portfolio and dummy/sample art.

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

The main thing that comes to mind that I don’t like seeing is a bad attitude! Oftentimes I see authors bash other books on the market or say something like “You probably won’t even read this email” or something like that.   

Response Time:

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

At P.S. Literary our submission guidelines say that if you don’t hear from us within six weeks, to consider it a pass. I know that radio silence is the worst part of the querying trenches for many writers though, so if someone ever wants to check in on their submission to confirm that it’s a pass, I’m always happy to respond to those emails.

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?

If they’re pitching me something that hasn’t been published yet, then sure!

Clients:

12. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I work with so many incredible authors. I think that some of the authors I’m most known for representing are Tina Cho, Emily Kilgore, Christy Mandin, Valeria Wicker, Leisl Adams, Ellie Peterson, Bonnie Clark, and G.Z. Schmidt.

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.

·       Podcast interview: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/literary-agent-adria-goetz-thinks-you-re-not-persistent/id1526755563?i=1000541249688

·       Books I’ve worked on: https://www.pinterest.com/adriaPSLA/books-ive-worked-on/

·       MSWL: www.adriagoetz.com

·       Video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfnDFYgD2A8

·       Interview: https://journeytokidlit.com/episode-8-write-a-good-query-letter/

Links and Contact Info:

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

https://www.psliterary.com/submissions/

Additional Advice:

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

My advice to aspiring authors is always to take a moment before they click send on a query to imagine that the literary agent on the other end of the email is sitting at home in their sweatpants with a cat curled up on their lap. Because more often than not, that’s what I look like when I am reviewing queries! We’re not scary people in New York skyscrapers, we’re just normal people!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Adria.

­Adria 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 November 26th. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

65 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Editorial agents are very helpful! Nice interview, Natalie.

Ilona Bray said...

I love the focus on warmth, because Adria's warmth comes through in this interview, thanks! (And please put me in the running for a query critique. I tweeted this opportunity as well.)

KCStrocchia =) said...

Super helpful info in this interview! It's great to learn so much about an agent before querying.

Kcstrocchia@gmail.com
And shared on twitter: https://twitter.com/KCStrocchia/status/1592184855655501830?s=20&t=0xswNBYZrcBNRR9A5FnCWA

Emily said...

Thanks for the great insights!

Julianna said...

Thank you for the opportunity!

Brenda said...

Nice interview. No need to enter me in the query critique. Hope you have a lovely week, Natalie.

Karen Lange said...

Nice to meet you, Adria! What a wealth of info and advice for those who'd be interested in sending a query. Hopefully you'll find some great connections.

Natalie, hope this finds you doing well. Good to see you're still encouraging writers and sharing such good resources. I'll pass on the giveaway. Just wanted to stop by and say hello. Been meaning to for ages, and thankfully, you weren't holding your breath waiting. :) Have a great week!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E. T. Charles said...

Thanks so much Natalie and Adria for such an interesting interview.

http://bethsbiblio.blogspot.com/

Kristen Indahl said...

Always great to hear Adria's perspectives!

kindahl47@gmail.com

Carrie_Karnes_Fannin said...

Thank you for this interview! And as a side note--the list of other interview links for Adria is super helpful for us querying writers, so that is appreciated.

carrie@carriekarnesfannin.com

Unknown said...

Thank you for a great interview! It’s so helpful to hear directly from an agent what they’d like to see in their inbox. Djchristie.dc@gmail.com.

Liz A. said...

It's interesting how some agents have come to agenting. Interesting interview.

Anonymous said...

This was a great interview! I queried Adria last week, so I’m happy to see that I can email to confirm a pass after 6 weeks (fingers crossed it’s not a pass!). I’m going to tweet the post as well for an extra entry. Whitneymyerswrites@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Fantastic interview and I will boost on twitter Trunkyandowlbert at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Great interview!

Lori Keating said...

Thanks for sharing this awesome interview! I will share on Twitter.

Judy Palermo said...

Great interview! And looking forward to learning more from Adria at her humor workshop this week!

Smoon said...

Thank you for the interview and critique opportunity! It's so great to learn more about Adria and what she looks for in submissions.


nightpig12@gmail.com

BoogieBackLindy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodelle Brohard said...

Please keep doing these kinds of agent interviews. It is so helpful to get a sense of who an agent is and what their working methods are. Adria seems like a wonderful agent to work with and I would love to win a critique. My email is Jabrohard@aol.com.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great interview. Great to know we can email to check if it’s a pass. I would love to have a query critique. Claudine.pullen@gmail.com

Elizabeth Varadan said...

I like the range of Adria's interests and her emphasis on warmth. I'm still affected in a positive way by books I read when I was young, too. I like her whole approach and her approachablity. This was a nice interview.

Laddy Lau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laddy Lau said...

Great interview and I shared it to Twitter. Thanks for the opportunity to learn more and the chance at a critique!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great interview! I’m in the query trenches now so a critique would be fabulous! Appreciate the chance to win. 😊
Melissa Miles
Melissajmiles1(at)gmail(dot)com
Sorry, having issues getting my profile to load!

Greg Pattridge said...

I enjoyed the honest and straightforward interview. Adria has the qualities of an an outstanding agent. Pursuing her passion and succeeding is something many don't ever achieve. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this amazing opportunity! 🧡cherylmsimon@gmail.com

EmPowGil said...

I love the reminder that we are writing for the formative years, and the amount of weight that holds--so important to remember.

Shared on twitter
https://twitter.com/whyandwiser/status/1592503013985652738?s=20&t=FAsEjAnOlQMbiHJcL-fj0A

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous article! Thanks for sharing!! Emilyholewczynski@gmail.com (RT’ed on Twitter too)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your journey and insights! gretchenhuesmannwrites@gmail.com

Nina Snyder said...

Great advice! My email is nina.t.snyder @ gmail.com

Angie Quantrell said...

Adria is a truly kind agent. I've seen her in several webinars and interviews, and she hangs out in the kidlit space. She really champions her clients too. Yay!

Thanks for the great interview, Natalie! I tweeted this post as well. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful opportunity! :)

gowri said...

Lovely warm interview. Definitely going to keep the cozy armchair and curled up cat image in mind!
Thanks, Gowri (gowrisavoor@gmail.com)

Stephanie J said...

Adria always has such valuable insights into a manuscript.

Stephanie Jackson
semisweetnothings@gmail.com

Hollie Wolverton said...

Great interview! Adria is always so supportive of the kidlit community of creatives. Thank you for this opportunity.
hgwolverton@gmail.com

Bri Lawyer said...

Great interview! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Lovely interview! Adria has so many of the qualities I look for when researching agents. Down to earth, kind and knowledgeable. Thanks for the interview!
nicolegarnett2015@gmail.com

Jay Linden said...

Fabulous interview - Adria has long been at the top of my list of agents to query - love the image of the sweatpants and cat 😊 Yes please for the query critique opportunity.

BoogieBackLindy said...

So nice to hear from Adria and get some down-to-earth advice and inspiration! I would love a query critique, I am also about to launch into the query world. Any help is most appreciated!

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

BoogieBackLindy said...

I forgot to put my email, mauf (at) Gmail (dot com)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Karen, it's so great to see you here. I miss your blog.

Margaret Aitken said...

Love this interview! It helps to know that agents are people too :-)

S. Lee said...

Another awesome interview! Thanks Natalie & Adria!

Rosi said...

There is a lot of good stuff in this interview, but maybe the best is "always to take a moment before they click send on a query" for the reason she states and for a whole lot of other reasons! Thanks for another great interview.

Jacqui Murray said...

These Q&A are always so interesting though I have yet to find an agent interested in Jean Auel-type of stories. Sigh.

mcampbell said...

Thanks for the chance to learn more about Adria!

Kelley S. said...

Adria is one of my top literary agents I wish I could work with. I've queried her before and I always appreciate her insights in the business.

kelleyksmith1@gmail.com
I've tweeted this as well.

M said...

Love this!

Judith L. Roth said...

Thanks for this interview, Natalie. Adria has been on my list of dream agents for awhile now!

Liz Hanson said...

Amazing advice to writers. I'd love the chance for a query critique with Adria.

Jessica Haster said...

Congratulations on the move to your new agency! This was a delightful read!

Deborah Foster said...

Such wonderful advice Adria! Thank you for the information - I can't wait to query you again!

Anonymous said...

Such great advice!

Rebekah {mossandink} said...

This was a great interview. Adria is at the top of my lists of agents I'd like to query when I'm ready! Loved reading the interview.

Unknown said...

Thanks for all your work Natalie! Adria's humor and warmth are so great to see. I recently got many new ideas from her funny books webinar! I tweeted about this blog entry.

Amy Tsao said...

Query writers and readers all just being human in our sweatpants together - love it. :) Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer P. said...

A wonderful interview. I've submitted to Adria a couple of times because I love her philosophy and caring mindset (in addition to book interests). Thank you for offering a query critique to a lucky winner.

Anonymous said...

Every exchange I’ve had with Adria has shown her warmth, professionalism, and passion for her work.

Anne said...

'Planting seeds in young minds'. It's exciting to be part of that important and serious endeavour.
Thank you for this interview and opportunity, Adria and Natalie.

Christina Shawn said...

Adria, it's always a pleasure to hear about your passion for the books and people you work with. Your warmth is at the forefront of every email I've received from you. Thank you.

christinashawnbooks@gmail.com

Unknown said...

Thanks Natalie and Adria, This was extremely helpful and fun to read!
Laurel, laurel.e.beam@gmail.com

Lauri Meyers said...

Helpful interview!