Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • 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.

Literary Agent Interview: Karly Dizon Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Karly Dizon here. She is a literary agent at Fuse Literary.

Status: Karly is currently closed to submissions. Please check the agency website to find out when she reopens to submissions.

Hi­ Karly! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Karly:

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

I entered the publishing world as a writer. I had just finished my first manuscript in 2016 but was as green as green could be. I thought it was just about finding an editor and getting it in the bookstore. It’s embarrassing how green I was haha. My friend encouraged me to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference. I applied for their scholarship and won! One of the prizes was breakfast with the director who was Laurie McLean at the time.

We scheduled to meet for breakfast on the third day of the conference, and I had every intention of winning Laurie over with my super unique, super original manuscript (hehehehe) but after three days of learning as well as discovering what an agent is, I sat down at that table with a blossoming passion: to be a champion to authors. When Laurie asked me if I wanted to pitch my work to her, I declined and said, “Teach me to be an amazing agent like you.” Seeing the interaction between agent and author as well as agent and editor ignited a spark in my heart that became an inferno by the time I met with Laurie. Who knew I could be a champion for someone? To help them take an already amazing piece of art and enhance their voice and story? I wanted in!

Laurie connected me with Tricia Skinner, another agent at Fuse, who provided hands-on and an intensive internship program. I worked with Tricia closely for three years, absorbing every kernel of knowledge and in 2019 I was promoted to associate agent. In Jan 2023 I was promoted to agent. And today I continue to grow my list of KidLit and illustrator clients as well as venturing into graphic novels and particular Adult Fiction.

About the Agency:

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

Fuse Literary is a boutique, collaborative agency, providing each client with the expertise and forward vision of the group. It really is a team effort where we strategize, brainstorm, and battleplan together to drive our clients’ successes. Fuse manages a wide variety of authors and illustrators, from bestsellers to debuts, working with fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages and backgrounds. Our technical efficiency and outside-the-covers creative thinking fine-tunes each client’s career specifically for them. We blend the tried-and-true methods of traditional publishing with the brash, new opportunities of emerging technologies and an evolving author-agent relationship to actively meet the client’s unique needs.

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 across all KidLit as well as illustrators, graphic novels, and some adult. My list is predominantly picture book authors so I’m really trying to find that MG and YA that I get lost in. More than anything, voice will keep me hooked.

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

I’m really looking for works that give voice to underrepresented voices and experiences. I want our youth to see themselves, their experiences, their culture celebrated, to connect with characters they can identify with through not only the hardships but the warm and fuzzy moments too.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I’m open to a lot of works and will always give something a read.

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?

There’s always been something energizing about championing and elevating people, and I bring this same philosophy as an agent. I want to work with authors and books that champion our youth, that gives them a safe space to not only explore but also see themselves and their experiences celebrated and reflected on the pages.

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. This is probably the most enjoyable part of the job (besides calling my clients and telling them they’re getting published). Each client is different, but I offer my clients a brainstorm session to discuss the “next” work they want to tackle and compare this to editor manuscript wishlists and recent acquisitions of works that may be too similar. Then we do several rounds of in-depth revisions that dissects every element of their work, from voice to pacing to themes to turn page effect etc. Once we have a final draft, then we create that sub list and send it out.

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?

I accept requested submissions from events only through querymanager. There is so much stress around the query letter but I’m simply looking for a quicky/hook-y blurb about your work, age group, genre, comps, and a short bio about the author.

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

Please don’t submit to me Chapter 5 of your work, skipping over everything prior. This happens quite a lot. If you have to submit to me Chapter X because “that’s where it picks up”, are the chapters prior to that edited and fleshed out or even necessary? And then it makes me concerned whether the rest of the manuscript has been edited to eliminate fluffy chapters/scenes that may bog down the pacing.

I think with any “job”, there comes an expectation of grace as well as professionalism. This is a career and one that we’re trying to find a business connection which warrants that we both communicate in a manner appropriate to that. Overly familiar (unless already established camaraderie) or overly rude (has happened. Yep!) gives pause though the former is more welcome than the latter.

Response Time:

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

My goal lately is to respond to queries within 3-4 months though this does change based on client needs. There have been queries that are in my query manager longer than this and it’s not for a lack of interest and an auto reject response (I respond to every query that comes in). A nudge is always nice but please know that I will always respond.

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?

Of course! With one caveat: I cannot sub a work that is already published. All I ask is for transparency. Include any previous representation as well as published work within the bio portion of the query.

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 believe there are more opportunities today for authors to take charge of their career, and the role of the agent needs to be flexible and fluid to move with the changes in the industry. But I believe that an agent is important to help keep a career organized, be a partner in crime, a soundboard, a friend, a second pair of eyes not only for works but for contracts and ensuring an author’s best interest, etc. Is it necessary for everyone? Nah. It depends on each author’s goal both short and long term. But I believe it takes a community, and the writing industry can oftentimes feel lonely and isolating. It’s comforting and provides security when you know you have an agent there to have your back through it all.


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

NoNieqa Ramos, Douglas Rees, Ciara O’Neal, Callie Dean, Dustin Resch, T. A. Chan, E.J. DeBrun, Shannon Doleski, Maureen Tai

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.


Links and Contact Info:

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

Please send through querymanager please. For your readers, I have a special events link as my querymanager is closed to unsolicited queries at this time: QueryManager.com/Karly/LiteraryRambles

Update on 6/28/2023: If the query manager link is not working for you, it means that you missed the window of opportunity to query Karly.

Additional Advice:

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

This industry is completely subjective and there is so much more happening behind the scenes if an agent passes. Do. Not. Give. Up. And hold close to heart why you started writing in the first place: the characters, words, experiences you were trying to give voice to. Use that as motivation to persevere. You hold a piece of art in your “hands”. You created that. Publishing your work would be amazing but just know what you’ve already completed is an achievement. A pass from an agent doesn’t mean failure. They just weren’t the right champion for your work. It only takes one. And in the meantime, write the next story that captures your heart. You have a story to share. Write it.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Karly.

­Karly 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 June 24th. If your email 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 email 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.

Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

FYI, I do not have as much planned this summer. I’m taking a little break to enjoy my daughter’s wedding celebrations and to help get ready for the wedding.

Friday, June 16 I’m participating in the Dad-o-Mite Giveaway Hop

Monday, June 19 I have an interview with debut author Caroline Huntoon and a giveaway of their MG contemporary Skating on Mars

Thursday, July 1 I’m participating in the Sparkle Time Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, July 7 I have an interview with debut author Kacy Ritter and a giveaway of her MG contemporary fantasy The Great Texas Dragon Race and my IWSG post

Monday, July 10 I have an interview with author Refe Tuma and a giveaway of his MG adventure story Frances and the Monster

Hope to see you on Friday!





nashvillecats2 said...

Most interesting interview which I enjoyed reading.
I hope you enjoy your break this summer and good luck to your daughter on her forthcoming wedding.
Have a good new week and take care.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Coming into being an agent as a writer would be a useful approach!

abby mumford said...

I absolutely love the way Karly took advantage of that conference breakfast opportunity and used it as a career jumping off point! Her clients are lucky to have someone so ambitious and creative in their corner!

Computer Tutor said...

I love your backstory. Congratulations for finding your true passion without all the rejection notices we-all experience! Unfortunately, I'm not a KidLit author. I write prehistoric fiction--rarely do I find historical fiction agents much less my specialty. Sigh. Best of luck with your new endeavor.

Kate Larkindale said...

Interesting interview! Always so nice to hear what motivates an agent.

Liz A. said...

That was quite the detour from writing to agenting. And I bet there are some very rude queriers out there. I have heard stories, and I can only imagine.

Caren Shiloh said...

I love that Karly offers her authors a brainstorming session about what their next book might be, taking into account editors' manuscript wishlists and what's been published recently.
That's such a smart and supportive practice for a hands-on agent to do!
Thanks for another great interview, Natalie!

@melissa_trempe said...

Karly's kindness shines through in her answers! I'd love a critique! Thanks for sharing this great interview!

Kimberly Yavorski said...

Great interview. Thanks!

Lynden Wade said...

A really useful interview, and thank you for the endorsement to Never.Give.Up! I'd love to put my name in the hat for a critique, thank you.

Amy Houts said...

I’ve read a few of Callie Dean’s manuscripts and was so impressed! I’m glad you are representing her. I enjoyed reading more about you and your work.

Anonymous said...

What an uplifting interview. I appreciate the words of encouragement for all of us in the query trenches. I’d love a critique. Thanks for another great interview!

Suzy said...

Love your passion Karly for helping fellow authors!

remarz said...

Really helpful interview - thanks for sharing these insights!

Lynn B said...

Great interview! Thank you.

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Judith L. Roth said...

So interesting to hear of Karly's jump to agenting at a conference because of wanting to be a champion for writers. . .

Megan Whitaker said...

Great interview-Thank you!

Loved her story about pitching the agent and then NOT pitching the agent but got an internship instead.
Would love a query critique from her!

Shamaila J said...

It's awesome when agents look for underrepresented voices and experiences. I would love to be part of the query critique giveaway - shamaila.siddique@gmail.com

Lauri Meyers said...

First, Natalie, yay for taking the time to enjoy the run up to your daughter's wedding! Congrats!
Karly - Thank you for the helpful interview. I loved the querying pep talk too:)

Kamilla said...

I loved your thoughts about the role of an agent! I appreciate both the engagement and the flexibility you shared.

Sandra Cox said...

I find the road to becoming an agent fascinating.
'Lo Natalie:)

Brenda said...

Great interview. Hope you're enjoying your time away.

Gail fontana said...

This was an enlightening interview with Karly Dizon. Thank you for all of your agent interviews. Enjoy your time away.

Cait Darfler said...

Great becoming an agent story and advice given. Love these interviews.

Alicia J Novo said...

Such an encouraging interview. It is always so great to hear the agent's perspective and get to know their approach. Thanks for this! I'd love to participate in the giveaway. aliciajnovo@gmail.com

Janet Frenck Sheets said...

A big thanks to Karly for responding to all queries. It shows that she respects writers' time and effort, which I greatly appreciate! (Sharing this post on Twitter.)

Nalicia Sawh said...

Great interview - thank you for sharing why you became an agent!


Katie said...

Another great interview! In this competitive business, it can be hard not to get discouraged by all the rejections, and I appreciate Karly's motivating pep talk and words of wisdom.

Anne said...

It's uplifting to hear the joy and enthusiasm you bring to agenting, Karly.
Natalie, thank you and best wishes for the celebrations. annieyoung2@gmail.com

Rosi said...

Wow. There is a LOT to unpack in this interview. Thanks for that. I will pass on the giveaway since I won here recently.

polly said...

email subscriber/pkeintz@gmail.com

Tanya Elchuk said...

Great interview, thank you!

Sarah Skolfield said...

I've read this interview a couple of times and particularly needed to hear the additional advice: Do. Not. Give. Up. Thanks!

MCD said...

Always nice to hear: "A pass from an agent doesn’t mean failure. They just weren’t the right champion for your work."

I also shared on Twitter for extra entry! Thanks!

Cindy Greene said...

I loved this interview! Such positivity. Thanks.

Deborah Foster said...

This was a great interview! Thank you Natalie and Karly! Also posted this on Twitter!

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