Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

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: Jane Chun Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Jane Chun here. She is a literary agent at Transatlantic Agency.

Hi­ Jane! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Jane:

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

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be an agent, editor, or book-to-film scout when I initially considered jumping into publishing, but the hands-on experience I got through my internships at Writers House and Maximum Films & Management and my freelance work for HG Literary solidified my desire to pursue agenting. I had my heart set on agenting to the point that I was only looking at jobs at agencies when the wiser decision would have been to be flexible and consider any position that would get me in the door—I certainly would have gotten a job faster that way!

I know what I want, though, and eventually I ended up joining Janklow & Nesbit in 2019 as an assistant. I stayed there for four years, learning from some of the best agents in the business and engaging with both well-renowned names and exciting debut authors alike, before landing at Transatlantic in July as a literary agent.

It’s exhilarating getting to focus solely on agenting, and I’ve been busy searching for and signing clients in adult and MG/YA, participating in events and conferences, and preparing submissions to send out to editors.

About the Agency:

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

Transatlantic Agency offers the full spectrum of representation to authors, which means that we not only look after a book through its lifetime, but we also grow an author’s career in the book, screenwriting, and speakership spaces. Our team of 20 agents is based in cities across North America, and our combined experience, specialties, and long-term relationships with publishers, co-agents, and studios/production companies have equipped us in handling everything from selling books to securing foreign/translation, audio, and film/TV/stage deals for the past 30 years. We also have great colleagues in contracts and royalties, so while all of us agents keep on top of both and are involved in the contract negotiation and drafting process, knowing that we have that backend support allows us to concentrate on developing and polishing our authors’ works and figuring out strategies to set up our clients for success.

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 middle grade, YA, and adult as well as graphic novels/nonfiction. In both fiction and nonfiction, I’m passionate about championing stories that center marginalized communities and I gravitate towards compelling, fresh voices and characters with emotional depth. I consider myself versatile in that I’m open to literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction and I read anything from realistic contemporary fiction to fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, speculative fiction, and some horror. I have a very thorough manuscript wish list here if anyone wants a more detailed rundown on what I’m seeking!

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

If you have a narrator who can speak to me intimately like I’m an old friend or acquaintance, you’ll reel me in immediately. I’m a huge film and TV person (there’s a reason I considered being a book-to-film scout once!), so I love cinematic, sensory writing where I feel like I’m right in the thick of it, navigating the world with the protagonist as them or right by their side. As I mentioned before, supporting marginalized writers and getting more stories featuring marginalized communities out there is a fundamental part of what I do. I want to see variety with that as well, where we get everything from joyous, uplifting, lighthearted stories to darker and/or more serious fare, particularly if it’s an angle we haven’t seen before. I will say, though, that if you’re dealing with challenging topics, it’s important to me that the writing avoids being didactic or exploitative. 

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I’m not the right person for picture books (I’m only open to referrals at the moment), prescriptive nonfiction, self-help, religion/spirituality books, romance, commercial thrillers, hard sci-fi, poetry, and essay and short story collections. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy some of these genres, but I don’t plan on including them as part of my list.

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 always tell writers that there needs to be trust on both sides. The author needs to feel confident about my expertise and believe that everything I’m doing is with them in mind; this is particularly important when we’re in choppy waters and struggling with another draft or going through another round of submissions. We’re a team and I want you to succeed! On my end, I need to trust that you can respond to feedback positively, and we can work in tandem to make your book not only a reality but the best version of itself that it can be as well.

I’d love to work with authors who aren’t afraid to try new things and to expand the scope of their writing, even if they’re aware of where their strengths and weaknesses lie, in terms of what they’re able to do with characters, themes, etc.

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 like rolling up my sleeves and digging into the project, and I want to make sure that both the writer and I are happy with the final draft and confident that what they wanted to say comes through before we send it off to editors. I go from a big picture approach first and then once the foundational issues have been addressed and the structural integrity of the “house” is sound, then we can go through the manuscript with a fine comb and deal with the details.

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?


Please send the following through Query Manager. If you have difficulty using Query Manager, you can email queryjane@transatlanticagency.com. Please do not submit your query through both methods; the duplicate query will not be answered.

Fiction: a brief introduction, a synopsis, and the first ten pages. For email queries, include all text in the body of the email

Nonfiction: a brief introduction, a full outline, and the first ten pages of the proposal. For email queries, include all text in the body of the email

Graphic novels/nonfiction: a brief introduction, a synopsis/outline, and at least five illustrated pages with text. If you don’t have five pages, you can send ten script pages and some sample art instead. For email queries, please attach the sample pages/art as a PDF

For email queries, include the book title, category/genre, word count (or estimated page count for graphic novels/nonfiction), and your author bio.

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

I don’t have specific dislikes, but I recommend sticking with a basic query letter format as you want the content to stand out instead of the structure or visuals. Keep to about 250–450 words. For the actual content itself, specificity is key. Don’t be too in the weeds or too vague that your query could be about any other book. I should get a clear sense of the character’s journey and the conflict—what do they want and what’s preventing them from achieving that?—as well as how this book stands out from other stories. For nonfiction, the letter should address “Why this book? Why now? Why you (the author)?”

As for first pages, I wouldn’t worry so much on making them stand out. Often, I find that writers workshop the first pages a lot and then the rest of the pages don’t feel as tight. As long as I feel like I’m immersed in the character’s head or their world and the writing itself is compelling, I’ll keep reading and hopefully ask for more pages once I’m done.

Response Time:

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

It depends on my schedule and the volume of queries, but I try to respond within eight weeks, if not faster. I go through queries in chronological order to be fair to everyone.

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! That said, I don’t typically represent books that already have been self-published, and for authors who have been published by smaller presses, I consider the trajectory of their career. For instance, does it seem like they have built on that experience or know how to? Do I have a new strategy to bring to the table that will help the author with the next chapter of their career? If you’re trying to find an agent and you’ve been previously published, whether through traditional publishing or self-publishing, you must be transparent about that in your query letter. It’s helpful if you can demonstrate that you’ve learned from publishing your previous books through the concept and writing of the book you’re querying.

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?

The basic tenets still hold. Agents are there to advocate for their clients. How that advocacy happens has evolved and will continue to evolve as the publishing landscape itself goes through changes.  


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I’m currently building my list, and I recently signed Jeanne Panfely and Kelly Bull. Jeanne is working on her finishing touches to her lyrical, atmospheric middle grade mystery/fantasy novel and Kelly is tinkering with a vibrant, energetic graphic novel proposal that speaks to the times we live in and will be returning to her delightfully entertaining high fantasy adventure webcomic, VAINGLORIOUS, soon.

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.

Jericho Writers Spotlight Feature Interview: https://jerichowriters.com/townhouse/articles/spotlight-feature-jane-chun-from-transatlantic-agency/

My manuscript wish list: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/jane-chun/

Update on 11/24/2023

Interview at Writing and Illustrating Part 1

Links and Contact Info:

Transatlantic Agency bio/submissions guidelines: https://www.transatlanticagency.com/about-us/agents/jane-chun/

Query Manager: https://querymanager.com/query/janechun

Twitter: janechunlit

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

Writers can submit their queries through Query Manager. If you have trouble submitting through Query Manager, you can email me.

Additional Advice:

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

Writing and querying are lonely processes, so it helps to find a community whether online or in person. Try to set yourself up for success as best you can by researching agents, so you find the right fit for you at an agency and the right agency too. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear from agents for weeks if not months; that’s normal and it doesn’t say anything about your query! Many of us receive dozens if not hundreds of queries per month, and it takes time to sift through them all and give each one the careful consideration it deserves on top of the other non-query-related work we juggle. If you are receiving rejections, then take them in stride. Think of it this way: that just means that you’re one step closer to meeting your agent. If you see agents are saying the same things in their feedback, however, it’s worth reevaluating and potentially even reworking your manuscript/proposal. In the meantime? Keep writing! Sometimes it’s book #2 or #3 that will land you representation. It’ll keep your mind off things, and you want to make sure that your love for writing doesn’t fade or sour (and make sure to take breaks to enjoy life too).

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jane.

Giveaway Details

­Jane 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 28th. 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 follow me on Twitter or 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

Monday, October 23 I have an interview with debut author Elisa Stone Leahy and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars

Wednesday, November 1st I have a guest post by debut author Mackenzie Reed and a giveaway of her YA mystery The Rosewood Hunt and my IWSG post

Monday, November 6th I have an agent spotlight interview with Morgan Hughes and a query critique giveaway

Thursday, November 9th I’m participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 13th I have an interview with debut author DaVaun Sanders and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Keynan Masters and the Peerless Magic Crew

Hope to see you on Monday!


Cel said...

Another great interview! I wasn't even aware that book-to-film scouts existed as such a specific career, it's interesting to learn how Jane's interests have help shaped her tastes. I always love reading about agents who are so editorially involved with their clients!

Definitely sharing this on Twitter!

Greta said...

Thank you for all this great info.

Shamaila J said...

Great interview. It is hard to write a query letter, and I like her tips. I would like enter the query critique giveaway draw: shamaila.siddique@gmail.com

Carol Baldwin said...

Please enter me for the query letter critique. I have a graphic novel I'm working on. thanks.

Liz A. said...

Building a list takes time. Some good advice.

Anneliese said...

Thorough and thoroughly helpful answers from this agent!
I've added her to my list, and am certainly open to a critique. :)

Ilona Bray said...

This was truly useful, including Jane's description of enjoying writers' voices that speak to her directly and her "roll up your sleeves" approach to editing. I'd love to have her apply that approach to my query letter, thanks!

Amber Mae said...

I queried Jane right before seeing this! She sounds like a great agent :)

Kim said...

Thank you for sharing! I'll be adding her to my list just as soon as my story is ready!

Theresa Therrien said...

Such a great interview. Jane was already on my list to query with my current project! Would love a critique.

Cynthia K said...

Thanks for another great interview! Jane went right onto my query list, and I would love to win a query critique from her.

Andy N said...

Enjoying the Vainglorious webcomic. Thanks!

Karen K. said...

Thanks so much for the informative interview. I am interested in a chance to win a query critique.