Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • 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: Jenna Satterthwaite Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

 

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Jenna Satterthwaite here. She’s an associate literary agent at Storm Literary Agency.

Hi­ Jenna! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Jenna:

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

Hi Natalie, and thanks for having me! I joined Storm in January 2024, and I opened to queries in February. Since then, I’ve been going through a windfall of incredible queries and trying to find those manuscripts that make my heart go pitter-pat. I have signed my first clients and feeling very lucky that I’m in the middle of negotiating my first contract for a client (not announced yet but hopefully soon)!

My journey to becoming an agent came from the authoring side. I’ve been writing for close to ten years, and I signed with an agent (Lauren Bieker from FinePrint) after about 4 years in the query trenches. After working with Lauren over many manuscripts and many years, we finally signed my debut thriller, Made for You, in a 2-book deal with Mira/HarperCollins (yay!), and shortly after, sold another thriller, Beach Bodies, to Transworld/PRH UK (double yay!). It was through working with Lauren, writing book after book, researching editors, watching the market, fine-tuning our pitches, etc. that I realized—I actually think I might love the agenting side of things as well as the authoring side! Not to mention, I’ve been in sales through my various day jobs for 20 years, so I am all about crafting the perfect pitch, targeting the right people, and doing all the nitty gritty work of contracts. It was when I was contemplating my 40th birthday and evaluating my life (as one does) that I realized, “I should go for this.” I found an internship, then another internship, and was very lucky to land a position as Associate Literary Agent with Storm this year. For anyone interested, the longer version of the story is on my Substack newsletter, which you can subscribe to for free (http://jennasatterthwaite.substack.com)!

About the Agency:

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

Storm is one of those incredible agencies that offers more than what I’ve seen is standard out there. We have a lovely marketing person, Heidi Vance, who we offer as a (free) additional resource to our authors. We have an amazing foreign rights team and are bringing on someone who specializes in merchandising rights as well. We work as a team, so authors are getting not only the expertise of one agent, but multiple agents with decades of collective experience. We also have a contracts lawyer who is an extra set of eyes on our contracts as we go through all the negotiation steps. We like to be thorough!

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?

All age groups, and most genres! It’s honestly easier to say what I’m not looking for—erotica, hardcore gory horror, and military SFF. I’m looking for nearly all commercial genres. I’m an omnivorous reader, and I would love to represent authors across a broad swath of ages and genres. For picture books, my experience is much more limited though, so at this time I’m only accepting queries from author/illustrators in a narrow range of focuses. My complete submission wish list is on the Storm website:

That said, I’m looking for projects that make me feel. If you make me cry, or give me goosebumps, whether it’s through an epic fantasy battle scene, a lover’s reunion in a romance, or a dark twist in a thriller, we are onto something. I’m also looking to sign authors who are willing to revise and are simultaneously passionate about what they’ve created and not precious about their words; authors who know that perseverance and tenacity through rejection is the name of the game. It’s just the reality of publishing.

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

Within the adult nonfiction space, I’d love to find a book by a death doula or hospice nurse. After losing my sister to cancer, my eyes really opened in terms of what’s possible in the dying process, and alternative ways families can either celebrate or grieve. I’d love to represent that project.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Erotica, hardcore horror and gore, and military SFF. Alternately, if your book has already been self-published, it would be very hard to pitch to editors unless it’s been a runaway success. However, I’d love to represent self-published authors on their new work!

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 see the author-agent relationship as a partnership. There has to be mutual respect, and willingness to listen to each other. I would never force an author, for example, to make a change in their manuscript that they don’t want to make. However, I would be honest with them about elements that might make it harder to sell. I’m excited to collaborate with authors during revisions, and be their advocate during the submission process and beyond!

I want to represent authors over the course of their careers, not just for a single book. I want to put books on the shelves that introduce new viewpoints, highlight marginalized perspectives; books that instruct, and books that entertain, and everything in between.

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 would say I follow the progression an editor would: first, a big-picture developmental edit. Rinse and repeat until any pacing or plot of other issues are resolved and everything flows. The final step would be a line edit. Revisions are my jam, both as an author and as an agent; I love helping shape the ‘raw material’ of a first draft into its best possible shape.

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?

In your query letter, tell me up front the age group, genre, and word count of your project, and ideally (not required, though) give me at least 2 comps that were published in the last 5 or so years (though I do also love getting a book comp and a movie or show comp!).

The pitch for your manuscript should read like a book jacket; in fact, you can study book jackets to help you write a better query! I love it when a pitch starts with a log line—that’s always an attention grabber (though also not required!), and then proceeds into the protagonist/setting/antagonist/stakes.

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

I’d just say, keep your query letter professional and confident! First pages should be super polished, and if you’re the only one who has ever set eyes on them, I highly encourage you to find a beta reader or critique partner. There are always things we simply can’t see ourselves.

Response Time:

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

I try to respond to queries within 3 months. Ditto for full manuscripts—if you haven’t heard after 12 weeks (from the full requests), please nudge! I strive to be as fast as possible but there is SO much talent out there, and I receive SO many queries, that it’s just not realistic to answer everything as speedily as I’d like!

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?

Absolutely! Just share what you’ve previously done in your bio, and make sure you’re querying a “fresh” (previously unpublished) manuscript!

Clients:

12. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Kalla Harris, Ashley Tropea, Anna Carew, Colleen Alles, Kate Stapleton, and Taylor Leamey! My list is growing though, so stay tuned…

Interviews and Guest Posts:

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

You can subscribe to my Substack (http://jennasatterthwaite.substack.com), and check out my full wishlist here:

https://www.stormliteraryagency.com/submission-guidelines

https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/jenna-satterthwaite/

I’m also pretty active on Twitter and Instagram, so come find me!

Links and Contact Info:

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

Query me on QueryManager: https://querymanager.com/query/Jenna_S

Twitter: @jennaschmenna

Insta: @jenna.satterthwaite.author

Facebook: jenna.satterthwaite.author

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jenna-satterthwaite-61136710a/

TikTok: @jennaschmenna

Additional Advice:

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

Honestly, try to enjoy writing for your own sake. Publishing is a brutal industry. It’s okay to feel beaten up by it, but if you can find joy and satisfaction in the work and the process (while still having those publishing ambitions!) that will help you in the long term. Promise! (From someone who’s been through it!)

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jenna.

Giveaway Details

­Jenna 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 22nd. 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

Sunday, June 16th I’m participating in the Dad-o-mite Giveaway Hop

Monday, June 17th I have an interview with debut author Leah Stecher and a giveaway of her MG magical realism The Things We Miss

Monday, June 22nd I have a guest post by author M.R. Fournet and a giveaway of her MG fantasy Darkness & Demon Song

Wednesday, June 24th I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Bethany Weaver

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

Wednesday, July 3rd I have an interview with debut author Amber Chen and a giveaway of her YA mystery fantasy Of Jade and Dragons and my IWSG post

Monday, July 8th I have an agent spotlight interview with Rebecca Williamson and a query critique giveaway

I hope to see you on Sunday!

33 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Nice advice for writers looking to pitch. :) I think having it read like a book jacket or book description makes a lot of sense.

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction said...

I love that Jenna comes at agenting with an author perspective!

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the book sales for your work and your clients!

Caitlin Rieser said...

Would love a query critique! I’m in the querying trenches and would very much like to get out of them :)

Anonymous said...

Jenna seems like a really genuine agent! Would love to have her critique my query

Anonymous said...

Morganabourggraff@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I'm new to this blog, but I'm already loving all the fantastic content and resources! Great interview with Jenna! I'd love a Query Critique too... fingers crossed!
lallacap@hotmail.com

Kate Larkindale said...

Great interview with Jenna! Love that she's a writer too - she knows about it from this side.

Julie M said...

Love the fact that Jenna doesn't just pass a manuscript along to publishers but gets involved in the revision process first. These days the market is so competitive, it's nice to have that extra, experienced set of eyes. I'd love to see her feedback on my query letter. Thanks!
Email: juliehmata@gmail.com

Jean said...

Love Jenna's approach and that she's an author too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

From author to agent - big jump!

Carol Baldwin said...

No need to put my name in. But it's nice of you to share so many agent interviews on your blog!

Anonymous said...

flywrites2live@gmail.com

Anneliese Schultz said...

The 'been through it' is so good to know from an agent. Love her energy!

Beth S said...

Love that Jenna is an author too! Ewright80@hotmail.com

ptnozell said...

I love these agent interviews that help me expand my list of agents open to submissions. Congratulations, Jenna, on making the leap to agenting.

Tonja Drecker said...

Great to see the author background and later slide into agent. Congrats!

diedre Knight said...

Hi, Natalie!

I enjoy your posts so much! But this time, this post, this Author/Agent has me feeling there's been an indescribable shift in my writing universe. I can't wait to see where this goes. Thank you so much!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

What a beautiful interview with Jenna, Natalie. Very informative and helpful to writers. All the luck, Jenna, with all you do. Have a beautiful week!

Cel said...

I'm loving that the trend seems to be towards editorial agents! Jenna would have a unique perspective coming with the experience of being a published author as well. I would love to have a critique from her!

Mary Rook said...

I’d love a query critique!

Mary.rookbook@gmail.com

Stephanie Smith said...

I'd love a query critique. I'm ready to query and want to make sure I give it my best. Many thanks for the great interview.

Sandra Cox said...

Another great interview with lots of helpful info.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Best of luck in your agenting and writing. Sorry to hear about your sister. Sending hugs.

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Sandra Cox said...

So very sorry to hear about your sister.
Wishing you both a relaxing and fun weekend.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Natalie! I enjoyed your interview with Jenna, and I really appreciated her review at the end! Have a good week!

Elle said...

Thank you for including the questions about what agents want to see in a query letter, pitch, and manuscript pages. This kind of info helps makes the whole querying process easier!

ET Charles said...

Thanks Natalie and Leah. Leah, what an interesting career path. Would love a critique.

McKenzie Watterson said...

Lovely article! Commenting to enter the giveaway!

Mary said...

Thanks so much Natalie & Jenna!
Really appreciate this chance to win a query critique! I posted on Twitter and FB.
Mary

Anonymous said...

Lovely interview, as always. I'd like to be included in the critique giveaway, please: ALwrite[@]vivaldi.net. Thank you!

Janet said...

I just discovered your blog via Twitter and will be querying agents pretty soon for my debut thriller. Count me in for the critique opportunity, please!