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: Rebecca Williamson Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Rebecca Williamson here. She’s an agent at Sheldon Fogelman Agency.

Guest Post Alert

Before I get to Rebecca’s interview, I want to let you know that I shared a guest post on Anne R. Allen’s blog . . . with Ruth Harris yesterday, Sunday, 7/7/2024 that could help you in your search for an agent. My topic is Tips on Finding the Right Agent and My Secret Way to Discover Agents You Don't Know About. Here’s the link to it. I hope you'll stop by, read my post, and leave a comment.

Hi­ Rebecca! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Rebecca:

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

After graduating from the State University of New York at Geneseo, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the virtual Columbia Publishing Course. I completed some amazing internships and other freelance opportunities within publishing houses, literary agencies, and book-to-film scouting firms. Working at a literary agency was the best path for me because I wanted to advocate for an author throughout their entire career while being able to work on both creative and more business-oriented tasks. I started at Sheldon Fogelman Agency as an assistant in June 2023, and I was grateful to be allowed to accept clients when my boss felt like I was ready. Currently, I am an assistant agent. Aside from working with authors, I help monitor the shared submissions inbox and the agency’s foreign rights deals, among other tasks. My boss and the rest of the team are very supportive, and I’m very happy to be at Sheldon Fogelman Agency.

 

About the Agency: 

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

Sheldon Fogelman Agency began in 1975 as the first agency to primarily specialize in children’s books by representing both authors and illustrators. The agency is committed to helping clients throughout their entire careers, not just the books that they create. As our website states, “we firmly believe stories have the ability to change lives and are proud to help our clients publish the kinds of stories that linger long after young readers turn the last page.” 

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 accept manuscripts from picture books through young adult. I am open to all genres, less so horror (it’s sometimes a bit too much for me). Mainly, I’d love to see stories that sucker punch me with emotions, whether it’s laughter, tears, and/or something else. I’m most drawn to complex characters with clear arcs. 

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

I’m very open to seeing anything, but some specifics I’d really like to see are YA contemporary romance and/or YA rom-coms (yes, I do think that they are different), YA cozy fantasies, and girls in sports (with a soft spot for dance, gymnastics, and soccer). My MSWL includes more information. I am always seeking submissions by writes from diverse and traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. 

What She Isn’t Looking For: 

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

I’m not the best fit for horror, novels in verse, animals or inanimate objects as protagonists in middle grade or young adult, board books, wordless picture books, or picture books based on early learning concepts. Even though I’m not the best fit for these things, I do think that there can be exceptions. You never know what books you can fall in love with. 

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 chose publishing because it gave me the opportunity to work with creative professionals who value the written word like I do. As cliché as it is, my love for children’s books began when I was a young reader. I’d check out giant stacks of middle grade and young adult books from my library. Despite getting older, I never wanted to stop reading children’s books. There’s always more that I can learn from them, which means that children who are reading these books also gain so much knowledge. As an agent, I want to represent children’s stories that create new ideas, perspectives, and magical experiences for young readers like so many books did for me. 

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 definitely consider myself an editorial agent. I try to be as communicative during the process as possible. I usually provide an edit letter, but I am also always open to a phone call or video chat to discuss things further. Generally, I will go through a couple of rounds of revisions if necessary before I submit to editors, but it depends on the manuscript. I tend to focus more on big picture stuff, like ensuring the worldbuilding makes sense, fixing any unfinished plot threads, or figuring out if the characters have completed some kind of arc. Ultimately, I want an author to see their vision come to life, and I hope that my feedback guides them to it. 

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? 

Sheldon Fogelman Agency has clear submission guidelines on our website (http://www.sheldonfogelmanagency.com/submit.html), but all submissions go to one inbox email: submissions@sheldonfogelmanagency.com. You can choose to address your submission to the agency as a whole or a specific agent you think might be a good fit. We are a collaborative agency and try to discuss as many submissions as possible. 

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

I will always read through every submission. However, some things I dislike are when a query and manuscript doesn’t follow our agency guidelines for submissions. I also dislike when manuscripts are only comped to big bestselling series or older books like Percy Jackson, Chronicles of Narnia, Shadow and Bone, etc. I’d love to see more focused and modern comps. 

Response Time: 

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

As previously mentioned, Sheldon Fogelman Agency has a shared submissions inbox. Per agency guidelines, if an author doesn’t hear a response within approximately six weeks, the author can usually consider it a pass. If we are interested, we will reach out to the author to request more information or materials. 

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? 

Sheldon Fogelman Agency is open to clients who have previously self-published or been published by smaller presses; however, we prefer to see new manuscripts that are unpublished and not part of an already published series. While sales numbers and reviews of previously published books are helpful, the manuscript is what will ultimately sway our decision.

Clients:

12. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Rowan Brown and Jess Creaden

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.

My MSWL Page: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/rebecca-williamson/

Links and Contact Info:

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

Please email all queries to submissions@sheldonfogelmanagency.com once you’ve checked the guidelines on our website: http://www.sheldonfogelmanagency.com/submit.html.

Additional Advice:

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

There are so many pieces of advice that I could give, but I want to tell authors to focus on themselves. I once heard somewhere that “publishing is a marathon, not a sprint,” and I think that’s true. While nos can be discouraging, it’s important to remember publishing is subjective. The right fit for one agent may not be the right fit for someone else, and the same is true after you’ve found an agent and are beginning to submit to editors. In the marathon that is publishing, try to find the people/fellow writers who will support you, and always take the time to practice whatever kind of self-care you prefer when you need it.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Rebecca.

Giveaway Details

­Rebecca 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 July 20th. 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

Tuesday, July 16th I’m participating in the Sip Sip Hooray Giveaway Hop 

Monday, July 22nd I have an interview with author Sally Pla and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Invisible Isabel 

Monday, July 29th I have an agent spotlight interview with Sheila Fernley and a full picture book or three-chapter MG or YA critique and a one-hour Zoom call giveaway 

Thursday, August 1st I’m participating in the Apple a Day Giveaway Hop 

Wednesday, August 7th I have an interview with co-authors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows and a giveaway of their YA My Salty Mary 

Monday, August 12th I have an agent spotlight interview with Erica McGrath and a query critique giveaway 

Friday, August 16th I’m participating in the Old School Giveaway Hop 

Monday, August 19th I have an interview with author Julie Abe and a giveaway of her MG Tessa Miyata Is So Unlucky 

I hope to see you on Tuesday, July 16th!

34 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm not familiar with YA cozy fantasies...sounds like an interesting genre!

Anonymous said...

Great interview - thank you!
Would love a query critique!
eileen@wilkinusa.com

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention - Sharing the interview on FB & X! 😊
eileen@wilkinusa.com

Lauri Fortino said...

So nice learning more about you, Rebecca! It would be great to work with you!

Caitlin Rieser said...

One of these days I will win a query critique! lol please sign me up :)

crieser611@gmail.com

Donna Marx said...

Congratulations, Rebecca, your journey to agenting. I love that you are a champion for children's literature.

I was happy to share this post on X!

Kate Larkindale said...

Great interview! Sounds like Rebecca might be a good fit for my latest book!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am not sure how to be a follower here, but I’d love a query critique with Rebecca Williamson! I just wrote a picture book with an emphasis on being friends with people who have neurodiversity (autism and intellectual disability). Thank you for the chance! scott.tibbet@gmail.com

Stibbet said...

I just learned how to follow. I’d love to win a query critique with Rebecca! Like I said above, I just wrote a picture book with an emphasis on being friends with people who have neurodiversity (autism and intellectual disability). Thank you!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Great information, thank you! I like the concept of collaborative agencies; it takes some of the guess work out, especially if more than one agent takes similar books.

Aileen Stewart said...

What a fun and informative interview. Thanks for this critique opportunity!

Rose Cappelli said...

Thank you for the great interview!

Kim A. Larson said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing, Rebecca! You sound like you're a great agent, and I wish you all the best.

Mary Warth said...

Thanks for the informative interview! All the best, Rebecca.

One Latina's Pen said...

Rebecca's perspective resonates with me. "I want to represent children’s stories that create new ideas, perspectives, and magical experiences for young readers like so many books did for me."

Natalie: I'm also intrigued by "cozy fantasy." A post on this genre along with "cozy mystery" may help readers.

Bri Lawyer said...

It was so great to learn more about Rebecca. She sounds wonderful to work with! Thank you for sharing this interview, Natalie! I follow you and shared this contest on Twitter. :)
brilawyer@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Rebecca is the best!

Cricket Muse said...

I'm interested in the query opportunity! I sent a YA submission sent off to Rebecca in April and look forward to hearing from her.

Sandra Cox said...

Lots of great info here. Thanks, Natalie and Rebecca.

Stephanie Smith said...

So wonderful to hear from Rebecca. I love that she never stopped wanting to read children's books. Me either! I'd love to win a critique with her. Many thanks, Natalie.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Being an agent sounds like a hard job. I wonder what the average time is they stay in these jobs. I'd be exhausted.

Laura M said...

Love this interview and the "marathon" we authors are running. Also, I followed you on Twitter also tweeted and RT the interview. :)

Mary Beth Rice said...

I would love to win a query critique and appreciated learning more about Rebecca! Grateful! -Mary Beth Rice

Danielle Render Turmaud said...

Thank you for doing this! I would love to be considered for the query critique!

Rosi said...

Thanks for another great interview. I learned some new genres today.

Cel said...

Another great interview! Rebecca has has such a varied and interesting career! It would be fantastic to win a critique from her to gain her perspective.

DeenaML said...

Congrats on the gig at Sheldon Fogelman, and I love to hear about SUNY Geneseo graduates (being a western NY SUNY graduate myself). Thanks for the interview!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I would love to write a YA, but I think writing for young people is harder than writing for adults. I should have done it when I was still a youth...kidding.

Angie said...

Terrific interview. Chock full of helpful information.

Janel Caverly said...

Thanks for the helpful information and your dedication to writers. Much appreciated!

Janet Frenck Sheets said...

I love that Rebecca values stories that create magical experiences for young readers. That's such a great description of the power of books.

DMS said...

What an interesting interview. The agency Rebecca works for sounds amazing. I love that they only work with children's books. How cool! Thanks for sharing. :)

Cathy said...

This was a great interview. Would love the opportunity to work with Rebecca.

Lauri Meyers said...

Appreciate you love of children's books Rebecca! They really can teach us so much.