Agents, Middle Grade, Querying, Reading, Research

A Glimpse at My Agent Spreadsheet: Middle Grade Books I’ve Read

Note: This post was so popular I have since added a post on How to Find Books Agents Represent and a page listing MG/YA Agents and the Books They Represent.

I was surprised when I started researching agents that it was so hard to find a list of their clients. As someone getting ready to query, I wanted to read their clients’ books, both to get a feel for what they liked and to be able to reference them when I queried. So I added a “Books I’ve Read” column to my agent spreadsheet and have been tracking it ever since. It occurred to me that others might benefit from this information, so I’m going to share it today.

A few notes: These are all books I’ve read and could verify the agent at the time. I’ve organized them by agency since some agents work together to represent an author. I can’t guarantee that the agents still represent these authors. There are at least a couple I know have changed agents, so their more recent books might be represented by the new one. If I’ve reviewed the book, there’s a link in case you want to know more about it. I read a number of these before I started reviewing, so if there isn’t a review, it’s not a reflection of how much I enjoyed the book. This also isn’t a complete list of all the MG books I’ve read. Often it’s impossible to figure out who the agent is, and some of my favorites were represented by agents who left the industry :(. Anyway, on to the list …

Adams Literary (Tracey and Josh Adams, Quinlan Lee)

  • MIDNIGHT FOR CHARLIE BONE by Jenny Nimmo
  • AMONG THE HIDDEN by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR’S SON by Coleen Murtagh Paratore
  • CIRCLE OF SECRETS and WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME by Kimberley Griffiths Little

Andrea Brown Literary Agency

  • SUGAR AND ICE by Kate Messner (Jennifer Laughran)
  • THE HARD KIND OF PROMISE by Gina Willner-Pardo (Jennifer Laughran)
  • ADVENTURES OF A CAT-WHISKERED GIRL by Daniel Pinkwater (Jennifer Laughran)
  • KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES by Shannon Messenger (Laura Rennert)
  • THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA by Tom Angleberger (Caryn Wiseman)
  • THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY and DESTINY, REWRITTEN by Kathryn Fitzmaurice (Jennifer Rofe)

Bookstop Literary Agency (Minju Chang)

  • THE SQUIRE’S TALE by Gerald Morris
  • HOME AND OTHER BIG, FAT LIES by Jill Wolfson

Curtis Brown Ltd.

  • THE 39 CLUES: STORM WARNING by Linda Sue Park (Ginger Knowlton)
  • SAMMY KEYES AND THE HOTEL THIEF, SAMMY KEYES AND THE NIGHT OF SKULLS by Wendelin Van Draanen (Ginger Knowlton)
  • JEREMY FINK AND THE MEANING OF LIFE by Wendy Mass (Ginger Knowlton)
  • LOVE, AUBREY and EIGHT KEYS by Suzanne LaFleur (Elizabeth Harding)
  • ON THE RUN series by Gordon Korman (Elizabeth Harding)

DeFiore and Company (Meredith Kaffel)

  • EDISON’S GOLD by Geoff Watson
  • DARKWOOD by M.E. Breen
  • FLIRT CLUB by Cathleen Daly

Dunham Literary Inc. (Jennie Dunham)

Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner (Edward Necarsulmer IV)

  • MISSING ON SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN by Elise Broach
  • THE WITCH’S GUIDE TO COOKING WITH CHILDREN by Keith McGowan

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (Michael Bourret)

Eden Street, LLC (Liza Pulitzer-Voges)

  • THE GENIUS FILES by Dan Gutman

Erin Murphy Literary Agency (Ammi-Joan Paquette)

Faye Bender Literary Agency (Faye Bender)

Flannery Literary (Jennifer Flannery)

  • HATCHET by Gary Paulson

Folio Literary Management (Emily Van Beek, although I believe these were at her previous agency)

  • SHUG by Jenny Han
  • THE UNDERNEATH by Kathi Appelt

Foreword Literary (Laurie McLean)

  • UNCLE PIRATE by Douglas Rees

Foundry Literary + Media (Stephen Barbara)

  • THIEF OF DREAMS by Todd Strasser
  • THE BIG SPLASH by Jack D. Ferraiolo
  • LIESL & PO by Lauren Oliver

The Gernert Company (Sarah Burnes)

The Greenhouse Literary Agency (Sarah Davies)

  • JUST ADD MAGIC by Cindy Callaghan (I believe she’s now represented by Mandy Hubbard)
  • PRINCESS FOR HIRE, THE ROYAL TREATMENT and A FAREWELL TO CHARMS by Lindsey Leavitt

Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency (Carrie Hannigan)

  • WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU OJ by Erica S. Perl
  • RASCAL: A DOG AND HIS BOY by Ken Wells

Harvey Klinger Inc. (Sara Crowe)

  • IT’S RAINING CUPCAKES by Lisa Schroeder
  • THE REINVENTION OF BESSICA LEFTER by Kristen Tracy

ICM Partners (Tina Wexler)

  • ANY WHICH WALL By Laurel Snyder
  • HOW TO SURVIVE MIDDLE SCHOOL by Donna Gephart
  • BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu

Inkwell Management (Catherine Drayton)

  • JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW by Nathan Bransford

Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency (Alice Tasman)

  • SLOB by Ellen Potter

Jill Grinberg Literary Management (Cheryl Pientka and Jill Grinberg)

The Knight Agency (Melissa Jeglinski)

KT Literary (Kate Schafer Testerman)

  • POWERLESS and THE DEAD GENTLEMAN by Matthew Cody
  • OPERATION REDWOOD by S. Terrell French
  • THE UNNAMEABLES and SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS by Ellen Booraem

Laura Dail Agency (Laura Dail)

  • DRIZZLE by Kathleen Van Cleve

Laura Langlie Agency (Laura Langlie)

  • THE PRINCESS DIARIES (complete series) by Meg Cabot

Levine Greenberg Literary Agency (Kerry Sparks)

Liza Dawson Associates Literary Agency (Caitlin Blasdell)

  • THE MAGIC THIEF by Sarah Prineas
  • KID VS. SQUID by Greg van Eekhout

The McVeigh Agency (Mark McVeigh)

  • THE DRAGONS OF SPRATT, OHIO by Linda Zinnen
  • SIMON BLOOM, THE GRAVITY KEEPER by Michael Reisman (worked as publisher)

Nancy Gallt Literary Agency

  • NIGHTSHADE CITY by Hilary Wagner (Marietta Zacker)
  • CITY OF EMBER by Jeanne DuPrau (Nancy Gallt)

Nelson Literary Agency (Kristin Nelson)

  • SPELLBINDER by Helen Stringer
  • THE SHIFTER series by Janice Hardy

New Leaf Literary and Media Representation (Suzie Townsend)

Pippin Properties (Holly McGhee)

  • SHUG by Jenny Han
  • THE UNDERNEATH by Kathi Appelt

Regal Literary Inc. (Michelle Andelman)

  • PETER NIMBLE & HIS FANTASTIC EYES by Jonathan Auxier
  • RUMP by Liesl Shurtliff

Stimola Literary Studio Inc. (Rosemary Stimola)

The Strothman Agency (Lauren MacLeod)

  • REAL MERMAIDS DON’T WEAR TOE RINGS and REAL MERMAIDS DON’T HOLD THEIR BREATH by Hélène Boudreau

Susan Schulman Literary Agency (Susan Schulman)

  • HOLES by Louis Sachar

Upstart Crow Literary (Ted Malawer)

  • VIOLET RAINES ALMOST GOT STRUCK BY LIGHTNING by Danette Haworth

Waxman Leavell Literary (Holly Root)

  • THE RISE OF RENEGADE X by Chelsea Campbell

Wolf Literary Services LLC (Kirsten Wolf)

  • THE PRICKER BOY by Rheade Scott Whinnem

Writers House

  • SAVVY by Ingrid Law (Dan Lazar)
  • THE LAST INVISIBLE BOY by Evan Kuhlman (Dan Lazar)
  • BILLY BONES: TALES FROM THE SECRETS CLOSET by Christopher Lincoln (Dan Lazar)
  • ALVIN HO by Lenore Look (Susan Cohen)
  • THE BRIXTON BROTHERS by Mac Barnett (Steven Malk)
  • THE FOURTH STALL & THE FOURTH STALL PART II by Chris Rylander (Steven Malk)
  • VANISHED by Sheela Chari (Steven Malk)
  • THE MELTING OF MAGGIE BEAN by Tricia Rayburn (Rebecca Sherman)
  • SCONES & SENSIBILITY by Lindsay Eland (Rebecca Sherman)

I hope this was helpful! I know I would have appreciated a list like this when I first started out. These days I just pick up books as they catch my interest and add them to my agent list after the fact. Happy reading!

Before the Draft, Research, Writing

Before the Draft: Research

It’s always interesting to me to read about other writers’ processes for getting ready to draft. Ever since I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2011, I’m firmly in the fast draft camp. I don’t necessarily finish a draft in a month, but I have set word goals every day, and I don’t revise anything until I’ve typed “The End.” In order to do that, I must have everything I need all lined up before I start drafting. Since I’m in that stage now, I’m going to do a “Before the Draft” series, starting with how I research.

Ah, research. Some people might find it tedious, but I’m fascinated by the things I learn. I start out with an idea, but I usually don’t know how to execute it until I start researching. And the research isn’t always the same. How much and what kind of research depends on the story. I’ll break it down by the novels I’ve completed and then list what I’ve done so far/plan to do for my work-in-progress.

THE MODERN CAVEBOY’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING BATS, BULLIES AND BILLIONAIRES (A boy living in an underground city escapes through caves)

Meramec Caverns
Meramec Caverns
  • Trade magazines – I scoured caving magazines for descriptions of various expeditions to make sure I had the terminology correct, as well as descriptions.
  • YouTube – I viewed countless caving videos to get a feel for what cavers experienced and also to see it.
  • Meramec Caverns – I dragged my family to Meramec Caverns for a first-hand look at some Missouri caves, since the story is set in my home state.
  • Middle grade novels – Since this was my first foray into writing MG, I read numerous books in the category, focusing on boy main characters to gain a sense of the voice.

DUET WITH THE DEVIL’S VIOLIN (A prodigy violinist is sucked into the music)

  • Non-fiction books on prodigies/renowned violinists – Even though I’ve played the violin for 25 years, I was never a prodigy. I didn’t know how a prodigy would feel, what others would expect of her, etc. I needed these resources to ground me in what a prodigy’s life would be like.
  • Fiction – I read a few books featuring prodigies for the same reason as above.
  • Internet searches – The best search I did when researching DUET was on the greatest violinists of all time. It led me to the story of Niccolo Paganini, rumored to have made a deal with the devil to play so well. That story became the basis for my major plot point.
  • YouTube – I just about memorized videos of the musical pieces I included so that I could describe each swell and accent of the music.

    Bates Motel
    The Bates Motel at Universal Studios
  • Universal Studios – Ok, so this wasn’t originally research, but after we went there, I knew it was a perfect fit for Miranda’s trip into the “Psycho” theme. I like to keep trip journals of vacations in case I decide to use a location in a future book. I write down my impressions, descriptions, interesting facts I learn. I don’t always make this happen when the kids are along, but it’s come in useful more than once.
  • Young adult novels – When I decided to age DUET up to YA, I read a number of YA books to immerse myself in the different issues and voice nuances.

THE DEXELON TWINCIDENT (Twin girls–one of them training to be a black belt–separated at birth by alien abduction)

  • Personal interview – I grew up with a mom and brother who did Tae Kwon Do, plus my son has started, so I know a bit about martial arts. I’ve watched classes countless times, but I still needed a personal interview to describe a black belt test. Lucky for me, my mom is a fourth-degree black belt, so I had the perfect source handy.
  • Non-fiction books – I used the text by the founder of Tae Kwon Do, complete with form descriptions and photos of positions.
  • Science fiction novels – I read a number of sci-fi books at all age levels for ideas about the other planet and how things might work between the two worlds.
  • Internet searches – I mainly used the internet for research on twins, and something I came across on a twin site gave me the idea for the title.

Current WIP (secret for now)

  • Trade magazines – Once again I’ve referenced trade magazines, in this case to get a better feel for the setting and what happens there.
  • Promotional videos – I’ve scoured the internet for videos promoting the type of organization my character will get involved in.
  • Documentary – I’ve watched a documentary, again to get a feel for the setting and what might happen there.
  • Existing stories – I’ve read a few novels and plan to study a couple of movies with similar settings to see what’s already been done.
  • Play – I went to see a play that will have a strong influence on the novel.

I’m not finished researching the WIP. I’m sure I’ll end up incorporating some of the other tactics I have in the past. How do you research? Do you tap into any other resources I didn’t mention?

Other posts in this series:
Before the Draft: Procrastination
Before the Draft: Character Development
Before the Draft: Outlining in Scrivener