Dawn Frederick’s Representative Categories:
· Biography-Historical, media-related, political—ABSOLUTELY NO PERSONAL MEMOIRS
· Creative Nonfiction — It needs to be smart, with noticeable platform, and commercial. I enjoy a wide range of topics.
· History – Books that will engage the commerical reader. ex: anything Scott Simon/NPR may like
· Humor – I love a good laugh (I represent the CHOOSE YOUR OWN MISERY series)
· Pop Culture – Especially Americana, and anything quirky
· Social Issues/Current Affairs—Women’s Studies, GLTB Studies, Social Sciences, and more.
· Sports — Less mainstream, more extreme sport, ex: Roller Derby, not so much into traditional sports
· Women’s Narratives – chicklit nonfiction, diverse stories please!
· Young Adult – Fiction, Nonfiction
· Middle Grade – Fiction, Nonfiction
Jennie Goloboy’s Representative Categories:
· Science Fiction/Fantasy, especially with a literary flair. Would love to see more non-traditional settings and characters. I’m always open to optimistic, lighthearted fiction, but also enjoy a good scare.
• History– must have a commercial (non-academic) focus.Strong interest in American history, especially through 1850. Also interested in “history of an idea” books. Absolutely no personal memoirs.
• Romance, primarily with sci-fi and fantasy elements.
• Young Adult and Middle Grade– Mostly Science Fiction/Fantasy. No paranormal romance, dystopias, or “chosen one” stories, please.
Laura Zats’s Representative Categories:
• Young Adult — Fiction, especially contemporary. I love funny and gritty, especially when the two go together. Interested in geekery, retellings, innovative storytelling, and authentic voices. Please no paranormal romance, contemporary romance, dystopia, Chosen One plotlines, or didacticism.
• Middle Grade — Fiction, especially contemporary. Prefers smart, literary writing disguised as adventures. Looking for books that are heavy with STEM and will appeal to girls and boys.
• Science Fiction/Fantasy — Must pass either the Mako Mori or Bechdel tests. Love non-traditional settings, fast-paced storytelling, anthropological elements, and smart humor. Please no high fantasy.
• Romance/Erotica — Especially contemporary. Must be feminist, have verbal consent throughout, and feature an independent, smart heroine. Please no vampires, werewolves, angels, demons, or mermaids.
Wish list for every genre and category: feminism, diversity (in all forms), unconventional storytelling techniques, and voice-driven narratives.
Amanda Rutter’s Representative Categories:
• Science Fiction/Fantasy, the non-YA ideas.
• Young Adult and Middle Grade– Science Fiction/Fantasy.
Stacey Graham’s Representative Categories –
• Nonfiction humor with a strong platform (no dating memoirs)
• Humorous fiction
• Middle-grade with a great voice–especially funny and/or spooky
• History (fiction or nonfiction) with a commercial hook. No 20th century pitches, please
• Nonfiction that walks on the weird side (PB/MG/YA/Adult)
Erik’s Representative Categories:
I typically like things that are “realism” or at least close to it, though I do love light speculative elements or just a touch of science fiction, closer to just “surreal” than overtly SF/F. I like novels that probably get called “literary” even as they’re doing other things or fitting into other categories. I love family stories, memorable settings that matter to the book, characters with a hairbrained scheme, legends, folklore, mythology, and games. I want “ambitious” novels that reach for something memorable. Books and/or authors I’ve really enjoyed over the last few years:
• Karen Russell (especially Swamplandia!)
• Marilynne Robinson
• Michael Chabon
• Jonathan Lethem
• Paul Beatty
• Brit Bennett (The Mothers)
• Garth Risk Hallberg (City on Fire)
• Marlon James (A Brief History of Seven Killings)
• David Mitchell
• Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
• Louise Erdrich
Nonfiction (Narrative very much preferred across all these!)
• History, especially American political or social. Cultural movements, political movements, the forgotten but significant moments in between the famous points in history we’ve already read so much about
• Science, specifically evolution, biology, animals, or neuroscience; think Elizabeth Kolbert, Ed Yong, E. O. Wilson, Yuval Hurari
• Cultural criticism, essays, commentary, current events: this could be on anything but off the top of my head I really like great writing on politics, race, social trends, leftism, videogames, Weird Twitter, and anything else you can convince me the world should care about.
• Sports with a larger (and necessary) cultural angle; think Grantland. Specifically I really like tennis, football, and basketball.
• International stories, especially in places undercovered by Western media, and ESPECIALLY places and people affected by U.S. foreign policy
PLEASE NO PERSONAL MEMOIRS (unless a person specifies they are interested the category), or SPIRITUAL/RELIGIOUS QUERIES UNLESS INDICATED BY THAT AGENT. QUERY ONLY THOSE WHO WILL CONSIDER YOUR SPECIFIC FICTION:
Since we generally do not represent spiritual or religious books, do know there are agents who specialize in these categories. They can be found in print and online.
Preferred Submission Guidelines (for Red Sofa Literary):
We highly encourage everyone to send an email and/or query letter initially, before attempting to send a full book proposal or sample chapters. If there is an interest, we will directly contact the author. Once these materials are received, there is usually response time of 6-8 weeks if it’s the Fall/Spring/Winter, this will depend with our individual conference schedules and commitments to our current authors.
If querying via email, please only put the contents of your query IN the email. We will not open attachments unless they have been requested in advance.
Materials to have ready:
1. The full ms (should we request a partial or the full ms)
2. A full book proposal with Author Bio, Competition, Market (WHO will read the book), Promotion (HOW readers will learn about the book), Chapter Summaries (for non-fiction), and a Synopsis/Overview.
3. Sample chapters (if nonfiction)
4. Sample artwork (if a graphic novel)
Dawn’s email: email@example.com
Jennie’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura’s email: email@example.com
Amanda’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stacey’s email: email@example.com
Erik’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reading Fee Policy: You will not be charged a reading fee.
Going by the usual standards of the query process, please send them via email, clearly explaining the project, who you are, and why you are passionately pursuing it. Remember to always avoid including any type of email attachment (unless we’ve requested it in advance). Regarding queries by phone, these phone calls will NOT be returned, except in circumstances where the author has been referred by a current author or client.
What we’d like to see in your FULL book proposal (if requested): an Overview/Synopsis, a Bio, Market (WHO will read your book), Competition, Promotion (HOW readers will learn about your book), Chapter Summaries, and any other pertinent info, i.e. endorsements, estimated date of completion, etc.
Most common mistakes made
As practiced at Sebastian Literary agency, it’s essential that any author reads the newest resource material during the agent query process. Otherwise, time and possibly patience may be lost due to lack of research on the author’s part. I know what I’m looking for, so it’s essential anyone querying Red Sofa Literary consider the types of categories represented at this agency. Know who your competition is, as well as the experience of building a public platform. In summary: Do your research, follow the industry standards of queries and book proposals, and know your competition—while building your own writing platform.
Other info worth knowing:
There’s a 99.9999% chance that most agencies, including Red Sofa Literary, will not consider the majority of queries sent from prisons or jail. However there is a wonderful resource made available by Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop – for anyone who is artist or writer, that happens to be in imprisoned. Hopefully this will assist anyone in this predicament who is looking to be published.