Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Marietta Zacker- Agent

For today's Inside The Publishing World Wednesday I am focusing on Marietta Zacker, literary agent at Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at the SCBWI WWA Spring Conference 2011.

Marietta has experienced every aspect of children's publishing in the last 15 years that she has worked in the industry.
She has been an editor, book seller and book curator. Now, as an agent she is looking for works that make her "pause, shiver or laugh out loud and illustrators who add a completely different dimension to the story being told".

As an agent Marietta deals with picture books, middle grade and young adult. One of her client's newest releases is Cinderella Smith by Stephanie   Barden.                                                                              

Her advice to writers is, "it's not just about copying that or doing something just like it. Listen to the voice, the authenticity. Find your own true story."

She was asked her opinion of the state of picture books: "Picture Books are not dead at all!" "But, people are demanding more with voice. Picture Books need a really good tale."

Later in the conference she took part in a first pages review involving PB's. She gave great advice including: First, Be careful with vocabulary, kids are kids, make sure the voice is not too "adult". Make your main character a kid and don't make them a victim, kids won't relate. Remember who your audience is, when an agent reads your work they'll look at it through the eyes of a four year old. And finally, make your sentences short and to the point, this will drive the story forward.

If you'd like to submit to Marietta send an email to

Here are a few tips straight from their website-
*We will only consider one project (if we would like to see more breadth, we will request it)
*In the subject line include your last name, the title of the piece and whether you are a writer, writer/illustrator or illustrator (the word ‘query’ is not necessary)
*Although all e-mail submissions must be sent to the submissions address above (not to our personal e-mail addresses), address your query letter to one of us and know that a response from one agent is a response from the entire agency
*Tell us about your piece in your query. Include any relevant information regarding your submission and your career as a writer and/or illustrator
*If submitting a novel or chapter book: Copy and paste the first 5 pages to the body of the e-mail, NO ATTACHMENTS
*If submitting a picture book: Copy and paste the entire manuscript to the body of the e-mail
*If submitting artwork: Provide a link to your website (if no website is available or if you have a dummy ready to be reviewed, state that in the e-mail and we will request to see more)

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