Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rubin Pfeffer- agent East West Literary

Rubin Pfeffer has been in the publishing world for at least 35 years, spending the last two as an agent at East West Literary, a boutique agency in Boston.
The East West Literary Agency deals with 80% children’s books and recently had three NY Times best sellers. It was my pleasure to meet Rubin at the Summer PNWA conference this year.

When asked what he is looking for in manuscripts, Rubin replied - an OMG! Factor. He says, “I am excited to bring new fresh voices to children of all ages.” He enjoys working with authors at the very beginning of the process. Helping them to build and form ideas.

He also believes that the picture book market is not dead. However, it is a tough market, with children graduating to chapter books earlier than ever. With a little research I came across a list he previously gave at a workshop listing the criteria he looks for in a PB manuscript-

1. Who is the manuscript for? Is there a clear audience?
2. Is the manuscript emotionally engaging?
3. Does it meet a special childhood emotional need?
4. Is there a highly creative concept, structure, or execution?
5. Does the manuscript use clever, evocative language?
6. Is there a compelling narrative arc?
7. Does the manuscript have strong pacing? Fun page turns?
8. Word count...Keep it down! Has the author left enough room for the illustrator to bring it to life?
9. Are the characters memorable and relatable?
10. Is it a story kids will want to hear again and again?

In regards to e-pub, Rubin says that an agent is still the best person to go with. An agent feeds content to the best outlets. He advises authors not to think of themselves as one book only, but to think to the future and be an author of content.

Currently the East West Literary Agency website is under construction.


  1. Love this. I just bought Scaredy cat Splat for my four year old. I wonder if e-pub for PBs will happen faster than chapter and Middle Grade novels.

  2. I hear they are working on a way to put pictures on e readers so picture books will work.

  3. I like that you write about agents and editors. It's something a little different, and you make it concise and entertaining. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I'm excited to work with Rubin--he just offered me rep last week.