Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Agent Rachel Letofsky from Cooke McDermid

Welcome to Inside the Publishing World Wednesday! Today I am spotlighting another amazing agent that I met at the Seattle Writers Workshop, Rachel Letofsky.

Who is she?
Rachel is a graduate of the Humber Creative Book Publishing Program and the University of Toronto, where she specialized in English literature. She joined what was then The Cooke Agency in 2010. She frequently travels throughout North America to writers’ festivals and literary events to moderate panels, take part in quick-pitch sessions, and host workshops for authors. She is currently an agent at Cooke McDermid.

What does she want?
Rachel is actively seeking: ground-breaking and heart-breaking middle grade and YA titles in all genres. She is drawn to works with a whimsical nature or a grounded, gritty edge in equal measure, though in either instance, unforgettable characters and original concepts are a must. She also has a natural soft spot for exquisite literary fiction. In nonfiction, Rachel is looking for narrative-driven memoirs, and anything quirky, life-affirming or mind-blowing.

Specifically, Rachel told us that her agency is a boutique agency. Nine agents who each do a different genre. Her niche is MG and YA and some adult literary fiction. Also, some Non-Fiction narrative or memoir. She told us to do our research and make sure if we submit to the agency, that we submit to the right agent. You can look at all the agents of Cooke McDermid HERE.

Do's and Don'ts-
1. Do your research.
2. Have a well-written query letter. Mention why you chose to submit to that particular agent.
3. Use #MSWL on Twitter. (Manuscript WishList), but DON'T pitch on twitter unless it is for a pitching event such as #Pitmad.
4. If she asks for a synopsis, be sure to include the whole story, including spoilers.

Other Advice-

1. She likes a good voice. If the voice grabs her it has the "lift factor" that brings her into the experience.
2. Social Media is about authenticity. An agent might recognize someone's name. So be engaging and cultivate good online relationships.
3. January and September are busy months for the slush pile. Summer is less busy, but a lot of agents take vacation then too. "So, send it in when it is ready for you." They process all queries in the order they receive them, so they will get to it.
4. Be patient. Getting published can be up to a 2-year timeline after you are signed.

Want to Submit?
Cooke McDermind has an online submissions page for the entire agency. Check it out HERE.

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