Literary agent John Cusick (Twitter) recently switched agencies. He left his position at Scott Treimel Literary and is now with Greenhouse Literary. When I heard he moved, I asked him if he had time to answer a few questions so writers could catch up with him. Here's what he had to say. Read on to learn if John is a good fit for your work! (Also, I should mention that John is also an author, and he just had a book released in Sept. 2013: CHERRY MONEY BABY, a young adult novel from Candlewick that got a starred review in Publishers Weekly.)
So, John, you've recently transitioned to a new agency. Tell us what it's like to be a literary agent at a new agency.
I’m thrilled to a Greenhouse agent. I was a bit of a Sarah Davies fanboy before the switch, so it’s exciting to be working with her now. “Greenhouse” is an apropos name—the agency is a true nurturing environment for creative talent. My current authors are eager to grow here, and I’m looking forward to cultivating new clients in the coming months.
Will you still be focusing on all categories of kids books? Or will your category list shrink/grow?
While some of my clients do produce picture books and younger projects, my focus is middle-grade and young adult. I’m especially interested in guy books, and middle-grade of all genres. I adore sci-fi, historicals, and light fantasy, but I’m also a sucker for a great contemporary realistic story.
Will your submission procedures be changing drastically?
Authors can find detailed submission guidelines at GreenhouseLiterary.com: the short version is, send queries and five sample pages to submissions [at] greenhouseliterary.com, with my name in the subject line.
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While we've got you, tell us about a project you repped that comes out now/soon.
The amazing historical y.a. A MAD WICKED FOLLY by Sharon Biggs Waller (Viking) and the hilarious middle-grade THERE WILL BE BEARS by Ryan Gebhart (Candlewick) are both coming out next year, and I can’t wait.
Will you be at any upcoming writers conferences where writers can meet and pitch you?
I love conferences and had a packed schedule this year , including five SCBWI events, the Midwest Writers Workshop, and of course the Writers Digest Pitch Slam back in April 2013. I keep an up-to-date list at JohnMCusick.com, under “Where to Find Me.”
What about your own writing? Anything we can look forward to?
My second young adult novel, CHERRY MONEY BABY, came out this autumn from Candlewick. It’s the story of a small-town girl’s friendship with a Keira Knightley-esque movie star. I’m working on book #3 right now, which I can’t say much about yet, except: think “The Grifters.”
Any advice for authors looking to be represented by you?
I heard somewhere the best education for a writer is to read five hundred books. Read as much as you can in your category—contemporary stuff, not just the classics—so you know what’s out there, what’s been done. Then write a fresh story with a great voice and send it my way! (Super easy, right?)
Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:
- Feb. 11, 2017: Writers Conference of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
- Feb. 16–19, 2017: San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA)
- Feb. 24, 2017: The Alabama Writers Conference (Birmingham, AL)
- Feb. 25, 2017: Atlanta Writing Workshop (Atlanta, GA)
- March 25, 2017: Michigan Writers Conference (Detroit, MI)
- March 25, 2017: Kansas City Writing Workshop (Kansas City, MO)
- April 8, 2017: Philadelphia Writing Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
- April 22, 2017: Get Published in Kentucky Conference (Louisville, KY)
- April 22, 2017: New Orleans Writers Conference (New Orleans, LA)
- May 6, 2017: Seattle Writers Conference (Seattle, WA)
- May 19-21, 2017: PennWriters Conference (Pittsburgh, PA)
- June 24, 2017: The Writing Workshop of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Aug. 18–20, 2017: Writer's Digest Conference (New York, NY)
Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:
- Notes to the First-Time Novelist.
- "How I Got My Agent," by Novelist Holly LeCraw.
- Literary Agent Interview: Jessica Sinsheimer of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary.
- Sell More Books by Building Your Writer Platform.
- Write Now, Edit Later.
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.
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