Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 17, 2017

Free Fall Friday – Deborah Warren – Part Two Interview


Any left over Valentine’s Day cookie batter at your house? If so, you could make some doggy bone cookies for your favorite person or pet. This fun illustration was sent in by Meg Walters.

Please Note: Deborah is closed to submissions, but will be open to anyone following this blog. Just make sure you mention this in your email. Thanks!


Deborah Warren founded East West Literary Agency in 2000. After 17 years at Harcourt, she has a strong background in sales and marketing. She is a strategist, incorporating long-term goals to help E/W clients not only grow their career, but to flourish within that career. With over 35 years’ of experience in the publishing industry, and over 16 years at the helm of the Agency, Deborah not only represents authors and illustrators of picture books including Jim Averbeck (One Word for Sophia), Anna Dewdney (of the Llama Llama franchise), Kimberly and James Dean (of the Pete the Cat franchise), Gianna Marino (Night Animals) and Antoinette Portis (Best Frints in the Whole Universe), she represents authors and illustrators—both debut and established–in the board book, concept, novelty, multicultural, non-fiction, middle-grade and young adult markets.

Deborah’s looking to fall in love with character-driven stories with heart, enhanced by a hook, told in a unique, fresh or distinctive way. Her sweet spots: short, quirky picture books and smartly layered, memorable and insightful MG and YA fiction. And she LOVES finding debut talent – in fact, it’s a bit of a specialty for the Agency.

As an example, we’re thrilled to have helped launch and grow (among others) the careers of authors Kwame Alexander, whose debut MG, The Crossover (HMM) was awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal and the 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor; Dave Butler, whose debut MG, The Kidnap Plot (the first in a trilogy), has recently been released by Knopf/RH; NYT-bestselling Alethea Kontis and her debut YA Fantasy novels launched by the YALSA nominated and Gelette Burgess Award winner Enchanted; and author/illustrator Sarah Aspinall, whose debut picture book, Penguins Love Colors, has recently been released from Blue Sky Press/Scholastic, with a companion volume, Penguins Love Their ABC’s, to come.

She’s particularly drawn to author/illustrators and appreciates a wide range of illustration styles. Deborah also connects with the look and feel and concept of classic “Star Trek” and “Twilight Zone” episodes … so she’s up to see anything in that genre. OH; and re-imaginings of fairy tales, too, like Beauty and the Beast and The Princess Bride. And anything that offers diverse points of view.


How far do you normally read before you reject a submission?

I endeavor to read each full submission; that said, every manuscript is different. If it struck me as outdated (out of touch with today’s #kidlit market or young readers), or hastily created (bypassing a much-needed critique group, for example), then that would serve as a sign that it’s not submission-ready. But please don’t take any rejection personally. We mold our client list from the many submissions we receive every month, and the process is both subjective and based on the direction of the Agency.

Would you lose interest in a submission if the writer missed correcting a few misspelled words?

Lose interest in a fabulous submission with one typo? Possibly not. Lose interest in a manuscript wherein the author has not respected the process enough to have others read it first and then edit and revise, including correcting any careless errors before it’s submitted? Yes. Would you wear pajamas to a job interview, I ask?

Do you let people know if you are not interested in what they sent?

Other than opportunities like this, and conferences wherein we’re specifically open to queries, E/W only accepts submissions through referral.  So, assuming our guidelines are followed we strive to respond to each and every submission.

How long does it usually take to respond to requested material?

We endeavor to respond within 6 to 8 weeks. However, as per our web site:

*If additional work is requested following the query letter, we prefer exclusive consideration of the requested work for one (1) month.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

When we reject a submission, it is primarily because it’s not a good fit for our agency. Just as an editor must truly adore your manuscript to want to champion it from submission to published book, so must your agent. One of the most common mistakes is not taking the time to be sure we are the “write match” for you. Study our monthly newsletter. Note who our clients are. Read their books. Each Agency has a personality. Does your personality fit ours?




In the subject line, please write “February 2017 Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: February 16th

RESULTS: March 3rd.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!

Check back next Friday for Part Three of Deborah’s Interview.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. She sounds like an amazing person inspiring


  2. Cuuute illustration! And thanks for the opportunity to submit to Debrah Warren through your blog, Kathy! Is there a time limit on that offer?


  3. I love reading the East West monthly newsletter. It’s a fabulous, colorful and upbeat update on their authors and illustrators – a snapshot of what is happening in the industry as a whole. I wish more agencies produced such a snazzy newsletter! 🙂


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