Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 24, 2017

Free Fall Friday: Deborah Warren – Part Three Interview

Please Note: Deborah is closed to submissions, but will be open to anyone following this blog until Feb. 28th. 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.


In the last few days available to my followers to submit to you, what should they send?

Send the following to: Deborah Warren –

A Query Letter: *The most productive query will include a marketing “handle” or description of your book in sound bites that are clear, compact and commercial along with a “jacket flap” summary.  Sell us, don’t just tell us!  Include your credentials, any publishing history, and how you were referred to us; if you are querying several other agencies simultaneously, we ask that you mention this in your query letter.

 *If you are a novelist, you may include the first three (3) chapters of the work; please do not submit the entire work unless specifically requested.

*If you are a picture book writer, you may include two (2) manuscripts; please do not submit any additional manuscripts unless specifically requested.

*If you are an illustrator, please include information regarding website portfolio links, if applicable; otherwise, attach a limited sampling of pieces; please do not send original artwork under any circumstance; we do not take responsibility for damage or loss of any original artwork that may be sent to us.

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


Do you handle your own foreign/film rights contracts or does your firm have someone else who handles those contracts? 

Large enough to be a full-service agency, including fielding international and ancillary rights, we’re of the boutique blend, small enough to manage and service clients personally with hands-on service.

Whitney Lee of The Fielding Agency aggressively pursues UK and translation rights in all the major territories on behalf of our clients.

We have a number of co-agents in the entertainment industry to sell or license film, television, stage, and merchandising rights for our clients.

In general:  E/W is committed to the business of selling. The agency’s comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of the Children’s book market and relationships with top publishers and editors are a key asset to this sales process; as such, E/W puts enormous energy into understanding the capabilities, requirements and strengths of all factions and players in the market. Understanding the in-depth process of acquisitions, sales, and marketing helps the team attain the stated goals for each of the agency’s clients: to close the best possible deal with the best possible editor at the best possible publishing house.

My colleagues and I are strategists, incorporating long-term goals for the agency’s client partners. East/West Literary Agency, aiming at all times to maximize sales, offers invaluable resources to help our clients not only grow a career, but to flourish within that career.

Are you open to authors who write multiple genres? 

Many of our clients write in multiple genres; in fact, I applaud clients who write “out of the box” and communicate their passion in new ways or through emerging genres.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients? 


Are you interested in being invited to writer’s conferences?

I do enjoy presenting at writers’ conferences, and have met many talented authors and illustrators–and signed a few–at these events.  Stay tuned, for example, for Dow Phumiruk’s illustration debut, Maya Lin:  Artist Architect of Light and Lines, a collaboration with E/W author Jeanne Walker Harvey upcoming from Christy Ottaviano’s imprint @ Henry Holt. Dow went out of the gate strong:  in addition, she’s been matched up as an illustration partner for two additional picture books.  Also on board:  her debut as a picture book author in Mela in the Jungle:  A New Thai Fable.



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 the First Page Critiques.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thank you for being my super agent, Deborah!!


  2. Kathy, Thank you for this 3-part interview. I enjoy the work from Deborah’s creative clients. And I look forward to reading Maya Lin: Artist Architect of Light and Lines.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a generous offer! Thank you Kathy and Deborah!


  4. Kathy, do you know if she accepts MS attachments or prefers the text copied into the email? It would be two PB texts, so thought I’d better check.


    • Johndell,

      I’m not sure. She didn’t say it couldn’t be attached. I would do both, like I do with the first pages.



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