Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 18, 2019

AGENT OF THE MONTH – Marlo Berliner Interview Part Two


Last March Marlo started  at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an editorial intern after having completed a previous internship with The Bent Agency. In November, she has moved up to Associate Agent and has agreed to be January’s featured Agent of the Month. See Submission Guidelines at the bottom of this post. Submit a first page and get in the running for a critique. 

Marlo Berliner
Associate Agent

Marlo Berliner is an award-winning young adult author, freelance editor, and bookseller. She joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in March 2018 as an editorial intern after having completed a previous internship with The Bent Agency. Now, she is actively building her list as an associate agent. She is a member of SCBWI, RWA, NJ-RWA, and YA-RWA. Prior to her career in the publishing world, Marlo was an accounting manager for a Fortune 500 company. She holds B.S. degrees in Economics and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

What Marlo is looking for:

Marlo believes the best stories have both compelling characters and tight, emotionally involving plot-lines. If your writing can translate emotion to the page and give her a visceral reaction of humor, fear, joy, sadness, intrigue, or romance, then she will keep turning pages.

Middle Grade and Young Adult: I am interested in all genres of MG and YA fiction, with particular emphasis on adventure, psychological thriller, suspense, mystery, paranormal, urban fantasy, horror, speculative, and romance. I enjoy magic, magical realism, unusual settings, pirates, dark elements, gothic tone, secrets or secretive characters, treasure hunts, and unreliable narrators. Also, if you can take a story or intellectual property (in TV or books) that is popular with the adult crowd and give me it’s MG or YA version, then I will give it a look because I believe these types of stories may have strong potential for the market. Stories told by #ownvoices, and stories with diverse characters of all kinds, including neuro-diverse and LGBTQIA+ are all welcomed. I am also open to coming-of-age stories set in college that walk the line between upper YA and NA. While I do like contemporary tales, I may not be the best fit for ‘issue’ books where the central conflict revolves primarily around rape/rape-culture, drugs, or illness. I will also consider some select non-fiction projects in MG and YA, particularly if they involve pop-culture or current events.

Adult: I am interested in all genres of Romance, except inspirational, historical and erotic. I am also open to women’s fiction, mystery, thriller, and suspense.

Some favorite titles on my reading shelf include One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab, and Nevermoor, The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend.

For more, follow me on Twitter @MarloBerliner.

How to submit:

Please submit your query and first 20 pages of your finished and polished manuscript via my Query Manager: http://QueryMe.Online/marloberliner

You will receive an automatic response from Query Manager which lets you know your submission is in my inbox, and you can track your query’s progress. I’ll respond within 6 weeks, but only to projects that interest me.​

PLEASE NOTE: Marlo only accepts Query Manager submissions; any queries sent by email or regular mail will not be considered.​

For non-query related matters only, please email me at


Do you let people know if you’re not interested?

I do send a rejection email, usually within six weeks. In some of those emails, I may let the writer know if I’d be interested in seeing something else when they have another completed manuscript. I do this for writers that I feel had a decent query and promising writing skills.

Do you have a time goal for responding to requested material?

My goal is to respond to requested material in six weeks max, though around the major holidays it may take a bit longer.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

One of the more common mistakes is writing that feels too distant and doesn’t make me feel as if I am taking a journey along with the main character. Also, secondary characters that are cardboard – they’re given a physical description, a minor purpose for being in the story, and little else.

Do you have a place where writers can visit to stay up-to-date on what you would like to see? Blog?

Visiting my page on the agency website is probably the best way – I will also occasionally tweet some tidbits for my wishlist under the hashtag #MSWL, and hopefully soon I will have a page added to the Manuscript Wishlist website, so be on the lookout for that. I will also in the near future be adding a tab on my personal website for agent related news and wishlist items.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

I will be very editorially hands-on with my clients. I will work hard with my authors to get their work 100% ready for submission to editors, through multiple revisions if that’s what it takes. I thoroughly enjoy editing at all levels, from big-picture right down to line-editing, and would want to be sure we are sending out an author’s very best work.

Would you represent a children’s book illustrator or only a writer/illustrator?

When I open up to PB queries, I will be most interested in author-illustrators.

Do you see any new trends in the industry?

We are seeing more and more discussions about how there is a gap in younger YA, meaning YA that is suitable and/or desirable for a pre-teen/teen between the ages of twelve to sixteen. In other words, teens who may not want the ‘edgy’ books that tend to dominate upper YA, which many times even crossover to adult readership. Look for publishing to fill this obvious gap in the very near future. Stacy Whitman, an editor and publisher of middle grade and YA books at the Tu Books imprint of Lee & Low Books had an excellent article about this gap and the blurred line between middle grade and YA in Publishers Weekly back in December.


In the subject line, please write “JANUARY FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE”  Example: 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).

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!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: January 25th.

RESULTS: February 1st.


Talk tomorrow,



  1. Thank you!


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