Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 25, 2019

AGENT OF THE MONTH – Marlo Berliner – Interview – Part Three


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


    1. What is your typical response time to email/phone calls with your clients? I will strive to respond to my clients within twenty-four hours, because I believe they are my priority and deserve my utmost attention. It doesn’t take but a few seconds to email or text back to at least acknowledge that the client has reached out, and either answer their question right away or schedule a time within the next twenty-four hours to talk over the phone. I believe open communication with my clients is essential to a healthy agent-author relationship. No client should ever be afraid to contact their agent. As long as they’re not being completely impatient, or calling every other minute and abusing my good nature, I will give my clients the courtesy of a quick response.


    1. How do you like to communicate (email vs. phone)? And how often do you communicate during the submission process? I would leave this up to the writer’s best judgment. If they have a simple question that can be asked in an email, then go for it. If they have something more important or lengthy to discuss that they feel requires a phone call, then that’s fine too. As far as the submission process, I will let my clients know of any responses or feedback from editors, as soon as it arrives in my inbox. Again, I believe in open communication and transparency with my clients.
    2. Would you drop the writer if he or she wanted to self-publish that one book that doesn’t sell? No, I wouldn’t. Being a hybrid author is fine, but I am hoping to sign authors who are interested in a career with traditional publishers. Therefore, while I am submitting their first book, I would hope that they would be busy writing me their second. This way, if the first one doesn’t land with a publisher, I can have another to submit for them. It takes so long to find good talent; I would never just give up too easily or quickly on a client.
    3. How many editors do you plan to go to before giving up? I will continue to submit for an author until all reasonable possibilities for a good fit have been exhausted.
    4. What do you think of digital books? They’re just fine. I could care less how anyone prefers to read, as long as they read. My own TBR pile is about half digital, half print. As far as submitting authors to publishers though, my focus will be on landing them a deal with a traditional publisher because that’s what they need me for.
    5. Do you handle your own foreign/film rights contracts or does your firm have someone else who handles those contracts? The Jennifer De Chiara Agency has a designated Foreign Rights team, with co-agents in every country and an established presence at Book Expo and book fairs throughout the world. Our agency also has a designated Film/TV/Media agent based in Hollywood.


    1. Any words of wisdom on how a writer can improve their writing, secure an agent, and get published? Join writing organizations, particularly the larger national ones who are open to new writers, like RWA and SCBWI. For me, they have been invaluable for learning both the craft and business sides of publishing. Attend as many workshops, retreats and conferences as you possibly can, even if they are only free ones at your local library. So many conferences, workshops and resources are available online now that any writer who wants to learn can find a way. Network in-person or online with other writers to share resources and expertise. Find good beta readers and critique partners. The #writingcommunity is super supportive of one another.


    1. Would you like to attend writer’s retreats, workshops, and conferences? I would absolutely love to attend all of the above this year! I believe it can be a great way to meet some of the very best writers. I also have a few workshops that I can do if anyone needs staff for their writing event. These include: Secrets of Pitching, Best Query Practices, and Sinfully Simple Synopsis.


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,


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