Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 10, 2019

Agent of the Month – Adriann Ranta Zurhellen – Interview Part One

I am happy to announce that Adriann Ranta Zurhellen at
Foundry Literary + Media is our Agent of the Month for May.

See bottom of post for submission guidelines.

Adriann Ranta Zurhellen is an agent at Foundry Literary + Media. She represents New York Times bestselling, award-winning authors, journalists, illustrators and graphic novelists, as well as many other pioneering creative thinkers and leaders in their fields. She is actively acquiring all genres for all age groups with a penchant for unusual voices, unique settings, and everyman stories told with a new spin. She loves gritty, realistic, true-to-life stories with conflicts based in the real world; women’s literary fiction and nonfiction; accessible, pop nonfiction in science, history, and craft; and smart, fresh, genre-bending works for children. She specializes in books about “cool women doing badass things.”

A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Arizona, Adriann’s first introduction to publishing was at The Editorial Department, a freelance editorial firm based in Tucson, AZ. After making the move to New York, Adriann spent two years at Anderson Literary Management and six years at Wolf Literary Services before moving to Foundry in 2015.

Adriann Ranta Zurhellen only accepts submissions by email. Please send all queries for Adriann to For more information on submitting your project, please see the Foundry Submissions page.

Fiction: Action/Adventure, Children’s, Crime, Family Saga, General, Graphic Novel, Historical, Literary, Middle Grade, Mystery, Picture Books, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult

Non-Fiction: Crafts/DIY, History, Humor, Illustrated, Journalism, Memoir, Pop Culture, Psychology, Science, True Crime

Favorite sub-genres: Contemporary YA, Domestic Suspense, Fantasy YA, Feminism, Literary Middle Grade, Psychological Thrillers, Speculative Fiction, diverse voices, narrative non-fiction, upmarket genre fiction


  • How did you decide to take the job as agent with Foundry Literary + Media?

I’ve been agenting for over 10 years now, first as an assistant at Anderson Literary Management, then building my list at Wolf Literary (now MacKenzie Wolf), and three years at Foundry. I’ve loved working at smaller agencies, and am now loving working at a larger one!

  • Do you work out of the New York City office?


  • It looks like you are open to all types of books. Do you have a favorite genre?

I’m a generalist for sure, but I’m most excited about women’s fiction and nonfiction—books that explore the modern female experience, lift up female voices and perspectives, and interrogate politics, history, humor, and craft, particularly for a large female audience.

  • Have you ever read something that is not for you, but you feel another agent at Foundry like and pass it on?


  • If a manuscript has a prologue, would that count as the first chapter when submitting?


  • How important is the query letter?

It’s incredibly important. I often make quick judgments about whether or not a project is for me, or the strength of an author’s writing, or whether the author is well-read in her genre and thus more serious about the work based on the query letter. It’s also important that this letter be really clean, spell checked, and professional.

  • What would you like to see in the query letter? Should writers try to keep it short?

Query letters should be limited to one typewritten page—it’s a pitch document, not a synopsis! Beyond title, genre, hook, and pitch, I love a query letter that has a zoomed-out paragraph on what the book is about: themes or conflicts that first inspired the writer to think more deeply about what’s in the book. (I don’t mean “I was inspired by a dream I had,” but rather “The book is about sisterhood and toxic female friendship” or something.)

  • Should the word count for your manuscript be included in the query letter?

I like to see this, yes.

  • Do you like comps mentioned in the query letter?

I love seeing comps in query letters. They’re helpful to me to better understand the pitch and potential audience, and they also show that the author is well-read in the category in which she’s writing. Remember to compare your book to successful, contemporary (past 5 years or so) titles—a good indication of success without access to Bookscan is the number of reviews on Amazon. One hundred plus is usually a good sign.


In the subject line, please write “MAY 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: May 23rd.

RESULTS: May 31st.


Talk tomorrow,


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