Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 23, 2019

August Agent of the Month – Danielle Burby

Danielle Burby, agent at Nelson Literary Agency is August’s Agent of the Month, Danielle is attending the Fall Avalon Retreat in September 2020. Here is a chance for you to submit a first page for the chance to win a first page critique with her.

Agent Danielle Burby at Nelson Literary Agency

Based in New York City, Danielle became an agent at Nelson Literary Agency (NLA) in January 2017. Previously, she was an agent at a NYC-based firm where she managed foreign rights in addition to building her client roster. She also interned at several top agencies and publishers before graduating from Hamilton College with a dual degree in creative writing and women’s studies.

Danielle represents all genres of YA and MG along with picture books and select passion projects in women’s fiction. She particularly enjoys complex female characters, quirky adventures, narratives that ask readers to think deeply, girls with swords, and seaside novels. Danielle also looks for a strong narrative voice and characters she wants to spend time with. For more information about her wishlist, check out NLA’s Submission Guidelines page.

Daneille says, “I’m the kind of nerd who always has the book I’m reading in my bag plus a backup book plus my Kindle just in case. Growing up, I was completely obsessed with Harry Potter (Fun fact: I would fluff my hair so I could look like Hermione). I also ravenously devoured anything Tamora Pierce, Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever and Just Listen are her best novels and I will fight you about it), Robin McKinley, Gareth Nix, Diana Wynne Jones, Judy Blume, Jane Austen…you get the picture. I have a Virginia Woolf quote tattooed on my shoulder blade. Authors have always been my biggest stars. In fact, one of my most exciting high school moments was when Newsday hired me to review the Ella Enchanted movie and then gave me a choice between interviewing Anne Hathaway and Gail Carson Levine–I chose Gail Carson Levine. My job gives me the excuse to professionally fangirl on a daily basis.

“I double majored in creative writing and women’s studies at Hamilton College (both “impractical majors” that have been incredibly practical for me) and figured out that creative writing classes do a really great job of honing your editing and critiquing skills. After internships at several top literary agencies and publishers, I spent four years at New York agency and began building a client list before moving to NLA in January 2017. Now, I work out of my NYC apartment where my office cat likes to remind me that she is boss.”

Danielle is seeking:

Middle grade and young adult (all genres)
Select passion projects in women’s fiction

A strong voice, nuanced writing, plots with unexpected twists, high concept, complex female characters, quirky adventures, complicated family dynamics, romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative but don’t dominate it, seaside novels, girls with swords, stories that take place in the aftermath of disaster (whether personal such as the death of a loved one or bigger picture such as a revolution), magical realism, YA psychological thrillers, sister stories, social justice themes, own voices authors, a special interest in LGBTQ+ stories.

Recent reads I have loved include (in no particular order) The Thing About Jellyfish, It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, We Are Okay, Landline, The Sun Is Also a Star, Uprooted, Salt to the Sea, We Were Liars, A Spool of Blue Thread, When Dimple Met Rishi, Six of Crows, anything Liane Moriarty, anything Kristin Cashore, anything Sarah Dessen

She gravitates toward stories with a high concept and strong voice. She particularly enjoy complex female characters, quirky/humorous adventures, narratives that explore social justice issues, stories with a sense of wonder, complicated family dynamics, girls with swords, seaside narratives, and #ownvoices narratives. She finds it hard to resist gorgeous writing and is a sucker for romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative, but don’t dominate it. Mainly, she’s looking to represent novels that keep her spellbound, no matter the genre.

You can find details about her recent sales on Publishers Marketplace.

USE THIS LINK TO QUERY DANIELLE: https://querymanager.com/query/1352

BELOW IS PART THREE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH DANIELLE:

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients? 

I’ve never submitted a project that I haven’t edited! I work in a very hands-on way with my clients to get their manuscripts ready for submission. The level of editing I do is very project-specific, but I always do at least two editorial passes with my clients (if not more) before submitting.

What happens if you don’t sell a book?

The author and I mourn a bit and then regroup to come up with the best plan moving forward. Are they writing in the right genre? Do they have any new book ideas that might be more appropriate for the current market? Was there a specific theme to the editor feedback we received and is that something actionable that we can improve in the future?

What about audio books? Are you seeing an increase of interest with publishers?

Audio books are having a real moment right now! When I first started in publishing, publishers weren’t particularly interested in retaining audio rights, but now they are a hot commodity. I think the rise of podcasts has had a very positive impact on the audio book market. I’m an avid audio book listener so it has been fun to see!

Any words of wisdom on how a writer can improve their writing, get an agent, and get published?

Do the work. Writing isn’t easy—it is a skill that takes a significant amount of practice, time, and dedication to truly hone. Try to identify your strengths and make sure the type of writing you are doing plays to those strengths. Identify your weaknesses and work to improve them. Find your tribe of writers who can support you and who will be honest about the work you need to do. Understand that even though a huge part of writing is solitary, you also need feedback from trusted readers to take a manuscript to the next level. Be open to critique, but also stand firm in your vision. Trust people when they say a specific element of your project isn’t working, but don’t feel that you have to use their solutions to that problem—your solutions are probably better for your work than someone else’s solutions are. Above all else, write the story that is fighting to get out of you. That is where you will find your strongest work.

We met at the NJSCBWI Conference in June and you are coming to the Avalon Writer’s retreat in September 2020. Would you like to be invited to other writer’s retreats, workshops, and conferences?

I love opportunities to connect with writers and to nerd out about craft! My availability is limited, but I always welcome invitations.

****

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR AUGUST 2019 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “AUGUST 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: August 23rd.

RESULTS: August 30th.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR FIRST PAGE RESULTS.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


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