Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 20, 2019

SEPTEMBER’S AGENT OF THE MONTH – Hanna Mann – Interview – Part two




At Writers House Hannah’s had the privilege of working closely with a variety of extraordinarily talented bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators of works ranging from very young picture books to middle grade and young adult. She is a junior agent seeking clients who work in primarily those genres, but looking to make exceptions in lifestyle/cooking/health.

Young Adult:

She especially loves realistic and witty YA (that includes drama, romance, comedy, thrillers, mystery—or hybrids of these!), but she’s open to elements of magic. Hanna is almost 100% voice-oriented and love (flawed!) characters and relationship driven plots: true-to-life fiction with larger-than-life personalities. A big, sexy concept never hurts, though!

Setting is secondary to characters and relationships for her, but she loves when it’s almost a character in itself. Seamlessly incorporated cultural bytes (music, food, art, language, books, and specific family traditions) are always good. She also loves innovative modernizations and re-tellings of Shakespearean and other stories, or even movies.

Middle Grade:

Hanna looks for funny and dramatic (or both!) MG novels about friendships (including those with animals), outcasts, and the complexity of individual families. Brave or whimsical adventure stories starring unlikely characters and underdogs are great. She still looks for honest, funny, and unique voices here, and that MG trifecta of heart, smarts, and humor.

Picture Books:
While she is presently focusing on acquiring older formats, in general, she looks for artful, human, and/or hilarious picture books and artwork driven by expressive characters. She seeks illustration with something fresh going on (or that pays homage to a classic with its own modern layering). Hanna additionally is a fan of tender/gentle picture books. Voice remains a top priority across the board; that includes in artwork. Be yourself!

Years experience: 6

GENRES & SPECIALTIES: Fantasy/science fiction, Juvenile fiction, Mind/body/spirit, Health, Travel, Lifestyle, Cookbooks, Children’s books.



Would you be interested in representing a writer/illustrator?

Oh, yes.

How far do you normally read before you reject a submission?

Until I don’t want to read more.

Do you let people know if you are not interested?

Yes, I read and respond to every query and encourage folks to follow up if they’ve not heard from me in 12 weeks. I aim for within 8, though.

Lately, there seems to be various age groups for MG and YA novels. Is it acceptable to just say middle grade and leave it up to you and the editor to decide how to classify the book?

Yes, I think it is. The “cusp” (13-14 year old main character, or main characters spanning the age groups of MG and YA) can be a scary place for publishers, but it all depends on the story you’re telling.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

As I mentioned, make us worry! Make me care, make me laugh; be authentic in those first pages.

How long does it usually take to respond to requested material? And query letters?

It can vary greatly, but like I said, you can touch base in 8-12 weeks if you have not heard anything.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

We all make mistakes. One that came up recently and has recurred is when a talented but perhaps new writer thinks she or he needs to have crazy bombshells and plot twists to make the story compelling. Trust that your skill as a writer and the authenticity of your narrative voice can carry a piece further than the protagonist finding out the villain is her father at the end of the first chapter.

Any pet peeves?

Unqualified angst that isn’t balanced by more buoyant qualities in a character.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Yes—in some cases, probably more than they’d care to hear!

How many editors do you go to before giving up on a manuscript?

There’s really no set number. I’m a big believer in getting a project into the best shape possible before going out with it, so when I and the client truly feel that’s the case and that it’s not a super nichey project, it makes sense to be relatively exhaustive. But there’s also a time where it makes sense to synthesize the kind of feedback you’re getting in rejections and evaluation whether it makes sense to make some revisions before taking it further or to channel your energy to another project.



Talk tomorrow,



  1. Very helpful post. Thanks.


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