Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 18, 2019

October Agent of the Month – Charlotte Wenger – Interview Part 2



Born and raised in Pennsylvania and Virginia, Charlotte grew up with a bookish, editorial mind but was first drawn to publishing work in college. She then worked for a publishing services company in Philadelphia until shipping up to Boston to earn her MA in Children’s Literature from Simmons. Prior to joining Prospect Agency, she was an associate editor for just over two years with Page Street Kids, where she acquired and edited more than twenty picture books and grew relationships with authors, illustrators, agents, and other editors.

As an agent, she loves working with debut talent and building relationships with the authors and illustrators she represents and the industry professionals she works with. She has mentored Simmons MFA students and also serves on the national advisory board of the Mazza Museum, the world’s largest collection of original children’s book art, in Findlay, Ohio.

She is interested in working with authors and illustrators of children’s books—board books through YA, but especially picture books—as well as adult nonfiction, particularly biographies and memoirs. She brings the same mindset to agenting that she did as an editor, valuing the developmental and relational work that goes into creating successful stories and fostering long-lasting collaborations.

Charlotte’s open to representing writers and illustrators of children’s books—board books through graphic novels and YA, but especially picture books—as well as adult nonfiction, particularly biographies and memoirs.

Picture books:

Sports narratives
Global stories
Performing arts
Social awareness and justice
Informational fiction

She is looking for authors and author-illustrators with strong writing skills and distinct art styles. In narrative picture books (fiction and nonfiction), she looks for well-developed characters with distinct voices; a strong plot with an earned resolution; and a clever, unexpected, yet satisfying ending. She is always open to stories that break formula and just work – that have that special something that you can’t quite put your finger on – either in the art or the words. She likes both prose and poetry, but she is typically not a fan of rhyme unless it feels authentic to the tone of the story.


Sibling and family stories, especially those with nontraditional or underrepresented family structures
Magical realism and contemporary fantasy
Historical fiction

Young Adult:

Contemporary with strong female characters, complex relationships
Novels in verse

She is always on the lookout for what hasn’t been done yet – stories that haven’t been told and voices that haven’t been heard.

She’s NOT the best fit for:

Military/war nonfiction

Submission Guidelines:

Please use the submission form on the Prospect Agency website: All fields required unless indicated otherwise.

What to Submit:

For picture books, we request a query letter and the full manuscript or dummy. Illustrators should provide a link to their URL. For middle-grade, young adult, and adult nonfiction memoir and biography texts, we request a query letter, three chapters and a brief synopsis.

Your query letter should include your name, the date, contact information and a brief description of the work. Include only relevant personal information: previous publications, writing education, etc. For previously published authors, please also give a brief overview of your career thus far and your goals for the future.

Because we request more than just a query letter, we spend a lot of time with every submission. We consider character development, plot, voice, and most importantly, the writing. Please make sure the work you submit is edited, proofread, and at a mature stage of development. We do not accept re-submissions, edited or otherwise.

Electronic Submission Guidelines:

We accept Word (.docx, .doc), PDF (.pdf), HTML (.html, .htm), and Text (.rtf, .txt) formats.

Important: submit all material in a single document. Be sure to include a synopsis and query letter with your email and contact information at the beginning of the manuscript body (3 chapters or first 30 pages). If you are submitting a picture book, please include the entire picture book.

Please submit no more than one (1) manuscript at any given time. Submitting multiple manuscripts to this agency will invalidate your submission. This includes submitting to more than one agent.

They welcome new manuscripts; however, unless requested, we do not accept revisions. Do not resubmit declined manuscripts (to any agent), revised or otherwise.


Here is Part Two Of My Interview With Charlotte:

Do you like comps mentioned in the query letter?

Comps can sometimes be helpful, but I appreciate and am drawn to what hasn’t been done before as well as fresh approaches to timeless ideas.

Would you have an example of a good query letter to help writers?

It’s difficult to show one example because there can be multiple different factors that make a strong query letter and some of it is subjective. A good query letter typically includes personalization, an appealing voice/tone, a succinct and attention-grabbing pitch, a bit of relevant information about yourself, and something that makes me want to keep reading.

Have you ever thought about representing an illustrator who does not write?

Sure, and if they’re interested in also writing in the future, I’d be happy to work with them to develop that. Also, as of right now, all of my author-illustrator clients are open to illustration-only projects – illustrating other people’s writing – in addition to their own author-illustrated work.

Would you consider an author who has written a graphic novel but has no interest in illustrating that book?

Yes. Sometimes someone is a great graphic novel writer but not an illustrator. And I’ve found that graphic novel scripts without illustrators initially attached are more common in trade publishing than comics publishing.

Is it acceptable for a writer to refer to their manuscript as upper middle grade or lower YA or should the age of the characters be the deciding factor?

Yes, I think it’s acceptable to use those terms. The age of the characters should be a considering factor, but voice and content can also be aspects to take into account.

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

It’s really all about the story and writing for me. A well-crafted story, or first few chapters if it’s a chapter book or novel, will most likely ignite my interest in seeing more. If it can grab my attention right away and keep it, that gets me asking for more.

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

I read until I lose interest. And if I don’t lose interest – well, then that’s a good sign!

Are you open to representing a writer who has written various genres. Example: MG, YA, PB, etc. Or do you prefer to only develop one genre with a writer?

Yes, definitely, I’m open to writers who have written across age groups.

Any pet peeves? 

Please take the time to make sure my name is spelled correctly… It’s professional and respectful. More generally, I understand that typos can happen, but they can be distracting. The cleaner a manuscript is, the better I’m able to focus on its story.

Do you let people know if you are not interested? 

I will only follow up on a submission if I’m interested. I try to do so in a timely manner, but due to the number of submissions I receive, it can take several months. 



In the subject line, please write “OCTOBER 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).

PLEASE name the word document file by putting 2019 October – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you. 

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: October 24th.

RESULTS: November 1st.

Talk tomorrow,


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