Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 17, 2020

Agent of the Month: Chelsea Eberly – Interview Part Two

I am very happy to announce that Chelsea Eberly is kicking off 2020 by being our Agent of the Month. Scroll to bottom for how to submit a first page and maybe win a critique with Chelsea.

Chelsea Eberly began her publishing career as an editor of Kindergarten and Pre-K reading textbooks at McGraw-Hill, which gave her a solid respect for everything the School/Library market does, but she always knew that children’s book publishing was her true passion. After attending the Columbia Publishing Course, she joined Random House Books for Young Readers, where she rose to become a Senior Editor. she’s had the pleasure of publishing multiple award-winning and New York Times bestselling books, editing authors such as Tamora Pierce, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Sarah J. Maas, Matt de la Peña, Mark Siegel, Julia Walton, and Jessica Cluess to name only a few.

Now as an agent with Greenhouse, she brings her deep understanding of how publishers think and vast editorial experience to my role as an expert advocate for my clients. She loves to help her clients think Big Picture about their career goals, and then work with them to develop the strategy that will allow them to achieve their dreams. Basically, she loves books and the people who make them. Chelsea says, “There’s nothing better than falling in love with a story and then telling everyone you know that they HAVE to read this book! If I love something, you will hear about it, and I bring that energy and enthusiasm to my clients’ work on a daily basis.”

“My taste is upmarket and decidedly commercial. Bring on multiple hooks and best-in-class storytelling!”

Chelsea represents authors of middle grade, young adult, graphic novels, and women’s fiction, as well as writer-illustrators of picture books. As a former Senior Editor at Penguin Random House, she edited award-winning and New York Times bestselling authors such as Tamora Pierce, Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Sarah J. Maas, Matt de la Peña, Mark Siegel, Julia Walton, and Jessica Cluess to name only a few. She has a deep understanding of how publishers think and is an expert advocate for her clients. Chelsea is also a Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree, which recognizes “the rising stars of the US publishing industry.”

A Midwesterner turned New Yorker, Chelsea regularly presents at writing conferences across the country and enjoys teaching craft. Follow her on Twitter at @chelseberly and discover more about her taste on her Publishers Marketplace page.

What Chelsea is seeking: High-concept, commercial reads that will stand out in the crowded US market with depth and heart. She is actively building her list and is primarily interested in fantasy, magical realism, contemporary fiction (particularly romance, thrillers, and humor), and graphic novels—though please surprise her with an excellent read that she didn’t know she needed. She has a soft spot for literary when there’s a strong plot propelling the reader forward. Chelsea would love to see projects from underrepresented voices. She is also interested in reads that thoughtfully address mental health and learning disabilities as part of the story but not necessarily the main focus. She is open to non-fiction with a unique point of view and/or a platform-driven project.

In MG, she is eager to represent: An unforgettable voice and an uplifting take on the problems that middle-school readers face, especially if the story is told from a specific point of view that can act as a mirror, window, or sliding glass door into diverse experiences. She loves when authors tackle Big Truths in a heartfelt way. She is also on the lookout for memorable characters in action-packed fantasy adventures and humorous voices that can grow to become series juggernauts.

In YA, she would love to find: A great love story, a unique fantasy world, and a heart-pounding mystery/thriller. She loves when authors are thoughtful about structure and voice; e.g. a ticking-clock timeline, a closed setting, a journal-entry format, Death as a unique narrator, and so forth. Ambitious projects with multiple commercial hooks and an empowering sensibility with feminist and social justice angles are a plus. She falls head over heels for any story that can surprise her.

In the Graphic Novel medium, she looks for: Middle Grade and YA contemporary, fantasy, fractured fairy tales, unique retellings, and select historical/non-fiction projects if they have clear hooks. She loves when authors are mining their own experiences in an autobiographical or semi-autobiographical way. Hit her with side-busting humor or box-of-tissues feels. She has a soft spot for cats.

In Picture Books, she is highly selective, looking for writer-illustrators who can create a strong character, a clear conflict, and write with a humorous voice and/or a surprising twist at the end. Chelsea loves creators who understand the sense of community that being read a book aloud delivers. She is open to non-fiction if the story has multiple hooks and an evergreen, contemporary delivery.

In adult women’s fiction, Chelsea is extremely picky. She loves upmarket contemporary fiction with a feminist angle, a strong romantic thread, and/or a domestic thriller/mystery. Think QUEENIE, ELEANOR OLIPHANT IS COMPLETELY FINE, WHERE’D YOU GO BERNADETTE, AYESHA AT LAST, BIG LITTLE LIES, and WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING as examples of her taste.

HERE IS PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH CHELSEA:

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

This depends, I try to give everything a fair shake, but the market is extremely competitive. If something isn’t resonating with me, then I know that reading further isn’t going to change my mind.

Do you let people know if you are not interested in what they sent?

If I’ve requested a full manuscript, then I will respond to the author one way or another, no matter what. It might take me longer, but I will always respond.

How long does it usually take to respond to requested material?

I strive for no more than eight weeks.

Any pet peeves?

I don’t like when people feel they need to tear others down to build themselves up. Also, authors who show that they have not done basic research on how to query—they’re clearly just throwing queries at the wall like spaghetti, hoping something will stick. It’s a waste of my time and theirs.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

A common mistake is waiting too long to get to the conflict. Most people hate to be bored. Whether you’re trying to right an action-adventure like Rick Riordan or a literary contemporary like Jason Reynolds, you’ll notice that heart-pounding moments occur in Chapter 1 in each of their works.

What are your feelings about a writer including a prologue with their manuscript?

Including a prologue is not the best strategy when querying, since so often agents only read the first 5–10 pages to get a sense of your book. Some final manuscripts are better with them, but I always like to be sure that Chapter 1 can stand on its own with or without a prologue.

Do you have a place where you keep writers up-to-date on what you would like to see? Blog?

Yes, I update my profile on Greenhouse’s website, Publisher’s Marketplace, and on the Manuscript Wish List website (coming soon!).

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Definitely. One of my competitive advantages is my background as a senior editor at Random House, and I can bring over a decades’ worth of experience to my clients’ work.

Have you ever represented a children’s book illustrator? Does an illustrator have to write before you would represent them?

Yes, I represent graphic novel creators. I’m interested in representing more children’s book illustrators, though I prefer when they also write.

How long is your average client relationship?

I started agenting this past fall, so right now it’s months! lol

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART THREE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH CHELSEA.

Company Website: http://greenhouseliterary.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/chelseberly

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR JANUARY 2020 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “JANUARY 2020 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 2020 January – 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: January 23rd.

RESULTS: January 31st.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Great info! Thank you!

    Like


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