Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ginger Clark: What Makes Your Work Publishable

Ginger Clark has been a literary agent with Curtis Brown since the fall of 2005. [Curtis Brown has been around since 1914, and has three agents that focus on children's books. Curtis Brown was founded by the legendary Marilyn Marlow.]
She has more than 30 clients. She's currently looking for MG sci-fi, fantasy and mystery, urban fantasy (no vampires), YA sci-fi, dystopia, space opera, YA cyperpunk and steampunk, YA contemporary and literary. She's taking on new clients and prefers email queries [address: gc(at)].
Publishers are finding MG tough right now, she says, because they haven't found a Facebook for MG readers. MG one of the areas of BFYR where you can have successful stand-alone books. You can continue to do that as an MG writer more so than in YA, she says.
Children's books are strong and aren't moving to e-books like the adult segment of publishing, and writers don't make as much off of e-books. Kids pass books around, treasure them as possessions. Teen are experiencing digital fatigue, and need books to decompress from technology.
YA in a nutshell over the past few years according to Ginger: Vampires led to faeries which led to werewolves which led to angels which led to dystopia. She predicts historical is next in line (the Tudors for teens).
Things that came up during Ginger's Q&A:
  • She doesn't send a book out these days unless it's had at least one revision.
  • Step one, right a great novel. Step two, learn to be a professional in this industry.
  • She gets 35-40 e-queires a day, and reads all of them.
  • Your novel draft should be complete and workshopped, revised, etc., before subbing and agent.
  • She would welcome a great MG stand-alone with a great voice.
  • 95% of her day is spent dealing with the business of her current clients. 
  • The publishing industry is going through a massive change because of the iPad.  
  • A good agent realizes her job is no longer just to sell the print rights to a publisher.


  1. Uh, that's "write" not "right," right?
    •Step one, right a great novel.

  2. Step 1: Write a great novel.
    Steps 2-infinity: Right a great novel.