Sunday, August 5, 2018

Agents' Panel: Ammi-Joan Paquette

Ammi-Joan Paquette

Ammi-Joan Paquette is a senior agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, representing all types of children’s and young adult literature. She is also the author of The Train of Lost Things, the Princess Juniper series, and picture books including Ghost in the House, Elf in the House, Bunny Bus, and The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies. With acclaimed author Laurie Ann Thompson, she is also the co-author of the ‘nonfiction with a twist’ series, Two Truths and a Lie. In her agent acquisitions, Joan is particularly drawn to richly voiced, unforgettable characters and settings, as well as tightly paced, well-plotted stories with twists and turns that keep you guessing right until the end. Visit her on the web at


Ammi-Joan started her journey as author. She signed with Erin as her own agent, and then later became an agent at that same agency. She's been a literary agent for nine years.

She represents all children's categories, PB through YA, has just started working with author/illustrators, and is excited about graphic novels.

Highlights from what Ammi-Joan shared...

What she's drawn to:

Stakes, tension, resonance, classic feel, books that catch you by surprise.

What's hot in the marketplace:

Older nonfiction, narrative nonfiction that tells a story. For fiction, fiction that digs deep into personal experience, that is heartfelt.
Ammi-Joan speaks of the tidal nature of the industry, picture books being not hot and then hot, and the evolution in the demand for shorter and shorter picture book texts (no longer than 1,000 words. Then, 800. Then, 600. Then 500...) and now she feels the pendulum is swinging a little the other way.

There's so much more discussed on the panel, including writing outside your culture (and the responsibility that comes with that choice), the need to champion other's books, the volume of queries and how many new clients they can realistically take on, and how authors and illustrators can protect themselves when entering a business relationship with an agent.

One more piece of Ammi-Joan's advice to share:

"The best thing you can do is just read as much as you can... Be aware of the books that are standing out."

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