Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency where she represents picture book, middle grade, YA, and adult authors as well as author-illustrators.
Linda says she is definitely an editorial agent, the market is so saturated and competitive that you need that extra level of polish right now before submitting.
When asked what elements make for a successful book right now, Linda says: Escapism is Key.
This can all change tomorrow, but right now not only are people looking for 'happy' stories, they are also looking for 'creepy horror.' Even in middle grade, which is still a hot in general, and graphic novels are definitely being considered true literature and remain in demand. But these 'asks' are just to give you a sense of what editors have been looking for lately, Linda reiterates that no matter what trendy or non-trendy genre or category you are interested in writing in, "Amazing work will always rise to the top."
Fresh ideas that only you can tell your way is the starting point, the next most important focus is CHARACTER. Linda talks about Brandi Reissenweber's 'Desire Line' concept. You should be able to define a character's internal and external desire lines, for example:
Alice in WonderlandExternal desire line: Alice wants to join her family's tea party.Internal desire line: Alice wants to grow up.
Knowing a character's internal and external desires makes for great suspense when conflict is introduced.
Questions about diversity in publishing: It's not just about bringing diverse author or illustrators to the table, but to the other parts of the publishing industry, too. Linda is a former steering committee member of POC in PUB and continues to serve as a mentor for that group. She'll also be involved with her client Sofia Chang's new mentorship group, Unlock Her Potential.
Questions about how agencies get their illustrators to be 'seen' while there're no publisher offices to mail promo pieces to: To promote illustrators at Gallt & Zacker during the pandemic they send monthly email newsletters/spotlights out to editors and art directors, they also advise their illustrators on their personal illustrator websites.