Saturday, June 4, 2022

Middle Grade Ninja Episode 168: Literary Agent Kristin Ostby

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Kristin Ostby and I discuss how she grew up a reader and daughter of a librarian who went on to edit for Penguin Random House and rose to become a senior editor at Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers before becoming a literary agent with Greenhouse Literary. We talk about why she made that change, the types of projects she’s looking for, how writers and agents can make an editor’s job easier, how to grab an agent’s attention, how she evaluates authors on social media and over Zoom calls, her communication style, using humor as a crucial tool in dramatic fiction, writing for the official Mad Libs, and so much more.

Kristin Ostby represents authors of middle grade and young adult fiction, as well as picture book author/illustrators. She is primarily seeking voicey, character-driven middle-grade as well as literary and contemporary young adult fiction. In particular, she is looking for stories with unabashedly intersectional overtones.

As the daughter of a librarian and a businessperson, it’s really no wonder Kristin wound up in the book business. Kristin moved from Michigan to New York to begin her life in publishing at Penguin Random House and rose to become a senior editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. In her sixteen years as a children’s book editor, Kristin had the joy and pleasure of editing children’s book legend Tomie dePaola; New York Times bestselling authors like Stuart Gibbs (Spy School) and US soccer star Alex Morgan (The Kicks); and award-winning creators including Daniel Miyares (Float), Jessica Lawson (Nooks & Crannies), and Heather Vogel Frederick (The Mother-Daughter Book Club). She also edited the mainstay bestseller I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley. Kristin loves guiding authors and illustrators toward their best work and advocating for them in service of building successful, sustainable artistic careers. Kristin lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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