Saturday, September 3, 2022

Middle Grade Ninja Episode 181: Literary Agent Patricia Nelson

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Patricia Nelson and I discuss how she got her start in publishing and joined the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency as well as why it takes an average of around five years to make a living as a literary agent. We do a deep dive on the questions she asks through Query Manager, how she evaluates the answers, submission red flags, the future of publishing after so much recent disruption, the importance of not being an agent’s “first pancake,” and so much more.

See Patricia Nelson face the 7 Questions.

Patricia Nelson joined Marsal Lyon Literary Agency in 2014. She represents adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction, and is actively looking to add to her list. She is always especially interested in seeing novels by BIPOC, queer, and disabled authors in all genres that she represents.

In general, Patricia looks for stories that hook her with a unique plot, fantastic writing and complex characters that jump off the page. On the children’s side, Patricia is open to a wide range of genres of YA and MG, with particular interest in contemporary/realistic, magical realism, mystery, science fiction and fantasy. On the adult side, she is seeking women’s fiction both upmarket and commercial, historical fiction set in the 20th century, and sexy, smart adult contemporary and historical single title romance.

Patricia’s clients include NYT bestselling author Axie Oh (The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan), National Book Award finalist and Printz Honor award winner Candice Iloh (Every Body Looking, Dutton Children’s/Penguin Random House), Printz Honor award winner Mary McCoy (Indestructible Object, Simon and Schuster Children’s), Dahlia Adler (Cool for the Summer, Wednesday Books/Macmillan), Anna Meriano (This Is How We Fly, Philomel/Penguin Random House), Alexandra Leigh Young (Idol Gossip, Walker US/Candlewick), Hayley Chewins (The Turnaway Girls, Candlewick), Margaret Dilloway (Summer of a Thousand Pies,  Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins), Kristi Wientge (Honeybees and Frenemies, Simon and Schuster Children’s), Sandy Stark-McGinnis (Extraordinary Birds, Bloomsbury Children’s), bestselling women’s fiction author Loretta Nyhan (Digging In, Lake Union Publishing), bestselling romance authors Kate Bateman and Charis Michaels, and forthcoming debut authors Jen Ferguson (The Summer of Bitter and Sweet, Heartdrum/HarperCollins), Claire Forrest (Where You See Yourself, Scholastic), Juliana Goodman (The Black Girls Left Standing, Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan), Edward Underhill (Always the Almost, Wednesday Books/Macmillan), and Kirya Traber (Dutton Children’s/Penguin Random House), among others.

Patricia holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to becoming an agent, she spent four years teaching literature and writing at the college level.

Follow Patricia on Twitter at @patricianels.

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