Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Molly O’Neill of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.
About Molly: Prior to becoming an agent, she spent thirteen years working in various roles inside the publishing industry: as an editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she acquired Veronica Roth’s juggernaut Divergent series, among many other fantastic projects; as head of editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; and in school and library marketing at both HarperCollins and Clarion Books. She loves the creative process and early-stage project development, is invigorated by business strategy and entrepreneurial thinking, and is fascinated by the intersections of art, commerce, creativity, and innovation. Molly is especially passionate about the people behind books, and she takes pride in discovering and evangelizing talented authors and illustrators, expanding the global reach of their work, and finding new ways to build connections and community among creators, readers, stories, and their champions.
Molly is an alum of Marquette University, an erstwhile Texan, and a current dweller of Brooklyn, New York. She is drawn to authors and artists who constantly challenge themselves, who are adept at communicating with their audiences, who are creative and flexible thinkers, and who have as much enthusiasm for their readers as for their own successes. Wit, strong writing, vivid settings, a passion for craft, or a well-timed reaction gif will always catch her eye.
(Read tips on writing a query letter.)
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Currently Seeking: Currently, Molly is most actively seeking young adult and middle-grade fiction. She is also seeking a select number of children’s illustrators (illustrators who write are especially welcome), as well as authors of kidlit nonfiction, early readers/chapter books, and kidlit graphic novels. She is not currently seeking picture book texts unless the author is also a professional illustrator, a writer of nonfiction, or a direct referral from an industry contact that she knows personally.
How to Submit: To submit a project, please email your query to mollysubmit [at] waxmanleavell.com with the word “Query” as the first word in the subject line. Your short email query should include a description of your project; biographical information (including details about any relevant credentials, subject area expertise, stats, or existing platform); and a summary, if applicable, of prior published works, agent representation, and/or publisher submission history. If you don’t have special credentials or previous publishing history, no worries: Molly welcomes debut talent! Please also be sure to include your phone number, email address, and any relevant Internet/social media links. Below your query letter paste the first 10 pages of your manuscript, or entire picture book text.
(Can you re-query an agent after she’s rejected you in the past?)
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- Oct. 28–30, 2016: Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference (Los Angeles, CA)
- Nov. 19, 2016: Las Vegas Writing Workshop (Las Vegas, NV)
- Feb. 11, 2017: Writers Conference of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
- Feb. 16–19, 2017: San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA)
- Feb. 25, 2017: Atlanta Writing Workshop (Atlanta, GA)
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- March 25, 2017: Michigan Writers Conference (Detroit, MI)
- April 8, 2017: Philadelphia Writing Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
- May 6, 2017: Seattle Writers Conference (Seattle, WA)
- July 22, 2017: Tennessee Writers Workshop (Nashville, TN)
- Aug. 18–20, 2017: Writer’s Digest Conference (New York, NY)
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