AGENT KATE TESTERMAN
About Kate & Submission Guidelines
After a dozen years working in publishing in New York City, Kate moved to Colorado and formed kt literary in early 2008, where she concentrates on middle grade and young adult fiction. Bringing to bear the experience of being part of a large agency, she enjoys all aspects of working with her authors, offering hands-on experience, personal service, and a surfeit of optimism. Her clients include Maureen Johnson, Stephanie Perkins, Amy Spalding, Trish Doller, Diana Peterfreund, Emily Ecton, and Matthew Cody, among other exciting and acclaimed authors. Kate is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s Honors Program, a former cast member of the New York Renaissance Faire, a hobbyist lifestyle photographer, and an avid collector of shoes, bags, children, and dogs. Her interests cover a broad range including contemporary drama, urban fantasy and magical realism, adventure stories, and romantic comedies. She is an active member of the SCBWI and AAR.
in Kate's words:
More on submitting to Kate:
1. Tell us a little about your path to becoming a literary agent and what genres you represent (and don’t represent).
I started in publishing in the foreign rights department of a mid-sized New York publisher then moved to a large agency, still in rights. So I come to agenting very much from the perspective that the first deal with a U.S. publisher is only part of what we can do–ideally, we want to place the book with multiple foreign publishers, sell film or TV rights, and maybe do a separate audio deal! That said, I’ve always worked with and loved children’s books, especially those first books that kids pick up for themselves. Middle grade and young adult is my absolute sweet spot, and within those age ranges, I want to represent all genres, including narrative non-fiction.
2. What’s on your current #MSWL?
I would love to find the next WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI! I love contemporary YA, especially rom-coms, and I love reading stories being told from different cultural perspectives than my own. I’d love to see more mysteries, especially in middle grade, and more YA thrillers like the Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan novels I loved as a teen (but better showcasing the true diversity of our world). Additionally, I recognize that I come from a privileged background as a white, middle-class, cisgender woman, and I want to use my voice to help others be heard.
3. What do you look for in a query? Do you have any query pet peeves?
I’d love to see that someone has followed our submission guidelines and sends the pages we request as part of the emailed query. I know it may sometimes seem like an unnecessary step to include it within the body of an email, but I’m just not going to click on an attachment from a perfect stranger. If those guidelines are followed, then I’m more easily able to find the unique stories being told in my query pile, where I want to be compelled, surprised, and delighted!
4. What is the biggest misconception writers have about literary agents?
That all we do is make the introduction to an editor. Yes, that’s a big part of my job—making the connection between author and editor—but so much of my time is spent negotiating contracts, handling royalties and payments, helping with publicity and marketing, discussing plans for the next books and the continuing work of an author’s career, and pitching authors and books around the world.
5. Do you have any advice for the writers taking part in this program?
This is such a great opportunity, and I’m thrilled to partner with The Word for this project. But even if you don’t make a connection with one of us via this process, keep trying! Query carefully but widely, and keep writing. So many of my colleagues are looking to expand our lists right now—I firmly believe the right project will find a home. And if it doesn’t yet, it’s just not right yet!
MORE Answers in our Twitter Convo with Kate: Check it out here.