Interview: Jennifer Jackson

Jennifer Jackson will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Writing Workshop. She is Vice President of the Donald Maass Literary Agency, which she joined in 1993. Growing up reading science fiction and fantasy led naturally to a concentration in that genre, which she continues to champion. After pioneering the expansion of the agency into the areas of romance and women’s fiction, she is now developing her list in the mystery and suspense genres. She is also looking for YA fiction, both literary and commercial, in all genres.

Her current roster includes New York Times best-selling fantasy writer Jim Butcher, Hugo Award-winning science fiction author Elizabeth Bear, USA Today best-selling author Anne Bishop, Anthony Award finalist Chris F. Holm, and Nebula and Hugo finalist Cherie Priest. Previously, she worked as a bookseller for Waldenbooks, and also for Forbidden Planet, the retail division of London’s Titan Books. She maintains a personal website at and blogs at

What is the one thing you would like to convey above all else to authors who are preparing to submit material to you? Is there one particular requirement in your submission guidelines that authors tend to overlook or ignore?

Continue reading “Interview: Jennifer Jackson”

Director’s Corner: Finding Reputable Literary Agents

Jeanne Cavelos is the director of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. She was a senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, where she worked for eight years, editing the fantasy/science fiction program, the Abyss horror line, and other fiction and nonfiction. Jeanne is also the bestselling author of seven books and numerous short stories and articles. She has won the World Fantasy Award and twice been nominated for the Stoker Award.

Finding Reputable Literary Agents

Many authors make the mistake of pulling agent names at random off the Internet or out of reference books such as Literary Market Place (you can find the book at most libraries or subscribe for a fee to their database here:, Writer’s Market, Guide to Literary Agents, Science Fiction Writer’s Market, or The Insider’s Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents. These references are useful, but not as your primary source for finding agents. Anyone can call himself a literary agent. This does not necessarily mean that he is reputable or competent, or even that he’s ever sold a manuscript to a publisher. Some so-called “agents” prey upon unsuspecting authors. You don’t want to get involved with them, and you don’t even want to send your work to them. It’s a waste of time and money.

Developing writers often have a very hard time finding a competent, reputable literary agent. A good literary agent can only handle a limited number of writers at once, so established agents often have full rosters and are unable to take on new writers. Openings may only occur when one of their writers stops writing, or when the agent drops the writer (perhaps because publishers are no longer buying his work), or when a writer decides to switch to a new agent. Continue reading “Director’s Corner: Finding Reputable Literary Agents”

Podcast #23: Jenny Rappaport

Podcast #23 is now available for download here.

February’s podcast is an excerpt from literary agent Jenny Rappaport’s lecture at Odyssey 2008. In her lecture, Jenny gave her assessment of the publishing industry and explained how an author can break into publishing, navigate the changing marketplace, and survive. In this podcast, she explains step-by-step how to get an agent: how to write a strong synopsis; the best strategy for sending queries to agents; how to get your work into the hands of as many agents at once as possible. She also discusses what to do when an agent says she wants to represent you: what to look for in a representation agreement, what fees you should agree to, and how to form a positive relationship with your agent. How important it is to get an agent? What can an agent do for you, and what can’t an agent do? Jenny describes the various publishers and imprints currently buying fantasy, science fiction, and horror. She also discusses how well the various genres are selling, the cyclical nature of genres, and how the genre of a work influences a publisher’s decision whether or not to publish that work.

Jenny Rappaport is the owner of The Rappaport Agency, LLC, a boutique literary agency specializing in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, young adult, and romance. She has previously worked at Folio Literary Management and the L. Perkins Agency. Jenny attended Carnegie Mellon University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She is a 2002 graduate of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Her nonfiction has appeared in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and her microfiction in Thaumatrope. She is currently working on a novel in her free time.