Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Amy Stern of Sheldon Fogelman Agency

Amy Stern is a literary agent with Sheldon Fogelman Agency.

Amy works with clients who write and illustrate all kinds of children’s literature, from picture book through young adult, in poetry, prose, and graphic formats. She joined the Sheldon Fogelman Agency in 2010 as an agent assistant after receiving masters degrees in children’s literature and library and information science from Simmons College and completing an agency internship. Since then she has worked her way up to managing clients on her own, while also handling all agency permissions. Before she began her journey to agenting, Amy double majored in English and Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College and worked at libraries and bookstores. She has served as a mentor for the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature’s MFA program, and regularly participates in conferences and conventions.

SHE IS SEEKING:

“I feel like so much of what I want is what everyone wants — fresh voices, exciting stories, something very marketable but not quite like anything out there. I like my stories firmly rooted in character and my characters firmly rooted in their world.

“I enjoy a little bit of everything, and constantly surprise myself with what I want to take on; I don’t think of myself as someone who’s a big fan of romance or high fantasy or historical fiction, for example, but I can think of several examples of each that really worked for me that I wouldn’t want to rule out. That said, if you have a historical fantasy romance, I’m probably not your best bet.

“I firmly believe that every story is about race, gender, and class- it’s just that often, those are invisible because they’re the societal default. I am definitely looking for a broader spectrum of representation on my list, but I’d also like to see more stories where those default identities are explicitly acknowledged and analyzed, rather than invisible.

“Topics I love to read about? Summer camps, boarding schools, reality television, kids who are in some way extraordinary, puzzles, puns. I really love stories that involve close family relationships that both enhance and complicate the protagonists’ lives. I want to see more mental illness stories that aren’t just about diagnosis and LGBTQIA+ stories that aren’t just about coming out. I’m a giant nerd who goes to several comic conventions a year and I am always in favor of stories about geeks that don’t rely on stereotypes or pop culture references to succeed.

“I got my masters degree in children’s literature and I’m passionate about the idea that even the funniest, most light-hearted stories deserve to be taken seriously. If you think of children’s books as something easy to write or illustrate, we probably won’t be a good match.”

 

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