Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Julia Byers of Sheldon Fogelman Agency

Julia Byers is a literary agent with the Sheldon Fogelman Agency. She joined the agency 2018 as a temp, after spending several years interning around the publishing industry, working at a bookshop, and running a nonprofit organization for young writers.

She enjoyed working with SFA so much, she decided to stay on, and is now excited to take on a more hands-on role by working with clients and foreign rights. She received her B.A. in Honors Creative Writing & Literature with a minor in Global Media Studies from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, as well as certificates from the St Peter’s College, Oxford University Summer School and the Columbia Publishing Course UK. Julia is enthusiastic about working with authors of children’s fiction, spanning picture books through YA, and looks forward to taking on new clients.

SHE IS SEEKING:

“I enjoy working with children’s books for all age groups.

“Within YA, I’ll read pretty much anything, as long as it has a strong voice, tight plotting, and a great sense of humor. I like to see protagonists struggle with big questions and their place in the world, no matter the circumstances, and welcome darker stories about contending with trauma and grief (as long as there’s still some humor and hope woven in). That said, I’m always a sucker for:

  • secret identities
  • time travel
  • globetrotting adventures
  • high school theatre
  • anything dealing with movies/TV
  • socially conscious protagonists
  • super fluffy rom-coms

“Also, if you can comp your book to Taylor Swift’s music (especially folklore), PLEASE send it my way, I beg of you.

“Middle grade-wise, I generally tend toward books with a lot of heart, especially humorous mystery and adventure stories. I can never get enough of kids going on quests, whether that be to save the world or just to beat a mean girl at the local scavenger hunt. I’m not the best fit for stories from animals’ POVs, but if your protagonist has a cute animal companion who goes everywhere with them, sign me up (as long as said animal companion does not die; the last time I read a book with an animal death, I accidentally threw it across the room).

“In terms of picture books, I prefer fiction, but otherwise my tastes are very open. I love both laugh-out-loud humor and quieter, more lyrical writing. What I really look for is a strong character arc and sense of plot structure.

“Across all age groups, a priority is working with underrepresented voices. I’m especially interested in stories with incidental diversity, rather than issue-driven books, and happy (or at least bittersweet!) endings.”

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