Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laurel Symonds of KT Literary

Laurel Symonds is a literary agent with kt literary.

I began my publishing career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books where I worked with a number of award-winning and bestselling authors. I’ve also worked in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. What I love most about being an agent is being the author’s advocate through all the parts of the publication process.

I represent young adult and middle grade fiction, and I have a special interest in contemporary, historical fiction, and genre-blending fantasy. I look for engaging voices, commercial hooks, and immersive worlds. My YA tastes are pretty commercial but my middle grade tastes can skew more literary, and I’m especially interested in middle grade that might lend itself to illustration.

I also represent picture books, graphic novels, and other illustrated work, and I am open to new clients who are both authors and illustrators. My tastes are diverse, ranging from sophisticated to quirky to gently humorous. I especially appreciate a smart use of color and perspective.

Additionally, I represent select nonfiction for children and young adults, especially projects about STEM or history with age-appropriate hooks and series potential.

In every category, I’m particularly seeking voices that have previously been underrepresented and stories that have been overlooked.

Although there are exceptions to every rule, I am generally not the best fit for slapstick humor, heavy sci-fi, portal fantasy, time travel, rhyming texts, or “issue” books.

On a personal note, when I’m not reading, I enjoy baking, hiking, and spending time with my dog, Sherlock. Raised in rural New England and having spent a decade in New York City, London, and Chicago, I’m thrilled to have settled in the Pacific Northwest.

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