Sarah Davies (Agent representing US/Canadian authors); currently closed to submissions
Sarah founded the Greenhouse when she moved to the US in 2007 after a long career as a UK children’s publisher. She now divides her time between London and New York.
Sarah has been an editor most of her life and has considerable experience in contract negotiation, marketing and rights. Excellent publishing contacts in both the USA and Britain, and many years spent living in both countries, have given her an unusually transatlantic view of the children’s books industry, from both sides of the desk. A member of AAR, Sarah has crossed America and Europe talking about children’s books and writing craft. She says, ‘Everything you need to know about Greenhouse is in its name.’
What Sarah is seeking: Fiction by North American authors, from Middle Grade through Young Adult and across all genres (note: she is currently closed to debut Picturebooks but does rep PBs by clients whom she’s initially taken on for older fiction). She loves strong, hooky, layered plots, writing that is gorgeous but also conceptually strong, stories that are really moving but make you think too.
In YA, she is currently keen to find fresh, hooky, charming contemporary romance — but note, the hook MUST be strong and unique; multicultural settings and diverse #ownvoices authors and characters (she has a particular interest in the Middle East and France, but authenticity is essential); stories that deal with contemporary issues of immigration from an authentic perspective; magical realism – perhaps where the “real” is skewed by some other dimension; smart, original thrillers that grab you from the first page — but still have great writing; fantasy, especially by diverse authors, but there MUST be a hook that feels truly fresh and different to all the other fantasy out in the marketplace. AND FINALLY: there’s always room for something the market’s never seen before — whatever that may be!
In general, Sarah enjoys: interesting perspectives and structures; stories involving the ocean, ice, plants,science; intriguing mysteries; relateable history (the World Wars especially; NOT American Revolutionary War or Civil War), and richly portrayed characters and settings of all kinds.
In MG, she is looking for classic-voiced and heartfelt stories that offer a fresh take on the tropes of identity, independence, growing up (perhaps helped along by an interesting and different structure or point of view); magical realism (again!); author/illustrators who can create fab and fun young fiction with a plentiful illustrative component. Again, she always looks for a fresh hook, matched by strong writing.
Additionally: Sarah is open to non-fiction projects that have a strong angle on a subject that jives with today’s concerns. Child-friendly writing (and formats?) essential.
You can see Sarah’s manuscript wishlist here: http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/sarah-davies/
Polly Nolan (Agent representing UK, Irish, Commonwealth and North American authors)
Polly joined Greenhouse in June 2013 as our UK agent. This was after a distinguished career at many of the UK’s top children’s publishing houses, where she started as a Junior Editor and finished as a Publishing Director over fifteen years later. Polly made the move into agenting to do more of what she enjoys most – finding new writing talent, helping to develop great fiction, and achieving publishing deals for authors both new and established. She has an enviable record as a talent-spotter and experienced nurturer of writers. In May 2018, she was delighted to announce that she was broadening her range and making a move into the US market too.
What Polly is seeking: Outstanding writing for readers up to YA. She is open to most genres and is always looking for those rare and wonderful novels in which she can lose herself completely. You know: the types where you start by thinking, I’ll just read this for 10 minutes and suddenly hours have disappeared.
Original, compelling story is key, as is uniqueness of voice. She is after novels that pull at the heartstrings, make her care deeply about characters that feel real but that also make her think. She believes that exceptional novels confound genres and so finds it easier to list what she isn’t searching for than what she is. So: please do not send Polly ‘cross over’ novels or books where the protagonist is a talking bird (though she does love a good animal story). She wouldn’t jump on sci-fi (particularly ones with aliens, for middle grade readers) and she avoids stories that feel didactic or earnest in their message. At the moment, she isn’t looking for dystopian YA. Polly represents a very small number of picture book authors but only where they also illustrate their work. However, if you have an exceptional story to tell and can do so in a distinctive way, she can’t wait to hear from you. Finally, Polly would be grateful if you could follow our submission guidelines (have a look under ‘Submissions’ on this site). This allows her to manage the many queries she receives and get back to you efficiently.
Polly will be at YALC on 27 July, taking part in an agent event.
Rights People is a dedicated children’s rights-selling business – a team of experts in the field: Alexandra Devlin, Allison Hellegers, Rachel Richardson (currently on maternity leave, her role being covered by Charlotte Bodman), Harim Yim, Claudia Galluzzi, Hannah Whitaker (who sells adult rights) and director Charles Nettleton. Between them, Rights People have many years’ experience and a huge network of international contacts. They attend both Bologna and Frankfurt Book Fairs, and undertake territory-specific selling trips around the world at other times of the year.
Rights People is Greenhouse’s sister company and represents all the agency’s foreign rights. This gives Greenhouse an exceptionally cohesive presence around the world and a truly global reach.
Here, they’re photographed in a brief lull at Frankfurt Book Fair!
Contracts (Kevin Stewart and Jackie Wilson)
Kevin and Jackie are Greenhouse’s contracts experts. Between them, they have 35 years’ experience in the negotiation of international publishing agreements and a deep knowledge of the evolving market factors that affect 21st century contracts. Their expertise comes into play once primary deal terms (advance, royalties and other significant points) have been agreed, working with our agents and with publishers to reach an optimum final contract for our authors.
Finance (Gary Phillips and Lisa Darby)
Gary and Lisa form one of Greenhouse’s most crucial teams – Finance. Both have worked in the media, publishing and licensing industries for many years, and together they are responsible for coordinating all aspects of the agency’s financial affairs on behalf of our clients. This includes ensuring our authors are paid on time, reviewing and sending out royalty statements, and liaising with authors on issues related to overseas taxation.