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agent :
Colleen Oefelein
The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency is a New York City-based full-service literary agency founded in 2001 and named one of the top 25 literary agencies in the country by Writer’s Digest. The agency represents children’s literature for all ages – picture books and middle-grade and young adult novels – but also represents high-quality adult fiction and non-fiction in a wide range of genres. JDLA is proud to represent illustrators, as well as screenwriters for both television and film, including Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writers and illustrators. What sets JDLA apart from other agencies is our holistic approach to managing every aspect of an author’s career to make the most of their project's potential.

General fiction, Mystery, Romance, Suspense/thriller, Fantasy/science fiction, Juvenile fiction
Colleen joins JDLA after several years in the industry as an agency PR Manager, Associate Agent, and author of YA, picture books, and author promotion guides. She's also an insatiable bookworm and the owner of the book review site, North of Normal. As a mentor, Colleen has hosted numerous “Pitch Perfect” and “Rejection Correction” workshops on Facebook and at conferences nationwide, and she’s mentored several authors one-on-one through online pitch contests such as Pitch Wars. She teaches an advanced creative writing module at a local middle school and hosts an annual free writing contest for kids, now in its 10th year. Prior to her career in the publishing world, Colleen was an engineer in the Air Force. Now retired from the military, she lives in Alaska with her husband, son, and boerboel. She holds a BS in chemical engineering/biotechnology and a separate BS in German, both from Penn State. A former 911 call taker and dispatcher for Alaska troopers, she has a soft spot for veterans and law enforcement families. She represents picture books, middle grade, young adult, and adult books in many genres.
I'm actively building my list. I love plot-driven, commercial stories with unforgettable characters and gritty character dynamics. I adore writing that has a great cadence and natural rhythm, which like a dance, flows and stutters in a gorgeous motion that worms into my brain and reverberates there for days. I love a fresh premise (or a fresh twist on a familiar story line) coupled with a strong, genuine voice. Just plain weird is right up my alley, and dark, quirky characters make me sit forward. Clean writing with plenty of white space and story-telling full of subtle nuances that give my brain room to imagine will pique my interest. I like a strong hook. Make me laugh, gasp, sigh, smile, sit forward, hold my stomach, or read through my fingers on page one please. Cliffy chapter endings are perfect for me and I prefer characters who take a book by the balls and yank it forward. An antagonistic protagonist, an unreliably evil villain, flawed characters, and antiheroes are definitely my favorite, as is a high-adrenaline plot. I love anything unexpected, dark, edgy, weird, funny, or so wrong it’s right.

I’m weary of politics, school shootings, dragons, vampires, faeries, and werewolves, and I usually don’t enjoy high fantasy, sword and sorcery, lyrical tales, heavy/spacey sci-fi, literary fiction, or women’s fiction.

Lastly, I enjoy working with authors who show social media savvy and who haven’t alienated one half of the nation or the other with intolerance.

Picture Book: I’m looking for fun, funny, adventurous, or touching stories with that magical mix of novel simplicity and a surprise ending that will have my 6-year-old asking to read over and over. My favorites are The Kissing Hand, The Good for Nothing Button, Parts, the There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a... series, the Llama Llama series, and the Pigeon series.

Middle Grade: I’m looking for mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, low fantasy, paranormal, all with a thread of subtle or not-so-subtle humor.

Young Adult and Adult: In YA, I badly want a Faust retelling. In general, send me unusual re-tellings and heart-rending love stories, harsh and sobering contemporary, romantic suspense, romance in all subgenres except erotic, mystery, suspense, thriller, horror, comedy, low fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, and anything fast-paced.

Full submission guidelines available at: