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agent : jeff@foliolit.com
Jeff Kleinman
Folio Literary Management, LLC
630 9th Avenue, Suite 1101, New York, NY 10036
212-400-1494 x 240
http://www.foliolit.com
illustration

About Me:
So this is what I love more than anything else in the world (except, arguably, my wife and kid): I’m sitting on the couch reading, and then I’m gone – living in Narnia, breathing Middle Earth air, dodging passers-by in turn-of-the-century New York City. There’s nothing else like that moment. Sometimes (ok, true confession here) I’ll get so caught up that my hands go numb (which makes scrolling down almost impossible). Once my diaphragm seized up and I had to stop reading so the black spots would disappear in front of my eyes. That’s what books can do: they can transform you. They can transform the world. (OK, so I’m a bit of an idealist.)

I’m on the hunt: I want projects that can make a difference. I love unique voices, magnificently strong characters, unusual premises, and books that offer up some new perspective on something I thought I already knew something about (like Alaskan exploration) or never even dreamed existed (a racecar-loving dog, for instance). I’m always interested in learning (I spent a lot of time in the classroom, with a B.A. in English / Modern Studies from the University of Virginia, an M.A. in Italian from the University of Chicago, and a J.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law. Yeah, that was definitely enough schooling for anybody), and I love it when someone can teach me something organically so it doesn’t feel like I’m even learning.

While I’m hunting for that next amazing book, I’m also a founding partner at Folio, a Manhattan-based agency – we pride ourselves on nurturing new talent and developing a strong, supportive, professional relationship with our clients. (You won’t get shunted off to an assistant, for instance.)

Folio offers the best of both worlds (OK, so maybe I’m a little biased?). With over 15 agents, we have the experience, expertise, and strength that you'd expect from a larger agency, but we have the spark, ingenuity, and personalized attention that you'd want from a smaller agency. And the best part: everybody at Folio is really, really nice. (Seriously. Not kidding.) (But they’re all bulldogs for negotiating contracts – just warning you.)

I’m looking for:
Fiction: I’m looking for extremely well-written, character-driven books that make me absolutely fall in love with the characters and their world. I represent bookclub fiction (not genre commercial, like mysteries or romances), and literary fiction, and am particularly on the lookout for very well-written thrillers and suspense novels, or novels with a great, quirky, fun voice – like Melissa DeCarlo’s The Art of Crash Landing.

Nonfiction: I’m particularly interested in narrative nonfiction and memoir, and have sold projects in a wide variety of subjects.

Types of Projects I'm on the Lookout For:
* Books that make a difference. I really love books that make me realize something new about the world, or myself – books that will change me for the better. Maybe they celebrate some aspect of life, or inspire the reader to try harder. This doesn’t mean “inspirational books” (which tend to have a more religious slant, and would be better suited to other agents at Folio) as much as inspiring books – I like well-written, solid stories that charm me to try to do better and be a better person.

* Books with a distinctive, special voice. (Not sure what I mean? Pick up The Art of Racing in the Rain today!)

* Books with a very unique, special, “I haven’t seen this before” premise that can be summed up in a sentence or two, but also that don’t sound totally crazy. Try telling your book idea to someone who doesn’t know you – if, after you do, the person says, “Wow!” that’s the kind of thing I’d love to see.

* Upmarket / literary suspense / thrillers. I’d love to find upmarket psychological suspense stories with unique concepts and really strong writing.

* Escape stories that take us totally out of our world and into another – for instance, The Snow Child, set in the far reaches of 1920s Alaska. (But keep in mind that I don’t represent science fiction or fantasy.)

* Upbeat subjects. I avoid “misery memoirs” and books about terrorists bent on destroying civilization.

* History has always been a passion, so I’m on the lookout for something that brings the past to life and makes it relevant.

* Animals are another interest: I grew up in a house that had a lot of animals underfoot, so not surprisingly I find myself doing a lot of animal-oriented books today.

For a peek at what agents look for:
Here is a video from a talk that Folio agents Erin Harris, Dado Derviskadic and I gave at Columbia University's Fiction Foundry.

I’m not looking for:
* Children’s, middle grade, young adult.
* Christian.
* Prescriptive (“how to”) travel books.
* Genre commercial fiction (science fiction and/or fantasy, westerns, mysteries, and/or romances).
* Poetry
* Plays, teleplays, or screenplays.
* Novels less than 60,000 words.
* Books on serial killers, children in peril (kidnapped, murdered, victimized, and so forth), or books dealing with the events of September 11, 2001. I also avoid subjects like rape, suicide, and manic-depression; and thrillers in which there’s some terrorist organization bent on destroying America or the world.
* Books that deal, positively or negatively, with the present political climate - this includes fiction and nonfiction.

Podcast Series:
I'm really thrilled to be part of the new podcast series which is a partnership between Folio and the Salt Cay Writers Retreat. Really cool interviews, including my chance to interview Lee Child, bestselling author of the Jack Reacher Series. Sign up and listen here.

Upcoming Events:

March 13-18 | London | The London Book Fair

April 7, 2017 | Fairfax, VA | George Mason University MFA Program visit

April 21-22, 2017 | Southampton, NY | Stonybrook Southampton MFA Program visit

May 3, 2017 | Online | NonfictionWritersConference.com

May 4, 2017 | Seattle, WA | Seattle 7's State of the Book Salon

June 11-16, 2017 | Roanoke, VA | Tinker Mountain Writers Retreat

July 11-15, 2017 | NYC | Thrillerfest

August 2-4, 2017 | Miami, OH | Miami University MFA Program visit

September 9-10, 2017 | Brooklyn, NY | Slice Literary Conference

September 21-24, 2017 | Albuquerque, NM | Historical Writers of America Conference

October 19-22, 2017 | Orlando, Fla | Florida Writers Association Conference

December 6-10, 2017 | New Orleans, La | Words & Music Conference

To sum up:
A great story can allow you to enter other people’s thoughts and lives – and, when you close the book with a sigh, transform you: maybe you’re a little more grateful, or a little kinder, or a little wiser. I love books that inspire me to become better, smarter, more present. This has been the case with many of the books I’ve represented, and it’s something I seek in new projects. I believe strongly that books can make a difference. Good writing and smart ideas can change our world.


years experience: 18
GENRES & SPECIALTIES
General fiction, Suspense/thriller, Biography, History, Lifestyle, Science, Book Club Fiction, Literary Fiction, Debut Fiction, Memoir, Narrative Nonfiction, Journalism, Art & Art History
LEADING CLIENTS
Garth Stein, Eowyn Ivey, Elizabeth Letts, Robert Hicks, Charles J. Shields, Neil Abramson, Nick Trout, Karen Dionne
BEST-KNOWN PROJECTS
The Art of Racing in the Rain (NYT Bestseller), narrated by that wise old dog, Enzo. Sold in territories throughout the world; film rights to Disney.

The $80 Champion (#1 NYT Bestseller), where an $80 plowhorse becomes the greatest jumper in the U.S.; film rights to MGM.

The Snow Child (Pulitzer finalist and NYT Bestseller), the haunting tale of a little girl’s harrowing friendship with an elderly couple homesteading in the Alaskan wilderness. First novel.

Mockingbird (NYT Bestseller), the definitive biography of Harper Lee, author of To Kill A Mockingbird.

The Widow of the South (NYT Bestseller), the heartrending story of a broken woman and a broken soldier caught up in one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. First novel.

MOST RECENT RIGHTS SALES
*Feb. 2017. Kathy McKeon’s JACKIE’S GIRL: My Life with the Kennedy Family, a memoir about how in 1964, 19-year-old Kathy, a poor farm girl from Ireland, found herself working as former first lady Jackie Kennedy's personal assistant and spent the next thirteen years at Jackie's side, helping to raise young Caroline and John, and witnessing some of the twentieth century's most significant events, to Jennifer Bergstrom at Gallery, by Jeff Kleinman and Steve Troha at Folio Literary Management (World).

*Nov. 2016. Rhiannon Navin’s ONLY CHILD, narrated by a seven-year old boy, about the immediate and lasting effects that a school shooting has on his family and community, to Carole Baron at Knopf (NA) on a pre-empt by Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary Management. UK rights to Sam Humphreys at Macmillan UK/Mantle, in a preempt, by Lorella Belli; Dutch rights to HarperCollins Holland, in a preempt, by Neeltje Smitskamp at Marianne Schoenbach Agency; Polish rights to HarperCollins Polska, in a preempt, by Justyna Pelaska at GRAAL; simplified Chinese rights to Beijing White Horse Time, in a preempt, by Gray Tan at the Grayhawk Agency; Portuguese rights and world Spanish rights to HarperCollins Iberica, both in preempts, by Jennifer Hoge at IECO; Hebrew rights to Miskal, in a preempt, by Beverley Leavitt at TBPAIL; with auctions pending for Germany, France, Italy and Brazil, and more territories expected shortly; international rights with Molly Jaffa at Folio. Dramatic rights with Steve Fisher, APA.

*Sept. 2016. Stephanie Land's MAID, a memoir based on a Vox essay gone viral about a young single mother who worked as a maid for five years and what she learned about life from cleaning other people's houses, in a pre-empt to Krishan Trotman in her first acquisition for Hachette Books, by Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary Management (NA).

*July, 2016. Sophie Chen Keller's THE LUSTER OF LOST THINGS, in which a lonely 12-year-old boy with an uncanny ability to find lost objects launches the most important search he’ll ever undertake (accompanied by his best friend, an overweight golden retriever), descending into the dark underbelly of a slightly fantastical New York City and befriending the extraordinary and forgotten in his quest to save his mother’s magical bakery — the only place he’s ever called home, in a pre-empt to Tara Singh Carlson at Putnam for World rights (except German); German rights sold on a preempt to Ullstein by Molly Jaffa at Folio. Italian rights sold on a preempt to Nord.

*June, 2016. Author of Adopting the Racing Greyhound Cynthia Branigan's FLYING LESSONS FROM A DIVING HORSE, about how the author, lost and adrift, bought at a slaughter auction the last of the Atlantic City Diving Horses that leaped off 40' platforms into a 10' tub of water - and of how rescued horse and owner were profoundly transformed by the other, to Victoria Wilson at Pantheon, in a pre-empt, by Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary Management (World English).

*May, 2016: Founder of Backspace writers organization and Salt Cay Writers Retreat Karen Dionne's THE MARSH KING'S DAUGHTER, about how, when a notorious child abductor escapes from prison, his daughter must use the wilderness skills her father taught her to hunt him down before he can kidnap her and her two young daughters, to Mark Tavani at Putnam, in a two-book major deal, at auction, by Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary Management. Rights previously sold to Verus in Brazil, in a pre-empt, by Riff Agency, Lindhardt & Ringhof in Denmark, in a pre-empt, by Ulf Toregard, Juritzen in Norway, by Ulf Toregard, De Fontein in Holland, at auction, by Marianne Schoenbach and Neeltje Smitskamp, and Altin in Turkey, by Molly Jaffa at Folio Literary Management. Dramatic rights: Sylvie Rabineau at RWSG.

*March, 2016: Charles Shields's substantially revised and updated edition of his 2006 bestseller MOCKINGBIRD, the biography of Harper Lee, re-framed from the perspective of the publication of Lee's GO SET A WATCHMAN, with new details and reporting about the decade between 2006 and Lee's death, to Serena Jones at Holt.

*February, 2016: Benjamin Ludwig's debut novel FOREVER GIRL, pitched as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime meets Room, told from the perspective of an adopted autistic teenage girl who's plotting to get herself kidnapped by her birth mother, to Liz Stein at Mira, in a major deal, in a 3-day exclusive pre-empt. Foreign rights sold to Holland, Poland, Italy, and France.

*November, 2015: YouTube Head of Culture and Trends Kevin Allocca's WHEN WE PRESS PLAY, an examination of the democratization of culture and art, to Bloomsbury, at auction.

*November, 2015: Actor and singer-songwriter Val Emmich's debut novel, THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF NEVER FORGETTING, the laugh-out-loud, heartbreaking story of a little girl who can't forget who befriends a man desperate to remember, sold on an aggressive preempt to Little Brown; translation rights already sold to Germany, Italy, Denmark, China, Israel, Brazil, and Holland; U.K and Commonwealth rights sold at auction to Picador U.K.; with several more deals in the pipeline.

*October, 2015: The "Sleep Whisperer" W. Chris Winter, M.D.'s SLEEP REVOLUTION, a game-changing approach to fixing your sleep, once and for all, to Berkley, at auction.

*October, 2015: 52 LESSONS FROM A CHRISTMAS CAROL author Bob Welch's CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY, the true story of the founding of America's first theme park, Santa's Workshop—heartwarming inspiration for the dreamer in all of us, highlighting enduring values like hope, joy, faith, wonder, giving back, and reaching for the stars, to Convergent.

*October, 2015: Celebrity dog trainer and star of the Emmy-winning CBS show Lucky Dog, Brandon McMillan's MAKE YOUR DOG A LUCKY DOG, which uses the author's 7 Common Commands to train—-playfully, carefully, and kindly—-any dog, of any age or breed, even the most problematic, in just 7 days, to Harper One, in a major deal, in a pre-empt.

*July, 2015: Journalist Herb Frazier, historian and College of Charleston professor Bernard Edward Powers Jr. Ph.D., and Poet Laureate of South Carolina Marjory Wentworth's FINDING GRACE: The Story of Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church & The Story of All of Us, which examines the Charleston Church's seminal role in U.S. history to understand the extraordinary selflessness and perseverance of its congregants, with in-depth interviews of victims' families and the survivors of the recent massacre, with a percentage of all proceeds going to the Pinckney Scholarship Fund, to Thomas Nelson, in a pre-empt.

*May, 2015: Ethel Rohan's THE KINGDOM KEEPERS, following a morbidly obese man who, in the wake of his teenage son's inexplicable suicide, begins a weight-loss campaign as the first step in his ambitious plan to rid the world of suicide, a plan that embarrasses his family and shocks his neighbors, but ultimately proves that with courage and love, one big man's small acts can change the world, to St. Martin's, at auction.

*April, 2015: American literature professor J. Aaron Sanders's SPEAKERS OF THE DEAD: A Walt Whitman Mystery, the first in a planned series featuring Walt Whitman as the protagonist; in this novel, a young Walt Whitman struggles to exonerate his friends from murder charges as he uncovers the dark world of grave-robbers who steal corpses for medical colleges, to Plume, at auction.

*January, 2015: NYT bestselling author Garth Stein's next two picture books, ENZO'S VERY SCARY HALLOWEEN, narrated by the lovable dog from Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain, with artwork by illustrator R. W. Alley, to Harper Children's, in a two-book deal.

*August, 2014: Melissa DeCarlo's THE ART OF CRASH LANDING, about a young woman who returns - penniless, pregnant, and homeless - to the small southern hometown she never knew she had, to Harper Perennial, at auction, in a two-book deal.

*July, 2014: Alex Sheshunoff's BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO PARADISE, a humorous memoir of a guy who drops out of the rat-race and moves to the South Pacific in search of the capital-P in "Paradise," and along the way learns how to wear a loin cloth, build a thatched hut, diaper a baby monkey, fall in love, and ultimately find Paradise - but not the way he expected, to NAL, at auction.

*March, 2014: TREES MAKE THE BEST MOBILES author Jessica Teich's THE FUTURE TENSE OF JOY, a half-mystery, half-memoir, exploring the suicide of a beautiful young woman -- a woman whose life eerily echoes her own; what she learns is jarring, forcing her to confront her own demons, in this story of the human heart in search of its own peace, to Seal Press, in a very nice deal.

SPECIALIZED TRAINING, WORK EXPERIENCE, HONORS
More About Folio:

Everyone at Folio strongly believes that books can and do change lives, and that well-told stories make a difference in the world. We are the people who help bring an author’s vision to life - and help open readers’ eyes to new vistas, new experiences, and new perspectives. For Folio agents, our work is not a job - it’s a passion and an adventure we dive into every day.

Some of what Folio offers includes:
* a crack team to sell international rights across the globe;
* close ties with the best dramatic rights agents in the business;
* a Digital Rights Manager to handle eBooks and digital issues as they come up;
* folks who sell audio rights, serial rights, and other book-related rights.

For more information about Folio, go to www.foliolit.com.

SUB-AGENTS/ RIGHTS CONTACTS
For international rights, please contact Melissa Sarver (melissa @ foliolit.com).

For a list of international subagents, please see www.foliolit.com.

For dramatic, audio, and other rights, please contact me directly.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS
Email only.

In your subject line, try to make it clear this is a submission -- maybe include your name and the title of the work; or "Query," or something along those lines. Like everybody else these days, I'm besieged with spam and junk email - a lot of which I delete unopened, or it gets sucked into the spam filter without me even seeing it first. I don't want to delete your email by mistake, so try to make it clear that you're contacting me requesting that I review your project.

Please email your cover letter and paste in the first page or so of your material at the bottom of the letter (no attachments, please). Let's repeat that again: first page of your manuscript. Not a synopsis. First page. Please.

I generally try to respond to all my email within 1 minute to a couple of weeks, so if you haven't heard from me within a couple of weeks, please send a follow-up email.

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