Agent August with Andrea Cascardi
Andrea Cascardi has an eye for winners. She acquired and edited the Coretta Scott King winner Tar Beach written by Faith Ringgold and the Pura Belpre winner Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez. As an agent she represented Newberry winner Clare Vanderpool and Stonewall winner, E.E. Charlton-Truillos.
In her with Transatlantic Literary, she is on the lookout for nonfiction that tells a compelling story and will welcome your groundbreaking nonfiction manuscripts.
Nonfiction Ninjas were excited to catch up with the hard-working Ms. Cascardi and she graciously answered some of our burning questions.
Why did you become a literary agent? I became a literary agent after having been an editor, and
wanting to work from home when my children were young. I felt that being an agent was a way to use my skills and knowledge for the benefit of writers and illustrators, just from the other side of the business.
What excites you most about working in publishing? Publishing is an ever-evolving industry, but the best thing about it is that I get to Interact with so many creative, passionate, professional people.
What are you looking for in nonfiction projects? I’m very open to all kinds of nonfiction but across all subject areas I’m always looking for that “aha” moment. I’m curious so I like nonfiction that takes me on a journey, that introduces me to ideas and information in a way that makes me feel I’m reading about it for the first time but engages me completely. The big idea that is distilled into an approachable and entertaining story. Most of all, a compelling voice—that’s just as important in nonfiction as in
Are there specific topics that interest you? I’m a generalist. I’m open to all topics as long as there is a hook for kids. But beyond that, I gravitate to animals, pop culture, quirky/hidden histories, books that
look at big historical moments through a smaller focus, STEM, and graphic novel memoir.
What trends are you seeing in the industry? I’m seeing more lively, entertaining nonfiction where a topic is approached from a humorous or sideways perspective.
Who is your ideal client? One who is both passionate about their subjects and ideas, who has the fortitude to persevere, and who understands who the reader is for their book.
Are you more interested in PB, MG, YA, or all three? I’m more interested in PB and MG right at the moment.
What do you want to see in a nonfiction proposal? I want to see a professional presentation—the hook, the overview, the market, the competition, and at least one complete chapter if it’s middle grade.
The full manuscript if it’s a picture book. A great proposal will carry all the way through to acquisition.
What are some of your favorite kidlit nonfiction books? First, I’d have to list all of my clients’ books, and then books I published, so this would be a very long answer!
What advice can you give to people who want to break into the nonfiction market? First, be passionate about and invested in, a subject. Do your homework: read, read, read, in the age group you’re writing for. Find mentor texts. Be ready to articulate why your book is one the world can’t live
without. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
And last but not least – are you a dog person or a cat person? And do you have a pet?
I’m just slightly more of a dog person, but sadly our home is currently without a pet, as our miniature schnauzer passed away almost a year ago.
If you have a nonfiction project that will knock the socks off Andrea - please contact her at Transatlantic Submissions.
8/24/2020 02:51:12 pm
I've written a very unique nonfiction story. Maybe I will submit it?
8/24/2020 03:03:22 pm
For the NF Ninjas, I am so thrilled and grateful for this month of agent features. Finding agents who love nonfiction as much as I do has seemed like a real challenge, but you all have found them and presented such a gift to us!
8/25/2020 07:44:59 am
So glad you are enjoying the posts. We love talking to people who adore nonfiction.
8/24/2020 03:16:22 pm
Missed this month of posts before - I'll have to go back and read the others. Thanks for doing this!
8/25/2020 07:47:26 am
We have two more great agents coming up!!
8/24/2020 03:23:13 pm
Thanks for featuring NF picture book agents! Very useful!
8/24/2020 03:59:24 pm
I love Tar Beach. I used it often in my classroom. Even with my college students. Andrea, thank you for sharing your expertise. Nonfiction Ninjas, thank you for this focus.
8/24/2020 04:21:45 pm
Thank you for your advice on the nonfiction market.
8/24/2020 05:15:35 pm
I'm have several nonfiction PB manuscripts, so I'll add Andrea to my query list. Thanks for the info!
8/24/2020 05:47:57 pm
Appreciate the reminder about how a quality proposal can carry through with the process. Thanks!
8/24/2020 07:29:35 pm
This has been an amazing month. I am so appre iative of the wonderful in-depth interviews that you've done on agents. And Andrea's reminder not to be afraid to take risks. Thank you all.
8/25/2020 07:52:48 am
Thanks for reading!
8/24/2020 07:31:34 pm
Thanks for the scoop! Enjoy readIng about agents who love nonfiction as much as I do.
8/24/2020 11:19:49 pm
Terrific information! Thanks for sharing.
8/25/2020 01:57:38 am
Thanks for this great information.
8/25/2020 03:59:42 am
Andrea, I'm honing my "Aha" moment and hope to get it to you soon!
8/25/2020 07:51:46 am
So glad we can help!
8/25/2020 04:19:00 am
I heard Andrea Cascardi speak at some conference or other and really liked her, but I had no idea she was interested in nonfiction too! This is really helpful -- thank you to the NF Ninjas and to Andrea! I am still confused about whether I need to submit a whole MS or just a sample chapter and proposal, given that I'm new to mg nonfiction; I've been told that as a new writer I should do the whole MS. Would love clarification on this!
8/25/2020 07:51:04 am
If it is middle grade you need a full proposal. That will include a detailed synopsis, market information, detailed outline, and one to three chapters of the project. You can also include your resume if it is pertinent to your topic.
8/25/2020 07:34:28 am
Adding Andrea to my query list! Also, do nonfiction pbs need proposals?
8/25/2020 07:41:41 am
Fabulous insights! Yes, an ah-ha moment is important in fiction and nonfiction. I’m so inspired by the posts this month. Thank you, Andrea, for this post.
8/25/2020 08:16:56 am
I appreciated the reminder about the importance of a strong voice, even in non-fiction. I totally agree!
Deborah Holt Williams
8/25/2020 08:08:22 pm
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog--I know how very hard that is. I'm glad to read you are open to NF picture books. Thank you for sharing your insights here.
Margaret E Albertson
8/27/2020 02:27:15 pm
I met Andrea at a nonfiction conference. She was very personable and gave me advice how to help my NF story! I was nervous pitching to her and she even gave me advice on how to pitch a story.
8/28/2020 07:14:39 am
Thanks for a great post. I appreciate the reminder to work on creating “a-ha moments” in NF that young readers will love!
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Disclaimer: The Nonfiction Ninjas are a group of writers with diverse ideas . The views expressed in each post are those of the author and may differ from others in the group.