Caryn Wiseman know her business! With a an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA, Caryn knows how to negotiate a great deal for her clients and help them understand the book business. As an agent For Andrea Brown Literary, Caryn has sold over 450 books including the New York Times bestseller THE STRANGE CASE OF ORIGAMI YODA BY Tom Angleberger.
Caryn joined the agency in 2003 after spending over a decade in the business world. She is a senior agent and exclusively represents children's authors. Caryn is always on the look out for great nonfiction writers.
Nonfiction ninjas were thrilled to catch up with Caryn and learn a little more about her.
Why did you become a literary agent? I have been an agent for 17 years, and it's a second career for me, but it's definitely the one that I was meant to do! I have been a voracious and critical reader all my life, and agenting was the perfect way to combine my love of books and reading, social justice, and my business education and background.
What excites you most about working in publishing? Three things: 1) That I actually get to make a small difference by bringing children's books that matter into the world 2) that I still get a thrill when I walk into a bookstore and see a book that I represented on the shelf 3) that every day is different, so I'm never bored
What are you looking for in nonfiction projects? Nonfiction that reads like fiction, whatever the category
Are there specific topics that interest you? Social justice in any form is my number one interest
What trends are you seeing in the industry? The market for picture book bios (a particular love of mine) is saturated; there's a growing market for older nonfiction and graphic novel nonfiction; a market for narrative nonfiction for younger kids that isn't picture book bio, but is fun and non-institutional; also a great interest and respect for getting the historical facts right, rather than whitewashing them
Who is your ideal client? Someone who does their homework; who understands the research and permissions process that's involved with nonfiction; someone who understands issues of diversity and inclusion, and who is willing to look at a question from more than one angle; someone who is willing to ask the hard questions about who should tell a story; someone who is willing to take narrative or format risks to tell a story in an interesting way
Are you more interested in PB, MG, YA, or all three? All three, and graphic novels in particular
What do you want to see in a nonfiction proposal? All of the standard proposal stuff, including sample chapters.
What are some of your favorite kidlit nonfiction books? All of my clients' books, of course, like those by Debbie Levy, Don Tate, Kelly Starling Lyons, Sarah Albee, Jennifer Berne, Amy Novesky, Sarah J. Marsh, Susan Wood, or the forthcoming TRUE OR FALSE by Cindy L. Otis. For nonclient books, I'd say The 57 Bus by Dashka Slater, Unpresidented by Martha Brockenbrough, March by John Lewis and Nate Powell, They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, anything by Steve Sheinkin
And last but not least – are you a dog person or a cat person? And do you have a pet? Definitely dog, but small dog. I have a cockapoo named Olivia, who serves as my office assistant.
If you have a project that you think would be right for Caryn - you can contact her through her query manager account.
We are nonfiction authors who support readers and writers through our writing, author visits, and workshops.
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.