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Profile Summary

Polly Nolan became Greenhouse’s UK agent in 2013.   Greenhouse is a transatlantic agency with experience of representing clients in both the North American and UK markets.  Polly is a relatively new agent and would be a good agent for debut authors writing for children and young adults. She has a wealth of publishing experience and was formerly Editorial Director of Fiction at Scholastic and associate publishing director for fiction at Macmillan Children's Books.

•Polly is actively building her list and is interested in hearing from authors who are writing picture books, young fiction series, Middle Grade and Young Adult. She will consider a wide range of genres but middle grade and funny stories for 5-11 are her particular areas of interest.  

•Unfortunately, Greenhouse do not publish an individual agent client list.  However, we know that Polly has previously represented Liz Pichon, Roddy Doyle, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Kevin Brooks, Elizabeth Laird and Andrew Lane.  Prizewinning authors on the Greenhouse list include, Julie Bertagna creator of the prize- winning young adult dystopian sequence – Exodus, Zenith and Aurora; and Swapna Haddow, who won the Greenhouse Funny Prize 2014 with children’s book, Dave Pigeon. 

•Polly hates unprofessional cover letters and would-be-clients who fail to read the submission guidelines. She is looking for ‘Succinctness and clarity: a clear understanding of the market for the book and a very strong, catchy summary that doesn’t read like book blurb but tells me what will happen in the novel’.

•Ensure that you have written a clear, short summary of your book.  It should be less than a page and ‘utterly gripping

Novels should demonstrate ‘an arresting voice, strong concept, and heart and emotional pull’

•Polly tweets regularly about literature that she loves @NolanPolly

•Finally, Greenhouse publish some great submission advice on their website and we strongly recommend that you use it when preparing your manuscript. 

 

 



Detailed data

Agency:
The Greenhouse Literary Agency
Agent since:
2013
Short biography:

Polly Nolan joined Greenhouse in June 2013 as our agent based in the UK. After a long and distinguished publishing career, Polly made the move into agenting to do more of what she enjoys most - find new writing talent, help to develop great fiction, and achieve publishing deals for authors both new and established.

Polly began in children's publishing in the 1990s and has worked at a number of major London houses, including several years as Editorial Director of Fiction at Scholastic and Publishing Director (Fiction) at Macmillan Children's Books. She has an enviable record as a talent-spotter and experienced nurturer of writers.

Client list status:
Keen to build client list
Genres this agent is interested in:
Children's picture books, Children's fiction, Young adult fiction, Children's & YA non-fiction
Authors & books liked:

What Polly is seeking: UK, Irish, Commonwealth (including Australia, NZ & India) and European authors writing in English. Outstanding writing from picturebooks to young fiction series, and from Middle Grade to Young Adult. She is open to all genres, but is particularly looking for middle grade. Brilliant, original story is key. She loves novels written with an arresting voice, strong concept, with heart and emotional pull, in short, stories with true child and teen appeal.

Other loves & passions:
No Data
How to make a submission:
http://greenhouseliterary.com/index.php/site/how_to_submit
Other advice and background:

Here are our top 10 tips for children’s fiction writers.

1. Find out what books today’s kids are buying and enjoying. Absorb contemporary culture and literature, but never try to copy anyone else’s voice or concept because you think they’re successful right now. What’s hot today may be stone cold in a year’s time and it will take at least this long for your book to be published.  

2. Write, write and write some more! Every writer has a special, unique voice, and it can take some trial and error to discover that and develop it.  

3. Publishers publish into age categories – young fiction, middle grade and young adult.  Be very clear who you are writing for; many novels never find a home because they don’t speak clearly enough to any section of the market.  

4. There are two aspects to any great book:  the quality of the writing and the quality of the plotting.  You need to have a strong, individual, fresh voice that pulls the reader in – but you also need a great story to tell.  

5. Work out a structure to your story, especially the ending, so you know where it’s going when you start writing. A good outline will not only ensure your story doesn’t run out of steam – it will also help you pitch your work to an agent or publisher.  

6. Decide at the outset who is telling your story and be consistent in telling it from that character’s perspective.  

7. Will your story be told in the first person or the third?  And what form will it take – a straightforward narrative or a journal or what? Pick a form that really matches your story.  

8. Start your story strongly so that the reader is grabbed from the beginning. You could start with a dramatic moment, or a moment of change or discovery.  If you’ve bored readers in the first 20 pages you’ll probably never get them back.

9. Show don’t tell. That is, let your characters show what they think and feel – don’t just tell your reader about them.  

10. Get your first draft down, then take time out to distance yourself. Reread as objectively as you can, then polish your writing as much as possible so you submit your very best work. And because ten tips just aren’t enough:    

11. What made you laugh as a child? What made you cry? What made your heart beat faster?  Writing that makes the reader feel things is great!   Good luck!  

AN INTERVIEW WITH POLLY 

Q. What is top of your query wishlist at this precise moment, as of March 2014?

Polly: I would love, love, love some really strong and original middle grade that stands alone. Also some achingly funny stories for readers of 5 to 7.

Q. What makes or breaks a query letter for you? 

Polly: What breaks a query letter is easy: people not being professional in their approach. That is, not following the submission guidelines, not running a spell check, not sending their query to the right person, not researching whether the agency is the right one for the sort of book being written.  An awful lot of people who send in submissions indicate that they want to give up working and write full time. If that’s true, shouldn’t they give as much time and thought to their submission letter as they would to their CV?  You would be amazed by the numbers that don’t.  I realise that I sound like a bossy boots above, but I think people don’t realise the context in which they are querying.  I get thousands of submissions.  Make your approach as professional as you can! What makes a query letter?   Succinctness and clarity: a clear understanding of the market for the book and a very strong, catching summary that doesn’t read like book blurb but tells me what will happen in the novel. Keep it short though! Of course, a letter that is perfect is always good, but what I am really hoping for is one that tells me about a terrifically strong novel with a brilliant and original storyline.

Q. What do you want from your ideal client?  Polly: What a hard question!  I’m not sure that there is an ‘ideal’ client!  Authors tend to be a myriad and fascinating group of people, and in my experience, no two are ever the same.  That’s part of the joy of working with people who write.  If pushed, I would probably say realism/pragmatism mixed with a healthy dose of professionalism and a decent dab of genius and eccentricity.  There would also need to be a drop of resilience in there – it’s a tough calling – but balanced by a soaring imagination.  No matter what the ‘ideal’ client though, I think it’s vital that s/he and the agent and editor communicate well.

Q. Does any particular pitch/query stick out in your mind as a good example?

Polly: Rather than being specific, I am – helpfully – going to make a sweeping generalization. In my experience, those authors who can write a clear, short summary of their book always stand out.  Writing a summary is a very difficult thing to do. It’s something people don’t practise enough.  It’s not the same thing as writing jacket copy, so it’s not about question marks and ellipses. It’s about summarizing the novel you have written, including spoilers, in under a page and in an utterly gripping manner.

Q. What has been the highlight of your career?    

Polly: Well, I’ve been at this for less than a year, so everything so far has been a highlight as I am loving it.  If I have to choose something, may I choose two things? One is getting pre-emptive, 3-book offers on both sides of the Atlantic for the first client I signed. The other is getting a 3-book deal for the winner of the Greenhouse Funny Prize 2013.  Oh, can I have one more? I’ve just signed a mega-exciting YA client. I cannot wait to work with her on her novel and then get out and start selling it.  

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Yes
Follow on Twitter:
@NolanPolly
Interesting links:
http://greenhouseliterary.com/index.php/site/index
Clients:
full client list represents the whole agency: Courtney Alameda Ronni Arno Sarah Aronson Kate Bassett Julie Bayless Jennifer Bell Romily Bernard Julie Bertagna Martha Brockenbrough Tami Lewis Brown Caroline Carlson Sarwat Chadda Gina Ciocca Marina Cohen Winifred Conkling Donna Cooner Elle Cosimano Sue Cowing Alison DeCamp Alexandra Diaz Lindsay Eagar Ashley Elston Erin Fletcher Jan Gangsei Ryan Gebhart Harriet Goodwin Shannon Grogan Teresa Harris Jill Hathaway Kat Helgeson Amy Holder Elissa Hoole Jessie Humphries Rahul Kanakia Dawn Kurtagich Lindsey Leavitt Catherine Linka Jon Mayhew Cori McCarthy Dawn Metcalf Wendy Mills Megan Miranda Michelle Modesto Hannah Moskowitz Annemarie O'Brien Julie Olson CJ Omololu Natalie C. Parker Valerie Patterson Gavin Puckett Jeyn Roberts Erica Lorraine Scheidt Michelle Schusterman Tess Sharpe Tricia Springstubb Chana Stiefel Shawn Stout Laura Tims Talia Vance Vin Vogel Tommy Wallach Sharon Biggs Waller Blythe Woolston Kat Yeh Brenna Yovanoff
Full client list:
http://greenhouseliterary.com/index.php/authors/
Email address:
pollyn@greenhouseliterary.com

Agents of: The Greenhouse Literary Agency

Agency details

Website:
http://greenhouseliterary.com/
About the agency:
Greenhouse has offices on both sides of the Atlantic. Since its launch, it has fast established itself as a foremost agency for childrens and YA authors, representing some of the best new talent in childrens writing, including Sarwat Chadda, Jon Mayhew , Harriet Goodwin, Brenna Yovanoff, Megan Miranda, Blythe Woolston, Julie Bertagna, Lindsey Leavitt, Jeyn Roberts, Jill Hathaway and Donna Cooner. Sarah Davies founded the Greenhouse and is head of the agency. She created the business after moving to the USA from England in 2007, following a long career as a senior UK childrens publisher. In her publisher incarnation, Sarah worked with many high-profile writers on both sides of the Atlantic. As an agent she has shepherded many debut authors to success. She has considerable experience in contract negotiation, marketing and rights, as well as a strong understanding of digital developments. Excellent publishing contacts in both the USA and Britain, and homes in both countries, have given her an unusually transatlantic view of the childrens books industry, from both sides of the desk. A member of AAR and SCBWI, Sarah is an experienced speaker on childrens books and creative writing and attends many writers and book-trade events throughout the year. She says, Everything you need to know about Greenhouse is embodied in its name.
Address for submissions:
No data
Office address:
Emailed submissions
Email address:
submissions@greenhouseliterary.com
Phone number:
No data
Number of agents:
1
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Other - see details
Further submission info:
Here is the procedure to follow if you want to submit your work to Greenhouse: 1) Make sure your work is absolutely as good as you can make it. Revise, critique (repeat, repeat) before sending. Dont waste your opportunity! 2) Decide which agent is right for you - you can only submit to one. Click on Sarah Davies or John Cusick to read about them and their interests. If you live in the US/Canada and are writing for middle grade or older, you can query either Sarah or John. If you live in the UK/Commonwealth and are writing MG or YA, please query Sarah. 3) PICTUREBOOKS: Please note our amended submissions policy. If you are from the US/Canada, please submit your PB text to John. Sorry, but we are currently closed to UK/Commonwealth PB texts. 4) Prepare a query email WITH THE AGENTS NAME IN THE SUBJECT LINE. The opening letter should be no longer than one page in length (if it were on paper) and should contain: word count of the manuscript; age group, brief synopsis of story (no more than 3 paragraphs); brief bio with details of any writing background you have. Please also tell us what country you live in. This is very helpful! 5) If youre writing a novel: Paste the first 5 pages of your story into the body of the email. If youre writing a picturebook (no more than 1000 words): paste in the whole text. No illustrations are required at this stage, unless you are an author/illustrator. Please note: we do not accept or open attachments unless we specifically request them. 6) Send your complete query email to submissions@greenhouseliterary.com. 7) Wait patiently. We love to find new talent so all queries are read and carefully considered. We can often get back to you very quickly - within a few days. However, we receive a very high volume of submissions and sometimes other work/travel delay us. Please therefore allow up to 6 weeks for a response. If we havent got back to you by then, email the agent again on submissions@greenhouseliterary.com - its possible your message got lost in cyberspace. You can of course also add a delivery/read receipt to your query email to be sure it has arrived. 8) If we are interested in your work we will reply asking to read either a partial or full manuscript as an e-document. In this case, please allow 6-8 weeks for us to read and respond to the manuscript.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
6 days
Agency Transparency Index:
51/100
Member of the AAA:
No
Overseas offices:
Yes
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
@SarahGreenhouse
Latest news:
http://www.greenhouseliterary.com/index.php/blog
More about the agency:
Greenhouse has offices on both sides of the Atlantic. Since its launch, it has fast established itself as a foremost agency for childrens and YA authors, representing some of the best new talent in childrens writing, including Sarwat Chadda, Jon Mayhew , Harriet Goodwin, Brenna Yovanoff, Megan Miranda, Blythe Woolston, Julie Bertagna, Lindsey Leavitt, Jeyn Roberts, Jill Hathaway and Donna Cooner. Sarah Davies founded the Greenhouse and is head of the agency. She created the business after moving to the USA from England in 2007, following a long career as a senior UK childrens publisher. In her publisher incarnation, Sarah worked with many high-profile writers on both sides of the Atlantic. As an agent she has shepherded many debut authors to success. She has considerable experience in contract negotiation, marketing and rights, as well as a strong understanding of digital developments. Excellent publishing contacts in both the USA and Britain, and homes in both countries, have given her an unusually transatlantic view of the childrens books industry, from both sides of the desk. A member of AAR and SCBWI, Sarah is an experienced speaker on childrens books and creative writing and attends many writers and book-trade events throughout the year. She says, Everything you need to know about Greenhouse is embodied in its name.

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