Agent Spotlight: Kaitlyn Sanchez + PITCH PARTY!

I’m thrilled to have agent Kaitlyn Sanchez back at the Mixed-Up Files. I was beyond excited when she first became an agent and have loved watching her add clients and tons of sales. Kaitlyn has her finger on the pulse of the kidlit market and has endless enthusiasm and energy. She supports writers and illustrators through sharing her knowledge and running amazing contests. Kaitlyn is currently closed to queries…so this is a fantastic opportunity to see if your strongest MG pitch catches her eye. Please read all the pitch details at the bottom of the post before entering.

Kaitlyn’s Bio

Kaitlyn Sanchez (she/her) joined Bradford Literary in 2022 with two years of agenting experience under her belt. Kaitlyn is the proud co-creator and co-host of the Spring Fling Kidlit Contest and Kidlit Zombie Week as well as creator and co-host of the Kidlit Fall Writing Frenzy Contest. As a mom, wife, and middle school math teacher, Kaitlyn enjoys playing soccer, binge-watching TV shows, and, of course, reading, especially when she’s all cozied up with her husband and daughter reading together. Kaitlyn is an editorial agent and always works with her clients to make sure we’re putting out their best work. She’s highly communicative and invested in every aspect of helping her clients have a strong and happy career.

Kaitlyn is looking for children’s books (picture books through middle grade) in all categories, including fiction, graphic novels, nonfiction, and illustration. She is incredibly eclectic in her tastes, with a great affinity for emotional stories as well as funny stories. Kaitlyn is always looking for diversity in all forms, including but not limited to BIPOC, neurodiversity, and LGBTQ+. Kaitlyn loves working with artists, so she’s always on the lookout for great author-illustrators and graphic novelists.


What do you want in middle grade novels, Kaitlyn?

For middle-grade stories (including author-illustrated graphic novels), I tend to lean toward fiction. I enjoy coming-of-age stories, friendship stories, adventurous fast-paced stories, mysteries, intergenerational stories, empowering stories, stories with a bit of magic (high fantasy isn’t generally my thing, but I always enjoy a little magic), and quirky stories. I love learning new things in non-didactic ways, and in humor, I run the gamut: from well-placed puns to slapstick to high brow humor. I’d also be interested to see some scary stories that aren’t gruesome. NOTE: I’m not seeking chapter books.

Check out Kaitlyn’s Manuscript Wish List here.


Is there anything else you’re seeking?

I’m currently focusing my list on picture books and middle grade. I’d love to add more funny stories to my list in both of these categories. I love adventure, heartfelt, and unique stories, especially from new perspectives and by underrepresented authors and author-illustrators.


What wouldn’t be a good match for you right now?

Great question! I’m not currently looking for MG NF or script-only GN, and though I do love historical fiction, it would only be a fit if takes place in a time that there’s not many stories about. I’m also not the best fit for high fantasy though I do enjoy some magic. I hope that helps!


Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

There are so many fun tips, but I’ll try to share something that I haven’t shared in an interview before. In writing, there’s a balance between the real world and the book world. Some things you need to include to ensure the story follows everyday logic for readers and other things you can leave out. Similarly, there are some things that wouldn’t necessarily happen in the real world but it helps to have them in a book. For example, in the real world, you may just come up with an idea seemingly out of thin air, but in a book, it helps to propel the plot forward, connect different parts of the story, and keep the reader intrigued if there’s something that shows the reader why this idea came about. From seeing a display in a window that reminds the character of something to a friend saying something adjacent that triggers an idea to your character literally tripping over an idea, it feels more satisfying to the reader if there’s a reason as to why they came up with the idea.

I’d love to find out more about some of the books you’ve repped that are out in the world.

I’m so proud to be a small part in the journey of all of my clients books. Here are a few with some extra special highlights.

Mushroom Rain by Laura K. Zimmermann illustrated by Jamie Green is an award winning, JLG selection, and starred review book.

Whatever Comes Tomorrow by Rebecca Gardyn Levington illustrated by Mariona Cabassa is being used for inspiration for a K-12 arts contest.

DK Ryland’s Giraffe is Too Tall for This Book is currently the Target pick of the month for picture books this November.

Huge congrats to you and your clients, Kaitlyn! I know you started super-strong with picture books and are actively building your middle grade list (and with MG in higher demand than it’s been in the past few years, I can’t wait to see all the sales you make…maybe one of them will come from this Pitch Party). 


What are your favorite recent middle grade novels?

There are so many, it’s hard to choose! Some of my favorites are The Impossible Destiny of Cutie Grackle, What Happened to Rachel Riley, From the Desk of Zoe Washington, Front Desk, and Nevermoor.


Here’s more info about Kaitlyn’s contests!


Fall Writing Frenzy, which I started co-hosting with Lydia Lukidis, is open to all Kidlit writers (PB-YA) and instead of a hierarchy of winners, it’s a contest where each writer selected as a winner gets paired up with someone in the industry we hope they will work well with.


Spring Fling Kidlit, which I co-host with Ciara O’Neal, was the first contest created and is a blog contest for picture book writers to stretch their skills, create a community, and connect with industry professionals.


Kidlit Zombie Week: Are you ready to bring your dead manuscripts back to life? This is a revision week and pitch contest where you can work on manuscripts with tips and support of a wonderful community. It’s mainly for picture book writers because the hosts, which are a wonderful critique group I’m part of—six Ladies and a MANuscript—are picture book writers, but any Kidlit writer can participate.

Kaitlyn shouts out about these contests and other amazing opportunities on social media— make sure you follow her, so you’ll know the 2024 dates (and if you’re traditionally published, consider donating a prize!)

Twitter | Instagram | Bluesky


Rules for the Pitch Party

Before leaving your pitch in the comments, please read and follow all the rules.

  1. The pitch must be for a middle-grade manuscript or graphic novel (Kaitlyn isn’t currently looking for text-only graphic novels, so GN is only for author/illustrators).
  2. The work must be polished and complete.
  3. The pitch must be 60 words or less.
  4. Only one pitch per person.
  5. The pitch must be posted before Friday, December 1 at 11:59 PM (EST).
  6. Please remember, only the pitches that Kaitlyn comments on should be sent to her. Let’s be respectful of her time and the fact that she’s doing a special event just for us, even though she’s closed to queries.
  7. If you participate, please click the “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments by Email” box so you’ll know if you received a response from Kaitlyn.

I’ll contact anyone Kaitlyn requests with info about what she’d like to see and how to submit to her. Good luck!

The adorable Team Sanchez logo is by Kaitlyn’s talented client, Maryam Khalifah.

A huge thank you to Kaitlyn for participating in this fun agent spotlight and Pitch Party! Now, you all know what she is and isn’t looking for. And I love her advice. 😊 To thank Kaitlyn for her generosity, please support her talented clients (Team Sanchez) by following them on social media and/or requesting their books from the library. You can find out more about her clients here.  

Kaitlyn is such an amazing agent. I’m crossing my fingers and toes for lots of pitch requests—and an offer or two.

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Mindy Alyse Weiss
Mindy Alyse Weiss writes humorous middle grade novels with heart and quirky picture books. She’s constantly inspired by her two daughters, an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix who was rescued from the Everglades and a rescue cat who loves to knock things off her desk.

Repped by Joyce Sweeney at The Seymour Agency.

    explains the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol to young readers, covering:

    -the 2020 U.S. Presidential election;

    -the plot hatched in the White House to overturn the election;

    -how the mob entered the building;

    -the role of social media; and

    -the aftermath,

    with a parallel storyline relatable to middle schoolers.

  2. BLESSING IN DISGUISE is a middle grade contemporary fiction story about love, loss, family, friendship, and belonging.
    After Grandpa dies, Blessing is
    lost and nobody understands her anymore, so when she discovers a photograph at a yard sale of a girl who looks exactly like her, she must find out who she is – and where she belongs.

  3. Jackson isn’t the most popular or athletic kid in school, but he plays the drums like a rock star. So when he finds out that the school board wants to cut the music program, he begins an online petition which gains more attention than he planned. But will it be enough to save the band?

    Can he save music the way that music saved him?

  4. Seb knows he’s not his father’s favourite child but when he finds the secret to dad’s grandfather clock he delights in secret escapes to its magical adventure parks until he finds Rosie, his father’s sister, who’s been stuck in the clock since she was twelve. Seb must race against time to free Rosie while risking his relationship with his dad, or worse, getting trapped in the clock world forever.


    • This may be a bit too creepy for me, but I can’t help myself, I’m intrigued! Please share the first three chapters or 20 pages here:
      Thanks for sharing your work with me!


    When Sarah invites her two best friends to Moore Manor for a day of zip-lining and zorbing she has no idea that her birthday party is about to turn into a riddle-solving, adventure as the three friends must follow the Host’s clues, overcome their greatest fears and work together to free themselves, and the Host from the curse that engulfs Moore Manor.

    High-octane adventure, humorous dialogue, magic, spooky, fun.

    • I’m intrigued by the riddles and mysteries! Please share the first three chapters or 20 pages here:
      Thanks for sharing your work with me!

  6. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ROBOT is the coming-of-age story of newly-conscious therapy robot AMM1C3A (they/them pronouns; the human concept of gender confuses them), who is assigned to Adrien Rees, a queer middle schooler struggling with depression and anger management. These unlikely friends must learn to navigate both their absurd, nightmarish world, and the even more terrifying prospect of emotional vulnerability.

  7. Mr. Stinky and the Criss-Cross Curse
    Matt Spazzle hates being compared to his perfect older brother. His Book of Good Stuff to Torture Teachers With is his way to NOT be Blake. But Matt goes too far. His teacher, Mr. Stinky, criss-cross curses him, switching their bodies. Matt must convince Mr. Stinky to switch back before the change is permanent. But Mr. Stinky has run away.


    Muffet, a reclusive 12-year-old who mostly hangs out with bugs, will do anything to find a real friend.

    Arachne, sixth grader turned spider, wants her body back and to exact revenge on the goddess that took it from her.

    As these two girls battle for what they want, they will either end up BFFs or stuck in a web of lies.

    • Haha what great puns and a story that sounds intriguing! Please share the first three chapters or 20 pages here:
      Thanks for sharing your work with me!

    When antisemitism in 1860 Germany forces 12 year old Judith’s family to leave their home, they emigrate to the United States when it is embroiled in its own political difficulties. She must travel across the ocean, but also embark on an internal journey of empowerment to prove to herself that she is worthwhile, regardless of her parents opinion.

  10. 13-year-old late bloomer science nerd Sam reluctantly embarks on a treasure hunt with his new athletic foster-brother/frenemy Hunter. He hopes “debunking the local legend with science” will earn him a scholarship/place at the Genius school or that Hunter will pack his bags if they find the treasure. It’s THE GOONIES meets UNPLUGGED with elements of California (Japanese/French immigrant) history. #ownvoice

    • I’m interested to see where this goes and of course love the Goonies! Please share the first three chapters or 20 pages here:
      Thanks for sharing your work with me!

  11. THE KEY TO FALLS TOOTH WOODS is a MG eco-horror adventure set in the lush and magical Sierra Nevadas. Twelve-year-old rule follower Millie must escape voracious creatures to save her family’s reputation and an enchanted forest before the angry redwood who rules over all captures her and turns her into a permanent resident.

    The Adventure Is Now x The Thickety

    When 12 year-old Jake’s Aunt Claire arrives out-of-the-blue to take care of him and his sister while their mother is undergoing Chemo, she introduces them to a world of unusual relatives and life lessons while on some very interesting Sunday visits. They discover there’s something even more to their aunt than they think, and it might not be so good.

  13. An accident-prone kid becomes the town hero; when he discovers a mysterious hat with a real life hero living in it he decides to use that hero to help him keep everyone, especially his hard to please dad, from finding out his heroic deeds happened completely by accident. But when he makes the biggest mistake of all, catastrophe happens.

    When a prank gone wrong unlocks an ancient curse, feuding brothers Roshan (12) and Tej (11) must unravel clues from their Thatha’s folktales, negotiate with a dark witch, and wrangle mythical creatures—before the sun comes up—or Roshan will remain a monster forever.

    • Ohh! I’m intrigued! Please share the first three chapters or 20 pages here:
      Thanks for sharing your work with me!