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 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.
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!)
Rules for the Pitch Party
Before leaving your pitch in the comments, please read and follow all the rules.
- 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).
- The work must be polished and complete.
- The pitch must be 60 words or less.
- Only one pitch per person.
- The pitch must be posted before Friday, December 1 at 11:59 PM (EST).
- 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.
- 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.