Laurel Symonds is a literary agent with The Bent Agency.
“I began my publishing career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books, where I worked with a number of award-winning and bestselling authors. I’ve also worked in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. What I love most about being an agent is being the author’s advocate through all the parts of the publication process.
“I represent young adult and middle-grade fiction, and I have a special interest in contemporary, historical fiction, and genre-blending fantasy. I look for engaging voices, commercial hooks, and immersive worlds. My YA tastes are pretty commercial but my middle-grade tastes can skew more literary, and I’m especially interested in middle-grade that might lend itself to illustration.
“I also represent picture books, graphic novels, and other illustrated work, and I am open to new clients who are both authors and illustrators. My tastes are diverse, ranging from sophisticated to quirky to gently humorous. I especially appreciate a smart use of color and perspective.
“Additionally, I represent select nonfiction for children and young adults, especially projects about STEM or history with age-appropriate hooks and series potential.
“In every category, I’m particularly seeking voices that have previously been underrepresented and stories that have been overlooked.
“On a personal note, when I’m not reading, I enjoy baking, hiking, and spending time with my dog, Sherlock. Raised in rural New England and having spent a decade in New York City, London, and Chicago, I’m thrilled to have settled in the Pacific Northwest.”