Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lori Steel of Raven Quill Literary.

Lori Steel is a literary agent with Raven Quill Literary Agency.

Lori’s experience runs the gamut from freelance editor and writing instructor to school librarian and intern/assistant with two leading kid lit agencies. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she also earned the Picture Book Certificate, as well as degrees in education and history. Lori is drawn to lyrical language, compelling settings, and stories with heart. It’s her belief that the power of story, in any form, has the ability to affect change and impact young lives. Lori works editorially with clients to ensure their work shines before finding its perfect home. When not holding a quill, you can often find Lori planning her next travel adventure or perfecting her chocolate chip cookie recipe.

She is seeking:

For all projects, I seek stories with authentic, unforgettable voices that reflect the diverse world we inhabit, instill the possibility of hope and change, and illuminate the shared human experience.

More specifically for YA, I would love to find a fresh take on fantasy tropes, contemporary stories that flip conventional scripts, unexpected historical and/or historical fantasy mash-ups that disrupt entrenched notions. I’m always on the look-out for genre-bending writing in the vein of A.S. King!

Middle Grade contemporary, historical, and fantasy fiction stories that demonstrate deep understanding of readers’ age, voice, and growing awareness of themselves and the world around them is paramount.

For Graphic Novels, I’m looking for writer-illustrators crafting accessible contemporary and select nonfiction stories.

For Picture Books, I’m eager to find writer-illustrators who craft stories with spare text and rich art, creators who play with structure, utilize collusion to engage participation, and don’t underestimate young readers. Nonfiction stories that surprise and instill a sense of wonder are always welcome. Whimsical, lyrical, and/or humorous stories that young readers will beg to read over and over again always top the list.

Themes/ideas/atmospheres that intrigue me:

  • Nonfiction picture books about ecology/environmentalism written from unusual perspectives
  • Regional setting/voices
  • Found families
  • Endearing meet-cute stories
  • Musical motifs
  • Verse, multiple POV and/or interpolated/mixed media novels
  • Setting as character and/or antagonist
  • In all seriousness: Stories that are important and extend the conversation.

I’m NOT the right agent for:

  • Horror of any kind
  • YA Nonfiction
  • Hard sci-fi
  • Didactic, overly sentimental, and message-driven books
  • Stand-alone board books, early readers, and chapter books
  • Boarding school settings
  • Vampires, werewolves, zombies
  • Stories devoid of hope
  • Rhyming PBs in the vein of Seuss or Silverstein

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