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Danielle Burby (Literary Agent)

About Her

Danielle became an agent at NLA in January 2017. Previously, she was an agent at HSG Agency and interned at top literary agencies and publishers such as Writer's House and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, among others. She graduated from Hamilton College with a dual degree in creative writing and women's studies.

She represents YA and MG along with select mystery and women's fiction. She particularly enjoys complex female characters, quirky adventures, narratives that ask the reader to think deeply, girls with swords, and seaside novels. Danielle also looks for a strong narrative voice and characters she wants to spend time with. For more information about her wishlist, check out NLA's Submission Guidelines page. You can find details about her recent sales on Publishers Marketplace.

  • 1.
    Share with us your role at the Nelson Literary Agency.
    I am a literary agent representing clients in YA, middle grade, and women’s fiction.
  • 2.
    Top of your mind - your most rewarding moments as a Literary Agent?
    The most rewarding moment of my job is when I get to make The Call to let an author know we have an offer on their book. It is so special to tell someone their dream, which they worked so hard for, is coming true.
  • 3.
    Share with us some trends for 2017?
    I don’t want to call this a trend because that would imply that it is going away and I certainly hope it isn’t, but I have seen a real shift in publishing where editors are now actively looking to publish diverse voices. I think we are in the middle of a shift in the landscape of publishing where we will see more of a balance in representation moving forward. There is a demand for that change to happen and there is an awareness out there that we need to make a real push. So, again, not a trend, but a shift in a very positive and necessary direction.
  • 4.
    We hear these days that children are less interested in reading and are more inclined towards visual media or are into audio books. What do you feel?

    I haven’t seen this! I think there will always be children who read and who love stories. Whether they prefer physical books, e-books, or audio books, the stories will find their audience.

  • 5.
    You have experience of handling Foreign Rights? Share some of your contributions.
    At my former agency, I was the foreign rights director in addition to being an agent. It was a really fun job because I was working with a network of agents in many different countries. Building those relationships was a wonderful experience. I also learned a lot about what types of books work in various markets. Now I focus on domestic sales and a partner of NLA sells my authors’ foreign rights on our behalf. I have a lot of respect for the people who specialize in foreign rights.
  • 6.
    What genres are you currently seeking?

    I’m looking for every genre in YA and middle grade! What I really want to see is a spectacular voice and a story that keeps me fully immersed. It is more about the experience of the read than it is about a specific genre. On the adult side, I’m taking on select women’s fiction. I only have so many slots on my client list so, regardless of genre, I’m looking for books that won’t let me say no.

  • 7.
    Is Author-Agent-Publisher equation changing with the self-publishing becoming increasingly popular and an accepted norm? What is your opinion?

    I think that the relationships haven’t actually changed much with the introduction of self-publishing. If an author chooses to solely self-publish, he or she doesn’t interact with agents or with publishers because the author fills every role him or herself. It is a daunting task, but it can work very well for the people who truly commit to it. Authors who want to take a more traditional route and have the weight and support of a publisher behind them still go through the same process as before. Self-publishing and traditional publishing are two very different paths with the same end goal so, while they exist closely alongside one another, they don’t necessarily cross very often, at least not when it comes to author/agent/publisher relationships.

  • 8.
    On a personal front, what does a weekend mean to you? Your favorite pastime?
    I love the weekend! I usually spend one of my weekend days doing reading work, but I also really like to go to plays, walk in the park, and take my cardio kickboxing class. When I can get out of NYC, I like to hike and explore nature. Of course, I also love being a couch potato and watching tv or movies to relax.
  • 9.
    There is one question that I throw at all my guests, what is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?
    I’m a big seltzer drinker!
  • 10.
    What are the key points that an aspiring author of ‘The Write Scene,’ should keep in mind to enhance their chances of finding an Agent?
    My biggest piece of advice is that you make sure your manuscript is the best, most polished, version of itself before you send it to agents. After you finish your first draft, go through and edit and get it into the best shape you possibly can on your own. After that, share it with friends and family and make even more changes based off of their feedback. Do this as many times and with as many trusted readers as you can. Keep plugging away at it and polishing. It will get better with each revision. Wait until you feel it is as strong as you can possibly make it before you begin to query. This is your shot!


Danielle Burby (Literary Agent)