Representing books with charisma for adults, teens and children

Representing books with charisma for adults, teens and children

Representing books with charisma for adults, teens and children

Areas of interest and query guidelines

Representing books with charisma for adults, teens and children. Areas of interests are:

  • Narrative nonfiction memoir/biography about extraordinary people and experiences, obsessions, travel, history, home & lifestyle, New York, Americana, pop culture, music and the arts. Not interested in essay collections, topics in medicine, health, psychology, science, technology, finance, business, politics, religion/spirituality, stories of abuse or victimhood, accidents, sports, pets, cooking, food or true crime.

Three Lives Bookstore
  • Multicultural and international fiction that's relatable to American readers

  • Mysteries, thrillers, suspense novels with likable heroes or anti-heroes that are satisfying but not predictable. No serial killers or gruesome description.

  • Mainstream fiction, excluding category romance, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, religious/spiritual fiction, gratuitous sex and violence or the sentimental. Accidents or medical diagnoses as inciting incidents show a lack of imagination.

  • Historical fiction rendered in a contemporary style (no Faulkner imitations). Define the reader and their motivation to pick up the book.

  • Literary novels with an emphasis on story, dramatic action and dialogue

  • Short story and poetry collections with popular appeal

NOTE: Not interested in any fiction with academics as protagonists. I'm looking for characters and situations that are more identifiable for readers.

  • Children's and teen multicultural fiction, mysteries & thrillers, historical fiction, animal stories, fantasy grounded in reality, narrative and informative nonfiction for the trade market. Note to picture book writers: Will only consider writers who have at least three complete manuscripts that have been critiqued in workshops.

See favorite books in all categories on Goodreads.

Query Guidelines

Please send one- to two-paragraph synopsis and description of your background. Email queries 24/7 to literary agent Debbie Carter,, with no attachments. In the subject line of your email write Q: followed by a description of your book. Unsolicited manuscripts will be discarded.  Multiple submissions ok.

NOTE:  If I don’t respond within two weeks, please try again.

Jefferson Market Library, Sixth Avenue


Submits to publishers large and small. One-year contract offered when writer and agent agree that the manuscript is ready for submission. Commission is standard 15% domestic, 20% foreign and subrights. No reading or editorial fees.  All expenses (postage and photocopying, if any) are pre-approved by client. Although not a member of the AAR, the agency follows AAR recommended business practices.

Listed in the Literary Market Place and Writers' & Artists' Yearbook.

Please see Areas of Interest before sending queries to

All submissions read by Debbie Carter, not by assistants or interns.

Associations: AWP, The Authors Guild, BIO, Historical Novel Society, International Thriller Writers and Women in Music

Prior to starting her agency in 1998, Ms. Carter trained with an AAR agent and worked in the music business in A&R and artist management.  She holds a BA in English and music from College of Arts and Sciences, NYU.

Contact info

Debbie Carter, Literary Agent
Waverly Place Literary Agency
189 Waverly Place, #4
New York, NY  10014-3135

(212) 925-3721

Follow @WaverlyPlaceLit

Bookstores' secrets to exciting author events

Strand Book Store third floor reading room
"Because of the competition in New York City, we want to offer something experiential," says Kaylen Higgins, Events Director at Strand Book Store. "We want programming that's more dynamic than authors having a conversation." (Facebook photo: crowd for Dog Medicine by Julie Barton)

G. Brown (Red Rocks: The Concert Years) at Tattered Cover
Daniel George of Tattered Cover in Denver says, "Our most successful talks are the extremely prevalent and well-known authors on the national level, including bestsellers, genre writers or those heavily invest in social media." For authors of business books  "or businessmen and women who write a book about their work or their career or simply their approach to success, we can have 100 to 150 in attendance and sell around 70%."

BookCourt event space looking out from the speaker's spot
BookCourt in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, is "one of the premiere bookstores in the country with one of the biggest event spaces of any bookstore in the city," Andrew Unger says. (Facebook photo) "We can hold as many as 400 people in our space. Ethan Hawke has made a habit of launching his books here. The energy of the space when it's full is terrific." He advises authors to understand the capabilities of the space. "When a local author makes us the third or fourth stop in the city, it hurts us a lot. Come prepared for a big celebration. James McBride brought his band to help him celebrate. We can do a lot and we like it when we can do a lot!Authors who take advantage of that fact always sell the most books."

But books are usually sold for list price at events. How do stores motivate readers to pay full price for a book?  

On authors and (dull) book talks

Living in the hub of America's book publishing capital, I see firsthand new books churned through New York's publicity machine of readings and TV talk shows. Every new book competes for a slot in bookstores, libraries, bars and colleges. It's great having the selection of famous and emerging authors in fiction and nonfiction.

But with so many events happening at once, I often have to make the difficult choice of choosing one book over another. You would think my appetite would be sated, but really, most of the time I'm disappointed. Or bored.

Same old, same old. The author reads an excerpt, making mistakes as if they've never read it before. They talk too fast, or choke, or apologize for not being better prepared because of a crisis at home that day.

Then they take questions, which are uninspired, because the author has set the standard. Even a generous offering of wine and hors d'oeuvres, which are nice, won't persuade me to buy a book. If the author is a drone, I won't feel obligated.

Why are authors casual in the presentation of their books? Do they prepare? Are they nervous? The point of author appearances is to entice readers to buy the book.

Acting teacher Stella Adler said that if actors insist on becoming casual, they will become uncaring. Acting students in Russia stand up when a teacher enters a room. They preserve a formality about themselves, dictated by tradition. When introduced to you, they bow over your hand. "When the visitor is singled out and made to feel special, the special nature of the theater is once again affirmed."

In The Art of Acting she offers advice on how to prepare for a role. Actors, too, must cope with stage fright. Adler says actors prepare by building a relationship with the set; they imagine preparing the stage as a garden or they become familiar with the objects as though the set was their own bedroom. Props, too, are part of an actor's character. Like hats.

The person who wears a high hat has to know how it lives. The high hat lives in a box, and that box gives you its nature and its value. Do you know how to brush this hat or put it down? Do you know you have to use both hands to put it on? It's made to be worn straight. The person who wears it has a controlled speech, a controlled walk, a controlled mind. You must not bring your own out-of-control culture into the wearing of the hat. In the society of that hat, the human being as well as the clothes were under strict control.

What if authors imagined themselves in hats?

First posted on 7/22/2016 on public speaking blog

Recent conferences

May 20, 2016, 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm.  One-on-one appointments with writers at the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) annual writers conference, NYC's Roosevelt Hotel

August 28, 2015, 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm. One-on-one appointments with writers at the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) conference, National Press Club, Washington, DC

May 27-29, 2015  BookExpoAmerica, NYC 

April 30, 2015, 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm.  One-on-one appointments with writers at the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) annual writers conference, NYC's Roosevelt Hotel

April 25, 2015, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. CLMP Bingle, a networking mingle with bagels at CLMP's offices. Kick-off to Lit Mag Marathon Weekend.

December 4, 2014  Winter Networking Session,  Lubin School of Business and Arts & Entertainment Industry Network, Pace University, NYC

Ms. Carter attends conferences to discover new writers and manuscripts. She has received honorariums for teaching workshops but was never paid for appointments, although conferences may charge fees to writers.

David A. Jasen

David A. Jasen, author of the first biography of P.G. Wodehouse and numerous books on American popular music, is seeking translation and subrights opportunities for his list. While serving in the Communication Arts Department at C.W. Post, which he founded, Jasen was entrusted with the collections of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and the National Academy of Popular Music and established one of the largest collections of sheet music, recordings, piano rolls, books and periodicals in the world; he is looking for a buyer for his private collection. He also produced ragtime and early popular piano music for Smithsonian Folkways, (excerpts on iTunes here). For his part in the rebirth and recording of ragtime music he received one of Long Island University's highest honors, the Trustees Award for Scholarly Achievement.

P.G. Wodehouse: Portrait of a Master by David A. JasenP.G. Wodehouse: Portrait of a Master The first definitive biography of the creator of Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves. In the Introduction, Jasen writes of his first meeting with Wodehouse on Long Island when he drove to the author's home as a college student. A paraphrased source for other biographies that followed, Jasen's biography contains original Wodehouse quotes that don't appear elsewhere.

Spreadin’ Rhythm Around: Black Popular Songwriters, 1880-1930 (winner of ASCAP’s Deems Taylor Award, co-authored with Gene Jones).  In sheer depth of research, new information and full coverage Spreadin’ Rhythm Around offers a comprehensive picture of the contributions of black musicians to American popular song. For anyone interested in the history of jazz, popular song or Broadway, this book will be a revelation.

Tin Pan Alley: An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song by David A. Jasen
Tin Pan Alley: An Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song The full history of Tin Pan Alley, from its humble beginnings in the 1860s to its demise following World War II, this is the first resource tool to identify its major publishers, composers, lyricists, singers, dancers and bands. 

An earlier version of the encyclopedia, Tin Pan Alley, written as a story, is available for foreign language rights. The same is true for That American Rag, an earlier version of the encyclopedia, Black Bottom Stomp: Eight Masters of Ragtime and Early Jazz.