As a kick off to blogging regularly again (hello, incredibly slow moving first draft of second book!), I’m pleased to welcome the wonderful Kate Testerman! KT Literary is a powerhouse in the YA and MG world with an impressive, eclectic stable of fantastic writers. You’ve probably read and loved several of Kate’s clients’ books, and if you haven’t–get started now!


Kate Testerman

Literary Agent

KT Literary




You recently reopened to queries. Is there anything new you are burning to find for your list, or something you were looking for previously that is no longer accurate?

KT: Once upon a time I was open to some select women’s fiction, but now I’m exclusively looking for young adult and middle grade novels. Beyond that, I want to be sure my client list is as multicultural as the novels I want to read.

What are your manuscript pet peeves and/or the thing you might see in a manuscript that makes you stop reading?

KT: I do try to give every manuscript I’m reading a fair shake, but I wish writers would be wary of starting their novels with prologues and cliches, like the protagonist waking up on their birthday, or looking in a mirror to describe themselves. And I know that authors have been told to start with action, but doing so and then going back with a “48 hours earlier” type of scene feels like a cheat. Earn your action!

What is your ideal client?

KT: Joss Whedon

What is the best comp/set of comps/pitch you’ve ever seen?

KT: I think one of the best I ever saw was for Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY, which was pitched as Ocean’s Eleven meets Veronica Mars, both things I love.

What kinds of protagonists are you looking for? Any particular kinds of voices you’d like to see?

KT: I want voices that offer unique perspectives and experiences, that can speak to me on a personal level even if I can’t relate to an individual experience. I want to get lost in a story. And like so many of my colleagues, I desperately want multicultural, authentic stories.

What’s one hobby/interest you’d love to see a YA protagonist have that you generally don’t see?

KT: I want to rep a novel about a professional teen athlete — maybe an ice skater or a gymnast, but definitely someone who has chosen to live outside the “traditional” high school experience for the sake of a career.

You enjoy attending cons and cosplaying–what are your favorite fandoms & why?

KT: Anything Whedonesque, if that wasn’t already completely obvious. After all, my children and my puppy are all named after characters he created or the actors who played them. And since my 3-year-old has developed an obsession with superheroes, I’ve really found myself diving into the DC Comics universe as well. I’ve got some cosplay ideas for this summer’s Denver ComicCon that come straight from Young Justice and the Justice League cartoons!

What are some of your favorite movies and TV shows?

KT: All time? The Princess Bride, White Christmas, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Veronica Mars. And I will always have a soft spot for Bruce Boxleitner from Scarecrow & Mrs. King. Ooh! Someone should write me a YA version of THAT! Recent favorites include Supernatural (I binge-watched 8 1/2 seasons since my daughter was born in August), Game of Thrones, and Community. #sixseasonsandamovie

Do you have any recent or upcoming client releases you are excited to share?

KT: Yes! SALVAGE by Alexandra Duncan is a fantastically epic YA debut that Stephanie Perkins called “kick-ass, brilliant, feminist science fiction” and STEERING TOWARDS NORMAL by Rebecca Petruck is a MG debut featuring two brothers during a year filled with jealousy, fighting, and several incidents involving cow poop.


About Kate Testerman

After a dozen years working in publishing in New York City, Kate moved to Colorado and formed kt literary in early 2008, where she concentrates on middle grade and young adult fiction. Bringing to bear the experience of being part of a large agency, she enjoys all aspects of working with her authors, offering hands-on experience, personal service, and a surfeit of optimism.

Her clients include Maureen Johnson, Ellen Booraem, Stephanie Perkins, Carrie Harris, Trish Doller, and Matthew Cody, among other exciting and acclaimed authors. Kate is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s Honors Program, a former cast member of the New York Renaissance Faire, and an avid collector of shoes, bags, children, and dogs. Her interests cover a broad range including contemporary drama, urban fantasy and magical realism, adventure stories, and romantic comedies. She is an active member of the SCBWI and AAR.

Find Kate’s latest submission guidelines on her website

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