Agent Jodell Sadler Talks Submissions — Plus 2 Chances to Win Picture Book Courses!

Pacing Picture BooksIt’s been a fantastic Kidlit Week here at Sub It Club! Our great giveaways are still open for entry until Tuesday so be sure to scroll back through our posts and enter if you haven’t already. And, of course, we’ll continue to have kidlit interspersed through our blog as we always do! (Psst! We have another fun kidlit giveaway coming up on Monday!)

Today, we are happy to welcome Jodell Sadler. Jodell is an agent at Sadler Children’s Literary. She represents Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult novels as well as Non-Fiction. She also represents illustrators. Not only that, Jodell teaches classes on pacing. To help us celebrate 2 years of Sub It Club, Jodell is giving away an entry to making picture book magicher class, Pacing Picture Books To Wow, at the end of this post.  But wait, there’s more! Amazing author Susanna Leonard Hill is also giving away entry to her class: Making Picture Book Magic. That’s right, we have two chances to win entry to amazing classes on creating picture books! Isn’t that exciting? THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNERS!

Yesterday I posted an interview with Jodell about what she looks for when it comes to picture books on my blog: She also talks about revisions and how she works with clients so be sure to go check it out if you are thinking about submitting your work to Jodell. Here at Sub It Club, Jodell is going to tell us about herself, more about how she works, plus she talks about queries and rejections.

Jodell SadlerJodell, thank you for joining us here at Sub It Club. Tell us, what was your path to becoming a literary agent?

I actually craved working in publishing and enjoyed working with writers. I admired great editors like Emma Dryden and Esther Hershenhorn and really felt that helping other writers was my passion. I love helping books find their way onto bookshelves and find joy in seeing writers settle into their career. I enjoy collaboration and sharing my pacing study. I love craft.  When I decided to jump in I remember thinking, I gotta go for it. Just do it. So I tossed my tiny pebble into the big pond, hoping to make waves (big waves).

What types of projects are you most excited to take on?

I’m excited by a really good story that is so well written that I cannot pass it up. Books I admire: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Down from the Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer, anything and everything by Kathy Appelt, The One and Only Ivan and Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate, The Family Romanov, Murder, Rebellion & The Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming, and many than there is time to list.  I really love stories that make a difference in the world like the nonfiction I am currently working on with a writer—it will help so many families, save lives, and get a great YA voice out into the world. I like that.

What do you look for in a potential client?

I look for strong writing, great illustrations, and professional style: both working and writing. I enjoy working with clients that spread over categories, board books/picture books to nonfiction MG/YA.

How would you describe your agenting style?

I am what you would call an editorial agent. I do work on the book I bring in. I also am a bit laid back and tend to go on instinct as to where things go. I work well with those writers who want to worry about the quality of their art and leave submissions in my hands.

Would you like to manage a writer’s entire career or do you prefer to work on a book-by-book basis?

I’ve often thought about the benefits of working on a book-by-book basis and I do have some clients that I do this with. But I also work with clients to manage/launch their careers. When I am really busy and have some zillion emails to send out and manuscripts to read, I think about the book-by-book method, but, alas, like childbirth and all that, it really is about helping writers fulfill their dreams and birth that book(s). Both ways are great. It simply depends on the writer and the project(s).

On your website you talk about assisting with promotion, web details, and book launch strategy. How do you work with your clients on these things?

I do tend to be a strong strategic thinker as an agent. I like to think about everything a writer works on and place his/her work where future works might also be a nice fit. I encourage writers to launch web platforms and share ideas with illustrators on how to organize their portfolios to support their mission.

You are also a writer. How does that affect your agenting?

Not sure. I do have projects in the works and a nonfiction title with a pending due date, but we all work this way. I also have a few books that I’d like to see find their way onto the bookshelf, but I, like other writers, work with my agent on that.

What do you like to see in a query letter?

I have done a tutorial on this for Writer’s Digest University: Basically, it is all about the writing and the manuscript, but I encourage writers to be themselves, share voice, and really keep it short, short. I like seeing a hook, pitch, bio, and done—and having it fit in my viewing window.

Do you have any submission pet peeves?

I am sure these are normal, but the queries that come in ‘Dear Sir’ (I clearly haven’t had a sex change) or ‘To whom it may concern’ (Really?) or ‘Dear Last Agent I sent to’ (it’s important to be careful) or ‘Dear Agent’ (if you didn’t take the time to look up my name, should I take the time to read?) really give me pause for thought (maybe a second) before I move on.

What does a form letter mean to you? Do you send out many personal rejections?

I am not a fan of form letters and I do try to offer solid advice with a reply. But, alas, there are a lot of submissions, and I am challenged to review them all. So, I did add to my submission policy that “if you haven’t heard…”

Who do you represent? Are there any exciting projects you’d like to tell us about?

I’m really excited to represent Wisconsin author, Linda Vander Heyden. We’ve had a great time editing and working on her material. She’s also mentored by an awesome, fellow Wisconsin writer I admire, and she is so in tune with animals and that love of nature and it truly shows in her work. I just think she’s a writer who has hit her stride. I love, love her forthcoming title Mr. McGinty’s Monarchs, which is scheduled to release with Sleeping Bear Press in 2016.

Thanks so much Jodell for all the great information! You can find Jodell on Twitter @PacingStory2WOW.

Writing picture books is definitely an art that needs to be developed and you can learn so much from those with experience. We are thrilled to be able to help two lucky winners further their craft with two course giveaways:

Pacing Picture BooksJodell Sadler’s Pacing Picture Books to Wow! is a 4-week course that focuses on a number of pacing tools to help you make your manuscript wow. The course features lessons and critique-a-thons.

susannaSusanna Leonard Hill helps writers every week with her making picture book magicamazing, Would You Read It Wednesday. Her writing course, Making Picture Book Magic, is also a 4-week course. It is designed to teach you how to write a picture book with daily exercises leading to the goal of a completed picture book.  

Both of these courses are amazing! Do you want to enter for a chance to win admission to one? Of course you do! Just tell us that you want to be entered in the comments of this post. 

For extra entries:

SubItClub Badge (175x88)

I’ll do a random number generation and pick two winners, one for Jodell’s course, and one for Susanna’s, on Tuesday, February 24th. Entries are open until then. Good luck!

105 thoughts on “Agent Jodell Sadler Talks Submissions — Plus 2 Chances to Win Picture Book Courses!

Add yours

  1. Great post from Jodell! Learning the ins and outs from Jodell or Susanna would be amazing. I am a member of both groups and I will be sure to spread the word of this great opportunity!!


  2. Many thanks to Jodell for the inside look at an agent’s journey…as writers, we toil to raise and harvest healthy strong vibrant plants…the agents slug away, bringing them to market. 🙂 And because Jodell is an editorial agent, she takes a hand in the raising and harvesting as well…it’s a big job!
    I’m a member of the FB group and I will share this on FB and Twitter. I’ve taken both Jodell’s class and Susanna’s class…both awesome mentors and each class is filled with life-changing information…I’ve know many people who have taken the class more than once. 🙂


  3. What a wonderful interview with Jodell and great information, thank you! I took a different class from Jodell and she gave me fantastic advice to take a ms to another level. I can highly recommend her classes and would take another in a heartbeat. I have not taken a class from Susanna but I love her blog and interact with her through her blog. She is a gem and I would also recommend as well as take her class.


  4. Great part 2 post, following up on yesterday’s. Thank you, Jodell, for the insight. And what a fabulous opportunity – a chance to win a class with Jodell or Susanna! (I’ve taken Picture Book Magic & it’s a marvelous class). Please do enter me for a chance to win Jodell’s Pacing Picturebooks class. And yes, am a subit club member, FB groupie.


  5. Both courses offered are fabulous! But I’d love a chance at taking both of them again–it’s amazing what resonates with you one time versus the next. I’m a Facebook group member.


  6. Always ready to learn more! Part of the sub it submissions group, FB and twitter follower, and will share on social media.


  7. Jodell, thank you for sharing the agent side of this business and what you look for in submissions. I would like the opportunity to take Jodell’s or Susanna’s class. I belong to Sub It Club, The FB group and I have my website linked back to Sub It Club. This has been an inspirational week-thank you Sub It Club!


  8. What a great opportunity this is! I hope ti be entered in the draw. I’m a member if the sub it club and critique group as well. Thank you for the valuable informatuon you gave shares in the post.


  9. Thanks for the interview and the opportunities! It’s very refreshing to hear an agent say they are not a fan of form letters – even though I know it’s a reality. I belong to the Sub It Club and also the Critique Match Club.


  10. Me! Me! (Read yes please) for the entries! I am member of both groups, like sub it club on twitter and Facebook, sharing this post via Twitter and have the badge already up!! Thanks so much for doing this interview, it’s great.


  11. Thanks for sharing, Jodell. I did a webinar with Jodell last year and it was great, I’m sure the class is even better! Susanna has a great blog too! I am a member of both FB groups, I follow on Twitter, I will tweet this post, and I have a Sub-It-Club badge on my blog. Thanks for all these opportunities, Heather.


  12. Thanks for the insightful interview. I’m on FB with both groups and would love to win both prizes, though I know it can’t be so! Either one would be like a lottery win! Thanks to both of you.


    1. For additional entries (forgot to mention): I follow on FB, Twitter, and Pinterest. I shared this post here:, Your badge is displayed on my website here: I am also now following the FB education website (just discovered there was a separate site and am discovering that I have not been using the other FB site to it’s full potential.) Thank you for the extra entries and all the resources you offer!


  13. A great interview, thank you Jodell for sharing with us a slice of your life. I’ve taken both Jodell’s and Susanna’s courses and love them equally for the tools they bring to the writing table.


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