Rachel Vater

I joined Folio Literary Management in June 2007. Prior to joining Folio, I worked as an agent with Lowenstein-Yost Associates and the Donald Maass Literary Agency. I first began my publishing career as an editor at Writer’s Digest Books and I’ve worked in publishing ever since.

For writers who feel that queries don’t work or that first time writers can’t find an agent or get published, I’m happy to prove otherwise again and again. I do find new clients at conferences and by referral, but the majority of my clients I’ve found through queries. I’m also pleased to report that in the past year and a half I’ve had the honor of selling debut books for six first-time authors who I found via query mail. I look for writers who aren’t afraid of revisions, because I’ll give as many editorial notes as needed to get a book or proposal completely polished prior to submitting to editors.

Writers who understand that publishing is a business and writing is a career — not a hobby — are the ones who stand out to me as professionals. Those who are passionate and committed to building a long-term career will make the best impression with me.

**Please Note: I am currently not accepting query letters.**

What I’m looking for

I’m especially looking for books appealing to younger readers, from young teens to women in their early 30s. You’ll catch my attention with edgy or funny young adult or middle grade books with a lyrical writing style or zingy tone.

Fiction: I handle big mainstream and literary novels for all ages, from middle school readers to young adult to adult. I also represent fantasy novels, especially those that transcend the fantasy genre (like urban fantasy, women’s fiction with paranormal elements, YA fantasy, and big commercial novels with a magical twist). For YA and younger readers, I’m open to everything — sweet love stories, funny mysteries, scary thrillers, high concept urban fantasy, well-researched historical novels, and mainstream edgy or glam… so long as the voice feels authentic and speaks to social pressures and desires that younger readers can relate to. For mainstream adult novels, I love character-driven stories with a great hook and beautiful writing — or anything that makes me laugh.

Nonfiction: I’m looking for narrative nonfiction (including true crime, memoir, and well-researched historical accounts), witty pop culture books, and smart women’s prescriptive nonfiction (the savvy girls’ guide to…) — nonfiction books that a teen girl or professional woman with a good sense of humor would enjoy reading.

What I’m not looking for

I’m not the right agent for super dark horror with graphic violence, category romance, memoirs or novels about surviving rape / cancer / child abuse. I also have a tough time getting excited about very hard SF, or fantasy with too many cliché elements (prophesies, portals, hero quests, a magical object that will save the day or destroy the world if it falls into the wrong hands, etc.).

How to contact me

I’m not accepting queries at this time.  Please try another agent at Folio.

What hooks me

For fiction, it’s great characters I can instantly relate to or sympathize with, a beautiful way with words, anything that makes me laugh, a believable-yet-unusual situation as the premise, a touch of magic, crackling chemistry between the main character and a love interest, and complex layers of mystery/suspense/romance enhancing the main plot. For younger readers, a voice that uses current teen language and includes modern day social pressures, concerns, and desires, but isn’t so trendy and full of specific pop culture references that the story will be dated too fast.

For nonfiction, anything that engages me emotionally and evokes a strong personal response, the kind of book I’d want to pass on to all my friends to read, because it has wide appeal and I know they’d all enjoy it as much as I did.

You can read more about my taste and preferences (and find some great advice for writers!) on my blog.

My response time

As said above, I’m not accepting query letters at this time.