Meet the faculty of the 2021 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.
Adria Goetz, Literary Agent
Adria Goetz is a literary agent with Seattle-based Martin Literary & Media Management. She specializes in picture books, middle grade, adult fiction, and graphic novels. She represents books for both the general market, and the Christian market. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor’s degree in English with a Creative Writing emphasis, as well as the Columbia Publishing Course. In 2019, she was selected as a 2019 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. She was recently proud to represent Taste Your Words by Bonnie Clark, The Ugly Doodles by Valeria Wicker, The Ocean Calls by Tina Cho, No Ordinary Thing by G.Z. Schmidt, and Halal Hot Dogs by Susannah Aziz. Adria lives in an old Victorian farmhouse with her husband Alex and their two darling cats, Maple and Mulberry. To learn more about Adria and what she is (and isn’t) looking for, check out her wish list at adriagoetz.com. She tweets at @adriamgoetz.
Literary Agent Adria Goetz
What attracted you to children’s books?
I was drawn to picture books in general because I am such a visual person in nature, so I love seeing how the text and illustrations work together and harmonize in order to tell a story. Kid lit feels like a space where you can write really fun, magical stories free of angst and cynicism, and I think that’s so refreshing. It’s so nice to be able to sit down to work for the day and distract yourself from the worries of the world by reading a picture book about roly polies, ya know?
What’s the best part of your job?
Feeling like a fairy godmother that helps make bookish dreams come true! That never gets old.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I sort of resent that I am only one person which means I can only take on so many clients and projects! I see so many incredible, publication-worthy projects show up in my inbox every day, and I wish that I could represent more of them. When I first started agenting, going through my slush pile felt like sifting through a lot of emails looking for rare gems. Now, a few years in, it feels like I am wading through a sea of sparkling gems to find the ones that fit my list best. It feels so counterintuitive sometimes, to reject good stuff.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?
Well, this wasn’t advice given to me per se, it’s more of a quote and call to action that I want to drive my career. Andrea Davis Pinkney once said, “We need to see more Black kids riding dragons.” I have that written on a post it note on my desk, because I love the heart of it—of striving to seek out and publish books by BIPOC creators that ran the gamut of genres, tone, content, perspectives, experiences, etc. The market tends to rally behind books by BIPOC authors that are centered around struggle and oppression, and we certainly need those books, but we also need fun magical dragon adventures by BIPOC authors too, and I want that to drive my career. (Although I’m more partial to mermaids myself.)
Come see Adria Goetz at the 2021 Austin SCBWI conference, May 1-2, 2021.