What All Agents Want in a Great Young Adult Novel

What All Agents Want in a Great Young Adult Novel

  • $79.00
Shipping calculated at checkout.


  • You want your YA novel to stand out from the crowd
  • You aren't sure of where your book fits into the marketplace due to the age and experiences of the protagonist
  • You want to know more about reaching a YA audience
  • You want to write a YA novel but don't yet have experience writing for the age group

Teens are discriminating readers with a lot of demands on their time, so what can you do to ensure that your novel is the one they'll all be dying to read? And does your book stand a chance at getting you an agent if it doesn't have wizards, vampires, or a dystopian setting?

Literary agent Carlie Webber shares her ideas on what all agents want in a great YA novel, regardless of subject matter. The presentation opens with discussing what it means to write authentic YA voices, and explaining why crafting a YA voice is a different challenge from creating one for a tween or adult protagonist. After showing examples of strong voice, Carlie shows how setting, pacing, and tension all work with the voice to create a memorable novel. She also talks about the elements that separate middle grade novels from YA, and YA from adult. Carlie addresses the art of writing controversial content, and the perennial question of how writers should – or shouldn't – tackle YA literature trends.

This presentation treats YA as an age range, not a genre, and it includes examples from contemporary and historical fiction, plus science fiction and fantasy written for ages 12-18.

Runtime: 105


  • The elements of crafting a memorable YA voice
  • How setting and plot work to support the voice
  • Why a teen protagonist's voice will sound different than a pre-teen or adult
  • How to incorporate great pacing and tension
  • How to work in enough technology and slang to sound current, but not so much that your book is dated before it hits shelves
  • What you can and can't present in terms of sex, drugs, and rock n' roll
  • Why writing to trends is a double-edged sword

Carlie Webber refused to major in English in college because no one would let her read Stephen King or R.L. Stine for class. After college, she obtained a Master of Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh and worked as a YA librarian and professional book reviewer for publications including KIRKUS REVIEWS. Wishing to explore her interest in the business side of publishing, she enrolled in the Columbia Publishing Course. After working for the Publish or Perish Agency/New England Publishing Associates and Jane Rotrosen Agency, she has established her own agency, CK Webber Associates. In addition to YA, she is seeking middle grade, mystery, thriller, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. Follow her on Twitter: @carliebeth

NOTE: Writer's Digest does not offer refunds for OnDemand Webinars. All sales are final. OnDemand Webinars do NOT include a critique.

We Also Recommend