Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary will be accepting picture book submissions from 12 x 12 members in July. This is a great opportunity for Little GOLDen Book members to query an agent who is normally closed to unsolicited submissions.

karengrencikI met Karen last year at the Rocky Mountain SCBWI annual conference, and I am not exaggerating when I say she is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. She is genuine, kind, helpful, and passionate about helping writers become authors. I would consider anyone who snags Karen as an agent to be lucky indeed!

A little bit about Karen from the Red Fox Literary website:

“California native Karen Grencik makes her home in Shell Beach, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Karen initially launched her own literary agency in 1999 to champion writers and manuscripts she discovered on the Central Coast of California.

The opening chapter of The Karen Grencik Literary Agency was an astounding success, propelled largely by Karen’s major sale of the middle grade memoir Double Luck: Memoirs of a Chinese Orphan by Lu Chi Fa with Becky White. Karen quickly found herself on the New York publishing circuit and in regular contact with editors and publishers, while also finding time to be a favorite presenter at several West Coast writers’ conferences.

Karen signed new clients and sold award-winning titles. Among the awards garnered by her authors are the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for Best Nonfiction, the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Best Picture Book, and the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best New Fiction.

In 2006, Karen left agenting to pursue adventures in the tropical forests of Costa Rica…until the Los Angeles 2010 SCBWI National Conference, where Abigail Samoun was delighted to discover that Karen had returned to the States and was plunging back into the world of children’s books. Karen and Abigail decided in March 2011 to form Red Fox Literary, a boutique agency specializing in picture books, middle-grade, and young-adult titles.

Karen’s philosophy is simple: “When you choose to write children’s books, it’s just that—it’s a choice. You do it because you love it. You do it because it fills you with passion. You do it because it brings you joy. You are among the lucky ones who live life with purpose. But you also must do everything you can possibly think of to achieve your goals.

‘And you must be nice.’ ”

I LOVE that last line! 🙂 When I asked Karen for some insight on what she was looking for in picture books these days, this is what she told me:

“I look for stories that elicit a lot of emotional response and stories that have layers.  Just a fun wordplay story is very tough to sell in today’s competitive market.  I want stories that have a great takeaway for the reader or a fun surprise ending that begs to be reread, and also offers terrific illustration opportunities. Deanna Romita just posted an interview that I think does a nice job of explaining my working style, and it might be helpful for those who will be sending manuscripts to see if I would be a good fit for them.”  (The Query, Sign, Submit link below)

Full 12 x 12 submission guidelines and requirements for Karen will be posted in the Submission Station section of the 12 x 12 Membership Forum, accessible to Little GOLDen Book members by 2:00 p.m. EST on June 29th. In the meantime, here are some links with more information about Karen.
Good Luck!
Karen’s profile on the Red Fox Literary website.
Karen’s spotlight on Literary Rambles (10/2011)
Categories: 12 x 12, Agents, Children's Books, Picture Books, Publishing, Queries, SCBWI · Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. I loved reading about Karen’s career trajectory and her passions! Thank you, Julie, for lining up such a fascinating agent for 12×12! If she were my agent, I’d get side-tracked a lot asking about her Costa Rica adventures. LOL!

  2. Karen is my agent–and she is awesome! She’s wonderful to work with and has the sweetest personality. She also has a great eye for helping spot ways to tweak your work to make it better. Karen recently found a home with a publisher for my first picture book. Like I said–she’s awesome!!

    • Congrats, Marcia, on having Karen in your corner and landing your first picture book contract! When is your book slated for release?

  3. I just read Karen’s post on I Write for Apples, and I think I fell in love with her sincerity, honesty. Marcia thanks for letting us know she is your agent and that Karen has an editorial eye. I won’t be ready for an agent for another year, but I definitely want Karen on my agent list.

  4. Thank you for providing a wealth of information for us to know what Karen is seeking and to help pitch accordingly. Yay, I agree that ‘being nice’ IS part of the package for me, too!

  5. I learned of Red Fox Literary just this week through Dr. Mira Reisberg, so it was great to learn more about Ms. Grencik here. Thank you. :0)

  6. Great review on our agent for July, Julie. Karen sounds wonderful, a dream to work with. I am excited about the chance to submit. I’ve browsed the Red Fox Literary site and had this agency on my target list. Thanks!

  7. Thanks so much, Julie…these were great links for us to learn more about Karen. I loved the journey she has taken and even more, I appreciate her passion for bringing to light the best stories. And, with a tagline of ‘BE NICE’…what more could one ask for in an agent and friend.:)

  8. thanks so much for including my blog post in your links on karen. she was such a great speaker at our conference this spring and has agreed to represent some of our own scbwi members who attended the conference. they are already huge fans of her work and comment repeatedly on how fast she is.

  9. Wonderful post! Karen sounds like such an amazing person and agent!

  10. How adventurous to take a break from your career to live in the Costa Rican rainforest! But I’m glad you’ve come back. Thanks, Karen, for sharing your time with the hopeful authors of 12×12!

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