John Rudolph Personal Essay

To be honest, I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid. While I devoured comic books, especially Tintin and Asterix, pretty much the only books I read outside of school were John D. Fitzgerald’s Great Brain series—and why a New York City kid in the early 1980s would be so fascinated by the stories of two conniving brothers set in 1890s Utah is still a mystery to me (and my parents).

However, it does make sense that when I properly fell in love with reading later on, I found a home in children’s literature and discovered all the wonderful books I had missed the first time around. Better yet, as an acquiring editor I was fortunate enough to add some truly brilliant authors and illustrators to that literature, all of whose work shed new light on the childhood and teen experience.

Since I switched to agenting in the fall of 2010, I’ve had the pleasure of continuing to contribute to children’s books, yet I’ve also been blown away by the opportunity to represent adult authors, too—it’s such a thrill to be able to work with good writers, regardless of genre or category.

For middle-grade and YA fiction, I’m on the lookout for authentic kids’ voices and rousing, high concept stories—I love a good “what-if” scenario, though I prefer realistic settings and sci-fi to fantasy. At a younger level, I’m very eager to find the next great illustrator who can also write—we’ve developed a nice stable of illustrators here at DGLM, and I’d love to expand the list further. For adults, I’ve found a home in narrative nonfiction for areas like music, sports, history, popular science, health, business, military history, and memoir. And while my adult fiction list is small, I do like good commercial and literary fiction, particularly anything plot-driven and fast-paced.