Karly is an associate agent at Fuse Literary building KidLit universes with stories that matter. She first joined the agency in 2016 as a reader for Tricia Skinner and then was promoted to literary assistant soon after. In 2019, she was promoted to associate agent. Karly has built a career with a strong background as a freelance editor as well as extensive experience with graphic design and marketing. She is looking to develop long-term career authors and nurture their entire writing journey as a strong editorial agent with marketing, social media, and design support. Karly is also the KidLit track coordinator for the San Francisco Writers Conference.

Karly’s clients have won or been nominated for such awards as Kirkus Best Books of the Year, NCTE Notable Books List, SLJ Best Book of the Year, and Kirkus Prize Finalist.


Q1: What path led you to becoming a literary agent?

I was actually a writer! I applied for a scholarship to attend SFWC 2016 (oh wow that feels like so long ago) to learn about how to get my book published as well as the options available. Honestly, I had NO CLUE about the industry. I didn’t even know agents existed. I was (embarrassingly) very green and thought “I wrote a book, now let’s sell it for big money!”

It was at the conference that I witnessed the interaction not only between editors and agents but agents and authors. Little did I know that initial spark of interest turned into an inferno by the end of the conference. I met with Laurie McLean, my boss now and director of SFWC, and told her I wanted to be a badass agent like her. Three years of intense mentorship with Tricia Skinner at Fuse Literary, I was promoted to associate agent in 2019 with that inferno still very much burning true and bright.


Q2: What genre do you get excited about reading/representing and why?

Right now I’m looking to build my MG and YA list with a particular focus on marginalized voices and experiences as well as fantastical stories with BIPOC protagonist and a diverse cast. Growing up I didn’t have any stories that featured characters that looked like me, and the very few options available, didn’t share similar upbringings or culture, so it was always a stretch to find representation. I made do, but I wish different for the generation now as well as future generations. I want our youth to feel seen, to feel validated in their experiences, and to be celebrated on the page.


Q3: What’s your dream submission/manuscript wishlist?

MG and YA  with a particular focus on marginalized voices and experiences as well as fantastical stories with BIPOC protagonist and a diverse cast with strong voices that grip me from the initial pages and lead me throughout the journey.


Q4: What’s your decision-making process when taking on new authors?

First I request other completed works as well as ideas for future work to give me a better idea of the author’s genre interests and age groups. Do I represent these? Am I the best champion for their body of work?

Then we hop on a call to make sure that the vibe is right. We lay everything out on the table to make sure we’re a good business match. What are they looking for in an agent? What are my expectations for the authors I take on? And we discuss overall career objectives for both sides and see if we can connect.

At the end of the day, it’s really about making sure that you’re finding the right champion for your work. That’s why it’s important to not immediately jump on the first yes. Do you research. Discuss with the agent. Be transparent and honest in your expectations.


Q5: What top three tips would you give to writers who are in the process of submitting to agents?

  1. Write your next work—new character, new universe—while you’re querying your current work.
  2. Read extensively—not only in your genre and age group but beyond.
  3. Be kind to yourself and afford the same kindness and grace to others.


Karly is one of the agent-judges for our inaugural Writer’s Voice Competition, which will be presented at The Young and The Reckless: Writing for Teens Conference. 

Click here to register for the YA Symposium

Learn more about Karly Dizon

Twitter: @KarlyDizon

Instagram: @KarlyDizon



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