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Thread: Penumbra Literary (Jennifer Chen Tran)

  1. #1
    Science fiction, horror and fantasy Jonathan Dalar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Western Washington

    Penumbra Literary (Jennifer Chen Tran)

    Researching this agency and hoping for input/thoughts from folks here.

    What I've found so far:

    Agency website:

    Appears to be a one-person lit agency, run by Jennifer Chen Tran. She is an attorney in addition to being a lit agent, and interned at the Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Agency prior to starting Penumbra.

    While a small client list is not a huge issue - gotta start somewhere - for a new agent/agency, she lists two small presses as clients. Also, that one of her clients is "currently writing her first book" raises a big red flag with me, because that's not something you normally see with a literary agency. People don't sign with them until at least their first book is written, edited, polished, and ready for publication.

    She is also somewhat a proponent of self-publishing. In today's age, that's not a bad thing at all, but it's interesting to see an agent express such support for it, especially without traditional sales to back it up.

    So, input, recommendations, bewares, gut feelings, and/or whatever else requested.

    Edit: also not (yet) listed in Preditors & Editors under either agent or agency name.
    Last edited by Jonathan Dalar; 08-03-2012 at 06:46 PM.

  2. #2
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Far from the madding crowd
    For the small presses, I'd guess that she's representing subsidiary rights.

    - Victoria

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Reply to Your Message

    Hello Jonathan,

    Thank you for your interest in Penumbra Literary. Indeed, so far, I am the sole agent at Penumbra. I apologize for not seeing this thread earlier but I wanted to address some of your concerns.

    I listed two small presses as clients because I advise them on rights-related issues. I apologize if that's confusing and perhaps I should put them in a separate section.

    As for your second concern, please rest assured that I do not extend any offers of representation unless I have fully vetted the author and his or her writing. As you may know, non-fiction books can be sold prior to 'completion' and a lot of editors prefer to work with the author on shaping the manuscript, prior to 'completion.'

    Since I consider myself an editorial agent, I will work with clients through several rounds of revisions if needed. I view the process as very much collaborative and I appreciate the faith and trust my clients have placed in me.

    I hope that answers some of your concerns and thank you again for taking an interest in my agency.

  4. #4
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Coastal Desert
    Joined Fuse Literary in '15.

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