van Haitsma Literary, a boutique agency on the West Coast, was founded by Sally van Haitsma in 2010. Sally previously agented six years at the Castiglia Literary Agency and prior to that, apprenticed at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, both located in Del Mar, California. Sally regularly attends writers’ conferences throughout the country, meeting accomplished clients through these events, and travels periodically to New York City, where she enjoys relationships with editors at both major and indy publishers. She has retained agent Taryn Fagerness to handle clients’ foreign rights.
Some of the titles Sally represents include New York Times bestseller Wesley the Owl by Stacey O’Brien (Simon & Schuster); Silverstein & Me by Marv Gold (Red Hen Press); America Libre and House Divided by Raul Ramos y Sanchez (Grand Central); Hick by Andrea Portes (Unbridled Books, adapted for film: starring Chloe Moretz, Blake Lively & Eddie Redmayne); Big Brown by Greg Niemann (Wiley); NATO 2.0 by Sarwar Kashmeri (Potomac Books); Does this Mean You’ll See Me Naked? by Robert Webster (Sourcebooks); Illuminations by Mark Tompkins (Ten Speed/Random House); Film School by Steve Boman (BenBella Books) and The Leisure Seeker by Michael Zadoorian (HarperCollins).
van Haitsma Literary is looking for projects with great writing, a compelling narrative arc, and an “aha!” moment of emotional truth. Reflecting her influences as a West Coast girl with Midwestern roots, Sally gravitates toward stories and topics that explore the American experience in an ethical, pragmatic and independent spirit. Across all categories, she is on the quest for books with literary ambitions and mainstream appeal.
Sally van Haitsma earned her B.A. and Masters of Communication from the University of California, San Diego, and was inducted into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Society. While in graduate school she supported herself as a civil litigation paralegal, and thereafter was co-owner of Altitude, an upscale retail store for tall women. Transitioning to publishing, she worked at an alternative weekly newspaper, the San Diego Reader, before agenting at the Castiglia Literary Agency. Sally lives with her husband Dirk Sutro and an eclectic library of books, in Encinitas, Calif.