If you could pick a book that has already been published and represent it, which one would it be? and why?
Is it too much a gimme to say Harry Potter? It really does have the perfect combination for an agent, though: it’s a high-quality book that made a lot of money and has affected a lot of readers’ lives in a positive way. (I know this because I’m one of those readers!)
Where do you find most of your writers? Do you find gems in the slush pile, or do you actively seek out new talent?
I definitely find gems in the slush pile, and I’ve also had clients who came to me as referrals from other clients. I look for talent wherever it might show up, including Twitter and blog pitch contests and writers conferences. I try to make myself available through multiple channels.
Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline, or that were recently released?
My next big client project is THIS SIDE OF NIGHT by J. Todd Scott, coming from Putnam on July 16. It’s the third book in his Big Bend series, whose main characters work in law enforcement in a Texas border town. Todd is a DEA agent and his expertise in law enforcement shows in all his works, but I’m also proud to represent his books because he writes characters who have heart and ambition, who deal with issues of love and loss and family in a way that I find incredibly touching.
What’s your advice to an aspiring published author?
Read. It’s important to read in your genre so that you know your marketplace, but I also believe that reading a variety of books can teach us a lot about the craft. I can always tell, especially with middle grade and YA authors, if the writer knows their marketplace and how to create a voice that fits well into it. Regardless of what you like to read, reading is good for you.
What sort of books are you especially looking for?
In terms of genre, I am looking for MG, YA, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, women’s fiction, and pop and contemporary fiction. I love dark books and grew up reading a lot of V.C. Andrews, Stephen King, and R.L. Stine. I’m also a big fan of anything Shonda Rhimes works on, so send me your great twists and turns and OMG moments. I welcome writers of any color, race, creed, religion, gender, body type, age, and sexuality. There’s a line in the movie Ratatouille that says, “Not everyone can be a great chef, but a great chef can come from anywhere.” I believe the same for writers.
What would you like writers to know about the publishing industry and about agents?
We are looking for reasons to say yes to your book! Authors and books excite us, and when we sign clients we want readers to love the book as much as we do. Polish your manuscript, study your craft, know your market, and make it something we can’t resist. Agents are readers just like everyone else. We’re always looking for the next thing we can’t put down.