Interview with Literary Agent Hannah Bowman

Interview & Contest

1. What is the best part of being a literary agent?

Working with amazing authors! There is nothing more exciting than opening a new file from a client to start reading a fabulous new manuscript and getting lost in the story—except for telling that author that an editor loves their book as much as you do, or discovering a fabulous new project you just can’t put down!

2. How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

In general, I’m a very hands-on agent. I love to edit, and I edit every client’s work before it goes on submission. I also try to keep in close contact with authors, although of course there are times when one needs to communicate more and times when one needs to communicate less. I look for authors who are looking for a partner for their entire career, not for an agent who will sell one book quickly and then back off.

3. What’s something coming out now/soon that you’ve represented and are excited about?

I’m very excited about two projects that I’ve sold: Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, coming out from Del Rey/Random House beginning in Fall 2013, and Rosamund Hodge’s Sundered, due to publish from Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins in Winter 2014. Red Rising is Ender’s Game meets The Hunger Games on a dystopian Mars—an epic far-future science-fiction story. Sundered is a lush and electrifying YA reimaginng of Beauty and the Beast. I can’t wait to share both of them with readers!

4. What are the primary mistakes you see writers make in the query process?

I think writers can get so wrapped up in the worlds they’ve created they forget how they look to outsiders (this is especially true in fantasy/SF). I’m reading each query in seconds, so there needs to be something—an idea, a voice, a character, a pitch—that immediately grabs my attention and makes me take a second look. That doesn’t necessarily mean a logline: usually those don’t work that well. But every word in a query counts, and the goal of the query letter is to distill the coolest, most compelling features of the story into a few sentences. Of course I want to know what the story is about as well, but it’s not a synopsis: a hint of setting, a compelling voice, an interesting question are more important than a full description of the plot at the query stage.

5. With fiction partials, what makes you stop reading and start skimming-or stop reading altogether?

One of the most common issues I see in fiction submissions is a relation of events, rather than really telling the story. A story isn’t just about characters and what happens to them—the story itself is bound up in how it’s told. The writing (and this applies to query letters too) has to really immerse me in the story. Otherwise, the plot/characters/concept may be good, but the book just won’t be compelling.

6. Your agency website says that you’re interested in young adult, can you elaborate more on YA subgenres that you might consider?

I’m willing to look at all types of YA. My tastes tend toward speculative, of course, but I’m also interested in contemporaries. Right now on my list, I have YA fantasy, paranormal, contemporary, near-future thriller—and I’m always looking for a true YA sci-fi (think Beth Revis’ Across the Universe).

7. When accepting fantasy and sci-fi, what subgenres do you lean toward?

I’m always a fan of epic, secondworld, and historical fantasy. Some of my favorite authors are Katherine Kurtz and David Eddings. Urban fantasy tends to be a harder sell for me, although I’d be very happy to take on the right project—something in the Jim Butcher or Kevin Hearne style.

In science fiction, my tastes are very classic. I love stories set in space. I love science fiction that plays with big ideas, and that isn’t too dark. I’m probably not the right agent for anything post-apocalyptic or cyber/biopunk. I’d love to find some good military SF. My favorite SF authors include Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Lois McMaster Bujold.

8. Will you be at any upcoming writers conferences where people can meet/pitch you?

I will be attending the Unicorn Writers’ Conference in March of 2013, but otherwise I don’t have conferences on my schedule right now. But I love going to them, so I hope to make my way to a few more soon!

9. Is a writing platform important for unpublished writers? Does it weigh in on your decision to represent? Are you a fan of social media?

Platform is a complicated question for fiction writers. The book is more important—you don’t need a platform. But I am intrigued by writers who have a strong social media platform, or who have a strong brand—something about them that ties into what they write and is very compelling. I think branding is important for tying fiction platform together with an authentic authorial voice.

I am a huge fan of Twitter. There’s no reason for any writer not to be on Twitter, and many reasons to take part. Not only is it a great way for writers to learn more about the industry and network with agents and editors, it’s also a fantastic way for writers to get to know other writers. I met my first critique partner through Twitter, credit it with helping me make the connections that got me my job, and even sold a book because of a wishlist an editor put on Twitter! Setting up a Twitter account is an easy step any writer can take to improve their platform.

10. Best piece(s) of advice we haven’t discussed?

Keep reading. Keep writing. Keep improving. Keep querying. Breaking into this business is hard, but people get book deals out of the slushpile all the time. The system isn’t perfect, but we’re all trying to get the best books out there to readers, and quality will find its way through!

Follow this link to WIN a Query Letter Critique from Hannah!!! Click HERE

Hannah joined the Liza Dawson Associates in 2011.  She has a B.A. from Cornell University, summa cum laude in English and magna cum laudein Mathematics.  While a student, she spent four summers working in particle physics at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, before eventually deciding her true interest was books.  Before joining Liza Dawson Associates, Hannah interned briefly with agent Weronika Janczuk, now of Lynn C. Franklin Associates.

In her free time, she writes her own fiction (mostly science fiction and fantasy) and plays the organ.

Hannah specializes in commercial fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy, women’s fiction, cozy mysteries, romance and young adult.  Hannah is also interested in nonfiction, particularly in the areas of mathematics, science and spirituality.

Contact Hannah at queryhannah@lizadawsonassociates.com.

Interview with Literary Agent Sara Sciuto

Sara Sciuto is a recent graduate of University of California San Diego, Sara also completed literature coursework at NYU. Before joining Full Circle, she gained valuable experience working on film and foreign rights with the Taryn Fagerness Agency. Sara is actively building her list with a focus on middle grade and young adult, in particular, dystopian, science fiction, fantasy, and unique paranormal. She also enjoys contemporary stories with a strong, authentic voice (but no chick-lit, please). She has a particular soft spot for anything in the Deep South (sweet contemporary to dark paranormal), gritty contemporary, utilitarian dystopias or dystopian thrillers, anything with international locales or period settings (think flappers or “Mad Men”), and anything with artistic themes. Sara is also looking for standout picture books, especially those with a quirky or humorous narrative. She’s also considering select nonfiction in the areas of craft, design, how-to, lifestyle, and pop culture.

Currently, she is NOT considering any adult fiction (all genres).

Her great passions in life are travel and good food – and good books, of course, but that goes without saying! While she’s always cultivating new obsessions, her latest are photography and sailing.

Interview

1. What is the best part of being a literary agent?

Getting a first peak at what amazing new ideas writers are coming up with! Everyday I’m in awe of the creativity and ingenuity of new authors, and it’s so exciting to go through submissions and see what fresh and exciting projects I’ll find that are just begging for an audience. It never gets old!

2. How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

Most importantly, I only take on projects that I absolutely love. At FCL, we’re a very hands on agency and work collaboratively to get manuscripts in their best possible shape before submitting to editors. It’s not uncommon for me to go through a couple rounds of revisions with a new or potential client, so I expect authors to understand that any project is a work in progress and be receptive to constructive feedback. That said, it’s not good for an author to be too amenable; I don’t want an author to just plug in my suggestions—they might be symptomatic of a more general problem, they might necessitate additional changes in the book, etc—rather, they should treat revision notes more as inspiration for big picture reconceptualizing, with the goal of coming back with an overall stronger work.

3. What are the primary mistakes you see writers make in query process?

Not following our submission guidelines (e.g. not including first 10 pages in email body, sending genres we don’t represent, etc.)! Before submitting to any agency authors should always visit their website to view current submission guidelines, which vary agency to agency. My latest query pet peeve is a lengthy letter that describes the themes of the book, why they’re writing it, and/or explains the marketplace/readership/strategy without actually telling me what it’s about! The query letter’s primary function should be to give me a brief description of the project so I can decide if this is generally something I would or wouldn’t be interested in, and if it is, move straight on to the meat of the query—sample pages.

4. With fiction partials, what makes you stop reading and start skimming—or stop reading altogether?

If you’ve already won me over with your description in the query letter, than here I’m looking for execution. Sometimes it’s subjective—Is it executed in a way that I feel best suites the concept? Is the author voice just not jiving with my personal tastes? Or I may love the author’s sensibility but there may be too many technical errors (e.g. bad dialogue mechanics, lots of telling versus showing) which tells me this author may need more time developing her craft.

5. Your agency profile says that you’re interested in young adult, what specific subgenres do you lean toward?

For YA, I’m especially looking for contemporary, science fiction, and fantasy. I’m not big on teen chick-lit and tend to go more for gritty or quirky narratives. I’d be thrilled to see an edgy contemporary, stories set in exotic locales, period fiction (circa “Mad Men” or “Boardwalk Empire” would be fantastic!), a really well done novel in verse, or anything with artistic themes. (See #6 for my fantasy preferences).

6. Your agency profile also says you’re interested in dystopian, urban, and paranormal fantasy, is there any other subgenre of fantasy that you would consider?

Yes, ALL! Though, it’s usually tough to win me over with high fantasy. I’m also being really selective with paranormal—if it doesn’t have a truly unique concept, I likely won’t be interested. I’ll really go nuts for a good dystopian thriller, anything with steampunk elements, a utilitarian dystopia, or a dark paranormal (especially if it’s set in the Deep South). Please note that I’m currently not considering any adult fiction, fantasy or otherwise.

7. Will you be at any upcoming writers conferences where people can meet/pitch you?

Yes! I will be on faculty at the following: SCBWI OC Editor’s Day, Cal State Fullerton, Oct. 1 Avondale Writer’s Conference, Avondale, AZ, Oct. 29

8. What’s your opinion on social media for writers looking for representation?

Social media can be an excellent marketing tool for new authors. Establishing a direct dialogue with your readers is a great way to familiarize them with your brand and build enthusiasm for future books. That said, don’t just do it because you think you have to—if you’re not able/willing to provide regular and interesting content than hold off on creating a social media presence. If you ARE able and willing, absolutely, go for it!

9. Where is the best place for someone to contact you?

Via our regular submissions route, by email at submissions(at)fullcircleliterary(dot)com. Please see our website (http://www.fullcircleliterary.com/index.htm) before querying to view full submissions guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on the kinds of projects I’m looking for, my conference schedule, etc, visit my website/blog at http://sarasciuto.tumblr.com/ You can also follow my tweets at @sarasciuto

10. Best piece(s) of advice we haven’t discussed?

Write what you love! You’ll produce your best work that way—if you write for yourself and not for the marketplace. You’ve heard it before, “don’t write to the trends”, but really, don’t do it. It makes it difficult for your project to stand out and places yet another hurdle before you to overcome (on the already tough enough road to publication!). And don’t give up!

Interview with Literary Agent Tamar Rydzinski

Tamar Rydzinski worked at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates prior to joining the Laura Dail Literary Agency. She graduated from Yeshiva University in 2003 with a major in literature and a minor in business. Tamar is not interested in prescriptive/practical non-fiction, humor, coffee table books or children’s books (meaning anything younger than YA). She is interested in everything else that is well-written and has great characters, including graphic novels. A fantastic query letter is essential – “you need to make me want to read your book, and be excited to read it,” she says, “with those first couple of paragraphs.”

Interview

1. What is the best part of being a literary agent?

Oh wow! What a question. The best part, to me, is getting to work on books I love (and you’re going to read the word, “love” a lot in this answer). I’ve yet to represent a book that I don’t truly love and I count myself very lucky for that. When I submit a book to editors, I get ridiculously excited. And when I sell an amazing book and I know that the rest of the world is going to get a chance to experience it too, well, I just love that feeling. And, truth be told, I get a little thrill out of negotiating, too; I was a business minor in college.

2. How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

My agenting philosophy is very hands-on. I usually go through quite a few rounds of editing before submitting a book to editors. And I continue to edit second and third books in a series, even if they’ve already sold, because a) I always enjoy reading my clients’ books and b) I think it’s important to have as many pairs of editorial eyes as possible on a manuscript. If your book is good, readers are unforgiving of mistakes or missteps because they’re so invested in the world you’ve created. Plus, I like to tell myself that what I think is important to my clients.

In terms of what I expect from an agent-author relationship, respect is key. I have to respect the work you’ve put into the manuscript and your opinions about every step of the process (my editorial ideas, the cover, etc.) And you have to respect me and the knowledge I have of the publishing industry, my guidance, my time–I try to get back to my clients emails immediately and read their manuscript as quickly as possible, but I have more clients than just you and they deserve my time and respect, too.I also have demands on my time outside of work.

3. What’s something coming out now/soon that you’ve represented and are excited about?

The next book coming out that I’ve represented is Nocturne by Syrie James (January, 2011). It’s a wonderful vampire romance set in the Colorado mountains. The book actually came about because Syrie James has written three great books (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, and most recently, Dracula, My Love) which came to the attention of the editors at Vanguard who approached us and wanted Syrie to write for them because they so admired her talent. Which I think is just a really fun story.

4. What are the primary mistakes you see writers make in query process?

I’m going to answer this with a few tips:

Check an agency’s website and follow the submission guidelines posted there.

Don’t query me with more than one book at a time–choose one, the one that you think is in the best shape and bring that one to my attention.

Make sure that my name and the name of my agency are both spelled correctly.

Make sure to give me a paragraph or two on plot and a paragraph, even if it’s short, about you. It’s OK if you’re telling me that you have no writing credentials but live alone in the woods so you’ve lots of time to reflect and write. Whatever it is, I want some clue as to who you are and more than just a clue as to what your book is.

Don’t tell me your book is the next ______. Comparable books are great, as in, readers of ____ and ____ would enjoy my book. But grandstanding and making outlandish claims is never a good idea.

Check for spelling errors! If you’re too lazy to read your query 25 times to make sure there are no mistakes, then being an author will be tough on you since you will have to go back to your manuscript numerous times, first for your agent, then for your editor, then to make sure there are no mistakes before it’s printed and spelling mistakes in your query doesn’t bode well for the process.

5. With fiction partials, what makes you stop reading and start skimming-or stop reading altogether?

I guess the two biggest things that make me stop reading are lack of authenticity and lack of pacing. To me, dialogue needs to be spot on or I lose interest in the character or characters, and if I’m not interested in the characters, the story is shot for me. And especially in fantasy/sci-fi, the world needs to be authentic and interesting, too. I want details! Without data dumping. Sound tough? It is! But when it’s done well, you’ve got me hooked. And to make things even harder, while you’re trying to give me realistic characters in a well-developed world, you’ve got to keep the pace up so that I’m not waiting for the story to start.

6. Can you tell us some of the fantasy/sci-fi subgenres that you’re drawn to?

I do love the epic fantasy, but I also love paranormal, historical retellings, steampunk. Um, actually, I’m not sure there’s a subgenre that I wouldn’t be interested in…

7. When accepting young adult, what subgenres do you lean toward?

Again, I’m really open to anything. But I would love to see a thriller, something really dark and twisted. And one thing I love about fantasy is the openness–I find that there’s little attention given to sexual or racial mores of “our world” in these other worlds and I would love to see some more of that in YA, both fantasy and not.

8. Will you be at any upcoming writers conferences where people can meet/pitch you?

I don’t have any planned right now.

9. What’s the best way to contact you?

Read through our submission guidelines here: http://www.ldlainc.com/dailsubmissions.html

10. Best piece(s) of advice we haven’t discussed?

One of the reasons that I don’t like to limit what I’m looking for too much is that you really need to write what you’re passionate about, whatever that is. And if you do that, it comes across and it helps with the authenticity that I mentioned earlier. A reader can tell when you’re writing to a specific genre that happens to be doing well at the moment and this reader, for one, doesn’t appreciate it.

Social media is huge right now. Make sure you’re on Twitter: @trydzinski and on Facebook (I am). Blog, if you can. Basically, build yourself as big of a social media platform as you can before your book ever comes out.

Interview with Literary Agent Sara Megibow

Sara has been with the Nelson Literary Agency since early 2006. Her first responsibilities included reading the query letters, sample pages and full manuscripts that were submitted for representation. In early 2009, she was promoted to Associate Literary Agent and is now actively accepting submissions of her own. From sexy romance to epic fantasy, Sara has loved reading since picking up her first copy of The Hobbit. Sara has a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a B.A. in American History from Northwestern University. She lives in sunny Boulder with her beat-boxing husband, adorable son and two fuzzy cats.

Follow Sara on twitter @SaraMegibow

Interview

1. What is the best part of being a literary agent?

The best part about being a literary agent? For me, it’s seeing art come to life. I love the art of literature and I believe each and every one of my clients is brilliant and talented. Helping to get those books on the shelves is a dream come true for everyone involved and the small role I play in that adventure is exciting and rewarding!

2. How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

Fundamentally, I believe that a client’s book is THEIR art. So, in terms of philosophy – I encourage my clients to write the books of their heart. Likewise, I choose clients to work with whose books I absolutely love, love, love.

From there, my “agent philosophy” is all about communication. Once a book is finished (and yes I do editorial work with my clients before we call it “finished”), I put together a submission list based on editors I think will love the work – my clients know to whom I submit, when and what the response is. My clients usually hear from me every week – with updates on submissions, offers, releases, sales numbers and ideas for marketing, publicity or promotions. Aside from talking about submissions, the two top things I encourage my clients to do is to get a professional author website together and to keep writing.

These are things that I expect of myself: answering client questions within a reasonable time, updating clients on submissions/ offers and release information, giving editorial feedback and the best possible advice on contracts, marketing and rights sales. What do I expect from my clients? To be on top of any and all personal marketing opportunities (again, having a professional author website and doing some other social networking – twitter, facebook, blogging, etc). I expect them to meet deadlines – so if we’re under contract for multiple books, then those books are submitted to the publishing house on time and in a professional manner. Also, I expect that they treat their editor (and all publishing house contacts) with 100% professionalism at all times.

3. What’s something coming out now/soon that you’ve represented and are excited about?

I’m excited about everything that I represent! That being said, I’m a fairly new agent. When a book is sold, there is usually an 18-24 month turnaround before those books hit the shelves. Here are some upcoming YA novels by my fabulous clients:

SCORE by Miranda Kenneally will be on shelves in late 2011 from Sourcebooks. SCORE is a contemporary, fun YA in which the heroine is quarterback of her high school football team and is caught in a love triangle with a rival quarterback and her favorite wide receiver.

SHOOTING NED HARTNETT by Allison Rushby will be out with Walker/ Bloomsbury in early 2012. NED is about a young woman in LA who works as a paparazzo – taking pictures of famous people for money. She hates the job and wants out, so she accepts a high paying gig only to realize that she will have to betray the only star she’s ever liked.

TIGERSEYE by Jennifer Shaw Wolf will be available in late 2012 also from Walker/ Bloomsbury. This book (yet another debut author) is about a young woman healing from a car accident that killed her boyfriend, but what she’s really hiding is the truth about their relationship.

4. What are the primary mistakes you see writers make in query process?

The number one mistake by far is querying an agent for a work in a genre that we don’t represent. We reviewed 37,000 query letters in 2009 which sounds daunting. But, please realize that one third to one half of those were for books we would never consider because of genre (self help, mysteries, screenplays, etc). If a writer sends a query for a book outside of what we represent, that writer will receive the auto “no thank you” letter from us.

Other than genre mistakes, the main mistake I see in queries is datadump or some other form of being too wordy. If the query letter is too wordy, the manuscript is typically too wordy. If the writer uses datadump to “explain” their world, their story, or their characters, then typically they’ve made the same mistake in the manuscript.

5. With fiction partials, what makes you stop reading and start skimming-or stop reading altogether?

The number one mistake in sample pages/ partials is (like in queries) datadump. “Datadump” sounds like this: “Sam sat with a cup of coffee and thought about the past year in which he had to overcome XYZ” or “Sam looked out over the plain where a spaceship was landing and that spaceship was 15 feet wide and bright green with two external ports.” These are both classic examples of “telling” instead of “showing” and to me it simply means the manuscript isn’t ready yet. The writer may need another round of revisions, or some work on the craft of telling a story, or to move on to the next book. In any event, datadump or “telling” is almost always a deal breaker for me.

A super generic concept can make my eyes glass over too – a young hero or heroine who has just discovered they have a magic power and must save the world. I see that one a lot. It can work, but the writer really needs to identify quickly what makes their story unique. Another one I see a lot of in women’s fiction – a 45 year old woman catches her husband cheating with the secretary, she leaves him and moves to Vermont to open a B&B. Again, the concept CAN work, but the writer will need to draw the reader in with some tremendous writing and with a unique hook. I hesitate to mention “generic concept” because it’s much more subjective than datadump. Still, it’s true and it’s a red flag.

6. You said that you would like to work on more fantasy and science fiction, can you elaborate more on fantasy/sci-fi subgenres that you are drawn to?

I love all fantasy and science fiction – adult, YA, MG, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, cyberpunk, hard science fiction, space opera – you name it, I love it. I shy away from the true horror, but other than that I love everything. I have one urban fantasy client and I think he is a genius: ( www.stevewvera.com ). And I have one MG science fiction client who I also think is a genius: (anitalaydonmiller.blogspot.com).

I am particularly interested in books in which world building is effortlessly integrated with the story. Great characters are important too – I’ve seen sample pages with a really complex world but by page 30 I still don’t know the main character’s name (that’s a mistake on the writer’s part). John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR is one of my favorite books of all time, as is Transformation by Carol Berg. On the young adult side, I am a huge fan of ASH by Malinda Lo and GIRL PARTS  by John M Cusick.

I recently attended the science fiction convention in Denver (MileHi Con) to learn more about sf/f writers and where they are and what they write. I loved it!

7. When accepting MG and YA, what subgenres do you lean toward?

I’ll take anything well written and with a unique concept. That being said, I *tend* to lean toward contemporary, multicultural and/or historical. In terms of paranormal and fantasy, I also love it all (although the story really has to stand out in this very competitive market). I like sexy YA or sweet YA, I like light or literary and I like any subgenre imaginable. Basically.bring it on! If it’s well written I will love it!

My full client list as well as my personal tastes are flushed out on my publishers marketplace site: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/SaraMegibow/

8. Will you be at any upcoming writers conferences where people can meet/pitch you?

Excellent question! My schedule is usually up to date on the “News” page at http://nelsonagency.com/news.html

9. What’s the best way to contact you?

I’m on twitter: @SaraMegibow although I don’t tend to get in conversations there. For pitching me your manuscript, the best way is the traditional way – email a query letter to query@nelsonagency.com . There are sample query letters, FAQs and resources on our website to help and to answer more questions. (www.nelsonagency.com)

10. Best piece(s) of advice we haven’t discussed?

These are great questions! You haven’t left many stones unturned. Let’s see – in terms of the publishing industry, the more research a writer does, the better. And, if you don’t know where to start, our website (again, www.nelsonagency.com ) has a terrific resources page. There are lots of other great websites out there, but anything we list there I can vouch for.

Also, if you write and are interested in publishing, then you should read too. Read books in your genre – the award winners, the ones getting buzz or great reviews, and anything else that interests you or catches your eye. I keep a spreadsheet of everything I read, who the editor is and what the imprint and publishing house is. Holy cow – my list is over 300 books since I started at Nelson Agency in 2006!

Another piece of advice – network, network, network. I am super proud of my clients because they seem to really reach out to each other – to support, encourage, beta read, help promote, etc. Writing is a beautiful art, but the business of publishing is a harsh one. Having friends tell you “you’re doing great” and “good luck” and “congratulations” can be unbelievably helpful!

Interview with Literary Agent SallyAnne Sweeney

SallyAnne has a BA in English and Sociology from Trinity College, Dublin, and an MPhil in American Literature from Cambridge University. She is currently building her list and looking for talented writers of literary and commercial fiction. She is also passionate about exciting and original writing for children and young adults, and is interested in memoirs, quirky gift books and food writing.

Interview

1. What is the best part of being a literary agent?

For me, it’s the thrill of finding and working with talented authors, and seeing a project through from typescript to finished book. I also love the variety of my job and how every day is different.

2. How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

I have been growing my client list for two and a half years now and I work very closely with all of my authors, guiding them through each stage of the publishing process. I’m very hands-on editorially, often going through several rounds of revisions with authors before submitting to publishers.

Good communication is crucial in getting the most out of the agent-author relationship; it’s important to establish early on how you would like to work together. Trust and honesty are also very important.

3. What’s something coming out now/soon that you’ve represented and are excited about?

I’m really looking forward to the massmarket publication of SIN TROPEZ by Aita Ighodaro, which is out in July and a deliciously enjoyable beach read. I’m also excited about THE STORY OF US by Felicity Everett, which was published recently and has been really well reviewed, and I’m already looking forward to Nelle Davy’s literary debut THE LEGACY OF EDEN which comes out next February.

4. What are the primary mistakes you see writers make in query process?

I think the main mistake authors make is sending their typescript out too early. Very rarely is a first draft perfect, and I’d advise not beginning to query until you can’t see how you can continue to improve your typescript. It also helps if authors have researched the agent they are submitting to; most agents have profiles on agency websites so there shouldn’t be any excuse for sending projects to agents in genres they don’t handle. Most importantly, as agents have limited time to read unsolicited submissions, you need to grab their attention and often less is more when it comes to query letters.

5. With fiction partials, what makes you stop reading and start skimming-or stop reading altogether?

From the opening page, the voice will either hook me in or leave me cold. After that, I’m put off by clunky dialogue. In young adult or children’s writing, I’d stop reading anything that talked down to the reader.

6. Your agency profile says that you’re interested in young adult, what specific subgenres do you lean toward?

I love reading young adult fiction and don’t really lean towards any particular subgenre; my tastes range from literary novels such as those by Meg Rosoff and Rebecca Stead, to the very commercial – I devoured the Twilight , The Luxe and Pretty Little Liars series. I’m also looking to find a really great young adult horror or mystery. I was a huge fan of Nancy Drew and Goosebumps when growing up.

7. You said that your interest in fantasy is very limited. Is there any subgenre of fantasy that you would consider?

I’m not drawn to epic fantasy, particularly when it comes to adult fiction, but I could certainly be convinced otherwise by brilliant writing. First and foremost, I’m looking for brilliant characters, a compelling voice, and a world I don’t want to leave, so I am open to any novel that can offer that!

8. Will you be at any upcoming writers conferences where people can meet/pitch you?

I will be at the Matera Women’s Fiction Festival in Italy this September.

9. What’s the best way to contact you?

Submission guidelines are on our website . We prefer submissions by post if possible, but authors living outside the UK are welcome to email .

10.Best piece(s) of advice we haven’t discussed?

Read as much as you can in the genre you are writing in, and keep trying!