Monday, June 25, 2012

AGENT'S DAY is today!!!!


Today we celebrate Agent's Day!!! Well, at least here on the blog we do. But that's all that really matters, right? Oh and feel free to tweet under #AgentsDay too if you want to share some twitter love.

First, let's all stop and say THANK YOU to all the literary agents and all they do! Their passion and hard work is much appreciated. So today, we celebrate them!

Soooooo, please feel free to share your appreciation/love/gushiness/respect and whatnot for any particular agent(s), below in the comments section. This can be from agented writers to their agents or other writers who just had a great experience/feeling/situation with an agent that they'd like to share. 

PLEASE REMEMBER to be genuine and professional in your comments! 

I'm hoping this will do two things. I hope it will give everyone a chance to show their appreciation while giving agents a chance to feel the love. And I also hope it will help writers get to know some agents better. Maybe you'll hear something great about an agent you didn't know much about or maybe you'll even learn about an agent you've never heard of. Oh, and I'm also hoping it will be lots of fun, so that's actually three things. :)

Now before we continue I had some writers who easily agreed to help me out and wanted to sing some praises for their own agents here, so I hope you enjoy reading those below. 

But first!!! I wanted to thank all the agents who have helped me get this blog running over the last few months. You guys are awesome! And I would love to share some words for my agent... 


"Obviously I can't share who it is, but she knows who she is. :) I am one of the lucky ones who got to sign with their dream agent. Seriously, she was like a celebrity to me, and when I got to speak with her on the phone, it was cooler than if George Clooney had called. She's the perfect blend of hilariousness and professionalism, she pushes me and my work to be its best, she's passionate, and she's like the hardest worker I know. She will always be thee agent of agents, and I couldn't ask for a better person to have on my side! So, thank you!!!! Super Secret Cupid's Agent!" 

Now let's hear from the others....

"Molly Jaffa and I have been working together for a little less than four months. Signing with Molly was one of the most incredible things that's ever happened to me. But it was also a little scary too, because there's no way to know if you've chosen the right agent until you've spent time working with them. Within weeks, I knew I'd made the right decision. Since the minute I said yes, Molly has had my back. An agent's job is so multifaceted, and Molly wears every hat with ease. And, on top of all of that, we click. We really click. So, Molly, THANK YOU. Thank you for seeing something in me and my little book. Thank you for being a ninja-assassin-agent who is always ahead of the curve. Thank you for answering every little, stupid question. Thank you for being a professional. Thank you for knowing, in both writing and business, when to push and when not to. Thank you for all of these things. But thank you most of all for your love of this business, because your passion inspires me in a big cheesy way."

"My agent, Lauren Hammond with ADA Management, is like my literary fairy godmother. When I hit the agent-search market after separating from my first agent, I had a list of ideal qualities my new agent had to have in order for me to sign with them. I was extremely cautious, and honestly, a little scared of signing with a new agent. But the second I talked to Lauren on the phone, I knew she was the perfect match for me. She's super communicative and incredibly enthusiastic about my work. Which were just two of many qualities that I wanted in my new agent. The best part? She gets my crazy and gives the best pep-talks around. I just love her to death and am so happy that I signed with her. Lauren ROCKS and anyone who is lucky enough to have Lauren offer to represent them would be crazy to turn her down. I couldn't be happier! Love ya Lauren!" :)

"Shout out to my agent Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Larsen Pomada. Pam kicks butt with her communication, knowledge and enthusiasm! I couldn't ask for a better agent in my corner."

"I only signed with Tricia Lawrence a couple of weeks ago (via request from The Writer's Voice Team Cupid's LC!) but I can already tell that Tricia is an agent who pours her whole heart into her clients' work, and will bend over backwards to see it succeed. When we've spoken about my manuscript, she brings so much excitement and passion to the discussion. Hearing her talk about my work, it's hard not to believe in myself and in my story, and that's absolutely priceless. Thanks for being an awesome agent, Tricia!"

"Everyone likes to think about how it feels to sign with your agent, but sometimes I think about how it must have felt for Adriann Ranta when she signed me. Sure, obviously she loves me, but she just pulled a nobody from the slush pile and offered to dedicate her time to me for free until her resources paid off for both of us. Kind of amazing, really. I'm thankful that she's got the balls to take a running leap into the slush pile, and take a chance on a new voice."

"Having Louise Fury for an agent is like having a literary rockstar represent you. She's tough, she knows the business, she LOVES books, and she's so funny sometimes I can't catch my breath. I always wanted an awesome agent- I just never thought I'd end up with one as cool as Louise. THE MURDER COMPLEX wouldn't have found its happy home at Greenwillow without her! Thanks for all you do for me and my career. You're the best in the business (but I might be a little bit biased!)."

"I've known how awesome Kate Schafer Testerman is for a long time. She was always one of the first agents I queried with every new manuscript, partly because I thought her list was so impressive and partly because I knew how kind and on-the-ball she was. We worked on several blog things before I signed with her, and I always appreciated how prompt she was with her responses and how easy she was to work with. Now that she's my agent, I appreciate this even more. Kate is passionate and hard-working, and anyone would be lucky to have her. I know I am."

"Jessica Faust, I know we haven't been together long, but your sharp eye, great advice, and class have made it feel like forever. Sometimes all I can think about are the fantabulous books I know we'll create by our combined powers. I'm so excited to keep working with you. You've given me the confidence I need to go forth into the wide, sometimes scary world that is the next step of publishing. I'll always hold the memory of that first breathless phone conversation close to my heart. I could list a million things about why you're the perfect agent, but one makes me smile without fail. In your revisions letter you put; "Don't make any changes that don't feel right". It's a two-dozen-sugar-cookies-and-seven-cokes kind of high to know my feelings and my work are respected, and I will always, always respect your feelings and work in kind.  Thank you, Jessica!"

"It's difficult to find a person outside of one's own family who you know truly has your back. A person you can trust to be honest with you and tell you exactly what you need to know, not just what you want to hear. Over the past year and a half since signing with her, my agent has not only been an incredible sales woman, selling both books I have thrown at her, but has also been my counselor, my editor, my cheerleader, not to mention my most valued beta reader. But above anything else, she has been the most supportive and encouraging influence I could ever have hoped for. To have someone believe in your book is a truly wonderful thing, but to have someone who believes, not just in your books, but in yourwriting, is far, far greater. To the amazing Carly Watters of PS Literary, you are a dream, and you make the publishing universe one I am happy to be apart of!"

"My agent, Neil Salkind, is the missing piece. He was able to look at my nonfiction project and immediately link it to something bigger in the market and lead me to my niche. One short phone call and he twigged me on to what my project could be. Inspiration! He put meaning behind what I'm trying to accomplish with my project and his ideas are always like a huge revelationary light bulb going off over my head. Not only do I appreciate his hard, unpaid (to this point--come on book deal!) work, but I also thank him. He's a fabulous person to have on my team and I wouldn't be as far as I am without him. Thanks, Neil!"

"Kathleen Ortiz has been my agent for about a year and a half. At this point, she's walked me through many disappointments, triumphs, major choices, and long periods of uncertainty. Through all of that, she rarely takes more than a day to answer an email. She calls me when she knows I'm upset or confused about something that's happened with one of my projects (and has done so both early in the morning and late at night). She sends me hilarious little YouTube videos to celebrate awesome news. She is unfailingly excited about my writing and my career, and she critiques like nobody's business so that I can keep improving. She's super-sweet, but I have ample evidence that she's a fierce advocate on my behalf. Knowing someone like Kathleen has my back has made this whole publication journey not only bearable but fun."

From the MacLeod Clan:

"We think our agent, Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency, is the best! Let us count the ways…
L is for Laird of the MacLeod Clan, which welcomes new clients with open arms.
A is for approachability, always available to answer questions, and keeps us in the loop when we go out on sub.
U is for unbelievably quick. Lauren manages going to conferences, connecting with editors, reading manuscripts, and will still deliver notes to us on time!
R is for her really cute SlushPuppy! Who can resist his sweet face and adorable antics, along with the ability to doggie paddle in slush?
E is for her editorial eye, awesome and quick to find ways to make our manuscripts shine!
N is for new, fresh ideas! She’s always willing to help brainstorm and guide our writing when it’s still just a WIP.
We love our agent, and you will too. Thank you Lauren, for everything you do!" <3

Mary Elizabeth Summer:

"I have THE best agent in the entire world. And that's saying something, because there are many, many amazing agents out there. But Laura Bradford is a true gem, and here's why. Reason #1: She is a networker's networker. She connects with all the right people on a personal level. She doesn't just send your book out into the ether, she builds excitement for it first, making sure an editor has it fresh in mind before she even sends it, and that can make all the difference. Reason #2: She's got loads of humor and personality, which not only makes her fun to work with but also HELPS YOUR BOOK. By that I mean, she reacts to a story the way the best kind of reader would, so her editing suggestions are always spot-on and spark creative solutions. For proof of her sparkling, sharp wit, check out her Twitter feed. Reason #3: She cares about her clients. Okay, so lots of agents care about their clients, BUT Laura's agency is by design small and tight-knit. She keeps in close contact with each of us while we have projects on the move, and she responds in minutes if we have a question or are in need of something. I couldn't be happier with my agent choice. Thanks, Laura, for all your hard work and for helping me through this crazy, stressful, exciting process!"


AWESOME! I love it all!

A big thanks to those who participated!
A big thanks to all my readers!
A big thanks to everyone leaving comments today!

And a GIGANTIC "THANK YOU!" to all the hard-working AGENTS out there and for everything you do!!!! It's much appreciated!!!!

Now get to gushing everyone!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

"Agent's Day" Information! Get Ready!

I've been back and forth on whether I should post a "get ready" post, and I have decided to do so. Obviously.

So here's your heads up:

"Agent's Day" will be Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What that means is that on Monday ANYONE can come to the blog and sing praises to a specific agent (or more) to show their appreciation. This can be someone who is agented and wants to share their love for their agent, or this can be someone who is still looking for an agent but would like to show their appreciation for a certain agent.

Like maybe you had an agent take the time to give invaluable feedback on a full request. Or maybe one offered great advice to you during an #askagent session. Whatever it may be, please feel free to share it in a professional, respectable manner.

I'm thrilled to see how this goes and what we learn from each other this way.

See you Monday!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Interview with Jodi Meadows!

Remember when we had our first book discussion and it was on the amazing INCARNATE? Yeah, well today we get to hear from the author that wrote all that genius, Jodi Meadows!!!  (Repped by Lauren MacLeod!!!)

If you didn't read it, do it now. If it's on your TBR list, move it to the top. 

Hold on tight. Here we goooo...

C: Was INCARNATE your first manuscript? Second? Third? Fifteenth?

JM: Seventeenth complete manuscript. In addition to a billion finished manuscripts, I had a lot of starts and stops in there, some sequels that never got finished, or stories I just couldn't figure out how to end. Or lost steam for.

C: Wow! So what inspired you to write INCARNATE?

JM: Good question. The answer is simple. I took all my favorite books, put them in alphabetical order, and then took the third word on the fifth line of the seventeenth page. That gave me the concept. Then I took the first word and the last word, reversed them, and suddenly I had a plot. Once THAT was done, I looked for objects on covers that were becoming common, like butterflies, which gave me the symbolism . . . 

That may all be a lie.

C: Oh gosh, I hope so! LOL How long did you query or how many queries did you send before getting your offer?

JM: This one is complicated. I had an agent before, and had queried a couple of years before getting her. Then we broke up, and I queried other stories for another two years before getting Lauren with INCARNATE. In all, I have sent probably close to 400 queries. (Keep in mind INCARNATE was ms #17, though I didn't query all 16 before.) But for INCARNATE, I sent only about 15, and I was ready for my next round of queries when Lauren called to offer.

C: What did you do to celebrate landing an agent? Publisher?

JM: Nothing as exciting as you're hoping. Two days after I signed with Lauren, I got my wisdom teeth pulled. (And believe me, there were jokes about getting my wisdom teeth pulled and no longer having the wisdom to write a good book. Heh.) 

And editor . . . I think I just cried. A lot.

C: What do you know now that you wish you would've known as a querying writer?

JM: I dunno. I was a pretty educated querier. 

But something I think most writers don't really understand until they have an agent? It's better to have no agent than the wrong agent. 

By wrong, I don't necessarily mean bad. I mean one who doesn't connect with you on a deep writerly level, or fully understand and agree with your vision for the story. Or your long-term career. Or one who doesn't work the way you need an agent to work. None of those things mean the agent is bad, but they might mean the agent isn't the very best for you.

And you want someone who's going to be the very best for you every step of the way, because it's a long journey.

C: What advice do you have for writers seeking agents?

JM: *points up*  Get the right agent. Don't be so desperate that you take any offer, even if it's not the best fit for you. 

C: What surprised you the most about the agent to publisher to published process?

JM: Not much. As I said, I was a pretty educated querier. I have a lot of friends who were published long before I was, so I had the benefit of their experiences. 

C: What is your best writing tip?

JM: Write only the good parts. If it's boring to you, it's boring to the reader. 

C: What is your biggest writing flaw/enemy/bad habits? 

JM: I need a lot of warm-up time to write. I wish I could just sit down and go, and some days I can if I'm ridiculously inspired. But most days, it takes me a while to get going.

C: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

JM: The part where I can't think about anything but my story.

Unfortunately, that's also the part where I can't be bothered to do dishes, laundry, eat. . .

C: Do you have a favorite scene in INCARNATE?

JM: They're all my favorite scenes. The masquerade, of course, is one I was really looking forward to. I enjoyed writing that so much. But a scene people tend not to talk about but makes my heart go pitter-patter . . . the scene in the library where Ana looks at pictures and watches videos. That one is special to me.

C: Yes, those are both fab scenes! Do you have any pictures picked out of Sam? Teehee *swooning*

JM: Hah, no, sorry. I'm notoriously bad with faces.

C: Oh shoot! Do you have a favorite author/book?

JM: Picking favorites makes me feel guilty.

C: Anything else you'd like to share about INCARNATE or finding an agent:

JM: Hmm. Yes. Try, try, try to remember where you got your inspiration for your story. Because people will ask about it all the time. If you don't have a good story because you can't remember, you will end up telling lies like I do.

Though the lies are kind of fun. . . .

C: Haha! Thanks for the interview Jodi!

Told you she was super cool! Now check out this post on Corrine Jackson's blog for more Jodi-awesomeness. 

But before you go, I want to inform you that next Monday and Tuesday (June 25th and 26th), we'll be celebrating something I'm calling "Agent's Day" on the blog so come back then and be ready to gush for your fave agent(s)!

See you then and, as always, thanks for reading!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cupid's Second Successful Literary Connection

So if you've been anywhere that's anywhere this isn't NEW news but it is still BIG news! We have our second successful literary connection!!! This one is from the "Surprise Agent Invasion" contest and the super writer and agent are.....

Mary Elizabeth and Laura Bradford!!!! 

Woot! Woot! Seriously, couldn't be more excited about this! Maybe because they are both  fabulous, as was Mary Elizabeth's entry, CATCH MY GRIFT! Go check it out now. 

Just as I did with the first connection, I decided to interview them both. 

Let's start with Mary Elizabeth's interview! Btw, check out her Twitter and blog too!

 C: First things first, what is your sweet of choice?

M: There's this peanut butter cup that they make at Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene, OR that is quite simply the best food I have ever put into my mouth. You can only eat one, and the chocolate will get EVERYWHERE, but it is a little cup of heaven-on-earth and worth every calorie. 

C: How long have you been writing?

M: I've been dabbling since I could put crayon to paper, but seriously writing toward actually getting published, seven years this November. I'm counting from the first time I successfully finished National Novel Writing Month. That novel has been read by exactly two other people, and it will no doubt stay that way.

C: How long did it take you to write CATCH MY GRIFT?

M: A little less than a year. Toward the end of the story, I wrote like I had a fire lit under me. I actually wrote about a fourth of it on my iPhone while commuting on the train to and from work (a la Lauren Oliver, though I didn't know that at the time). When I typed the last word, I almost hugged the person on the train sitting next to me. Then it took me about two months to edit it.

C: How many did you query with this novel?

M: I queried two other agents in addition to participating in your Surprise Agent Invasion contest, one of whom offered me representation during the flurry of activity that happened after Laura offered me rep. I am still utterly gobsmacked that so many fantastic agents, agents that I've been cyber stalking for years, expressed interest and wrote me such encouraging things about my manuscript, even if they ultimately passed on it.

C: What made you decide to enter the contest?

M: It was a complete impulse entry. I had just been rejected from Brenda Drake's March Madness Pitch contest, though again, she had nothing but encouraging things to say about my pitch, and I saw that you had just tweeted about the Surprise Agent Invasion contest. So, since I already had my pitch materials ready, I decided to enter. Honestly, I had no expectation of even getting into the contest, let alone getting an agent!  

C: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

M: Editing. It's the most incredible high when you manage to wrestle a troublesome scene into line. Often it's the most intractable scenes that end up being the most powerful post-edit. Editing challenges me to be better, dig deeper, really learn not just how to write but also what my characters are trying so hard to teach me. Nothing beats that aha! moment when everything just clicks. 

C: What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

M: Editing. It is such a pain in the @$$! And it's not like you can do it as quickly and easily as laying down the first draft. There's no word-count goal to pat yourself on the back over. You just have to slog through it. My choir professor called it "woodshedding" a piece--that first brutal chiseling away where you look at everything that's wrong and try to shape it into something respectable.

C: If you could only pick up three things from the grocery store, what would they be?

M: Are you asking in a favorite-foods kind of way, or in a zombie-apocalypse-survival kind of way? If favorite-foods, then Miniwheats, avocados, and cheese. If zombie-apocalypse, then Miniwheats, a knife, and matches. 

C: What advice do you have for other writers?

M: Write. But don't write in a vacuum. It took me seven years and four novels to get good enough to find an agent. I think it would have taken far less time if I'd found Twitter sooner. I keep a blog of all the writerly things I've found helpful, including a page of resource links, advice I've received from other writers, and grammar tips I've picked up from my years as a professional proofreader/editor. Feel free to stop by and check it out:  

C: What did you do to celebrate your offer?

We haven't done it yet, actually. My partner promised me that if I managed to snag an agent that she'd take me to Chicago, which is the setting for CATCH MY GRIFT. We're going to all the places in the story (Meigs Field, the Ballou, St. Ignatius' College Prep which is the school I based St. Agatha's on, the Chicago Club which is the club I based the Strand on, and Hawthorne Racetrack). I can't wait to go and really feel Julep there.  

C: Tell us a little about your success story:

M: When I found out I'd made it into the Surprise Agent Invasion contest, I was ridiculously excited. I refreshed the entry you posted for my pitch (#8, baby!) about once every three minutes for the first five days. Then a few requests came rolling in--a couple of partials and several fulls(!), one of them from Laura Bradford, who was one of my top two dream agents. I think I almost passed out. I scrambled to get all my materials together and sent them off, fingers crossed.

A week later, Laura tweeted that she was going to offer an author representation later that day. My heart just about gave out on me, but I told myself it couldn't be me since she'd only had my ms for a week. And then my phone rang.

I won't lie. I shook through the entire phone call, and I'm sure I stuttered like a broken typewriter. We talked for an hour about edits I needed to make and how agenting works and what next steps would be if I accepted her offer of rep. It all sounded fabulous, but other agents still had my ms, so I deferred making a decision for a week to give the others time to finish. After the call, I immediately called my partner and squeed at her for another twenty minutes.

So then I notified the other agents and got two more offers. It was awful! I was a nervous wreck, though all three of them were incredibly gracious and answered all my newbie questions. I decided finally on Laura, because I could tell she was strong in all the places I was weakest in my writing. I felt she had the most to teach me, and I need someone I can grow with. Plus I just adore her with her garden-gnome fetish and use of words like 'wingnut.' 

Now my ms is out on submission. And with the punishing summer conference schedule, I don't expect to hear back from potential publishers any time soon. So in the meantime I'm basking in the incredible experience of actually having something I've written so well received by industry professionals. And I'm starting work on my next project...

Squeeee! So excited for you Mary Elizabeth! Good luck and keep us posted! 

Now let's hear from Laura! And make sure to check out her Twitter and website if you haven't already. If that's even possible. 

C: First things first, what is your sweet of choice?

L: CAKE!  MOAR CAKE!  I am pretty sure I said that on Twitter just a couple of days ago.  And I mean a piece of cake, not a cupcake.  Cupcakes never have the right cake-frosting ratio and they pretend to be this awesome portable food but there you are 3 minutes later with a limp paper wrapper in your hand, frosting on your fingers and you can’t find a  trash can.  Give me a piece of cake, a fork and a plate and I can attempt to be dignified.

C: At what point during a MS can you usually tell you are going to offer?

L: I really try to hold off making a final decision until I have read the entire ms and I have never actually jumped the gun and called to offer rep before I was finished reading a full…but I have thought about it.  Sometimes a ms is just so freaking delightful that I start to get kind of panicky about it pretty early off in my read—panicked that some other agent is going to get it before I can.  I usually like to get a second read from a colleague and if I start getting that this-could-be-the-one feeling early off, I send it to my colleague to start in on right away in order to save time.  That said, I have sent mss off to my assistant to read because I was feeling really excited about the 1st chunk and then emailed her again an hour or two later to say…umm, NEVERMIND!  MSS can start off great and then crash hard.  It sucks to feel that disappointment, so I try to keep my cool until I hit THE END.

C: How can you tell?

L: It is usually voice and character that win my heart but it is possible to read a story where the characters are great, the voice is original and fresh and…nothing happens in the plot.  What do you do with that?  I’m not afraid to take on mss that need a bit of work but some things are more easily fixed than others. So sometimes you approach a ms from a position of logic and mechanics and market viability and those are all valid reasons to say yes or no to a ms.  But if we are talking MAGIC and a more visceral/gut reaction to a YES ms, this was something tweeted this weekend about manuscript I was reading: I’m all swirly-twirly with butterflies in my belly and hearts in my eyes over the story. That is my favorite reaction.  I offered on that ms today.

C: What is the first thing you will do after finishing a MS you are going to offer on?

L: Wish that someone else has read it too so I can talk about it with them. That is usually when I start asking my assistant every 5 minutes ARE YOU DONE YET?  I usually read at night and since I am on the west coast, it is pretty much the rule that I finish reading a ms and falling madly in love with it way too late to immediately call the author.  Believe me, I have wanted to call authors at 3 am to rhapsodize about their mss MANY times.  Somehow I manage to resist. By the time I am able to call the author--either because I waited for a normal human time to call her, or I waited until after I discussed it with a second reader--I am a lot less crazed. If I had a sense that a ms would be a YES, I probably would have started marking sections that need attention as I read it so before calling the author I will put together my thoughts and comments on what was great, what needs work, etc.  And it is worth noting that I generally don’t lead off an author call by offering representation, I do that after I have talked with them for a bit.  Basically, if the author turns out to be a wingnut™ I won’t make the offer, no matter how much I liked the ms.

C: Do you ever offer on a MS that you had to take time to decide on first? Or is it typically a fast and easy love?

L: Ideally, it is a fast and easy love.  Ideally, I don’t feel even a second of hesitation, but it just does not always happen that way because sometimes--actually all the time--a ms will need some work.  And it is hard to make that decision about how much work is too much.  Frankly it can depend on the day…if I am feeling buried by my list I might hesitate to take something on that needs more editorial. And rightly so because I owe my first loyalty to my current authors and I need to make sure I don’t spread myself too thin. Other days I may be fresh as a daisy and feel ready for any challenge. I will say that the hesitation usually goes the other way, though, where I will find a ms I want to say yes to but I talk myself out of it because of the amount of work it will require, because of the composition of my current list, because of the market.  I can like something INTENSELY and still think I’ll never be able sell it.  If it is a situation like that I will usually contact the author and convey that to them and leave the door open for something else.  If I read a ms and truly feel on the fence about it, it usually turns into a no. In this business we say a maybe is really a no.

C: Do YOU like to do anything to celebrate before/after MAKING "The Call"?

L: Nope.  Nose back to grindstone.  That is a pretty boring answer.

C: Do you have any advice for a writer who just received "The Call"?

L: Ask lots of questions.  You should probably have thought about this in advance, what you would most like to know from an agent who offers your representation.  I promise this will not jinx everything if you plan ahead.  Think positively.  And while you are asking questions, TALK to the agent, find out if you enjoy him or her as a person.  I have been on calls with authors I was offering rep to where they were very official and asked tons of questions but it felt pretty clinical and it was ultimately hard to get at who they really were and vice versa.  I am more than the sum of my interview answers.  I leave LOTS of time in my schedule to talk to an author for as long as they like when I call to offer rep.  And if one of us runs out of time, I invite them to call again or email if they have more questions and want to talk again before they make their decision.  Oh, and feel free to ask an agent for a week to make your decision if your material is out with other agents or you otherwise want to think about it.  I think it is expected that authors need to take time to do this.  If any agent pressures you to make a decision without taking time to think about it, it would make me really wary about what it would be like to work with that agent.

C: What kind of things can you forgive in a MS when considering offering? What things must already be in good shape?

L: Mechanics are pretty easy to fix.  Spelling is easy to fix.  Plot twists can be altered. Voice is hard to change.  That is something that really has to be there already.  Character has to be pretty solid, in my opinion, though certainly a character’s actions can be adjusted some.  Unfortunately subgenre/theme is something that is either viable in the current market or it isn’t.  If the ms is amazing but it happens to be something that the marketplace is completely saturated on, that can be troublesome and it is hard to change that subgenre/theme if it completely permeates the work.

C: If you could only grab three things from the grocery store, what would they be?

L: I hate the grocery store.  I only go there when the situation is dire.  I’d buy cheese, crusty French bread and something crunchy/snacky, like salt and vinegar chips. My diet is horrifying.

C: What made you request the full on CATCH MY GRIFT?

L: It is about a con artist.  I freaking love con artist/grifter characters in fiction.  And this one was a teenage grifter girl.  Even better.  I may have asked for this just because the hook was a great fit for my tastes but truthfully the voice really had IT.  The last line of the sample I read was “The truth is I have a soft spot for harlots” and I remember thinking, ME TOO! Also, where is THIS going to go?

C: What made you offer on CATCH MY GRIFT?

L: There are two answers to that question, the response made by my brain and the response made by my gut.  From a logical standpoint it had the right bones, it was a subgenre that the market was hungry for (mystery/thriller), it had the right mix of plot (lots going on but not so much that the story felt busy), romance (yes, please), it had emotional weight without being heavy, nice high stakes, it wasn’t predictable and the voice felt original.  On paper that all combines to indicate something that I could sell in the current market.  So that is the answer my brain would give. My gut just says WHHHHEEEEEEEEEE!  This story was just pure rollicking, adventurous fun. I had fun reading it, I felt invested, I LIKED the characters and the story made me happy.

C: What is the most common reason you will NOT upgrade a partial to a full?

L:The voice doesn’t sing or I don’t like the characters.  Sometimes I may still want to know what happens next but without the voice/characters really working it will always be just an exercise of satisfying my idle curiosity instead of expectation that I might make an offer.  In that case it is unfair to raise an author’s hopes.

C: What is your best advice for writers seeking agents?

L: Do your research.  Target the right agents for you and the type of work you write.  Know what you want and pay attention to the rules of the road aka submission guidelines/etiquette.

C: What is your favorite part of being a literary agent?

L: I really love my job and I like LOTS of the parts of being a literary agent.  I love telling a debut author they have gotten their first offer.  I love sending a ms out in the world I KNOW people are going to love.  I love being part of the process and how rewarding it is when you see the finished product on the shelf for the 1st time. When you have built a close relationship with your author, there is nothing as great as getting to celebrate the highs with them because chances are you two have probably slogged through some lows together, too.

C: Anything specific you are seeking right now?

L: More YA…I seem to be especially drawn to YA mystery, thrillers, historical and contemporary right now. I know that doesn’t seem like a very narrow list.  I am definitely looking for more in adult romance, too, specifically historical and contemporary.

C: Now please tell us something super weird about yourself. :)

L: I used to live in Antarctica.  And I jumped out of an airplane once and I HATED it, not because I was scared but because I got nauseated halfway down and thought I was going to barf. Also, I got pedicure on Saturday and then played with self tanner on Sunday so for the moment I have ELECTRIC BLUE toenails and orange feet.  Apparently I suck at applying self tanner.


Wow! Are they both fantastic or what? Thank you ladies for letting me interview you! And congrats to both of you!!!

I hope you all enjoyed the interview! And if you've learned anything, I hope it's that if you want Laura as an agent you better not be a wingnut. :)

Thanks everyone!