Category Archives: Agents

Profiles of agents and agency staff members.

Ask an Agent: David Fugate Answers Your Questions!

Posted by August 6th, 2014

David Fugate

This is Part IV of Book Country’s Ask an Agent Blog Series! Literary agent David Fugate of LaunchBooks answers questions about representing self-published authors and what he looks for in a writer. Check out Part I, Part II, and Part III of Ask an Agent. 

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1.  Assuming the query letter generates your interest and the writing is strong enough in the chapters you see (and yes, that’s a big assumption), what kind of things do you look for in the writer’s personality? Or is the writer somewhat irrelevant when it comes to closing the deal with the publisher? – Steve Yudewitz

The writer is never irrelevant in any circumstance. I think any agent will always look first at the work, as if it’s not there on the page there’s not much an agent can do. Beyond that, I look for authors who I feel a strong connection to, as for me the relationship I have with my authors is a very personal one. I intentionally don’t have an assistant or use interns, and so every interaction with each author I represent is directly with me. I answer the phone, write the checks, negotiate the contracts and read the royalty statements, and I talk with my authors every step along the way so it’s important to have a great feel for working together. Continue reading

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Ask an Agent: Ryan D. Harbage Answers Your Questions!

Posted by July 22nd, 2014

Book Country Ask an AgentWelcome to Part III of Book Country’s “Ask an Agent” blog series! Literary agent Ryan D. Harbage of The Fischer-Harbage Agency answers your questions about re-querying agents, social media, and what to submit to agents. Read Part I and Part II of “Ask an Agent.”

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1. In today’s market authors are very involved with promoting their work via Twitter and Facebook. When looking over a query, do agents look at the author too and evaluate their networks? Does this have any weight?- Danielle Bowers

When it comes to nonfiction, one’s platform is a big deal. Social media is less impressive to me than an established following in traditional media—print, radio, television and/or film. And authority and expertise are even more important, most of the time. Twitter and Facebook followers usually don’t impress publishers unless the writer has a celebrity-level, or near-celebrity-level following. I encourage my clients to spend more time writing than promoting. The work is always the most important thing. Continue reading

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Ask an Agent: Melissa Sarver White Answers Your Questions!

Posted by July 15th, 2014

Ask an Agent

Welcome to Part II of Book Country’s “Ask an Agent” blog series! Literary agent Melissa Sarver White of Folio Literary Management answers your questions about the art of the verbal pitch, the etiquette of querying, and how to query when you’ve already self-published one book. Read “Ask an Agent” Part I.

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1. What would an agent want to hear in a five-minute verbal pitch? – kjmiller

The purpose of a verbal pitch or query is simply to entice the agent as you would entice a potential reader (like with cover flap copy). It is not to tell me everything that happens in the book or give a synopsis. It’s a 2-3 sentence logline that should display tone, writing style, main character and major conflict – I should feel interesting, dramatic and full of energy (even if you aren’t writing a dystopian thriller!). Honestly, if you can’t pitch your book in 2-3 sentences, you don’t know well enough what you are writing. Continue reading

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Ask an Agent: Lucy Carson Answers Your Questions!

Posted by July 8th, 2014

Lucy Carson Ask an Agent

Credit: Jacobia Dahm

Welcome to Part I of Book Country’s “Ask an Agent” blog series! Literary agent Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency answered some of your questions that were posted on our discussion board and on Twitter. We hope you find her answers just as insightful as we did! Feel free to post any questions you would like to ask an agent on our discussion board, Book Country “Ask an Agent” Blog Series

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1. I have read that agents are far too busy to pick through the offerings on these sites (Book Country), yet several people here have announced that an agent contacted them after reading them on here. Which situation is closer to reality? – Mimi Speike

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Member Spotlight: Meet David Whitaker

Posted by July 3rd, 2014

David WhitakerToday our blog guest is David Whitaker (aka DWhit), whose book PARADOX was an Editor’s Pick in June.

Lucy Silag: Environmental thrillers–what a great genre! Have you always been a fan of them, and if so, how did you get into them? What environmental thriller writers have you enjoyed reading?

David Whitaker: Deciding to classify my book as an Environmental Thriller was one of the more difficult parts of writing the book. At first I thought it was Sci-Fi, but it was when I started reading the Book Country Genre Map, and started digging into sub-genres, and realized that Environmental Thriller was more accurate. But there’s still a Sci-Fi component to it that is only hinted at in the first five chapters. So I guess I’m not positive that it’s an Environmental Thriller.

Maybe I’ll end up re-catagorizing it down the road somewhere if I get feedback to that end. I don’t want to mislead potential readers.

That said, I think it’s hard to strictly categorize stories by the sub-genres. Continue reading

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Submit Your Questions for Our ‘Ask an Agent’ Blog Series!

Posted by July 1st, 2014

 

Ask an Agent Book Country

This July, Book Country will host a blog series called “Ask an Agent.” All throughout the month, you can post any question you want to ask to an agent in our discussion boards, and agents will answer those questions in future blog posts!

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Dan Croutch’s Tips for Querying Agents

Posted by June 16th, 2014

tips for querying agents smallerI came up with these tips for querying agents when I started querying my book THE KINGS OF CARNIN: RISE OF ARI to agents about eight months ago.

First, I created a list of agents based on some online resources and the suggestions of published folks. Each agent was ranked based on their success with clients.

I chose to send off a batch of snail mail queries first. My first rejection was exciting; a badge of honor.  Now that I had it I felt I was truly well on my way to publishdom. The second was less exciting and the fourth was just plain discouraging. Querying agents is a really emotional process, one where every letter or email sent faces an astonishing battle of the odds.

One of my queries, the third to this agent I’ll admit, resulted in a “partial.” This is where the agent wants to see the first chunk of the manuscript. Huzzah, finally people can see my work! That’s what I had been saying all along – “if only they could read this.”  That rejection was particularly sobering and quite a setback. Thankfully, some feedback from Book Country members came in shortly thereafter and restarted the passion for my work. Now I can hardly wait for an agent to request my first “full” – the whole manuscript – and maybe even representation! Continue reading

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Meet Literary Agent Lucy Childs Baker

Posted by January 15th, 2014

Lucy Childs BakerFull disclosure: Literary agent Lucy Childs Baker and I don’t just share the same first name. We also share . . . a family! Lucy, an agent at the Aaron M. Priest Agency, is my cousin. She’s actually the person for whom I was named! Since I started working in publishing, I’ve relied on her analysis, her advice, and her good taste in books. Lucy is looking for new writers to represent in several literary categories workshopped here on Book Country. Read on to find out more about Lucy’s literary tastes and how to query her with your manuscript.

LS: Tell us how you got into the business of agenting.

LC: I was an actress in a previous life (for 25 years).  I wanted to change careers for a variety of reasons and my cousin suggested agenting since I’ve always been a voracious reader with eclectic taste.  I had to start somewhere, so I began managing the office at the Aaron Priest Agency.  After learning everything I could about publishing – a completely different world from the theater! – I became an agent after four years.

LS: What kind of books do you really connect with as a reader?

LC: Mostly literary fiction, and although it’s a cliché, really anything that’s well written with a juicy story.  Just finished THE GOLDFINCH by Donna Tartt which I loved. Ruth Ozeki’s novel, A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING is also a recent favorite.

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An Epic Morning at Starbucks: Author Phillip Margulies’s Agent Story

Posted by January 14th, 2014

phillip Margulies 1Every traditionally published author has a story about how they found their literary agent. My favorites of these are always the more serendipitous ones, the ones that show not just a writer’s tenacity in their search, but also have a cinematic quality to them–a bit of a “meet-cute.” Below, Historical Fiction author Phillip Margulies, whose debut novel BELLE CORA came out from Doubleday last week, tells us how he met his agent, Dorian Karchmar of William Morris, at his local Starbucks. It wasn’t just good timing, however–read on to see how Phillip impressed Dorian even before she read his work, and how that fateful meeting helped him to realize one of his longest-held dreams.

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For unpublished writers the true tale I’m about to relate qualifies as a story of survival.  Whether it is an inspiration or a warning, I’m not sure.

I have been writing fiction since the age of 11;  that is, since 1963, half a century ago. Empires fell, presidential administrations went by in a blur, the quill in my hand became a typewriter and then a laptop, while I sat there in my Time Machine writing.  I had no other ambition, no other serious employment.  By 2005, when I began BELLE CORA, I had written eight previous novels and numerous short stories and poems, all unpublished; also some unproduced plays.  Editors praised my work.  They wished me luck “finding the right publisher.”

My wife, Maxine Rosaler, has a writer friend who is regularly published—they’re from the same town and have stayed friends despite their highly divergent destinies. The friend’s husband had recently asked my wife: “Why does Phil bother?” Like, Phil’s in his fifties, can’t he take a hint?  Earlier, when I was merely in my forties, another friend had told her: “At this stage of his life he’ll never get published.” My wife decided not to pass on either of these remarks, which is unusual for her, but sometimes in a fight when I accused her of saying everything she could say to hurt me, she’d say, “No, I don’t.  There are things I could say that I don’t say.”  Which was, wow, really infuriating. Continue reading

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Beyond NaNoWriMo: Literary Agent Sara Megibow on Top Publishing Trends

Posted by December 4th, 2013

NaNoWriMo has come to an end, and I’m sure many of you are itching to share your work: publish it or place it into the hand of a literary agent. Finishing a novel is incredibly exciting, but make sure it’s as ready as it can be, first, before sharing it with your readers! Do your research. Edit. Strategize. 

Today we have the third part of our interview with agent Sara Megibow–a special treat for those of you who are gearing up to query agents in the next months. Be sure to check out the first part of our interview, in which she shared specific query advice and the second part, where she talked about what’s behind a good author-agent relationship

Here, we discuss publishing trends, erotic romance, and sci/fi submissions. ~NG

NG: As an agent, you have a birds-eye view of the publishing industry. Are there any trends you see growing or contracting in terms of genre or writing style?

SM: That’s a great question and thanks again for having me here at Book Country! I’ve followed the Book Country website and Twitter feed for a long time now. Thanks for all the hard work your team does to support authors!

Now, on to trends—you asked about genre and writing style. Let’s tackle genre first. I’ve worked in publishing for 8 years and have been a literary agent for 4 years and can honestly say (from an agent’s perspective) brilliant writing has been the “hot” thing all along. It’s easy to point to certain genres that have gone “boom” and been hot over the years—vampire romance, young adult dystopian, erotic romance, etc. but when I’m reading submissions for potential representation I put these biases aside and read solely for quality of writing. I want a book that grabs my attention and draws me in so much that when the cat meows, the kid screams and the doorbell rings, I miss it all because I’m so engrossed in the characters and their lives.

9780778313533_smp.inddAs an agent, I represent debut authors in science fiction, fantasy, romance, erotica, new adult, young adult and middle grade fiction. I do want submissions that match a certain formula based on genre (word count, happy-ever-after ending, etc), but I don’t reject submissions because of the genre itself. I’ve seen a lot of submissions recently set in the dream world or in Heaven or Hell and I’ve also seen a lot of submissions in which the hero or heroine is recovering from a coma or from amnesia. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t represent a book with these elements—it just means a book with these elements will have to display superior mastery of craft in order to stand out among the competition.

Here’s another example—I’ve heard whispered around the internets that historical romance is on a downswing. Well, I disagree. I agree that contemporary romance is trending up right now, but not at the expense of historical as people might say. I represent debut author Ashlyn Macnamara who has two Regency historicals out this year and they are selling like hotcakes. So, genre being what it is—we have to take these trends with a grain of salt.

Now, let’s talk about writing style for a moment. In terms of trends, writing style has a much more concrete answer than genre. For example, here are some quantifiable success stories from the past two years:

The eBook tie-in novella. Think about SUBMIT TO DESIRE by Tiffany Reisz—a novella-length story set in her ORIGINAL SINNERS world but sold at a lower price and as an ebook only. SUBMIT TO DESIRE sells well and readers seem to love the occasional quickie read, especially when they get to see some of their favorite heroes and heroines again. Also, the lower price point works well in convincing new readers to try an author she/he might not have read before. We recently inked an ebook novella tie-in deal for Michael Underwood’s GEEKOMANCY series too. The novella will be called ATTACK THE GEEK, will feature Ree Reyes in a new adventure and will be available as an ebook in early 2014. Will this trend continue? Yes, I think it will.

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