Friday, October 1, 2010

Interview with, uh, You

No agent interview for you this week, although I've got some great stuff in the pipeline, including another interactive installment with Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency coming up next week. Today, though, I want to focus on you.

First and foremost, I want to know what you write. I must admit, I've been pretty selfish when it comes to contacting agents about doing these interviews. For the most part, I've concentrated on agents who rep YA, fantasy, and sci-fi, since that's what I write. In the future, though, I want to interview agents who rep things that are more proportionally representative of the genres you write, so let me know in the comments (even if you write the same things I do, because you might never see another YA/fantasy/sci-fi agent again otherwise:) ).

Also, I'd love to hear your suggestions for making these interviews more helpful. Do you have a great general question you think I should ask every agent? Do you like these all-purpose interviews, or would you rather read agents' takes on specific topics (like effective revising, for instance)? I probably can't incorporate every piece of advice, but if it sounds like a good idea to me, too, I'll definitely take it around the blog for a spin.

In sum, please leave a comment with the genres you write and any other ideas or suggestions you have to make these agent interviews the best they can be.


Ben Spendlove said...

Hi, Krista. I've written sci-fi, fantasy, and YA. Who knows what I'll write next year? I find the general purpose interviews helpful in that you get different answers to the same questions. However, I also think specific topics would be even more helpful. I don't know if this is feasible, but what if you gave agents short samples of things like opening lines, hook sentences, character names, or even titles and asked for a quick opinion? I like examples, good or bad, but especially good. Maybe you could ask agents for some. (The feedback I got from your title contest was invaluable, by the way.)

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Krista, I always love your interviews. Wouldn't change a thing.

I write contemporary, reality-based YA.

Thanks for all you do! I've found so many agents to add to my list from your interviews.


Holly said...

I write sci-fi/fantasy. I wouldn't change anything about the interviews, either. Your website is one of the first places I will go when I start to query, hopefully at the end of the year.

Nicole Zoltack said...

I write YA, and high and urban fantasy.

Alex said...

Word, A.L. as do I. Con - Reality Based - YA.

I'd like to know how often an agent will send out a rejection based only on the query letter without reading any of the work. Or how far they typically get into the work before they stop and send the rejection.

Possibly broken down into guesstimated percentages. IE.

Rejection on query 20%
Rejection 1 paragraph in 20%
Rejection 1 page in 35%
Rejection 1 or more 15%
Rejecion on all available 10%

I'm a stats man.

Lies damned lies and statistics

Krista V. said...

Ben, so glad those critiques were helpful to you! And I like your idea of having agents talk about examples of things, especially good examples. The Guide to Literary Agents blog has a recurring feature where they invite agented authors to share the queries that landed them agents, and then their agents talk about why those queries worked. Might be worth experimenting with something similar.

Thanks, Amy. Looking forward to reading your contemporary, reality-based YA:)

How exciting, Holly, that you're almost ready to query! And thank you for your kind words.

Ah, Nicole, a woman after my own heart:)

Alex, good ideas. When I interview blogging agents, I ask the first question you mentioned, since I figure their blogs will already answer most of the usual questions. (You might check out Mandy Hubbard, Weronika Janczuk, and Kate Schafer Testerman's interviews to see their responses.) And I'm a statistics freak, too:) I did a long, dorky post on response times after I queried my last manuscript. Here's that link, if you're interested:

Connie said...

I write YA and murder mysteries, but not YA murder mysteries. :)

Alex said...

Oh Wow thanks for sharing the stats I got mathwood....sorry...No! I won't apologize that was Awesome!

And thanks for pointing me to those interviews where you asked the query to manuscript question!

Perfect timing actually as Weronika is on my query list for if I receive a rejection from Mandy Hubbard at D4EO. I should have queried Weronika first but I was a little lax on my research of the agency. But I just got a rejection from Mandy today so timing she be perfect.

Cambria Dillon said...

Another Contemp YA writer here! I love your agent interviews and can't think of anything off the top of my head.

My purpose of leaving a comment was just to say congrats on the awesome feedback (and request, it seems!) from Ask Daphne! She just posted her About Query a few minutes ago and I recognized the query's premise from following your blog. Good luck!

Krista V. said...

Alex, good luck with your querying.

Cambria, I'd glad you like the interviews. And thanks for the congrats! I'd sort of been dreading seeing that post all day (my husband was actually the one who finally looked it up), so when it turned out so well, I let out a huge sigh of relief. (Good thing Ms. Testerman's not reading this comment, as it's riddled with adverbs and cliches:) )

empty refrigerator said...

I love your interviews - and entire blog - too. And I REALLY appreciate your asking about genre. There is SOOOOOOOOO much offered to aspiring YA writers these days - writeoncon, many of the querytracker and secret agent contests, kitlitchat on twitter, etc etc. I get that this is because YA is hot, and I get that this is also bec so many people are writing it. I also get that if we non-YA authors want something for us, we should be the ones to start that. I do get all that. But I don't have the capacity to start anything myself right now, maybe in the future but not now -- so as I said, I really appreciate your reaching out. I write women's fiction.

lotusgirl said...

YA Paranormal/Supernatural. I'd like to know how much experience the agents have and how editorial they are.

Krista V. said...

Connie, sorry for not responding to your earlier! Thanks for adding your genres to the mix.

Empty refrigerator, thanks for your kind note. I'll be on the lookout for more awesome women's fiction agents.

Lotusgirl, thanks for your genres and suggestions. I especially like the idea of asking how editorial they are. That's an important issue.

Esther Vanderlaan said...

A couple questions I would suggest: Have they written any books? and How do you become an agent?

You know, now I that seriously think about my questions, the second question is for anyone who knows? Oops :|

Carol Riggs said...

I write YA only, but contemporary, light sci fi, and my WIP is either dystopian or post-apocalyptic.

I find the most helpful interviews deal with specifics of what agents are looking for--updates on what they're tired of, whether they hate vampires, like romance in a novel, or what they're especially craving or have a soft spot for....some special thing that might connect THEM to MY manuscript, so I know if they are the right agent for me (and to have that personal bit/connection to write about in my query). :)

Krista V. said...

Esther, I like your questions. If I already know the agent writes and/or is published, I ask them about that, but if I'm not sure, I usually don't bring it up. As for how to become an agent, I think interning for an agency and/or sifting through their slush pile is how most agents get their start. After a while, once the agency's senior partners trust them enough, they bring those interns/readers on board as associate agents, and then they climb the ranks from there.

Carol, I usually ask what the agents are looking for in a manuscript at the moment, but I don't ask what they're tired of seeing (although they sometimes volunteer that information on their own). I probably should, though. That's a great idea. And thanks for sharing your genres.

Myrna Foster said...

I like the YA/fantasy/sci-fi, but I like reading the other interviews too.

Penelope Wright said...

I write paranormal and contemporary YA and middle grade. I love your interviews!

Lora said...

I write YA fantasy, so it's great to read your agent interviews with the ones who rep this genre. I also love sci-fi, paranormal, or a good mystery. You're doing an awesome job with the interviews, so keep them coming, and it'll be wonderful to read about agents who rep all sorts of genres! Thanks for all you, and the agents you interview, do :).

Krista V. said...

Good to know, Myrna.

Thanks, Penelope.

Lora, between you, Penelope, and Myrna, I'm three-for-three with the YA fantasy/paranormal writers since I last checked these comments:) Glad you like the interviews.

Elena Solodow said...

I'm YA fantasy/horror. Look forward to Sarah Hawk's interview, as I'll be querying her in a few weeks!

I love the questions that ask specifically how they like the query letter to be structured, because so many agents have differing opinions.

Ishta Mercurio said...

I write YA Paranormal romance, MG Urbam Fantasy, Chapter books about magic, and picture books.

A little of everything, really.

I've given you a blog award - check it out at

Have a great day!

Krista V. said...

Elena, thanks for sharing your genres, and I'm looking forward to Ms. Hawk's interview, too:) That's an interesting idea for a question. I'll have to think about it and see if I can come up with a good way to word it.

Ishta, thanks for the blog award! And thanks for sharing your genres. Sounds like you're a jill of all trades:)

Anonymous said...

Hi. I write fantasy, paranormal, love stories, and lit fic in YA, new adult, and adult.

I would love to hear more from agents repping "new adult."

This is a great blog -thanks for it!

Krista V. said...

Anon, thanks for adding your genres to the list. I will do my best to scare up some of those elusive New-Adult-repping agents.

Since it isn't an officially recognized genre yet, it's hard to search by that category, but I'll keep my eye out for agents who are interested in YA stuff "with crossover appeal." We'll persevere!