Friday, December 10, 2010

Interview with an Agent: Heather Evans

I think a lot of you are going to like this one:) Today’s interview features another FinePrinter, Heather Evans of FinePrint Literary Management. (If you’re looking for more FinePrinters, check out my interviews with Suzie Townsend and Marissa Walsh.) Enjoy!

KV: How long have you been agenting, and how did you get into it?

HE: I've been officially agenting for about six months now. I grew up on books, reading them and writing them, so a career in publishing was a no brainer. After three years of being an assistant at FinePrint, I took the next step and starting looking for my own projects.

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

HE: Good books take a lot of hard work, and I like to be very involved in that work. If I sign an author, it means I'm in love with their book and am committed to making it as perfect as possible before it goes out to editors. I expect that same commitment from the author. It's important that they're open to revision. An author needs to have (or fake) patience with the process. Good communication is key here, of course. I want all my authors to know that I'm available whenever they might have a question, concern, or just want to bounce ideas around about their current book or their long term career.

KV: What client work do you have coming out soon? What drew you to those writers and/or projects?

HE: While I'm still on the road to making my first sale, my client Laird Barron will have his first novel THE CRONING coming out Fall 2011. Laird writes literary horror and already has two short story collections out. There's so much I'm drawn to in his work--it's intelligent, fresh, and strangely beautiful even at its most frightening.

KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?

HE: I represent horror, fantasy, paranormal romance, historical romance, LGBT, commercial fiction, literary fiction, and YA in each of those genres. I like dark stories, both grim and whimsical.

I'm not the right agent for straight up mysteries or thrillers, chick lit, middle grade, or inspirational. In general, I'm not right for something that's lighthearted or sweet.

KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?

HE: Don't send the same "Dear Literary Agent" e-mail to me and fifty other agents. If you don't care enough to address me by name, why should I care enough to read your query?

Really, the best way to get my attention is to write a pitch that sounds like something you'd read on the back of a novel. Although a short bio is fine, don't get bogged down in personal details or give lengthy explanations of why you wrote the book. Your pitch should be clean, concise and polished; it should give me a good idea of the novel's plot and characters, and be written in the same tone as the novel itself.

KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now? What are you tired of seeing at the moment?

HE: I'm looking for a strong, fresh voice that's relevant today, edgy characters, and beautiful writing. I would really love to see a YA (or even adult) in the vein of TV's Dexter or Weeds, something grounded in reality, but pushing the envelope.

In YA and romance, vampires and angels feel very "been there, done that." In horror, I'm tired of seeing the same old-fashioned monster, etc. premises that just aren't scaring people today. It has to mean something. It has to make you think.

KV: What’s the best way to query you?

HE: Send me an e-mail, and include the first several pages of your manuscript pasted into the bottom.

Told you you’d like this one:)

Thanks again, Ms. Evans, for these detailed responses. Now don’t everyone query her all at once.

Have a great weekend, all. Hope you get lots of Christmas/late-Hanukkah shopping done!


lotusgirl said...

Nice interview. It was good to get to know a new FinePrinter.

Elena Solodow said...

Great interview.

Anonymous said...

awesome interview!!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Another great interview, Krista. Thanks to you both!


LTM said...

good one--thanks, Krista! :o)

Jennifer Pickrell said...

Great interview, thanks for posting!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

You're welcome, everyone! (And Angela, I hopped over to check out your blog, and can I just say I love the title THE PROS AND CONS OF BREATHING? Because I think it's fabulous:) )

Myrna Foster said...

You were right. I like this one. Thanks for the interview!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

You're welcome, Myrna. Now I can claim to be clairvoyant. You think I can add that to my query? ("I am a BYU graduate, a stay-at-home mom, a blogger, and a clairvoyant...")

erica and christy said...

I just finished another final (haha) round of edits on my contemporary YA and planned on moving onto finishing my MG WIP.

But this character I started writing about MONTHS ago can't stop whispering to me. She's rough and edgy and new and soooo different from what I usually write.

Then I read this. It's telling me something, I think. Thanks, Krista (and Heather).

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Good luck with your projects, Erica! I'm sure you'll know which one to work on next.

Abby Minard said...

Thanks, love these interviews!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

You're welcome, Abby!

KatheeJantzi said...

Thanks for this interview. She sounds like a wonderful agent!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

You're welcome, Kathee!

Unknown said...

According to Twitter, she currently (as of Jan 2011) doesn't want any YA queries. Only queries for adult fiction.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Thanks for the note, Stina. She'll probably go back to wanting YA queries once she feels she isn't so swamped with them.