Thursday, August 29, 2013

Interview with an Agent: Lindsay Ribar

I’m pleased to welcome Lindsay Ribar of Greenburger Associates to the blog. I think you'll find a lot to like in this up-and-coming agent. Happy reading!

KV: Are you a writer yourself? What do you write?

LR: I am indeed! I write YA paranormal fiction. I only have one book out so far (The Art of Wishing, Dial Books For Young Readers), but its sequel (The Fourth Wish, Kathy Dawson Books) is slated for summer 2014.

KV: Popping in to say it's a darn good thing THE ART OF WISHING is going to have a sequel:) All right, back to the interview!

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

LR: I’ve been working at Sanford J. Greenburger for a little over six years now, primarily as an assistant to a senior agent. I’ve been doing my own agenting for about half that time. I actually got into it almost by accident; as a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course back in 2006, I had my heart set on getting into the business on the editorial side. Interview after interview yielded nothing (it’s a very crowded job market), so I started interviewing on the agency side too, and landed a job working for Matt Bialer at SJGA…where I found that editorial work is important on the agency side, too. And since I got into this business so I could work on stories with writers, I’ve found agenting to be very fulfilling indeed.

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

LR: I don’t think I have a philosophy, per se, but my M.O. is always to get each manuscript into the best possible shape before sending it out to editors--no matter how many rounds of revisions it takes. (My clients are sighing right now; they know this!)

As far as the relationship goes, it varies a lot from client to client. My job is to support my clients and get the best possible work out of them; sometimes that means leaving them alone for months at a time while they work, and sometimes it means reading a few chapters at a time to make sure their work is on the right track. It all depends on what they, individually, need from me.

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

LR: I’ve got two books coming out later this year from clients that I co-represent with my boss, Matt Bialer:

CLEAN BURN by Karen Sandler (8/27/13, Exhibit A)--A kickass thriller starring a private investigator who must return to the hometown she left behind long ago, to find and stop a series of child abductions, and battle some of her own demons along the way.

FORTUNE’S PAWN by Rachel Bach (11/5/13, Orbit)--A science fiction adventure story starring a female mercenary named Deviana Morris, who takes a job aboard a spaceship that’s just a little bit too notorious for running into, shall we say, interesting times.

And then, next year, two of my own clients have awesome books coming out:

CALL ME GRIM by Elizabeth Holloway (Month9Books)--A YA paranormal adventure in which a teenaged girl must choose between dying a normal death at her scheduled time…and becoming a Grim Reaper in order to save her best friend from damnation.

PREMONITIONS by Jamie Schultz (Ace)--A dark fantasy in which a mercenary, along with her crew of small-time criminals, takes a job from an untrustworthy crime lord so she can continue paying for the rare drug that keeps her from hallucinating slices of the future.

As far as what drew me to these writers…well, it was the same thing every time. Great writing, great characters, and a story that pressed all the right buttons. At the end of the day, it’s really as simple as that.

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

LR: I mostly represent YA and middle grade, with a few adult authors thrown in for good measure. I’m open to considering most things, but genres I don’t represent include religious fiction, picture books, political or legal thrillers, and most non-fiction. Also, I’ll be honest: I’m not terribly keen on elves or dragons.

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

LR: Oh, all the usual stuff. Don’t put someone else’s name on a query addressed to me. Don’t forget to check your query letter for typos. Don’t spend more than a few paragraphs telling me what your book is about, and for the love of all things holy, don’t waste time telling me how much your parents or your children or your colleagues or your critique partners love your book. Just tell me what the book is about. Let the work speak for itself.

KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now?

LR: Right now, I’m looking mostly for YA and middle grade, with an emphasis on fantasy rooted in the real world, horror, mysteries/thrillers, and LGBT books that aren’t “Coming Out 101.”

KV: What’s the best way to query you?

LR: Via e-mail, using the criteria listed on the SJGA website:

Thanks again, Ms. Ribar, for taking the time to answer my questions. It sounds like you’re a busy bee, but that’s definitely not a bad thing.

Have a great weekend, all!


Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. I can tell from the books Lindsay mentioned that she likes fantasy. Yay! Thanks so much for posting this.

Rissa said...

Great interview indeed! Lindsay has great tastes in books. The Call Me Grim and Premonitions books sound awesome. I can't wait to pick them up on the shelves next year!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

You're welcome, Natalie!

Rissa, I thought my readers would find a lot to like about Ms. Ribar:)

Angela Brown said...

Congrats to Lindsay for her own publications and the ones soon to come for her clients. She sounds like a hands on agent with a mind for building a career with her author and not just the occasional sale.

Very cool.

Ray said...

Great interview, and she sounds like a kick-ass agent! I just finished a YA UF manuscript with some of her criteria, maybe I'll... edit it, revise it, roll around on the ground in self doubt, learn how to query, deliberate with myself for a few weeks, and then send her a query on it.

Yeah, that sounds like a great idea! So glad I found your blog =)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Angela, I thought the same. (And if you decide to query her, good luck!)

Ray, welcome to the blog! And welcome to the wonderful world of querying:) Once you polish up that manuscript, you might find last week's round of "An Agent's Inbox" helpful (or any of the rounds, for that matter), as you get to read a bunch of queries and see what worked and what didn't for one particular agent. As with all things writing, queries are subjective, but there are definitely some tips and tricks that will make your query shine.

Claudia H Gruy said...

What a great blog and interview - I'm so happy I found you! I finished a MS with all Lindsay's criteria - unfortunately I suffer from obsessive compulsive editing disorder. Rooted probably in the fact that I live in Vienna/Austria right now and never found english spoken critters aka beta readers for it. So I was on my own with all my revisions and editing and I am just scared to hell that because of my bilingualism my voice is just - well too unique. I even finished my query letter for Ms Ribar - just not sure when I will have the courage to send it out - because I really love her as an agent and nono might through me into writer's hell :p
Cheers from Vienna and happy Sunday!

Krista Van Dolzer said...

So nice to meet you, Claudia! I'm glad you found the interview helpful. And I know exactly how you feel about querying your top agents. The good news is that even if this isn't the book that Ms. Ribar (or another dream agent) loves, your next one might be. That's the great thing about being a writer--you can't help but make more words:)

Very best of luck with your agent search.