Friday, April 18, 2014

Interview with an Agent: Taylor Haggerty

I'm excited to share my interview with Taylor Haggerty of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. As you might have noticed, Ms. Haggerty is one of the agents who'll be casting her votes in "The Writer's Voice" next month, so this interview feels especially timely. Enjoy!

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

TH: I joined Waxman Leavell in the spring of 2013, and started building my list less than a year ago. I’d always pictured myself working in publishing in some form or another, but when I met a literary agent through a study abroad course in college I was immediately intrigued by this side of the business. After college, I interned at several publishers while completing a graduate degree from Emerson College’s Publishing & Writing program, and then worked at the Gersh Agency before joining WLLA.

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

TH: My philosophy is to work with authors I’m passionate about to help them build a successful career--whatever that means to each individual author. No two careers are identical, and I think communication and a mutual understanding of the goals and expectations at any given point are both particularly important aspects of the agent-author relationship. There can be a lot of ups and downs in this business, but I always expect my authors to be professionals. (Professionals who laugh at my bad jokes are appreciated, not expected! :))

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

TH: I have a lot of exciting projects in the works, but nothing hitting shelves quite yet. Stay tuned for news! 

All of my clients are exceptionally talented (not to mention lovely humans), and I was drawn to their work by that magical combination of a compelling voice, an undeniable command of language, and just flat-out great storytelling.

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

TH: Middle grade, young adult, historical fiction, and romance. I don’t represent poetry, screenplays, or picture books. 

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

TH: I really only have one pet peeve--vague/generic queries. When a query tells me that the characters will face life-changing events, challenging obstacles, or dire consequences, but doesn't elaborate on the stakes or specify what is unique about this particular world, character, or story, it's really difficult to feel invested. I don’t need plot twists or the whole synopsis right up front, but I do need enough details about the manuscript to be hooked and excited to read more. Reel me in!

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

TH: I’m looking for a manuscript that keeps me up late reading, and then stays with me beyond that last page--something that really pulls me into another world and makes me fall in love with the characters. For YA, I'd love to find a smart, funny contemporary romance or friendship story, as well as a gorgeous, original historical fantasy. On the historical fiction side of things, I love reading about kick-ass women in history, so if you have an awesome heroine please do send her my way! I''m also on the lookout for a great dual historical/contemporary narrative.

On the flip side of that, I’m still seeing a lot of books about kids with supernatural powers and/or prophetic dreams, so something along those lines would have to really stand out to catch my eye.

KV: What’s the best way to query you?

TH: E-mail, with the query + first ten pages in the body of the e-mail to

Thank you, Ms. Haggerty, for these helpful responses. I think more than one writer just added a new name to his or her query list:)

Have a great weekend. I'm out!


Unknown said...

Thanks for hosting The Writer's Voice. It sound like fun competition. I can't wait to read it. Also, thanks for you interviews with agents. I will have to keep Ms. Haggerty's name in mind when it comes time to query.

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Yes, Karen, definitely keep Ms. Haggerty in mind when it comes time to query! And I'm looking forward to "The Writer's Voice," too:)