Agent Interview: Tia Mele
It's that time again! I'm DELIGHTED to welcome another fantastic literary agent to the blog today, another fantastic agent who's just reopened to queries as well!
Remember: Get the RIGHT agent, not just AN agent!
Tia Mele from Talcott Notch Literary Services!
So, you’re a literary agent… Tell us all about how and when that happened!
It was kind of an accident! I kind of knew what an agent did and thought it might be something I wanted to do, so I applied to a bunch of internships when I was a senior in college. I landed at Talcott Notch and I've been there ever since, as an intern, assistant, and now an agent.
And how has it been going so far?
I love it! I get to be a part of a lot of different parts of publishing, from editing to making contacts to handling contracts and royalty statements. It's not an easy business to be in, but it's so much fun for me.
What’s on your current wishlist?
I'd really love more nerdy MG and YA. I love to cosplay and go to cons, so seeing books set in that world would be awesome. I'm also looking to build my list with more adult projects, specifically romance and women's fiction. Nonfiction is high on my list as well, especially nonfiction exploring nerdy topics like cosplay, cons, and fandom. I'm open to pretty much any nonfiction, though!
The number one thing on my wishlist is a book that has a similar vibe to the TV show Chuck, specifically a YA version!
And what are you definitely not looking for right now?
I don't represent adult projects outside of women's fiction, romance, and nonfiction, so I'm not a good fit for adult Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller, etc.
Can you tell us what it is that makes you request additional material? What is it that leads to a full request? And what keeps you reading to the final pages?
I need to be engaged with the plot and characters in those first ten pages. If the pages are intriguing and I can't possibly go without knowing what happens next, I'll request more pages. I usually ask for fifty pages and a synopsis. After I read the fifty pages, if that momentum keeps up and I need to read more, I'll request a full. For me, it's all about keeping the reader interested. I want the pacing to be consistent and even when things are calm, I want the characters and plot to encourage me to keep turning the page to see what happens next.
When you fall in love with a manuscript, what happens next?
I set up a phone call! I'll email the author letting them know I enjoyed the project and include some initial feedback, and I'll ask when they're available. I also try to send some notes along before we have our phone call so we can talk about my editorial vision for the project and make sure it matches theirs.
What kind of agent are you? How do you approach your side of the business arrangement? What should a potential client expect from you as their agent?
I'm a very editorial agent. I send a ton of notes to my authors so we can get the project as strong as possible. I'm also very open in terms of communication. My authors know who has their project on sub and what the response was when we hear back from editors. I'm interested in building partnerships, so I'm involved in my clients' projects from start to finish, and I love talking to them about future things they want to write so we can discuss where their focus should be.
And, importantly, what do you expect from your clients?
I expect clients who love to write and are passionate about their work. I try to keep my clients writing, because it's great to have more projects to put out if one doesn't sell. I also want my clients to talk to me and maintain open communication so I know what is going on with them and we can work together to create a trajectory for their careers.
All writers have dreams and goals – win an award, be a bestseller, get a movie deal – but what dreams do you have as an agent?
Right this second, my dream is to sell my clients' work. They're all incredibly talented writers with stories that readers will love, so I want to get them out into the world. That's my overall goal, honestly. To get great writing out to readers who will connect with the characters and plots.
And what we all really need to know...
Ketchup or mayo? - Ketchup
E-book or paperback? - It depends - I prefer paperback in most cases, but ebook is so much more convenient when I'm traveling.
Day or night? - Night!
Walk or drive? - Walk
Beach or mountains? - This is a hard one, but I'll say beach
Dogs or cats? - Dogs!
Chocolate or chips? - Chocolate
Sun or rain? - I love the rain!
Inside or outside? - Outside!
Drama or comedy? - Comedy
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