I love this time of the week! I have yet another fantabulous literary agent interview for you today with another fantabulous literary agent.
Remember: Get the RIGHT agent, not just AN agent!
Please welcome, Lynnette Novak from The Seymour Agency!
So, Lynnette, you're a literary agent... Tell us all about how and when that happened!
Thank you for having me on your blog, Kate. I’m excited to be here!
I’ll TRY to keep this short, but no guarantees!
I was a teacher in Canada, and at the same time, I wrote romantic suspense stories and did some freelance editing on the side. Spring ahead a few years…I married an American boy and moved to the US, where I continued to write and freelance edit. While I’ve worked with beginner, intermediate, and advanced writers as well as bestselling authors, it wasn’t until I participated in Pitch Wars that I got the agenting itch. I loved going through the slush pile to choose the project I wanted to work on, and it was thrilling to see my authors get picked up by agents and published! But, I was under the impression I had missed the boat when it came to agenting. I thought you had to go right from school into interning, which I didn’t.
When I was at RWA (Romance Writers of America) as a Golden Heart Finalist for one of my RS manuscripts, I chatted with agents about them having my dream job. I was shocked to hear that my seventeen years of freelance experience was enough to jump into the industry as an agent—no interning right out of university. Who knew?
By this time, I’d had an offer of representation on my manuscript as well as two R&Rs, but I was so excited about becoming an agent, that I pushed all that aside. I couldn’t pursue a new career as an author AND a new career as an agent, so I put my writing on hold. Will I go back to it? Maybe. For now, I’m LOVING being an agent and don’t miss writing. I’m fulfilling my creative needs through agenting instead. Did I mention how much I LOVE my job? I did? Well, I dooooooo!!!
What's on your current wishlist?
I pin my current wish list on my Twitter feed, so people always know what I want to see in my inbox. Here’s what I have posted at the moment:
In adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and mysteries (traditional, amateur sleuth, and cozy).
In young adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, and contemporary.
In middle grade fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, action/adventure, mystery, contemporary, horror, and humor.
However, I’m really wanting to see more: adult horror, thrillers, rom-coms, and contemporary romance, as well as YA contemporary and pretty much all MG. I’d love to see more diversity and #ownvoices in everything I seek too.
And what are you definitely not looking for right now?
I’m not looking for: romantic suspense, historical romance, inspirational romance, Christian fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, novellas, short stories, anthologies, poetry, memoirs, picture books, chapter books, or previously published (including self-published) work.
Can you tell us what it is that makes you request additional material? What is it that leads to a full request?
The premise must feel fresh, I need to fall in love with the author’s voice, and the writing has to be pretty good. I’m an editorial agent, so I can help the author with craft issues that might come up, but I need to see the author has a basic understanding of the craft.
And what keeps you reading to the final pages?
It’s the same thing that keeps me reading to the end of a published novel. I have to be drawn to the voice, the characters, and the plot, and the pacing has to be right. If not, I’ll lose interest (even if it’s a published novel). Of course, this is VERY subjective.
Another thing I consider is whether I LIKE this manuscript or LOVE it. I have to LOVE it if I’m going to represent it. I know I have that feeling when I can’t stop thinking or talking about the manuscript. I also know I MUST HAVE this manuscript if I can’t wait to get back to reading it or if I put my life on hold (sorry family) to finish reading.
What kind of agent are you?
I’m an editorial agent. This means I’ll most likely request a few rounds of edits from my authors. And, yes, I sometimes give them homework. Gasp! I know. I can’t help it. It’s the teacher in me. I want my authors to learn and grow as writers, so I do everything I can to make that happen.
What should a potential client expect from you as their agent?
I’m there for their career, not just one book. I keep my clients updated on their subs and am always around if they need me (with the exception of a vacation or sleep—hey, even agents need to recharge!)
And, importantly, what do you expect from your clients?
Respect. Trust. Communication. Must be open to revisions. (I mean TRULY open to killing your darlings, if need be.) Patience. This business is all about “hurry up and wait,” so we all need to be patient, which isn’t easy.
And, most importantly...
Ketchup or mayo? - Ketchup
E-book or paperback? - Paperback
Day or night? - Day
Walk or drive? - Depends…
Beach or mountains? - Why can’t I have both? LOL
Dogs or cats? - ALL ANIMALS. I’m an animal lover and would have a zoo, farm, sanctuary, and shelter if I could. Oh, and dragons. Always dragons.
Chocolate or chips? - Chips
Sun or rain? - Sun
Inside or outside? - Depends—it can get pretty cold here in the winter!
Drama or comedy? - Comedy
Thanks for having me! Writers can query me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please paste the query and first five pages in the body of the email. If you’re on Twitter, follow me at: @Lynnette_Novak.
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!