Continuing my report of the fabulous Colorado Gold Conference held last weekend, I'm going to attempt a play-by-play of the agent panel from Friday afternoon. The moderator took questions from the audience and presented them to the 4 agents sitting on the panel: Kristin Nelson, Becca Stumpf, Miriam Kriss, and Donna Bagdasarian. See yesterday's post for more info about these agents and their agencies.
Tell us what you're looking for and how you want your queries.
Kristin: Looking for YA and romance. Email queries only. She doesn't want anyone to ever show up at her office in person, and never call her on the phone.
Miriam: She wants commercial fiction only, she represents mostly urban fantasy. Takes email queries only. Doesn't want authors to claim they were her lover in a past life (I guess someone actually did this).
Becca: Used to be an assistant at Writers House and has been an agent with Prospect for one year. She's looking for MG, YA and romance (paranormal and fantasy). Query her based on the agency guidelines and only use their website submission form.
Donna: Though she loves vampires, she does not represent urban fantasy. She admits to being snotty and elitist (this said tongue in cheek and had everyone rolling in the aisles). She doesn't want any guy fiction, like military and techno thrillers, Clancy type stuff. No gimmicks in queries. Be straightforward, and don't make threats or dares. (Again, said in good fun)
What do you see too much of? What do you want to see more of?
M: Doesn't like light paranormal romances, time travel for example. Darker is better. Prefers smart, sexy and funny. Looking for YA and urban fantasy.
B: Wants more strong voices. Would like to see some literary. Science fiction for young people with a girl protagonist. Serious science fiction with romance.
D: The book just has to be good. She's a book slut. She doesn't care what it is. Doesn't want stuff that makes no sense, nothing weird for the sake of weirdness.
K: No picture books, no thrillers, no mysteries.
What makes a great client?
B: Have a personal connection and trust. No high maintenance.
D: Someone who's sane and not neurotic, who has realistic expectations.
M: She must fall in love with the writing and be able to work with the writer. Wants her clients to be clear about their expectations.
K: Have a connection on a professional level.
Is it a waste of time to pitch an unfinished book?
B, D, M & K: YES!!!
Do you have an agency agreement?
They all said yes. Donna said it used to be a handshake, but now everything is on paper to protect everyone. Most often the agreement will either state a specific time period the work is represented, and indicate if it's for one title, or for everything the client writes. The others said pretty much the same. The one difference is that Donna's agreement states she will be the agent in perpetuity, meaning she will be the agent of record on that particular book forever, even after the rights of a published book reverts to the author. The other 3 don't have that stipulation in their agreement.