Today, I have a special guest. My very first agent interview.
*a big parade with a marching band and clowns*
Ms. Natalie Fischer SQUEEEEEEE!!!!!!
You might ask.."Eb, how in the world did you get an agent to visit your little rinkadink blog?" And my answer would be...."NETWORKING!" I've met such fabulous people.
I highly suggest you follow her blog. It's full of little tidbits of information.
Let's meet Natalie....
Can you share a little bit about yourself....
;) My bio has the main details, but really, what’s best to know about me is that I’m a very hands-on agent who is obsessed with email and cats. I don’t take offense easily, but I do get annoyed easily by people who submit to me blindly. I believe in lots of collaboration, am very approachable (no, really!), and can be very snarky and sarcastic at times.
When you were a child, what was your favorite book of all time?
Hmm, depends on what age you’re asking here. Picture-book age, I loved fairy-tale spin-offs, mid-age JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, and past that, it changed about every other day as I continued to devour books…
Within the last twelve months, what was the best book you've read?
Oh my. No way can I pick one. A romance I read that’s been coming back to me non-stop is STEALING KATHRYN by Jaquelyn Frank, and I just read my first graphic novel (which I LOVED), which was a re-telling of the first OUTLANDER book by Diana Gabaldon (THE EXILE).
What made this book your favorite?
I love sexy, but most of all, I love a good romance. And part of what makes a good romance is unforgettable characters that I love and care about.
Who is your favorite literary character of all time?
Bunny in PAT THE BUNNY.
Can you tell us why?
Talk about patience and resilience!
From what I read in your blog, you were a writer. Can you tell us a little about the transition from writer to agent?
It was certainly an adjustment, mainly because I had to learn to evaluate from a business perspective rather than a creative one. Which means that instead of thinking, “Oh, what a great story!” I might think, “Oh, what a great story – too bad there’s already thirty more like it out there.”
Do you still do a little writing?
It’s almost impossible for me to finish anything now because I am so critical of what I write. Knowing all the issues that can go wrong in a book drives me nuts when I’m writing, because it’s impossible to write a first draft, I think while avoiding them all. And so sadly, no, not really writing anymore. I edit.
How does someone become an agent?
Well, any variety of ways, really. Ideally, by transitioning into it from a background in publishing. I interned at the agency I worked for, and others have been editors, or interns in publishing houses, readers, etc.
First thing that pops into your mind time...
Your first kiss?
Edward or Lestat?
Strolls on a beach or bungee jumping?
Okay, now to what unpublished writers want to know....
What are looking for right now?
Anything that stands out. Incredible voice, sexy, hot romances, and girl-character chapter books.
What genre makes your eyes roll when you read it in a query? Like makes you go..."Not another one."
Vampires. Werewolves. Zombies. Over 100,000 words.
What is your biggest turn-off in a query?
Not following guidelines.
What is the worst mistake a writer can make in a query?
Submitting to the wrong agent.
What about in sample pages?
Starting on page 56, because that’s where the plot REALLY takes off and is TOTALLY the best part.
When you do request a manuscript, what is usually the one thing that turns that request into a rejection?
I get 1/3 of the way through and don’t really care if I know what happens next, or I do, but only enough to look at the synopsis because the manuscript isn’t well-written enough (usually pacing).
Do you read all the pages you request or is there a certain point when you know..."This is not for me."
There is a definitely point where I know something isn’t right for me, but whether that’s 1 page in, 10 pages in, or 300 pages in varies.
Let's say your requested a full and you love it, do you share the manuscript with your coworkers?
If you do, do they offer you their opinions?
(by the way, my answers in the “first thing that comes to mind” are driving me nuts, but in the spirit of the questions I won’t go back to them…) LOL!! I do admire your restraint.
Can you give a brief description of what happens after you offer representation?
When I offer representation, I like to do so by email and set up a time to chat (I’m out of the office two days a week so it’s easier that way). Then I put them in touch with our contracts manager, who sends the agency agreement, and after my new client signs, I send whatever notes I have for edits. Once edits are finished, I’ll write my pitch and put together my submission list, and then we’re on sale!
For a writer to be represented by you, what are the things their manuscript has to have?
A unique hook, unforgettable voice and characters, and proper formatting.
As part of your agencies submission requirements, you ask for a synopsis. What does a synopsis provide for you?
An idea of where the book is going. If it’s too predictable, or if the main elements of the plot are buried in slow pacing a fluff that needs to be cut from the actual manuscript.
And finally, you just recently started to take email submissions, how is that working out for you?
Fantastic! It’s so much easier, since I don’t have to lug a giant bucket around anymore…
Thank you so much for visiting my little blog. I hope you'll visit again, soon.
Thank YOU for the interview!! Very in-depth. J
For my readers, please leave Natalie comments and thank her for her time.