Thank you, Carly, for joining us here at WomenWritersWomen[‘s]Books and taking the time to answer our members’ questions. We’re very grateful and thrilled to have you.
ON THE LETTER –
How does one go about finding an agent?
Start with Google, but make sure you fact check on an agent’s website. Try ManuscriptWishList.com, QueryTracker.com or PW.org. Look in the acknowledgement pages of books that are similar to yours in theme, genre or tone—the agent is often listed. A lot of us are on Twitter too, so check us out. We also do a lot of workshops with Writer’s Digest where we offer critiques, which can be a wonderful use of time and resources.
ON CLIENTS & MANUSCRIPTS –
All writers know that the first page is crucial (first line, first paragraph), but not all books that go on to be bestsellers have a first page that knocks it out of the park. How many pages, roughly, do agents give a manuscript to draw them in?
Personally, I only read about 3-5 pages before I know I want to request more. I don’t have time for anything more than that. A book’s job is to grab me (and my specific taste which means not all books are meant for me and that’s fine—there are lots of other agents out there) and never let me go. I want to be sucked in for the next 5 hours—so help me by writing a great beginning!
ON BEING AN AGENT –
How involved do you like to be in the early development of a client’s story (not the book you signed them with, but the following titles)?
I give my opinions on ideas and premises. I don’t line edit or read 12x from an editorial point of view. I like to do big picture, structural editing as opposed to the details. I am a heavily involved agent—you can ask any of my clients. I am there for every stage and prefer to be in the loop on everything, not just the issues. Because I like to prevent issues before they start.