Friday, July 25, 2008

Ask The Agent

Here's Ask The Agent for this week. With Fab agent Elaine Spencer from The Knight Agency. Take it away Elaine...

"Can you discuss the genres you represent? (Feel free to talk about your current clients and/or fave reads if applicable) Are you looking for anything in particular and/or what's on your wish list?"

As most readers of this blog are probably aware, the Knight Agency is largely for its representation in the women's fiction and romance genre. Consequently a strong percentage of my current client list falls under this umbrella. Romance is such a fun genre, and there are so many different sub-categories its hard to easily describe my tastes. I would say that the voice and the writing are far more important elements to me than the actual "theme" or sub-genre. I don't typically do anything that is extremely erotic and I don't go too far into the sci-fi/fantasy realm. Those are my basic limitations, there are other things I won't be as eager to look at, such as a Western, but I have to be honest, crazier things have happened. I have a client who is working on the most amazing biblical fiction novel right now, I could not have imagined how much I would enjoy it. Its been amazing to be a part of and I'm so excited about getting to shop it soon.

In general TKA doesn't do any screenplays, poetry, short stories or children's books. I myself am not looking for any real dark horror.

I would love to find a great sweeping historical, an amazingly character driven women's fiction, a brilliant original contemporary, a charming and fresh "chick-lit" type story (key word, FRESH!!). Characters are big to me, big, big, big! I love those characters that you just feel like you know right from the get-go. I have seen some really compelling inspirational titles and some brilliant multi-cultural work. I'm game for any of these.

I also am open to paranormals, typically I'm more drawn to the lighter side of things, such as my client Candace Havens who writes really quirky heroines that just happen to be touched by the paranormal. Or Melissa Mayhue, who has the most charming "Daughters of the Glen" series, the covers alone speak volumes about my kind of taste. I'm not however saying I wouldn't be open to something darker, I think the *right* dark paranormal just hasn't hit my desk.

I also represent some really exciting young adult titles. I would love to find some more high concept stories in this realm. I love reading stories aimed at the teen audience, the emotions are just so raw and point on, and the cross-over appeal is just huge right now. I'm totally open to that. Another of my clients, Linda Gerber, has a great new thriller-mystery series out for teens, that is the epitome of fun, DEATH BY BIKINI; check it out its a great example of why I love young adult novels. For YA I'm wide open, there is so much potential in this market, I want to see it all.

You know, like I said, keep in mind the rules of writing. Tell me a great story with great characters, a great voice, a great plot, and you'll be on your way. Fingers crossed for finding some great stuff in SF!

Thanks so much. As always please post your questions in the comment section. Ask the Agent will be on break next week as Elaine and I will be be in San Francisco for the RWA National Conference. We hope to come back with all sorts of fun things to share.



Deborah Blake said...

Hi Elaine,

It is great to get a chance to see what an agent is really looking for in fiction. (And even better to know that my query--sitting in the giant pile with all the others, no doubt--actually falls into one of these catagories!)

I noticed that you said you were looking for a fresh new chick lit (mine is paranormal chick lit like Candace's work, and in fact, she was the one who suggested that I send it to you). I keep seeing that "chick lit is dead." And even Candace told me, "Whatever you do, don't call it chick lit. Call it contemporary fiction with elements of romance and paranormal."

So what do you think? Is chick lit dead? Should those of us who write in a lighter voice call our work something else, anything else? [I know I'm still buying all the decent chick lit books I can find...]

And on a personal note, since I haven't heard anything back since I sent the query out on 4/13...should I resend? Or are you just way backed up?

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions!


Anonymous said...

Deborah, if you click on the "Ask the Agent" Label at the end of today's post, you'll be taken to past questions... on May 16 someone had asked your question about chick lit and Elaine gave an insightful answer (as usual!).

Elaine, thanks for your thoughts on the different genres and what you're looking for. It sounds like your interests are very similar to my own reading and writing interests. I'll definitely pick up Linda Gerber's book; it sounds like a great summer read!

I hope you and Kwana both have a fabulous time in SF!



Kwana my dear,

As always you managed to put through a terrific an informative agent interview. It is so refreshing to hear what one TRULY does NOT want. I hate it when they say “I’m looking for new fresh voices," but never really say exactly what they hate. TKA told us what she doesn't want to see point blank. Thanks to her and thanks to you.

I'm loving this agent interview thingy.

Ginger said...

What a great informative post. Thanks, Elaine! I love seeing Linda Gerber's book mentioned. It's fabulous. I find I'm reading more YA than anything else lately. It's so fresh and fun.

I appreciate all the info.


Tara Ryan said...

When I first started researching agents, I thought I remember seeing that all the submissions at The Knight Agency funneled through you, but it appears that you are a full-fledged agent now (congrats!). If all the queries are still coming to you (as the website indicates) how do you decide what to grab for yourself and what to pass on to other agents?

Kwana said...

Thanks for checking in Deborah and thanks for your question. Yes, like Carmen said please click on the Ask The Agent label for the past posts and see where Elaine tackled that Chicklit question. I feel your chicklit pain as I'm a chicklit writer and lover myself.

Carmen thanks for stepping up and helping out. I love the audience participation! :)

Storidiva! Thanks for the love friend. I'm glad you're liking ATA. I'm so thrilled that Elaine's stopping in here every week. It's been so insightful. Let's keep the great questions coming.

Thanks so much Ginger. I'm honored to have Linda Gerber as an agency sister.

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