Over the summer, I attended the PNWA Summer Writers’ Conference in Seattle, and while I was there, I attended an agents’ forum in which author Bob Dugoni asked a panel of 23 literary agents what genres they’re accepting, what they like or don’t like to hear in a pitch (and, I assume, query letters), and more. These are the notes I took based on Dugoni’s interview with literary agents Scott Eagan, Jessica Negron, and Andrea Hurst:
Scott Eagan – His literary agency is located in Puyallup, WA. He only reps romance and women’s fiction. He likes stories with happy endings. He doesn’t want to see anything with a sad ending. When you query or pitch him, you should know why your book fits in the romance genre. Don’t pitch stuff that has romantic elements. He wants books that have a romantic arc. Romance is about relationships, and he can’t connect with characters that are too bizarre or extreme. If you are pitching women’s fiction, he wants to see the world through a woman’s lens. He likes book-club-level, women’s fiction.
Jessica Negron – She represents adult and YA material. In adult, her one true love is sci-fi and fantasy. She also reps romance, cozies, thrillers (but she likes psychological thrillers whereas police procedurals and navy seal stuff are not her thihng). She likes YA that explores the teen experience in a new way. She’d love to see a YA with a thriller twist. A major focus is introducing diversity to her list. She wants to see diversity in gender, sexual orientation, and other under-represented groups. She wants to know the little details that make your world super unique. A new magic system, for example. What stakes drive your character forward?
Andrea Hurst – She’s primarily looking for women’s fiction. She looks for a story. That’s why she works in this business; it’s the story that grabs her and pulls her in. She’s a sucker for love stories, and they don’t have to have a happy ending. She doesn’t do sci-fi or fantasy. She loves cookbooks, and she likes it when a cookbook writer also has a recipe blog.