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 Erin Cox, Paul Fedorko, and Ayanna Coleman:
Erin Cox – She likes a good story. If you’re going to take the time to write a book, make it good. Let her know why you wrote your book. She’s all over Twitter and FB. Follow her and see why she would like your book, and then tell her. Tell her what your story is, why you wanted to write it. Don’t write for fame or fortune, but write a book because you have a great story to tell. That’s what sells.
Paul Fedorko – He’s a news agency. All he cares about is a good story. Last year he sold 25 books to publishers.
Ayanna Coleman – She reps MG and YA fiction, specifically. She’s looking for diverse YA/MG fiction. She wants the characters to be from diverse backgrounds, cultures, gay/lesbian, etc… She wants to fall like quicksand into your book, so when you pitch to her, tell her what’s going to make her fall into your book. She says it’s very important to know where your book fits, and with MG, it’s very tricky to cross over. MG readers are just learning that grown ups don’t know everything; whereas in YA, the reader thinks the world sucks. So it’s hard to cross over from MG to YA.
Sorry there isn’t more from Paul Fedorko. He didn’t have a whole lot to say when interviewed. I guess you can surmise from that, he’s a straightforward kind of guy.
Ayanna Coleman impressed me with her eloquence, when she was handed the microphone. She sounded like a person who truly cherishes the books she represents. Even though I already have an agent, it made me want to pitch to her!