This week's Agent Spotlight features Michael Carr of Veritas Literary Agency.
Status: Open to submissions, actively building his client list.
About: “Associate Michael Carr is a literary agent with a background in editing and writing. His work has appeared in markets such as The Atlantic, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Military History Magazine. He works carefully with writers to produce the cleanest, most professional manuscripts. Michael speaks Spanish and conversational French and before joining Veritas had professions as diverse as programming simulators for nuclear submarines and owning an inn in Vermont.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“Veritas is a full-service literary agency specializing in select literary and contemporary fiction and nonfiction. Founded on the premise that literature is one of the best carriers of truth—both emotional and literal—in the world today, the agency cultivates strong, innovative books that extend the boundaries of thought and expression.
“With active contacts in film, media and foreign markets, we actively pursue the channels that enable a title to reach its widest audience and realize its full potential. Veritas maintains the structure and spirit of old school literary agencies, where a close relationship between author and agent continued through all stages of a writer’s career. By maintaining a selective, manageable list we can ensure that every author and title receives enough energy and resources. Accessibility is always a priority.” (Link)
What He's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
Literary Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Mysteries/ True Crime, Middle Grade, Young Adult.
“In terms of fiction, he's always looking for lucid writing and good old fashioned storytelling. He will consider paranormal and urban fantasy. He loves to see anything with an unusual locale or historical setting.
“In terms on nonfiction, he'd like to get a couple of non-fiction writers in his stable who are experts on a particular subject, but write for a lay audience. Something with an interesting historical or scientific angle, for example.” (Link)
From an Interview (05/2011):
“I'd love to see a good YA or MG steampunk novel. A historical thriller would be a welcome change of pace. I'd like some more popular non-fiction. (Link)
From AbsoluteWrite (2010-2011):
“I'm vague because I'm a generalist. I'll read anything if it's got a good enough story. What most appeals to me is not a genre, per se, but stories with a great voice and an interesting sense of place.” (Link)
“Mysteries in a historical setting and with a little danger (rather than a cozy) probably interest me the most, but I'll consider any type, so long as they are interesting enough.” (Link)
“I have just signed a writer and her wonderful novel with crossover YA/MG possibilities. I'm still trying to decide how to position this in the market, but it will have a lot of MG readers when it is published. So yes, I'm looking for top shelf MG writers.” (Link)
“Anyone have a good YA ghost story*? I mean a real ghost story, not something that might kinda, sorta look like a ghost story if you'd had a few drinks and squinted at it funny.” (Link)
What He Isn't Looking For:
“I generally don't like stories with a message. I feel this way even if it's something I agree with passionately in the real world: racism is bad, the environment should be protected, etc. I want stories where the characters are nuanced and are people, not types. Even if I'm reading about a Nazi, I want him to be an interesting Nazi, not a stereotype of evil. The best villains have great justification for their evil, at least in their own minds.” (Link)
“I want to be responsive to my writers, never want them to wonder what happened to me. I like to know what my writers are working on and have a discussion before they start a project, and I also need my writers to be flexible. I would never tell my writers what kinds of books to write, however. That never works. In general, I'm more interested in signing writers rather than single books.” (Link)
“The biggest factors for me are voice, clarity of writing, characters, and a compelling plot. After that I consider marketability, my interest in working long-term with the writer, and a variety of more minor factors.” (Link)
“Some of my favorite authors include Alan Furst, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Chris Bohjalian. I really enjoyed Finn, by Jon Clinch, but haven't had a chance to read his newest novel. I read a lot of non-fiction about history, economics, and science.” (Link)
“Very hands on. This is my strength. I come from a writing/workshop/editing background and I believe I know what works and what doesn't. I'll take a risk on a great book that needs some work. Of course, it is ultimately the writer's job to produce a great novel, not mine.” (Link)
There is a list of representative titles on the website.
As of this posting, Mr. Carr is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having co-agented 3 deals in the last 12 months and 3 overall. Recent deals include 1 debut, 1 narrative, and 1 young adult.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query and the first five pages in the body of an e-mail.
“Query + first five pages. No synopsis. They make me break out in hives.” (Link)
“We take turns with the Veritas slush […].If you think I'm perfect for your needs, mention it in the query and if it's good, it will find its way into my hands.” (Link)
Mr. Carr accepts direct submissions from AW members. (Link)
“I prefer a query that dives right into the hook, then tells a little about the genre, then finishes with the bio. The main exception would be if you know me or have met me and then you can bring this up front. Don't worry too much about the order, though. That's not going to make a real difference compared to the strength of your hook and the strength of your sample pages.” (Link)
“If we've already corresponded, please do call me Michael instead of Mr. Carr. That's perfectly acceptable. Preferable, in fact.” (Link)
“In general, I would never nudge for a query (no means no, etc.), but always nudge for a partial or full after a reasonable period of time. This reasonable period of time varies from agent to agent, but I'd say six weeks for a partial and two months for a full unless told otherwise by their guidelines.” (Link)
“I prefer not to see another query for the same project unless I explicitly ask for a R&R.” (Link)
“I can't understand why people sometimes call me dude, buddy, friend, man, or any one of a number of other strangely familiar greetings. About once a day someone will call me Mike in their query letter. […] As an agent, my name does not appear anywhere as Mike, so I can't figure out why someone would call me that unless they've made an assumption and are trying to force a familiarity that doesn't exist. This tactic does not work.” (Link)
“I think fifty percent of the queries I've seen in the last few days begin with either a description of the weather and/or a character waking up. Frequently, the character is also reaching for coffee or doing something else to slap herself into a wakeful state. If you think about it, you can see that these are external manifestations of the writer staring at a blank screen, trying to figure out how to start.” (Link)
“We do our best to review all queries within 4-6 weeks. However, during periods where there is an especially high volume of queries, we may not be able to respond personally. If you haven't heard from us within 12 weeks please assume that your project was not a match for the agency.” (Link)
Stats on the web show Mr. Carr responding to most queries within hours to 1 week and requested material within 1-3 weeks.
What's the Buzz?
Michael Carr has been an agent with Veritas since fall of 2010. He’s been very open about his interests and agenting style at AbsoluteWrite and has given a lot of great advice. He has a fantastic personality and prides himself on being prompt with his clients and submissions. Veritas Literary has been in business seventeen years and represents several bestselling authors.
Worth Your Time:
Interview: Michael Carr of Veritas Literary at Corinne Duyvis’s site (07/2011).
Interview with an Agent: Michael Carr at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (05/2011).
Agent Q&A - Michael Carr, Veritas Literary at AbsoluteWrite (12/2010).
Around the Web:
Please see the Veritas Literary Agency website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 6/7/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? N/A – No response.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's and/or teen fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.