CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

PIPER MORGAN PLANS A PARTY through December 9th
THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES through December 23rd
COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS through December 23rd

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Elizabeth Bewley Agent Spotlight Interview on 1/10/18
Molly O'Neill Agent Spotlight Interview on 1/22/18

AGENT BRENT TAYLOR INTERVIEW AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Brent Taylor here. He’s been working as an intern at 
TriadaUS Literary Agency and has been promoted to a literary agent. He’s building his middle grade and young adult author list.

Hi Brent! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became an agent.

I'm based out of Louisville, KY and I assist Uwe Stender and work on my own list. I came to TriadaUS after years of interning at The Bent Agency and freelance editing.

2. So you’re building your own list now and represent middle grade and young adult authors. What are you looking for as an agent? Any genres you are looking for and/or prefer?

I represent a wide range, from middle grade to adult, but I do want a really strong MG/YA list. During my career as an intern and an assistant I've worked with over 5 literary agents, so I've developed very eclectic sensibilities. For middle grade, I tend to go for beautiful writing, fresh voice, and a strong sense of place. I love fantasy, magical realism, and contemporary/realistic stories. Some of my favorite MG writers are Rebecca Stead, Jerry Spinelli, Brian Farrey, and Kathi Appelt.

For YA, I want books with slightly higher concepts but still retain a lot of meaning and really wonderful sentences. Some of my favorite YA writers are Nova Ren Suma, Nick Burd, Stephanie Perkins, and Libba Bray.

Something at the very top of my list, regardless of genre or category, is a sweeping, sentimental story with a hint of strangeness. I would love to find something at the intersections of stories like Her, The Time Traveler’s Wife, About Time, or Upside Down.

3. That's great you worked with so many agents and that it helped you develop your own tastes.  Are there any genres you don’t want to represent or don’t think you can sell right now?

YA scifi isn't really my forte, but I would definitely be open to it in middle grade. My interests in MG are much more vast, and I tend to be extra picky about YA. And, while I enjoy paranormal/supernatural stories, it’s almost impossible to sell these days.

4. I always feel sad when I hear popular genres are no longer selling because the fan base of those genres still likes that type of story, but it's good to know what's not selling.  I have a lot of followers who are self-published and/or published by smaller presses. And I’ve read that you’re supportive of self-published authors. Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?

I would be open to representing previously self-published or small press authors, so long as I’m able to get enthusiastic enough about the project they’re querying me with. My only advice is to be very sure about what you’re doing—I get so many queries for books that are self-published, and it’s frustrating to think that these writers are trying to get the best out of both worlds. Queries for self-published novels are an automatic rejection. The only exception is if the book sells exceptionally and the books need a print outlet, but that’s very rare and a majority of the writers that query self-published works own up to poor sales in the query letter.

I will also say that I’m less hesitant about authors who have self-published their books exclusively in e-book form, since POD books’ numbers show up on Bookscan.

5. That's great to know you're open to some self-published authors. Share a bit about what you’re looking for in your clients and whether you’re an editorial agent.

I’m most drawn to writers that are risk-takers and write without pulling any punches. I think those writers are the ones that most often write from the heart. As far as editorial work goes, it depends on the client and the book. There are manuscripts I’ve sent out as-is, and there are ones that took multiple rounds of revisions. Every project is different, and I’m usually able to gauge what the author-agent relationship will look like once we have that first phone call.

6. What are you looking for in a query letter and do you ask for manuscript pages too? Which do you focus on more—the query or the manuscript pages?

I love concise queries. All I need to know is who your protagonist is, what they want, what’s standing in their way, and what’s going to happen if they don’t get it. I ask for ten sample pages pasted below the query. I tend to skim the query for genre and category before jumping into the pages and if the pages impress me I take a closer look at the query.

7. It's good to know you'll get to the manuscript quickly, because sometimes the manuscript is really good but the query isn't no matter how much the writer works on it. Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you? And what’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

I hate really long query letters, and messages that don’t get straight to the point. My response time varies but I typically respond to queries within 24 hours. The exception is weekends, holidays, and vacations. My response time on full manuscripts isn’t quite that fast, but is usually within two to four weeks.
8. I’ve read that TriadaUS Literary Agency has quite a few contacts in Hollywood. How important is this to an author considering signing with an agent?

We work really hard to exploit all subsidiary rights, but I think we have a special strength in film/TV. A great portion of the manuscripts we represent and sell are simultaneously shopped around by some of the best producers and agents.

9. That's awesome how quickly you respond. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?

There’s always been a natural evolution to the literary agent’s job, so of course it will always change. It’s just hard to pinpoint how, exactly, which is why I love this job so much: you’re never not on your toes.
10. Any other advice you’d like to share that we haven’t covered?

I think we’ve just about covered everything! These were such great questions, and I’m a big fan of the Literary Rambles blog. I hope everyone will continue finding and using resources such as this blog to help with the querying and publishing process.

So glad you like our blog. Thanks for sharing all your advice, Brent. You can find Brent at:


 
Brent generously offered a query critique for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through May 16th. I’ll announce the winner on May 18th. If you're not interested in a critique, that's okay and just let me know in the comments. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. International entries are welcome.

Here's what's coming up:

On Saturday I'm participating in the May I Suggest Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great newly released YA choices or a $10 Amazon Gift Card for you to choose from.

Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Krista Van Dolzer and a giveaway of THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING, her MG historical contemporary story.

Next Wednesday I have a guest post by Donna Galanti and a giveaway of her MG fantasy, JOSHUA AND THE LIGHTENING ROAD. Donna was an intern with an agent and has lots of great advice to share on querying.

The following Monday I have an interview with debut author Jenny Martin and a giveaway of her YA science fiction TRACKED.

Hope to see you on Saturday!

71 comments:

  1. I know a lot of authors and writers who pin their hopes on getting attention with a self-published book, or even with excerpts posted online. Brent just revealed how slim that opportunity really is.

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  2. Great interview. It's always interesting to know which agents focus on queries and which focus on pages. Most of the time, both need to shine. Thanks for the chance to win a critique.

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  3. A fantastic interview. I love getting insider tips from agents about what they're looking for and query tips.

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  4. Thanks for the great interview and a chance to win a critique! I tweeted about this too:
    https://twitter.com/eisen5585/status/593422415574634496
    Merci!

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  5. Very insightful. Quick question though--wouldn't 'The Time Traveler's Wife' be considered scifi? Curious because my YA WIP deals with time travel but it reads as more of a romance and I would love to eventually query Brent.

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    1. Hi Roxanne, I would actually call it upmarket fiction. I love those books that ride so many boundary lines and categories. When in doubt, query!

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  6. Great interview! I always love hearing from agents about what their side of the process is like. I've wondered which gets more attention, the query or the sample pages, so that was interesting to hear Brent's perspective. I wonder if most agents do that, or if they often look closely at the query first.
    I also tweeted about this! https://twitter.com/alexwendt14/status/593429987048497152

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  7. First hand information is always the best, and Brent did a super job delivering. Here's to many new and wonderful queries coming his way.

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  8. Great interview, Natalie! Please don't enter me in the query contest as my ms is not ready yet, but I'll be keeping Brent in mind for later.

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  9. Awesome interview! It's always good to see the agent side of things.

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  10. That's very quick for commenting on queries and fulls. I wonder if this interview will make him busier and slow him down :)

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  11. Great interview! I hadn't 'met' this agent before. Please, please put me in the drawing. I'm desperate for help on my query. sara (dot) bowers (at)cox (dot) net

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  12. Thanks for the interview and opportunity!
    Blogged, Tweeted and FBed this contest. Literary Rambles is one of the first sites which pointed me to a number of agents I've queried and I love the amount of information here. Letting others know about this site is the least I can do for a possible critique!

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  13. I love hearing researching agents and reading interviews. Brent Taylor sounds like a great agent, though I'm not sure he'd want my manuscript--it's SciFi. However, I would love to be entered into the critique giveaway. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  14. It's great to meet Brent and best wishes on building your list of clients. My current MS is YA so I'll submit after I make a few gentle changes per feedback from my critique partners.

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Co-host
    Y is for Yahweh

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  15. Informative interview! A "hint of strangeness"--nice; I love those types of stories. I already have an agent so therefore would like to let someone else win the critique, but what a great opportunity! Good luck, everyone.

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  16. Great interview. Curious to know whether Brent sees MG ghost stories as difficult to sell as paranormal/supernatural?
    Would love a query critique from Brent - he's a terrific editor.
    Email: HeatherM66@aol.com

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  17. Wonderful, informative post. Thank you for sharing the interview -- and a big thank you to Brent for his offer to critique one lucky reader's work.

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  18. That is a fast turnaround time with queries!

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  19. It's nice to hear about such quick turnarounds. Very interesting and useful post. Thanks for this.

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  20. Wonderful interview! Thanks to both of you :) It's always great to hear about agents who are looking for MG/YA.

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  21. Great interview! Nice to know he responds quickly.
    jenswan1222@yahoo.com

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  22. Good to meet you, Brent! Keep up that awesome pace. :)

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  23. Wow, what a great opportunity! Thanks for the interview too.

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  24. Hi, Natalie, Hi, Brent.

    It was nice to read that Brent is looking for an author who takes risks with their writing... BRAVO... My novel has grit and many agent won't touch it because of the subject matter....

    I'll definitely be querying you Brent.

    Thanks Natalie for featuring Brent and for all the wonderful interviews and giveaways! You ladies rock your blog!

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  25. Thanks, Natalie, for posting this interview. As a writer of middle-grade fiction, I found this interview very informative. I am interested in improving my querying skills so count me in! I tweeted: https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/593825067651338240

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  26. Thanks for the awesome interview! It's always helpful to hear a good agent's thoughts about the querying process.

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  27. Interesting to hear an agent's thoughts. I don't write the genre, so no need to include me in the giveaway. Great work, Natalie.

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  28. Great interview! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  29. Great agent spotlight and thank you for the query giveaway.

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  30. Thanks for the interesting interview and critique opportunity!

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  31. Fantastic interview! Thanks Brent and LR. :)

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  32. I'm excited with your interest in MG, which seems to be so overshadowed by YA.

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  33. Agent Brent Taylor is super fast when it comes to replying to queries. I had queried him for a MG book. Will definitely query him for my next one.

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  34. Fantastic interview! Shared on facebook.

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  35. Thanks for the interview. Count me in on the giveaway.

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  36. Great Interview! And thanks for the critique opportunity

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  37. What a nice interview with a hometowner! I'd love a query critique. And I tweeted @SherLHoward

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  38. Great interview. Shared on Facebook.

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  39. Awesome interview! I might query Brent at some point because a couple of his #MSWL tweets fit my ms, and he seems like a great person to work with. :D Followed on bloglovin'!

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  40. Great article! Will definitely mention on Twitter!

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    1. https://twitter.com/elisasjacobs/status/595657367209037824

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  41. It is always so fun to *meet* an agent who loves middle grade. I would love a query critique, in fact I'm chopping one up again right now. Oh, I followed on blogger with my google account. jimsissy@gmail(dot) com--just in case.

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  42. Awesome interview! Thanks for sharing your insight.

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  43. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win a query critique. I love your agent interviews. My email is jchou2323@yahoo.com.

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  44. I Tweeted about your awesome interview!
    https://twitter.com/JennyC2323/status/595952021250801665

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  45. One if the best interviews I've read. Thank you Brent. Thank you Natalie!

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  46. His turnaround time really is fast!

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  47. Great interview, Casey! So much helpful info, I tweeted this. And thanks Brent for offering the opportunity for a query critique to a lucky reader!

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  48. Thanks for your discussion of self-publishing. I've been wrestling with whether to self-publish, and I think you've answered the question.

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  49. Thanks for the down-to-earth questions and answers. I love to see so many writers getting encouragement and info. Nice job. I'm posting your contest on Facebook. [Louisville rocks.]

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  50. Great interview, I've shared on twitter and G+. Really enjoyed reading his answers. My email is cassnwrites@gmail.com

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  51. I watched Upside Down a few months ago and thought it was fascinating, but I've never talked to anyone else who's seen it. Glad to finally know I'm not the only one who liked it. :-)

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  52. Would love to be entered and shared on Twitter.

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  53. I met Brent this past weekend at the OWFI conference and really appreciated his passion and enthusiasm for what he does. I would love to have him critique my query. :-)

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  54. Great questions+straightforward answers=good deed done. Thanks for helping a new agent build his talent roster. More opportunities for everyone and lots of good advice. Would love to be entered for query critique.

    InabaML@gmail.com

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  55. Great advice! I'd love a critique. Followed and tweeted!

    Nicole Brake
    nicolealana@gmail.com

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  56. Congrats on moving up and starting your list. Would love a critique and start a conversation. Tweeted and followed! Cheers. jim@jimgullo.com

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  57. Great advice and interview! I would love to be entered for the query critique.
    Angie Dickinson
    Angiedickinson06@gmail.com or angelafillmore@gmail.com

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  58. Wow! Gotta love an agent who responds in 24 hours. Brent sounds super relatable and straight forward. I'd be stoked to have him critique my MG novel. Love the illustration, too. Definitely adds to his likeability :)

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  59. Thanks for this interview! Always great hearing agent's perspectives on things!

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  60. Great interview! I would love to receive a critique from Brent. I follow him on Twitter, and he is one of my dream agents!

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  61. Always love hearing an agents specific 'do's' and 'don'ts'. Already following Brent on twitter and crossing my fingers on winning the critique!

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  62. Great interview! Thanks for the critique opportunity! I'm always interested to read about agents' thoughts about queries and the process!

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  63. Fun interview, seems like a fun guy.

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  64. Love the interview and so much useful information! And of course a query critique is always lovely!

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  65. Hurray for another wonderful-sounding agent for middle grade! Would love to be entered for the query critique.

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