FYI, I’m taking over the agent spotlights from Casey. I will be providing all the same information we’ve shared in the past in an interview format. In addition, one lucky commenter will win a query critique from the agent being interviewed.
Status: Open to submissions.
Hi¬ Linda! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.
I had to do several unpaid internships to get back in. I wanted to get into an editorial role, but I wound up doing everything from foreign rights to production to editorial to marketing at Dorchester Publishing, Simon and Schuster, Random House, and Writers House literary agency. Luckily, Random House took pity on me and hired me on full-time in their children's marketing department. I worked there for five years and while I was there, I got my MFA in children's writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. After that, I eventually made the move to Prospect Agency, where I’m now building my list.
About the Agency:
2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.
Emily Sylvan Kim is the owner who, after working at Writers House literary agency, hung up her own shingle in 2007. Her mission was to provide top-notch representation and a warm community for authors and illustrators, and she’s certainly done that. Prospect is a boutique agency of six women who really do embody Emily’s mission statement of creating a supportive community. We not only advocate strongly for their clients, but do so in a positive way.
When my Random House colleagues learned I was going to be an agent at Prospect, they only had wonderful things to say about the agents. And that says a lot—not only are they successful, but the agents are actually a pleasure to work with.
What She’s Looking For:
3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?
I’m mainly seeking MG, YA, and Adult fiction across all genres, particularly romance, horror, fantasy, and realistic. My tastes are pretty broad, ranging from clean and lighthearted to edgy and dark. Diversity of all types (ethnicity, disability, sexuality, etc.) welcome, particularly #ownvoices projects!
4. Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?
I’d like to see high concept YA, like maybe a western (pretty please!) or a fantasy (preferably set in a non-European world). And I’m dying for more adult romance, particularly contemporary (would love one with a plus-size protagonist). Frankly, I’d love to see a plus-size protagonist in anything, especially a high concept story (i.e., Sarai Walker’s Dietland).
What She Isn’t Looking For:
5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?
I’m not looking for early readers, chapter books, poetry, novellas/short stories, or screenplays.
6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?
The agent-author relationship is one based on trust. We’re in it together, so for the both of us to succeed in the world of publishing, we both need to work together and weather the ups and down together. If we don’t have that foundation of mutual respect, it won’t work.
7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?
I’m definitely an editorial agent. My level of editorial feedback varies from client to client, as some need more guidance than others and for them, it can take longer to get to the submission stage. I might make occasionally comments on a line editing level, but that’s not my main goal. I’m more of a big picture editor, dispensing character and overall structural suggestions to make a manuscript stronger.
Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)
8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?
I accept submissions through Prospect Agency’s online form. In query letters, I want to see a strong hook and description of the plot, which identifies the character, conflict, and what’s at stake. It’s all about making me care about the story.
9. Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?
I’m not too keen on when a writer gives me their whole life story, how they love to write, when they first started writing, and how they cam to write their novel—and then forgets to tell me about the novel! Remember: Story first.
10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?
Once a writer uploads their query and sample pages through the submissions page, the writer receives an automatic reply confirming receipt. If I’m interested in seeing more, I’ll reach out with a request for pages. Given the amount of queries I receive, that response time can take up to two months.
Self-Published and Small Press Authors:
11. 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?
Sure! Great writers have come from the self-publishing world (at Prospect, we also have hybrid authors, in fact). I’m also a fan of small presses, where they tend to take more risks in the books they acquire. For authors who come with those backgrounds, the key thing to know is what they’re looking to gain from an agent-author relationship, and to have realistic expectations once they do sign with an agent. They would have had a discussion with the agent before accepting an offer of representation about their career goals, so be sure that they’re on the same page. One last thought—If you’re a self-published author who’s looking to query an agent, be sure to query them with a new (never been self-published manuscript). Unless a self-pubbed project is a big seller, agents aren’t likely to be interested.
12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?
Publishing is ever-changing, so the role of agents is bound to evolve with it. There are more options nowadays for writers seeking publication, so agents certainly have their hands full in helping their clients utilize various avenues in career management. Like with hybrid authors, for instance, we help with finding the right balance. Agents are working more closely than ever with both their clients and publishers on the whole (from editorial to marketing to even meta data management), so I think agents are becoming more integral to the publishing process as the rules change.
13. Who are some of the authors you represent?
I’m newer to agenting, having started in 2015, but I do have a few coming children’s books coming out soon, like Mary E. Lambert’s Family Game Night and Other Catastrophes (Scholastic, 2017), Ale Barba’s Time Out! (Philomel, 2017), and Brenna Burns Yu’s Twig’s Fortune (Candlewick, 2018). I have some other deals I’m at various stages of, but I have to keep them under wraps for now
Interviews and Guest Posts:
14. Please share the links to any interviews and guest posts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.
• Cynthia Letich-Smith’s Cynsations Blog: http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2015/04/agent-interview-linda-camacho-on.html
• Lee Wind’s Diversity Blog: http://www.leewind.org/2016/05/linda-camacho-prospect-agency-agent.html
Links and Contact Info:
15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.
I accept electronic submissions via Prospect Agency’s website (www.prospectagency.com), where writers are asked to submit a query letter, sample pages, and a synopsis.
16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?
Find your writing community. Writing can be a solitary endeavor, so fellow writing partners-in-crime will make all the difference in the wilds of publishing, trust me.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Linda.
Linda is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follower button if you're not a follower) and leave a comment through March 11th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know 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. This is an international giveaway.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.
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