Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
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Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have Amy Tipton here to share about her editorial service, Feral Girl Books. She is also a former literary agent and brings this experience to her new venture.

Hi Amy! Thanks so much for joining us!

1.  Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience as a literary agent.

I graduated from Naropa University with a B.A. in Writing and Literature and received my MFA from New College of California in Writing. I have been working in the publishing industry for 13 years and started freelance editing in 2018. Prior to that, I was a literary agent at Signature Literary Agency since 2009. (I first stepped into the role of literary agent at Peter Rubie Literary Agency, now FinePrint Literary Management, in 2007.) I started out as an assistant and office manager at several agencies including JCA Literary Agency, Diana Finch Literary Agency, Gina Maccoby Literary Agency, and Liza Dawson Associates, as a book scout for Aram Fox, Inc., and as a freelance editor for Lauren Weisberger (author of The Devil Wears Prada). My years of experience culling books from the slush pile gives me confidence I can help you too!

2. What made you decide to start your editorial service Feral Girl Books? How long have you been providing this service?

One of my brilliant (ex) writers (sob!), Lyn Fairchild Hawks, wrote an awesome blog post, praising my editorial/hands-on agenting style and (ironically enough) that blog post made me realize I am pretty great! That blog post gave me confidence in my editorial skills. I will forever be grateful to her—and all the writers who allowed me to work with them—for building me up.

I did think about opening up my own agency—I did research—but a friend who runs her own agency said you can’t be creative, or as creative as you want, since it’s more paperwork/business stuff. So I just decided to go the freelance editor route. (Not to say there isn’t paperwork or business stuff involved but it’s certainly less.)

It wasn’t an easy decision. I knew I was turning 40, I knew most of the stuff I represented wasn’t big or splashy—these books weren’t necessarily blockbuster/fun reads—and I knew that if I was getting older and unwilling to sacrifice my tastes in literature (which, h-e-double hockey sticks n-o), I’d need to find a way to survive—and not on handouts from my mom or living off my husband’s paycheck. I knew I had a skill and wanted to use it. I say it wasn’t an easy decision, but maybe it was? I love writers. ALL writers. It was a no-brainer I was going to keep working with them in some capacity.

Just 4-5 months ago, I officially quit agenting and started FGB.

I had worked—for a major publisher—as a freelance editor (just doing some light proofreading/being a second pair of eyes), so it just kinda seemed natural. And since I have always been drawn to females/female voices, opening up an editorial service for women (including female-identifying and genderqueer writers) just fit. I am pretty in-your-face female and like Lala called Stassi (on Season 6 of Vanderpump Rules) a “gangster b*tch” for being unapologetic, for speaking her mind, I say me too! I am a bit of a “gangster b*tch” myself. Hahaha!

(This is not just a service for those looking for an agent either … Maybe there’s already an agent in the picture BUT they are less editorial-minded or they are busy and you are going on sub or got an RR from an editor … Maybe you’re self publishing … Whatever the situation, consider me your professional CP!)

3. What editorial services do you provide?

Any and all! I am easily persuaded! Hahaha!

I’ll do query letters (in my 13 [almost 14] years as an agent, I read a lot of them so know I can help) and I have even started doing consulting work—looking over submission lists (basically, seeing what agent/agency fits your book best [you provide the list—I am not going to create one for you] which is surprisingly fun)—it’s not something a lot of freelance editors do. (Or can do as well—mind you, I was an agent and I do know this industry…)

 I also offer developmental reads (both partials and fulls). This is my favorite kind of edit–looking at character, dialogue, plot, and pacing. A good developmental read might cut/rearrange/entirely reshape the manuscript; it can be hard for authors to accept this criticism but it will make a stronger book. (However, if your manuscript is already great, this read confirms it–not much work will need to be done.) A developmental read is pretty much the last read you need before a copy edit/proofread.

I do offer copy editing and proofreading but it’s light—I am not (and was not) an official copy editor or proofreader—but it’s better (probably a lot better) than the average writer’s (just FYI)…

I’d also like to add that I work FAST. I can do a query in a day and read a full in about a week/week and a half!—if timing is right… (In an industry known for being slow, I actually work very fast/efficiently. There are plenty of testimonials on my website that corroborate this too!)

4. What genres and age groups do you represent?

My specialty has always been reality-based, girl-centric YA–I believe in truthful storytelling, even if/when hard to tell/read. But I also enjoy awkward, goofy, light-hearted romances (including chick lit or beach reads and Bridget Jones is a perfect character!—just sayin’…) and fun-filled adventures as well as bone-chilling, spooky stories and quirky paranormal or fantastical tales. I also love mysteries and murder and love that podcast, My Favorite Murder, and Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn and Tana French are three amazing dark/thriller/mystery writers I adore and that type of book is a treat to work on!

Also, when I work with bigger pub houses, I tend to work on [adult] romance—so I am quite adept in that area as well.

5. Is there anything that you would be especially excited to work on?

See the books/authors I repped—those are the types of stories I’d like BUT…

How about I pick 4 books—1 adult, 1 YA, 1 MG, & 1 nonfiction book—I recently enjoyed and wish I could work on something similar?

Adult: Vox by Christina Dalcher. (Though, Shame On You by Amy Heydenrych is a very close second! And I have My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite in my TBR pile—I can’t wait…)

YA: This is SO hard (there are many, many worthy YAs!) but let’s say The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (but I loved Loved LOVED The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks—but it’s older so…). I am also dying to read Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (it’s in my TBR pile)!

MG: Breakout by Kate Messner AND Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes (it’s a tie).

Nonfiction: Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper and/or Bye Felipe: Disses, Dick Pics, and Other Delights of Modern Dating by Alexandra Tweten (I can’t pick).

I’d also be remiss to not mention the collection Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft here (it’s just so good)!

6. Has being an agent helped you in providing editorial services to your clients? How?

I forget I know things! Haha! But I definitely think my experience as an agent has helped me tremendously. I have knowledge and access that the average freelance editor might not; I also know people in this industry that your average freelance editor might not.

7. At what point in revising a manuscript can an author best benefit from your services? Why?

I say if you’re looking for an agent, I’d love to help you before (to minimize rejections) but I am helpful at any stage of the sub process, really. If you get an RR (revise/rewrite & resubmit)—from an agent or editor (and you find your agent is not as editorial or busy and/or you feel neglected), I am available!

If you’re self publishing, you might want a second pair of eyes at the end—I’d be delighted to read!

8. Share a bit about your focus when providing editorial services? Is it on improving the plot, character development, etc.?

I do have a creative eye and I find it hard to turn off parts of my brain—like compartmentalize plot and characters and world building, etc. I can’t just say to myself Ok, today we’re only looking at plot/plot holes… I read the book entirely and make notes about EVERYTHING. (I even make little “fixes” such as commas or misspellings.) I might focus more on plot/plot holes or character or dialogue—whatever—if the writer requests it. (This is also super beneficial to self published folks, just sayin’…)

9. There are a lot of editorial services out there. What should a writer consider when trying to find an editor that is a good fit for him/her?

You should look at their track record, their experience, who the editor worked with prior/what they tend to work on now (like you wouldn’t necessarily want a children’s editor for your erotica, right?)—just research, see who’s said what, and go with your gut.

I have been in this industry for years—I’ve sold lots of books (one of those books just made it as a NYT Best Seller), I have done interviews, been to conferences and my bio lists agencies I’ve worked for—I am quite easy to research! I think (I hope! hahaha!) that makes me legit!

10. How can a writer using your service obtain the most benefit from your critique?

I’d like to say, you will benefit the most if you just do what I say (ha!), but that’s not appropriate, is it?

11. Who are some of the authors and writers that you have worked with?

Well, as an agent, I got to work with a lot of well known writers—like Courtney Summers and Amy Reed and Kirstin Cronn-Mills and Paul Greci and Barbara Stewart and Katya de Becerra and Kayla Ancrum and Jennifer Fenn … They’re all YA authors. But I also had the privilege of working with adult writers such as Marci Blackman and Kathy Cooperman and Scot Sothern and Lynn Zubernis (of Fangasm—she did the TV Supernatural anthology). This just a small example of the writers I was proud to have on my list …

You might not know—I worked with them before they published—I also worked with Victoria Schwab, Tahereh Mafi, Suzanne Young, and Daisy Whitney. I am thrilled at their success—so happy for them! They are crazy talented ladies and deserve nothing but the best! (Again, I have nothing to do with their published books except Victoria’s debut, The Near Witch…)

12. How can people interested in using your service contact you? How quickly do you respond to an inquiry and how long does it take for you to provide a critique?

Query me by telling me a bit about your project and what you hope I can do for you, also send the first 5 pages included in the body of your email. (Just like you would for an agent.)

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Amy. You can find Amy at:


Amy is generously offering a query or first five-page critique giveaway--winner's choice. 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 January 26th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is international.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, January 21st I'm off

Monday, January 28th I have an interview with debut author Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo and a giveaway of her MG contemporary RUBY IN THE SKY

Wednesday, February 6th I have a guest post by debut author Addie Thorley with her agent Katelyn Detweiler with a giveaway of Addie's YA historical fantasy AN AFFAIR OF POISONS and a query critique giveaway by Katelyn

Monday, February 11th I have an interview with debut author Astrid Scholte and a giveaway of her YA fantasy FOUR DEAD QUEENS

Wednesday, February 13th I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Amy Stapp

Monday, February 18th I'm off for President's Day

Monday, February 25th I have a guest post by Mary Kole who has her own editorial service

Hope to see you on Monday, January 28th!


nashvillecats2 said...

This made wonderful reading Natalie, a good start to the week.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bet she does know a lot of people and can provide extra contacts in the process. Always a bonus.

Brenda said...

Have a lovely week Natalie.

Unknown said...

This sounds lovely! Thank you for this opportunity and chance.

Laurie Zaleski said...

Thank you for this opportunity!

Greg Pattridge said...

Best of luck to Amy in her new adventure. It sounds like she will do well.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I am intrigued. One of my reservations about self-pubbing is-- what if the book sucks and I've deluded myself. An Amy edit would probably negate (or, egads! verify) that worry...

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

What a brave choice for Amy to decide to do what she loves. Being happy at work is the best way to live.

Pat Hatt said...

Sure sounds like freelance beats one's own agency with tons of paperwork. Having lots of contacts is a win too.

Christine Sarmel said...

Bookmarking for later...

Thanks for the helpful interview!

Angie Quantrell said...

Wow, what an offering of editorial services! Definitely keeping this in mind. Thank you! angelecolline at yahoo dot com

Tonja Drecker said...

All the best on your new endeavor! It was a wonderful interview.

Tyrean Martinson said...

That's a great giveaway! My current WIP is actually SF MG Ad with a male POV, but if I had a female POV in one of those genres, I would definitely try out those editorial services.

c. sciriha said...

Thanks for this interview.

Sabrina Mock-Rossi said...

Awesome interview. Glad to have Amy Tipton's name and info!

Loni Townsend said...

I love how Amy's positive attitude and joy comes through in the answers. They were lots of fun to read. I bookmarked this, since I have a female protagonist novella that I'm going to need edited someday!

loni@lonitownsend.com in case my email isn't in my profile...

Helen Rena said...

Sounds very interesting. I'll be definitely checking out Feral Girl Books. elena.patrick@gmail.com in case my email isn't in my profile...

Laura Clement said...

Way cool! I have bookmarked Feral Girl Books for the future. Great post. lauranclement@yahoo.com is my contact incase my profile isn't current (going to check that now.)

emaginette said...

Nice to meet you. Great questions and answers. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Gina Gao said...

Awesome interview! Thanks for sharing.


Ilona Bray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Myrna Foster said...

Great interview! Thanks, Natalie!

Christine Rains said...

Fantastic interview! I also love My Favorite Murder podcast. Have a great weekend. :)

Paul Greci said...

Amy's an amazing editor!!! She puts her heart into her work combined with her talent for seeing what's working and what's not in a story. You can't go wrong with Amy!

Cipher said...

Sounds like a great adventure and an even better opportunity for the writing community! Thanks all! :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

Good luck to Amy for her new venture. I would love to be a part of this giveaway.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much. I will be looking into FGB and may be in touch soon.

Unknown said...

Thank you both for this opportunity. I may be trying out the editorial services soon.

mshatch said...

Great interview!

Jenny said...

Ladies, thanks for the interview! Thank you so much for the contest and the chance to receive valuable feedback! Hope to win! :) #poc #MH

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Natalie, Hi Amy,

Such an interesting interview. I think it is so important to have a good editor. I have helped several authors with my "creative" editing service for those writers who have a hard time creating atmosphere or setting the stage. Love you quirkiness Amy! I do appreciate a woman who knows her talents. I just finished writing a upbeat memoir about a woman from the 50s who did her own thing throughout the 60s and 70s. Nothing escaped her. She lived life with no regrets. Interesting for sure! Just wrote my query and I hope to win your critique! Thanks for sharing your insights...

Sherry Ellis said...

I think it's great that you were able to start your own business, Amy. And it sounds like you do a good job of helping the authors you represent put their best work out there.

JennF said...

This was a great interview, Natalie. Amy looks like a fabulous editor to work with! I'd love a chance at her feedback.

jfsmith4211 said...

Thanks for posting the interview! What a great opportunity!