Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

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.


Today I’m thrilled to have agent Kristina Perez here. She is an associate literary agent at Zeno Literary Agency.

Update on 2/24/2023: Kristina has started her own agency, Perez Literary & Entertainment. Check the agency website for her submission guidelines. Kristina will be doing a new agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway on 5/17/2023 where you can learn more about what she is looking for in submissions.

Hi­ Kristina! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Kristina:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.
I joined the Zeno Agency in November 2019 and I am absolutely loving building my list. Becoming an agent seemed like a natural progression from my career as an author and my years as a freelance journalist. I adore pitching stories to editors, finding scoops––or, in this case, clients!––and all of the business aspects of publishing.
About the Agency:
2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.
Founded in 2008, the Zeno Agency is a boutique agency based in London, UK. Zeno is best known as a specialist in adult Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror but has recently expanded into MG/YA, Women’s Fiction, Romance, Non-Fiction, and Crime/Thrillers. We represent a top-drawer range of authors, both as primary agent and in association with a number of well-known agencies abroad.
Our list comprises major brand-names, high profile award winners, talented debut authors and prestigious literary estates. We are a small, highly collaborative team that works closely together as well as with a range of sub-agents, scouts, and Film/TV agents. We support our clients at every stage of a project and throughout their careers.
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 represent MG, YA, adult SFF, Non-Fiction, and Romance. In MG and YA, I am open to all genres, but I tend to gravitate towards fantasy and historical. I will also consider YA non-fiction proposals in all subject areas. On the adult side, I’m particularly looking for Historical Romance and feminist fantasy retellings like Circe. For adult non-fiction, I’d love to see popular science with a feminist bent like Invisible Women or history in the vein of Latinx. (For my full wishlist, check out zenoagency.com)
4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?
I love retellings with a twist, whether it be contemporary or fantasy, especially LGBTQIA+ and those that draw on non-Western folklore and mythology. And I especially encourage submissions from writers from marginalised backgrounds.
What She Isn’t Looking For:
5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?
I am not the right agent for hard/military SF and any dystopian novels have to have a genuinely unique premise. I am also not currently looking for picture books.
Agent Philosophy:
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?
In terms of the authors I want to work with and the books I want to represent, my philosophy is pretty simple: I want to represent the books that I want to read, and I want to work with authors who have something to say. I want to champion new and diverse voices that we need to hear more from across all categories. I want to work on projects that force us to reevaluate the world around us in big and small ways.
Editorial Agent:
7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?
Yes, as an author myself, I am a very editorial agent. It depends on the shape of the project, of course, but with a completed manuscript that I sign, I usually do at least one round of structural edits in addition to line edits before going on submission. For new projects, I work with my clients at all points in the developmental stages to make sure they’re going in the right direction.
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 queries by email only (perez (at) zenoagency.com). Please paste only the first chapter of your manuscript beneath your query in the body of the email.
9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?
I read a lot of queries on my phone, so it irks me when authors attach the pages instead of pasting them in the email.
Response Time:
10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?
This can vary depending on what else I have on my plate. I usually designate one day per week to look at queries and try to respond within two weeks. For requested manuscripts, this can take up to twelve weeks but generally around six to eight.
 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?
I am certainly open to representing previously published authors. With regards to previously published material that would have to be evaluated on a case by case basis. In terms of advice, I think it’s important to be as transparent and to provide as much information about your publication history as possible.
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’s dynamism is part of what makes it such an exciting industry to work in. As an agent, I think it’s important to remain flexible and find innovative ways to serve my clients’ best interests. But what hasn’t changed amidst a changing landscape is that an agent’s primary purpose is to nurture and guide their clients’ careers to the best of their abilities.
13. Who are some of the authors you represent?
I represent a diverse range of authors from established journalists to debut novelists. You can find my client list here: http://zenoagency.com/agents/kristina-perez/
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.
I gave a Webinar on World Building 101 for Las Musas, which may be of interest to querying writers: https://youtu.be/srGtR8FxhG0
On May 29th, I am doing an AskAgent Webinar for Las Musas with a Live Q&A that will also be archived on the Musas website (www.lasmusasbooks.com).
Links and Contact Info:
15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.
Queries should be emailed to perez (at) zenoagency.com.
Twitter: @kperezagent
Instagram: @kkperezbooks
Additional Advice:
16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?
Don’t query until you’re 100% happy with your manuscript. Quite often I get a new query from an author with an “updated” version while I’m still considering the first manuscript that they sent me. I have to prioritize my clients’ work and so this will generally lead to a pass from me.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kristina.

­Kristina 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 June 26th.  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 natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com

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.


nashvillecats2 said...

Thank you Natalie for a most wonderful interview with Kristina. Lovely to read .
Hope you're well.


Ilona Bray said...

Lovely interview, and I want to hike that beach trail she's on!I had to laugh, though, reference to being 100% happy with a manuscript. How many times have I thought I was, only to realize later that it needs a change?

Joanne R. Fritz said...

"Don't query until you're 100% happy with your manuscript" is excellent advice! Your manuscript will change later (and probably more than once), I guarantee that, but if you're not happy with it, why are you submitting it?

My agent thought my novel in verse manuscript was ready to go. And then made me add more poems.

My editor said she only accepts manuscripts that are in great shape. And then she wanted me to revise it anyway! But the revision is only making it better and better. And from what I've learned from other authors, my editorial letter was quite short.

And, of course, Natalie, don't enter me in the contest.

emaginette said...

Nice to meet Kristina. Interesting interview. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Laura Rueckert said...

Thank you for this great interview with Kristina, and your other interviews too! They're so helpful in gathering information on whether an agent might be a good fit!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

She likes my genre! I'll have to check out the world-building session.

Unknown said...

Interesting article, I'll have to look the webinar from the 29th along with the other resources.

Raimey Gallant said...

I hadn't heard of this agency before. I'm keeping my eye out for them now. :)

coco said...

This was a really interesting interview and a fantastic opportunity to have a query critique!

Julie S said...

I always enjoy reading these interviews. Thank you Natalie for introducing Katrina. I'll Tweet the interview :)

mshatch said...

Another great interview. Thank you!

Loretta Chef said...

Great interview! Love that Kristina is so hands-on!

Karen said...

Interesting interview. And great to hear the Zeno Agency has expanded into MG/YA.

Unknown said...

A wonderful interview, and great to hear that Zeno has expanded into the new areas.

Carolyn Chambers Clark said...

Great interview.

Put me down for the query critique as I'm readying a YA ghost novel.

Mattea Orr said...

Such a fun interview! I have a YA Romance I'm revising, and I would love a query critique.

Leonia said...

I happily stumbled on this blog. Wonderful, thank you! Very informative interview as a writer readying work for submission this is helpful. I would be very interested in the query critique opportunity. Playing in multiple genres - Adult historical fiction with LGBT romance and YA that takes place in US and Africa.

Leonia said...

Oh and I did post to twitter.

R's Rue said...

This interview and information was so informative. Many thanks.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Hi Kristina, it's nice to meet you! Thank you, Natalie, for an interesting interview. I'm not sure any writer is ever 100% happy with their manuscript, but I know what you mean. We need to make it the best we can before sending it out. Have a beautiful summer, ladies!

DMS said...

Wonderful to learn about Kristina. Great interview!

Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf said...

What an excellent interview! I'll pass on the contest, but thanks for the post!

شوقي عوض said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lkrichmanauthor said...

I am excited to watch the webinar on worldbuilding - thank you! 💜

Unknown said...

Lovely interview. Thank you!

Fiona said...

Thanks for the insight. Interesting information.