Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • 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.

Agent Spotlight: Lauren Bieker Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Lauren Bieker here. She is a literary agent and vice-president at FinePrint Literary Management.

 Hi­ Lauren! Thanks so much for joining us.

 About Lauren:

 1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.

I became an agent in a fairly ‘roundabout’ way. I graduated from college with a business degree and an English degree and from there went to an accelerated program for merchandise marketing at FIDM in LA. Shortly after that I accepted a job as a buyer for an online retailer out of LA, all the while, I was an avid reader and writer. I was taking novel writing workshops and crafting stories is really what kept me sane. I knew the fashion world wasn’t for me, so after some solo travel where I spent time writing my own book, I knew that publishing was where I wanted to be. Shortly after, I was chatting with a family friend who happened to be a literary agent. After that conversation I found myself saying, “how have I not been doing this already!” I immediately sought out internships in the industry and was lucky enough to be able to move to NYC to pursue my dream further. I began working with FinePrint as an intern in 2016, I moved up to assistant and then became an agent, all while learning the ins and outs of the business from NYC.

 About the Agency:

2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

FinePrint has been around for a long time. My boss, Peter Rubie, has been in publishing for over 30 years and he has worked as an editor and as an agent. He is also a published writer. Working with him and my other colleagues at FinePrint has taught me the value of hard work and commitment. FinePrint may not be the biggest firm out there, but I think that is part of what makes us special. I believe that we are down to earth and humble, while also knowing that as agents we will do whatever it takes to help our client’s stories get told.

 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 love representing YA! It’s been such a blast to read queries and submissions about young people that are honest and endearing. As much as I love MG and pitcture books, I find that they are a bit out of my wheelhouse; I have a harder time vetting their place in the market. So as far as what I rep, it’s YA and adult only.

Update 12/31/2022

Lauren is looking for commercial and upmarket women’s fiction and some well-crafted and differentiated YA novels. She is also open to select science fiction, as well as high concept and literary fiction works. She appreciates great storytelling and is a “sucker” for outstanding writing and convincing characters. While primarily interested in fiction, she will consider nonfiction proposals. She is looking for #ownvoices stories, Feminist lit/#MeToo stories, and LGBTQIA+ authors in both fiction and nonfiction. Her goals is to "hold the mic" for authors to tell their stories and be a helpful support system. (From the agency website)

Update 2/7/2023

Lauren is now representing horror, fantasy (in both YA and adult), and middle grade.

 4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?

Oh wow. Where to even start. First and foremost, my goal is to work with #OWNvoices, LGBTQIA, BIPOC writers, and #MeToo stories. I want to help authors who have thus far been underrepresented.

More specifically, I’m looking for hilarious romance/romantic comedies that have a feminist bend. I’d really love a creepy psychological thriller, both in YA and adult. I would also love to see more commercial women’s fiction that force their main characters to confront some tough questions about who they are and what they want.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?

I’m not interested in fiction and non-fiction that relate to military or religion as the main message of the story.

Update 12/31/2022 

Lauren is NOT looking for religious fiction or political/military fiction. (From the agency website)

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?

My philosophy as an agent is like this: if we are out for a walk and someone were to walk up to my client and say, tell me about your story, I would not only encourage and empower my clients to do so, but to hold a microphone up to their lips so they could share it even louder.

I believe in honest communication and that is one thing that I concentrate on with my clients. We can’t have a great working relationship without honesty, and so I look for clients that will appreciate that within me and that know that trust in an agent /client relationship must go both 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! I love providing editorial feedback. Writing a novel is no small feat and success in publishing does not happen in a bubble. For me, being an editorial agent allows me to connect with the story in a larger way; that way, when I’m pitching the book, I really do know the project backwards and forwards. When taking on a client, I use my editorial nature as a gauge to ask “is this author going to be open to feedback? And how will they respond to that feedback?” After all, even once you sell a project, the author will need to be open and communicative with their editor. So, I find that if someone isn’t able to accept editorial notes with me, even in early stages/before signing, then they likely won’t have a great working relationship with an editor. Thus, it is something that I like to bring to the forefront of any working interaction. 

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?

Authors should query me through my work email- they should also note when I’m closed to unsolicited queries. In a query letter, I take comp titles very seriously, so I encourage authors to start with those. I also really do believe in having a strong elevator pitch, if authors find themselves having a hard time drafting one, I say that it’s a sign that maybe you need to step back and really ask “what is the story I’m trying to tell”. I always think of a quote from Moira Rose in Schitt’s Creek, “Okay, Alexis, I’ll hear your elevator pitch. But keep in mind, I’m getting off at the next floor.” While it can be read as a little ‘harsh’, I prefer for it to be thought of as an experiment and challenge to the author to hone in on what they really want their story to be. Also, when it’s time for me to pitch the book, I often use versions of that very elevator pitch to then take to editors, so it really is an important addition. With strong comps and a strong elevator pitch, I will often skip the synopsis entirely and dive straight into the submitted pages.

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

Not necessarily, I guess my only reminder to authors is that, we are people, too. We aren’t sharks who are trying to eat you and steal your story. We only do well if our client’s do, so I encourage querying authors to embrace that concept when querying.

Response Time:

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

My response time is fairly consistent with the industry standard. I see every query that comes in and will scan it. If I’m hooked right away (and I have the time) I will dive straight in and could even request the full manuscript immediately. However, when I’m on other deadlines, I try to get back to queries within a few months. Obviously, life will sometimes get in the way. I try to remind querying authors, if you haven’t heard from me, be patient and only follow up after about four 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?

I am open to authors who have self published and been published by smaller presses. However, I wouldn’t recommend that we try to sell the slef-published book. I’m happy to know that authors are putting their story out there, and from there, I would want to work with them and develop something new that we could sell.

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?

I see it changing a little bit. I can see authors saying, “well I can do this without an agent, so why not just do it myself”. I see no problem with that. However, I do believe that agent’s offer a great deal; in editorial feedback, in contract reading and negotiations, in publicizing the work, etc. I’d like to think about it like this, “sure you may not need an agent, but wouldn’t you like one?”


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Many of my authors are working on debut works, so many of them are hard to search. However, I represent Celestine Martin, Abigail Drake, Sarah Madges, Jenna Satterthwaite, Nia Imara, Gail-Agnes Musikavanhu, Shelby Simpson, Zeina Collins,  Alex Gonzalez, Ariane Powell, Danai Christopoulou, A.J. Van Belle, Gatlin Beemus, Len Klapdor, and Nish Amarnath. 

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.


Links and Contact Info:

15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.

Although I am currently closed to unsolicited queries, I won’t be forever! I'm hoping to reopen to submissions in January 2021. You can reach me at lauren@fineprintlit.com. I am also on Twitter @lauren_bieker

Additional Advice:

16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?

I think that’s it!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Lauren.

­Lauren is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through October 10th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.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.

Last Updated: 12/31/22
Agent Contacted for Review? Yes
Last Reviewed By Agent? 2/7/2023

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.




Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Going from fashion to publishing must have been quite a change! Great interview, Natalie. :)

nashvillecats2 said...

You always have interesting interviews Natalie and this one is no exception. Have a most enjoyable wekk.


Lauren H. Dowdle said...

Great interview and insight!

mshatch said...

I always love these agent interviews. Thank you Natalie and Lauren!

Jennifer Lane said...

That's great Lauren found her calling!

Computer Tutor said...

Wonderful interview. I love your comments on philosophy. That honesty and authenticness.

Just one comment to agents in general: I so wish one would be looking for prehistoric fiction! But then, it's way too small an audience. I knew that.

Liz A. said...

Very interesting. A one floor elevator pitch is something to strive for.

Max @ Completely Full Bookshelf said...

Great interview! I appreciate Ms. Bieker's thoughts on editorial feedback and elevator pitches. I'll pass on the giveaway, but thanks for sharing!

Shanah Salter said...

Great interview and query letter advice. I’ve shared on twitter and would love to be entered in the giveaway!

Unknown said...

Wonderful interview! The elevator pitch quote was a good reminder. Thanks :) (and I don't want to be entered into the giveaway.)

Melissa Miles said...

I love that you took a windy path to your dream job! I’ve done the same, only it took longer for me to reach it. 😊 Thanks for the chance to win a critique!

Melissa Miles said...

I’d read it if it was published! Sounds great! 😊

lkrichmanauthor said...

Very fun to read about your career path and where it has led you, Lauren. Great interview - thanks for the insights and the chance to win a query critique.

Angie Quantrell said...

Thanks for sharing with us!

Sandra Cox said...

Fascinating interview.

Kyla said...

I love reading her agent philosophy! Am in 100% agreement with that approach :)


Justin W. Parente said...

Thanks again for the chance to win!

Sandra Cox said...

I'm curious. Are internships a necessary piece of becoming an agent. And how does that work?

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm not sure they are required though that is a way that some people get into agenting. I think some are unpaid. I have noticed that more agents are starting as associate agents. Hope this info helps.

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks, Natalie, for posting this informative interview. And thanks Lauren for giving me insight into working as an agent.

Chrys Fey said...

Lauren sounds like a great agent!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Nice to meet you, Lauren!
Thanks for sharing her with us, Natalie.

Rosi said...

Your interviews are always full of useful information. This is no exception. Thanks for another great post. I will pass on the giveaway.

Sherry Ellis said...

Love the story about how you became an agent. Sometimes you end up doing something unexpectedly, but it all works out for the best. Great interview!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

What an informative interview with Lauren. Thanks, Natalie, and thanks, Lauren. It is always interesting how people found the job/position they love. All best to you both!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Really good interview. Lauren sounds like a terrific agent. How I wishes I wrote YA! Good luck to whoever wins the query letter opportunity.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

That was wished, not wishes. :-(

Tamara Narayan said...

Very informative interview. Having professional work with me to edit my work would be a dream come true.

Jenni said...

Interesting interview as always! I don't write YA right now, so please count me out of the contest.
Fine Print sounds like a great agency--smallish, but been in business for a long time.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Lauren sounds like a great agent! Count me in the query critique contest.

Marie said...

Lauren is definitely on my list of agents to query!