Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Lynette Novak Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/17/2022
  • Sarah Fink Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/12/2022
  • Jazmia Young Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/21/2022

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Joyce Sweeney Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Joyce Sweeney here. She is a literary agent at The Seymour Agency.

Hi­ Joyce! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Joyce:

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

I’ve been an agent exactly one year. I have been a client of The Seymour Agency for years and I was having lunch with Nicole Resciniti and she offered me the job. It was nothing I had ever even thought about but the minute I did think about it, my heart lit up.

About the Agency:

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

    

The Seymour Agency covers a wide range of genres and styles, adult and children’s authors. I think what it offers the most are a group of truly supportive agents. We all help each other and we commit to our authors and their dreams.

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 picture books, both fiction and non-fiction, and middle grade fiction. I have a wide range of interests and am always looking for under represented voices. I love STEM, lyrical and outrageously funny picture books. In MG I also gravitate toward humor, but I will look at fantasy, sci-fi and adventure as well.

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

I would like to see more LGBTQ projects and some great mysteries.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Even when I think they are lovely, I tend to not get excited about super quiet books, especially with rural settings, small towns, etc. I’m usually not the right agent for historicals either, but the right one can break that rule.

I don’t rep YA or graphic novels. Or anything adult. And I am not a huge fan of bathroom and poop stories.

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?

We have joked among me and my clients that I like optimists. I like clients who understand this is a difficult task but who know how to be resilient and hopeful.  I like a lot of communication and collaboration. I am a sucker for a great voice or anything that stirs the emotions.   

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?

I am very editorial because I was a developmental editor and writing teacher for 25 years. I am super picky and usually a book has to go several rounds with me before it is ‘ready’ to submit.  This applies to everything, including PB’s. Sometimes it takes a lot of drafts to get those words perfect. 

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?

Our requirements for The Seymour Agency are on the website: a query email, and paste in the entire PB or first five pages of a fiction manuscript. Periodically, like now, I close to submissions so I can work on existing clients intensely. I usually announce on Twitter if I am open or closed. In the query I want to see a great pitch and signs that the author has been working hard on their craft for a while and didn’t just dash off their first idea. 

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

Sending me things I don’t represent. That just wastes everyone’s time. Hyperbole about the book’s amazing sales potential. Just give me a simple pitch and I can see what will work for me and what won’t. 

Response Time:

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

I respond to queries very fast. Requested manuscripts take longer because I am reading my clients’ work first and then I get to the requested list. But it is always fine for requested authors to check in and certainly to update me if another agent is showing interest.  If a manuscript is urgent, I will take it out of order. 

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 do not represent authors who have self-published. I have several clients who have published at small presses. I know that handicaps them in moving up to larger ones, but I take that as a challenge!

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 don’t think self-publishing affects us that much. It has its own lane and we have ours.

When I began, I did not sub to the smaller houses, but I have since learned some of them are terrific and many clients are happier in a small home than a larger one.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent? 

Gabriele Davis, Peggy Robbins Janousky, Aixa Perez-Prado, Katie Venit, and Lori Dubbin to name a few.

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.

https://fromthemixedupfiles.com/new-agent-spotlight-joyce-sweeney-of-the-seymour-agency/

Links and Contact Info:

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

My website is joycesweeney.com

Query: joyce@theseymouragency.com  I’m on Facebook, Twitter @JoyceGrackle and Instagram Sweeney1217.

Additional Advice:

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

Keep querying! Because of the sheer numbers of queries, I have to turn down great work every single day. Keep going till you find the agent who can’t resist you.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Joyce.

Joyce 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 May 22nd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the 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.

 

79 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

Excellent interview Natatalie, most enjoyable to read.

Hope all is well with you and family.
Yvonne.

Susan Johnston Taylor said...

Great interview! I always appreciate getting insights into the agenting side of the business. (susanejohnston AT gmail)

Unknown said...

Great interview! I love getting an inside look at agenting! Thank you :) (kristabarrett AT yahoo.com)

Alana said...

Great Interview! Thank you!

Sue said...

Thank you, Joyce and Natalie! I appreciate the inside view of queries.

Matt Gallagher said...

Thank you! This is great information!

Liz A. said...

I'm not a fan of bathroom or poop stories, either.

Shamaila J said...

Good interview and impressive editorial background. I would love to join the contest for the query critique. I need to spruce up my query for my middle grade fantasy novel.

Shamaila J said...

email: shamaila.siddique@gmail.com

SC Seaman said...

Thank you for another great Agent Spotlight, Natalie. Sharing on Twitter!

ken ohl said...

Thanks for the interview enjoyed it

Unknown said...

Love reading these interviews! I shared on Twitter. 😊

Unknown said...

Not sure if my email showed up with my comment (lindseyf2402@gmail.com)

Stacey Corrigan said...

Interesting article. Thanks!
StaceyCorriganWrites@gmail.com

Christina Dendy said...

It's always so helpful to get a little more insight into what specific agents like or want. Thank you! cdendy76@gmail.com

Amy said...

Thanks so much for the interview.

Amy said...

amythernstrom@gmail.com

Rose Cappelli said...

Thank you for a great interview! Would love to be part of the contest. Ryc1011@hotmail.com

Jane Baskwill said...

Thank you Natalie and Joyce. Once again, this is a great interview.

Melisa Wrex said...

I love interviews with agents that rep PBs. Keep 'em coming! Thank you.

Erika said...

Yeah, not a fan of bathroom humor either.

Patsy said...

I hadn't really thought about it before, but I can see it must help if the agent personally loves everything about the book, rather than just thinking of it as a product they feel might be commercially successful.

Heather Stigall said...

Great interview! I'd love to be entered for the giveaway. My email is HeatherStigallCM@aol.com

Callie said...

This is such a great and personable interview. Joyce seems like such a great champion for her authors!

Mary Beth Rice said...

Very informative and helpful! My email is rmbrice6@gmail.com

Kelly said...

Thank you for this great interview and giveaway! My email is kswemba23@gmail.com (Just in case.) I also shared on Twitter!

Unknown said...

Wow! Such a positive and encouraging interview. Joyce has encouraged me to keep going with my dream to be a PB published author. Fingers crossed here for competition. Email is deirdrelaide@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great interview with insight into the agenting world and the fabulous giveaway! My e mail address is amybarrybooks@gmail.com

Coach said...

I LOVE Joyce! I would love for her to be my agent, so getting a critique from her would be amazing!!!!!
owens@wsd3.org

Karyn Curtis said...

A critique from Joyce Sweeney would be fabulous! Thanks for the opportunity! My email is kcurt1976@gmail.com

RThill said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing.

Angie Quantrell said...

Great interview! It's always nice to hear from agents, especially when they share their stories and how they work. Thank you! angelecolline at yahoo dot com :)

Sharing on Twitter.

Gennie Gorback said...

What a great interview! I love learning about Joyce, her agenting journey and her wishlist!
Writer.gorback@gmail.com

Debbie Moeller said...

Thank you Natalie and Joyce, great interview. I had looked into having Joyce edit my work right when she went into agenting. Her clients had wonderful things to say about her. A critique from Joyce would be outstanding!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Natalie and Joyce! I shared this post on Twitter to spread the word!

Unknown said...

This is Allison Strick -- allison.strick@outlook.com

Greg Pattridge said...

Joyce has a strong background in kid lit and would appeal to a wide variety of writers. Thanks for the in-depth interview.

Judy Sobanski said...

Wonderful interview Natalie and Joyce! It is so helpful and interesting to learn about an agent and what that agent is looking for.

I shared a link to this interview on Twitter.

jksobanski@gmail.com

Swoodswrites said...

Thanks for a helpful and hopeful interview! I shared on Twitter.
Leeth dot Sarah at gmail.com

Yvette Pais said...

I shared a link to this interview in my blog! 😊

Eileen Mayo said...

Great interview! It’s so helpful to get an agent perspective. Sharing on Twitter! Emayo@kidfunideas.com

Rebecca McMurdie said...

Thanks for sharing these tips. Shared on Twitter! Becca.mcmurdie@gmail.com

suetwiggsbooks said...

Your perspective is very helpful, JOyce. I'm crossing my fingers for your critique.
Sue

ABrushWithHumor said...

Great Interview. I love an agent who likes to work with authors on revision until a story is so sticky you can't put it down!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Entering Elyse Trevors in the contest for a query critique. ElyseT20@aol.com

Nick Wilford said...

Great interview as usual. Joyce certainly sounds very dedicated to helping writers.

Rozana said...

Love Joyce, she's a gem of a person and a dream agent! rozana.rajkumari[@]gmail[.]com

Unknown said...

I only hear wonderful things about Joyce. Thanks for this detailed interview!

Eleanor Ann Peterson-author said...

Thanks for sharing your wish list, Joyce. I particularly like that you are an editorial agent. I'll share this on Twitter, my Blog and Facebook. eleanorann(dot)peterson(at)gmail(dot)com

Melanie Adkins said...

Yes please
Joyce rocks 💫

Sarah K. Rose said...

Thanks for sharing. I’m learning a lot! Also shared on Twitter.

Colleen Murphy said...

Always excited to hear about new opportunities for submission. And Joyce, I love that you are an editorial agent!

Christine said...

Joyce sounds like a wonderful agent! Thanks for the great interview.

Jany said...

Joyce--Greats for all the great writing and querying advice!!!

Jacqui Murray said...

Nice to meet you, Joyce. Your story of becoming an agent is stunning. Fated, don't you think?

Kristen Donohue said...

Great interview!

Ann Harrell said...

Terrific interview and many thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

Adam said...

It's so nice to hear that a short clean pitch rings louder than hyperbole.

Danielle H. said...

Thank you for the interview. My dream agent would be an editorial agent with a background in teaching writing like Joyce's. I love that Joyce always wants to have several revision rounds with authors before she submits. I shared on tumblr: https://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/651184178064506880/agent-spotlight-joyce-sweeney-interview-and-query

Dina Towbin said...

Thanks for sharing.

mhberg said...

What a great introduction to Joyce! Thank you! mhberg61@gmail.com

Sarah said...

Thank you for this interview!
sgallison01@gmail.com

Michelle Ramirez said...

Interesting interview. Thanks for sharing :)

yvonne said...

I am impressed by your optimism. Also, was surprised that publishing with a small house is a handicap. I didn't now that.

Bo Lu said...

Lovely interview!

Amy Leskowski said...

I really appreciated this interview! Thanks for this! I also posted on twitter.

danirae said...

If love a critique from Joyce! Danielle.sharkan@gmail.com

Beth said...

Thanks for everything you do, Natalie! Great interview.

Unknown said...

It's wonderful to learn more about Joyce! Thank you. I've submitted to her twice. Maybe the third time's the charm?

Unknown said...

^Oops! I thought my email would show up. If I win the critique (fingers crossed), I can be reached at landoflibros at google dot com. Thanks!

Laya said...

Thank you Joyce and Natalie! Another great interview. lasword (at) rcn (dot) com.

Debbie Moeller said...

tweeted also

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

halforange said...

Great info!! I'd love a critique. I tweeted as well!

Dream4u said...

Great interview. I would love a critique from Joyce! SheilaAlfordwrites@gmail.com.

Dream4u said...

Oh, I'm retweeting, too.

donnafigurski.com said...

This was a great and informative interview. It would be an honor to work with Joyce.

Thank you, Natalie and Joyce.

donnaodonnellfigurski@gmail.com

Lauren H. Dowdle said...

Love the advice and interview!! Lhdowdle@gmail.com

Linda B said...

Great interview. Thanks for all of the valuable information.