Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Ginger Clark Agent Spotlight Interview & Query Critique Giveaway on 10/25/21
  • Danielle Chiotti Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 11/15/21
  • Agent Cortney Radocaj/Author Claire Winn Guest Post + Query Critique & Book Giveaway on 12/1/2021
  • Jemma Cooper Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/13/2021
  • Stacey Kondla Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/15/2021

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: Michelle Hauck Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Michelle Hauck here. She is an associate literary agent at Storm Literary Agency.

Hi­ Michelle! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Michelle:

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

I think it’s safe to blame my transition to agenting partly on the pandemic. It gave me the final push that I needed to get out of my comfort zone and go for a dream. I’ve been intrigued by the idea of being an agent for a long time. I did an internship at an agency several years ago and even applied for an open position. It didn’t work out, and I didn’t pursue it at the time. But then during the pandemic I saw Storm was looking for new interns, I knew Heather Cashman from Pitch Wars, and she agreed to take me on. I interned with her for the better part of a year—quitting my job in the process—and here I am: Ready to help writers achieve their dreams. I started taking queries at the end of January 2021.  

About the Agency:

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

Storm is a boutique agency that specializes in children’s literature, especially picture books, and has just recently branched out into the adult market. We are a small agency that is in the process of growing and expanding, with several new agents added recently. All the agents are close and we freely share information and queries, like a big family. So, though I’m pretty new to the business, I have a huge support system actively mentoring me.

Storm has a social media group for its clients and also offers private seminars by the agents on different writer topics. We want clients to have all the resources available to them to further their journey, because we are here to support their entire 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 am actively looking for clients in the areas of MG and YA, all genres, along with the select adult genres of SFF, cozy mysteries, and historical fiction. I’m building my list, so I do request about 10% of my queries at the moment.

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

So many things! I’d love to find a rich epic adult fantasy set outside of the United States and Europe. Epic/historical fantasy is my true book sweet spot. Also, I’m actually a big baseball fan and would love to see stories with that sport. Any story that features fun adventures or quirky characters. Characters who are vegans. I’d love something set in a chateau or old mansion being remodeled. I’m drawn to themes that explore the concepts of duty or honor. Most importantly I want to represent diverse voices. It’s always been easy to find books that feature characters like me. I want to make sure everyone can see themselves in a great book.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I’m not looking for adult romance or really any story on the hotter end of the romance spectrum. I am drawn to romance but prefer it to be more of a subplot and on the sweeter side. I’m also not the best fit for YA contemporaries with heavy or dark social issues, or adult thrillers that don’t contain any SFF elements. I’m not looking for nonfiction or picture books.

I’ve learned from experience that you don’t want to rule any type of story out because everything depends on how it is presented. You just never know until you read it. I never expected to fall in love with some of the stories I chose for Pitch Wars until I saw them.

That said, everyone has their preferences and I’m not a huge fan of circus settings.   

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?

I was a Pitchwars mentor for six years and like to take that approach to agenting. I hope to share my writing experience with clients and to learn from them as well. I’ve been published with the Big 5, and I know the ups and downs.

I’m really a hands-on type of agent, who wants to be there for a client’s whole career. I’ve also been on the wrong end of agents who struggled with communication, so communication with my clients is a priority. I really want to avoid getting so overloaded that I can’t respond in a timely manner to clients. The writers are the stars and I hope to be the one who creates a path for them to shine.

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’m very editorial, but, on the other side, I wouldn’t say no to a manuscript that is submission ready from the start. Generally, clients will go through a couple rounds of edits. I might start them off with big picture revisions and then come in with line edits afterward. I like to do a read through on my Kindle to catch any small things after the line edits.

Also, I’m not the type to say my way or the highway on revisions. I tend to state the reason behind my suggestions, and keep an open mind if the client disagrees with a change.  

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 use Query Manager and ask for a synopsis, query letter, and first five pages. You can find my Query Manager link and guidelines here.

For the query letter, do tell me about the story. Try to focus on unique aspects of your story. What makes it stand out from other stories? Comps are helpful and a short bio.

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

Not specific dislikes, no. I do prefer the query letter shares basic parts of the plot like what the main character wants, what obstacle is keeping them from achieving that goal, the stakes of the story, the choice the MC must make. You’d be surprised how many query letters tell me almost nothing about the story. So, I guess my dislike is a query letter that talks about audience or marketing plans and doesn’t give me a clue to the story.

Response Time:

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

So far, my query responses have been relatively fast. That’s likely to change as I add clients. I have been running about two weeks behind, but I expect that will stretch toward a month. My plan is to respond to every query within a month. As for requests, my plan there has been under three months and I’ve hit that goal so far. Fingers crossed. 😊

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’m am totally open to authors who have self-published or gone the small press route. I published with a small press myself. To me, all avenues of publishing are legitimate paths. However, I wouldn’t query a story that was already self-published and would be wary of looking at material related to self-published stories—if the author used the same characters for example. It’s often best to query with something completely fresh and unrelated.

Nowadays most writers are going to be hybrids. Some stories are better suited to self-publishing and some to traditional publishing. Many writers are going to do both. Both require hard work.

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?

There are always changes in this industry. Audio books have really taken off since I started writing and got my publishing contract. Agents have always adjusted. What won’t change is agents having their clients’ backs. We’re here to get you best deal possible, to support your career, and to help when you have a problem.

I do think there will be more remote agents and editors. That’s great as it can allow fresh people to be part of traditional publishing without having to live in NYC.   

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I keep a list of clients on my website. You can see them all here. As of answering this question I have two clients.

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.

This is actually my first interview. 😊

Links and Contact Info:

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

As I said above, I use Query Manager as it really keeps me organized and also keeps things simple for writers. My guidelines and link to submit a query are here. I respond to every query and try to provide feedback to every request. You can also follow me on twitter @Michelle4Laughs.

Additional Advice:

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

I feel like advice can sometimes be a two-edged sword. Even the best-intentioned advice doesn’t fit every person. Write everyday doesn’t work for everyone. Join a critique group, might not be the best for certain people. Just query—what have you got to lose—can be very hard to hear for some people. I think I would say find what works for you. Don’t feel pressured to be like every other writer if that advice will overwhelm you. Do you. And don’t be afraid to let an agent know your needs. We’re good, but we aren’t mind readers. We want to support you. Let us know how to do that.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Michelle.

­Michelle 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 June 5th.  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.

 

 

 

 

40 comments:

  1. What a great interview, Natalie and Michelle. Kudos on following your dream.

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  2. Natalie this was a great interview a joy to read.

    Yvonne.

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  3. Love seeing your interest in big epic fantasies for YAs. Just in case: john.zeleznik (at) gmail

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  4. Thank you for sharing your advice! Love the boutique agencies. I'm elizabethchestney@gmail.com in case this isn't on my google profile. And thanks for this opportunity!

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  5. I’m so excited to deep dive into the world of book publishing!
    mindibu@yahoo.com

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  6. Great interview, ladies!
    Congrats (again) Michelle on your new job - I know you'll be amazing!

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  7. I do love these interviews, Natalie, and many thanks to Michelle, too!

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  8. Mentioned on Twitter. 🤞 thanks 😊

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  9. Congrats to Michelle on her new adventure! And a special thanks to Natalie for the interview!

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  10. I do love SFF. Very informative interview.

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  11. Thanks so much for this! I shared the interview and competition on Twitter as well! My e-mail's daljit.aulakh1@gmail.com in case it doesn't show up. Would love to be considered for a critique!

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  12. Interesting interview congrats Michelle

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  13. Thank you for the advice. I have a manuscript ready for submission. I'd love to submit it to you!

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  14. Great advice and interview! Lhdowdle@gmail.com

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  15. Great advice and interview! Lhdowdle@gmail.com

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  16. Great advice and interview! Lhdowdle@gmail.com

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  17. I love all the resources your agency offers its authors! Great advice in this interview, as well!

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  18. 2020 changed everything. Great interview!

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  19. Great interview! Thabks for the opportunity.

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  20. Enjoyed the interview and am keeping an eye on this agency!

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  21. Literary Rambles is a great blog! Love Michelle's closing comment about advice: "... find what works for you ..." I'm awkward so findng my place, even in a creative world with me being a published writer for decades, is a challenge; this advice sings to my heart.

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  22. Great interview! I’d love to win a critique!

    Just in case, dearlisadunn (at) gmail (dot) com.

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  23. I love Michelle! She's been there to give me a boost as a writer when I needed it. Congrats on the new gig, Michelle! I can't wait to query you with my next project when it's ready. Great interview!

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  24. This is one of the best agent interviews I've read. Thanks for this one. Fingers crossed here.

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  25. I love your interests, maybe we'll connect at a conference sometime...when we're doing conferences again. LOL Being involved with Pitchwars must have been so exciting. So cool that it's led to this. Thanks for the interview

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  26. What a great interview! Thank you!

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  27. Thank you so much for this awesome interview! Would love to enter the contest: amyolsen0810@gmail.com

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  28. The part about most writers turning hybrid was surprising to me. Great information. Thank you for the chance to win a critique also. I have shared this interview on Twitter as well.

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  29. I enjoyed this interview, as always! True...it sometimes means leaving our comfort zone to pursue a dream!

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  30. Great interview! Would love to be considered for a critique. Have shared on Twitter.

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  31. I loved how self-disclosing you were about your client list...and that when I went to your website to look, the list had grown. Interesting interview and lots of helpful information. Thanks!!
    Cathie Sandstrom:cathiesandstrom3@gmail.com

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  32. Always cool to see new agents!

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  33. Always great to have a new agent that likes SFF. :)

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  34. Fingers crossed for a query critique

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  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  36. This was really great and definitely helpful! I'll be sure to look more into Michelle as an agent after reading this interview. :)

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    1. Forgot to include my email! It's becca.losey@gmail.com just in case.

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