Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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

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: Sarah N. Fisk Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Sarah Fisk here. They are an assistant literary agent at The Tobias Literary Agency.

Status: Open to submissions

Hi Sarah! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Sarah:

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

I started with Tobias in October 2021 and before that I was an intern at another agency, but I’ve been in publishing since 2011, working as a publicist, editorial assistant, and more. My experience as a Pitch Wars mentor and board member was a big factor for me. I loved the process of working with an author to make their book the best it could be and also guiding them when it came to industry stuff. I’m business minded and love getting into the insider-baseball of the publishing industry, so if I can make a career out of helping authors achieve their goals – that sounds lovely.

I started thinking about becoming an agent several years ago and took a lot of time to research it, conduct dozens of information interviews, and get myself in a good position to make the switch. I take the commitment to authors very seriously and wanted to do everything I could to set myself up for success.

About the Agency:

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

Tobias is a smaller agency that is extremely collaborative. We’re chatting with each other every day, getting feedback and helping each other out. It’s a great environment and I feel very lucky to have landed with such a supportive group of folks. We also aggressively pursue tv and film adaptations, which I love.

What They’re 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 and YA of all fiction genres, but not graphic novels. I also represent adult SFF and Romance, and I know there are a lot of authors writing both so I thought I’d mention it.

I’m especially looking to represent disabled, neurodiverse, and queer authors. Voice is key, but I also need a strong plot and characters I can root for.

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

I especially love atmospheric fantasies, speculative mysteries, books that challenge societal norms - especially gender norms, great or complicated sibling relationships, small town or midwestern settings, con artists who are not men, and books that are compulsively readable. I love contemporary too, but it needs to have a strong hook and/or a leaps-off-the-page voice. If you go to my site linked at the end here, I have more details as well as a Goodreads list of books very much to my taste.

What They Aren’t Looking For:

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

I’m not the agent for true, traditional adult horror. I like horror elements and even twisty, atmospheric thrillers, but I am a bit of a scaredy cat.

I simply do not care about who gets to rule an empire, so if that’s the main conflict, that’s not for me.

It’s hard for me to get into a portal fantasy or a book about a celebrity.

Please also do not send me books with disabled characters who serve solely as an able-bodied main character’s catalyst.

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 sweet spot is when a book is very fun and engaging, but also with a deeper message at its core that doesn’t feel preachy or too obvious. I love books that you can just become *obsessed* with and really immerse yourself into. I love working with authors who are collaborative and open to making their book the best it can be on all levels.

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 like to say I’m minimally to moderately editorial. My editorial style stems from starting in this industry as a publicist – I like to work with authors who have a great style and tweak their books to make them more sellable and marketable. Pacing and character development are definitely my strong points when it comes to editing.

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 exclusively for submissions. I ask for a query, a synopsis (which should be the full story from beginning to end and different from what is in the query letter!), and the first three chapters. Querying info, the qm link, and FAQ can be found at sarahnfisk.com

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

I try to be pretty open-minded but obviously any kind of -ism (racism, sexism, etc) is a dislike for me. It’s a red flag for me if someone puts down the genre they’re writing in or makes a sneering remark about another book in their genre. Extraneous information can also bog down the query – just tell me what happens in your book and a little bit about yourself!

Response Time:

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

It varies! I’ve between 2 days and 6 weeks on query responses, depending on what else is going on. I’ve been slower on responding to full requests, unfortunately. I’m currently closed to queries until 10/6/22 so that I can catch up on manuscript reading!

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?

Yes, of course. The main thing is to query something new that hasn’t been published before. Trying to get a publisher to buy a book that has been previously self-published is nearly impossible unless it has massive buzz or is just the best thing that has ever been written.

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 think it’s important for agents to realize that self-publishing is an option, even for their clients. If there’s a book that just isn’t right for the market, but is good and done, self-publishing could be part of the strategic plan for that author’s career.


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

While I’m still working on getting my first solo sale, some of my clients include fantasy author Erin Luken, multi-genre author Jennifer L. Collins, fantasy and romance author Rebecca Rozakis, and co-writing team Nathan Pieplow and Kate Tailor. I’m also co-agenting with Natascha Morris for Jenn Nguyen’s next delightful YA romance.

Interviews and Guest Posts:

14. Please share the links to any interviews, guest posts, and podcasts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.

I occasionally do Agent Office Hours on YouTube, so you can see past chats here: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9wcnJr8KgpMlSuy-9KRAyCX_RVXv-j3E. I also host and produce the podcast Queries, Qualms, & Quirks where trad published authors share their successful query letter and talk about their journey to publication.

Links and Contact Info:

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

You can find everything you’ll need at www.sarahnfisk.com! That is the place to find the most recent info and it’s updated regularly.

Additional Advice:

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

I see a lot of authors lately who seem to be in a rush so my main piece of advice is to remember that everything in this industry takes time. Learning the craft of writing takes time, writing and revising takes time, learning about the industry takes time, hearing back on submissions takes time. Take the time that you need to give yourself your best shot because you and your books are worth it.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Sarah.

Thanks for having me!

Sarah 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 September 24th. 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.

Profile Details:
Last updated: 1/29/2023 (As to submission status only)
Agent Contacted for Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 9/12/2022.

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.






Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

She certainly knows what she's looking for.

Karen said...

I particularly agree with the bit where Sarah says:
"Please also do not send me books with disabled characters who serve solely as an able-bodied main character’s catalyst."
We need disabled characters – in my case, neurodivergent – who are protagonist heroes in their own right.

Computer Tutor said...

What an interesting background and career path. Darn! That I am not in any of your interest areas!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I see extraneous information sometimes in the queries we receive, but usually it's the other way around - not enough information.

Sandra Cox said...

What a fascinating interview. And isn't it the truth about time?
'Lo, Natalie.

Kate Larkindale said...

Great interview! Nice to see an agent who is really specific about what they want.

nashvillecats2 said...

Great interview , well a great post from beginning to end.


sburdorf said...

Sarah is an amazing, forthright person and they are always available for questions, comments, and information. I love listening when they have an article available to view or other things to share. They are awesome! Winning a critique would be the highlight of my week, month, year!!!

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Liz A. said...

Interesting interview.

Unknown said...

Sarah sounds like a great agent! Fingers crossed I get a chance to hear their feedback on my query...

Anneliese Schultz said...

I love Sarah's honesty about what they 'don't care about' and their reminder about 'taking time' :)
It would be wonderful to have a query critique from them.

Cathy Sheafor said...

Great interview! Please thank them for offering a query critique.

Kim said...

Thank you Sarah for your very specific responses! You've given me a lot to chew on!

Amie Lambert-Gaudet said...

Terrific interview.

Rosi said...

Thanks for another interesting interview. I will pass on the giveaway.

Shanah Salter said...

I loved learning more about Sarah. Please consider me for a query critique. I have shared on twitter. Thanks

M said...

I'd like to enter. Thanks for this insightful Q&A

Sarah said...

I always appreciate these interviews!

I'd like to enter the critique giveaway. sgallison01@gmail.com

polly said...

email subscriber

Mewla said...

Thank you for a great interview! I'd like to be in the critique giveaway please.