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Literary Agent Interview: Kortney Price Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Kortney Price here. She is a literary agent at Belcastro Agency.

Hi­ Kortney! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Kortney:

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

When I started out, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in the publishing industry. All I knew was that I had to be here. I applied to every internship I could and landed a spot at an agency. The minute I stepped virtual foot in the query box, I knew I was absolutely on the right track. Who doesn’t love a bookish treasure hunt? The more I learned about agenting and how I could help authors reach their dreams, the more I knew this was exactly what I wanted/needed to be doing.

I’ve been an agent for about three years and I’ve been meticulously building my small list of ridiculously talented authors throughout that time. My first ever sale as a full-fledged agent (Just Wild Enough by Marta Magellan) came out last year and is repping Latinx women in STEM and doing well! I’m excited to be building my list up even more this year and getting even more stories into the hands of young readers.

About the Agency:

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

I work with the spectacularly talented people at Belcastro Agency. Something you won’t find on our website is that we are a collaborative bunch and so are always sharing. Whether it be advice, feedback or forwarding submissions that might be a better fit for a teammate, there’s a constant communication within the group. I love the amount of wisdom and experience that allows us to bring to advocating for and advising our authors.

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 work with picture book, MG, YA and adult stories. Picture books that shatter me tend to be my favorites…Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting still makes me want to cry after all these years. In MG, my tastes tend to be all over the map. In YA, I tend toward either the light rom-com or the spooky, dark stories. I could go into SO much detail on this, but you can find a pretty comprehensive list on my MSWL: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/kortney-price/  

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

Anything that has a super solid character arc is always awesome to see. I’m really looking for mysteries, survival stories and contemporary in both MG and YA right now.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Inside of the categories/genres I list on my wish list, there are a couple of things that I’m just not super drawn to. Dreamscapes, angels/demons and traditional vampires aren’t things I find myself connecting with often. Books about terminal illnesses or cancer aren’t generally my cup of tea.

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 think my philosophy as an agent stems from my time working with children with disabilities. I grew up working at a summer camp for these incredible individuals, but some people in my life would openly say they weren’t comfortable with “those people.” As an agent, I aim to represent books that give readers a place to learn about the “other” and where they can grow in understanding and empathy.

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 love working on edits! However, I try to keep the number of passes to around three, with each edit round focusing in on smaller and smaller details. Typically it’s something like global edits first, then line edits and finally a small round that is more of a polish.

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?

You can query me through my query manager. I’m really looking for a query that draws me into a story. The best advice I have for this is to read blurbs on the back covers of books and craft your query in a similar fashion. I also love it when an author gives me all the quick stats in the first paragraph of the letter. A pretty good formula is “Title is a Category, Genre story complete at Wordcount.

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

I don’t really have anything that will cause me to automatically reject a query. If you submit to me and then realize there’s a formatting issue or that you misspelled my name, don’t fret for a second. One thing I do dislike is a query letter written from the POV of the main character in the story. It’s a cute idea! But I think I connect more when I feel like I can hear the voice of the author in their letter.

Response Time:

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

I’m a relatively slow reader when it comes to response times. I want to make sure that every query and manuscript gets equal consideration, so I do tend to take a bit longer to respond. The actual timeline will vary, but I respond to everything I receive and so if you haven’t heard, I promise I’ll respond as soon as I can.

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?

Absolutely! Someone who has been through the publishing process whether that be through self-publishing, a small press or a larger publisher, brings great experience and an understanding of the industry that I admire and look for.

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 that we see agent roles shifting constantly, but at its core the job is always staying the same. We’re advocates for authors, and I don’t see that ever changing.


13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

The magnificent: Tiffany Elmer, Shay Fan, Natasha Khan and Marta Magellan

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.


Links and Contact Info:

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

Query Manager: https://querymanager.com/query/kortneyprice

MSWL: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/kortney-price/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kortney_price

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kortney8821/

Website: www.belcastroagency.com

Additional Advice:

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

The thing I always want to leave authors with is that I’m rooting for them! This industry is so tough sometimes and it can be hard to have hope. We will all get a thousand no’s, but it only takes one yes to get that much closer to your dream coming true.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kortney.

­Kortney 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 January 28th. 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.










Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Nice interview! Editorial agents are the best. :)

Rachel Fremmer said...

Ms. Price sounds fantastic! Would love to win the query critique. rfremmer@gmail.com

Jacqui Murray said...

Great Q&A as usual. I love the link to your Wish List!

Melisa Wrex said...

Great interview! I posted about it on Twitter using my handle @mowrex. Would love to win a query critique. Thanks for all that you do. Melisawrex@gmail.com

Nancy Garcia said...

Nice interview!

Claire B. said...

How wonderful, Kourtney, to work at an agency that encourages communication and collaboration. Thank you for taking the time to tell us a little bit about you and Belcastro Agency.

Anonymous said...

Always open to feedback! Would love a critique rhiltoneddy@gmail.com

E. T. Charles said...

Hello Natalie and Kortney,
Thanks for the critique opportunity. I did tweet about this.

Unknown said...

I love the fresh, authentic approach. It is great to hear from agents rooting for authors like this.

Thanks for offering a critique!

Unknown said...

I love the fresh, authentic approach. It is great to hear from agents rooting for authors like this.

Thanks for offering a critique! My email is aliciajnovo@gmail.com

Anneliese Schultz said...

I like the way respect and encouragement run through everything Kortney says! It would be wonderful to have a query critique from her.

M said...

Thanks for chance to be critqued!

Liz A. said...

It's hard to do a query in the voice of the characters in the novel well. It would get old fast reading a bunch of those.

Unknown said...

This was a great interview! Thank you for this generous opportunity. Cheers!
Kathleen Lowry

Bri Lawyer said...

Another great interview. Absolutely love these! Thank you Natalie and Kortney!

Amy Tsao said...

Framing an agent's work as a bookish treasure hunt does make it sound pretty fun! :)

sburdorf said...

I love that Kortney says she is rooting for the author! Too often we feel defeated even before we begin by agents who put stumbling blocks in the way or too many requirements as if testing us on an obstacle course instead of submission for a story of our hearts. Thank you for a lovely peek into the mind of a compassionate agent. Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I've also been starting queries with the basic details - it's nice to hear that is appreciated.

Kim said...

Kortney I appreciate your positive vibes-- glad to know I've got a cheering section!

Mary Rudzinski said...

Kortney, your positivity and professionalism shine through- thanks for the helpful insights!

Jennifer P. said...

Love your energy and encouragement of writers. As the mom of a child (now young adult) with a development disability, I totally get your camp experience. Thanks for being a champion!

Laddy Lau said...

I love your passion to shine a light on people with disabilities. I worked for a man with a disability and he had a profound impact on my life and I always think of him and hope I did the same in return. Thanks for the interview.


Rose Kent said...

Yes, cheers for an agent who roots for writers! I'm interested in entering the critique raffle. Thank you.

Sarah Meade said...

Thank you for the opportunity for a query critique!

mcampbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcampbell said...

Thanks for the wonderful agent interview and query critique giveaway opportunity! michellehcampbell@gmail.com

Tiffany said...

Thank you for sharing your insight and preferences in such an encouraging way.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm leaving a comment for Pam Webb pdwebbsite@yahoo.com. She's interested in entering the query critique contest.

Karen Rafeedie said...

Thanks Kortney and Natalie. I enjoyed learning more about Belcastro Agency. And thanks for the support :)

Judith L. Roth said...

Timely interview for me, Natalie, as I'm waiting to hear from her. It's good to know that she responds to everyone! That is certainly not always the case with other agents....

Echo Roben said...

Thanks so much Kortney! I love that you love your job and the "bookish treasure hunt" - sheer awesomeness! I tweeted and here's my email as a just in case: echoroben@gmail.com. Thanks all!

Thelia said...

Great read. Very interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing.

Eileen said...

Thank you for the great interview. I've added you to my query list. Would love to enter the contest for the query critique!

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction said...

Even though I'm already agented, I always think it's so interesting to read these interviews and get more insights into the profession. Thanks so much for sharing!!

Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

S. Lee said...

Kortney sounds great! Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Another wonderful author interview!

la-ta said...

Such an interesting interview! I would love to be considered for the query critique.

Lauri Meyers said...

Great interview! This is timely as I was researching Kortney this week.

KC Brown said...

I'm interested in the Query Critique.


KC Brown

LRH said...

Great interview! I'd love to work with an editorial agent like you! Wonderful giveaway! (Pick me!! :) lrheffner@gmail.com

VirgP said...

Great Interview. Truly appreciate that you take the time to read and respond. Would love the opportunity to have a query critique from you.

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Natalie G.B. said...

Kortney sounds like a wonderful and thoughtful agent. I would love to enter the critique raffle! nataliegb43@gmail.com

Unknown said...

Hi! Thank you for this resource. Love your blog and would certainly welcome a query critique! Thanks for the chance.

remarz said...

Informative interview as always! Thanks for the query critique opportunity. :)