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.

Literary Agent Interview: Caroline Trussell Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Caroline Trussell here. She’s a junior literary agent at Metamorphosis Literary Agency.

Hi Caroline! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Caroline:

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


My journey to becoming an agent was a bit of a long one but I’m so glad I’m here. I realized I wanted to be in publishing around 2019 and worked very hard to procure an internship either with a publishing house or an agency. In early 2020, I cold emailed a ton of agencies and I wound up having the opportunity to be an assistant for the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency and I learned a lot about reader’s reports and evaluating manuscripts based on agent’s wants.

In 2021, I attended the Columbia Publishing Course, which taught me so much about publishing and the different areas you can work within and I really knew from that experience that I wanted to be an agent.

In 2022, I served as a reader for the Bent Agency, which I loved doing. Reading and evaluating manuscripts will always be one of my favorite parts of being an agent.  Finally, towards the middle of 2022, I became an intern at my current agency, Metamorphosis Literary Agency, and I was mentored by the amazing Amy Brewer until I became an agent in late December 2022.

As a newer agent, I’ve been really focused on working with my current authors to find the right editors for them and making sure their stories are the best they can be. I’ve also been prioritizing using platforms to talk about publishing topics to help authors learn more and to be transparent and open about what agenting and publishing involves.   

About the Agency:

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

Metamorphosis Literary is a very close-knit agency. It’s one of the reasons I was so happy to become an agent here. We have a very collaborative approach and are willing to help each other with industry information and answer any questions between agents.

Just like most agencies, we offer representation for authors, including dealing with subsidiary rights (audio, film, TV, etc.) but what I like to think we offer that’s unique is a tailored experience to each author, ensuring that they are comfortable, at ease, and feel empowered.

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?

Right now, I represent mostly children’s books and YA is my ultimate favorite age group to work with. Fantasy in any genre is what I enjoy working with most, but what I find most important in stories is representation- whether it’s chronic illness rep, stories written by BIPOC or LGBTQ authors, or especially mental health representation. Mental health is a topic near and dear to my heart and I want to see stories with protagonists that deal with mental health from day to day and still get what they want.

However, what I’m currently looking for is different than what I represent right now, as I’m seeking to acquire other genres and age groups. I would really love to see a quirky romcom, a gripping thriller, a heart racing horror, or a fantasy that has setting as a character- all of these I am looking for in the adult space. 

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

Personally, it would be amazing if someone had a psychological thriller akin to THE SILENT PATIENT or SHUTTER ISLAND. I love thrillers that play on ‘is this real or all in my head’ and ‘is this person going down the rabbit hole or is everything actually crazy and they’re right?’

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I’m not currently representing any kind of nonfiction. Although, someday I would love to take on memoirs and narrative nonfiction, I don’t have the capacity as of yet. I tend to shy away from historical fiction and cop procedural type of mysteries.

In any genre, if there are triggers such as suicide, self-harm, alcoholism, or abuse, I can’t take those stories on.

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 is that I hope to have a lifelong or as long as possible partnership with my authors. I genuinely want them to become the best writers they can be and to publish as many books as they want to. I am very accessible and open with my authors and I share a lot of submission information and processes with them because, as an author myself, I would want the same transparency.

When signing authors, I look for if our communication styles match because this is something that can make or break a relationship and being an author and agent is a type of relationship- it’s a partnership for years. I also try to weed out if the person is kind, if they’re passionate, if they’re willing to take constructive criticism and if they have other story ideas besides the manuscript I would sign them for.

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?

ABSOLUTELY. My favorite part of being an agent is diving into manuscripts and providing editorial feedback. I love honing my authors’ stories to help them shine and to make their already amazing stories the best they can possibly be.

Before submitting to editors, I’ll work with my authors by taking another look at their manuscript and seeing if there are any scenes or areas that need to be developed more, any line edits that need to be done, or any character arcs that need to be reevaluated, among other things. Depending on where the story is, sometimes I will only need to look at the manuscript once before going on submission and other times it may be a few back-and-forth rounds of edits.

But my ultimate goal is to make sure that the author’s vision is kept intact and that their story is in its best shape before we send it out on submission.

As a side note, I love editing so much that I also have an editorial service, Tru Story Editing, and will be reopening this month to query packages and first three chapter evaluations.

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 can query me through my QueryManager link: https://QueryManager.com/carolinejtrussell

Within the query letter, I don’t have particular preferences but I do like to see a strong hook, what the stakes are for the main character/what will happen if those stakes aren’t met, and comparative titles as well as the genre, age group, title of the book, and word count of the manuscript. 

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

If the author spends most of the query letter stating their accomplishments, it gives me a sense that they are selling themselves and not their writing. Don’t get me wrong, it is very important to include an author bio so that I can get a sense of your experience with writing and any previous publications but the query letter, to me, is to sell your book first and foremost.

Response Time:

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

I try to respond to authors as quickly as I can. I don’t enjoy keeping people waiting and, if I have the capacity, sometimes authors will even get a response within a few days or a week.

I generally know what I am looking for in a query letter and opening pages and can quickly tell if the material is something I believe I could take on and be passionate about. As far as full manuscript requests, I normally have the same time frame as sending rejections- anywhere between a few days and a week.

When I request a full, I try to take my time in reading and evaluating the story. If I’ve requested a full, I see a lot of potential in it, but I have to ask myself if I feel that the material is sellable, if it’s strongly written and developed, and if the plot is engaging. Of course, I’m not expecting stories to be perfect and ready to go out on submission, though.

I’d say between 1-3 months is my normal response time for fulls. If I do not offer representation, I do my best to provide several points of critique and how the author could revise their story to make it stronger. 

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. I think this shows that these authors have put a lot of effort into their writing and have what it takes to publish other stories. My advice is the same as to everyone, which is to have a strong query package, to do research on the agents they hope to submit to, make sure their story aligns with the agent’s wish list, and to never stop writing and believing in themselves.

Querying can oftentimes be a long and draining process and I advise all authors to remember to take care of themselves, to do what’s best for them, and to continue to have hope.

Clients:

12. Who are some of the authors you represent?

My current authors are Demri Redmon, Veronika Kiley, and Jessica Guest- who are all currently on submission.

Demri has written a gripping YA gothic horror that includes a haunted house and is centered around Edgar Allan Poe’s fictitious daughter as she fights to save her house and humanity.

Veronika has written an immersive YA fantasy with themes of one’s perceived destiny being ripped away from them only to be replaced by a more powerful one. It includes a unique take on Greek mythology and the zodiac and has lots of female empowerment, strong friendships, and amazing worldbuilding.

Jessica has written a very poignant middle grade story about a girl who is bullied for her weight but finds power and solace through poetry and who is gifted with a magical quill that allows her wishes to come true. However, she makes a huge mistake and has to right all of her wrongs before time runs out.

If any editors see this and are interested in reading the full manuscript of any of my authors’ work, please message me on X: @carolinejtrulit

Interviews and Guest Posts:

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

I haven’t been featured in any podcasts or interviews yet besides this one, which I’m very grateful for, but I was on Demi Schwartz’s podcast, Literary Blend, this month to talk about Mental Health Awareness Month and how mental health plays into my strategy as an agent.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/7KfFWtB6KfI3O0ElmtAl4R?si=Jzhm10PrSIOOc1GvH2n_BQ

I also have a page on Manuscript Wishlist that authors may find helpful in learning more about me and my preferences: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/caroline-trussell/

Links and Contact Info:

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

Writers should use my QueryManager link to query me. That's the only way I accept submissions currently.

If authors would like to see what I’m up to, they can take a look at my social media and the Metamorphosis website. I also provide editorial services for authors who would like beta reading or query critiques.

Twitter/X- https://x.com/carolinejtrulit?s=21

TikTok- www.tiktok.com/@carolinejtrulit

Metamorphosis website- https://www.metamorphosisliteraryagency.com/submissions

Editorial Services- https://www.litagentcarolinetrussell.com/services-4

Additional Advice:

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

My advice would be to continue to hone your craft. Utilize beta readers, become friends with other writers, cheer each other on throughout this whole process of trying to get published. Secondly, prioritize your mental health and do what is best for you when it comes to how long you query, how many agents you query, and so forth.

At the end of the day, remember why you write and the stories you have inside you that need to be told.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Caroline.

Giveaway Details

­Caroline 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 1st. If your email 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 follow me on Twitter or 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 email 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.

Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Saturday, June 1st I’m participating in the Berry Good Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, June 5th I have an interview with author June Hur and a giveaway of her YA historical A Crane Among Wolves and my IWSG post

Monday, June 10th I have an agent spotlight interview with Jenna Satterthwaite and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, June 16th I’m participating in the Dad-o-mite Giveaway Hop

Monday, June 17th I have an interview with debut author Leah Stecher and a giveaway of her MG magical realism The Things We Miss

Monday, June 24th I have an agent spotlight interview with Bethany Weaver and a query critique giveaway

I hope to see you on Sunday, June 1st!

 

20 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Nice interview! I can imagine that a query letter that seems more like a resume would be a red flag.

DeenaML said...

Thank you for the detailed interview! If I wasn't a librarian side-hustling as a writer, I would want to work in publishing. :-D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's cool she shares submission information with her authors. Nothing worse than not knowing what is happening.

Kate Larkindale said...

Great interview! What a shame she wouldn't be interested in my book...

Jacqui said...

Really interesting interview. I'd forgotten what a long process the trad publishing is (I'm Indie).

Carol Baldwin said...

You find such interesting people to interview. NO need to include my name.

Mewla Young said...

Natalie, Thank you for interviewing Caroline Trussell! I'm always happy to hear about agents who seek works that tackle mental illness, considering the horrible rates of depression and other emotional challenges facing teens these days. Please include me. : )

Liz A. said...

Sounds like a fast turnaround for responses to queries.

Angie Quantrell said...

Great interview! Thanks for sharing with us, Caroline! I shared this on Twitter so hopefully more will learn about Caroline and her work.

angelecolline at yahoo dot com

Yalda Ash said...

Great interview! The light shined on mental health is phenomenal and a large part of my story. I would love Caroline's feedback on my query.

Sandra Cox said...

Great information. I like that authors that have self-published and or have been published small press are accepted.
'Lo Natalie.

Angie B. said...

What a great interview. Thank you for being open to submissions.

L Cabral said...

Nataline and Caroline, thank you so much for this insightful interview! I really appreciate your willingness to share your path to becoming an agent. What stood out to me the most was your dedication to depicting mental health in literature, which strongly connects with me as a reader, writer, and person.

Also your enthusiasm for finding the right editors and crafting stories is truly inspiring. I’m excited to witness the impactful stories you bring to life on your journey.

lunacabralofficial@gmail.com

Rosi said...

Another informative interview. Thanks! I will pass on the giveaway.

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Jyates said...

Thank you for the interview! I would be interested in the query review

Suzy said...

Great interview, thanks! Just followed/subscribed as well, very helpful content all around!

Sherry Ellis said...

I think your suggestion about having marketing tips for authors through IWSG is a good one. It was on my list, too.

It's not difficult to come in once a month to post. IWSG is really the thing that is keeping a lot of us blogging and connected.

Carol Baldwin said...

NO need to put my name into the hat. But once again, Natalie, when it came through on Follow IT nothing was clickable. SO I just went to your site. Maybe I'm doing something wrong...?

PAIGE said...

I follow on bloglovin and want the GC...Badly! elysesw@aol.com