An Interview with Agent Meg Thompson
Meg Thompson will be one of the many great featured agents at our 2014 Agents and Editors Conference. Meg is an agent at Einstein Thompson Agency. To find out more about Meg and what she represents, visit our Featured Agents page and read her Q&A below.
I’m very hands-on. One of my favorite parts of agenting is that I get to edit before I submit, and I very much enjoy the back and forth that goes on with an author as we perfect their manuscript. My friends actually tease me because when I’m working with a client closely, I’ll start to pick up their cadences and their vocabulary…I can’t help it! I’ll email with friends and they’ll be like “Oh Lord, are you working with a mom blogger right now?”…or “Um, come again? Are you working with an academic right now?” I sort of become a ventriloquist, which is helpful, because I can anticipate what my authors are trying to say when they can’t quite get it on the page. I absolutely love that process.
If a potential client could do one thing to make the experience of working together even better, what would it be?
Trust that your agent has your back. We’re your advocate, and we’re always going to try to do what’s best for you. I’ve had clients who went with advances that were lower than those offered by other houses because they just really loved the editor, or the house. I have the utmost respect for those decisions, but I know some agents who don’t, as it equals less money for them. I want my authors to know that I always have their best interests in mind, and I will respect their decisions while providing the best business advice that I can. Trust is a huge component of the agent/author relationship.
What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to receiving submissions, reading work, etc.?
When a query starts off with “Dear Agent.” If you can’t take the time to find out my name, why would I want to take the time to read your work?
You often hear that it’s the first ten pages – or even the first page – that sells a story. Is there something particular that you look for in those first few pages?
Grammar and copy-editing are very important. If there are glaring mistakes in the first few pages, that lets me know that the author did not take the time to proofread before submitting, which isn’t a good sign. I get sucked into a manuscript if the writing is beautiful and the subject matter is interesting to me–it’s pretty much as simple as that!
If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
Try not to be too neurotic–HA.
Tell us about a project you took on, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on, because there was something special or unique about it that you couldn’t say no to. Or, tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an editor or agent.
I specialize in nonfiction, and I chased this great essayist, Lenore Zion, to do a book. She ended up writing me a novel! It was so strange, so quirky, so dark, and so brilliant, I couldn’t say no. The big publishers passed because it was too niche for them, but I got her a deal with an indie publisher called Emergency Press, and they did a terrific job. The book is called Stupid Children, and man, is it bizarre. I just fell in love with it though.