“At the end of the day, it is always the author’s book, it is their baby.”
Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 26th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 28–June 30, 2019, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.
An Interview with Kelli Martin
Kelli Martin has worked in book publishing for twenty years. She started at Simon & Schuster and rose up the editorial ladder at HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Amazon Publishing. At Amazon Publishing, Kelli was the launch editor and public face of Montlake Romance, and Executive Editor at Lake Union (the general fiction imprint). Now as a literary agent, Kelli is passionate about signing authors in contemporary romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, domestic suspense and psychological thrillers. For Kelli, guiding writers, perfecting manuscripts and building a list of beloved books that satisfy publishing houses and readers are the loves of her life.
Scribe: What is your approach to the author/agent relationship?
Kelli Martin: My approach with authors is very collaborative; I love to establish a strong, warm connection with them that lasts for years and years. My ethos is that though I happily provide book publishing education, guidance and expertise, at the end of the day, it always the author’s book, it is their baby. As a literary agent, I see my role as helping bring the author’s vision for his/her book(s) to life.
Scribe: Are there specific elements that draw you to a project?
KM: I love when books wrench my heart, then put it back together again. Make me laugh, make me Ugly Cry, then make me pump my fist (Rocky-style!) in triumph!
Scribe: Tell us about a recent project you’re excited about!
KM: Since I’m building my list, that’s an impossible choice! 🙂 I’m working on a life-changing memoir, two sophisticated, feel-good contemporary romances, 2 eerie domestic suspense fiction and a gorgeous life-affirming women’s fiction debut. I’m in love with them all, polyamory reading!
Scribe: And also, who is your favorite author writing women’s fiction now?
KM: I recently finished Gayle Forman’s Leave Me. She’s known for writing YA, but her women’s fiction Leave Me is on my keeper shelf. It had some of the most emotionally bare and intimately honest moments I’ve read in a long time. I was so impressed with how Forman’s protagonist embraced all kinds of second chance love later in life. I felt genuinely sad when the novel was over!
Click here to read our 2019 A&E Conference agent bios.
Click here for more information on the 2019 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 28-June 30) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.