Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Tatiana Ryckman

“Often, we can learn more about ourselves through reading about the experiences of someone else. We can learn empathy through gaining an understanding of the world as we have not experienced it. It lets us know we’re connected, that we’re in this whole ‘life’ thing together.”

-Tatiana Ryckman

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 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30–July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Tatiana Ryckman

Tatiana Ryckman is the Editor-in-Chief of Awst Press, an Assistant Editor with sunnyoutside, and former Managing Editor at The Austin Review. She has worked with award-winning authors including James Tate, Sheila Heti, and Micheline Aharonian Marcom. Tatiana is a hands-on editor who works closely with authors to create the best possible version of their manuscript. Tatiana has been a writer in residence at Yaddo and her novella, I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do), is forthcoming from Future Tense Press.

Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Tatiana Ryckman: The act of writing can be magical. People come to understand themselves and their world in new and important ways by articulating how they see things. It’s a gift to share that new understanding with a reader. Unfortunately, first (and sometimes third and tenth) drafts don’t communicate to a reader the full wonder of our initial ideas. So I see my role as being a kind of translator. I work with authors to make their work the thing they want it to be. But how I work with an author depends on the author and the manuscript. I’ve talked on the phone for hours about theory or plot or audience with some authors, and I’ve made light line edits for others. Consistently, though, my feedback includes a combination of line edits and an end note where I bring up more general issues or thoughts on the work that should send the author down the path of making meaningful revisions.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

TR: Write for yourself; revise for others.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an editor.

TR: The last book we published, Vida Cross’s collection of poems, Bronzeville at Night, represented a new frontier for us. Our first two books had been essay collections and we were on the lookout for a third book when I happened to hear Vida read from her manuscript at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago. I was blown away — the poems were so engaging, relevant timely, and skillful. After the reading, I approached her and casually asked if the book was out and if I could get a copy. When she told me she was still looking for a home for it, I immediately texted Wendy Walker, the publisher at Awst, and by the end of the night I sent an email to Vida requesting to see the full manuscript. I had this urgent feeling that the chance might pass us by if a single moment went to waste.

I wouldn’t describe the book as something that was outside our wheelhouse, in part because I think we’d publish just about any genre if the book was excellent, but it was a delightful experience to be confronted with something I didn’t previously know I had to have.

Scribe: Are there any recent publications you’d like to highlight as representative of the kinds of works you’re interested in taking on, or can you give an example of the ideal book you’d like to publish?

TR: I have a short list of books that I often mention to our staff as examples of my ideal future Awst book. I want to learn when I read; I want my perspective to shift or widen. I’d like for our next book to take me on a well-executed journey through unfamiliar information. Annie Dillard’s For the Time Being is a perfect example of this, as is just about anything by Maggie Nelson. They are masters of making the unfamiliar feel very real and close and human. I am also interested in finding a novel, which I don’t expect to be Don DeLillo’s White Noise, but I’d like it to make me feel the same way. Ivan Klima’s Love and Garbage is also an excellent example of the sort of work I’d love to see come through our gates. Sometimes I encounter a line and feel so exposed, so understood, that it seems the author has more successfully expressed my thoughts than I could. There is a depth to this experience that goes way down. I want that. I would ordinarily add Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s The Mirror in the Well to that list, but since she is our next author, I’m looking for another kind of new.

Scribe: Awst Press endeavors to promote diversity and support emerging authors. Why do you think it’s important to bring a greater range of voices into the industry?

TR: There are a host of excellent reasons, but I’ll stick to the two that are most at the front of my mind as I consider work for the press. One is purely selfish. I want to read something I’ve never read before, I want to think things I’ve never thought before, and I want to see words fitted together as I never imagined they could be. And that newness is just easier to come by if I don’t limit myself to one profile of what a writers looks like, or where a writer comes from.

Slightly more altruistic is that I want to have an understanding of humanity that is both broad and deep. Often, we can learn more about ourselves through reading about the experiences of someone else. We learn empathy through gaining an understanding of the world as we have not experienced it. It lets us know we’re connected, that we’re in this whole “life” thing together. It can be a hard thing to remember.

Thanks, Tatiana!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Will Evans

“Write with a sense of urgency palpable enough to hook a reader from the first page, and never let them go.”

-Will Evans

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 24th Annual A&E Conference in June, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here. 

An Interview with Will Evans

Will Evans is president and co-founder of Cinestate, an entertainment studio established in 2016 with the film producer Dallas Sonnier, combining book publishing, film production, and audio experiences. In 2013, Evans founded Deep Vellum Publishing, a nonprofit literary publisher dedicated to translating the world’s best novels into English. Evans also co-founded Deep Vellum Books in early 2016, a brick-and-mortar bookstore and cultural community center in Dallas’s historic Deep Ellum neighborhood. Prior to his career in publishing, Evans worked for five years in the music industry on tour and in Los Angeles before becoming a talent buyer for Austin’s iconic music venue, Emo’s. Evans graduated from Emory University with degrees in History and Russian Literature and received a Master’s degree in Russian Culture from Duke University. His translation of Oleg Kashin’s political satire novel Fardwor, Russia! A Fantastical Tale of Life Under Putin was published by Restless Books in 2016.


Will EvansScribe:
How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Will Evans: Trust in the author as Artist, and maintain open dialogue on all aspects of the publishing process—editing, design, marketing, etc.—as steps on the path to achieving the fullest potential for each story, to implant each story into the brains of its intended and deserved audience.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

WE: Originality of vision and unique execution.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

WE: Not critical, though it is an added benefit for those authors with the types of personalities and styles that thrive on continuous engagement with their audience and their peers.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

WE: Write with a sense of urgency palpable enough to hook a reader from the first page, and never let them go.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

WE: The ability to work with S. Craig Zahler is a highlight in my career as an editor. He’s a true renaissance man who’s already had several amazing novels published by indie and major presses. He also wrote, directed, and composed the score for the film Bone Tomahawk, and he has several more films in the works that he’s written and directed that we’re working on at Cinestate, too. His artistic vision is so unique, so precise, so exacting—he is one of the few writers who wields the command to write such cinematic literature and such literary film scripts, in addition to being a damn good filmmaker and accomplished musician. Our company works with Zahler closely across all mediums: he’s written books for us, directed films for us, written scripts for us, produced audio dramas for us—this type of close relationship is what we’re looking for out of the authors we work with. If we believe in you and your vision, there are no limits to the possibilities of ways we will work to share your story with the world.

Scribe: Are there any recent publications you’d like to highlight as representative of the kinds of works you’re interested in taking on?

WE: I’m especially proud of our inaugural publishing list launching this fall, including S. Craig Zahler’s marvelous coming-of-age tale, Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child, Michael J. Seidlinger’s provocative thriller, My Pet Serial Killer, and Robert Ashcroft’s incredible debut, a gripping, philosophical sci-fi/horror novel, The Megarothke. These novels are all representative of what we’re looking for in a book we publish: genre-based literature of the highest quality written with a cinematic approach to storytelling.

Thanks, Will!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Brandi Bowles

“The joy of making a difference in someone’s life — perhaps someone who’s dreamt about a book their whole life, and put an incredible amount of legwork into making it happen — that’s very real and there isn’t anything like it.” 

-Brandi Bowles

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 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30–July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Brandi Bowles

Brandi Bowles’ lifelong passion for the written word, a great sense of humor, and the art of engaging storytelling have led her to cultivate a standout client list and an uncommon approach to book representation. At Foundry Literary + Media, Brandi is often the invisible hand helping her clients develop marketable book ideas that take their careers into new directions and heights. On the nonfiction side, she has represented memoirs, cookbooks, and prescriptive books of all kinds, as well as science, humor, pop culture, and real-life inspirational stories. For fiction, she represents high-concept novels that feature strong female bonds, and psychological or scientific themes. All of her books have in common surprising plots or fresh takes on otherwise familiar subjects.

Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Brandi Bowles: When I find a potential candidate I want to represent, we usually start with a long phone call laying out the timeline, and the editorial and submission strategy for the book. But the first step is always editing and rewriting the material to make sure it’s just right. I don’t think I’ve ever sent out a project unedited. So I work closely with the author to make sure we’re presenting the very best material possible, and in a format (usually a book proposal) that will garner maximum attention and maximum sale dollars for the book. Once we have a final draft, I take over and begin the submission process. I don’t share passes — they’re demoralizing for the author, and only helpful if the first round leads to sale. But as we get closer and closer I will share good news and positive publisher interest, until, ideally, we have moved to auction. Then, once we’ve sold the book, I am a resource for the author to ask questions, push the publisher, and of course for selling all the subrights related to the book.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

BB: Professionalism, patience, and candor. And trust — trust is key for any great working relationship. I am an open book to my authors but there is much about this job that requires some faith!

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

BB: Yes, I actually do. If an author isn’t engaged on social media I would question their ability to promote the book (particularly their ability and desire to engage in the cultural conversation, and to build or maintain a public facing brand).

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

BB: For nonfiction writers especially, you must focus on your platform as much as your work. If you’re not putting yourself out there online, in print, in public arenas, wherever, then a publisher has no proof of your ability to promote yourself or the book.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like the projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

BB: There have been many proud moments! My first New York Times bestseller, my first six figure book deal, anytime I have a big auction, and every time I sell a book for a first-time author. The joy of making a difference in someone’s life — perhaps someone who’s dreamt about a book their whole life, and put an incredible amount of legwork into making it happen — that’s very real and there isn’t anything like it.

Scribe: Are there any recent publications you’d like to highlight as representative of the kinds of works you’re interested in taking on?

BB: I have several books upcoming that aren’t yet published or on my website, but of which I’m immensely proud. These include Rabbit by Patricia Williams, a stand-up comic from the Atlanta projects who had two kids and was a successful crack dealer by the age of 16, who pulled herself and her family out of poverty and was saved by comedy… it’s a beautiful, powerful read. A joyful advice book called You’re Not Lost by this young millennials thought leader, Maxie McCoy, who has incredibly fresh advice for her generation. And a parenting book called Neuroparent from a neuroscientist and mother of four, who teaches her readers how to raise kids with more empathy, creativity, and self-control using brain science. None of these were “celebrity” or high profile authors, but they all had nascent platforms that I was able to work with and stellar book concepts that stood out within their categories.

Thanks, Brandi!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Andy Ross

“A lot of writers think that the purpose of an agent is to negotiate a contract and disappear. I don’t work that way. I begin by helping the writer define what the real idea is in their project, or in fiction, what the real story is. “

-Andy Ross

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 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30 – July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Andy Ross

Andy Ross opened his literary agency in 2008. Prior to becoming an agent, he was the owner of the legendary Cody’s Books in Berkeley. Andy represents books in a wide range of nonfiction genres, including: narrative nonfiction, science, journalism, history, popular culture, memoir, and current events. He also represents literary, commercial, upmarket women’s fiction, and YA fiction. Authors Andy represents include Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Anjanette Delgado Elisa Kleven, Tawni Waters, Randall Platt, Mary Jo McConahay, Gerald Nachman, Paul Krassner, Milton Viorst, and Beth Hensperger. You can read more about Andy on his website at www.anyrossagency.com and on his popular blog “Ask the Agent” at www.andyrossagency.wordpress.com.

andyagency2-1-of-1Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Andy Ross: A lot of writers think that the purpose of an agent is to negotiate a contract and disappear. I don’t work that way. I begin by helping the writer define what the real idea is in their project; or in fiction, what the real story is. I will often do a full line edit of a novel. I continue to work with the author as her ally and advisor throughout the publishing process.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

AR: In a world dominated by celebrity, debut fiction can be challenging to sell. Even if the writing is superb, publishing decisions usually get made based as much on marketing as on literary merit. But the decision is also highly subjective. If the acquisition editor doesn’t fall in love with the book, they won’t buy it. And it’s hard to know in advance which editors will respond emotionally to the book. The best I can do is find authors with talent telling stories that grab me by the heart.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

AR: It’s important for authors to put themselves out in the world. Books aren’t going to sell just by magic. A lot of writers think that just getting published by a prestigious imprint is going to make the book a success, that these publishers have secret alchemical powers that can promote a book. This isn’t true. For a debut novelist, most of the marketing and promotion will have to come from the author. All that being said, I think social media has been overhyped as a way of selling books. Yes, you should probably be on Facebook. A blog would be nice. But don’t expect miracles.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

AR: Don’t get discouraged by rejection.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

AR: When I was at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference, I met a writer on the faculty, Tawni Waters. She was teaching nonfiction travel writing. She approached me and asked if I would look at her novel that she had written for her MFA. When I saw it, I could tell she had talent, but I didn’t think I could sell the book. She asked me to look at another book, something that had been sitting under her bed for ten years. I graciously agreed. By the time I had finished reading the first paragraph, I was sold. Her YA novel, Beauty of the Broken, was published by Simon/Pulse and was the winner of the International Literacy Association YA Award. I feel pretty good about that.

Scribe: Your biography on your website talks about some of your experiences owning Cody’s Books in Berkeley for 30 years; how do you think your retailer and business-owner positions — as well as the specifics of owning Cody’s, iconic for its cultural and literary importance — have helped you in your career as a literary agent?

AR: When I left Cody’s, I wasn’t sure what I would be doing next. I had been a bookseller all my adult life and didn’t really know much about anything else. One night I woke up and decided rather impetuously that I would become an agent. No one really helped me get started. I was an autodidact. I was familiar with all the publisher imprints (something many experienced agents still don’t know), and I had spent my whole life talking to readers and book lovers. It turned out I knew a lot more than I thought I knew, and it has served me in good stead.

Thanks, Andy!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Allison Devereux

“Even if you never see a word of your writing in print, there is still value in your work if you truly love and take pleasure from writing.”

-Allison Devereux

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 24th Annual A&E Conference in June, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here. 

An Interview with Allison Devereux

Allison Devereux is a graduate of UT Austin and has been an agent at Wolf Literary since 2012. She represents up-market and literary fiction and is especially interested in global settings, every-man characters, moral ambiguity, magical realism, underrepresented voices, female protagonists, and stories set firmly in reality but that explore something fantastical or surreal. She’s actively looking for narrative nonfiction that uses a particular niche topic to explore larger truths about our culture; journalistic examinations of progressive politics, pop culture, unique subcultures, and modern feminism; and anything with a convincing narrative voice or a great sense of humor.

ad-wordpressScribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Allison Devereux: I tend to be very hands-on with my authors. These days agents need to be more editorially minded than ever, so it’s not uncommon to go through 2 or 3 (or 4 or 5…) rounds of revision together before I send a book out on a submission. I also try to be as accessible, responsive, and straightforward with my clients as possible.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

AD: A distinctive, believable voice; an original or unusual concept; open-mindedness to edits and the unpredictable publishing process more generally; ideas for future books!

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

AD: No. Social media can be an incredibly useful tool if you are genuinely active and engaged with it — connecting with readers, other writers, and folks in the industry – but it’s useless if you don’t stay active, or if you’re just sending out the occasional perfunctory tweet or Facebook post. If you enjoy social media, take advantage of these platforms to self-promote and engage with the broader writing & reading communities. Otherwise, I personally don’t think it’s worth the trouble to simply go through the motions. For nonfiction, however, selling books is often platform-driven, and that frequently means an author will have some sort of presence online. I still don’t consider it a strict requirement, but it can be a big help to bring your publisher a built-in audience.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

AD: Getting published rarely happens quickly or without roadblocks. It often requires years and years of practice to hone your writing skills, and countless rejections before something gets picked up. Your first book — or even second or third — may not be the one to make it across the line with an agent or editor. And even if you never see a word of your writing in print, there is still value in your work if you truly love and take pleasure from writing.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

AD: I recently signed up a graphic middle grade series that has been a bestseller in Spain. I represent children’s books only selectively — and I don’t normally sign up untranslated books in languages I don’t speak! — but this series was too clever and fun to pass up.

Scribe: Are there any recent or upcoming releases that you’d like to highlight, to give readers a better sense of what you’re currently looking for?

AD: I’m looking forward to a debut novel called Fingerprints of Previous Owners by Rebecca Entel, which is coming out from Unnamed Press in June. The novel is timely, it takes place in an unique setting, and the voice and plot are original. I’d love more submissions like this.

Thanks, Allison!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Mark Falkin

“I really enjoy forming a relationship with authors so that we can talk about books and writers openly and with passion.”

-Mark Falkin

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 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30 – July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Mark Falkin

Mark Falkin has represented authors for three years, but has practiced entertainment and intellectual property law for 17 years, representing hundreds of artists (a platinum seller and Grammy® winners among them), entrepreneurs, and businesses. He is licensed in Texas and is based in Austin. Mark is also an author. He’s completed three novels (and a chapbook of poems). One, literary, is long, self-published, and well-reviewed (Days of Grace). Another, an upmarket supernatural thriller, garnered an agent at a venerable NYC agency (Howard Morhaim). The most recent is a dystopian suspense tale called Contract City, published by longstanding Baltimore indie publisher Bancroft Press, and which is currently in screen development with a studio in Los Angeles.

mark-falkinScribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Mark Falkin: I’m a writer, so I tend to approach my clients as fellow writers first, “clients” second. I really enjoy forming a relationship with authors so that we can talk about books and writers openly and with passion. I try to be an open book and timely in responding to questions. While I do look for manuscripts to be in really good shape as they are, I do like getting my hands on the work itself, making suggestions, and editing.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

MF: As far as the work goes, a debut author’s work needs to stand up and sing just as a veteran’s. The marketplace doesn’t, and reader’s don’t much care, if the book is a debut as much as they care if it’s any good. I can’t say that I look for or expect anything more or less from a debut writer compared to an experienced one. That said, debut manuscripts that exhibit an uncanny sense of control and great pacing from the start will get me to sit up and pay extra attention. I suppose another way to say this is that I look for writerly confidence and a unique narrative voice.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

MF: I really don’t. It helps, particularly if you’re writing young adult and romance, but critical? No. What’s critical is whether I can put the book down or not.

I believe the internet and social media are great tools but a huge distraction. Writing is hard and takes energy. The time one spends on social media and blogging is time and energy you could and should be spending on your core work. I don’t care that a writer lacks social media presence, feeling that writers ought to, you know, write, and create meaningful, toothsome composition; rather than tweet, Facebook, blog, text, play around with technology. I realize I am very much in the minority.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

MF: Write like it’s work. Write on the days you really don’t feel like writing. Repeat.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

MF: I represent a lesbian romance novel. I specifically do not call for romance novels. The genre simply is not on my manuscript wish list. However, from the strong title and the opening passages, I felt like it was something I wanted to work with. It went on to sell really well in the genre. Another proud moment was selling a debut literary manuscript on its third round of submissions to one of the country’s great independent publishers, written by a person in circa midlife.

Scribe: Are there any recent or upcoming releases that you’d like to highlight, to give readers a better sense of what you’re currently looking for?

MF: Client Louisa Luna has a, what I believe to be certainly an upmarket, if not literary, thriller coming out with Doubleday in early 2018 entitled Two Girls Down. I tend to like dark, taut books with high stakes written in elevated prose. Louisa’s is a good example of that. I love funny stories, and boy are they rare. Those are hard to execute. If you can maintain a comedy for 75,000 words, I’d offer to represent it, no doubt. I’ve said this at other conferences and I’ll said it again here: I’d love to see a horror novel like we’ve not seen before, one that relies on tone and creep more than set pieces; something so simple in concept that we smack our foreheads for not seeing it before, yet so original and well-written that it actually changes the genre. A high bar, I know.

Thanks, Mark!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Sara Crowe

“Publishing is waiting. Always be writing!”

-Sara Crowe

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 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30–July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Sara Crowe

Sara Crowe is a senior agent at Pippin Properties. She began her career at The Wylie Agency and worked in foreign rights for 8 years. For the last decade she has been at Harvey Kilinger, Inc. building a list of children’s and adult fiction including many New York Times-bestselling and award-winning authors and titles. She loves finding new talent to champion, and nurturing and developing careers.

sara-croweScribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Sara Crowe: I have a different relationship with each of my clients, but I strive for open communication with all and for mutual trust and respect.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

SC: When I take on a new client, it is always because I fell in love with the writing and the story. I am looking for stories that feel new to me and different than what I already have on my list—writing that I cannot put down and that stays with me.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

SC: I do not. I think some participation is good, more so for YA than MG, but I also think that if it is not a strength, then less is more–promote others, and be a part of the community.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

SC: Publishing is waiting. Always be writing! And that goes for when you are sold and waiting on edits or publication.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

SC: Every sale is exciting, and I love being able to give an author good news. It’s especially exciting to deliver that news to a debut author. All authors like good news; agents, too. But, most authors do not have an easy road to success–there are many bumps! I am most proud of the times that my clients were able to overcome an obstacle–a book that did not work, an editor leaving, etc., and kept writing so that we could restart their career.

Scribe: Are there any recent or upcoming releases that you’d like to highlight, to give readers a better sense of what you’re currently looking for?

SC: I will focus on a few titles out now and coming very soon:

Nina LaCour’s latest, We are Okay, which has received five starred reviews, is her strongest book to date and unforgettable – it is her favorite that she has written. It is about heartbreak and love and is devastating and beautiful.

Kim Savage’s second YA thriller Beautiful Broken Girls is a gorgeous story about two sisters and the secrets they kept for each other, told from the point of view of a boy who loved one of them.

The second book in Dan Wells’ Mirador series, Ones and Zeroes, is described by Dan as “a cyberpunk sports movie heist novel about awesome ladybros playing video games.” I totally agree.

And, Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello Universe, her third middle grade and which has four starred reviews so far, is about friendship, bravery, being an outsider, and inner strength.

Thanks, Sara!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.