Interview with literary agent Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary

Today, we have an interview with Dawn Frederick, literary agent and pitch judge for WriteOnCon’s Pitch-Fest! WriteOnCon will be open to submissions March 10th. To find out more, please visit their website. To find out what Dawn will be looking for, read our interview!

Welcome, Dawn! And thanks for being here!


Me: How did you become an agent?

Dawn: I had moved to Minneapolis after earning a M.S. in Information Sciences. While very much appreciating and enjoying my position with a local publisher, I still yearned to participate in the publishing process differently.  Upon researching the role of literary agents, a friend informed me he knew Laurie Harper of Sebastian Literary Agency.  He introduced us, and here I’m today.  I call it fate, best decision ever made.

Me: What will you be looking for when reading pitches for WriteOnCon’s Pitch-Fest?

Dawn: I’m always in search of new, fresh ideas.  Any book idea needs to be something I will connect with, due to my representative categories or appreciation of particular topics and/or themes.


Me: What are you looking for right now in non-fiction submissions and not getting? And on the flip side, what are you getting too much of?

Dawn: What I’m especially wishing to see:  fresh ideas for MG & YA fiction and nonfiction, pop culture.

What I’m getting too much of:  werewolf & mermaid queries, memoirs (I do not represent them), nonfiction books without an author platform to match.


Me: What are three things that elicit automatic rejections from you when reading the first 50 pages of a manuscript?


1.            The book doesn’t fall within my representative categories

2.            Bad grammar and overuse of pronouns (too many I, me, you, my, your, etc.)

3.            If the pacing is off, there’s a good chance I’ll lose interest immediately .


Me: What is the best piece(s) of advice you can give a writer we haven’t talked about yet?

Dawn: Nothing happens overnight.  To commit to the path of getting published, I highly recommend that one fully participates in all the steps – as it’s to his/her benefit.  Take the necessary time to fine-tune the story, build a strong network of writers to partner with along the way, and be prepared for the process to move at a slow pace (finding ways to deal with the antsy energy that will inevitably occur).   Submit your best work, and if that means it takes longer, that’s okay.  Any agent is going to prefer to see a writer’s best work.


Me: Are you open to submissions? If so, how should a writer go about submitting?

Dawn: Yes, and once the idea is ready, it’s fine to begin the submission process.  No need for an exclusive submission with Red Sofa Literary (as is the same with many literary agencies) is the best way to send queries.

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