Today we are interviewing Rachel Hecht of Foundry Literary and Media. Thank you so much for agreeing to be here, Rachel!
Me: How did you become an agent?
Rachel: I started out in publishing as a foreign rights assistant at a smaller literary agency, and from there found my way into the world of international scouting. After four years as the children’s scout at Mary Anne Thompson Associates where I sought out new talent for foreign publishers, scouting out authors to represent myself was a natural transition.
Me: What are three things that elicit automatic rejections from you when reading the first 50 pages of a manuscript?
Rachel: Glaring grammatical or spelling errors, or writing that reveals a less than masterful grasp of the English language, clichés or otherwise tired descriptions (please, no turquoise eyes), or a general lack of driving events that make me want to keep reading. I strive to approach each submission ready to fall in love, but if nothing happens in those first chapters to draw me in and make me want more, then I need to move on.
Me: What are you looking for right now in fiction submissions and not getting? Are there any subjects or genres that are near and dear to your heart? And on the flip side, what are you getting too much of?
Rachel: I would love to see more YA thrillers as well as contemporary YA coming of age stories. I am a sucker for good historical fiction, star-crossed romances with banter that crackles off the page, and will always love a good ghost story or anything with witches. I have grown weary of paranormal and dystopian themes, but if the writing and voice are amazing then all rules go out the window.
Me: What is one thing about you that a writer would be surprised to learn?
Rachel: My secret hobby is boxing.
Me: Best piece(s) of advice you can give a writer we haven’t talked about yet?
Rachel: I think each agent on here has said it already, but it really does bear repeating: do your research and follow an agent’s specific directions when querying. It’s tough out there! A thick skin is important, but so is a good attitude – a little bit of politeness really does go a long way.
Me: Are you open to submissions? If so, how should a writer go about submitting?