Interview with literary agent Pam van Hylchama Vlieg of Foreword Literary, Inc.

Today we’re interviewing literary agent Pam van Hylchama Vlieg of Foreword Literary, Inc. Thanks so much for being here, Pam.


Me: How did you become an agent?

Pam: I spent a few years interning at different Bay Area agencies. Then I met Laurie McLean who was at Larsen Pomada and they gave me my first Associate Agent position! Now I have my own agency formed with Laurie, and Gordon Warnock.


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


  1. If I can’t define the main conflict within the first pages.
  2. If the voice doesn’t draw me in.
  3. I love revising with clients. But if the book has too many things spelling/grammar check could fix I give up pretty fast. I don’t need perfect, but I do like to see polished.


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?

Pam: I’d really like some historical romance that is set in other time periods beside Regency. In YA I’d like to have a great thriller. I’m seeing tons of teen scifi , MG Fantasy, and contemporary romance.


Me: What is one thing about you that a writer would be surprised to learn?

Pam: Until four years ago I mostly only read classics and literary fiction.


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

Pam: Make sure you’re really ready to go out on sub! Patience is hard and I still hate waiting to hear about my client’s submissions J. But you may only have one shot with an agent who will love you forever. Use it wisely.


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

Pam: You can check out my submissions policy and that of my fellow agents at!


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