Today, we have literary agent Rachel Brooks of the L. Perkins Agency on the blog. Thank you so much, Rachel, for taking the time to be here with us!
AN: 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?
RB: Young adult fiction has been near and dear to my heart for a long time. I’m getting lots of YA queries, and please keep bringing them on!
I would love to see some spicier romance in my inbox. I get quite a lot of sweet contemporary romance queries, which is great, but I’d like to see other kinds of romance too.
AN: A common reason for an agent to reject a manuscript is because they didn’t connect with the author’s characters. What makes a reader care about an author’s characters? How can a writer make their characters stronger?
RB: If a character doesn’t have any flaws, they don’t feel relatable. Who is perfect? I know I’m not! Also, for me personally if a character whines throughout the whole story, or just sits back and lets things happen to them and their life, rather than being proactive and taking action to change it, then the character can seem a bit lackluster.
AN: As an agent, you see a lot of manuscripts from beginning writers. If there was one area you could tell a writer to focus on, to work toward improvement in, what would it be?
RB: Focus on learning to take breaks between drafts and allowing others to give feedback on your work before you query. I see revised versions of manuscripts that aren’t as strong as they could be if the writer had taken more time between rounds. You need to have it looked at by someone else, whether it’s a critique partner, beta reader of the genre, fellow writer pal—anyone with a different set of eyes. You cannot be a one man or one woman show. Even with self-publishing, you need a team.
AN: Best piece(s) of advice you can give a writer we haven’t talked about yet?
RB: As hard as it is, try not to compare your success against another’s. Each writer’s path to publication is different in avenue, timing, and so much more. Everyone has different goals too, so just keep moving forward. Know that while it may be full of twists and turns, there is no one-size-fits-all road to success.
AN: Are you open to submissions? If so, how should a writer go about submitting?
RB: Yes, I am. You can learn about the genres I’m seeking (as well as the other agents at the L. Perkins Agency) and our query submission guidelines by visiting our website: lperkinsagency.com
You can follow Ms. Brooks on Twitter here.