Today, we have literary agent Ginger Clark of Curtis Brown, LTD. on the blog. Thank you, Ms. Clark, for being here with us!
AN: How did you become an agent?
GC: I worked as an assistant at a literary agency and after a year and a half, I started taking on my own clients. I’ve been agenting since 2001. I worked briefly at a publisher before that, and I am better suited to being an agent.
AN: Many of my readers are aspiring authors and are actively looking for their first agent. Can you tell them a little bit about what the author/agent relationship is like? What can they expect after they sign with an agent?
GC: It’s a combination of having a lawyer, an accountant, and a manager. I’m always worrying about your contracts, your royalty statements, and your career track. Some people have said it’s similar to a marriage, but I would disagree with that assessment. Every agent is different, but an author should expect prompt responses, answers to all their questions (big and small) and aggressive advocacy of their manuscript and during deal and contract negotiations. Also, the agent is the employee—not the author. The author hires the agent. Authors should not forget that.
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?
GC: I have said this for years, but—a female-driven space opera or military SF would be wonderful. Also, I’d love to see more middle grade. As for what I’m seeing too much of: there are certain trends in YA that are played out, like paranormal and dystopia. I still see a high percentage of queries in those subgenres.
AN: What is one thing about you that a writer would be surprised to learn?
GC: I do yoga. Trust me, if you knew me you would find this surprising. Oh, and I don’t drink carbonation—the bubbles make my nose itch. (People find this really weird).
AN: Best piece(s) of advice you can give a writer we haven’t talked about yet?
GC: Before you send that query, print it out and proofread. Make sure your name is spelled properly. Make sure my name is spelled properly! Do a test email by sending it to a second email address of yours, or to a friend. Make sure there are no weird formatting changes that happen because of your email program or server, and through no fault of your own.
AN: Are you open to submissions? If so, how should a writer go about submitting? GC: Yes. Send me a query letter (no more than a page) to firstname.lastname@example.org. I respond if I am interested in seeing more.
You can find Ms. Clark on Twitter here.