Today, we are lucky enough to have literary agent Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency on the blog. Thank you, Ms. Gwinn, for being here with us.
AN: How did you become an agent?
JG: I have been agenting full-time since July. I have been involved in the publishing industry for more than a decade, as a trade book marketing manager, editor and finally as fiction publisher. After the fiction line was shut down at my previous publisher, I began working freelance to help edit, consult and manage authors and their projects. My transition to agenting seemed to happen organically from the consulting business.
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?
JG: The relationship between author and agent is a business relationship first. It is the author’s responsibility to write a good story that the agent can then sell. There is teamwork involved. If the agent asks the author to tweak content or invest in a website, the author should take this into consideration. If the author tells the agent they can only write one book a year, the agent needs to listen. There needs to be open, honest and clear communication and expectations should be set early on.
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?
JG: I represent all romance (contemporary and historical and romantic suspense), speculative, fantasy, straight suspense, true crime, YA and NA and some non-fiction. I do not represent horror as this is not a genre I read and so I’m not familiar with what makes a great horror novel. I would love to see great romance with smart, witty banter (either contemporary or historical). I would like to see smart suspense that leaves me questioning ‘who dun it’ until the end. Cozy mysteries. Sports romance. Military. Unique ideas or plots with twists. I’ve seen a lot of dystopian, angels and demons, novels where the protagonist suffers from multiple issues (alcoholism, bulimia, abuse, homelessness).
AN: Best piece(s) of advice you can give a writer we haven’t talked about yet?
JG: Research. Research who you are querying. Research how they want submissions. Research who your audience is (hint: it won’t be everyone). Research comparable titles (who is your writing similar too? What novel is similar to yours and yet different). Research your grammar and editing.
AN: Are you open to submissions? If so, how should a writer go about submitting? JG: Yes I’m open to submissions. Julie@TheSeymourAgency.com
You can find Ms. Gwinn on Twitter here.
You can find her on Facebook here.