Today, we have literary agent Sara Megibow of KT Literary Agency on the blog. Thank you so much, Ms. Megibow, for being here with us!
AN: You’ve joined a new literary agency. Can you tell us a little bit about the objectives, goals, and/or aspirations you have at KT Literary?
SM: Thank you for inviting me here today – such a treat to share time with writers! *waves*
Yes, of course – I’d be happy to share some of my thoughts and goals and I’ll start it off with a big YES – I am currently open to submissions and actively acquiring! (more on that later) J
I have enjoyed working in publishing for almost 9 years – I love bookstores and authors, readers and editors, publishers and librarians. I love hunting for new talent and forming long-term relationships with authors and I especially love watching those authors earn loyal fans.
I had the best possible training at Nelson Literary Agency and will forever be grateful for the opportunity and experience gained with that team.
So, what’s next? I have two main goals for 2015 now that I’m at KT Literary Agency. The first (and most important) is to continue to grow the careers of my current clients. I represent New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors including Roni Loren, Jason Hough and Juliana Stone and it’s vitally important to me that these authors continue to succeed both artistically and commercially. 80-90% of my time each week is spent managing strategy for my current clients – that was true in 2014 and will continue to be true in 2015.
The second goal is to offer representation to new clients. In order to find new clients, I read query letters, sample pages and full manuscripts and then make “the call.” I’ve read over 2,000 queries since January 1 and I’ve already signed four new clients, so this part seems to be going very well so far!
My agenting motto is “Art. Patience. Discipline.”
That’s a short and easy way to sum up my goals and objectives.
AN: What genres will your new agency rep? What are you specifically looking for right now?
SM: I represent:
middle grade like THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY by Jaleigh Johnson
young adult like BREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE by Miranda Kenneally
New Adult like ALL OF YOU by Christina Lee
romance like NOTHING BETWEEN US by Roni Loren
erotica like THE SIREN by Tiffany Reisz
science fiction like THE DARWIN ELEVATOR by Jason Hough
fantasy like RADIANT by Karina Sumner-Smith
I am looking for debut authors with a complete and not-previously-published manuscript. As long as the book is done and in a genre of work I represent, I read everything – it can be historical, paranormal, contemporary, steampunk – whatever. I read and love it all.
AN: Ms. Megibow, I see that you are looking for debut authors. Can you define “debut” for us?
SM: As for debut, I think what I’m trying to say is if someone is in the slush pile, a debut author with no bibliography at all – don’t be scared! You are exactly who I am looking for and yes, please send a query! Anyone is welcome to query – self published, previously, published, never published. But, my specialty/ my niche is in the debut author. So many times, an author might feel worried because it’s their first book and they have no track record. Well, worry no more – that’s perfect for me!
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?
SM: Great question! In general, an author/agent relationship should feel like a warm business partnership.
What can an author expect after they sign with an agent? The most fundamental thing is that the agent should have a clear plan on how to make money on that author’s book(s). Not all books sell and not all book deals result in tons of money, but that goal is where the relationship starts. Above and beyond submissions, all agents are different and all authors are different so it’s hard to generalize. The author can likely expect some combination of these things: editorial guidance, answers to questions on publishing process and expectations, submissions strategy, advice on next books, publicity and cheerleading, contracts negotiation and subrights sales.
Personally, I try to answer my clients’ questions quickly (2-5 days for an email even if that’s to say “I’m swamped and will get back to you on this soon”). I also try to be proactive in communicating strategy and quick on my reading. But, I’m less of an editorial agent than some. Each relationship will be different but both author and agent should be able to say, “I’m glad you are part of my team.”
AN: What is one thing about you that a writer would be surprised to learn?
SM: My husband is a full-time beat-boxer in the vocal rock band Face (this actually won’t be too surprising to those of you who follow me on twitter as I share their videos sometimes). My philosophy on agenting comes from being married to a guy in a band. Music and books are similar– the hopes and disappointments, the unpredictability and heartbreak, the ups and downs, the passion and frustration. I try to communicate with my clients and keep them posted on the business side of their career so they can focus on writing great books. I know my work doesn’t negate all the nerves (nothing ever will), but I can honestly say that I understand the emotional arc of publishing from the writers’ perspective because I live it at home daily.
AN: Best piece(s) of advice you can give a writer we haven’t talked about yet?
SM: Master your craft
Do your research
That’s two pieces of advice, sorry. J
Remember: “Art. Patience. Discipline.”
AN: Are you open to submissions? If so, how should a writer go about submitting?
SM: Yes, I am open to submissions!
The submissions guidelines for KT Literary Agency are posted here:
A writer can submit a query to me if their book is 100% complete, not previously published and in a genre of work I represent.
To submit a query send a one page query letter and the first three pages of the manuscript to firstname.lastname@example.org A query letter should sound like the back cover of a novel and writers interested in reading successful queries can research at these sites:
Kate Testerman’s extensive “About My Query” blog posts:
Writers Digest Successful Queries:
Happy writing everyone and Happy 2015 to all!