Thoughts and opinions of Jessica Faust, one very opinionated literary agent and sometimes the entire BookEnds team. Our goal is to teach, enlighten, and generally have fun.
We're kicking back today and putting you in our shoes.
If you were an agent, what kinds of books would you want to represent? What author would be your “dream client”?
Productive, a non-whiner, and someone who made you lots of money.
Am I allowed to say "me"? Lol.J/k. (Mostly.) I think my dream client would be someone who is reliable, imaginative, and receptive to feedback. Also someone who is willing to take some initiative in promoting their book, even if they're shy. And perhaps most importantly, someone I like on a personal level, because I think people always work better together if they could be friends outside of their professional relationship (even if they aren't actually).
It would be hard to turn away any well-written piece of fiction, but I, of course, would trend toward higher concept horror and paranormal thrillers. My dream client would be Brian Keene. He's prolific, a great builder of suspense, knows his readership well, and is willing to give back to the literary community.
Oh, I'd make a lousy agent. I'm a terrible communicator and couldn't sell a chocolate bar to my own mother. Don't really care about money either.However, if I was an agent, right now I'd be searching for authors who wrote...Historical Romances NOT SET DURING THE REGENCY PERIOD! What Tribble do I need to strangle to find a good Historical Romance set in the early 20th century? A World War II one would be awesome.Science Fiction Romance with no kick-butt heroines, former sex slaves, harem dwellers, or Caucasion-looking, brown-haired, totally hot alien males who conveniently crash-land in the Heroine's back yard, walk out naked, and find her absolutely irresistable.Character-driven Steampunk. I'm so fascinated by Steampunk, but so far the novels I've tried to read failed to grab me because of the cookie-cutter characters.Fantasy without recycled plots. Is it too much to ask for Fantasy with awesome characters, vivid world-building, and an original plot for each book in the series?Romance novels which rely more on romantic tension than on graphic descriptions of multiple sex acts. Love those love scenes, but, c'mon, doing the same thing every time is boooooring.You know, I think maybe it's just entirely possibly I've read too many books in the past three years.The blogosphere boogieman is watching. My word verification is 'catiness.'
Someone who is both prolific and a perrenial best-seller. That way I'd make a darn good living (an annuity if you will) and I could afford to take on other writers that speak to me but who may not ever be a blockbuster writer but whom I want to champion because they are just so darn good.
Hmmm...I've noticed that, for me, whether I enjoy a book is based on two things. 1) The quality of their writing. (Yeah, this one's obvious. I also know it's a little subjective, because different people get more or less hung up on different things. But as I learn more about how to write well, it's getting alarmingly effortless to recognize poor writing in other books...which is making me harder to please than I want to be!) Anyway, the second is, 2) the author's worldview. This might seem weird, but the author's worldview really does show up in a book...how they see good vs. evil... what they see as natural, inescapable consequences and what is forgivable...what love and romance actually are, etc. Those things go a long way in determining whether or not I'll actually like a storyline or not. ie: it's not what's in the book, but how what's in the book is handled.That said...I usually love historical romance that's not about rakes and diamonds and rogues that are too sexy for their own good, but about "normal" people in those times. And fantasy romance where the world is beautiful and magical, rather than dark and gloomy (though there does have to be evil for good to overcome). I don't care much for chic-lit (don't like chic-flicks either)...just not enough escape from reality. So give me an adventure in a far-away land with a healthy dose of romance woven through it. And make the romance one that has sexual chemistry but is not at all based on it. Instead, let the romance revolve around who the people are and what they're willing to give for the other and how well their character strengths match what the other needs.And write it well.Then respect my thoughts but be honest in sharing your own, so we can work together with honesty, transparency, and laughter amidst the toil.And that, I suppose, is the writer I'm aspiring to be. :-)
Gosh, Kimber An... I SO agree with so much of what you said!!! I wouldn't mind another Regency romance... if it's about the butler's son and the maid's daughter. :-)I laughed so hard about your sci-fi un-list. I haven't read much sci-fi...'cause I don't care for that. And I'm fascinated by Steampunk, too, though I haven't had time to try much.My biggest thing is that I don't care for hot-and-heavy "romance" (the word "sexy" on the back of a book is a huge turn-off)...but I can't usually bring myself to read something that doesn't have a healthy dose of romance in it! I love lots of romantic tension and sweetness that just makes your heart ache!I wonder if you'd think my fantasy WIP is recycled?
At the risk of sounding egotistical, my dream client would be me. I get along with myself pretty darn well, thought I do have the occasional argument with myself. I do try, and sometimes succeed, in not having those aloud. If that weren't an option, then I'd say Stephen King. Not because I'm a huge fan, but because of how very prolific he is. I think most agents find themselves taking the job not only because they love the written word, but in an attempt to have a lucrative career. He would certainly fit the bill for accomplishing that goal.Rebeccahttp://rebeccatlittle.blogspot.com/
Kimber An that was pretty funny.I'd want a client who wrote truly wonderful books, and wrote them so well, their books sold like hotcakes.
I would be looking for someone who writes along the lines of Sarah Addison Allen. I love stories about humans with some sort of paranormal quirk that are trying to adjust to life among the 'normal' people.My dream client? A decent writer with a great voice and a great story, that is open to feedback. I love to edit.
Am I the only one who doesn't like romance novels here? I am a writer of non-fiction and I would prefer to represent non-fiction on timely topics. It's said that there is nothing new under the sun, but I would like to handle books that present information in a fresh and interesting way that really engages the reader -- like the book proposal I am working on :-) My dream client would be a hard worker, would be able to take constructive criticism, and would be patient -- patience is always a virtue, especially in this field!
My dream client would be someone who could write a Regency without being over the top. By that I mean, no heaving bosoms and sex. I'm so sick and tired of reading historicals and every other chapter they're jumping into bed. I want an historical with real people who find themselves in normal circumstances for the time period. Tension, give me tension. If they have sex at the end that's fine, but not all the way through. It's just boring. I know how to have sex, I don't want to read about it. Rakes and dandies are passe. How about a lord who falls in love with the miller's daughter? How about a Duke's daughter who falls for the stableboy? A romance that's about romance, love, the ups and downs, and craziness that comes with it.Well-written of course, not adverse to crits or rewrites, but of course, my dream client would have minimal revisions.
I'd be on the lookout for an author who could present characters that I felt deeply about, and who could write with vibrancy a section of their main characters lives that totally engaged me. The characters would be so beautifully drawn that I had to stay up all night reading. Then I'd be so excited about their book I'd call them on the West Coast at six am EST. : ) Just because I couldn't wait to beg them to sign with me. I'd realize if their characters thoughts and actions resonated with me, then that author would have some of those traits in his/her own personality, and I'd know in my heart that we'd get along just fine.
My dream client would have written a book that riveted me, that I was unable to put down, that I knew would join the select group of books I own that I re-read every so often.Because I know, if that was my reaction to the book, enough other people would agree with me to make it a commercial proposition.
I think I want Kimber An to be my agent.
I'd be looking for an author who could write character-driven, humorous cozy mysteries and historical mysteries with depth and integrity... no wallpaper or history-lite!What a coinkidink that that's what I want to write!
I would want to represent any book that I found enthralling, that broke the canonical, and that had an important story to tell. My taste in books is mostly in fiction, preferably sci-fi/fantasy, mysteries, or thrillers. There are a few non-fiction books, like (the title escapes me) the one about the history of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, that are important to me.
Marsha, I can't be your agent, but I can be your book reviewer one day. Just click on my username and pop on over to Enduring Romance.P.S. I was hot on the trail of TWO Historical Romance series set during World War II. TWO! And neither author had a means for contact, not a working email, one had no website. And these were NOT bestselling authors. They needed to sell books. Well, they're not going to get my (free) help with that. I just don't have time to hunt authors down. (This is the source of my snark this morning, in case you're wondering.)
Well, for all you saying that your dream client would be you...my dream client would definitely not be me! My dream client would be someone who wrote commercially viable fiction (stuff I could sell easily) and wrote it fast. S/he would be someone who could take criticism well (OK, that's true of me) and who could instantly imagine ways to incorporate it into a piece of work (not so much me).My dream client would not need to have a day job, so s/he could spend all their time working on manuscripts for me to sell!
yeah, well, call me old school but i harken back to the days when writers and agents could go off on wild adventures together - ala Alan Rinzler and Tom Robbins or Hunter Thompson - and produce amazing works as well as have a dang fine time that coincided with a little consciousness shifting and paradigm busting and zetgeist creating. actually maybe you guys still do this, but just don't blog about it. are you having adventures Kim and Jessica? do you have phreaky fabulous writers taking you on their wild rides? :)
This was an easy one to answer. Barbara Kingsolver would be my dream client. I enjoy her writing, she sells a lot of books, and her stuff is gooooooood.
Presumably. the book would be in a genre that I found personally interesting, it was marketable, and was authored by a person who knew the meaning of a business relationship -- like any other professional undertaking.
I would look for a client who wrote books with strong male characters. I see so many agents asking for strong female characters, and while of course that's great too, I feel like great male characters are few and far between in newer books. There's the gung-ho male characters in action/adventure books, and then there's the bad boy in the YA books. Where's the decent guy put in bad situations that he has to deal with the best he can?I found one in The Lost Fleet series, by Jack Campbell, but trying to find more like that is an exercise in frustration. So, if I were an agent, that's what I would look for.
If I were an agent, I'd want to represent books I like to read. Urban Fantasy, fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal romance, horror, mystery, thrillers and YA, oh and screenplays My dream client would be prolific and easy to work with, and would be open to editorial comments and opinions, they'd also have to have real crafting chopsSomeone like Rachel Caine or Rachel Vincent, or Simon Green or Tim Pratt
After all that, I've concluded my dream client would understand the importance of marketing her own book and how to go about doing that. Several mentioned being prolific. I've noticed that's important too, especially in genre fiction, like Romance and ePublishing. I'd aim for two novels a year. I review for authors who do that, so I know it can be done and the results of doing so. And I'm talkin' 80,000+ word novels.
My personal tastes veer toward romance, mystery (cozy mysteries and police procedurals), and sci fi. Within those genres, I like- romance where the heroine isn't a slut or a vapid idiot (i.e. if there's sex, it makes sense to the plot and not just because it's been 20 pages since the last sex scene)- mysteries where the clues are planted appropriately but not too blatantly- sci fi with a good, solid science background and good world building. I don't want "the planet has three suns, is made up of tiny islands, and has giant fire-breathing dragons, all because I say so" - I want something that makes geological, historical, sociological, and scientific sense.Of course, beyond the writing, the ideal client would be outgoing and articulate and capable of promoting their own books. And they'd be writing at a regular clip, so I can hope to build their career without 12-year gaps between sequels . . .
My dream client is easy:They should be an introvert so they are happy to be alone with themselves for 10 hours a day writing, and an extrovert so they can dazzle people when marketing their book.Independently wealthy so things won't take them away from marketing their book and hungry for money so they will put all their energy into marketing.Incredibly imaginative so they can write great things, and an incredibly practical and straight forward thinker so they can plot and carry out a marketing plan.Someone who wants to stay home and write and loves to travel.That's the ideal author.
I would rep all flavors of fantasy, and YA and MG, mystery, also strong-voiced mainstream fic.
My dream author would write books that made me laugh, cry, get angry, feel emotions and care about the characters. I enjoy reading and writing paranormal romance and would be happiest representing someone who wrote that genre. I think the thing that makes a story come alive is the depth of heart put into it. You can always tell if there's passion in a story by the way it makes you feel when you're reading it. An author that comes to mind....would be Sherrilyn Kenyon. I have went through every emotion there is to feel just by reading her stories. She would be my dream client!
If I were an agent I would focus on paranormal (got a love for those vamp books)and fantasy: epic, urban, contemporary...whatever. YA and Adult. My dream client would be someone who could write darkly romantic stories but also balance it with a great story line and a lot of action. I love books with romance but I prefer books to be well rounded and incorporate kick ass action.
My dream client would be a feisty young man with an appreciation for feisty young women. I'd want his work to be well combed, gone over several times, but I'd also want him to be ready to edit and change according to my suggestions, or at least heavily consider those suggestions. I would want him to be engulfed in the project, filled with enough passion to fuel the type of promotion books need these days. Blog tours, book tours, interviews, self-promotion, etc. As for books, well I like brassy gals. Books about young women who embrace their gender and carry a real, literary story without falling into the romantically challenged subcategory. Books with a strong voice, evidence that the author has strived for perfection, books with an engulfing narrative, and books with characters that are going to wring my heart like a dishrag, but will leave me with some enlightenment. NOW WAIT JUST ONE MINUTE.I want ME, Nick Saw, as a client. And I hope you do too as I have sent you a query letter and have yet to receive a rejection. *fingers crossed*Seriously though, the qualities I listed are very much needed in modern authors. Long gone are the days of click-clacking out a book, publishing it, and letting it sell itself. Today, people have beautiful machines to distract them from the intimacy of a novel. As an author, you must be willing to promote your book, put all your eggs in that book. And relish, be proud, brag. Let them know what a treasure you have crafted. That attitude is a fever, and fevers sell books via book clubs, word of mouth, internet promotion, blah blah blah.The first draft is the opportunity for an author to have their solitude, after that, it's a team effort. You got to be ready to play your part. Nick Saw :)http://www.thestarvingnovelist.blogspot.com
Concept. Concept. Concept.Oh, and thumbnail Concept. A one-sentence tagline that can sell a series. That said. Writer must do sentences that work and keep an entire book tied to the concept, fully exploiting it, and not just hint at it. I hate good ideas that aren't taken all the way around the block and back.Either that or a writer who does a solo quiet literary read for people who like to buy one book a year and take naps.
Although I write both fiction and nonfiction, I think I'd only like to rep nonfiction-- history and biographies. Dream clients? Antonia Fraser and Victoria Glendinning.
well me, first - of course. then secondly.. writers like Wendell Berry, Pat Conroy, Rick Bragg and those that write of the simply ordinary yet extraordinary mystique of the minute details in life that are so very grand when showed off in writing.That means something - and it sells .. a double edged sword of literary battle weapons of the best justice. Knowledge. Power of words.
Well, I guess I'm a bit of a fish out of water here, but I would love to be the agent for a well seasoned Christian author, like Beth Moore or Rick Renner. I am all about non-fiction spiritual growth writing. I believe it provokes deep introspection and promotes postive change within the reader. The reader should not close after reading the last page of the book saying, "That was really an awesome book," but should be saying, "I will never be the same after reading this book."
In a perfect world, my dream client would be James Patterson or Nora Roberts. The only hard work I would be doing is keeping the sand out of my swimsuit in St. Bart's. :o)In the real world, my dream client would be someone who takes criticism well and who knows how to input that criticism.My dream client would care as much as I do about how to build her career into the best-selling, multi-million-dollar deals I hope for all my clients.My dream client would love my feedback and my brainstorming. My dream client would depend on me to tell her where the story's lagging, but not to line edit.
This is kind of off topic, but several here mentioned that they'd like to see a romance that didn't have all those gratuitous sex scenes. Does such a book exist? I've heard agents won't take on romance without sex...
Wow. Nice to see that sex-scene deficient romance is welcomed.I'd like a cliet who has a brain.Nope. Make that two brains...to rub together, and make me lots of pennies.Confident would be nice as well.Sorry. I'm taken.
I'd like a client like me, of course: a writer, who has a great grasp of language, who has many stories to tell, and who is excited to be a part of all parts of the business. That, and someone who has a great sense of personal style and killer shoes.
I think I would like a client who thought I was an amazing agent and who respected both my opinion and my profession. I believe that at all award shows, they should remember to thank me. (It goes without saying that said client is a hell of a writer)
i think alice hoffman would be my dream client; prolific, bestselling and i love her writing :)
I would represent what I like to read and what I'd like to see more of on the shelves. Urban Fantasy WITH A TWIST with realistic heroines (kickass or not). Though I love vampires, even I'm getting a bit tired of them. So if it's vampires it better blow me out of the water. I'll second Kimber Ann with Character-Driven Steampunk. I want the gears and cogs to be in the background of a beautiful story. Fresh, youthful travel writing. Either personal memoir-esque or how-to styles. Post-apocalyptic fiction with a strong female protagonist, a change of "rules" from our world, and a unique apocalypse. *Kimber Ann - Ooh, how you'd love a member of my critique group's Sci Fi Romance. Alas, she's not at the finished manuscript stage yet!
my dream client would be intelligent enough to ensure her work is intelligent, and that her work treats her readers as intelligent instead of empty-headed gawkers
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