First off, thanks to all of you who entered the contest and who took the time to follow us on Tumblr and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We hope more of you will take part in our social media take-over later. In the mean time, we have some winners to announce!
So, that's grammatically incorrect, because we have more than one, but you get the idea!!!
1. Leslie Wright!!!!
2. Melanie Conklin!!!!
3. Rachel Searles!!!!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and rank the prizes from one to three. Here are the prizes once more: Jennie's query critique, Dawn Frederick's query critique, or the ten dollar gift card. We will reward you all in the order that receive the e-mails.
Red Sofa Literary?
You are a newer agent, when did you start and what made you want to become a literary agent? (How many clients would you consider your "max" and where are you on that list right now?)
People who've known me for a long time say I'm a natural matchmaker, and that is what drew me to being an agent-- the idea that this writer and that editor should know each other, and I can help by introducing
them! Currently, I am growing my client list, but I do know I plan to keep the list small so each of my authors gets special attention.
What kind of projects do you usually look for/gravitate toward?
Right now my practice centers on YA and MG novels and science fiction and fantasy for adults. Beyond that, first of all, I have to love your protagonist and care what happens to him or her. I love funny books (Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore, and Fay Weldon are current favorites). I love fantasy with a realistic feel-- either because it's set in the real world, or because the world and its characters are fully imagined and credible. Romance is always a plus, as long as the romance doesn't solve all the protagonist's problems (especially in YA). And as a historian, I appreciate historical settings!
I also love it when my authors already have an audience ready and eager to read their books when they are published-- for example, by starting a popular blog and running exciting contests...
(Tee hee, Oh Jennie :D)
When do you usually stop reading a query or sample pages?
I stop reading queries if I can tell that the book is not something I'd represent (like a thriller or a memoir). I skim queries if I think I've seen the idea before, in case the author has promising credentials or an unusual twist on the idea. Currently I'm seeing a lot of novels about girls who have prophetic dreams and girls who
either are or are dating the grim reaper.
If I like the query, I generally let it sit for a while, and if it still looks good at a second glance, I will request the first three chapters. (I don't ask for a synopsis-- I like to be surprised.) I always read all three chapters. If I like them, I will ask for the full manuscript, which I will also read in full.
In general, if I've asked for it, I'll read it.
How do you network with editors and other industry professionals with your office being located in Minnesota?
I have the benefit of Dawn's years of experience in the industry and great track record. Beyond that, I love conferences! I'll be speaking at three this year, one at the Loft Literary Center in late April (https://www.loft.org/classes-at-the-loft-literary-center/writing-conferences), one at the DFW Writer's Conference (www.dfwwritersconference.org), and one at the Florida Writers Association
(http://www.floridawriters.net/Home_Page.html). I also plan to be at Worldcon again this year, as well as a couple of history conferences.
You are a writer as well. How do you balance your time between writing your own material and helping your clients get published?
Coffee. I also try to keep a daily schedule: Monday is for sorting through the mail, Tuesday and Thursday are for client needs, Wednesday and Friday for my own writing. Of course, if there's an urgent issue
from one of my clients, I get to it right away!
As a writer, what advice would you give to others still working to get published?
This shouldn't be a lonely business! Once you've written that book, you'll need beta readers. You'll need people to show you the next steps, and you'll need people to help you commiserate and celebrate.
Go out and find some writer buddies!
Do you have any recommendations for writers on how to build their platform?
It's not enough to write a great book, you also have to know the kind of book you're writing, so it can find its proper audience. At Red Sofa, we're big fans of Christina Katz's Get Known Before the Book Deal, which has some great exercises to help you define yourself as a writer, and to publicize your work using social media.
What is your favorite book/author right now? What is your favorite book/author of all time?
Wow, that's a hard question! The best book I read recently-- the most creative, immersive, moving and satisfying-- was Lauren Beukes's Zoo City. Probably the book I think about most frequently is actually a
history book: Richard Bushman's The Refinement of America. But when I want to reread a book, it's usually one of Terry Pratchett's Ankh-Morpork books, of which Thud! is my very favorite.
Me and Pam are scared-y cats. We're scared of clowns, mermaids, centaurs, and people on stilts... What freaks you out the most?
Mayonnaise. And yet, oddly enough, I love chicken salad, and I'm willing to make some to get it.
If it's your last day on earth, what would you eat (all we think about is food)?
I'd head down to the North End in Boston and get pizza and an arancine from Galleria Umberto, followed by Italian rum cake from Modern Pastry (all I think about is food, too!).
"The Voice" or "American Idol"?
I've run out of time for most TV, but I always watch Mad Men, to see how Don's messed up his life this week.
What would you do for a klondike bar?
For a Klondike bar? Not much. For a Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake bar? I'm embarrassed to say...
Thanks so much, Jennie!
And again, thanks to all of you who entered the contest (and even those of you who were THINKING about entering). If you want to query Jennie, find out more about her here:
Jennie on Querytracker.net