Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Agent Interview: Laura Crockett

Agent Mentor for February 2018

Laura Crockett

We're excited to have our February Agent mentor, Laura Crockett, stop by to answer a few questions. She'll also be available to answer your specific questions on Jan 31st  when we host our second twitter chat! Follow our #1st5pages hashtag and ask agents and/or mentors  anything and everything writing-related. In the meantime, Laura's answers are below! 

When reading a query/pitch, what makes you want to request the manuscript?
First and foremost, I notice if the author followed the agency submission guidelines. Next, I see if the genre and market are in line with what I'm looking for -- it shows whether or not the writer has also read what I am seeking to represent, and knows their genre and market. After that, it's everything I would do when considering buying a book at the bookstore: am I drawn to the jacket summary (pitch/query)? Would I want to re-read this in the future? Is it capturing my attention enough to want to know what happens next? And, since I ask for the first 10 pages of the manuscript in the query, am I drawn to the writing style in the first couple of pages? But I also need to approach this as an agent: is there a market for this book? If everything answers YES, I request! 

What’s on your current wish list?
All sorts of projects! I created a post on my blog dedicated to this question entirely: MSWL for 2018. I felt it would be most helpful to writers to read a post that goes in depth about the projects I'm looking for, apart from the occasional #mswl tweet or what you see in general on the agency website. I'm a sucker for contemporary, historical, and fantasy specifically, and I represent adult and YA fiction -- so sometimes having comp titles and pie-in-the-sky dreams listed and described can prove beneficial in describing my taste as a reader and as an agent.

Character, world, or plot?
I'm a character-driven reader! Obviously you can't have a great story without all three elements, but I'm very much driven by character-focused narratives. I want to be their friend, I want to be the protagonist, so drop me with them and experience life through their eyes. If we have loads of things happening to and around the character with little character motivation/emotional pull, then I lose interest. If we take a moment to stop and describe the world for pages and pages of detail, I lose interest. Aspects of the world will come about in conversations and day-to-day workings, the plot will spring forth with different drives and obstacles. I don't have to like your character, but I certainly need to feel a connection with them. There's a fine balance juggling all three -- as long as you make it clear the character's joys, sorrows, desires, and dreams, I will be pulled into the adventure.

Are you an editorial agent?
Yes, though I could also be described as a coaching agent or a brainstorming agent. I take what the writer's already created, point out things I want to see more (or less) of, and then brainstorm with the writer ways we could really polish the manuscript and make it shine, taking it to the next level. I'm a reader with a lot of thoughts, and the writer is the creative genius. I want to give the writer room to develop and grow. I hope that through our conversations, all sorts of lightbulbs of creative energy turn on and allow for that growth to happen.  

What do you like to do for fun?
Apart from reading for fun? Music! For years, friends and family thought I would pursue a career in music (I played several instruments, competed in piano, and sang in a professional children's choir). Now, singing and tinkering on the piano are hobbies, along with knitting, trying new restaurants in town, and traveling. 

No comments:

Post a Comment