Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Have Questions for an Agent?

*Update! The interactive portion of this interview is over :) But a HUGE thank you to Brittany for taking the time out of her day to do this! There were a lot of great questions and answers though so I encourage you to read the comments :)

Oh yay! I'm so stoked to introduce you to the awesomeness of my agent, Brittany Booker today! She's agreed to do an interactive interview, meaning she'll be popping in throughout the day to answer any questions you have for her in the comment section.

Seriously, it's a great opportunity to get questions answered by an agent! So if you have any, don't be shy :)

And now, to learn a little bit more about Brittany and what she's looking for :)

How did you become an agent?

Well, I am an author also and I had sent my query to Marisa from the Corvisiero Literary Agency. While she was helping me edit I mentioned how being a literary agent sounded like fun. She said, well why don’t you come work with me? Now, here I am working as an agent for the Corvisiero Literary Agency.
What are some query pet peeves of yours?

When someone doesn’t read our guidelines it makes me twitch. It’s very simple to just read them. It drives me bananas when an author doesn’t address it to one agent, also. Read what we are looking for and decide on one agent.
What are you looking for right now?

Right now I’m looking for Contemporary romances, historical fiction, time-travel novels, YA commercial, YA contemporary romances and New Adult. I am not looking for middle grade, erotica or paranormal.

How would you describe your agent and client relationships?

I like to think I’m very laid back with my clients and try to talk to them and not down to them. Also, I try to keep in contact with my clients very often. I know how awful it is to wait and as soon as I hear any news I let them know.

(I'm going to jump in here real quick and say Brittany is great with communication and keeping me updated. And she always makes me feel comfortable and not like a bumbling baffoon, lol.)

What are you tired of seeing in your inbox?

I’m tired of middle grade, paranormal and the same kind of romantic relationships. I feel there needs to be a different kind of romantic relationship. Besides the boy being utterly gorgeous and the girl is average looking. Spice and change it up a bit.

And just for fun :)

Favorite quote: “Love isn’t finding the perfect person, it’s seeing the imperfect person perfectly.”  

Favorite food: Fried Chicken. I’m southern. :) Oh yeah, Steak.

Favorite book: This is so hard. A classic I like is The Woman in White and I love the Hush Hush series. (I love Patch).  

Thanks, Brittany! (Patch is seriously drool worthy. Mmmm... oh! Must not get distracted!)

If it looks like she'd be a good fit for you, go check out her AGENCY WEBSITE for how to submit. :)

And now it's your turn to take over with the questions!

And spell for the day:



  1. Thanks for the interview. I'll check Brittany out. She sounds like she might be a good match for my book.

  2. LOVE Brittany!!!

    I can also attest to her awesomeness :)

  3. I love the faved quote! And Patch is a swoontastic guardian.

    I have two q's...
    What is the best opening line you've ever read as an agent?

    And what's your opinion of the perfect first chapter?

  4. Great interview, Cassie! Brittany sounds awesome!

    I guess I was wondering: Have you sold anything recently? Or is it too soon?(i.e. newish agent)

  5. Great interview Cass and Brittany :) I also LOVE Woman in White--one of the best villains EVER!

    Here is my question: What are a few things that make you stop reading a requested MS?

  6. Awesome interview, fried chicken is at the top of my list too!

    My questions:

    What does it take in a query for you to request a partial/full?

    At what point in a MS do you know it's for you?

    How soon do you think a book should jump into the main conflict? Is there a too soon point?

    (I know that's three questions, but I'm loving this! :D)

  7. This is so cool and I really think she would be a good match for my story.

    Question: What, in a story, makes you think it's not quite there, but want to have the author do revisions and resubmit? I have a few friends right now who had requests for fulls, the comments come back saying no thanks because something wasn't quite the way they wanted, but it seems like a small fix.

    Thanks for taking your time to share your thoughts!

    And Cassie, thanks for sharing Brittany with us :)

  8. I want to know what makes a query letter really catch an agent's eye?
    I have received excellent in Editorial reviews for my novel, but yet I cannot snag an agent's attention. So, what can a first time author do to really captivate an agent in that one page query?

  9. Hey guys!! These are great! Brittany will be by later on with her answers :)

  10. Great interview! I've got a couple questions:

    As a counterpart to Jadzia's question, when do you know an MS is WRONG for you, assuming that the writer has followed submission guidelines and hasn't sent you something in one of the genres you aren't looking for?

    Also, how should one query a manuscript that has series potential but could also stand alone? I've heard a bunch of advice on this, all different. And does genre affect the answer here? Genres like mystery and fantasy seem to favor series over stand-alone books.

  11. I'm going to leave a comment for each person in one comment. It won't let me reply to each one! :) Looking forward to answering any question anyone has for me! :)

    Stina- I would love to read a query, so send it on over when ready! :)

    Kelley Lynn- Thank you! :)You're pretty awesome yourself.

    Danielle- This is such a hard question. I think one of my favorites is..."I’ve never been bitch slapped. Technically." I love this because it gives me a good feel of how the voice is going to go in this novel. It's blunt and grabs the readers attention. I really like it.
    Secondly, my idea of the perfect chapter would be that the author introduce the characters, setting and personalities nice and smoothly. Not overload us with information, but let us fall into the story and understand it. Does this make sense? I hope so! :)

    Rachel- I just sold my first novel, which is a paranormal romance. Got my second offer the other day. I don't want to say publishers name just yet! :) It's nice to meet you (other newish agent).

    Angela- There are always different reasons. A few would be, the author not giving me a character that is realistic. The voice being too old or young for the character. Or the story just not holding my attention. In those first chapters it's important to catch the readers attention and hold them. The flow of the events needs to keep the reader wanting to know what happens next! I hope this has helped!

    Jadzia- First off, the query needs to be written well and written how you write in your novel. This is hard because if the story is not something the agent is looking for, then it will be passed. I suggest you writing crisp, easy to read and attention grabbing sentences. It also doesn't need to be long, keep it simple, to the point and give a paragraph about the book. Also, think about the back of a book and what grabs your attention. Use sentences like that to catch the agents attention. Secondly, I finish the novel before I know 100%. But, I can get a feel half way through if it's been written well and kept me reading. Thirdly, if it's YA it needs to start with the problem. Other novels need to start in the first or second chapter.I love questions so three is just fine! :)

    Tasha- I think this depends on the agent. Some might see problems and not want to deal with it because of their work load or didn't feel a connection enough to care. However, I had a few revisions out at the time. If it's too many errors and problems I will pass. However, if certain scenes need revision, adding or cutting I give them a list of edits and give them the choice to fix them or not. It's always up to them. I hope this has helped! :)

  12. Katie- The query is harder to write than the novel. You have to do a lot of research for this on what certain agents are looking for. Queries need to be to the point, in the first paragraph let them know the word count, genre and that you're hoping to be added to their list. THe second paragraph, several short crisp sentences (funny or serious depending on the novel), on what your book is about. (Like the back of a published book). THen the last paragraph, give the agent a blog, previous publications, etc. Anything to give you a platform as an author!

    If it's in my genre list and followed by the guidelines then I look for the actual storyline. If it's not orginial enough or doesn't spark our interest and seem interesting, then I pass. Secondly, the stand alone or series question. One should always in the last paragraph, let the author know it has series potential or stand alone potential. They need to know what they are getting into. I don't feel a genre would effect the difference in this. Some might noramlly have series over others but it doesn't mean that another genre wouldn't consider a series. Just always let the agent know! :)

  13. I loved getting to know Brittany better. Yay, fried chicken! And love that quote. And as Cassie said, Brittany is the bomb!!

  14. Thanks for the interview. I have two questions.

    1. Does the race of a character play a role in agents choosing to represent a book?

    2. What are pet query peeves of agents that will make them reject a query right away? Besides grammar errors or sending them the wrong genre.

  15. No question, just a shout-out to Brittany and the University of Arkansas. A lot of my friends are alumni, so, Cassie Mae, you are in good hands!

  16. Since you're interested in historical, I'm curious as to what you personally consider the difference between YA historical and adult historical with younger protagonists. It's been hard for me to find a lot of YA historicals from the last 5-10 years (in comparison to genres like paranormal and fantasy), and the few I've managed to find seem so different from the type of YA historicals I remember reading 15-20 years ago.

    Do you think there's still a market for long, sweeping historical sagas (e.g., Herman Wouk, Leon Uris, James Michener, Gone with the Wind, etc.) these days, or are such books better saved for indie or e-publishing?

  17. I have another question:

    I've read that agents don't like a query to only tell them about the book, they want to know about the author too. Is this just publishing/writing experience?

    So what if I was published in poetry anthologies as a teen and I have a blog? I don't have anything interesting to add. Could I just leave it at the book blurb thing and not mention anything else?

  18. Thanks for hosting, Cassie!

    I have one question - I have a completed contemporary YA that is just shy of 60k words. Is there a minimum word count you are looking for in a ya novel? What is just too short to be considered?


  19. 1. What's your sign?
    2. Could you please define what you mean by time travel? I ask because there is a slight element of that in my current WIP.
    3. How can I get a job similar to yours?
    4. When you say "The Woman in White," I'm assuming you mean the 1859 novel by Wilkie Collins. Yes? If so, did you see the musical Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote based on said novel? I heard it had bad reviews, but I've never met anyone that actually saw it.
    5. the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

    Please start with question two.

  20. Cassie, by the tone of Brittany's comments you two seem like a perfect author/agent fit. (I'm a sucker for romances in any form;))

    No questions, just saying hi and giggling at Josh's questions. Personally I think Brittany should start with #5!

  21. Thank you so much for hosting the Q and A session Cassie Mae!
    Thank you, too Brittany, for answering!

    My question is what specifically are you looking for in Historical Fiction? Any favorite time frame or theme?

    I had a couple other questions, which have already been asked:)
    Thank you, Talynn

  22. Thanks everyone! And another big thanks to Brittany :D

    Johanna: I'm totally laughing at Josh's questions, too. :)

    I have another question for Brittany, if I'm allowed. :)

    I'm assuming your agency is a no from one is a no from all. If something is sent to you, and you aren't interested but feel one of your colleagues would be, do you pass it along?


  23. Jenny- you're pretty awesome too! :)

    Sheena-Kay- Race doesn't matter to me in a character. There are publishers that just take certain kinds and their are publishers that do not care the color. I can't speak for all agents, but for myself, it doesn't matter. Secondly,I do not like when authors send out one mass email to all the agents they are submitting too. That's a no no. Also, give us a short query not a three page synopsis.Those are two things that drive me crazy!

    Linda- Thanks for the shout out!:)

    Carrie-Ann- Anything YA has to do with age. If the main character or the main voice is between 14-18 it is YA no matter the setting or world! :)Secondly, I do not represent novels like Gone With the Wind but I feel some agents would be grateful authors still write like this. Because the voice is so young and different than that. I believe there is still a market for it, if you can find the right agent.

    Jadzia- You always need to put something about yourself at the bottom. Always. Put that you're in school, a mom, have a blog, poems that you've published, your love for reading. Just to give the agent a little platform for yourself. Does this help?

    Kim- 60,000 is fine for a YA contemporary. I would say anything from 45-85 would work. Nothng less and maybe a little more would work! :) In other words, you're fine :)


    Staring with number 2! :) (Aries by the way!)

    2: TIme travel where the characters are taken into the future or in the past a majority of the novel. It can have them coming back and forth, but as long as time travel is a huge issue in the manuscript.

    3. There are a lot of internships that literary agencies have. It will show them on their sites. You can also ask my boss Marisa Corvisiero(on Facebook) if she knows of any. But, I know I've seen internship tabs on a lot of publishing and literary agency websites.

    4. Yes by Wilkie Collins. No, I have not saw that. I read it for my Literary Studies class and that was that.

    5. I have no idea. :)I'm tempted to go Google it, but I'm running late for class! :)

    Hope this has helped!

  24. Google is not necessary.

    The airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow is roughly 11 meters per second, or 24 miles per hour, beating its wings 7-9 times per second. However, please note that a 5 ounce bird cannot carry a one pound coconut.

  25. Hi, Brittany! You've signed some great writers as of late. Cassie, Jenny, and Kelley will be fab clients.

    As for my question: do you think there's a difference between supernatural and paranormal? If so, what is it?

    Thanks for your time!

  26. I have no questions. After so long learning about the biz I've pretty much learned all there is to know. Well, thus far at least. :D

    This is so good of you and your agent to do something like this. Did I ever tell you how awesome you are, Cassie?

  27. Johanna- Thank you. I really enjoy Cassie! :)

    Ink in the Book- I really like the Victorian age.I like knights and princesses! This sounds like a little kid but it's all so romantic and written well, I could just fall into the book! ;)

    Cassie! Thanks for doing this. Hope I'm keeping up okay! :) Actually, if one agent turns you down and it was addressed to them, you can send it to another agent. If I find something I think another agent would like, I put it in there query folder. I've gotten things I really enjoyed because of a colleague sending it my way! :)

    Joshua- good to know! :)

    Emily- To me the difference is supernatural is being other worlds, aliens, ghost and etc. ( Things otherworldly) Then paranormal is vampires, werewolves, demons and etc. There is a very fine line in this department. Does this help at all?

    T.D- Thanks for stopping by! :)

  28. If she focuses mostly on young adult, then I hope no one is sending her erotica!

  29. Thanks for the interview. I am really excited for you. I will check back throughout the day to read the answers to all of the questions. Well, at least until the battery on my computer runs out. We have officially lost power in Louisiana. It is not nearly as bad as Katrina, but the duration will be longer because Isaac is slower moving.

  30. Brittany, yes, a very thin line. So if a book has angels (which are otherworldly) and demons (which are not otherworldly) I can call it either, right?

    On a side note, I've heard many agents say "supernatural" is synonymous with "paranormal." And like you, many won't touch it right now.

    Sucks to be a paranormal writer, or supernatural. Whatev.

    Thanks again! :)

  31. Oh Emily! I know that Jordy Albert from Corvisiero agency takes paranormal. She's at the agency site I linked in the blog. :)

  32. Thanks for the info, Cassie Mae. I just looked her up. Ms. Albert might be a good fit...

    Good eye, Cassie Mae. Good eye. *high five*

  33. ALex- I take other genres beside YA. I just don't take erotica. You'd be suprised how many people do not read what we are looking for. Yikes. :/

    Emily- Yes, you could call it either or. Paranormal and supernatural are very hard to sell right now. It's difficult. Especially, YA paranormal. Jordy is looking for paranormal! :) She is one of my good friends. You could query her! :) If you're ready!

    Melissa- Thanks for stopping by! I've had fun answering questions and meeting some new people! :) I'll be praying for you. I live in Arkansas and we're due to get our share tomorrow. :/

  34. And everyone excuse my name "Booker Book Thoughts." I can't seem to change it to "Booker's Book Thoughts." :/ I promise I can spell and write. ;)

  35. Great interview. Thanks for this, Cassie!

    I have a question. As a UK author is it worthwhile to query US agents... I've read a lot of books saying you should have lunch with your agent and get to know them, but is that necessary in the electronic world? Even in the UK, I'm in Scotland, most agents are in London, and I can't fly down to London at the drop of a hat. Could a US agent open me up to wider markets? Or is it best to stay local?

    I know that's a lot. Sorry if my questions are silly. :)

  36. Great interview, Cassie! Not that I expect anything less from you ;) And awesome answers, Brittany! Late to the game but wanted to stop by and say hi! :)

  37. You know I love anyone who loves New Adult. :) Great interview!

  38. Nick- Every agency is different. Our agency rarely meets their clients unless their both able to go to the same conference. I have not met one of mine yet. Now, if we were both going to be in the same neighborhood for something I would meet them. Also, I don't feel American agents are better than any other agent. I feel the agent can get the same contacts as an American agent can, so in short answer, I don't feel Americans could get you a better shot than another agent could. But, it wouldn't be better to do either or. If you find an American agent that fits what you're offering, query them, if their from London, query them. Does this make sense? I feel like I'm rambling! :)

    Theresa- Hi! Nice of you to stop by!

    Carrie- I love New Adult. I love that age! :)

  39. I love this! I'm late getting here, but I think all my questions have been asked.

    This is so helpful! Thanks to Cassie and Brittany for doing this!

  40. Leigh- Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad we've helped! :)

  41. The Woman in White? As in, Wilkie Collins? LOVE Wilkie Collins.

    This was a great interview!

  42. Brittany, I was hoping to query you and I know in your guidelines you say you like Fantasy books but I was wondering, what type of fantasy do you prefer? You do like High or Epic Fantasy or do you lean more towards Urban Fantasy? I want to make sure I don't make you twitch :D

    Oh and best of luck with your book!

  43. Amy- Thank you! Yes, as in Wilkie Collins!

    Krysten- I'm not looking for a certain type of fantasy. I will give any fantasy novel that comes my way a fair chance.


  44. Thanks for all the good info and for highlighting Brittany, Cassie! I started reading at work and hoped to get a question in, but then a kid had a meltdown and a parent came in and then I was late getting home and then the day was done. :(

  45. Just found your blog! I loved this post. It's nice to see the intimidating agents seem human like the rest of us. ;)

  46. Great interview Cassie Mae! Brittany sounds wonderful to work with!

  47. I'm late to the party too...but have to of luck Brittany! Blows my mind how much you have going on. That kind of energy and drive awes me. Me? I'm impressed when I remember to brush my teeth in the morning, much less write, agent, and get educated!!

  48. Wow, this is great. So, many questions answered. Thanks, Cassie and Brittany!

  49. I about had a heart attack when I missed the comma between middle grade, erotica.



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