Agent Advice: Janet Reid of New Leaf Literary (formerly FinePrint Literary Management)

Note from Chuck: Janet Reid is no longer with FinePrint Literary Agency. She is now an agent with New Leaf Literary. Please query her there. 

Agent interview by
blog contributor Robin Mizell:

“Agent Advice” (this installment featuring agent Janet Reid of New Leaf Literary (formerly of FinePrint Literary Management) is a series of quick interviews with literary agents and script agents who talk with Guide to Literary Agents about their thoughts on writing, publishing, and just about anything else. This series has more than 170 interviews so far with reps from great literary agencies. This collection of interviews is a great place to start if you are just starting your research on literary agents.

This installment features literary agent Janet Reid of New Leaf Literary (formerly FinePrint Literary Management). She was previously with Imprint Literary; before that, she had her own agency: JetReid. Janet runs two successful and popular blogs: one that talks about publishing and agenting, and the Query Shark Blog, which critiques queries that come in. She became a literary agent after working for 15 years in book publicity and hosting an author interview program for an Oregon Public Broadcasting affiliate.

She is seeking: At present, she is reading all types of manuscripts, but she especially appreciates crime fiction and authors with a wry sense of humor.

: What’s the most recent thing you’ve sold?

JRSiesta Lane, by Amy Minato to Skyhorse Publishing.

GLA: The FinePrint Web site indicates you’re seeking mysteries and offbeat literary fiction; elsewhere you’ve said you’re also interested in nonfiction: justice and death penalty issues, African politics, contemporary art and music, and how-to books. Do you consider anything else? What about graphic novels?

JR: I’ll look at anything people send me. I don’t know anything about fantasy or Westerns, so I tend to say no, but I read every query letter.

GLA: If you happened to receive a promising submission that was outside your areas of interest, might you pass it along to one of the other agents at FinePrint?

JR: You bet. And if you query me and I say no, you can still query anyone else at FinePrint.

GLA: How would you describe your ideal client?

JR: Jeff Somers. Mindy Tarquini. Sean Ferrell. Eric Stone, Jake Needham. Bill Cameron. Bob Fate. Oh, you mean generally? They write well. They write really, really well.

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GLA: How do you prefer to be contacted by writers seeking representation?

JR: E-mail. Snail mail is fine. I really, really don’t like phone calls.

GLA: What is your defining personality trait? What don’t we already know about you?

JR: I’m cruel, unkind, demanding and fierce. And I drink a lot of scotch.

GLA: What publishing industry periodicals or blogs do you currently read that might also be helpful to prospective clients?

JR: 1) Yours (GLA). 2) GalleyCat. 3) Kristin Nelson’s Pub Rants blog. 4) Nathan Bransford.

GLA: You’ve said you don’t enjoy traveling, but will you be attending any conferences or events in the future where writers can meet you?

JRScene of the Crime Conference, Wichita, Kan., April 11-13. The Muse & the Marketplace, Boston, Mass., April 26-27. Surrey International Writers’ Conference, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, Oct. 23-26, 2008. No one else has been brave enough to ask.

GLA: What’s your best piece of advice regarding something we haven’t discussed?

JR: Read Stephen King’s book On Writing. Read E.B. White’s books of essays. Surround yourself with beautiful things when you write, even if you prop open an art book from the library. Expect great things from yourself. Don’t talk about what you’re going to do … Do it.

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