“Agent Advice” (this installment featuring agent Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates) 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 Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates. She began agenting at Marjel de Lauer Agency, developed books for motion pictures at MGM, co-founded Knightsbridge Publishing Company, and helped open Reece Halsey North and Reece Halsey Paris. Reece Halsey New York became Kimberley Cameron & Associates in 2009, and Cameron currently resides and works from Tiburon, California, and Paris, France.
She is seeking: literary and commercial fiction, science fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, mystery, horror and thrillers. For nonfiction, she accepts biography, memoir, food & lifestyle, science, technology, medical, health & fitness, how-to, religion & spirituality, dating & relationships, pop culture, entertainment, travel, history and military.
GLA: How/why did you become an agent?
KC: I was a publisher before I was a literary agent, which was great experience as I learned how the business of books really works. We had offices in New York and Los Angeles.
GLA: What’s something you’ve sold that comes out now/soon that you’re excited about?
KC: I’m always excited about all my new books, but I’m especially excited about Vaughn Entwistle’s new series, to be published by Minotaur. It’s an historical paranormal mystery set in England, featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wicked sidekick, Oscar Wilde. The title is The Revenant of Thraxton Hall.
GLA: Besides “good writing,” and “voice,” what are you looking for in literary fiction right now and not getting? What do you pray for when tackling the slush pile?
KC: I’m looking to be genuinely moved by an author—I would like to have an emotional experience, fueled by exquisite writing. [I’m hoping] that great writing is going to pop out—it does happen, and that is what keeps me going in this business.
GLA: One of the categories you represent is science fiction. Have you noticed any trends in what you tend to represent—themes that particularly hook you—such as time travel, post-apocalyptic, or first contact?
KC: Personally, I like post-apocalyptic novels—they create a pretty frightening scenario, and allow the imagination to conjure “what if?”
GLA: Your agency bio says you do not accept children’s literature. Does this apply to middle-grade and young adult novels as well, or might something hook you if the subject and writing were right?
KC: We do represent Young Adult and if a middle-grade novel was strong enough, we would definitely consider it.
GLA: You and others at your agency represent a fair amount of doctors/Ph.D.s when it comes to nonfiction titles. Talk to potential queriers about this. How important is it for nonfiction writers to be experts in their field?
KC: It’s more and more important for authors to have a public platform—all authors should seriously consider building a great Web site and inviting social media to know who they are through Twitter, Facebook, etc. The publishers are all looking for this.
GLA: If one writes nonfiction but does not have an advanced degree in a field related to his or her topic, how might he or she impress you in a proposal?
KC: If the proposal is unique and the writing is strong, I would consider helping that writer to develop their presence in the topic of choice.
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GLA: One of your nonfiction interests is history & military. How can someone hook you here?
KC: I’m more interested in history than military—but the history of the world is filled with military themes. Again, making the subject matter come alive is the talent from which we all benefit—I like books with large themes, and if the author has accomplished this, I’m hooked!
(See a list of nonfiction literary agents.)
GLA: As well, what is the market like for titles like this these days? How are history and military books selling, and what do you see for the future?
KC: I have always said and still do, “good writers make the market.” We never know for sure what is going to sell well—there are always surprises. If I take a book on, it means I believe in its merits—it’s my job to find others who will match my enthusiasm.
The future, in general, is good for the book market in every field. The industry is changing, but it’s healthy, and we are finding more avenues in which to publish and reach readers.
GLA: According to your agency bio, you developed books for motion pictures during your time at MGM. You also currently represent Doug P. Lyle, M.D., who writes the Royal Pains novel series after the USA Network show. How did that come about?
KC: Doug was recommended to the producers, and they loved his work. It was a great exercise, and I feel it helped his growth as a writer.
GLA: How does one break into that market?
KC: Wish I had the answer to THAT question. It’s very difficult, but we work with fine film agents and with a little magic…
GLA: What is something personal about you writers would be surprised to hear?
KC: That I really DO read all the time and love my work everyday. The thrill of launching a debut author is what I enjoy so much—I feel like I’m a midwife . . .
GLA: Website where people can see full submission guidelines?
GLA: Will you be at any upcoming writers’ conferences where writers can meet and pitch you?
KC: Yes, I’ll be at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference in February 2013, I’ll be attending Book Expo in New York in May 2013, I’m on the faculty of the Book Passage Mystery Conference in July 2013 and I will be going to Portland in August 2013 for the Willamette Writers Conference.
GLA: Best piece(s) of advice we haven’t talked about yet?
KC: Writing is rewriting—make your work the best it can be before you try to market it. I’ve seen manuscripts accepted and sold within a few weeks. They were ready! Good luck to all . . .
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Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:
- Agent Interview: Kristen Nelson, Founder of the PubRants Blog.
- Why Live Readings Can Help Your Writing.
- 4 Factors For Choosing an MFA Program.
- Should You Sign With a New Agent?
- 10 Hidden Gifts of Rejection Letters.
- Sell More Books by Building Your Author Platform.
- Follow Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter or find him on Facebook. Learn all about his writing guides on how to get published, how to find a literary agent, and how to write a query letter.
Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
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