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Ask the Pro: Literary Agent Cherry Weiner

Agent Cherry Weiner talks about queries, her dream client, her biggest pet peeves and more.

Here are Cherry Weiner's responses to our list of questions:

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR IN SUBMISSIONS?
I want to get excited, and perhaps a little angry that it’s late at night and I can’t call the author and say, ‘I love it! I want to take it on,’ or I can’t call an editor and say, ‘I’ve just read a fantastic manuscript—I’m sending it to you now.’ I want that kind of excitement when I’m reading a new work.”

PERFECT DAY: One where I can actually get a decent amount of necessary work done without the 100 or so interruptions or sidebars that creep up. One interruption that I do like and would love to have every day is calls from editors who want to buy submissions I’ve sent out. I will (and do) take those interruptions any and every time—just wouldn’t mind them a little more often.

DREAM CLIENT: My authors are my dream clients because they listen to me. They fight me when necessary, but that’s good, too. I want them to stand up for their work, but they also listen and compromise—as do I.

WORST QUERY: Someone didn’t take my reply of “sorry, no” in the manner it was written and proceeded to send me back my reply with two diagonal lines across my letter and a big handwritten “bullshit” all the way across. There was another comment on the bottom of the letter that said, “Conceit knows no bounds.”

BIGGEST PET PEEVE: That people send me query letters addressed to “Mr. Weiner,” or “Dear Sir.” If you’re an author, or want to be an author, you have to do research. It doesn’t take too much time to research that Cherry Weiner Literary Agency is run by a woman and that it should be “Ms. Weiner,” or “Dear Cherry Weiner.”

FAVORITE CONVERSATION WHEN AGREEING TO WORK WITH A NEW CLIENT: The client being speechless, or saying, “Wow!” or “You mean it, you really mean it?”—all the usual disbelief that someone other than friends and family actually likes their work and is willing to take them on, take a chance on them and put them out there.

BIGGEST CAREER SURPRISE: That I actually have lasted as long as I have. A second [surprise] is the day I sold nine novels for one author. Nine for one is my record.

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