Agent Advice: Amy Tipton of Signature Literary

This installment features Amy Tipton of Signature Literary. Formerly, Amy was with FinePrint Literary Management. She is seeking: Amy is looking for both fiction and nonfiction–edgy or quirky, commercial or literary–in particular, she is interested in YA, middle grade, and women’s fiction. In nonfiction she is looking for women’s studies/academia, fashion/beauty, and pop culture.
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“Agent Advice”(this installment featuring agent Amy Tipton of Signature Literary) 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 Amy Tipton of Signature Literary. Formerly, Amy was with FinePrint Literary Management.

She is seeking: Amy is looking for both fiction and nonfiction–edgy or quirky, commercial or literary–in particular, she is interested in YA, middle grade, and women’s fiction. In nonfiction she is looking for women’s studies/academia, fashion/beauty, and pop culture.

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GLA
: How did you become an agent?

AT: Peter Rubie. He encouraged me to take on clients when I was just an assistant. I was terrified! I had no idea I would love it so much.

GLA: What's the most recent thing you've sold?

AT: Janet Reid sold The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab to Hyperion/Disney on my behalf at FinePrint Literary Management. I’ve sold YAs to Saint Martin’s Press and Simon Pulse.

GLA: I read online that you're looking for gritty urban fiction. This still true? If so, can you give readers a few examples of books you love so they can get a feel for what to send you?

AT: Yes, but I don't want authors to think I'm talking about crime novels or hard boiled mysteries, neither of which I represent - so I don’t say I’m looking for “gritty urban fiction” anymore. All I meant by “gritty” was real, dirty, heartbreaking. I love authors like Michelle Tea and Eileen Myles because they expose themselves.

GLA: What nonfiction subjects do you take on?

AT: I do very little nonfiction. I like academia/feminist work. I also like beauty/fashion projects. I’m doing a retro-fashion/beauty guide right now.

GLA: What are you looking for and not getting? What do you pray for when tackling the slush pile?

AT: Something I can’t live without! Be it a YA, MG, adult fiction or nonfiction. I have eclectic taste so it’s not something easily pinpointed.

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GLA: Let's talk children's for a moment. I believe you handle both YA and MG. What can you tell us about your love for these categories? For example, are you looking for boy books? Paranormal but sick of the vampire craze?

AT: Yes, I handle both YA and MG—and I love them! I really believe that Flux statement, “YA is a point of view, not a reading level.” I think the line between YA and adult has become transparent. I think MG is a little easier to distinguish. The language is simpler but you have to be careful with MG—you wonder if it’s just dumb (because you’re not used to reading at that level) or if it’s MG. Everyone wants a good boy-book! I would like a good boy MG, though I’m very girl-centric when it comes to YA. But in both categories, I’m big on reality-based stuff. No vampires here! Please ….

GLA: If I asked you for your top 3 tips on writing for kids, you would say ______ ?

AT: Don’t treat them like they're stupid, Use their language, Make it believable (like, if you’re writing fantasy, go all out—suck those kids in).

GLA: Will you be at any upcoming writers' conferences where people can meet/pitch you?

AT: No. I don’t have any upcoming conferences. But my colleagues do!

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

AT: I prefer e-mail queries: amy@signaturelit.com.

GLA: What's something writers would be surprised to learn about you personally?

AT: I just had a stroke (this year) and I’m still working … I think that says something about my love of books, my authors, and the dedication I have to this industry!

GLA: Best piece(s) of advice we haven't covered?

AT: Do your homework! Research agents before submitting to them.

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