Agent Advice: Gary Heidt of Signature Literary

This installment is with agent Gary Heidt of Signature Literary (formerly of FinePrint Literary Management). He is a published poet and columnist. His librettos for composer Evan Hause's Defenestration Trilogy earned praise, and his musical comedies (he has written several in collaboration with Gary Miles, including The Feng Shui Assassin and American Eyeball) were described by The Onion as "strangely funny." He is seeking: Gary Heidt represents both fiction and nonfiction. He seeks History, science, current events, pop culture, military history, memoir, politics, cultural criticism and Fortean/High Strangeness/paranormal or deep politics. In fiction, he seeks literary fiction. He also likes techno-thrillers, hard-boiled crime, graphic novels and young adult novels with a bit of an edge to them.
Author:
Publish date:

Note from Chuck: This interview took
place when Gary was with FinePrint
Literary Management. He is now with
Signature Literary.

-------

“Agent Advice”(this installment featuring agent Gary Heidt 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 is with agent Gary Heidt of Signature Literary (formerly of FinePrint Literary Management). Gary was a John Jay Scholar at Columbia University and General Manager at WKCR-FM. Upon graduating, he returned to the nightclubs as a gigging musician. He is a published poet and columnist. His librettos for composer Evan Hause's Defenestration Trilogy earned praise, and his musical comedies (he has written several in collaboration with Gary Miles, including The Feng Shui Assassin and American Eyeball) were described by The Onion as "strangely funny." Originally from Texas, he has lived in New York City for a decade and a half.

He is seeking: Gary Heidt represents both fiction and nonfiction. He seeks History, science, current events, pop culture, military history, memoir, politics, cultural criticism and Fortean/High Strangeness/paranormal or deep politics. In fiction, he seeks literary fiction. He also likes techno-thrillers, hard-boiled crime, graphic novels and young adult novels with a bit of an edge to them. No science fiction, fantasy, cozies, romance, or historical fiction please.


GLA
: What are some recent things you've sold?

GH: 100 Girls, by Adam Gallardo and Todd Demong, a graphic novel about a girl (actually, 100 Girls) who is/are the product of a government experiment intended to create a superweapon. Another is Secret Places, Hidden Sanctuaries, by Stephen Klimczuk and Gerald Warner. Two Knights of Malta - one a globalist businessman, the other a Scottish Lord - explain some of the world's greatest mysteries.

GLA: You represent both "history" and "military nonfiction." With so many books already written in subjects such as these, what must a nonfiction book proposal have to get you interested?

GH: There is no end to history. All of history will never be written. Anything that has a great story and great characters and profound conflicts will be of interest in history. With military nonfiction, we're looking for novelistic, action-filled narratives of battles, famous or heretofore neglected, with emphasis on the characters of the combatants, and lots of detail.

GLA: If you were teaching a course on writing nonfiction book proposals, but only had 60 seconds to talk, what would you say?

GH: 1) Spill the beans. Don't try to tantalize and hold back the juice. 2) No bullshit! We learn to see right through bullshit, or we fail rapidly. 3) Write for local publications and small publications first; why does everyone want to pole-vault from being an unpublished author to having a big book contract? It makes no sense. You have to learn to drive before they'll let you pilot the Space Shuttle.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 2.57.50 PM

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.

GLA: It appears as though you gravitate toward nonfiction, but you also represent literary fiction. If you're reading a requested literary fiction manuscript, what are you looking for in the first 20 pages?

GH: There was a great first chapter of a Chuck Palahuniak novel that started out with a woman in a burning wedding gown firing a shotgun down a flight of stairs. How can you stop reading something like that?

GLA: What's another piece of advice you can pass on to writers that we didn't already cover?

GH: Get published small. Local papers, literary journals, Web sites, anything. The more credits you have, the better. And list them all (although not to the point of absurdity) in your query.

GLA: Will you be at any conferences in the future where writers can meet you?

GH: Probably. Although meeting in person isn't all it's made up to be. A really good query with some good prior credits will do just as well.

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:

Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:

Image placeholder title

Want to build your visibility and sell more books?
Create Your Writer Platform shows you how to
promote yourself and your books through social
media, public speaking, article writing, branding,
and more. 
Order the book from WD at a discount.


writer's digest wd presents

WDU Presents: 7 New WDU Courses, a Chance at Publication, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new WDU courses, a chance at publication, and more!

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

Editor is a very broad term in the publishing industry that can mean a variety of things. Tiffany Yates Martin reveals what a professional editor is and why writers should consider using one.

From Script

How to Find the Right Reader for Feedback, Writing Female Characters and Tapping into Emotionally Authentic Characters (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script Magazine, read film reviews from Tom Stemple, part three of writing female characters, interviews with Free Guy scribes Zak Penn and Matt Lieberman, The Eyes of Tammy Faye screenwriter Abe Sylvia, and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your character know they're being followed.

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Author Amanda Jayatissa discusses the fun of writing "deliciously mean" characters in her psychological thriller, My Sweet Girl.