“Agent Advice”(this installment featuring agent Andrea Hurst of Andrea Hurst 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 Andrea Hurst, principal at Andrea Hurst & Associates Literary Management. Andrea works with both major and regional publishing houses, and her client list includes emerging new voices and New York Times bestselling authors. In addition to working in the publishing field for over 20 years, Andrea is a published author, skilled acquisition and development editor, speaker, and literary judge for writers' conferences. She enjoys working with authors who have something worthwhile to share and are driven by their enthusiasm and desire to create books that touch lives and make a difference.
She is seeking: To query her, use e-mail queries only. She is now accepting queries for Nonfiction: Prescriptive and Narrative Nonfiction, Parenting, relationships, women’s issues, Personal growth, health & wellness, diet, Business, true crime, animals, Pop culture, humor, cookbooks, gift books, Spirituality, metaphysical, science, psychology, and self-help, Home & Garden; Fiction: Adult commercial fiction, Women’s fiction.
GLA: What's the most recent thing you've sold?
AH: Jean-Michel Cousteau and James Fraioli's Code Name: Polar Ice, with illustrator Joe St. Pierre, an interactive illustrated adventure series for children. We sold the book to Gibbs Smith, for publication in 2009.
GLA: Proposals are pretty straightforward in terms of what an author needs to include? Are there any details or aspects that you look for but writers don't include?
AH: I look for a really strong marketing section with a detailed plan on how the author will help sell the book.
GLA: Let's say a professional with a terrific platform contacts you and nicely says "I'm not a writer and I don't exactly know how this works, but here's who I am and here's my idea." Is this a situation where you contact them and give guidance and tips, or do you believe that everyone should learn how to write a proposal before contacting an agent?
AH: If the author has an amazing platform and a great idea, we will work to help educate them on how to write a book proposal. I also offer tips on my Web site to guide writers while working on their proposal.
GLA: Considering all the areas of nonfiction you look for, are there any areas where you find the volume of submissions to be mysteriously lacking? What are you looking for and not getting?
AH: I would like to see more health and parenting books by professionals working in the field. We would also like to receive some cutting-edge business books and proposals dealing with women’s issues, particularly focused on baby boomer issues such as empty nest, menopause, and starting over.
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GLA: You rep mostly nonfiction, but do take some fiction, including women's. What do you look for in a submission?
AH: With any fiction submission, I am looking for a writer who has extensive experience in the craft and understands the requirements of the genre. We look for authors who have taken the time to take classes from experts, read prominent books on writing fiction, or they have worked with a professional editor or critique group to polish the manuscript.
GLA: You accept young adult. Do you also take other juvenile areas such as tween, middle grade and picture books?
AH: My associate, Judy Mikalonis, accepts limited middle grade, so, YA yes. Tween yes. Limited middle grade and no picture books. Writers querying her show know that Judy is looking for a fresh, authentic voice, amazing writing and a transformational message. A big, original hook always helps, but without the authentic voice, amazing writing and transformational message, the hook is irrelevant. YA submissions tend to be 98% unoriginal and a hook is irrelevant without the voice, the writing and the message.
GLA: Best piece of advice regarding something we haven't discussed?
AH: I suggest that all writers take the time to learn the business of writing. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published is a quick and thorough way to learn the business from industry professionals. Go to writers' conferences. Meeting agents and editors in person is an extremely valuable experience.
GLA: Will you be at any conferences in the future where writers can meet and pitch you?
AH: I will be at the Writer’s Digest Books Writers' Conference in Los Angeles in May 2008. Check our Web site for all the conferences my associates will be at throughout the year.
Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers Conferences:
- Feb. 11, 2017: Writers Conference of Minnesota (St. Paul, MN)
- Feb. 16–19, 2017: San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA)
- Feb. 24, 2017: The Alabama Writers Conference (Birmingham, AL)
- Feb. 25, 2017: Atlanta Writing Workshop (Atlanta, GA)
- March 25, 2017: Michigan Writers Conference (Detroit, MI)
- March 25, 2017: Kansas City Writing Workshop (Kansas City, MO)
- April 8, 2017: Philadelphia Writing Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
- April 22, 2017: Get Published in Kentucky Conference (Louisville, KY)
- April 22, 2017: New Orleans Writers Conference (New Orleans, LA)
- May 6, 2017: Seattle Writers Conference (Seattle, WA)
- May 19–21, 2017: PennWriters Conference (Pittsburgh, PA)
- June 24, 2017: The Writing Workshop of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Aug. 18–20, 2017: Writer's Digest Conference (New York, NY)
Other writing/publishing articles and links for you:
- A Day in the Life of a Querier.
- 170 Agent Interviews and Counting -- Read Them Here.
- Revisions: What Every Writer Should Know.
- 10 Questions to Ask an Agent Before You Sign.
- Sell More Books by Building Your Author Platform.
- What You Need to Know When Writing a Novel Synopsis.
- 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.
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