Finding an agent and trying to get a book published is a long and daunting process. There is a lot of information out there about different agents, but it seems like a lot of it is dated. And it's hard to know if your work is actually a good fit for each individual agent. To help make the process a little easier on everyone, I'm starting a new Agent Feature on my site. I thought of a million questions that I could ask different agents, but because I actually want the agents to respond to my email, I decided to limit it to 10 questions.
As today's agent was the first to ever request a full manuscript from me, I thought it was only fitting that she be my first feature. Today I give you
Associate Agent Danielle M. Smith from Foreword Literary
#1 - Are you open to Submissions: Yes
#2 - What Book(s) made you fall in love with reading?: My favorite book when I was little was Socks by Beverly Cleary. It's the
first book I remember a teacher reading aloud to me and also the first I
re-read multiple times. I can't wait to read it to my own kiddos soon!
#3 - What is your Favorite Book Now?: That's tough. In terms of picture books I'd have to say that my absolute
favorite at the moment would be Mustache Baby by Bridget Heos. In the
middle grade range I'd pick something by Adam Gidwitz or Juniper Berry
by MP Kozlowsky. Young Adult, anything by Patrick Ness or Beth Kephart.
#4 - What categories do you represent?: I represent picture book, early reader, chapter book and middle grade writers.
#5 - Is there anything you wish would come through your inbox?: I'm really hoping for a well written magical realism middle grade novel, think Bigger Than A Bread Box by Laurel Snyder.
#6 - Do you have any Pet Peeves for Authors to Avoid?: It really bothers me when I get a query that doesn't address me by name for some reason. Other than that I'm not overly picky.
#7 - Is there anything specific you look for in a query letter?: A
friendly and professional tone. Someone who I want to work with on a
daily basis. As well as someone who is passionate about what they've
#8 - How many Queries do you receive a week?: Anywhere between 100-200
#9 - When is it okay for an author to do a follow-up, and how do you feel about resubmissions of revised works?: If
I haven't responded after six weeks I feel it's okay to follow-up. Even
I get bogged down and need a nudge from time to time. As for revisions
and resubmissions I'd recommend not sending things again for at least
two months or more unless we've talked about a specific time frame. When
I request a revision of a book because the word count is too high or
the book needs editing in general and then I hear back in two weeks with
a new version I worry that an author hasn't worked on it enough.
#10 - Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?: Write
and read, a lot. But also get out and live life. Our writing comes from
those life experiences and if you spend too much of your time behind
your desk you may run out of experiences to share or draw from.
Also, do your research before querying. Picking an agent is important.
This is your career and your agent is your business partner in that. You
wouldn't send out business proposals to twenty random people off the
street, no matter who recommended them, without first finding out who
they were. Be sure you really know who you're sending your hard work off
to and it will pay off in the end.
You can find her:
on the Foreword Literary Blog
on her book review blog - There's A Book
and Twitter - @the1stdaughter
To Submit a manuscript to Danielle (as of 5/22/2013): Email your query pitch, followed by the first 10 pages of a completed manuscript to: querydanielle (AT) forewordliterary (DOT) com.
All information must be in the body of the email, no attachments will
be accepted. If you are submitting a picture book (no more than 1000
words): paste in the whole text. No illustrations are required at this
stage, unless you are an author/illustrator.