The first day everyone was adjusting to the altitude (it is a mile up in the mountains) so we were all a little worse for wear, but even that could not stop us from gathering together to talk about books and authors. Every once in a while you would hear squeals from readers who had just met Julia Quinn or Courtney Milan. I met readers in elevators and hallways and their energy was so palpable that even those of us feeling under the weather could not help but perk up at the sight of their enjoyment.
Q: What are editors looking for? And are more of them requiring agents than ever before?
Editors are still looking for well written stories. That never changes. I will say that the requests for Young Adult and Middle Grade manuscripts are astounding – there is a definite opening in the market. With regards to romance, editors seem to also be on the lookout for debut authors with fresh ideas, unique voices and great hooks. Steampunk is still in the game, as are vampires.
Q: Did you speak at RomCon? If so, what was the gist of your speech? What types of books are YOU looking for? Do you foresee any new trends taking off? For examples, more medievals, more romantic suspense, less vampyres.
I did not speak at RomCon, believe it or not. I was there as a reader first and an agent second. I wanted to meet the readers and see what they were looking for, to listen to the booksellers and bloggers and to connect with editors in a fun environment. I was the only agent there, so I felt kind of special. I am looking for fun, imaginative and engaging Middle Grade. Think humor, adventure and mystery. As for YA and adult romance, I love historicals and am searching for unique paranormal and all forms of steampunk. I accept submissions at email@example.com
Q: I heard that book reviews were a hot topic at RomCon? Did you hear the same? What do you think of book reviews in magazines and blogs /websites? Are they effective? Do readers really buy based on book reviews?
I love people who review books, because it means that they are reading and I love readers. I especially love readers who are also encouraging others to read. There were quite a few bloggers and reviewers at RomCon and while some people insist that readers don’t buy books from blogs or review sites, after being at RomCon I will beg to differ. Many of the readers I met were just as excited to meet the book bloggers as they were to meet the authors, and many I chatted with have spent a great deal of money buying books reviewed by their favorite sites. I admit that I have bought many books based on reviews, tweets and Facebook updates. I have a background in marketing and as a consumer I believe that negative or positive, sometimes a book review stays with you and you just have to buy the book to see if you agree one way or the other. I believe that any exposure, especially on the web, is a free though effective tool for authors. Book bloggers, reviewers are also readers and are a very important asset to the publishing industry.
Q: Was there talk about e-books and kindles and nooks? Any new E-pubs launching lines?
I did not see a lot of talk about e-publishing, but that might just mean that I wasn’t paying attention to that part of the conference. I was too busy chasing down Julia Quinn and chatting to readers about books. Oh, and then there were fortune tellers and a buzzing craft market.
Q: Any advice for new writers?
Don’t give up. Read, write, edit and submit. If given the opportunity, revise and resubmit. Be open to learning how to develop and refine your craft, but most importantly don’t forget that even the bestselling authors were once unpublished writers looking for their big break. I am in awe of anyone who completes a manuscript. It is a difficult job to do and if you have managed to string up to 100,000 words on a page and they make some semblance of sense, I am already impressed.
Any advice for established writers?
Don’t get involved in online bickering. Promote yourself and help promote others whose books you love – it will all come back to you.
Q: What is new at the Lori Perkins Literary Agency?
There are four agents currently accepting manuscript submissions: Sandy Lu, Saritza Hernandez, Marisa Corvisiero (also an established lawyer) and myself. We have recently signed on some wonderful Middle Grade and YA authors, I am shopping around some books to be written by Fabio – yes, THE FABIO. Sandy is on fire, her sales have been amazing, and we now have an e-publishing agent, Saritza, who represents authors who are looking to establish themselves in the digital-first marketplace. She has even made deals with an e-publisher based in South Africa! Lori Perkins is no longer accepting submissions, but was delighted to have been awarded RWANYC Golden Apple Award for the 2010 Agent of the year. Most of all, each one of us is grateful to be given the opportunity to work with authors. I seriously feel blessed! There is no better job in the world than helping people to achieve their dreams.
Louise Fury is a Literary Agent at the L. Perkins Literary Agency. You can find out more about her on her blog at LouiseFury.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter @LouiseFury.
Enjoy these pictures from RomCon:
Louise as Pin Up Model