Every agent is a reader first so it makes sense that our list is influenced by our personal passions. Doesn’t everyone want to work on those things they love most?
When readers think of an agent’s list they most often think genre. Which makes sense, agents tend to represent genres they know the best, those they read.
I can only represent genres I understand and know the market for. Those two things undoubtedly coincide with what I read outside of the office. As a reader of upmarket fiction, suspense, thrillers, women’s fiction, and literary fiction, of course, I represent those genres. They are what I know best and what I can best guide writers through in revisions and career planning.
But an agent’s list goes far beyond genre. Every agent has certain passions that make books quick buys or instant looks for them. Heck, every reader has certain passions that help them decide their TBR.
For me, as a native Minnesotan transplanted to the East Coast, anything about MN grabs my attention. I want to be brought back to a place I love and to the people I grew up with.
Anyone querying me from MN or with a book set in MN should know that I spend extra time reading your query and if I do pass it was a difficult decision. I want to read more about my home state.
The same holds true for my other passions. Which include things like hockey, food, Sweden, dogs, wine, motherhood, and books.
Some of my favorite read in the past few years certainly represent those passions. They include BEARTOWN, THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL, and THE LAGER QUEEN OF MINNESOTA. Do you see where I’m going?
Equality, diversity, inclusivity and, generally, making the world a better place are important to me both outside work and at my desk. I’m not a politician, but I believe strongly that books make a difference and I can make a difference in the world through the books and authors I represent.
I want books that take me to other worlds and explore places and lives different from mine. Books like WHISPER NETWORK, MY SISTER THE SERIAL KILLER, SUCH A FUN AGE, AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE, and RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE have all done that for me.
Editors and Their Passions
Every reader’s TBR is a peek at their passions. Editors and agents are no different and while I’ve mostly talked about myself, let me expand to the business side of passions. When considering an editor for your book, your agent will also consider what she knows about that editor outside of just genre.
Knowing who is a dog lover versus cat lover, who has a passion for K-Pop, who is looking for a more diverse list, and who has just returned from a dream trip to Alaska can make all the difference when choosing the right editor for your book. It’s one of the many reasons an agent is invaluable to an author.