New Client Alert — Sydney Langford
- By: Emily Forney | Date: Jun 03 2022
Name: Sydney Langford
What you Write: YA contemporary and YA rom-coms
Agent: Emily Forney
What book do you wish you had written, and why?
100% CEMETERY BOYS by Aiden Thomas! I’m in awe of the way Aiden wrote a book absolutely chock full of magic, mystery, culture, humour, and heart while simultaneously navigating tougher topics! (Plus… it has LGBTQ+ ghost romance… need I say more?)
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
In between writing, plotting, or daydreaming about my books I’m usually curled up with my dog, Rusty, and—surprise, surprise!—reading a book. I also spend a lot of my time studying American Sign Language, watching super outlandish reality TV shows, and (very poorly) dancing around my kitchen while trying new recipes.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
What’s the last book you read?
THE RED PALACE by June Hur! I’m not usually a huge fan of historical books or mystery books, so I’m honestly not sure why I chose to read something that’s BOTH lol—but this book was incredibly atmospheric and had such a rich, compelling plot. I really loved it!
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
100% a Scandinavian country—Norway or Finland, most likely. I’d love to have a cozy Nordic cabin where I could spend my days bundled up in thick sweaters, sipping steaming cups of coffee, and writing my chaotic little books. That’s the dream!
What’s your favorite quote about reading or writing?
“If a book is well written, I always find it too short.” – Jane Austen
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
“Write what you needed/wanted to read”—I think this quote is tossed around a lot in the writing community, but it’s especially true for KidLit! I write stories about complex, chaotic, marginalised teenagers because these are the kinds of books I always want and need to read! I crave a wide range of rep, from gritty, introspective books that show queer kids grappling with tough experiences; to light and fluffy books where Disabled teenagers can fall in love, be the main character, and just have fun even with limitations!
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
I’m super excited to be with an agency that seems to really care about their authors and is actively striving for more diversity in publishing! I also couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Emily!! I truly believe Emily is the best possible advocate for not only my books and also me as a queer, Disabled author!
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
My top three, “holy grail” pieces of advice are:
1) Be selective about who you choose to query. Do as much research as you can—I highly recommend these websites: QueryTracker, MSWL, and MS Wishlist—and if possible, get connected to the writing community (Twitter is fantastic for this, if you’re looking for someplace to start!) because oftentimes writers will exchange information and help each other weed out schmagents (agents who aren’t legit)!
2) After someone offers you rep, talk to as many of the agent’s clients as you can! Sometimes agents will give you contact info for a few select clients but go further than that list. DM clients on social media or use their website’s contact form if they have one—even better, try to talk to a former client and hear about their experience (if they’re willing to share!). Just remember to be respectful of their time!
3) Don’t stress over little mistakes! I’ve misspelled my name in signoffs, I’ve given agents the wrong email address, I even sent the WRONG BOOK to an agent one time… none of these things truly mattered in the long run though! Small mistakes are totally normal, so try not to lose sleep over querying blips!
What was the most important question you asked when interviewing agents?
As a marginalized author (queer and Disabled) it was super important for me to ask how an agent would champion and support not only my books, but me. I also asked a lot of questions about editing style—what changes did they envision? What’s their editorial style? What’s their turnaround time?—to help ensure we would be compatible!
How did you know your book was ready to submit?
When I felt like I couldn’t further improve upon the manuscript by myself. I went through many, many rounds of beta readers and then revisions/edits before ever querying, and when I got to the point where I felt there weren’t any substantial changes I could make to improve the manuscript—I knew it was time to query!