Wednesday, September 26, 2012

An Agent Spills...

Welcome, Linda Glaz, agent with Hartline Literary Agency

Linda, of the (several) agents I’ve (known), you are the most personable and devoted to your clients.
(Okay, you're making me blush)

Are there lines you don’t cross between yourself and your clients and your agency?

I haven't ever had any ethical lines come up, other than we don't, as an agency, handle anything with profanity or gratuitous sex. I suppose if a client came to me with something of that nature, we'd either work through it, or I'd have to release that work from the contract.

What are basic responsibilities of agents, in your heart, and are there rules from your agency about what you can and cannot do?

Our first and foremost job is to take your work and present it to an editor that we think would be a good fit. Some agents do some editing, some don't. I am a very hands on editor. Very few escape my "don't use that, just, and even so much. Too many !!!!! And too many its!" But all have survived and I like to think stand a better chance at getting pubbed because of it.

You’re also a writing agent. Do you ever feel conflicted by that?
All the time. I catch myself working on one of my stories, and I hear in the back of my head my own voice telling one of my clients not to do that, and then I have to go back and fix my own. Errrgghhh!
Did your own work have anything to do with becoming an agent?

In a roundabout way. Terry (Burns) liked the way I picked my own work apart, and he asked me if I'd like to assist him with some submissions. When an opening came up at Hartline, he suggested me for the job. I sent my resume and Joyce thought she'd give me a chance. I love it! I'm still studying contracts. While in the end, I feel an author is responsible for his signature on a contract, obviously we want to be able to let our clients know if we think something isn't in their best interest. With the industry, rights, royalties, etc., changing so quickly, it's tough to stay on top of all of it. But as an agency, we help each other out all we can, and I couldn't ask for a better place to work. Or better people to work with.

You’ve shared your routine with your clients about what you do as an agent. What can you tell Author Culture readers about what you do all day?

Oh, gracious. Well, it's a pretty similar routine. Get up, immediately check email for anything that can't wait. Then I go walk/run on the track to keep the pounds off, come back, have breakfast and eat while I check the email again. I work through some reads, though I usually save full reads for the weekend, but sometimes during the week as well. I put together proposals for clients, research where they might go, and then send them out. I try and touch bases with a couple editors a week either on Facebook or by email just to keep up with what they're buying and to keep my name in their faces. (I'm shameless) will do anything for my clients. I get a half dozen, sometimes more, submissions from newbies each day, and I give each a good read in spite of what some of them think. I answer each and every one, and if I see something I might like with a bit of revision, I send some suggestions and offer to have another look later. Then, when I can't look at one more submission, I work a bit on one of my own novels for a while and then head back to the clients' work.

Why, when, and how should authors go about finding an agent?

PLEASE research their sites. Send only what they want, but also send all that they want. Don't send me erotica. We're pretty clear on our site we don't handle it. Only wastes your time and ours. We ask for a full proposal, not a query, not sample chapters, but all of the above. Outline very clearly on site. That shows a great deal of professionalism and gets bumped to the front of the class.

Does one size fit all?

Not even a little bit. Each agent has their specialty, or specialties, and they don't want to see what they don't handle just because "it's really good and I know you'll like it" or worse yet, "God told me to write this, so you have to take it. God says so." We all want to think our inspy is inspired, but c'mon.

What makes you take on a new client, and what makes you turn prospective ones away?

Attitude is a huge part of it. Surprisingly, while we don't rep literary per se, I have found myself gravitating toward genre fiction that has a very definite hint of literary. Not enough that I have to yawn and skip pages, but enough to give true flavor, better than salt, not as strong as garlic.

Do you have to personally like the client’s work or style to represent the work?

Absolutely. Otherwise it would be like wearing a dress that's ugly to me just because it had a designer label. Yuck! I've got to sit down to read and not put it down. That will make me sign you as a client. I prefer fiction. I do rep a very small amount of nonfiction, but since I don't read it, why would I want to rep it? And I read VERY little nonfiction. I read to be entertained. So much of my life is serious, that I enjoy laughing, crying, being afraid with a character. You do those things to me well and I'll rep your book.

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What type of clients are you actively seeking now and what’s the best way to submit to you?

Go to our site and see how to put together a professional proposal for fiction. It's completely outlined on the site. Then send it to me. I usually respond initially within a few days. I will look at almost any fiction except sci-fi, spec, or literary. What I love, love, love, is romantic suspense, historic romance, suspense, thrillers if they don't include too much blood and guts and definitely don't include profanity. But I'll look at women's fiction, though it's a tougher sell to me. I don't handle a lot. Chick lit if the humor isn't forced. But scare me, make me cry, make me laugh, and I'm putty in your hands!!! Pardon the exclamation points...

What do you want to accomplish as an agent?

I want to find the next Gone With the Wind. A novel that will transcend novels. Will crossover from CBA to ABA and will be a movie before 2014. I hope, I hope, I hope. And if I might let something slip prematurely, I think I recently may have found just that book. Time will tell.

Connect with Linda:

Disclaimer: Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency currently represents two of my manuscripts. ~Lisa
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