We work in a field that has a harsh way of shaking out the dead wood, but there are opportunities in mainstream commercial publishing for new novelists as well as novelists returning to the market. All of us who write for that market know that a vital component of success is the quality of representation we receive, if we are to make those opportunities our own.
MARTIN LITERARY MANGEMENT has just added a new agent for adult fiction this week. Her name is KATE FOLKERS and she is accepting queries for complete and polished novel manuscripts. (full disclosure: I am an editorial consultant there and have been partnered with Sharlene Martin for the past sixteen years.) This is the first foray into adult fiction for Martin Literary -- who has until now limited the representation of fiction to YA, Graphic Novels, and Children's books, as represented by agent Bree Ogden -- but Kate is an established industry professional with an impressive experience base and an array of industry contacts. Tap the "Meet Kate Folkers" tab at www.MartinLiteraryManagement.com for info on her!
In my work with Martin Literary, I've read many queries from writers complaining that the agency did not accept adult novels. And yet filling an open slot for a top-quality fiction agent is far harder to do than it sounds. Sure, you can hire someone. That's the easy part. You can even train them if they are very smart and if their attitude is good. But what you cannot do is wish away the need for that unique blend of experience, training, and inherent ability that is so necessary for those who excell at that line of work.
As a writer, I've had good agents and I've had lousy ones, probably like many of you, and nobody has to explain the difference to those of us who've been there. A literary representative who actually reads your work, gets your approach, supports your writing, and knows the market in such fine detail that she perceives exactly how to fight for your particular story and manuscript is worth her weight in gold.
Still, the problem in representing adult fiction is that there is so much of it out there crying for recognition, and the more determined an agent is to give each writer an honest read, the slower the process of wading through the intake pile. It takes a very special person: one who has knowledge of the current marketplace, experience with writers of varied skill levels, a keen ability to read and absorb virtual reams of material every day, and most of all, the inherent sense of personal taste necessary to pick through the rough gems and find the ones with true potential -- all of this blended with executive-quality skills in time management necessary to cope with the tsunami of submissions inherent to the trade.
(Hot Tip!) -- Guys, check the Martin Literary submission guidelines BEFORE querying! Beat out the sloppy ones who won't bother! Mention that you came to Martin Literary by way of Red Room, and if you get picked up for representation, be sure to send Senior Editor Huntington Sharp a note of thanks for providing this portal for us to connect!
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