This week we have the distinct pleasure of welcoming the wonderful Louise Fury to Honestly YA. Louise is not only a great agent, but she's a fantastic person and a whole lot of fun to meet at a conference.
Take it away, Louise...
1. What book(s) spoke to you most during your teen years? Do any of them continue to influence you now as an adult, or in your career as an agent?
I loved the LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding and read THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald over and over again (*sigh*). The Diary of Anne Frank really stuck with me and I still own a copy of The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer (Spin-off novel about the character in Twin Peaks).
All of these amazing books continue to influence me in many ways. I love well written prose; strong, believable characters; bleak, dark, dangerous worlds and interesting plots. I’m particularly drawn to stories with a strong protagonist and right now I find myself drawn to horror or supernatural elements grounded in the real world.
2. When you receive requested pages, is there one specific thing you're looking for more than any other (story, voice, character)? And is there anything that's going to make those pages an automatic pass?
Every sentence should be there for a reason, every word should matter, so I usually stop reading if a book starts with someone waking up or dialogue that isn’t authentic.
I look for manuscripts that showcase an unforgettable, unique and eloquent voice. I want to be sucked right in by a memorable story. The voice can be deep, dark and gritty or literary, lyrical and emotional, but the writing must be smooth and engaging.
I love dark stories with a bone-deep sense of danger that haunts me from page 1 and doesn’t let go of me for days.
I am also looking for sexy romances with creative plots, sexy liaisons and unique characters that sweep me up in their love story and leave me smiling and sighing and longing for the romance to last forever.
And I like to cry. Or laugh. I want to feel something unforgettable when I read your pages. I want manuscripts that I can’t stop thinking about.
3. What are some traits you look for in an “ideal” client? How do you know when the agent-client partnership is a good fit?
I believe in the power of marketing and I look for authors who know how to promote themselves. I only want to work with people who are pleasant online, on the telephone and in person. I want an author who knows that this is a business and is a professional, who understands the value of an agent in all mediums of publishing. But they must have realistic expectations, be patient and not bombard me with every manuscript they have ever written.
4. What’s it like to have Louise Fury as an agent? Are you editorial or more hands-off? Do you brainstorm project ideas with clients? Help them prioritize next projects?
I think each client would answer that question differently. The same way I would answer that differently in regards to client behavior. I used to be very hands on with editing, but I found that it handicapped some of my clients into depending on me to be their beta readers, their critique partners and their editor. So I still edit, but not as much as I did in the beginning. I focus on big picture edits, common editorial mistakes and plot and character development.
I want and expect every manuscript to be better than the first.
I do a lot of brainstorming with clients and I do offer guidance and advice on prioritizing projects, but my relationship with one client differs from another.
I am also big on marketing and brand development.
Some relationships last, others do not, but this is a business and good, professional writers and agents don’t take change personally. Change is an opportunity for growth.
5. We keep hearing how crowded the YA market is. How can aspiring YA authors ensure their work stands out from the masses?
Don’t worry about how crowded the market is. Write the best book you can, focus on your strengths and keep editing. Don't write to meet a trend. Trends come and go! Good writing is ALWAYS in demand.
Don't use conversation to dump information. Authentic dialogue is not always overly descriptive and can often be MORE effective if you keep it simple. Listen and make note of conversations. Pay attention to the words people emphasize and the ones they leave out of a discussion.
Another tip: Read your dialogue out loud with a friend. Is it a conversation you might have? Does it sound like you overheard it somewhere?
Don't be afraid to try something new.
If you believe in your story and work hard, anything is possible.
Thanks so much for visiting us and sharing your great advice. I know many writers will take it to heart, and hopefully benefit by obtaining representation!
To learn more about Louise,follow her on Twitter, and check out her personal website and agency website.
To see what she's currently looking for click here.