Monday, July 14, 2014

Agent Interview-Kathleen Ortiz of New Leaf Literary

I've decided that time permitting and agents willing, I'm going to post an interview each Monday. I'm so honored to have Kathleen Ortiz from New Leaf Literary here to answer a few questions. Please note, if you want to query Kathleen, please review her submission guidelines carefully.

Here we go!

1.) What are you tired of seeing in your slush pile, and what would you like to see more of?

I'm really not feeling any more dystopian, paranormal or sci-fi. There's so much of it out there that even if it's a really great hook, it's incredibly difficult to make it stand out not only to editors, but to booksellers as well. I'd love to find a really well-written, makes-my-heart-pound romance. And I'm always on the hunt for an awesome YA set within another culture, a la Memoirs of a Geisha.

2.) What is your pet peeve in a query, besides getting a query for something you don't represent?

It's really annoying when I get a query that is obviously rushed and not well thought out. You spent so much time writing your novel, editing, sharing with beta readers, revising, and getting it polished. Why wouldn't you give the same care and attention to your query letter, especially if the query is the first impression an agent will get of your writing and voice?

3.) What makes a manuscript/query stand out to you?

In a manuscript, I want solid voice and characters that will suck me into their lives and emotions. I want to be so invested in them, that I can't stop turning the pages. I want to feel what they're feeling,  cheer with their accomplishments, and cry (if needed) :)

With queries, a solid hook. All of my YA authors I signed through the slush pile have one main thing in common with their queries: they made me audibly gasp. Not necessarily in a "SHOCK!" way. But in a "oh my gawd. This sounds AMAZING. I absolutely MUST read it NOW." way.

4.) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers who are trying to hook an agent?

Do your research on which agents are the rights agents for you to query, and stay professional throughout the entire process, regardless if it's littered with rejections or offers or a mix. Querying is just the first step, and maintaining professionalism through every stage of the process is essential.

Lightning Round:(I wish I could do this in emojiis.... :) )

5.) One word that describes you the most:


6.) One word you hope your authors describe you as:


7.) One word that describes how you feel about Sasquatch:


8.) One word that describes how you feel about fan-girling:


 Thanks again, Kathleen, for these fantastic and informative answers!


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