I’ve got another great one for you. Today’s INTERACTIVE interview features Tamar Rydzinski of Laura Dail Literary Agency. Details on the interactive part are at the bottom. Happy reading!
KV: How long have you been agenting, and how did you get into it?
TR: I've been agenting for just over five years, though I was an assistant for a couple of years before that.
In college, I majored in English Lit and minored in business. During my junior year, my mother's friend, who's a well-established author, said to me, "You know, I think you would love being an agent." So she helped me get an internship at her agency (Curtis Brown) and I did love it! So when I graduated, I pursued a job in publishing. And am still incredibly grateful to my mom's friend.
KV: How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?
TR: My agenting philosophy is basically find books I love, work hard on them with the author, sell them. And if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. I've had a few cases where I submitted one book, which didn't work, then went on to sell the second book.
I expect trust. I expect respect. I expect authors to realize that I am working hard and have many demands on my time. And I give the same in return.
KV: What client work do you have coming out soon? What drew you to those writers and/or projects?
TR: I have some incredible projects coming up! BLOOD ON THE MOON by Jennifer Knight is being published by Running Press this summer. It's a great young adult story with werewolves and vampires and a girl stuck in the middle. I was drawn to this one because it had that quality to it where I just didn't want to stop turning the pages. Plus, I read it right after I finished the Twilight series and I was always team Jacob, and in this one, the werewolf gets the girl.
QUEEN OF GLASS by Sarah Maas is being published by Bloomsbury next winter. It's a young adult fantasy about a teenage girl who ends up in a competition to become the kingdom's top assassin. I was drawn to this because of the author's incredible imagination. I read this and was completely awed by the world building. How can you not love a book that turns Cinderella into an ass-kicking, magic-wielding princess? Oh, did I not mention this is a fairy tale retelling? It is. I love those!
And I just sold an incredible book to Tor: DELIA’S SHADOW by Jaime Lee Moyer. It's an historical fantasy that takes place during the San Francisco World's Fair in 1915 and has ghosts and a serial killer. And some truly amazing writing.
KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?
TR: I don't represent picture or chapter books. I do an incredibly limited amount of practical nonfiction, though I do like cookbooks. I'm generally not the right agent for humor. And literary fiction would have to be very up-market to appeal to me as an agent.
I do love YA, middle grade, women's fiction of all kinds, narrative nonfiction, science fiction and fantasy.
KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?
TR: I know I have a tough name, but get it right! And check our agency guidelines. And make sure you read your query over and over looking for mistakes. If you don't have the patience to get your query letter right, it tells me that you don't have the patience to be a writer.
Also, please tell me about your book in the query letter. I can't know if I want to read it if you haven't told me anything about it.
KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now? What are you tired of seeing at the moment?
TR: I'm looking for a good hook with great writing. I know, that's what everyone says. But the truth is that I'm not looking for anything specific. Just something to fall in love with.
KV: What’s the best way to query you?
TR: E-mail: email@example.com. Query letter and five sample pages. No attachments.
Thanks again, Ms. Rydzinski, for these wonderful responses. And cashew gallery (because you guys are a million times better than plain peanuts), doesn’t that line-up of forthcoming titles sound intriguing? (Okay, maybe not so much for you contemporary writers. But we fantasy and sci-fi folk are suitably excited.)
And now on to the main event! If you have questions for Ms. Rydzinski, feel free to leave them in the comments section below. She’ll pop in once this morning and once this afternoon to leave her answers. I’m cutting questions off a little early today (since Ms. Rydzinski has a meeting), so if you want to get a response, make sure you leave your comment before 3:00 p.m. EST (which is 12:00 noon PST).
Have at it!