I’m excited to celebrate the launch of this lovely book, Mama Loves You So, by author Terry Pierce. Terry is giving away a free copy of her book, so leave a comment below to enter the drawing. Today I am interviewing Terry’s agent, Tricia Lawrence, from Erin Murphy Literary Agency.
Sarvinder: Hello Tricia Dear, Thank you for joining us as we celebrate the launch of Terry’s new board book, Mama Loves You So.
Tricia: Terry is a writer with so many talents, from early readers to picture books, to board books, which is what we’re celebrating today, and this book, be still my heart, is the sweetest board book you’ll ever see.
I know we have a lot of people who want to learn more about you as an agent. Are you an editorial agent? Do you give feedback for revisions before sending out to clients?
I am an editorial agent, alas. I have been a freelance editor for almost 22 years and I can’t stop now. 😉 Yes, but revisions are not a guarantee. Sometimes, the manuscript is ready, so out it goes. Other times, the author and I revise together.
How many queries do you average per month? What percent are picture books, middle grade or young adult?
It really varies. Sometimes, there’s a lot to go read. I would say the majority of what I read are picture books currently.
What percent of queries do you take on?
Less than 1%.
What do you see a lot of, in terms of repetitive ideas?
Too-short and too-sweet manuscripts or overly long and too-sweet. Not that sweet isn’t good, but I see a lot of that same note sweet manuscript.
What is a common mistake writers make?
Assuming that writing a picture book is easier than writing a novel.
As a picture book writer, I LOVE that answer. What are you looking for and not looking for?
I am looking for everything. I’m having to be super particular with picture books because I have to fit a new writer into a list of picture book authors (like Terry!) that I am already representing. I don’t want any of my clients to compete with each other.
What are some of your processes for considering a future client’s manuscript?
Read the text a few times, both to myself and aloud. Think about if the manuscript(s) feel too similar to what is out there on the market and then if not, think about if the manuscript(s) feel too similar to what my actual clients are already writing or planning to write.
How long does this process usually take?
It varies. For most of my submissions, I know this really quickly. Some, though, I have to sit on for a bit.
Do you respond to every query, or just those you are interested in? What is your usual response time?
I respond to every query. I am extremely backlogged from 2016. I wish I could be faster, but my actual clients and their writing and submissions must come first.
How does one submit to you? (I assume look on the guidelines of the submissions page)
I’m closed to unsolicited submissions (as is all of EMLA), so if a writer wants to query me, they should attend a conference where I’m speaking.
What spoke to you about Terry’s manuscripts when she first queried you?
Terry had a real sensibility with her texts. She has a very good sense of fun and whimsy and is able to balance the sweet with beautiful words and a cohesive theme, so it doesn’t come across as too-sweet.
What’s next for you and Terry?
Terry’s got some exciting things she’s working on that I’m very ready to talk about, but first we’re so excited about MAMA LOVES YOU SO going out to the world. It’s just a wonderful book and is just so lovely.