Attention Slushpile Readers:
Jessica Faust, a literary agent with BookEnds, LLC, was gracious enough with her time to respond to an interview request. Thank you Jessica!
She also maintains the BookEnds blog, which is well worth your time (if you are not already a regular reader...I see some of your names in the comments regularly.)
So without further ado...
1. What is the most recent novel you’ve read (that was not directly
related to your job as an agent)? I’ve actually just started My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Piccoult. I’m embarrassed to say this has been sitting on my nightstand since the book was first published and I’m just now getting around to it.
2. What did you like best about that book? So far the best I can say is that her writing is really amazing.
3. What is the most challenging aspect of your job these days? I think it’s keeping all of the balls in the air. My inbox right now has 300+ unanswered emails and there are a stack of requested proposals sitting in my office. Unfortunately, those all have to wait while I work with my clients to revise and edit their proposals and manuscripts (sometimes multiple times), negotiate and review contracts, and generally answer any and all questions they might have. Of course, adding the blog to my daily to-do list certainly doesn’t help keep my schedule light, but it’s something I love so I think I’ll keep it.
4. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job, overall? It’s that I get to do what I love every single day. As a child I loved nothing more then losing myself in a book and now I get paid to do just that. I admire writers because I know I don’t have the fortitude to sit and put 100,000 words on paper and have them make sense so in my mind I get to do the next best thing and it appeals more to my strengths, I get to be the right hand woman to those writers and really work with them to make their dreams become reality.
5. How do the following factors influence the genres you rep:
- Network of editors you know While there’s no doubt that comes into play the truth is that I don’t worry about it too much. If I really love a project I can always add new editors to my network and I do on a daily basis.
- Current / anticipated market conditions To some degree. Certainly, when erotic romance first started to hit big I was lucky enough to have seen it coming and have a couple of really great authors in my stable ready to go. However, as I will always say, we can’t write or agent to the market so while I’m less likely to take on a book if I think the market might be tough, if the book is really great I’m going to go for it anyway.
- Personal reading preference I think this is probably the greatest influence, but what I think authors need to understand is that it’s different then say, your personal reading preference. What I read for pleasure and how I read for work are two very different things. When I say personal reading preference with my agent hat on I mean books that I enjoy, that I get excited about and that I think I can sell. It doesn’t necessarily mean a book I can just curl up on my couch and read. That would be too easy.