Jul 8, 2009

Agent Interview- Jessica Faust of BookEnds, LLC

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.

14 comments:

Alexis Grant said...

Thanks for this! Glad Jessica posted a link on Twitter today because it led me to your blog. I'm about to sniff around now!

Jenna said...

Thanks for posting this! I love agent interviews. Not only are they interesting, they've really helped me understand the publishing world. Thanks to you and thanks to Jessica!

Kwana said...

Great interview. Thanks to you and Jessica.

DebraLSchubert said...

Thanks for this. Jessica's one of my faves. It's great to hear her views outside of her blog and website. Well done!

MonikaS said...

Great job Rick at making this blog a great tool and resource for writers.

And thank you Jessica for taking the time to answer the questions. What do you know - agents are human after all ; )

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

When I hear about the volume of queries and partials that agents receive, I am reminded how important it is for writers to be informed and have their work as polished as they can before submission. Interviews like this and blogs like Rick's are steps we can take to get our work out of the slush pile and into someone's hands. Thanks to both Jessica and Rick.

folksinmt said...

Thank you for doing this interview Rick and Jessica! Love to get a view from the inside!

ElanaJ said...

Great information. Thanks Rick and Jessica! I love getting inside the mind of an agent. :)

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Rick, for arranging this interview - I am ever impressed by your efforts to help educate (and reassure) your fellow writers.

And, thanks, Jessica, for taking some time out of your WAY busy day (phew!) to share your insights with us. They are much appreciated.

Mira said...

This is very cool - thanks so much, Jessica for taking time to do this. It's fun to learn more about you. Very generous of you to take the time.

Rick, I continue to be impressed with the Query Slushpile as a resource. I wish more people would take advantage of this extremely useful and free service!!! And it's not just a benefit to the person who is being given feedback - giving feedback is a great way to learn about queries in general.

What a great idea to do an agent interview - it may help to get the word out.

Rick Daley said...

Mira,

Thanks for your words of encouragement. The interview did draw in many new visitors. I had 204 hits yesterday. It was the highest traffic day since Nathan Bransford included the Slushpile in a TWIP post back in March.

I also had several new queries for us to feast on, including an incredible on for A PROFUSION OF WANT that I think is one of the best I've read so far.

A lot of people give me credit, but I'm just an enabler. It's the community who follows the blog that comprises its value.

Mira said...

Yes, Rick, this is an extremely valuable service. I just think the word needs to get out and stay out.

Btw, can I suggest that you put a special sidebar link to this interview at the top? So people can find it easily?

Jessica is a well-known agent, and this is an interesting interview. Those who just click in might notice it and be intrigued. With the way posts move so quickly...

Rick Daley said...

Good idea Mira. I just added it under the QUERY AND WRITING RESOURCES menu, and I moved the menu up closer to the top.

Mira said...

Cool, Rick. :-)