Monday, February 23, 2015

Have You Met Linda?

Wow, so apparently you guys are as excited about me doing romance as I am! I've already gotten a bunch of submissions in various romance genres that I am looking forward to digging through when I have time...hopefully later this week.  BIG thanks to my wonderful author Kim Graff, who spread the word on Twitter and is the reason that the majority of these authors queried me.  You're the best, Kim!

As promised, I am introducing our newest agent, Linda Camacho in an interview I did with her this week.  We are very happy to have her be a part of the agency and I hope that you all enjoy getting to know her and will send her submissions :)

So tell us a little bit about your background!

I've been in publishing about ten years now. Right after I graduated Cornell, I worked at Penguin on the adult side and eventually left to pursue other things. I flirted with the idea of law school, but I missed publishing, so it wasn't very long before I decided to return to it.  Only, the job market had just begun its plummet, so I couldn't actually get a job. That led to a series of internships in various departments at Dorchester, Simon & Schuster, Random House, and Writers House literary agency.  Thankfully, Random House took pity and hired me. I've been in children’s marketing for the last five years, during which time I discovered a passion for kid lit as well—so much so, that I got my MFA in children’s writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

What made you decide to switch to agenting?

For the longest time, I wanted to be an editor.  Then I landed the internship at Writers House and my time there turned me on to the idea of agenting. Honestly, I never really understood what agents actually did until I was given the chance to see it for myself.  Editors have more stability in a corporate job, but an agent is not tied to an imprint the way an editor is.  The freedom to acquire anything I want and to foster talent from the ground up is exhilarating. You just can’t beat it.

What genres are you looking to build your list with, and are there any dream projects that you hope to see?

Hm, that’s a tough one, since I like so many things. I enjoy select literary fiction, so that’s more of an I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it scenario.  A couple of favorites are She’s Come Undone and The Kite Runner.  I also like upmarket fiction—that crossbreed between literary and commercial—like The Night Circus or The Time Traveler’s Wife.  In terms of genre fiction, I just love romance, horror, and fantasy—like Outlander, Rosemary’s Baby, Coraline, and Graceling. While I do certainly enjoy lighter fare, I could use some of the following in YA, since I don’t see a ton of it: horror, dark fantasy, and thriller. I can’t get enough of fairy tale retellings, either. And if the manuscript has diverse characters, all the better! 

As a new agent, I remember how excited I was when I first started working with my own clients.  What do you most enjoy about agenting and what kind of agent would you describe yourself as, i.e. hands-on, editorial?

In addition to the flexibility of agenting, I love to nurture talent and act as the author’s advocate 100%.  There’s no divided loyalty as an editor has with a publishing house and I’m there (ideally) for the duration of my clients’ careers, leading them every step of the way through the wilds of publishing.

Since you've worked at Random House in their marketing department, do you think this will affect the way you work with your clients?

With my background, I have a pretty well-rounded view of the whole publication process. It’s that understanding that I can bring to the table when helping to guide my clients in their decision-making.  As far as marketing specifically, I definitely have a close eye on the marketplace and am keenly aware of how a publishing house will present a project to yield the best sales possible. It will be of particular use if I need to help brainstorm with clients who might be stuck on their next project.

Do you have any insider marketing/promotion advice for authors?

I do!  Authors should keep in mind that the key to marketing is building relationships.  I've seen authors (particularly on social media) plug their work without having invested the time in engaging with others on a genuine level and it can come off as spam advertising of sorts.  Readers won’t be impressed if they’re bombarded with messages to buy your book—they’ll they feel like they’re being marketed to on an impersonal level.  Authors should give of themselves to their readers and fellow writing community before asking for anything of them.

Is there anything else you'd like authors to know about you?

I love musicals and gory horror movies. On reflection, Sweeney Todd just might be the perfect mash up of the two.  If that doesn't speak to my widely diverging tastes, I don’t know what does!