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Andrea Hurst and Associates
by:  Andrea Hurst, Andrea Hurst and Associates; Andrea Hurst Literary Management
e-mail:  info@andreahurst.com
web:  http://www.andreahurst.com, www.facebook.com/pages/Andrea-Hurst-and-Associates/174459902871
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The Literary Experts With over 25 years experience as a literary agent, professional editor, and bestselling author, Andrea offers a full suite of services to guide you to publishing success.
May 20, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with bestselling author Jaye Wells

Jaye Wells is a former magazine editor whose award-winning speculative fiction novels have hit several bestseller lists. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, and is a sought-after speaker on the craft of writing. When she’s not writing or teaching, she loves to travel to exotic locales, experiment in her kitchen like a mad scientist, and try things that scare her so she can write about them in her books. She lives in Texas. For more about her books, upcoming events, and writing craft articles check out http://www.jayewells.com.

As a bestselling author, do you feel pressure to succeed and outdo yourself with each new book? If so, how do you deal with the stress?

I used to feel that way, but I’ve learned the hard way that is the path to burn out. Now, I focus more on process and writing the best book I’m capable of writing and letting the rest work itself out. It’s also important to keep up with self-care when writing. I do yoga, meditate, go for long walks, and make sure I’m getting enough time with friends and family to make sure I’m balanced.

What is it about speculative fiction that makes it so fun to write? How did you first get into this genre? What authors inspired you?

Speculative fiction genres allow me to write about real world problems, conflicts, and characters using metaphors. Plus, it’s just plain fun.

I got into writing paranormal stories about a decade ago. I took a writing class because I decided it was time to finally try writing instead of just talking about it. The teacher advised us to look at our bookcases and see which sorts of books we read the most. As it happened, I had shelves filled with tons of vampires stories—ranging from Anne Rice to Sherrilyn Kenyon to Bram Stoker. I’d never realized before that moment how much I enjoyed reading those stories. I decided to write my own vampire story, and pretty much never looked back. Although, I should say that over the years, my main subject matter has evolved from vampires to magic users.

It’s said that you like to “try scary things so [you] can write about them.” What kinds of “scary things” have you tried and how have those experiences influenced your writing?

That quote mainly referred to all of the training I did for my Prospero’s War series. My main character, Kate Prospero, is a cop, so I signed up for a couple of different police academies, which required me to drive cop cars at top speeds and do ride-alongs in the middle of the night. It was a lot of fun, but I probably would have talked myself out of it had I not needed the experience for a book.

You’ve composed many blog posts and Youtube videos about the craft of writing. Why do you find Youtube and blog posts to be such effective mediums for your message? Have you ever thought about writing a book about the craft?

They’re good mediums for me because I can easily put up new material every week. They’re both also easily shareable. The Youtube video series is a new addition and I’m really enjoying it. I keep each of the lessons under ten minutes so they’re easy for people to watch when they need a little inspiration.

You’ve written about writers needing to be more flexible. What strategies do you have for writers who are looking to get out of their comfort zone? Do you ever struggle with flexibility? Why is being flexible so important?

Flexibility is important in that every book offers new challenges. The more tools a writer has in their toolbox, the easier it is to duck and weave when new problems pop up. I also think we have to be less invested the in the mythologies we create about our writing. If you tell yourself that “real writers” don’t do this or that you could be actively working against your own progress. We get too invested in “shoulds” and acting like writing has to feel like punishment to be legitimate that we forget that writing can and should be fun a lot of the time. Being flexible allows more space for play.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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April 15, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with Acquisitions Director Lynn Price

Since 2003, Behler Publications has been publishing best selling and critically acclaimed memoir/nonfiction about everyday people who end up doing extraordinary things due to a pivotal event that alters their perspective about life. Acquisitions Director Lynn Price looks for books where readers say, "I'm a better/more thoughtful/smarter person for having read this book."

Bestsellers include Jan’s Story, by CBS journalist Barry Petersen, Finding Dad by Emmy Awarding winning and Better Connecticut TV host Kara Sundlun, Fancy Feet, by PNWA attendee Heidi Cave, and You Let Some GIRL Beat You?: The Story of Ann Meyers Drysdale.

In between her editing duties, Lynn is the irreverent voice of the Behler Blog, and employs two unreliable rescue beagles to serve as her secretaries.

How did you first get into book publishing as a career choice? What advice do you have for someone looking into this career path?

The short answer is that we were insane and looking to see how far we could go before our collective heads blew up. The longer answer is that I was publishing a novel through a now-well-known author mill publisher. I was grousing to my husband about how I could do a better job than these yahoos. He looked at me…and I looked at him…and asked, “Oh dear, are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Seemed he was, and Behler Publications was born…so named after one of my main characters, Erik Behler. Without him and that novel, none of this would have happened. What advice would I give? That’s easy: Get thee to an experienced mentor who’s well-established in the industry; raise a ton of money…and I do mean a ton; be very clear about your company’s vision and what genre you want to publish; understand that genre’s marketplace; get excellent distribution. It’s vital to know what you’re doing because you carry the literary futures of your authors, and it’s criminal to take their work and screw it up by not properly editing, marketing, promoting, and distributing their works. Being a publisher isn’t for the faint of heart.

Your company, Behler Publications, focuses primarily on memoir and biography. What is it about these genres that make them such fascinating reads?

I’m a sociology major from ‘way back, so I’ve always loved stories about what the common person does with uncommon circumstances. Life can drop some pretty dramatic events in our laps, and we can either let them rule us, or we can transcend our experiences and come out much more thoughtful, wonderful people. I draw so much inspiration from our authors and the incredible journeys they’ve traveled. Very humbling…and it’s an honor to be a part of their lives, if only in a literary sense.

Behler Publications is a member of Consortium Book Sales and Distribution. Can you tell us a little more about that relationship and how it has benefitted the company?

Love, love, love Consortium to pieces. They have allowed our footprint to grow ten-fold through their in-house sellers and regional sales teams. Each season, we have a marketing meeting that consists of about twelve Consortium folks – marketing, promotion, VP’s, catalog, etc. This is where we introduce each new upcoming title. We discuss cover art, the title, the hot points that make each book a “gotta have it.” They ask tough questions that really make me consider the marketability and size of audience of each title. It’s helped me a great deal with new submissions because I look at each new project with the inevitable questions I know Consortium will ask. Additionally, they have resources that aren’t available to the un-repped publisher. I’ve gotten some of our authors into exclusive conferences where they can meet and greet with the booksellers in a given territory – thank you very much, regional teams! It’s not uncommon to get an email from someone at Consortium saying they read an article and instantly thought of one of our books and I should send so-and-so a copy of the book. Beyond all that, they’ve gotten our books into bookstores all around the country – and that’s not an easy task, given the limited shelf space of most stores these days.

What is the number one thing you look for in a good memoir submission?

The subject matter comes first. I’m always looking for “the twist.” What I mean by that is, say, the medical memoirs are a dime a dozen, but if your topic covers something that few have written about, you’ll get my attention. For example, one of our new releases is A Chick in the Cockpit by Erika Armstrong. I fell in love with this story because here you have this powerful woman whose single-minded determination has her sitting in the captain’s seat of the big gun jets. But that same single-minded determination was also her undoing. It’s those polar opposites that make me sit up and take notice because it’s something that can happen to anyone. The second thing I look for is the quality of writing. You’ve got to know what you’re doing! Lastly, I look at author platform. I know it’s a dirty word, but for memoir, a strong platform is vital. You can have a great story, but if no one knows you, then it’s awfully hard to launch you in this media-driven world.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see memoir writers make?

Far and away, most authors don’t do any research about their competition. They sit down and bang out their story, never knowing if the subject matter is highly impacted because they haven’t read any books in their topic. This would be the cancer stories, aging, divorce, addiction, death…the bookshelves are loaded with them. This is because authors don’t take the time to learn about the industry they want to be a part of. It’s frustrating because the Internet is bursting with writers sites and forums that are geared toward educating the new writer.

You are also the author of The Writer’s Essential Toolbox, winner of the 2010 USA Book News Literary Award. What prompted you to write this book?

I used to do a ton of writer’s conferences, and gave a lot of seminars about the tips and pitfalls of sitting on my side of the desk. I constantly had authors asking me why I didn’t write a book about these seminars, so I finally sat down and did it.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog.

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March 25, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with author Suzanne Kelman

Suzanne Kelman is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright and the author of The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, being released March 29th. Her accolades include The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences- Nicholl Fellowship Finalist, Best Comedy Feature Script- L.A. International Film Festival and Gold Award Winner- California Awards.

You’re about to have your novel, The Rejected Writer’s Book Club, re-released by Lake Union Publishing. What has the process of working with a publisher versus self-publishing been like for you?

First, it’s such an incredible honor to be picked up by such an amazing publisher and secondly it’s wonderful to have a team behind me for all the stages of creating that book. Lake Union is a fantastic publisher, and they have all worked hard and created something we are all very proud of. I also loved being an Indie, because I had an opportunity just to get my work out there, so I am grateful for the times we live in, where being an Indie writer is a possibility.

What was your favorite part of writing The Rejected Writer’s Book Club? What was the most challenging part?

My favorite part is writing the characters and the humor that comes from that creative process. They will often surprise me with one-liners that will make me laugh out loud as I write them. I also love moving through the adventure of the story. Me and “the girls” start out together with our backpacks and flashlights prepared for anything. I actually never really know clearly what we will encounter in the outback of story-dom. I have a vague idea of the storyline, but it is their unique character traits that create the twists and turns they experience along the way. My least favorite part is editing; it’s like tidying up in the morning after a raucous party the night before. You can’t believe the mess you got into having such a great time, and you’re pretty sure you’re not going to get that wine stain out of the carpet.

The new book cover looks fantastic! Can you tell us a bit about the process of selecting it?

It actually went through four or five rounds of approval until we all agreed on the cover we all loved. Funny enough, Andrea loved the stacked tea cups from the beginning. All the cover ideas the team came up with were great; it was just a matter of pinning it down for branding and the right esthetics that we all felt complemented the series.

Where did you get the inspiration for Janet Johnson and the other members of the quirky book club? If given the chance, would you spend time having tea and lemon cake with these women in real life?

I already spend time in real life with characters just like this. Living in a small town is like that; you learn to love and appreciate everyone, even the eccentric members of a group. But friendship and a desire to bond is the center of any small town, and there are no finer people to rally around you in an emergency. Janet was my window into the world of small-town eccentricities from an outsider’s point of view. I am British and moved to my town from a big city in England, so I understand what it felt like to jump into such a unique melting pot.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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March 15, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with YA author Rysa Walker

Rysa Walker grew up on a cattle ranch in the South, where she read every chance she got. On the rare occasion that she gained control of the television, she watched Star Trek and imagined living in the future, on distant planets, or at least in a town big enough to have a stoplight. She is the author of the bestselling Chronos Files series. Timebound, the first book in the series, was the Young Adult and Grand Prize winner in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Rysa currently lives in North Carolina, where she is working on her next series. The first book in the series, The Delphi Effect, will be published by Skyscape in October 2016. If you see her on social media, please tell her to get back into the Writing Cave.

You’ve had a variety of jobs, from a water slide lifeguard to a professor of history and government. What first attracted you to writing fiction as a career?

I’ve always written. When I worked at the water slide, I wrote poetry and song lyrics in my head while watching the pool. One thing I enjoyed most about academia was writing articles and course modules. Timebound was written while I was still teaching college. Writing fiction was always my dream job, but I didn’t think it was feasible as a career for a very long time. And I may have been correct on that front. There are a lot more people making a living as authors today than even ten years ago, so maybe it’s a good thing I waited.

Your first novel was self-published before you signed with Amazon’s Skyscape Publishing. How was your experience with self-publishing different from working with a publisher?

For one thing, Skyscape is much better at marketing than I am. Timebound got a phenomenal start thanks to placement as a Kindle First selection, back when the program first started. I really do think that’s the best launch a new series can get. I’ve also had the advantage of a wonderful team of editors and great cover design. When I first self-published Time’s Twisted Arrow (the original title), it was just me and a volunteer editor. I created the cover, and my skills in that regard were pretty abysmal back then.

Another thing I really love about being with Skyscape is that they have been great about letting me self-publish shorter works. There are three novellas in The CHRONOS Files, and doing these on my own allowed me to keep one foot in the indie world.

In your series The CHRONOS Files, historians travel to the past to witness history right before their eyes. Do you feel like your PhD in Political Science with a focus on Political History plays a large role in your writing?

The history side of the degree definitely played a major role in The CHRONOS Files. One motivation I had for writing Timebound in the beginning was that so many of the students who arrived in my history classes were already convinced that history was a major snooze.

The key reason? Their teachers--probably in an effort to prepare them for an end-of-grade test--left out all of the bits that make history fun. Yeah, you have to learn about the presidents and the wars and the economic crises and all of that...but you also need to learn the other parts that make those eras come alive. For a lot of students, that means bringing in the things they’re interested in--the music and other forms of popular entertainment, the fashion, the scandals, and even the serial killers.

Lecture about a guy who murdered as many as 200 women in a hotel that was as bizarre as anything in fiction, and suddenly the kids who were half asleep are listening again. Tell them that a woman who was a blackmailer and the first female stock broker in the US also ran for President in 1873 and you can teach a lot of other stuff about the Gilded Age before they doze back off. But all of the good parts were being left out in middle and high school, and sadly, many of them still are.

The political science side will come into play a bit more in the next series...but only peripherally.

Blending science fiction with history makes for an engaging read. How did you come up with the idea of mixing the two?

I’ve been a science fiction fan since I saw my first episode of Star Trek and I taught history. Add those two together, and you’re going to get time travel pretty much every time.

How much of your time is spent researching? What is your overall process for researching and eventually writing the story?

I research general ideas before beginning a book, but much of it happens as I’m writing and looking for more details to make the characters and the locations more vivid. I like to research just before I write a historical scene because the location feels more real to me, especially if there are pictures or videos that can help set the mood in my mind. And then I can walk through the scene as I write it.

The bad part about that process is that it can contribute to “squirrel brain.” I set out to see if a slang word would have been used by Victoria Woodhull in 1873 and end up clicking on a link about the spiritualist craze in that era, and then I’m looking at the Fox Sisters and Harry Houdini and soon I’m five decades away from what I was researching in the first place. But those journeys can also lead to some interesting connections, so I allow the internet to lead me down the rabbit hole sometimes.

Your first book in the CHRONOS File series, Timebound, won both the Young Adult and Grand Prize in the 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Congratulations! How did this achievement impact you and your future writing? Your career?

It’s not an exaggeration to say it made my career. Time’s Twisted Arrow was doing okay for a debut self-published book, but with a demanding full-time job, I didn’t have the time to market it the way I needed to, or the time to write a sequel. (It took about five years to write the first book.) The grand prize was almost exactly what I made in a year of teaching. That gave me the confidence (and the money!) to quit my day job and focus solely on writing the sequels. It also gave me the wonderful team that I have at Skyscape. It was an incredible contest and I met some wonderful people, both on the boards as we nervously awaited the cuts at each stage, and at the ceremony in Seattle when I met the other finalists, who also won contracts and an advance with various Amazon Publishing imprints.

What made you decide to write for a younger audience? What are some of the challenges you have faced in writing for YA readers?

I have a teenager as my protagonist, so the series is YA. But I don’t write for a younger audience. I tried to, at first. Kate, the heroine in The CHRONOS Files, was initially going to be younger, but she pretty quickly informed me that she was nearly 17 and that I was writing her all wrong. She was right. If I’d stuck with the plan, I’d have ended up “writing down” in some sense, trying to shape my ideas for the average 12-15 year old. And it just wasn’t the story I had in my head.

I do have readers that are teens (even some tweens), but most of my readers are actually adults who enjoy YA. I was a little surprised at that fact initially, although I really don’t know why. I enjoy YA fiction and I wrote the books that I wanted to read. The teen years and early adulthood are the best canvas for the type of story I like--one where the protagonist faces changes and growth and big decisions.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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February 10, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with cover designer Monica Haynes

Monica Haynes has been an avid book enthusiast since reading Hooples on the Highway, her first non-picture book, in 2nd grade. She’s tinkered on computers since the 1980s when the Commodore 64 provided hours of programming joy. FYI – her parents still own the original monitor. She married a fellow book enthusiast and plans to organize a family book club once her children move past the “See Spot Jump” stage. Monica possesses a BA in Photojournalism from Western Kentucky University.

You’ve been a book lover from a very early age. Do you credit anyone with fostering your love of reading?

Yes, books have always been a big part of my life thanks to my parents. They read to my brother, sister, and I every night and provided us with plenty of books and trips to the library. Those trips to the library were monumental—we cleared shelves. Why don’t libraries provide shopping carts? Someone needs to make this happen!

What drew you to working in the book business? To designing covers for authors?

I like to say that I’m a recovering college registrar after spending a decade in the education business. There’s not a lot of creativity in that vocation, you know? I left my job after the birth of my second child (because daycare expenses are astronomical!) to become a stay-at-home mom. Two years into my new “occupation,” my husband bought me a Kindle. This gift changed my life.

Instead of juggling armloads of library books, I downloaded them to my Kindle. Literally overnight (pun intended), a book-centric world opened up and for the first time ever, I had an endless supply of reading material, my very own version of heaven. I read self-published, mainstream, science fiction, romance, historical fiction, how-tos, memoirs, and more. And finally, by some strange twist of fate, I stumbled across M.L. Gardner’s 1929. You know that afterglow you get after reading a really good book—that immense satisfaction followed by an emptiness because you’ve had to say goodbye to your new book friends? I distinctly remember thinking THIS is how a book should be and seeking M.L. Gardner out on Facebook for information about her next release.

It was around this time, M.L. Gardner posted an ad for an assistant and after much consideration, I applied and landed the job. What started out as an administrative/marketing position evolved to include the designing of her Facebook banners and eventually her book covers, too. Because of M.L. Gardner’s belief in me, The Thatchery was born and my new career path was launched. My parents sang the Hallelujah Chorus in celebration of my utilizing that expensive college degree, which, by the way, was a BA in photojournalism and where I learned layout, design, and photography.

Through your business, the Thatchery, you design award-winning covers and offer various graphic services to writers. Can tell us a little about what you do?

The Thatchery provides authors with a full-service design experience. While working as a personal assistant, I discovered that authors required both book covers and accompanying marketing materials. If an author needs a social media, website, or newsletter banner to promote their new release, I’ve got that covered. If they want Pinterest-friendly designs like graphic quotes, or 3-D book covers, I can deliver. I even offer bookmarks and Squarespace website design. If it’s not in the shop, just ask—I’m sure I can make it happen.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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A R C H I V E / H I G H L I G H T S

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with bestselling author Sophie Moss
originally posted: December 9, 2015

Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of five full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heartwarming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she's working on her next novel. When she's not writing, she's testing out a new dessert recipe, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemossauthor@gmail.com or visit her website sophiemossauthor.com to sign up for her newsletter.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? When did you start writing professionally?

I discovered my passion for writing in college and started writing my first novel when I was nineteen. After the release of my third book in 2013, I was able to quit my day job and start working as a full-time author. I am incredibly grateful that I’m able to do what I love for a living!

Do you have a writing process that works best for you?

I wake up at 5am, and I’m usually at the computer by 5:30am. My most productive writing time is between 5-10am so I write a lot during those hours. After that, I do as many one-hour writing sprints as I can until about 4pm with plenty of breaks to exercise, run errands, and work in the garden.

Why did you choose to go the series route with your novels?

I love reading series and I love writing them. Even though each of my books features a new couple’s love story, the couple from the previous book always plays a role in the storyline. I love getting to know the characters better. I love seeing how they evolve as a couple after their initial happily ever after. And, most of all, I love slipping back into a setting and community that I’m familiar with. I think that’s what a series offers readers—a comforting familiar place where we can reconnect with old friends.

In one of your blog posts, you address the fear of writing that next book. As a USA Today bestselling author, do you feel driven to keep outdoing yourself? How do you deal with the pressure to please your readers with each new book?

I absolutely feel pressured to keep outdoing myself. I take my craft very seriously and I do everything I can to improve my writing with each new book. I also take the promise I make to my readers very seriously. My readers have come to expect a certain type of story from me—a compelling plot, realistic characters with good morals and kind hearts, a sweet small town setting with a tight-knit community, and an emotionally satisfying ending. It’s very important to me that every book I write delivers that same experience and fulfills that same promise.

Your Seal Island Trilogy is rooted in the Irish myth of selkies. What attracted you to that folklore?

I spent a summer in Ireland when I was in college and fell in love with the country, especially the islands off the west coast. I knew I wanted to set a story there, but I wasn’t sure what it would be about until I returned to the States and discovered the movie, The Secret of Roan Inish. Captivated by the idea of mystical seals who could transform into beautiful women on land, I knew the selkie legend would be the perfect backdrop for a mysterious, magical romantic series.

Your first book in the Wind Chime series, Wind Chime Café’, is full of mouthwatering dishes. In your opinion, what makes food such a great addition to a story?

Wind Chime Café is a heartwarming story about finding love, healing, and community again after enduring a life-changing tragedy. Food brings people together. It sparks conversation. It offers nourishment and comfort. Kitchens are generally warm, welcoming environments where everyone gravitates to pick up some of that comforting, caregiving energy. Weaving cooking scenes and recipes into this book just seemed like a natural fit.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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AUTHORNOMICS Interview with literary agent Rita Rosenkranz
originally posted: November 9, 2015

Rita Rosenkranz founded Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency in 1990 after a career as an editor with major New York houses. She handles almost exclusively adult non-fiction titles. Her list includes health, history, parenting, music, how-to, popular science, business, biography, sports, popular reference, cooking, writing, spirituality, and general interest titles. Rita works with major publishing houses, as well as regional publishers that handle niche markets. She looks for projects that present familiar subjects freshly or lesser-known subjects presented commercially. Her books include STEPHEN HAWKING: An Unfettered Mind by Kitty Ferguson (Palgrave Macmillan); FORBIDDEN FRUIT: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad by Betty DeRamus (Atria Books, essence.com bestseller); OLIVE TREES AND HONEY: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World by Gil Marks (Wiley, 2005 James Beard Award winner) and 29 GIFTS: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker (Da Capo Press; New York Times bestseller). She is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), The Authors Guild, and Women's Media Group. www.ritarosenkranzliteraryagency.com.

You founded Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency in 1990. Can you tell us a little about your journey to becoming a literary agent?

I had entered publishing as an editorial assistant at Random House (now known as Little Random), and then worked as managing editor at Scribner's and finally as editor-in-chief at Outlet, which was then the promotional book division of Crown. I grew increasingly interested in autonomy--the chance to make my own decisions about which authors to work with and the kinds of risks I wanted to take. I knew as an agent I'd still have a chance to work with authors editorially, which I had enjoyed in my various editorial positions.

Your agency represents primarily non-fiction titles in a variety of subject areas such as health, parenting, music, cooking, popular science, and even sports! Why did you choose to specialize in non-fiction titles?

I had worked with mostly non-fiction authors for the bulk of my career and knew that publishing terrain best. I found it easier to identify the need for these projects in the marketplace and to pitch them to publishers.

Are you branching out to accept fiction queries as well?

Yes, I am. Occasionally, a non-fiction author I represent writes fiction, too, and in those cases the transition has been organic and smooth--though I generally do not court fiction.

What are some of the benefits of having a literary agent in your corner? Do you recommend that all authors find an agent before publishing?

Agents are the author's most vocal advocate and look to protect the author's interests whenever there is controversy (e.g., editorially or with the cover design or publicity). The agent/author relationship goes well beyond helping with the proposal, placing the work and negotiating the contract.

Many trade houses will not even look at unagented work. For a book with a trade--mainstream--market, I'd recommend an author look for an agent once the proposal is refined and ready to be reviewed if agents express interest.

You’re considered one of the first literary agents to work with self-published authors. How do you think the rise of self-publishing is affecting the industry? How has it changed your business model?

As far back as the '90s, I think, I began to represent self-published non-fiction authors. Today, publishers--and agents--troll bestseller lists for self-published work that stands out. These deals are now commonplace. It seems the stigma no longer applies to self-publishing and I remain open to reviewing self-published work.

What are the key points you look for in a quality nonfiction submission?

I look for well-crafted proposals that make clear the book’s intentions, how the book is different from and better than the competition, how well the author is paired to the subject, and the author’s ability to promote the work. For me the best pitches start a conversation on a topic that had been wrongly overlooked or furthers the conversation on a topic that deserves more coverage.

A platform is particularly important with nonfiction writers. What do you think are the key marketing points an author must have to help secure a sale?

As much as publishers seem unclear how much social media actually helps sell books, they want authors to be well networked through social media. But regardless, authors need to prove their connection to their market, which might include a lecture circuit with back-of-the-room prospects, TV and radio experience, internet courses, etc. The yardstick is different for each category.

For more of this interview and others, please visit our blog at http://www.andreahurst.com/blog/

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A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R

ANDREA HURST, President of Andrea Hurst & Associates
www.facebook.com/pages/Andrea-Hurst-and-Associates/174459902871
Andrea works with both bestselling and emerging new authors to help polish their work, obtain publication, increase sales, and build their author brand.
She brings over 25 years experience. She is a developmental editor for publishers and authors, a bestselling Amazon author, an instructor for the MFA creative writing program at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and a webinar presenter for Writers’ Digest. As a literary agent, she selectively represents high profile adult nonfiction and well-crafted fiction. Her clients and their books have appeared on the Oprah Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, National Geographic network, and in the NY Times.

For serious writers and professionals in need of assistance polishing, developing, and evaluating their book for publication and beyond, she offers the services listed on the right sid