Interview with Agent Lane Heymont from The Tobias Literary Agency
Please welcome Lane to our blog. He is here to give our readers a new perspective from the other side. Please tell our readers a little bit about you.
Lane– My journey to becoming a literary agent is a strange, unusual one among the industry, though it’s banal in of itself. I’ve always been a reader, even at a young age. My grandfather would pay me $5 to read a book — mostly the classics. So, by age 8 I was already reading the Iliad, the Odyssey, Ivanhoe, etc. It never occurred to me, while attending college, to major in English, creative writing, or any artistic study. I was told to get degrees in business, so I concentrated in Business — psychology, too — while majoring in liberal arts. One day I saw a tweet looking for a reader, thought “I love reading, that sounds like fun”, applied, got the job, and my literary career has progressed from there.
Please tell our readers about the agency you represent.
Lane– I started my career at The Seymour Agency, and eventually moved on to form my own agency — The Tobias Literary Agency. I’m still besties with all previous co-workers and their clients. Almost all of my clients came with me to The Tobias Literary Agency. We focus on romance, fantasy, science fiction, and non-fiction. We’ve also focused on selling our current clients’ books into foreign markets, and it’s been fantastic so far!
Describe the genre of the most recent release, and is the only genre you represent?
Lane– Our most recent release is Danica Winters’ WILD MONTANA which is a romantic suspense released through Harlequin’s Intrigue line. We represent a lot of romance — and all its subgenres — but also have been selling a lot of horror lately. I like being able to represent whatever piques my interest. Lately, it’s been romance, speculative fiction, and nonfiction by celebrities.
What is your weekly routine like?
Lane– One reason I love what I do is the unique structure of my weekly routine. Each day is different. Some days I’m reading client material all day, which is awesome! Others, I’m editing, or on the phone back to back with editors, potential clients, or current clients. It sounds rather “old” or “lame” of me, but I read through queries whenever I get the chance to relax and clear my mind. It’s fun!
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
Lane– My grandfather. See #1
For authors or prospective authors: what influences your decision to read a submission: the query letter, synopsis, the plot, etc.
Lane– The query letter, absolutely. A good pitch will have me reading you work ASAP. A bad pitch may earn you an auto-rejection without me having ever read past a paragraph of your manuscript. The reason varies. Sometimes it may not even be a genre I represent, or the plot may not appeal to me. I always try to read the first paragraph even if those things pop out, but they’re a good indicator I’ll pass on the project.
What is the biggest no no you see in submissions that makes you reject them?
Lane– Calling your novel a “fictional novel”. It reeks of amateurism. A novel, by definition, is fiction. So, “fictional novel” is redundant. You don’t say you’re driving an automobile car. Nor do you write a fictional novel.
What do you see ahead in your career?
Lane– Hopefully doing this the rest of my life. Fingers crossed!
Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling for that first contract?
Lane– I tell my clients ABW. Always be writing. If you have to write ten books before you land an agent or a deal, then do it. The only difference between a published and unpublished author is persistence.
Also, how can our readers find your submission guidelines?
Lane– Readers can find our submission guidelines by visiting our website’s submissions page at www.thetobiasagency.com
Lane Heymont is a literary agent who has judged writing contests across the country and served as a faculty member at a wide range of conferences. As Literary Assistant at the Seymour Agency, Lane led the marketing efforts for their authors and enjoyed connecting clients with readers. As a lover of literature since childhood, and at the prodding of his mentor Nicole Resciniti, he decided to pursue his passion as a literary agent. He went on to help found The Tobias Literary Agency. He strives to bring incredible and thought-provoking books to the masses, culminating in reaching the number one spot on Publishers Marketplace for agents representing horror, and the Top Ten for romance. Lane represents a broad range of commercial fiction including romance and all its sub-genres, fantasy, science fiction, horror, nonfiction, and true crime.
He is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and the Association of Authors’ Representatives. He believes what John Gregory Dunne said: “Writing is manual labor of the mind.” In 2016, Lane branched out from The Seymour Agency to form The Tobias Literary Agency.
Interviewed by Nancy Lee Badger
FF&P Blog Chair