Interview with agent Sara Megibow from KT Literary
We’re so excited to have agent Sara Megibow from KT Literary on the blog with us today.
Welcome Sara! Please tell our readers a little bit about you, such as why you became an agent?
Thanks for inviting me to this interview! I’m a huge FF&P romance fan and it’s an honor to cyber-meet you all. I live in Colorado with my husband and son and we love to hike, ski, kayak and, of course, read. My husband is the beat-boxer in the band Face and much of my style as an agent comes from living with an artist. In short, I aim to be the kind of agent I wish my husband’s band had.
I love books – always have. I love working with authors, bookstores, librarians, editors, publishers, sales reps. Being an agent is the perfect place for me in our book world and I hope to be doing this job for decades to come. My two favorite things about my job are seeing client books in bookstores and meeting readers who have become fans of my clients’ books. That never gets old!
Please tell our readers about the agency you represent.
I joined KT Literary in January 2015 and knew Kate Testerman for years before that. Kate and I spoke on a panel together at San Diego ComicCon in 2013 and have presented at various SCBWI events over the years. Kate’s mantra in publishing is all about optimism and adventure and I feel right at home with her team. Renee Nyen is the third agent on staff and she’s flat out brilliant with her years of editorial experience and boundless enthusiasm.
Something to note is that Kate and Renee represent middle grade and young adult authors. I am the only agent at KT Literary currently representing romance, erotica and new adult (in addition to MG, YA and SF/F). I’ve been a member of RWA for almost 9 years now and love this genre with all my heart.
What was the genre of your most recent release? Is this the only genre you represent?
I represent middle grade, young adult, new adult, romance, erotica, science fiction and fantasy. Within those genres I represent all sub-genres of work: historical, paranormal, contemporary, etc.
What has released recently?
In February, Jane Kindred released IDOL OF BONE – a gender-bending fantasy romance influenced by the mythology of Ancient Egypt.
In March, Derek Sullivan’s debut contemporary YA novel BIGGIE hit the shelves – about an overweight boy who tries out for the baseball team to impress his stepdad.
And coming March 31, international bestselling author Tiffany Reisz will release THE VIRGIN – the 7th book in her famous contemporary erotic ORIGINAL SINNERS series.
Happy reading to all!
Do you have any rejection stories to share? Like a manuscript you passed on that turned into a best seller? Tenacious authors who eventually found success?, etc.
I have lots of great tenacious-author stories! Of my 33 clients, each and every one kept writing even after their first rejection. Many kept writing after hundreds of rejections. Even the New York Times and USA Today bestsellers started their journeys with rejection. I say this because not one of my clients sold the first book they wrote – even Stefan Bachmann who was only 18 years old when we sold THE PECULIAR (and 16 years old when he wrote it) was on his fourth complete manuscript before landing an agent and a book deal.
My agenting motto is “Art. Patience. Discipline.” Tenacity is a wonderful character trait for an author. Keep writing!
What is your weekly routine like?
90% of my time is spent serving my current clients – answering emails, selling subsidiary rights, strategizing for their next books, negotiating book deals, plotting for release dates, reading manuscripts or proposals, balancing publicity, auditing royalty statements and payments, etc. The remaining 10% of my time is dedicated to reading queries, sample pages and full manuscripts from the slush pile.
My mom still thinks I sit around in my pajamas reading books – oh, if only that were true! J
Who first introduced you to the love of reading?
My parents. They had a library with real hardwood floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. I remember a rainy day when I was 8 or 9, pulling out THE HOBBIT and falling in love with reading. Robin McKinleys’s THE BLUE SWORD came next, and then the NARNIA books. I was hooked. My mom read for pleasure, as did my grandma – so I saw adults with a book propped in their lap and a smile on their face many many times as a child.
What influences your decision to read a submission? (the query letter, synopsis, word of mouth, etc.)
Great question! Honestly – superior writing always influences my decision to read a submission. The vast majority of my clients came from slush pile queries. The query process can feel frustrating, but it works for me. A query shows me both the pitch and the quality of writing in a manuscript and from there I ask for sample pages and then a full manuscript. I’m looking for books that I love and that I think I can sell and the best way for me to evaluate those things is to see an author’s mastery of craft in a query.
What is the biggest no no you see in submissions that makes you reject them?
The most common mistake I see in submissions is writers who send a query for a book in a genre I don’t represent. I represent middle grade, young adult, new adult, romance, erotica, science fiction and fantasy. I read tons of picture books, but I don’t represent them. So, every picture book query – regardless of quality – will receive a standard rejection letter. Same goes for self-help books, nonfiction, thrillers, horror, literary fiction and women’s fiction. It’s an entry-level mistake and by far still the most common – don’t query an agent for a book in a genre they don’t represent.
What do you see ahead in your career or the industry?
My inspiration for this job is my father-in-law. He just retired from child psychiatry after a 40+ year career and this is what I see ahead for my career. I want to be 75, raising a glass to my authors and saying say, “It’s been an honor doing business with you!” I want to enjoy years and years of working with wonderful authors, reading amazing books, celebrating each and every success.
What do I see ahead for the industry?
Well, the good news is that readers are voracious! My opinion is that HARRY POTTER raised a generation of readers and we are reaping the rewards of this right now – we have younger readers, more readers, more evidence of the benefits of reading and more formats in which to enjoy our authors’ works. The road likely won’t always be smooth, but it will be paved with adventure!
Will you share some encouraging words for authors still struggling to land that first contract?
Keep writing! The readers are out there and everyone in the pipeline is excited about brilliant books – agents, editors, publishers, sales reps, bookstores, librarians, etc. When I feel overwhelmed, I take a mug of coffee and go wander my local indie bookstore. Watching people browse, shop and talk about books in bookstores refreshes my muse. Keep writing and keep reading – books and readers are worth our struggle.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
There are great resources out there! Keep writing, keep reading and keep doing your research! A great step might be to join RWA. Romance Writers of America (RWA) is an amazing resource and in my super humble opinion the best organization for educating its authors about the publishing industry. If you query me and you are a member of RWA, please say “I’m a member of RWA” right at the top of the email.
Thanks again for having me here today! I do try to answer questions on twitter @SaraMegibow so come say hi.
Query address to submit: email@example.com
Submission guidelines: http://ktliterary.com/submissions/
For more information: www.ktliterary.com
Thanks for joining us, Sara!