GET TO KNOW AGENT CHRISTA HESCHKE BEFORE YOU QUERY HER:
Today I would like to welcome the fabulous Christa Heschke from McIntosh & Otis to my blog. Christa has graciously taken the time out of her busy work schedule to answer some very important questions for all of us authors. If you are thinking of querying her, this is an extra special treat because she has provided us with an insight into what she is looking for right now!
Sharon: How long have you been an agent?
Christa: I have been agenting almost a year now, but have been at McIntosh & Otis over 4 years. In fact, it will be 5 years in June! Before becoming an agent I was assisting the former children’s agent. We have a nice mentoring program with our assistants at M&O; so I learned all the tricks of the trade before becoming an agent.
Sharon: What made you decide to be an agent?
Christa: As every agent will probably say as well…I have always loved to read. Though I admit, I didn’t really think of it as a career until a friend of mine suggested I intern at a literary agency in college. I did and I loved it. At that moment, I knew publishing was for me. Also, as an agent you get to see every step of the process from finding the talent, to working on editorial, submitting, seeing the finished book and watching your clients’ careers grow.
Sharon: What is the best part of your job?
Christa: Working with the authors is definitely the best part of the job! I have forged a connection with each of them and they also are always talking to each other on Twitter and critiquing each other’s manuscripts….it’s great! We’re a close-knit group. That and I really enjoy the editorial side of things. I enjoy analyzing story and character and helping my clients make their work stronger. Of course, any day when an offer comes in is a good day and I also enjoy working on foreign rights!
Sharon: What genre(s) do you represent?
Christa: I’m all over the board interest wise, but I am primarily looking for all kinds of contemporary in middle grade and YA. I’d like a light YA romance, a mystery a la Veronica Mars or a story that makes me laugh out loud (think MTV’s Awkward.) For MG, I’m looking for everything. I’d love a nice coming of age, an adventure, fantasy, humor, mystery…but again, more focused on contemporary at the moment. I’d also love a good chapter book or a character-driven picture book with a fun twist. I’ll always have a soft spot for fantasy, but I am very selectively acquiring it at the moment. For more info check out my blog: christaheschke.blogspot.com
Sharon: Are you open to submissions? If so, what is the best way to query you?
Christa: Yes. Email please! Chquery@mcintoshandotis.com Make sure to follow our agency’s submission guidelines. http://www.mcintoshandotis.com
Sharon: If you could choose one thing to be in your inbox right now, what would it be?
Christa: A funny YA or MG contemporary with heart or something similar to Reign on the CW (think Gossip Girl meets The Tudor’s). I love period shows like Downtown Abbey, The Tudors, The White Queen, anything Jane Austen etc. and I always am up for a good romance. Bring on the drama!
Sharon: What are you currently reading?
Christa: I am reading Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher.
Sharon: Is there anything else you would like writers to know about querying you?
Christa: Do your research and make sure you’re sending your project to the right agents, not only to those who are accepting your type of project, but who you think will be a fit professionally as well. I never recommend sending your project to every agent you come across. It’s important you find someone who you think you could work well with and have the traits that are important to you. We all work differently. Some agents are very editorial, some are not. There are newer agents who have more time for each of their clients and some who have more experience, but less time for their clients. You have to think about what is most important to you in an agent and query based on that.
Sharon: How many clients do you currently represent? (Which genres if that isn’t too personal)
Christa: I inherited a lot of clients when I became the children’s agent. M&O has been around since 1928 so we have a rich history and part of my job is managing the backlist and finding new opportunities for those clients and Estates. So it’s hard to put a number there. Personally, I have taken on 8 clients since becoming an agent last year.
Sharon: Are your clients informed of where their manuscripts are submitted?
Christa: Yes, it’s a partnership. I am open to my clients’ suggestions and I always give them a list of who I am thinking of submitting to and get their approval before going out on submission.
Sharon: Do you share any feedback received from editors with your clients?
Christa: Yes, always!
I hope that this blog may help answer some of the questions you may have regarding Christa Heschke. And I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Christa. Thank you very much for being a part of my blog. And for providing such wonderful, thoughtful answers to my questions.
Now writers, query away!
Don’t forget to follow Christa on twitter @ChristaHeschke
And on her blog http://www.christaheschke.blogspot.com