GET TO KNOW AGENT DANIELLE SMITH BEFORE YOU QUERY HER:
Today I would like to welcome the fabulous Danielle Smith from Red Fox Literary Agency to my blog. I have had the pleasure of interacting with Danielle on several occasions over the past year and I can honestly say that she is one of the nicest, most savviest people I have ever met. Her genuine love for kid lit shines through in everything she does. I truly appreciate her taking 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!
How long have you been an agent?–
In March of 2013 I began working as an agent, but recently moved to Red Fox Literary to work with established children’s literary agents, Abigail Samoun and Karen Grencik.
What made you decide to be an agent?
– Over six years reviewing and writing about books and working with authors through marketing and publicity as well as a lifelong love for writing led me to the career I now find myself lucky enough to be a part of.
What is the best part of your job?
– Encouraging and working with the authors I’m passionate about.
Are you open to submissions? If so, what is the best way to query you?
– Take a look at our agency submissions page for the current query guidelines and contact info: http://redfoxliterary.com/submissions.html
What do you look for in a Picture Book submission? Middle Grade? Young Adult?
– Voice and connection with all genres. I want to be captured instantly and transported into the story. This is such an allusive thing, I know, but that’s also why I feel great critique partners are critical in the stages before querying. Find a great, honest group that will help you hone your story(ies).
When it comes to signing a client, will you sign them based on one great submission or does the potential client need multiple great manuscripts polished and ready?
– With picture book authors/illustrators I generally like to see at least two to four polished manuscripts before I’ll consider signing them. With MG and YA one polished manuscript that I fall in love with is all it takes.
Is there a best time of year to query you?
– Nope. If the writing is great the timing doesn’t matter.
If you could choose one thing to be in your inbox right now, what would it be?
– Magical realism. In any genre I represent.
Are you an editorial agent?
– Yes. I’d much rather send out a polished manuscript than one that isn’t quite ready. You only get one chance for an editor to say “yes” and so why not put your very best work out there?
What advice would you give to an author thinking of querying you?
– Read up on what I’m interested in. I have my own review blog, am on Twitter and have very detailed submission guidelines. Take the time to review these places to see if we would be a good fit. If we don’t seem to have similar taste in books that’s okay, research more agents and find an agent that does so that you can work with someone who shares your own interests.
How often do you communicate with your clients?
– Quite often. Depending on what is going on in each individual client’s process we talk via email, phone and quite often on social media.
Do you tell your clients when and where you are pitching projects?
– Yes. It’s important to me that the submissions process is very transparent and accessible for my clients. I also involve them in the process by requesting their feedback on lists to insure they are happy with which editors they may potentially work with.
Do you give your clients publisher feedback on rejections?
– Always. If I hear negative or positive I always pass along feedback unless a client requests otherwise.
What are you currently reading?
– STORM SIREN by Mary Christine Weber, a fantastic new YA novel out in August 2014, and WEIRDOS FROM ANOTHER PLANET! by Bill Watterson.
What is your favorite book(s)?
– Really?! How could I ever answer this without going on for ages? Well, my favorite book as a child was SOCKS by Beverly Cleary, but in my teens I devoured just about anything by Anne Rice. Since then my tastes still vary widely. I love anything by Beth Kephart, Rebecca Stead and Sarah Addison Allen, but would just as soon pick up writing by classic authors like Homer, CS Lewis and Mary Shelley. With picture books though my list could go on for days, I’m a picture book fanatic.
Is there anything else you would like writers to know about querying you?
– Be genuine and take your time. I understand the desire to get published now is a hard one to push down, but I’d encourage you to try very hard to do just that. Be thoughtful and only send your very best work; when you do this, it shows and agents will take note.
I hope that this blog may help answer some of the questions you may have regarding Danielle Smith. And I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Danielle. 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!
Be sure to read all of the guidelines for querying Danielle on http://redfoxliterary.com/submissions.html
Learn more about Red Fox Literary Agency at http://redfoxliterary.com/index.html
And don’t forget to follow Danielle on twitter: @the1stdaughter
And her blog for great book reviews: http://www.theresabook.com