E-mail interview by Pat Stoltey
The Seymour Agency. She represents most fiction genres and occasional nonfiction.
According to the January 2012 interview on Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents blog, Nicole is a member of AAR, ACFW, RWA, and Mensa. She has degrees in biology, psychology, and behavioral neuroscience.
CIR: Nicole, have your studies given you any help in unraveling the writer’s mind and behavior, or is that a hopeless quest?
Nicole: The psych definitely helps (grinning). From a neurological standpoint, creativity is a process. I’m always fascinated by the ways in which the human mind works, where people draw inspiration, how they select their words. I don’t think writing is a glimpse into an author’s soul, but I do think there is something indicative of the author’s beliefs/perspectives in everything they craft. I love getting to know someone through their books.
CIR: At what point in your life did you decide to become a literary agent, and what attracted you to that profession?
Nicole: I didn’t follow a traditional publishing track. I had interned with Mary Sue and found that I could help a lot of people. There is no better feeling in the world than making ‘the call.’ It is rewarding and joyous and satisfying in a way I don’t think I can adequately express. I LOVE my authors. I think they are among the most talented people on the planet. It’s a privilege to be able to assist them on their literary journey.
CIR: What are your most recent book sales? What authors and new releases are you promoting this summer?
Nicole: My most recent sales include Cecy Robson’s urban fantasy series, beginning with SEALED WITH A CURSE: A WEIRD GIRLS NOVEL (PENGUIN) which debuts in 2013 and Kaitlyn Ballenger’s paranormal romance EXECUTION UNDERGROUND SERIES (HQN) which also debuts later next year. I really like finding unpublished authors. Their debuts are an inspiration to everyone that it can be done!
For this summer, I have a bunch of projects that I absolutely love. I’m listing them alphabetically:
--Macy Beckett—This author also writes as Melissa Landers. Macy’s contemporary romances are set in Sultry Springs, Texas, where first loves find second chances. SULTRY WITH A TWIST, marks the first in this series. These are fun, flirty, bring-to-the-beach reads. Love this author! As Melissa Landers, her YA series kicks off later next year from Disney with ALIENATED.
--Amanda Carlson—You can check out the prequel to her UF series with the novella BLOODED, which is available now. Her kick-ass Jessica McClain series launches with FULL BLOODED (ORBIT, a division of HBG), both here and in the U.K. If you’re into action and adventure, with some sexy supernaturals, she’s your girl.
--Amanda Flower—Her Amish-inspired cozy mysteries release from B and H Publishing, beginning with A PLAIN DEATH. The heroine is awesome and once you read one, you’ll wish you had the whole series at your fingertips!
--Julie Ann Walker—Julie’s series features the men of Black Knights Inc. They’re custom motorcycle mechanics by day and Uncle Sam’s last resort by night. HELL ON WHEELS marks the first book, with back-to-back releases beginning in August. This author is amazing!
--In the fall, look for CONJURE by Lea Nolan and Jaime Rush’s new paranormal series THE HIDDEN.
CIR: How do you find most of your new clients?
Nicole: Variety of ways. Conferences, recommendations and slush. Meeting clients is helpful because the agent/author partnership is a close one.
CIR: You and Mary Sue will be attending and taking pitches at quite a few writers’ conferences this year. What advice do you have for authors who want to pitch their novel to you?
Nicole: Know your work. Be calm. Remember that we want new clients. We want to like your work. Prepare something that reads like the back cover of a book, a couple of paragraphs that comprise the essence of the project. Know your word count, target audience, and any comparable authors.
Try to make sure the agent you're pitching reps what you’re trying to pitch them. We don’t handle poetry, for example, so if someone were to take a pitch appointment with me about a poetry book, I would, unfortunately, have to pass on the project.
CIR: What are you currently looking for in genre and sub-genre? What are you tired of reading?
Nicole: I’m open to anything commercial right now. I’m not really looking for any non-fiction at this point, unless there is a really strong platform.
I ALWAYS want romance, YA, MG, and anything sci-fi/fantasy. I’m burnt out on Dystopian and vampires. I’m very interested in contemporary stories, both YA and women’s fiction. I’d like to find more category fiction.
CIR: According to your agency’s guidelines, you accept e-mail and snail mail queries and are open to submissions at this time. What do you want to see in a query letter?
Nicole: The best queries, to me, read like the back cover of a book. Concise, engaging, and just enough to make me want to know more. I always need genre and word count, and any info about the author is appreciated.
I, personally, don’t take snail mail. Electronic is free and better for the environment.
In the email submission, please paste in the first five pages of the manuscript. Sometimes I skip straight over the query and right into the story.
CIR: The publishing world and social media opportunities have changed a lot since the January GLA interview. What kind of web presence do you recommend today for the unpublished author who’s looking for an agent?
Nicole: Start building your platform now. Website, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Goodreads, reviews… Get your name out there and establish an online presence. Editors look for this. They will check you out to see what you have to say and to determine if you’re dedicated to the marketing or just a random poster. With that said, make sure what you’re saying is professional. The industry is small and bashing another author or editor is NOT advisable.
CIR: Once a book is sold, what do you expect from your client in the way of marketing and promotion? For instance, do publishers ever send new authors on book tours? Do you think blog book tours (virtual tours) are useful?
Nicole: B and H is sending Amanda Flower on a very large book tour. Other houses are advertising for my authors in RT and RWR, Goodreads and/or on Facebook. Promotional materials are available and we negotiate for things like that throughout the process. I am 100% behind blog tours. These are a very useful way to reach readers and reviewers and with so much of the industry moving into digital fields for reading and purchasing, obtaining reviews and being accessible to readers is a must. We work with our authors to establish a balanced approach to marketing and advertising their upcoming releases. Our agency loop allows our authors to share information and marketing strategies. We encourage networking.
CIR: Finally, what do you do for fun (besides reading our queries and submissions)?
Nicole: Eat. I love food. Sad, and perhaps overly simple. But a good meal makes me happy. I also run (not fun, lol), but it helps with the stress and keeps me from becoming totally sedentary, as staring at a computer for ten hours a day can do.
CIR: Nicole, thanks so much for being our guest on the rock today.
Nicole: It was an absolute pleasure! Thank you so much for hosting me. I would just like to thank every author out there for giving me a job and something to get excited about each morning when I check my inbox. Keep writing. Do NOT give up. You can achieve your dream. Throughout your journey, I wish you the very best!
Writers can learn more about Nicole Resciniti and Mary Sue Seymour at the agency website and on Facebook. Nicole can also be found on Twitter.