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Agent Interview: Amy Brewer

Q: Describe what you're looking for in 25 characters or less.

A: Books that captivate me.

Q: What other agents do you admire most?

A: Patty Carothers, Stephanie Hansen, Jane Dystel, and Jill Marsal

Q: Who are your favorite authors?

A: Nora Roberts, Tom Robbins, Gena Showalter, Patrick Rothfuss, Luanne Rice, Shannon Stults

Q: What sets you apart from other agents who look at the same type of material?

A: I'm not a standoffish and aloof agent. I am transparent, hyper communicative, joyful, silly and funny(ish). I sincerely like all of the brilliant writers that I work with, and I love reading their work. I'm a natural cheerleader and am an advocate for my clients, always. I'm passionate about getting their books published and helping them with promotion and social media development. I'm in this for the long game, and I'm looking for writers that are too.

Q: What is the best advice you can give someone who is considering submitting work to you?

A: Please, edit and copy edit first. If I notice a copy error in the first sentence, I will stop reading because I will think that you haven't invested as much in writing as I am willing to invest as an agent. Know your genre and the estimated word counts for said genre. Please don't try to submit in a genre that I have no interest in reading. I reject many a query simply because the genre isn't a good fit for me and my list.

Q: Describe the ideal query letter.

A: I like to have the pertinent information in the first paragraph: title, genre, word count, and a tag-line. Then I like one or two paragraphs about the plot of the book. Then a short author bio. Please include all social media links. I will look up any author I am interested in representing. If submitting to me via query manager, it is easy to query me like this.

Q: Describe the ideal manuscript.

A: I'm looking for transcendence. I want to be pulled into whatever world you may be writing about. I love elegant world-building, and characters that are so deep they feel real. "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion." Robert Harling, If an author can make me laugh and cry in the same scene, I'll be a fan for life. I eat angst like candy. I'm always looking for a manuscript that can create the physical manifestation of angst, like an audible gasp or an ache in the chest.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: With QM, this really isn't an issue. It is all formulated. Not understanding the limits, formula, and rules of a writer's chosen genre is the #1 problem that causes me to reject people.

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: I need a few sentences that are relevant to your writing. I do not care where (or if) you went to college or how many pets you have. If I like your work, I will call you and get to know you organically. I do want to see your social media, and I will check all of the links.

Q: How much of a manuscript do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: If I get past the genre, word count, title, and pitch, I will then read the query, and jump to read the first few pages of the work. If I make it past the first few pages of the work, then I will pull up the synopsis and read the ending. If all of that is good, I will read the full manuscript.

Q: Once you decide to represent someone's work, what is the process?

A: I'm a talker, so I set up a phone call. I like to know what else the author is working on and what their long term plans are. I might give them editorial notes on what I think could make the manuscript sell better in the market. I want to see how receptive they might be to revision. If I decide to represent, I send an offer and a soft contract that they can review and ask questions. If they decide they want to sign with us (Metamorphosis), then I send an E-signature contract, followed shortly thereafter by a welcome packet.

Q: What is a day in the life of an agent like for you?

A: I'm at my desk by 6 am on weekdays. As I have my coffee and wake up, I promote, share, and like my authors on social media. I have my daily check-in with my co-agent Patty Carothers. By 7-9ish, I'm knee-deep in emails, responding to anything that came in after 8 pm the night before, or reading queries. I teach yoga most weekdays, so from 9-11ish, I'm away from my desk, quieting my mind. After lunch, I'm back to my desk, sending out submissions and emails, or calling clients, editors, producers, and other agents. I like to read my client's manuscripts and full manuscript submissions in the later afternoon. I usually do this with my feet up on my desk, my dog in my lap, while munching on popcorn and drinking tea. I have one more call with Patty to close out the day to make sure we got everything covered. Late in the evening, I recheck social media to like, share, and promote clients, friends, and strangers. As there are "no weekends in publishing," I often spend my weekends reading manuscripts, working on client spreadsheets, or rights catalog development.