Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 9, 2018

Agent of the Month: Mike Hoogland – Interview Part One

Agent Michael Hoogland at Dystal, Goderich, and Bourret is our featured agent for March. He will critique 4 fist pages from the ones submitted.

Michael Hoogland joined  God after completing a foreign rights internship at Sterling Lord Literistic. Before pursuing a career in publishing, Mike studied at Colgate University and graduated with a degree in political science and the intention to work in government. He interned with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but soon realized his interests and passions were better suited to a career in the publishing industry. After Colgate, Mike went on to gain a valuable education at the Columbia Publishing Course and discovered his passion for the agenting side of the business.

He is currently looking for thrillers (especially domestic), suspense, sci-fi/fantasy, upmarket women’s fiction, and children’s lit (YA, middle grade, and picture books), as well as a wide range of narrative nonfiction.


How did you get interested in becoming an agent?

I originally thought I wanted to work in government, but my senior year of college I realized my true passion was books. At the suggestion of a professor I attended the Columbia Publishing Course to learn more about the industry. It was there that I learned about the agenting aspect of the business. I had no idea this job even existed before CPC!

Do you have a limit on the number of clients you will represent?

No, I’m constantly looking for new talent.

What are your favorite genres?

Thrillers/suspense, mystery, speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy), romance, women’s fiction, most YA and MG; when it comes nonfiction I prefer science, pop culture, history, narrative journalism.

Any story or themes you wish someone would submit?

I’m always looking for more diverse books. I’d also like to see fantasy or sci-fi with a large crossover appeal to a general readership. Something along the lines of Naomi Alderman’s The Power.

Would you represent an author who writes a story with a character who is between 18 and 25 years old?

Of course. Sometimes character age doesn’t matter as much as the novel’s tone. For example, there are plenty of adult novels with child protagonists. Consider Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale. That said, something that is very clearly New Adult is not for me.

Do you think it is okay for an author to write picture books, middle grade novels, and YA novels? Or do you feel it is better to focus on one age group and genre?

It definitely depends on the author and the project, but usually I have no problem encouraging authors to try something new if inspiration strikes. Even if that work never sees the light of day, I believe experimentation can help a writer grow in the long term. It’s important to note that just because someone writes YA well doesn’t necessarily mean they will be able to write MG well. It’s a whole different ball game.

What do you like to see in a submission?

A concise but informative query that hooks me and a manuscript that keeps me turning the pages. It could be the writing, voice, plot, whatever, just keep me engaged in your work. I only have so much attention and time to go around. No pressure!

How important is the query letter?

Very. I want to see that an author has put thought and time into their query. I need to understand how they perceive their own work. Moreover, the query is an opportunity for authors to get me excited about their projects. If a query piques my interest I’ll usually view those sample pages more favorably, more patiently. I’ll find myself looking for reasons to sign that project rather than reasons not to.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

That’s the question isn’t it? Follow our submission instructions for starters. Make sure you proofread. An engaging voice and compelling premise are also big pluses. But ultimately the best way to get me to ask for more is to hook me with a great query and stellar pages that leave me needing to read more. If I am reading your novel and just have to know what happens next, then you’ve succeeded.



In the subject line, please write “MARCH 2018  CRITIQUE” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page.Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. 

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

RESULTS: March 30th.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


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