Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 19, 2019

April Agent of the Month – Kristy Hunter -Interview Part Two

Kristy Hunter at The Knight Agency is April’s AGENT OF THE MONTH and will be critiquing 4 first pages submitted. See bottom of post for guidelines.

The Knight Agency, based in Madison, Georgia, is one of the industry’s leading literary agencies, specializing in a wide array of fiction and non-fiction. TKA’s diverse list boasts bestselling and award-winning titles in romance, women’s fiction, science-fiction, fantasy, young adult, self-help, finance, diet, parenting and inspirational genres, among others. The agency is known for personalized client attention and a comprehensive range of services, including editorial refinement, branding consultation and strategy, in-house subsidiary rights and publicity support.

As a graduate of Vanderbilt University and The Columbia Publishing Course, Kristy Hunter began her publishing career in New York City—first as an editorial intern at Bloomsbury Children’s Books and then as a book publicist at Grove/Atlantic and Random House Children’s Books. When she moved to the agenting side of the industry, she was closely mentored by Deidre Knight, president and founder of The Knight Agency, and her first co-agented project sold at auction soon after. As an associate agent, Kristy enjoys being able to bring a unique perspective to her clients thanks to her diverse publishing background. When she’s not curled up with a fantastic book or manuscript, she can be found kickboxing or hiking with her dog and is an active member of SCBWI.

You can query Kristy Hunter at Query Manager HERE

Currently, Kristy is looking for new talent to add to her list. She loves voice-driven stories, strong characters, and being surprised by the unexpected. As a result, she is open to most genres but is specifically looking for upmarket fiction with a strong hook, commercial fiction, romance, historical fiction, thrillers, young adult, and middle grade. Books that feature a diverse cast of characters are always at the top of her list and she’d love to see even more own-voices projects in her inbox. Her #MSWL includes the following:

In adult fiction:

High concept women’s fiction such as Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. As well, as stories that are literary but with commercial appeal such as Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley. I especially love projects that capture the complicated nature of family.

Rom-coms set in wonderful urban settings such as The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Mainstream titles with hints of magic like The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

In YA fiction:

Fantasy projects that allow me to be transported in a way that feels new and fresh. I’d especially love to find a contemporary fantasy with a wonderful atmospheric setting. I also wouldn’t say no to paranormal…but it would truly have to be something I haven’t seen before

Magical realism

Historical projects that are serious in nature like Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, as well as those that are more playful like The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I especially love historical mysteries and projects set in the Victorian and Regency periods.

Contemporary YA stories that are fun and unique, and overall present the perfect escape—even if they address larger issues. Think Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han and When We Collided by Emery Lord.

Thrillers and mysteries—either contemporary or historical. My favorites include Little Monsters by Kara Thomas and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

In MG fiction:

Contemporary projects in the vein of The First Rule of Punk by Celia Pérez, Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin, and Wish by Barbara O’Connor (I’m a sucker for a pet!).

Quirky mysteries that could be part of a larger series and stories involving shifting friend groups

Light fantasy and magical realism such as The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill and A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd.

BELOW IS PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WITH KRISTY:

Do you let people know if you are not interested?

Yes, always.

How long does it usually take to respond to requested material? And query letters?

 I try to respond to query letters within 1-2 weeks. Response time to requested material varies, but I do try to get back to everyone as quickly as possible and provide constructive feedback should a project not be the right fit for my list.  

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

Often writers start their project in the wrong place. They either begin with too much background information and very little happening, or alternatively, they start in peak action. Both make it challenging for the reader to connect to the protagonist and become invested in the story

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Yes! I consider myself to be an editorial agent. When I offer on a project, I always provide a clear scope of my editorial vision and highlight the areas where I see room for improvement.  Should they become a client, it’s not unusual for us to do 2-3 rounds of edits before going out on submission.

If you receive something you think is good, but not for you, would you ask another agent working at your agency to take a peek?

Yes, definitely. If anyone ever receives a strong project that is better suited for another team member, we never hesitate to pass it along. One of my favorite things about The Knight Agency is how collaborative we are as a team—and this extends beyond sharing submissions.

How many editors do you submit to before giving up on a manuscript?

Each project is different and as a result, the submission journey varies quite a bit from project to project and largely depends on feedback. It’s all about finding that one right editor, and if I think they are still out there, we will keep going! I’ve had books sell in three days and I’ve had books sell in a year. Sometimes a project just doesn’t work in the market, but I never want a project not to place due to lack of effort.

What happens if you don’t sell a book?

Once a project is out on submission, my client is typically already working on their next story. Should their initial project not sell, we then evaluate the editorial feedback. Sometimes it’s simply an issue of not being the right book at the right time—it happens. But often it highlights areas where the author can continue to grow, and the subsequent project is stronger because of it. Once we feel that the next project is in the best possible shape, we will go out on submission.

Would you approve of a client who wants to self-published if they really believed in that book?

I wouldn’t be opposed to it, especially in certain situations, but this would be something I’d approach on a case to case basis and would likely lend itself to a larger discussion.

Could they have a separate agent for the other books?

This is something I would discuss with the author and it would depend on the situation. I don’t represent picture books, but in the right situation, I would absolutely consider it. I always urge potential clients to think about the full scope of their career when it comes to representation. If a writer is equally focused on picture books and middle grade, they may want to consider an agent who actively represents both.  

Alternatively, I represent MG, YA and Adult so if they are hoping to write across those genres, I would be a great fit.

Have you noticed any new trends building in the industry?

While we haven’t seen an overwhelming market trend like in the past (think dystopian or paranormal) there have been a few minor trends. Graphic novels are certainly on the rise, as are books the provide a lighthearted escape such as rom-coms. And although I wouldn’t consider it a trend, recently there has been a much-needed push to correct the lack of diversity in publishing which has been great to see.

Any words of wisdom on how a writer can improve their writing, get an agent, and get published?

Read widely and don’t give up. Reading will help you hone your craft and understand the market—two important things when it comes to landing an agent and getting published. But the process can take time and it’s important to be patient with yourself and your goals. Social media can make it seem as though everyone is having instant success, but for most, the journey to publication can be long and winding.

Would you like to be invited to other writer’s retreats, workshops, and conferences?

Yes! All the above! I love being able to connect to writers and other industry professionals.  

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR APRIL 2019 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “APRIL FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE”  Example: 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.

DEADLINE: April 19th.

RESULTS: April 26th.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES WITH KRISTY.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Great interview! And I can’t wait for her first page critiques–always interesting to know what agents think!

    Like


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