Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 15, 2019

Agent of the Month – Kat Enright – Interview – Part One

It is my pleasure to announce Kat Enright at the Seymour Agency is November’s Agent of the Month and will read and critique four first pages at the end of the month. See Guidelines at the bottom of this post to start submitting. Check back next week for Part one of my interview with Kat.

Kat Enright is an Associate Agent with the Seymour Agency and she is actively seeking MG and YA of all genres, Adult SFF, Romance, and select nonfiction.

Prior to joining the Seymour Agency, they worked in a variety of departments in publishing, including Sales and Editorial, and they have a keen understanding of the many stages that a book must go through in order to reach bookshelves. As someone who lives on the corner of many intersections, they are most especially interested in elevating voices of marginalized authors.

MG: In Middle Grade, She’s most especially drawn to voice—the perfect blend of whimsy and magic. Though I tend to lean more SFF, she will not turn down a good contemporary that explores the world through an authentic, diverse lens.

Contemporary YA: She is looking for twisty, dark tales with compelling protagonists—give me your mysteries and your thrillers! I’m especially drawn to found-family stories and stories that emphasize and explore female friendship. Additionally, I am seeking stories that explore what it is like to grow up outside of the typical white, straight, affluent experience.

Historical YA: She loves a good historical YA but is particularly interested in stories that explore what queer people and people of color were doing in that time (She says, “even more shockingly, queer people of color! Yes, we do exist”).

YA and Adult SFF: In both YA and Adult SFF, she’s looking for vibrant worlds that draw from traditionally underrepresented cultures. Though she is not best fit for hard sci-fi, she’d love to see an expansive, high-stakes space opera that has the feel and heart of Mass Effect. She is particularly excited to see fresh takes on common tropes and would love to see epic fantasy that explores the variety of roles and power that women seize. (Give her your Sansas and your Aryas and your Cerseis and your Margerys)

Romance: In romance, she’s open to all categories. Her favorite romance tropes include: hate-to-love/enemies-to-lovers, STEM heroines, religious angst, and soft male leads. In paranormal, she is less interested in alpha/beta dynamics and more interested in the exploration of the human and the monstrous.

Cookbooks, Coffee table and Gift books: For cookbooks, she is particularly interested finding books of traditional recipes with a modern flair and would love to connect with bloggers who have a strong platform. In coffee table and gift books, she’d love to see something that’s fun and geeky or that explores unique and odd topics.

In all areas, she is looking for new, fresh voices from traditionally underrepresented communities. Kat seeks stories that represent the diversity of the world we live in (including, but not limited to, all ethnicities, sexual orientations, mental and physical health, and socio-economic statuses).

She is not looking for:

  • Picture books, non-fiction, adult literary fiction, adult general fiction, adult mystery/thriller/suspense, memoirs, poetry, religious/spiritual books, screenplays, or short stories.
  • Books about sports. Sorry, but I’m just not a good fit for them and you’d be better off with literally anyone else.
  • Dystopias
  • Westerns
  • Sweet, fluffy, contemporary YA.
  • Portal Fantasies

How to Submit to Kat:

Please query me at http://QueryMe.Online/KatEnright. You will be asked for a query letter, synopsis, and first 10 pages.

BELOW IS PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH KAT:

What made you decide on a career as a literary agent?

I started out in publishing on the house side, first working in Sales and Marketing and then making the lateral move to Editorial. And I did, truly, love a lot of the work I did as an editor. But when you work for a publishing house, you are an employee of the house first—and have to realize that, in the end, they are a business. Working as an agent lets me be 100% behind my authors; truly be able to advocate for their best possible deals.

How did you find the job with the Seymour Agency?

I was an editor at Sky Pony Press when they restructured in Spring 2018, eliminating my position. It wasn’t long before Nicole Resciniti, president of the Seymour Agency, reached out. We had worked together many times and she thought that I would be a great fit for her team. And as agenting was something I had my eye on for a while, I agreed!

Do you work out of your house, or go into the Seymour offices outside of New York City?

I work remotely from home, which is honestly the dream. Luckily, I am close enough to New York City that I can go in whenever I have meetings with editors and other publishing professionals but I find working from home really gives me the kind of flexibility that I need to thrive.

Plus, it’s awesome to be able to cook lunch daily.

It looks like you are open to middle grade and young adult books. You list contemporary, historical, SFF, rom-com, all with diverse characters. Do you lean more towards one of these?

I generally lean more towards SFF across all age categories, but that’s not a hard and fast rule.

Do you have a limit on how many clients you will represent?

I do not have a hard limit on the number of clients I will represent but I do try to be mindful of the size and makeup of my list. I don’t want to have so many clients that I end up neglecting some in favor of others and I don’t want to have clients who write such similar projects that they’re competing against themselves.

What are your feelings about manuscripts with prologues? Should an author avoid at all costs?

I like prologues but, if you employ them, you have to make sure they need one. They need to be necessary to the story and they must offer some crucial set up that we need to inform the character or the world. I would recommend that writers who do prologues take a look at books that have them and really study what makes them work.

What would you like to see in the query letter? Should writers try to keep it short?

A good query letter should have the character, stakes, and plot. I need to know who our main character is, what they stand to lose or gain, and what the story itself is. A good query shouldn’t be much longer than 250 words and you should also include a short bio and the metadata for your novel (title, word count, genre and age category).

Should the word count for your manuscript be included in the query letter?

Yes, it should. It doesn’t have to be the exact word count, though. Please round to the nearest thousand.

Do you like comps mentioned in the query letter? Any tips?

I do like comps! That said, I’d rather see the author draw out specifics about the comps, though, rather than just to list them. What about the book is similar to your story? Additionally, it’s more helpful if the comps are recent titles, within the past 2-3 years, and in your genre and age range.

Would you have an example of a good query letter to help writers?

Honestly? Read through QueryShark. That is the best—free!—education on query writing I’ve found. https://queryshark.blogspot.com/

Have you ever thought about representing an illustrator who does writes and illustrates graphic novels?

The thing is that I love reading graphic novels and comics but I just do not have the skill to edit or place them effectively. I’m not good with art. So, I made the decision to not represent graphic novels – or picture books – because I know I’m not going to be the best advocate for that kind of writer and I don’t want my own personal limitations to hold a client back.

Is it acceptable for a writer to refer to their manuscript as upper middle grade or lower YA or does the age of the characters always decide?

Yes, it is totally acceptable to do use the upper MG and lower YA designations. And while age does often play a large factor, it’s not the only factor; it’s also about themes and voice.

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

Just follow the submission guidelines and submit your most polished writing.

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

In the subject line, please write “NOVEMBER 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).

PLEASE name the word document file by putting 2019 November – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you. 

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: November 22nd.

RESULTS: November 29th.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


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