Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 16, 2022

October Agent of the Month: Lynnette Novak Interview Part Two

SEPTEMBER AGENT OF THE MONTH
LYNETTE NOVAK

Agent Lynnette Novak at The Seymour Agency

Prior to joining The Seymour Agency, Lynnette spent 17 years freelance editing. She worked with new writers, advanced writers, as well as the New York Times and the USA Today bestselling authors.

Lynnette earned a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Manitoba, where she specialized in English and French. She excelled in Advanced Creative Writing in university and studied writing for children and teens through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2015 and 2016. Both her mentees acquired an agent.

Although Lynnette was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada, she now lives in Minnesota with her husband, twin girls, and many pets. Her personal interests include reading, writing, exercising at the gym (okay, that’s a love/hate relationship), working on an assortment of crafts, all things having to do with animals (if she could own a farm, zoo, and animal shelter, she would), and enjoying time with family and friends.

She loves dark and suspenseful, mysterious twists, unique worlds, light and funny, a good love story, and lots of voice. Lynnette is always looking for diverse and LGBTQ+ authors and wants to share more of these marginalized voices with the world.

Currently looking for: (Always looking for marginalized voices, diversity, and LGBTQ+!!!)

In adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and mysteries (traditional, amateur sleuth, and cozy).

In young adult fiction: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, contemporary, mysteries, and fantasy.

In middle grade fiction: contemporary, horror, fantasy, action/adventure, mystery, humor, and novels in verse.

In children’s fiction: picture books (non-rhyming preferred).

In graphic novels: chapter books, early readers, MG, and YA.

To Query: https://QueryManager.com/QueryLynnetteNovak

Email for Other Concerns: lynnette@theseymouragency.com

Twitter: @Lynnette_Novak

*******

PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WITH LYNNETTE:

Would you have a sample of a good query letter or a link to one you saw on the Internet?

I don’t, but I can say that a good query tells me about the book with just a few lines about the author. If the bio is longer than the pitch, that’s probably not going to work for me, unless you have an amazing platform. I want to know who the story is about, what their goal is, what motivates them to have this goal, what’s keeping them from achieving this goal, and what’s at stake if they don’t attain this goal? In other words: GMCs and stakes.

Do you have any tips on how to find comps of book to use in a query letter?

Not so much how to find, but it doesn’t do you any favors to use a book that didn’t sell well as a comp, no matter how similar it is to your story.

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

Be professional. Query me about a genre I represent. Tell me about your story and show me how it’s unique. There are tons of friendship stories out there, for example. How is yours different? What will make yours stand out?

Will you let people know if you are not interested in their submission?

Yes. I ALWAYS reply one way or the other. It doesn’t matter if it’s a query or something I requested, I will get back to you.

After you request more of a book, how long does it take you to respond?

That depends on my schedule at the time, whether the author has an offer of representation on the table, whether this is a particular type of story I’ve been dying to have, whether I’ve just returned from a conference and have requested a lot of projects, and many more things can come into play. For partials and fulls, it usually takes me AT LEAST nine weeks, usually longer.

Do you have any pet peeves?

I don’t like it when people are rude and/or disrespectful. And I do NOT like to be called Lynn or Lynne. My name is spelled with two Ns: Lynnette, but misspelling my name doesn’t bother me as much as being called Lynn/Lynne. I won’t reject over this, but it is a pet peeve.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

As an editorial agent, I spot a lot of things like: stilted dialogue; buried dialogue; repetition; passive writing; information/backstory dump; not enough emotion; show, don’t tell; talking heads, POV slip; not enough conflict; stakes aren’t clear; scene feels rushed; GMCs need to be fleshed out; pick up the pace; and the list goes on.

What are your feelings about prologues?

I’m not opposed to them. Some genres are almost expected to have them or more so than others. For example, it’s not uncommon to see a prologue in a serial killer thriller. However, for me, it’s more about the execution. A prologue is not an invitation to dump backstory. It should be short. One to five pages is great, but I wouldn’t go over ten pages. Is the prologue needed or can we jump right into the story and layer in this information? If that’s the case, I’d prefer to start with the actual story rather than a prologue.

Do you have a place where you keep writers up-to-date on what you would like to see? Blog?

On our website, my Twitter feed, and #MSWL. My Twitter feed is always the most current.

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

Yes! I was a freelance editor for 17 years. I couldn’t hold back if I tried. LOL

*******

BELOW ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR SEPTEMBER 2022 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “SEPTEMBER 2022 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you put your name, the title of the piece, and genre: a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, Non-fiction, contemporary, historical, Sci-fi, fantasy, 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 2022 SEPTEMBER FIRST PAGE  – 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.

DEADLINE: September 23rd. – noon EST

RESULTS: September 30th.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WITH LYNNETTE.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


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