Thursday, September 29

Fall Workshop with Deidre Knight

Alright, so I'm going to divide the information I gathered at the CaRWA Fall Workshop into two posts. Today I'm going to talk about agent and author, Deidre Knight. Next Friday I'll do a post about what HQN editor Emily Ohanjanians had to say.

Okay, so for those who haven't heard of her, Deidre Knight founded the Knight Agency in 1996. Since there are multiple agents at TKA, they represent almost everything. Deidre is personally very interested in historical romance right now (mostly Regency and Victorian), as well as contemporary romance.  She kept repeating that she’s “really looking,” so if you want to send her a query, now is the time to do it! Just be sure to check out the agency website for preferences and guidelines before you submit.

 Now, on to the good stuff!

Deidre gave a PowerPoint presentation (her first ever!), about what sort of agent she was and what she thinks makes a good agent. To begin with, she classified herself as a “full career” agent, meaning she wants to work with you throughout all stages of your writing career. Now, if you’ve already been published with a traditional publisher, or even self-published, that’s fine. This just means that she expects to represent you, rather than just your book. 

She then went on to say that a good agent should be like a midwife, and that the relationship between agent and writer is like a marriage. And like all good relationships, communication is key! She wants to know if you’re having a down week, or if you don’t agree with one of her suggestions. Since she’s a hands on agent during the writing process (meaning she’ll help you plot, brainstorm, and even help you come up with a title), you have to feel comfortable with each other. Like communication, respect is a must.

Now, TKA is based out of Georgia, so Deidre relies heavily on the internet for communication. If that’s not your cup of tea, then this agency might not be the best choice for you. However, if you prefer using the internet, then definitely check her out!

Alright, so for those hoping to pitch or query Deidre in the future, she gave six points sure to impress her:
1. Voice! Almost every agent lists this at their top, and Deidre is no different. Writing is all about voice, and if she likes your voice, she’s more willing to overlook other errors. However, that doesn't mean that you should skip the editing process. She still wants to see a good manuscript.

2. Be authentic!  Don’t try to write to the market. Write what you love to write--it'll come through in your story.

3. High concept! I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.

4. Clean manuscript!  This one is also pretty self-explanatory. Don’t send in a submission with spelling errors all over the place. It gives the impression that you can’t be bothered to edit, and if you can't be bothered to edit, why would she want to sign you on as a client?

5. Be nice! This goes without saying, but Deidre says a lot of writers don’t think they need to be polite to an agent. However, this is a business. You have to be polite and respectful of your colleagues, whether they be agents, editors, or fellow writers.

6. Last but not least... To truly impress her, your story has to sweep her away.  She wants to forget she’s reading a submission. In other words, she has to be sucked into the story.

So there you have it! From the conversation I had with Deidre, she was funny, nice, and very laid back.  I think she’d make the publishing process very comfortable for a writer, which is a good thing since it can be so stressful!

Any comments or questions? I didn't post everything she talked about, since it would make the post too long, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask and I'll see if I can answer them!


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