Tuesday, November 25, 2008

GumboWriters Interview with Joyce Hart with Hartline Literary

How long have you been agent and how did you get your start Joyce?

  I sold my first manuscript in 1992, the Author is Jane Kirkpatrick who is still with me and she's published 14 or more books.  I've been in the publishing industry for 31 years.  I started as a secretary to the Vice President at a publishing company and moved up to Vice Present of Marketing.   I started Hartline Marketing in 1990 and was a publishers rep for several years along with starting the Literary Agency.  I eventually, stopped selling books for publishers and just sell manuscripts exclusively.

What makes your agency different than any others?

Our motto is "The Agency with Heart" and we try to be just that.  We've helped many first-time authors get their start in publishing.  Our specialty is the Christian Market, although we have sold some things to the general market as well.  We have 4 agents in our agency.

What are you looking for specifically that you wish you would see more of?

I'm looking for published authors, break-out books, stellar writing.  We sell more novels than non-fiction although we do both.  Partly, I think, because it's easier to get first-time authors published who write fiction.   The industry is getting tougher all the time, the editors want published authors, authors with a platform who can help sell the books, stellar writing.  I'd like to see more really well written books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Joyce what are you tired of receiving?

I'm tired of receiving queries with just an idea.  I have to know who the author is, why he/she is qualified to write the book.  I don't want a proposal as an attachment without some information in the body of the e-mail, such as bio and summary of the book.  I do prefer attachments, but not from a totally unknown person.  Only because of viruses.  My assistant just had her computer crash because of a virus.  Our proposal guidelines are on our web site.  We don't have query guidelines, but I need more information than an idea.


How can a new writer get your attention in a good way?

A well prepared proposal.   Meet me at a writer's conference; referral from someone I know.  Anything you send make sure it is well prepared and has the information we need.  If it's poorly written, misspelled words, etc. we don't look at them.

How can a signed writer stay in your radar without driving you insane?

I don't mind e-mails asking what the status of a proposal is.  We get so many that sometimes they just get lost in the shuffle.  There have been proposals I was interested in and they get lost on my desk or in my reading pile.  Always follow up and more than once if you really want us to hear you.

What do you wish more writers understood about you as an agent Joyce that they don't seem to?

I'd like for them to look at our web site and see what kind of books we work with.   I get so many queries for books that I'm not remotely interested in.  There are certain subject that we won't touch.  All that information is on the web site.  

What's the best way for a writer to reach you?

e-mail is best or snail mail.