Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cherry Weiner - Literary Agent

How long have you been agent and how did you get your start Cherry?
I have been an agent for over 30 years and am still plugging away.   I started when I had worked for a big NY Agent who fired me.  HIS clients pushed me into opening my own agency.   It took them 2 years of nagging and finally they just recommended me to authors and I came home to about 5 manuscripts sitting on my front porch.   I have never looked back.
What makes your agency different than any others?
I honestly don't think it any different from any other agency.   All the agencies work at giving our authors our best and getting them sold and published in the best possible way.  I am a small agency... just me, so that might be where I differ.  Most agencies have at least two or three people working them. 

What are you looking for specifically that you wish you would see more of?
I don't know what I am looking for specifically.   I hope I will know it when I read it.   What I do know I want is good writing;  a story that has me turning the pages without me stopping and something that I can sell so the author is happy and excited and already working to having more books published.

Cherry what are you tired of receiving?
To start with -  The basics.  And believe me there are people out there all the time that do the following:
 Query letters from people that do not know how to submit a query letter and have done no research.  People who submit and tell me they will finish the book when they get a contract.  Queries and manuscripts on topics I do not handle and yet the letter says ***I know you do not...... but here is my work.   I know you will make an exception***   
Manuscripts themselves -- badly typed or printed... again not researching and following format by submitting single spaced and/or both sides of the page.
As for the writing.... that is subjective... so the topic, unless it is not something I handle, may or may not work for me.   That's up to the writing.

How can a new writer get your attention in a good way?
Right now I am pretty stable with my list, so I generally don't take on any new people unless I meet and talk to them at conferences.   After talking and discussing their work, if it is something I would like to see, I will be very specific about the way to get it to me. 
The only other way is if the author comes to me recommended by someone I know and who knows the way I work.   

How can a signed writer stay in your radar without driving you insane?
My authors never drive me insane.  Each of my authors know that when I am working on his/her work she/he is **the only author I have** When I have done all I can on his/her work, I move onto the next author who **is the only author I have**.  When I have something I want them to know... I am in touch with them.  If they have questions for me, they are in touch with me and I answer -- usually within 24 hours.

What do you wish more writers understood about you as an agent Cherry that they don't seem to?
All my authors understand who I am and what I do for them.   I wish that other authors, trying to get an agent, would understand that when I say *NO* I mean it.   Most of the time it is because the writing is not something I can get super excited about.   I understand the urgency of getting an agent, but if I have said no and not specifically said *** send me something else*** then don't continue to query me.   NO IS NO. 

What's the best way for a writer to reach you?
As I said earlier.... either at a conference and ask for a meeting to talk to me about your work.  Or through a recommendation from someone who knows me and whose judgement I respect.   Other than that... I am really not open to new authors querying me.