Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Julie Hill - Literary Agent with Julie A. Hill & Assoc.

How long have you been agent and how did you get your start Julie?
15 yrs, and i started with other writer  friends materials..actually becoming an agent was their idea for me.  i too was writing then, but for periodicals and the internet. actually, i started with agenting not with books, but with screenplays. i went to the UC Berkeley Publishing Course after awhile, just to get my book skills honed, because i found I really loved working with book authors most of all.  Since then, I have expanded to television work for my authors, or whatever other projects can be spun from their books.  I also consult with authors who just need advice, or just need a contract negotiated after selling their books themselves. I really enjoy contract negotiation.

What makes your agency different than any others?
I'd say the above...all the work I do around books, not just the books themselves. Authors can make new generations of their material if they have the interest, and I'll consult on all phases of such projects. I have a great entertainment attorney I work with, Jason Poston, who is the late comedian Tom Poston's son. He keeps me up to date on the latest legal twists and turns, plus he used to be a book editor.

What are you looking for specifically that you wish you would see more of?
More materials from and about under 35's. I think this "Obama generation" is the next octave of their boomer parents.  Change the World people, but in their own unique way. I think the under 35's in this country will have alot to say in the near future.

Julie what are you tired of receiving?

Bad novels. submissions without the right components, esp. lack of proper competitive title analysis.

How can a new writer get your attention in a good way?
One way is to have an MFA in writing. (I heard a statistic yesterday on NPR that over 50% of the writers being bought have MFA's, don't know if it is true, but i do notice a  big difference in the quality of material from writing program grads). Know your craft, know the system, know the protocol. One huge way to help yourself to have read Jeff Herman's Writers Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents and put it into practice.  I cannot recommend that book enough.

How can a signed writer stay in your radar without driving you insane?
Keep providing quality competitive work, and keep promoting yourself to the outside world. Have a very active internet presence, be willing to travel frequently to give talks and signings, and be creative about getting public attention for your work.  Having a publicist is a very big plus.

What do you wish more writers understood about you as an agent Julie that they don't seem to?
I care about writers' careers as well as their books. I am a career consultant for my authors as best I can be. If I can find other work for them, I do.  If I have an idea about how they can make more money, get more exposure, I tell them.  Most agents just sell books and career counseling is out of the picture.  I don't decry that, its one way to make a living, it's just not who I am.  It's tough to make a big living as an author, and you have to be thinking all the time about what else can be done to feather your nest, pump your platform, spin your ideas into other media and markets. Writers who stay home and hope for the next big idea to dawn won't thrive in this business.