How long have you been agent and how did you get your start Rita?
I started my agency in 1990 after having worked as an editor at a number of major New York publishing houses. I began with a few unrepresented authors whom I had edited, and built up my business from there.
What makes your agency different than any others?
I think agents are expected to manage carefully many more details of an author's project as well as career. I try to package the proposal as fully as possible before submitting to editors. Since all categories are so crowded and competitive, it's important to make obvious a work's strength and market, and the author's ability to reach that audience. I work on the projects myself rather than involve freelance editors.
What are you looking for specifically that you wish you would see more of?
I call my list an omnivore's delight because it is so wide-ranging, from FORBIDDEN FRUIT: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad by Betty DeRamus to GET KNOWN BEFORE THE BOOK DEAL: Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform by Christina Katz to THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME: The Definitive Guide to the Cooperstown Experience by Bert Randolph Sugar with photographs by Bruce Curtis. I look for authors who are well paired with their subject for personal or professional reasons. I am interested in projects that help further our understanding of a subject.
Rita what are you tired of receiving?
Many submissions are for projects that are interchangeable with others. They lack distinct characteristics to set them apart, and it's difficult to get excited about them.
How can a new writer get your attention in a good way?
I can tell when an author has researched the category and understands--and argues well--how their book is different and better. The author is giving me a reason to take the submission seriously by establishing where their book will fit in the category.
How can a signed writer stay in your radar without driving you insane?
I think it is easier for me to work effectively for an author when he or she uses my time well, weighing in when necessary and not excessively. With more and more details to manage, I appreciate when authors respect the basic protocols of a relationship.
What do you wish more writers understood about you as an agent Rita that they don't seem to?
Authors should research my areas of interest before submitting to me to make sure I'm soliciting books in their category. That saves everyone time and spares a writer unnecessary rejection.
What's the best way for a writer to reach you?
My submission guidelines are noted on my Web site: www.ritarosenkranzliteraryagency.com.