Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Interview with Lucienne Diver

I’d like to welcome our guest agent today, Lucienne Diver, the newest agent over at The Knight Agency. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Can you please give us a little information about your publishing background?

It all started in fourth grade when I won a speech competition…. What's that? Fast forward? I can do that.

When I graduated college (after working on the university anthropology magazine and earlier than that my high school literary magazine), I applied to jobs in publishing and to graduate school for forensic anthropology. Publishing got back to me first and I never looked back. I've always been a voracious reader and to be part of the publication process…priceless.

What made you decide to switch agencies?

There comes a point when it's time to leave home. Spectrum is a fantastic agency and Eleanor Wood gave me my start fifteen years ago when I was fresh out of school. However, The Knight Agency is a great fit for me now. They're a really wonderful, dynamic group of people with a lot of ideas and the energy to make them a reality. I'm very excited about joining them.

How many clients do you currently have?

About 40.

Did you bring over any authors with you? How many more are you actively looking to sign?

I brought all but one of my authors, who decided to stay with Spectrum, with me. I'm pretty busy with my forty plus clients, but I'm always looking to take on something that blows me away. I represent all kinds of commercial fiction, from adult to young adult.

What other genres besides romance do you represent?

Fantasy, science fiction, mystery, suspense, mainstream and women's fiction.

What fees (if any) does your agency charge? What is your agency’s commission rate?

No fees. 15% on domestic rights, 20% on foreign.

What’s your response time for queries, partials and full manuscripts?

Generally within a month, though occasionally when I'm swamped it can stretch to two or three months.

What new author have you recently signed?

I've recently signed a fantastic urban fantasy/paranormal romance author named Chloe Neill whose first, SOME GIRLS BITE, is coming out from Ace in 2009. I've also just recently sold an amazing debut novelist, N.K. Jemisin, to Orbit at auction. I'm really looking forward to both these releases, as well as new books by Marjorie M. Liu, Susan Krinard, Lynn Flewelling and others!

What new project made you grab for that hidden piece of chocolate in your pencil drawer?

Because it was just so good? One of my authors, Rosemary Clement-Moore recently turned in her new novel, SOUTHERN GOTHIC. I'm convinced she and I read all the same wonderful books growing up and that she managed to distill the best from each into one book.

What can an author do to grab your attention?

Write a kick-butt story with a phenomenal voice where the pace doesn't flag and the ideas are fresh.

What do you love/hate most about being an agent?

I adore working with brilliant, creative people and having some part in their success. What I hate? Waiting for responses. Patience is not one of my virtues. ( I can relate to that. KW)

What trends do you see for the future of publishing?

I think that with new readers, e-books are going to be playing a larger part in publishing, but we've all been talking about that for years and I don't think it will ever (or at least not in our lifetime) take over completely from print publishing. As always, it's a sure thing that the industry is cyclical, so different genres or subgenres will rise and fall in popularity. It's a good thing to be diverse, which is not to say unfocussed, in your work so that you can move with the times.

Any other chocolate nuggets you can give authors looking for representation?

Focus first on writing an awesome book. While you should be aware of the realities of the market, you shouldn't let them or "conventional wisdom" dictate to you. What you want is to be the person to whom others are compared, not the one compared to someone else. A fresh voice is priceless. Once you've produced an awesome book, hone it. Don't get turned down by being a draft away from a "yes." Unfortunately, agents and editors are often too busy to nurture a diamond in the rough.

Thanks, Lucienne!

Check out the agent’s website at www.knightagency.net


Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Very insightful interview! Thanks!

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Chapter 1 is online!

Susan Wingate said...

Your interview with Lucienne is wonderful. I especially liked her comment about writing and not letting the industry dictate what you want to do. Very wise. Thanks for the great blog. -Susan

BuffySquirrel said...

Teh awesome, yes :). But how to make the book awesome, that is the question!

Cher Gorman said...

Thank you, Ms. Diver for your terrific blog. I appreciate you taking the time to chat with us.

Something Old, Something New, Something Dead: A grave-digging, pop-the-champagne cork, happily-ever-after love story of deadly proportions

Natalie Hatch said...

Thanks for the insight, Southern Gothic sounds intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. I'm glad this interview was helpful to you.

Lucienne said...

Thanks everyone, for taking the time to read and comment!