Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Interview with Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

I’d like to welcome our guest agent today, Kevan Lyon with The Marsal Lyon Literary 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 and about your new agency? How many clients did you bring over with you? What other genres do you represent? Jill Marsal?

With over 20 years in the publishing business, including 5 years as a Literary Agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and 17+ years on the wholesale, retail and distribution side of the business, I believe I bring an informed and unique perspective to my work with clients. My background on the buying and retail side of publishing is helpful when considering what types of books will sell and how to market them.

At this point most of our authors have come with both Jill and I to Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, which we are thrilled about.

I work with women’s fiction – commercial fiction and romance, as well as YA. For non-fiction projects, I am looking for authors in the areas of current events, narrative, memoir, environment, parenting and pets/animals.

Jill Marsal has been in the publishing industry for over 10 years, working as a Literary Agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency for eight years and at Dorchester Publications and Tudor Publishing, editing women’s fiction and suspense/thrillers. Jill has a very strong non-fiction list, representing authors in the areas of health, self-help, relationships, psychology, business, parenting, history, current events, and narrative non-fiction. She also works with a number of fiction authors, and is seeking clients in the area of mystery, romantic suspense, and thrillers.

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

We don’t charge any fees and charge the standard agency commission of 15% for North American sales.

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

For electronic queries our response time is up to one week, and for partial and full manuscripts our goal is no longer than 6 weeks.

What new author have you recently signed?

I just signed a new historical romance author, Rose Lerner and completed her first sale to Leah Hultenschmidt at Dorchester Publishing.

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

A wonderful new historical fiction set in the pre-Civil War period, that I am now on submission with. It tells the story of a young southern woman, a strong and courageous heroine whose eyes and heart are opened to the brutality endured by the slaves who previously moved unnoticed through her world.

What can an author do to grab your attention?

Tempt me with a unique plot and great characters – something completely fresh and unique!

What houses have you recently sold to?

Within the past few months I have completed deals with Grand Central Publishing, Knopf, Dorchester and Pocket Books.

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

I love helping an author realize their dream of getting their work published and I love finding a wonderful new story and author!

What trends do you see for the future of publishing?

Readers will continue to have many more options in terms of how they want to read books, whether it is on their electronic reader, their phone, or with a paperback or hardcover book. As long as we continue to offer great stories, I believe there will always be demand for them.

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

Persist with your dream of getting your work published! Continue to try to improve your writing, seek feedback from other writers and don’t be afraid to put that first manuscript on the shelf and move on to the next book. If you persist, you will find that with each story your writing will improve. Finally, write what you know and love, not what you believe is the latest “fad” or trend in publishing. Write the story of your heart!

Thanks, Kevan!

Check out the agent’s website at http://www.marsallyonliteraryagency.com/

Kim Watters

7 comments:

Sir John said...

Thanks for the information and best of luck to you on your new agency. I met Jill at sleuthfest and think she has a great personality. She told me a little about your new agency and what you were doing. She has some of my material now and I hope she likes it. Thoughts of living in southern California make me wish I could move back again. Congratulations on the new agency.

Edie said...

Terrific interview! Two friends have signed with you recently, and they both think you're wonderful.

ShawnaMoore said...

Many thanks for granting this wonderful and informative interview with Much Cheaper Than Therapy, Kevan :) Great insight for those of us in search of literary agents.

Recently we authors at Fierce Romance were awarded the Premio Dardas by our peer bloggers, Petit Fours and Hot Tamales. As we believe your blog, Much Cheaper Than Therapy is also deserving of recognition, we present you with a Premio Dardas.

This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are:

1) Accept the award, then post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to another 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Thanks for hosting a terrific cyber community!

Shawna Moore

PJ von Detweiler said...

Although starting a new agency in this economic climate could prove risky, I know several of your authors so predict resounding success!

Best of luck to you.

Chiron said...

Thanks for a great interview. I love the closing line the best:

Write The Story of Your Heart...

Congrats on the new agency. May you be surrounded by success and smiles.

Best,
Chiron O'Keefe
The Write Soul: www.chironokeefe.blogspot.com

Amanda Greenleaf-Whelan said...

Isn't it fabulous when you find a group of people with nice things to say about everyone and everything? I am thrilled at meeting each and every voice on this page and I am spurred on to climb the mountains of greatness awaiting us all in print! Keep up the good work and help me to know more about you all! I will be adding as many as I can to my site (grabbing a few chocolates before I go)! My name is Amanda Greenleaf-Whelan and I live at http://amandagreenleafwhelan.wordpress.com All love and sticky treats to you!

Amanda Greenleaf-Whelan said...

Isn't it fabulous when you find a group of people with nice things to say about everyone and everything? I am thrilled at meeting each and every voice on this page and I am spurred on to climb the mountains of greatness awaiting us all in print! Keep up the good work and help me to know more about you all! I will be adding as many as I can to my site (grabbing a few chocolates before I go)! My name is Amanda Greenleaf-Whelan and I live at http://amandagreenleafwhelan.wordpress.com All love and sticky treats to you!