Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Agentopia: Laura Zats

Welcome to the May edition of Agentopia! For more information and to see other Agentopia posts, click here.

This month Laura Zats from Red Sofa Literary is in the spotlight.

Laura Zats graduated from Grinnell College with degrees in English and anthropology. While completing her studies, she took advantage of her love of Young Adult (YA) literature and wrote a thesis on identity formation in YA. She’s been working as an editor since 2011 and has held positions at companies in both the US and the UK. In 2013, Laura joined Team Red Sofa as an intern but quickly became more of an apprentice, leveling up to Associate Agent in the same year.
Even though she loved YA books first, titles that are Middle Grade, romance, and Sci-fi/Fantasy have been slowly taking hold. Picking a favorite genre now would be like choosing between puppies and kittens. In her free time, Laura likes to craft, swing dance, bake, and binge on Netflix marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doctor Who.
Sub Guidelines: Email a query letter to laura@redsofaliterary.com titled "Query: BOOK TITLE"

Representative categories: 
· Romance of all kinds, but I prefer a higher heat level and feminist ideals.
· Young Adult and Middle Grade– Fiction, especially contemporary. I'm a huge fan of quirky or dark and gritty titles. Must have an exceptional and unique voice.
· Contemporary Women’s Fiction, particularly stories with humor.
· Science Fiction/Fantasy especially with diverse casts/new world views. Please no straight sword and sorcery.
· Erotica
· New Adult

1. What are you looking for in YA submissions right now?

I'm always looking for something that pushes the envelope and is incredibly engaging. Whether it explores a niche (like comic book fangirls), or dark, tough subject matter, I'm looking for a book that stays with me, and is written well enough to convert adult readers to the YA category. I welcome diversity in all forms, and crossovers do exceptionally well with me. For example, I'm not interested in straight YA romance, but if there's a romance as well as an investigation or some other big, tension-causing things, I love it. 

2. What's an immediate turn-off in a query, something guaranteed to get the author rejected?

There's nothing I hate more than when an author tries to sell me their book rather than letting their story engage me by itself. If you talk about why I should like the book, rather than sending me some intriguing copy that conveys the content and tone of that book, I'll send a form rejection in under 30 seconds. I don't want to be sold a product, I want to fall in love with the people you've created. Leave the selling to me. It's my job, after all! Also, it's a huge pet peeve of mine when someone starts off a query with a rhetorical question, or tells me to imagine a particular scene or set of circumstances. I automatically imagine situations and ask critical questions as a reader. You're wasting space by setting the scene when you could jump right in!

3. What's the story got to have to make you want to represent it?

My agency runs on the boutique model, which means that we represent books we love, rather than books we know we can sell quickly and get a big deal out of. Therefore, I'm okay with repping books that fill smaller niches, but your book needs to belong somewhere. That is, we need to be able to identify its audience. Additionally, I just need to love it. I fall in love when I connect with the characters and stay interested all the way through. Usually I'll finish a book and let it sit in my email for a few weeks. If I'm still thinking about it a few weeks later, I know I have to have it. However, I'm not afraid of turning down something I love if the author is difficult and isn't willing to work with me on edits or proposal materials. I'm looking to build long-lasting relationships, and no content will get me to sign on to a potentially volatile author. 

1 comment:

  1. And there's another person for my list. ^_^ Thanks for this; I'll definitely have to query Ms. Zats when that time comes.