Agent/Client Interview With Nina Leon And Jennifer Delaney

One thing querying writers are often curious about is: what it is like to have an agent. What are you to expect? How is the dynamic? How is the process of working together?

What better way is there to answer this than a vibrant conversation between agent and client? Today, we have with us Nina Leon (a return guest on Path2pub!), of the High Spot Literary Agency and Jennifer Delaney whose manuscript is currently on submissions to editors! (Read to the end to find out the winner of the query letter critique giveaway).

Nina Leon
Jennifer Delaney

NL: How did you find me, and why did you choose to query me?

JD: It was during #PITMAD 2021. Your tweet about participating in the event was retweeted onto my timeline. I went onto your profile and looked at the pitches you were liking. I noticed they were similar to my MS, so I visited your MSWL profile to see what you were after. I was shocked at how similar my MS was to what you were looking for. I decided to query you because I had this gut feeling. I wasn’t actively querying at the time, but I couldn’t ignore the feeling, so I sent it in. You also had a Chicken Run header at the time, so that was a selling point.

NL: I was a brand new agent at the time, how did that factor into your decision to query me. Was it a drawback?

JD: It wasn’t. You were very new at the time, so information about you was limited, but I did as much research about you as possible. The more I learned about you, the surer I became that you were the right agent for me. Some writers see senior agents as dream agents, but I read an article that explained how one shouldn’t rule out junior agents. It spoke about the benefits of signing with a junior agent, and how, because you’re becoming part of the foundation for their career, they’re very selective, and will only pick you if they absolutely believe in you and your potential. That, and the fact that they can often have a lot of time and energy to offer you, which is something I know I needed. I needed someone who was going to be very involved and patient.

JD: What was it about my query that caught your attention?

NL: On a superficial level, it was a very neat and visually appealing query letter. I loved the title too! As an agent, I know the types of authors and stories I want on my list, and your query appeared to be exactly what I was looking for. I typically don’t request a full MS right after reading the query. I usually take a few days to think about the first ten pages. If I’m still interested, then I’ll request. I couldn’t stop thinking about your work.

NL: How did you feel when you received my request for a full?

JD: I was a work, at my office job. I think my heart nearly stopped. I told everyone I worked with! I couldn’t wait to get home so that I could send it through. I was in shock, because I was used to the cycle of querying and being rejected, so for that cycle to be broken…it was a lot to process. But then I calmed down and tried to manage my expectations. I knew a full request wasn’t an offer, so there was still a big chance you might pass after reading the full. No other agent had read the full yet, so that was a new experience.

JD: At what point during the MS did you realise you wanted to offer rep?

NL: I knew before I had even read the full. Ten pages was all it took. I just needed the full to confirm that. You were exactly the type of author I would have spent my whole career looking for. I’m glad we found one another so early on.

NL: How were you feeling going into our first call? I remember how terrified you looked.

JD: Because I had been querying for so long, I just kept thinking it was a mistake. Like you had confused me for another writer somehow. I was very anxious going into it. Because we were meeting on a Monday, I had the whole weekend to freak out. On Sunday night, I laid out my outfit and mentally prepared myself for it. I even asked my friends for advice on how I should do my hair. The morning of, I evacuated my house – everyone had to be out of the house when I was meeting you. I also bought a new camera and mic so that you could see and hear me well. I also did a test run the night before just to check my wifi was working fine. I may have bought a wifi extender…just saying. I think I blacked out during the call, so I can’t even tell you how I felt during it.

NL: I remember all of it. I particularly remember liking how chatty you were. I also loved your accent!

NL: You must have had certain expectations of me, how different was the reality?

JD: You were really nice over email, so I had a feeling it would be fine. You were also so calm, which was very comforting. I knew then that you would be the right fit for me. I didn’t ask too many questions because I was so nervous, but you covered everything I would have asked anyway. I had also done research about agents, so I understood a lot of what you were saying. I accepted your offer the next day, so I think that says everything.

JD: How did you feel when I accepted your offer?

NL: Junior agents get passed on a lot…for various reasons. I was thrilled that you had accepted my offer. As much as I had chosen you, you had chosen me. Having someone trust you with their writing and career is an amazing thing!

NL: Then I told you I wanted you to do a rewrite….

JD: I was fully anticipating a rewrite. You mentioned that you believed in what my MS could be, and I did admit that my confidence had been knocked from years of rejections. I was writing to please agents and give them what I thought they wanted. You and I worked really hard to build up my confidence, and that changed everything for me. You pushed me, and that made me fall back in love with my own voice and my own writing style. When I was told to do a rewrite, I didn’t see it as a negative…I felt free, like someone was giving me license to finally tell the story the way I had dreamed of writing it. I felt like someone was championing who I really was as a writer.

NL: It was a massive undertaking, and you did such a great job. You really blew me away. It’s funny to think about how different the first draft is to the final draft. They didn’t even hold hands in the first draft.

JD: they certainly do in this one…

NL: …and more.

JD: I anticipated that going through those scenes together would be awkward.

NL: We laughed our way through it. It was an experience for sure.

NL: We’re now out on submission. How has the experience been for you?

JD: It was overwhelming in the beginning. Being on submission can be mentally taxing because it involves waiting. You’re also aware that editors are reading you work, which is a vulnerable position to be in.

NL: Do you feel like my suggestion of working on a different MS was good advice?

JD: I do! It gave me something else to focus on. Once I started working on another MS, it gave me a huge sense of calm. I would also say to querying writers, when you’re querying a MS, try and work on a different one at the same time. It’s a good distraction, and it makes you feel like you have more to offer than just one project. I feel like being on submission is a great time to just hand over all trust to your agent. You need to believe that they know what they’re doing and that they’re fighting for your MS.

JD: Since signing with you, I feel like it’s been a collaborative effort. I feel free, which I think you’ve noticed. My voice feels so much more authentic and my own. I also feel far more confident in myself as a writer. It’s like I believe in my own ideas so much more now. I have so many manuscripts in the works, and having you be so supportive of each one has just really made the whole experience so much fun.

JD: The process of getting an agent is one of the strangest experiences of my life, but also one of the most validating and rewarding. I’m very excited for what comes next.

NL: I can’t wait for everyone else to love your stories as much as I do.

It’s always a pleasure to have you, Nina. Thank you and Jennifer for an enlightening interview!

Announcing The Critique Giveaway Winner

The winner of Nina’s Query Critique is Lauren Dowdle!

Congratulations Lauren! We’ll be forwarding your query letter to Nina for the critique!

Of course, there will be more giveaways coming in the future so stay tuned, everyone!

Published by Lucia’s Fiction

Novelist and Blogger

7 thoughts on “Agent/Client Interview With Nina Leon And Jennifer Delaney

  1. Great interview! Thank you everyone who put this together. Also I can’t be the only one who after reading this wishes for such a relationship with my agent☺️


  2. I loved reading this inside scoop 😉 I agree with what Jennifer says concerning the benefits of choosing a newer agent. It’s interesting that Nina knew right from the query letter that Jennifer was a client she wanted. Very enlightening, and congratulations Lauren for the critique!


  3. This is very insightful! Why do I think I would react the same way Jennifer did when I get the call? 😂 That’s so cute. The rest of this interview is just gold. Thank you for sharing it!


  4. Thank you so much! I was reading this amazing interview and how neat it was to hear both sides of the agent/writer partnership, and then I realized, hey, that’s my name at the end! Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such and insightful and pure interview! Wow anyone would hope to have this kind of relationship with their agent and client.
    Good luck all the way🎈

    Liked by 1 person

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