Agent Interview: Allison Hellegers

A surefire way to determine an agent is the best fit for your manuscript/writing career is by learning everything you can about them. Such information is great when choosing who to query and deciding who you’d love to work long term with. As a site dedicated to guiding writers through the publication journey, we’ve put together awesome agent interviews for you!

Today we’re introducing Allison Hellegers from Stimola Literary Studio!

Path2pub: Welcome to Path2pub! How did you become an agent?

AH: I grew up in publishing on the international rights/business side of publishing, specializing in knowing what books would work in what territories abroad. I had experience as a children’s literary scout and also traveled to The Bologna Book Fair, The Frankfurt Book Fair, as well as visiting book fairs in Brazil, Scandinavia, and France, among other countries. So after I had worked with a number of agencies selling their rights, I knew I was interested in working more directly and hands on with authors. I was lucky to find that an agency I have long admired was looking to add an agent and a rights specialist. So now I’m both!

Path2pub: What genres do you represent and why did you decide ‘these are what I want to help bring to the world’?

AH: Most of my experience is in selling children’s middle grade and young adult fiction, but I have expanded into representing other areas depending on my passion and vision for the project. Nothing is off limits if I think it will make a significant impact to the market.

Path2pub: What instantly catches your eye in a query letter/manuscript?

AH: I look for voice, familiarity with my tastes/interests, and experience writing and submitting your work. I tend to go for clients that have put in a lot of work upfront, have joined critique groups or writing societies, so that I know they have worked quite a bit on their work before sharing it with an agent.

Path2pub: What is that element that makes you know at once that a story is not for you?

AH: Maybe this sounds too simple, but if I’m bored, then it’s not for me. To be more detailed here, I want a story that will pull me in with the voice and will emotionally resonate and make me care about the characters or the topic. With so much competition to other media, execution and premise have to be incredibly strong – and when I start to put my own pitch together in my head and start to think of the editors whom I’d share this with – then we are getting somewhere! I love topics that are particularly boundary pushing, especially from diverse creators, so I would be less inclined to take on a book that didn’t push that button for me.

Path2pub: How hands-on are you editorially?

AH: It depends on the client, but I do like to help my authors shape their texts before submission to an editor. I think it’s important to always put your best foot forward, and as an agent, I love helping guide my authors along the creative process and offering editorial guidance. I also like giving deadlines and goals so that we are working towards the same end goal from the beginning.

Path2pub: Do you have goals for how many clients you want to acquire in a year?

AH: I do not. It’s more about the quality than the quantity for me.

Path2pub: What is your favorite trope?

AH: I love discovering new favorite tropes, so this is hard to answer. I’m always going to be a fan of secret societies, witches, cults, and time travel, for example. But it’s incredibly hard to write these tropes in a new way.

Path2pub: What are some books you think everyone should read?

AH: I don’t feel that I can answer this because there would be a different answer for everyone based on interest. Within my genre, I suggest Hunger Games, not just because Suzanne Collins is an agency client, but because this really changed my perspective of what YA literature should be.

Path2pub: Hunger Games is 100% great! If a writer could write a book specifically for you, what would you want it to be about?

AH: That’s a really hard one – but a fun question! I’ll give it a go. I would love a Ramona Quimby type girl series, but make her a witch, for contemporary middle-grade readers.

Path2pub: What advice do you have for querying writers?

AH: Don’t lose hope! It’s tough out there, but it only takes one person to read your work and have that spark and vision. And do know that so much of the process has to do with timing. It’s competitive, but keep at it!

Path2pub: What are your non-publishing related hobbies?

AH: Dogs, Music, Hiking, Yoga, my nine-year-old son and my nieces and nephews.

Thank you for stopping by!

Allison will be open to queries in June. However, BIPOC writers reading this interview, can query Allison and put “Path2Pub interview-BIPOC” in the submission line!

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Published by path2pub

From The Trenches To The Shelves

2 thoughts on “Agent Interview: Allison Hellegers

  1. Awesome interview. I learn a lot from these interviews. From this, it seems some agents are open to great concepts and writings they can polish up, while some agents are more in preference of much advanced quality of manuscripts.
    Fantastic interview Path2pub!


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