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 Jonathan Rosen of the Seymour Literary Agency!
– Path2pub: How did you become an agent?
I’d always had an interest, and late last year, I discussed it with my agent, and she thought it would be a great idea.
– Path2pub: What genres do you represent and why did you decide ‘these are what I want to help bring to the world’?
I represent most genres, from certain types of kidlit, to more adult genres, such as thrillers, mysteries, and memoirs. I read a lot, and have interest in many different types of genres. Whatever intrigues me, I’m willing to represent.
– Path2pub: What instantly catches your eye in a query letter/manuscript?
Something that is well written and has a great hook. I don’t love when someone tells me how great their book is. What are you supposed to say? This is awful, please read it? You SHOULD think it’s great, but when you tout how great it is, that can put a lot of pressure on your writing. As far as what catches my eye, just make it intriguing, and let me see your personality in the query.
– Path2pub: What is that element that makes you know at once that a story is not for you?
Honestly, if an opening paragraph doesn’t grab me right away, I’m less inclined to read on. I get so many queries, that something has to compel me to read. There are also little things in writing that can turn me off, and if they’re in the writing, I think this is not for me.
– Path2pub: How hands-on are you editorially?
I’m somewhat. I will look things over and give general thoughts. I don’t go line by line. Just overall impressions.
– Path2pub: Do you have goals for how many clients you want to acquire in a year?
No goals. I go by genre. I’ll only go up to a certain number in a particular genre, and then stop. Don’t want too many in one particular genre.
– Path2pub: What is your favorite trope?
I like so many. I love Horror, Sci/Fi mysteries, thrillers, and really ANYTHING with Humor.
– Path2pub: What are some books you think everyone should read?
Besides my own?? Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is my favorite. But some of my others include Chiefs by Stuart Woods, Fatherland, The Kite Runner, and I believe everyone needs to read Night by Elie Wiesel. Just a harrowing book and it gets to me every single time I read it.
– Path2pub: If a writer could write a book specifically for you, what would you want it to be about?
Horror comedy or Time Travel. I’ll read anything and everything with either of those elements.
– Path2pub: What advice do you have for querying writers?
Make your writing great. Seriously. Don’t be in a rush to query until it’s done. Work on that opening until it sparkles. I’ll forgive other things if the story grabs me from the start. I don’t necessarily care what books you think the story compares to, but I want YOUR writing to sparkle. I get some queries that state, it gets better later. Uh, then why are you starting here? Make it be “better” from page one.
– Path2pub: Fantastic advice! What are your non-publishing related hobbies?
I do podcasting, which I enjoy tremendously. I collect way too many things. And I’m a huge cinephile.
Jonathan Rosen is the author of several Middle Grade books, and takes that knowledge of what it’s like to be on the author side of the trenches into agenting, in order to help guide writers along on their path to publication. In fiction, he is seeking Young Adult, Mysteries, Thrillers, Historical Fiction, Sports, Romantic Comedy, and anything with humor for that matter. He will always have an eye out for diverse voices, and in particular those that reflect his background. In Non-Fiction, he is looking for Biographies and Memoirs, Pop Culture, Humor, Sports, and Journalism.
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