Each year, NCWA member Kirk Kraft posts interviews with the agents and editors that will be speaking at the Northwest Christian Writer’s Renewal.
Rachel Kent is an agent with Books & Such Literary Management. She has more than seven years of agency experience. Rachel represents fiction and nonfiction. Her goal is to develop strong relationships with her clients and to help them to develop lasting relationships with their publishers.
1. What is the most important attribute you look for in a prospective new client?
I’m not sure I can pick just one! I guess being a great writer comes first, but I won’t represent a great writer who isn’t a kind, friendly person with perseverance and the ability to work well with others.
2. Is there a particular story or genre you’ve been looking for recently & haven’t found?
I have clients writing in all the categories I like to represent, but I would like to find more romantic suspense and also nonfiction books for those in their teens, twenties, and thirties.
The nonfiction I’m looking for would be books that help those in these age groups get through life at the stages they are in for example: Surviving high school or college; dating; early years of marriage; raising children when the parents are like ships passing in the night to make ends meet; etc. The books do need to bring something fresh to these topics though and platform has to be strong.
I’m open to short romantic suspense (Love Inspired-length) and longer romantic suspense projects.
This doesn’t mean that I’m not looking at other types of projects too, though.
3. Do you have any publishing heroes or role models? Who are they?
The amazing agents at Books & Such are instructive and inspiring to me on a daily basis. Janet Kobobel Grant has really dedicated herself to helping each of us at Books & Such and she is a hero in my book!
My clients also inspire me. They all work so hard and do what they do with joy and dedication. I can see Jesus in them.
4. What advice can you give aspiring writers who believe they’re ready to submit work?
Please have some critique partners read your work first! It makes a difference. And ask them to look at your query letter, too. The query letter can be the gateway to your publishing career and you want it to be the best it can be so editors and agents request your project.
5. What brings you the most joy in your life as an agent?
I love helping all of my clients get contracted, but there’s a special joy that comes with placing a debut author for the first time. Placing that new writer with a publishing house makes me so excited and happy.
I also love reading a brand new idea from a client. There’s so much potential in new ideas.
6. If you could go back in time, would you choose a different career? Why or why not?
I don’t think so. I really love being a literary agent. I find joy in my job and I don’t think I would if I did something else–or it would be harder to. I also feel like I’m able to reach people with the love of Jesus through what I do. And I have some flexibility with my job so I can spend a lot of time with my daughter.
7. What are you currently reading?
I am currently rereading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It’s amazing how different life is today. Laura had only a few toys growing up and Ma only had one special glass figurine to put on her homemade shelf. And there wasn’t any technology! They were happy and thankful and unselfish. I think every adult should read these books again. It’s been eye-opening and they are so good!
Rachel Kent’s Workshop Description:
Chasing down the facts for a manuscript isn’t easy. We will go into detail about the research process–including tips from some of Rachel’s multi-published clients and a list of resources to help with researching for multiple kinds of projects. This class is for every writer. Research and fact checking are important for all genres.
Read More of Rachel’s wisdom from her Friday posts on the Books & Such blog:
Kirk Kraft has been gripped by the “Writing Monster” for many years. A husband and father of four, he’s instilled a love of reading in all his children while chasing his dream of publishing. His favorite genre for both writing and reading is epic fantasy. He has been a member of NCWA since 2008.