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Lit Agent Lucy Childs Thinks Authors Need To Know Their Success is Not "Guaranteed"

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Literary Agent Lucy Childs likes literary fiction, not werewolves and vampires. In this interview, she suggests that authors keep their query letters brief and to the point, and explains that you shouldn't quit your day job right away.

Lucy, tell us a little about your agency and what makes it so different than other agencies.
Our agency prides itself on not taking on too many clients, thereby being able to devote a substantial amount of time to each author. We only represent manuscripts we truly believe in.

Do you think that ebooks and digital publishing is a good thing or a bad thing?

I wish ebooks would go away. I know. I'm old school, antiquated, behind the times.

Has your agency made any changes to help them prepare for the changes in your industry? And is their any special advice that you give your authors about that?

I'm not sure that there can possibly be any preparation for the changes in the industry. We are literally taking this one day at a time and trying to adapt accordingly. It's my personal belief that authors - as well as any artist - should never assume their financial success will be guaranteed. Depend on another career to make money while you're writing. Actors have known this forever. Get real. If you do happen to "make it" in the publishing world, it's gravy and you should be forever grateful.

What kinds of books are most editors happy to see? And what do you wish that you got a little more of?

Vampires and werewolves, apparently. Always good thrillers. My niche - literary fiction - is hard to come by. And when the good ones do cross my desk, they're tough to sell.

How should an interested writer approach you?

An intelligently written query letter. Don't be cute, don't go on and on and on. Make it brief and to the point. Make it intriguing. Don't use hyperbole and don't compare yourself to John Updike or any other specific novel.

Finally, what is a "secret" fact about yourself?

I love hip hop.