We are starting off May--which is turning out to be a month of many guest posts--with a quick interview with Karla Gomez, who is not only something of a writer herself, but also works at The Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.
What is your typical day at the literary agency like?
There are always things to do; seasonal projects that need attention, urgent matters to take care of, etc. Because of this, I don't have a typical day at the agency. Whether I'm making sure we have all reviews and blurbs for our new releases, fulfilling foreign interest requests on our titles, helping the financial department on various areas, providing crucial feedback on manuscripts, or handling the nitty-gritty of office upkeep, you can be sure that I am always busy and always learning.
What has working at a literary agency taught you about the publishing process?
You might relax on a afternoon by reading your favorite book, but the process of getting the book in your hands was not as peaceful. Publishing is extremely competitive. Agents are selective, and editors have to be, too. And sometimes everyone wants the same project! I've definitely learned that we have to act quick. That's when the fun begins. In publishing you have to keep an eye out for what's currently hot, but also think ahead.
What has surprised you about the slush pile?
Oh gosh! I'm surprised by how unprofessional people can be. Writers who query every agent in the agency and everyone in five other agencies in one email? They do exist. Writers who demand you edit their pages and send it off to Random House? They exist, too. How about those who demand to know why they haven't received a reply when they sent in their query a week ago? Yes.They're real, too.
Has it changed your ideas about what you want to write?
I don't think working at the agency has changed my ideas on what to write about, since that's something very personal, and what speaks to me will speak to me no matter what. However, working here has opened my eyes to new genres and categories to read. We have amazing agents and they each have wonderful lists! A few upcoming releases I'm super excited about are: Neal Griffin's BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT; Bradley Somer's FISHBOWL; Katherine Harbour's BRIAR QUEEN; and Lillian Faderman's THE GAY REVOLUTION.
Are you still interested in writing fantasy?
I will always be interested in writing fantasy! :)
Karla Gomez lives in sunny California and has a lovely view of the ocean from her desk.