Monday, August 15, 2011

Interview with Agent Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Management AND Contest Announcement!!

Hey guys, I’ve got great news. I’m going to be hosting another agent-judged contest next Monday with Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Management!!! A big applause for her, please, since she’s so awesome. Have you been following her blog, Navigating the Slush Pile? Well, she has this amazing series, her “Wednesday Reads,” in where she reviews a book and says if she would represent it or not. I think it’s a great way to see if she would be a good fit for you. For a full bio of her, go here.

To gear up for the upcoming contest, and so that you can get to know her better, today I’m bringing you guys an interview with Vickie. I hope you enjoy!
(More information about the contest below the interview.)

1) How and why did you decide to become a literary agent?

I started with Andrea Hurst as an intern right out of college and immediately fell in love with the business. Being a literary agent just felt natural to me. I love working behind the scenes and promoting authors, working with them to develop their craft and plot, getting to know their characters every bit as well as they do. Like I said, it was a natural choice, and I love every minute of it.

2) So, from your blog we know you represent:

YA: fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, contemporary, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and steam punk.
Adult: fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, dystopian, and post-apocalyptic.
Adult Non-fiction: cookbooks with a strong platform, humorous memoirs, healthy living, narrative, and current events.
But among those fiction genres, would you rather represent a commercial book like Twilight or a more literary one, like The Book Thief—or both?

Now that is just a mean question. Twilight vs The Book Thief? Okay, if I had to choose one of those, I'd choose The Book Thief (based on the book alone, not sales obviously). But I understand your question. Do I normally gravitate towards more commercial or literary books? Commercial. I love a good fast paced read. I'm definitely of the generation of instant gratification. But I do enjoy a little emotional manipulation in my novels as well.

3) We also know you’re an editorial agent. What part of the editorial process with your clients do you like the most? And are you the hand-holding type of agent, or your clients are “big kids,” now and don't need your hand?

Of course all my clients are "big kids"! But I enjoy holding their hands anyways. Odd way to phrase it. But really, I enjoy interacting with my clients. If they have questions about any aspect of the business, I'm happy to enlighten them (you'll notice I do the same thing on my blog). I love the entire editorial process. I mentioned above I love getting to know a story as well as the creator knows it. I really just love being part of the process--being allowed to be part of the process. It's a huge reward to me.

I can imagine that--being part of the process! It makes me want to be a literary agent myself, lol. 
4) Can you tell us why writers would be thrilled to have you as their agent?

You're really asking me to toot my own horn here, aren't you? [Ha, I guess I am!!] Well, I'm a newer agent, and as such I love working with debut authors. We get to go through this journey together, build our respective careers together. I have tons of passion for my job, for this business (can you tell yet?) and I channel that right into working for my writers and promoting them to editors (other writers, people on the street who really don't even want to hear about it, etc).

Oh and I must add, though it's not directly related to the question, that when I sign a new client, when they give me their "Yes! I'll work with you!" I do my own happy dance. You think you're excited to sign with an agent? I'm as equally excited to have found you and get to work with you.

Awesome! I think we’d all like to see you happy dancing! ;)
5) When you’re submitting a manuscript to editors, do you get nervous, too?

Oh you bet. But it's more of an excited nervousness. I press "send" and think, "Oh, you're gonna love this and fall at my feet in appreciation that I've sent it to you." Have I mentioned that I'm my writers' biggest fans?

6) Where do you hope to be in five years from now?

I hope to still be with Andrea Hurst, living in the Northwest, with a small (manageable) flock of writers who have all seen the best seller list. But don't we all? Really, in five years, I just want to still be in this business working with writers I love and seeing them get to where they want to be in their careers.

7) Anything else you’d like to say? Maybe a tip for the upcoming contest on Love YA?

My best piece of advice, any time you're pitching (queries, contests, conferences), remember that the agent is just a person, a reader, and we're looking for something to love. That said, a specific tip, keep your one sentence pitch short and snappy. Don't try to shove too much into one sentence. If you get to the heart of your story and convey a little of why we'll love it (the voice, maybe), you've done your job.

Excellent advice, I must say!

And now the 4Fs.  (Fast Five For Fun!)

Guilty pleasure?   (That has nothing to do with books??)
Running through sprinklers.

Some random and funny fact about you that we probably don’t know? 
I'm one of four kids, somewhere in the middle, the only one with bad eyesight, a penchant for books, played a musical instrument in school, and thinks baseball is a silly sport (though I enjoy playing it).

Professional food spiller or spick-and-span lady?
Food spiller for sure. I had a special cup when I was a kid that is *almost* impossible to knock over.

(I'm a food spiller too! *high 5*)
If you could go anywhere, where would you go? (Psst, you can say you’d like to visit me in Chile... kidding! ;D)

The Bahamas with my Dad on his sailboat. (slash sail to Chile!!!) I'd lay out on the deck with a book and work on my tan. Ah the simple pleasures in life. If I had to choose anywhere else, I'd love to visit some old castles in Europe, hopefully some haunted ones.

What's the one possession you couldn't live without?

A large and well stocked kitchen.

Thank you so much for doing this interview on Love YA! 

And, guys, here's more interesting info about Vickie Motter!

The best way to query VM (Link): By e-mail, Send a query letter, with "Query" somewhere in the subject line. More information can be found at and my blog,
Sample Pages: Yes. 5 pasted below the query.

She Tweets, too. She’s really nice! This is the link for you to follow her on Twitter!

And here, you have a nice interview with Vickie on Guide to Literary Agents Blog.
There’s also this other interview, in where she talks about querying, among other things, on Mother Write Repeat.

And last, but definitely not least, I encourage you to check her Agency’s Blog, in where they have an exciting line up of interviews, authors, editors, agents!

Now, about the contest.

1) It will open at 10:00 a.m. EST, on the 22th, and it will close as soon as 50 people enter the contest. (Don’t post your pitches under this post.)

2) Polish your one-sentence pitch and your first page (250 words). There will be two winners. One winner for the best first page and another winner for the best pitch. The prices will be a query critique and a 5pg critique. And if Ms. Motter likes other pitches or pages, she will request partials.

3) The contest will be for finished YA and adult fiction novels (fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, dystopian, and post-apocalyptic). Please note that Ms. Motter doesn’t represent MG!!

4) This is only for unagented writers only.

5) Since I’m doing this to help, you don’t need to be a follower, but I’d love it if you are. And I’d love it if you’d follow me on Twitter too ;)

6) Please, spread the word. I’m not going to haunt you if you don’t, but it’d make me REALLY happy if lots of people had the chance to enter.

What should you post next week?

-Your Name
-Title of your book
-Word-count of your manuscript
-The one-sentence pitch
-Your first page (250 words). No more than 250, and please don’t stop mid sentence.
-Your email

If you’re a bit lost: I’m pasting a few links so you can read more about writing short pitches.


  1. Great interview! Monica, you always have the best guests on your blog. :)

  2. This is such an awesome interview and contest opportunity! Thanks to Monica for hosting and Ms. Motter for judging!

  3. What a outstanding opportunity; thank you very much, Monica and Vickie. I only wish my historical YA were one of the genres Vickie represents, because she has such an excellent reputation.

  4. Awesome interview, Monica! And what a great opportunity!

  5. What a great opportunity! Thanks so much, both of you. Now, I'm off to polish my pitch...

  6. @Linda: Aww, thanks, hun! <3

    @Ashley: I'm so happy you like the idea! :D

    @Michelle: Oh maybe for the next time!

    @Alison: Thanks for stopping by!! <3

    @Kate: Good luck with that polishing!! :D

  7. What a great contest! You have so many darn good ones Monica! One day I will be ready to enter them:)

  8. *wild applause...* Vickie is fantastic and I look forward to checking out this contest. Best of luck to everyone!

  9. @Deana, Oh I have the feeling you'll be ready soon, even if you don't think that! <3

    @Heather! Thanks for stopping by! :D

  10. Awesome interview. Vickie has one of the best blogs. Love it!

  11. You AND Vickie are so awesome to do this! Tweeting now.

  12. I can't believe you! You just keep getting more and more awesome. These contests are so helpful to other writers. *kisses* I'll go tweet!

  13. How cool, I am not going to enter the contest. I am rewriting my book so it's not finished yet. SO next time! But I just want to thank you for posting this and holding the contest. It's nice for me to see what you need to do to find an agent!

  14. Great interview, Monica! ::waves to Vickie::

    Vickie is my agent and I never tire of saying that or telling people. We're on a journey together and she is a great cheerleader, awesome editor, and all around great agent. She holds my virtual hand when necessary, though usually I do wear my big girl pants! (Tho IRL that would be hard since she's 3000 miles away from me!)

    Good luck to all entering the contest!

  15. Great agent profile! Your blog is the place to be, my friend!

  16. @Martha: Yes! I love her blog, too!!! :D

    @Julie AND Lisa!! Thanks for helping me spread the word!

    @Mel, thanks for stopping by! And I wish you luck finishing that ms!! I hope to see you around next time! <3

    @Kristine! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with Vickie with us!! You're so sweet!

    @Jenny!! Thanks for stopping by! I thought you were sleeping now, lol.

  17. Great interview and thanks for the contest. I'll have to hone my pitch and first 250 pages and enter.

  18. Thanks for the heads up on this contest. I'm hoping to have my pitch polished by then.

  19. You do so much of this here!! It's way awesome :D

  20. Alice! Hi! It'd be great to have you here! Can't wait to see your pitch! :D

    Patricia, good luck polishing that pitch!

    Jolene, thanks!!! <333

  21. You are rockin' the contests, Monica. Thank you so much - your efforts are much appreciated.

  22. This is great. Vickie is super fun to follow and her blog posts rule.

  23. Aw, thanks for your comment, Leslie! You're so sweet! :D

    Christa! Yes, Vickie is SUPER fun!! :D

  24. Title: HARP
    Word count: 72,000
    Genre: YA contemporary fantasy

    When young Irish gods flee their mythic world, only Roiseen O'Reilly can protect them and rescue her missing dad – but will risk destroying herself.

    1st 250

    Roiseen flattened her hands on the kitchen counter, bracketing the phone.

    Something flashed above her head: A lost firefly. She went to a window facing their overgrown back yard and pushed. Green paint flaked on her fingers but the sash wouldn't budge.

    "Sorry, Twinkle Butt. Guess you'll have to find your own way home." When the phone rang, she jumped to grab it.

    "Simone O'Reilly?" a woman asked.

    Roiseen groaned. It was a rant from a bill collector, not a call from her missing dad. She pinched her nostrils. "Wrong number."

    "Is Simone about?"

    "There's no Simone here. What don't you understand about 'wrong number'?" Fielding these calls was toughening her up. She hadn't yet decided if it was a good thing.

    The woman's Irish brogue became harsher. "Put your mother on, Roiseen. 'Tis Brigit."

    "Brigit from Cnoc Feeorin?" Roiseen eyed the phone, surprised. As far as she knew, her parents had broken off all contact with Dad's Irish godmother.

    "Aye. Fetch Simone."

    "You sure? I don't think Mom will want to talk to you."

    "Never mind that. Tell her your father will be here soon."

    Roiseen white knuckled the receiver. "You know where he is? Did you talk to him? Is he okay? We haven't heard anything since—." She looked at the dusty wall clock. Exactly 26 days and –– 12 hours ago.

    "I'll explain everything when ye arrive," Brigit said. Music played faintly in the background. The reception faded then hummed back into life. "Ye can have your old bedroom above the pub."

    Thanks so much!

  25. Sorry, couldn't find another place to post and now I see it says don't post here. My bad!

    (You don't have to read it!)