AGENT HILARY HARWELL
About Hilary & Submission Guidelines
Hilary joined the kt literary team to support office operations and assist with queries and manuscripts, and she now acts as Full Agent with clients of her own. She graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in Anthropology and went on to work in the back office of a major Swiss Investment Bank for eight years before deciding to trade numbers for letters. When not reading, editing, or writing stories of her own, Hilary likes to hike the Rockies with her family and dreams of one day owning her own horses.
in Hilary's words:
More on submitting to Hilary:
1. Tell us a little about your path to becoming a literary agent and what genres you represent (and don’t represent).
My path to becoming an agent has been a bit unconventional in that I started in the industry as a writer and had an agent myself quite a few years ago. I found myself very drawn to the editorial side of the writing process and kept thinking how significant it would be not only to write, but to find talented authors and help elevate their work, too. I was fortunate enough to land an internship with an agent a few years back, and after six months there, I networked my way into a literary assistant position at kt literary. After about a year I started taking on my own clients as an associate agent and just recently was promoted to full agent. I represent middle grade and young adult of all genres, but I'm especially hungry for projects written by marginalized authors as I believe all young people deserve to see themselves in the pages of books. I want to help promote unique, lesser heard voices.
2. What’s on your current #MSWL?
Again, #ownvoices projects are at the top of my list. I'd love a unique, dark, magical #ownvoices fantasy right now. I love a good mystery, humor, atmospheric horror, and strong cultural elements. I majored in Anthropology at the University of Colorado and have a penchant for stories that illuminate the world through different, culturally-focused lenses.
3. What do you look for in a query? Do you have any query pet peeves?
I look for a concise, well-written query that gives me a good idea of the conflict, stakes, main characters, and the plot. It's a lot to ask for in around 250 words, but when they're well done, they stand out. I also like to see strong comp titles, so I know the author understands the market they are writing for.
4. What is the biggest misconception writers have about literary agents?
Hmmm. I started to put down several responses to this, but I had to retract each as I'm not a big fan of stereotypes and each answer I came up with catered to those in some way. I suppose there are some agents in the industry who are very money-driven which suits some authors just fine. I like to differentiate myself a bit: while I always negotiate the very best deal terms for my clients, I'm also willing to take on projects that may be more challenging to place given market conditions. I don't shy away from quieter projects if the writing is exquisite and the message significant..
5. Do you have any advice for the writers taking part in this program?
My only advice is to absorb as much as possible and to try and connect with as many other authors as possible. If you can establish a writing clan now, it'll help with the inevitable lulls and difficult times along your writing journey.