Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency - Behind the Scenes
This month we are fortunate to have Nicole Resciniti with the Seymour Agency make time in her busy schedule and answer our questions. As you will discover her initial career path wasn’t literary driven, but a love of reading can lead a gal in new directions. So, let’s learn more about this interesting lady.
How did you become an agent?
I interned at The Seymour Agency. My background is in Behavioral Neuroscience and Biology. My love of reading—particularly commercial fiction—might seem like an odd fit for a science geek. But I think it is the analytical part of my personality that finds writing so fascinating, because there are so many elements and details that have to coalesce in order to create a great book.
What is a typical work day for you?
Every work day is different—which keeps it interesting :) —but a typical day consists of: responding to emails (LOTS of emails), contract negotiations, submissions or submission follow ups or calls prefacing the start of a submission, editing my clients’ books, and meetings or calls that relate to publicity/marketing.
Anything editor-oriented runs until 5pm. After standard publishing hours, I tackle the bulk of my reading and editing, and I catch up with clients to discuss their current WIPs, their upcoming releases, or any pressing issues. I adjust my calls to reflect the time zones when I’m working with foreign houses.
If you find a manuscript with potential, but needs improving in areas, do you work with the author to edit and improve the story?
I do. It’s one of the components of my job that I love the most—the intimacy of working with a talented author on a project I’m thrilled about. Sometimes the revisions are simple, other times, we might do multiple passes. It really depends on the individual project. I’ve been blessed in that the authors I work with are dedicated, and they’re willing to put in the effort to make their books amazing.
What are you specifically looking for right now and not finding in your slush pile?
I am ALWAYS wanting high concept ideas. The kinds of stories that feel ‘big’ and have tv/movie potential. I’m particularly interested in MG, YA and thrillers. To give you examples of high concept, I have a few YA projects that I sold that I’m crazy about:
Melissa Landers – STARFLIGHT – Pitched as “Overboard meets Firefly”
Julie Cross – OFF THE ICE – Pitched as “Friday Night Lights with Hockey”
Stacie Ramey – THE SISTER PACT – In which two sisters have a suicide pact, told from the perspective of the sister who lives.
In terms of something specific that I would like to see, I’ll give some examples by genre:
YA—anything historical—unique locales or time periods; something futuristic, or with a cyber-tech vibe. I’d love to find some YA with a literary voice.
MG—a nonfiction MG that focuses on positive role models for girls, emphasizing great women (not the commonly known ones) throughout history; humorous contemporary MG; the kind of MG series that we can build an amusement park around J -- aka, think BIG; and anything with STEM.
Tell us about a book you sold that came out recently, or is set to release soon.
Tomorrow is Amanda Flower’s release of CRIME AND POETRY. It is a cozy mystery in which a city girl returns to her small hometown to help her ailing grandmother run an enchanted bookstore. It’s adorable! And I’m addicted to this author. http://www.amazon.com/Crime-Poetry-Magical-Bookshop-Mystery/dp/0451477448/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459805483&sr=8-1&keywords=amanda+flower
What do you look for when you receive a manuscript you have requested a full on and love? How do you decide on offering a contract?
I look for a novel that holds my attention from start to finish. With the volume of submissions we receive, many times a book will start out so strong and then a couple of chapters in, the story begins to dissolve, usually due to a lack of conflict, or from a predictable plot. There are a lot of elements that can be tidied up with editing—but the core of the story needs to come from a talented storyteller. Someone who can make me see past any edits and wholly care about what happens next.
How do I decide on offering a contract? Well, that gets back to the submission. If I read a manuscript and love it, I offer representation. I’ll schedule a call with the author to discuss needs and expectations and edits (if they’re extensive). Things tend to move very quickly once we elect to work together. It’s exciting!
What types of submissions are you tired of seeing?
I don’t know that I’m ‘tired’ of anything in particular, but I guess the one thing I would caution against is chasing a trend or a bestseller. I receive a lot of YA manuscripts that read like a re-imagined Twilight or Hunger Games or Divergent. With MG, there are a number of submissions that seem to parallel Harry Potter.
I’m ALL about writing what the masses want. And something super commercial with mass appeal—sign me up! But I prefer when authors look to the core concepts that make a book great and then find a way to tell their own story.
The idea of writing what’s popular now (or writing to ‘trend’) is also challenging because it typically takes 10 months at a minimum to see a book sold and slated for print, with many publishers having full release schedules throughout 2017, meaning that the likelihood of that ‘trend’ being popular a year or two from now is low.
Do you work with your authors on career planning?
Absolutely. It’s a primary focus. We have to collaborate on publication schedules, career goals, projects, and publicity in order to craft a detailed plan that keeps an author in a steady publication schedule. It isn’t just about ‘one book’ but rather a long and successful career. We look for ways to grow our authors through cross promotions, publicity and different opportunities for exposure to new readers.
What is the best way for writers to submit their work to you?
Email. And I would encourage anyone submitting to me to follow up. I appreciate a nudge!!!
Have you ever loved a manuscript, but had a hard time selling a publisher on the idea?
Sometimes, there are genres that aren’t quite popular. We’re still seeing a bit of that with UF and paranormal. But with publishing, everything is cyclical, so while sales may be soft in one area, inevitably that turns around. The key is to keep writing.
Thank you for your time, Nicole. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I would say that every author can achieve their goal of publication. Writing is a craft that can be studied and honed. Do NOT give up hope or ever feel discouraged. Keep writing. Find an agent who will love that book as much as you do. With hard work and dedication every author can see their dream come true. Know that and believe it. Because you will.
If you are interested in submitting to The Seymour Agency check out their submission guidelines at http://www.theseymouragency.com/Submissions.html
Columnist Lizzie T. Leaf: Award winning author, Lizzie T. Leaf started life in Kansas, sprung to adulthood in North Carolina, and currently shivers through the winters in Colorado.
Since discovering the fun of writing paranormal, she plays with creating vampires, faeries and other immortals. When she needs a touch of reality, her Contemporary Erotic Romances come into play. Her most recent release is Nordic Heat, available at http://amzn.to/1owng5k
If she’s not creating mischief for paranormal beings, or getting under the covers with her erotic heroes, she can be found exploring the other genres she wants to write. She is a member of RWA and has served as President for the Heart of Denver Romance Writers and VP of Programs.
Lizzie loves to read, spend time with her family and travel with her best friend husband.