Fizzy Fangirling – An Interview with Brent Taylor
Hello my darlings!
Today I bring you an interview I’ve been dying to post for ages with one of my very most favorite people in the world, literary agent, (one of mine, to be specific!) Brent Taylor of TriadaUS Literary Agency!
The first time I worked with Brent, he was a wee intern and was a huge help during the Hook, Line, and Sinker contest back in 2012.
When I signed with Uwe Stender and Brent, at the time, Brent was brand new to agenting. I remember saying to friends, “With Brent, it’s not ever a question of if he will sell. It’s when.” and he certainly didn’t disappoint. He’s been kicking ass for his clients and it’s been a pleasure to watch, and be among them.
Let me step aside and let the sir speak for his own awesome self.
1. First off, how long have you been an agent? What made you want to dive into this wacky business in the first place?
I’ve been an agent since September 2014. I’m terrible at all math that isn’t “how much money does this publisher owe me,” so I think that’s roughly a year and a half. I’ve known that I wanted to be an agent since my first internship in 2011. There’s something so magical about shepherding books into the world that would’ve changed your life as a reader.
2. What genres do you represent? How important is the genre, or will you take on something different just because it gives you the feelings?
My taste is eclectic, but I tell people that I represent upmarket fiction across all age categories: middle grade, young adult, and adult. I’m also very interested in illustrated fiction and other unique formats (like novels-in-verse). Even if something doesn’t feel like an obvious fit, I’ll always give it the benefit of the doubt, because writing is the most important to me.
I’m not an obvious fit for SFF, but there are two MG/YA SFF projects on my list that I just couldn’t say no to—the writing was phenomenal.
3. Tell us a little bit about how writers go about snagging a magnificent agent such as yourself? Aside from slush, you’ve had some amazing success with online contests as well!
You’re right, I have had success in online contests! I’m a huge fan of Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars, and I encourage all unpublished writers to keep close tabs on it.
4. What’s your favorite part of your job? For balance, what makes you cry sad, agenty tears now and then?
The best part of the job is making The Life-Changing Call. I have one client who’s amazingly hard-working and has been trying to get a novel published for years, and when I called her with the news that her dream editor and dream publisher were making an offer on her book, she burst into tears. It was one of the best moments.
Sad, agenty tears: I don’t believe in them! Creative industries aren’t a yellow brick road and I just try to put my best foot forward every day.
5. Do you have any stories that are now, “The one that got away?” If so, did it change the way you looked at submissions from then on?
It’s a reality of publishing that you don’t get every project you want—agents and editors alike have to deal with it all the time. But on the other side of this, I have certainly passed on projects that went on to sell in six-figure deals. Sometimes you think to yourself, “wow, what didn’t I see in that?” but ultimately I’m happy for every one of those writers. It’s such a subjective business that we work in, and no one person’s taste is the same.
6. What’s something you’re working on right now that has you all aflutter?
I have an incredible psychological thriller that I’m shopping and a beautiful YA novel-in-verse, and some contemporary middle grade fiction that I’m very excited about.
7. You’ll be attending the Midwest Writers Workshop this summer as faculty! For those on the fence about attending, woo them with some details on what you’ll be offering up in your panels/sessions/critiques.
MWW has a reputation for bringing in a lot of writing talent, so I’m excited to listen to one-on-one pitches. I’ll be on a panel (with you, I believe!) about the agent-author relationship and then teaching a class about the non-MFA ways you can improve your craft (how to find great critique partners and online communities, etc.) for beginning-level writers.
8. As is customary on my blog, it is here I require an embarrassing or hilarious moment. Bonus points if industry related. Double bonus points for accidental nudity.
Oh, I have the perfect one. I misspelled one of my author’s names in the title page of her manuscript, and after I realized, it mortified me. All ended well, because that project sold in a bidding war, despite my typo. I sent the author a customized wine glass with her misspelled name on it as a sorry gift.
Brent Taylor is an associate agent at Triada US, where he works on middle grade, YA, and adult fiction. Some of his recent sales include THE DIMINISHED by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson (Harlequin Teen), FAKE BLOOD by Whitney Gardner (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers), CHAOTIC GOOD by Whitney Gardner (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers), ALAN COLE IS NOT A COWARD by Eric Bell (Katherine Tegen Books), PERFECT TEN by L. Philips (Viking Children’s Books), and THE HEMINGWAY THIEF by Shaun Harris (Seventh Street Books). You can find him online at triadaus.com and on Twitter @NaughtyBrent.
Isn’t he a delight? He is also a delight you should super come see at MWW. There will be shenanigans when Brent, Uwe, and I take the stage for a panel, folks.
Plus, he will be taking pitches and offering boss critiques, so get up on those!
Register for MWW HERE.
As always, leave and questions or comments or general statements of adoration for Brent in the comments below!
Until next time,
Peace, Love, and NaughtyBrent!