Gardner joined Books and Such Literary Agency in January 2012 with twelve years in previous agent and publishing positions. Rachelle has ghostwritten eight published books. She represents books for the Christian and the general market, and is accepting queries for both. Rachelle is looking for fiction in Women’s, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller, Family Saga, Historical, Legal, Literary, Mainstream, Romance, and in nonfiction Memoirs, Home Life, Current Affairs, Health & Diet, Narrative Nonfiction, Popular Culture, Self-Help, and Women’s Issues. She does not want devotionals, fantasy, sci-fi, children’s, or YA. For more details: http://www.rachellegardner.com/
Here is a sample of that interview:
I see you represent books for the Christian market (CBA) as well as for the general market, and that you are now accepting queries for both adult fiction, and nonfiction. Would you ever consider representing a children’s author? Children’s publishing is a specialized subset of the publishing world – there is so much to know that is specific to children’s books. I prefer to focus on the areas in which I already specialize. I have no plans to expand that to include kids’ books.
What are your query pet peeves? I feel like it’s disrespectful and insulting when writers send a query without having learned the first thing about the craft of writing or the business of publishing. If you don’t take it seriously, nobody in publishing will take you seriously.
Any tips for authors who want to pitch? You have to get some objective feedback on your project and your pitch before bringing it to publishing professionals. It’s impossible to be objective about your own work, so you need help in identifying what makes your book interesting, what’s the hook, what would make someone interested in hearing more. Every writer thinks their own book is endlessly fascinating, but they need help in getting someone else as interested as they are.
Have you ever advised an author self publish instead of traditional? If so, why? I'm constantly in discussion with my clients about their projects, and which ones might be best suited for self-publishing. Many authors these days are doing both. Sometimes I'll advise they self-pub a project in which their current publisher isn't interested. Other times they might self-publish a shorter work that will help them promote an upcoming release. The possible reasons are endless.
What lesson or tips would you share with authors trying to get published in today’s market? I wouldn’t recommend “writing to the market” but I definitely think you need to find where your passion meets the market. Find the genre or category you want to write in, the one that floats your boat, that also has some sales potential. As an artist, you can write whatever you want, no restrictions. But the moment your desire goes beyond simply “writing” and expands to include “selling,” you must think of the market. You’re now straddling the worlds of art and commerce, and you’d better be comfortable in both.