"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Sometimes when we contact a literary agent we find them to be brisk, reserved, and in some unfortunate cases: downright rude. 

One interview I remember fondly is with Liza Fleissig. I found her to be warm, open, and of good humor.

A founding member of the Liza Royce Agency, she graduated University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business with a BS in Finance, and the Benjamin N. Cadozo School of Law with a JD. LRA has a clientele of both established authors and writers in the earlier stages of their development. Although they lean towards suspense/thriller, commercial woman's fiction and comedy, they are open to anything that speaks to them. Liza represents children through adult, from non-fiction to fiction, and everything in between. She says she chooses projects based on their ability to keep her turning pages.

Here is a sampling from that interview:

What genres do you usually represent and what made you choose those?  This is one of the many ways I am not a traditional agent.  I am open to anything that excites me to turn the page.  I represent children through adult, from non-fiction to fiction, and everything in between, with the common denominator being that I LOVE them.

Are you currently accepting submissions?  Yes, though since we take a lot of time to thoroughly vet, we are on a 7-8 week turnaround, and while some can go faster, there are some that require even more time.  I know this is of little comfort to those sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear, but it bears mentioning that no one gets a generic email as I always give reasons for passing.

What would be a dream client?  I already have them.  My LRA authors are all hard working, herculean when it comes to self-promotion and marketing, and instead of asking what the publisher can do for them, ask what they can do for themselves.  We work as an extended family, and many of my authors cross-promote each other. I am the luckiest agent I know, and am thankful all my clients took a chance when I was first starting out.

What are your query pet peeves?  When an author tells me why their book is better than anything else the world has ever seen. Sure, compare your work to best-selling authors to show me what shelf I’d find the book on in a store, but don’t tell me how much better and smarter you are and how the world needs this book more than anything else. I’m thinking not so much at that point. And for goodness sake, PLEASE KEEP YOUR BOOK UNDER 100K! Even THAT is too long! I can’t tell you how many authors tell me that their book is just too good and every word matters so much that there was no way to pare it down from 240K words! Really???? Again, I’m thinking not so much.

Any tips for authors who want to pitch?  BE HONEST. This community is VERY small.  Also, be brief. If you can’t sum up your query in a few sentences, odds are you are going to turn off an agent. You should also give a brief bio, and most importantly, explain what efforts you plan to undertake in connection with marketing, whether that means you are working on building up your name/brand with social media, or that you are willing spend money on an outside publicist. Show me you are proactive and understand the current market conditions in that you don’t expect to just sit back after the book comes out.

For more information, visit http://www.lizaroyce.com/


SENCO Cat Herder said...

Sounds like the dream agent many of your writers would like to have and her answers to your questions will prove very useful I'm sure.
A Stormy’s Sidekick
Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

Tamara Narayan said...

Interesting interview, especially about the word count. I've been fiddling with a historical novel for a long time and even though I've seen web sites that say a historical novel can be up to 120 K, I've always felt the current length of my manuscript (115K) was too long for agents to consider. So I'm reworking the ending and hope to trim it down before I query again.

Unknown said...

Over the years I've had such frustrating experiences with agents--some tying up my manuscripts for a year or more--that I finally went indie. But that doesn't mean I don't dream of finding a good agent some day.

Meet My Imaginary Friends
#AtoZchallenge http://www.kathleenvalentineblog.com/

Patricia Keeler said...

Enjoyed reading this interview with Liza Fleissig. I remember speaking with her about what I wanted to create and what I didn't. I was worried I was too direct, but she said how much she appreciated my honesty. I thought that this was the agent for me. Luckily she agreed!

Joyful Minimalism said...

Wonderful interview, and what a great way to use the challenge!

Good luck with the rest of your A to Z journey!
Sylvia van Bruggen

Liz Brownlee said...

What an amazingly informative (and useful for writers) blog and post. I will never be represented by an agent as I write children's poetry, well, I do have one short story published, but that's not where my heart lies! I'll direct others here. ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

Sylvia Ney said...

Tamara - good luck with the cutting process which can be very painful!

Kathleen - are you still looking?

Patricia - You're so lucky. I'm glad the two of you meshed well together.

Yolanda Renée said...

Yes, very informative. Thank you. My books are all over 100,000 words the last one coming in at 143,000. I was surprised when my publisher didn't ask me to cut it. I did try, honest. :) But my goal was to write this trilogy in 1000 pages, I think I achieved that. Be careful the goals you set. :)

Kalpana said...

This was a useful and interesting post. Glad to be here. Good luck for the #A to Z Challenge.