Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Agents Like Us - Susan Hawk

Susan Hawk is here to share all her agenting secrets and slushpile wishes!

She exclusively handles books for children: picture books, chapter books, middle grade and YA, fiction and non-fiction. You can read more about her here, see her submission guidelines there, and see her wishlist here. And you can always follow her on Twitter @SusanHawk. Her answers are below in bold. 

Susan on Agenting
  • When writers query me, I really wish … that their own reading in children’s books was more evident. You can really tell when someone has done their homework, and understands the category that they’ve chosen to write in. 
  • My favorite part about being an agent is ... calling a client to say that we have an offer is obviously a favorite, but the other day one of my clients got her first piece of kid fan mail. She was so happy, and there’s nothing like knowing that the book, which I love dearly, made an impact on a kid reader.
  • Rules and trends aside, what I really look for in a story is ... characters that feel real, complicated and compelling; a voice that is the unique expression of this writer; layered story and plot that grab attention; and heart. I want to be moved by your characters and story.
  • Whenever I make a book deal, I ... call the author to mutually jump around and cheer! There is a deep satisfaction in matching my client and a book I love with just the right editor and house. After the call, I’ll wear a big happy grin all day.
  • I really wish I saw more story ideas and writing that surprise me! in the slush. 

Susan On Clients
  • My ideal client would be ... an outstanding writer who appreciates that writing is an art, and publishing a business, and wants to balance both. Someone grateful, willing to work hard to build their career; a good communicator with a wicked sense of humor. 
  • What I love most about my current clientele is ... in addition to the above, how much heart they have, how much they love writing, and how widely varied their work is. 
  • What I want most for any client is ... for her work to find its readership, and for that readership to grow over time as their books and career do.

Susan On Life
  • If I weren't an agent, I'd probably be ... a librarian! In fact, I was a librarian previously. Bookseller also comes to mind. Is there such a thing as a professional list maker? Because I’d be very good at that.
  • My favorite (non-client) book is ... TO CAPTURE THE CASTLE. Smokes, do I love that book. 
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of ... driving across bridges! I didn’t really learn to drive until I was 41 years old and always wonder if it would be different if I’d learned earlier.
  • My secret boyfriend is ... Paul Rudd. Oh Paul, you make me laugh, you do! 
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I ... sing! I love singing, and pretty much can’t hold back, when someone’s around, not around, anytime. 
  • My favorite drink is ... vino verde! Slice a juicy peach to go into that glass of slightly fizzy wine, and sit in the backyard to sip it!
Want to see more Agent Interviews? Check them all out here.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. We have some things in common! I was a late driver, too, (32!!!) and I am a constant singer! (Unfortunately, not as good as I'd like to think!)

  3. I was a children's librarian for years--wow, seems like we might be a good fit! Thanks for the great interview!


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