Monday, July 21, 2014

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Danielle Smith

For more than six years Danielle Smith has been the well-known blogger behind the online review site There’s a Book, voted the BBAW’s Best Kidlit Book Review Blog and host to over two-hundred thousand page views per month. Her children’s book reviews have also appeared in top online and print publications such as Parenting Magazine and Women’s World.
Smith’s expertise in children’s literature led her to serve as a judge for The Cybils Awards from 2010 to 2012, and as a board member of The Central Coast Writer’s Conference and the BEA Book Bloggers Advisory.
Danielle comes to Red Fox Literary after a successful stint at Foreword Literary where she sold Julie Falatko’s highly anticipated picture book Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) in a pre-empt to Viking Children’s Books.
As the latest addition to Red Fox Literary, Smith will be looking to further expand on the sterling reputation she's built within the children’s trade publishing world. Her client list includes both authors and illustrators working in genres from board books to picture books to young adult novels.“There is something magical about working with children’s books,” says Smith who still cherishes the time she’s able to read with her own two children each day.
And now Danielle Smith faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

Only three?! Wow. Well, here goes! Three of my current favorites:

The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander, Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington and Socks by Beverly Cleary (the first book I ever loved).


Question Six: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows?

You really know how to make a person think, don’t you? Three is so tough! Here goes, my top three current favorites:
BBC’s Sherlock, HBO’s True Detective and The Lord of the Rings movies.


Question Five: What are the qualities of your ideal client?

The qualities I look for most, but aren’t a “requirement” by any means are passion for their own work and children’s literature, patience, persistence, talent, trust, savviness and knowledge about the industry and perhaps most important of all, humility.


Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for?

If I could get a manuscript that featured diverse characters the way that Kim Baker’s Pickle does with the magical realism of Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me in a well written middle grade novel I’d be delighted.


Question Three: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?

My favorite thing would have to be working with my clients and watching them grow through the process. More specifically being a part of their success. I’ve always been the type of person that enjoys giving others the tools to shine in the spotlight and that makes this one of the very best jobs for me personally.

Getting rejections for books I love would have to be my least favorite thing. We all get rejections, at every stage in this process. For me, I only take on projects and clients I truly love and am passionate about. So receiving a rejection hurts almost as much as if it were my own writing. 

That said, one or even a dozen rejections on one piece doesn’t mean the end. There’s always more and it only takes one editor to love a piece to make things happen.


Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

My biggest piece of advice would be to be patient and don’t rush things. I get a number of submissions that, for a number of reasons, aren’t ready and it’s clear the writer was too excited to get the manuscript sent off that they neglected important details. Sometimes we get second chances to try again, but not always. Be sure to put your very best foot forward by paying attention to details and researching prior to submitting. 

And then, be comfortable with patiently waiting. During those waiting times keep writing and improving because your career will be filled with them, even after signing an agent and especially while waiting for books to be published. Stay busy and keep improving your craft!


Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Another tough question! I feel very fortunate that in the past few years I’ve had lunch with a number of the authors I love and admire, but at this moment I’d have to say Patrick Ness. I’ve met him before and we know each other, but since the time we last saw each other he’s published a couple of books that I have big questions about, tough questions. He’s someone I really respect and I’d love to pick his brain and get to know a little more about his writing process and journey in general.

If I could pick another, someone that’s no longer living, I’d pick Homer. I studied Classical Literature in school, and loved studying The Iliad and The Odyssey. What would it be like to sit with someone from that time? I can only imagine. 


4 comments:

  1. Well now, I agree on having lunch with Homer....that would be kind of cool! Love the sounds of the project you hope comes across your desk! I would totally read that too.

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  2. And, um....thanks for the interview :)

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    1. You're welcome. Or did you mean Danielle:) Always nice to have such fine publishing professionals stop by and make time for us. I'd love to have lunch with Homer and Frank Miller at the same time as I'm convinced they'd be far more similar than different.

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  3. Fun interview! I love Chris Rylander's The Fourth Stall. Funny, plus I'm a Cubs fan. Also a huge fan of True Detective. Great storytelling there.

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