Welcome Melissa Jeglinski, until recently a Senior Editor with Harlequin Enterprises, now a new agent with The Knight Agency.
Tell us about yourself, your agency, and your role in the organization.
I majored in English with a writing concentration at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Right after graduation, I moved to New York City to begin a seventeen-year career with Harlequin Enterprises. I started with that organization as an editorial assistant and left as Senior Editor for Silhouette Desire. I've just recently made the move into agenting and found a wonderful home at The Knight Agency.
As associate agent/submission coordinator, I wear several hats. I review the agency's unsolicited submissions. And I am also available to give editorial input to my fellow agents and their clients. I am slowly building my own client list and find that quite rewarding.
What inspired you to move from editing to agenting?
Well, leaving New York had become a priority to me for personal reasons. But I so wanted to stay in the publishing business that I loved. Finding Deidre Knight and The Knight Agency was fate. At TKA I could still work with books and authors. As an agent, I can help an author create a career path and really work with them on many more areas than I could as an editor. And I can work in more genres, which is exciting.
What kind of book grabs your attention and makes you consider wanting to submit it?
I have a love of many genres, but what grabs my attention the most is an excellent voice. If the writer can draw me into their work in just a few sentences then there is something special on that page. If they can keep my attention through the first chapter, all the better. If I find myself unable to stop reading-even though there may be some concerns-then I know I have a project that needs to find the right home.
Currently, I am interested in most all types of romance: historical, contemporary, romantica, light paranormal, humorous and category. I also love cozy mysteries, thrillers and all types of women's fiction.
What makes a writer a good choice for you? What makes you a good choice for a writer?
I want to work with clients who are serious about their writing careers, dedicated to producing wonderful books and willing to listen to constructive feedback. They need to have realistic expectations and have a willingness to work hard to make the most of their career.
A writer should know that I take on clients for the long haul-I want to build them to be the best that they can be. But I will never push them to do something they aren't comfortable with.
How much input do you expect to have on a client's work?
A client should know that I will be giving editorial feedback-but not so much so that I would overwhelm their creativity. I hope to be able to give a client a roadmap to follow so that their project can be sent to an editor in the best creative shape possible. I don't want that editor to be have a reason to turn down that project for any reason.
How do you advise clients who want to venture into new genres or make a departure from their published works?
I would urge an author not to jump on the bandwagon-not to write something just because it seems to be the next big trend. I would urge them to be certain they are writing the type of projects they feel comfortable with and are energized by. An author needs to be excited by the idea in order to really create something others can be equally excited by.
What kind of support do you offer clients who may have temporary difficulties in producing work?
It is my aim to be a sounding board for my clients. My time as an editor has given me insight in how to brainstorm ideas and that can be quite helpful if an author is stymied in their creativity.
How would you handle a new mid-career client?
Together we would discuss how to create a roadmap of their next year's worth of projects; what they currently have in the pipeline and where they want to be in twelve months. Then we would go about making that vision a reality through a lot of hard work and creative thinking.
What are your thoughts about pseudonyms?
I think that all depends upon what the writer wishes to do, and what the publishers' needs are. It's really something that needs to be looked at on a case by case basis.
How would you prefer to be approached by established writers looking for new representation?
A query letter emailed to me directly, Melissa.Jeglinski@knightagency.net, outlining their story, writing credentials and expectations from an agent.
Do you accept electronic submissions?
We at The Knight Agency only accept electronic submissions: Submissions@knightagency.net.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself or your agency?
The Knight Agency is a boutique literary agency, offering white glove representation for our varied array of clients. We strive to give our writers very hands-on service and make them feel like one of the family.