Interview with new agent Weronika Janczuk
Weronika is a former freelance editing rockstar turned agenting rockstar. As of August 2010 she is the newest agent with D4E0 literary agency where she is still looking for that dream manuscript in the slushpile. When not agenting she is currently working on a historical YA novel WHERE THE DOVES FLY and will be attending NYU this fall. Weronika and I met on Twitter and I have been a huge fan of her professional attitude, willingness to help others, and just overall awesomesauceness! If you would like more info about her you can check her out at www.weronikajanczuk.com.
Magan: Congrats Weronika on becoming an agent! How did you begin this all come about? What kind of training do you have?
Weronika: I began as an acquisitions intern at Flux, where I worked with Brian Farrey, in addition to a few editors at Llewellyn, the New Age non-fiction imprint. That internship has been the most defining experience of my career so far.
Soon thereafter, I began to work with Jenny Bent at The Bent Agency and Bob Diforio at D4EO; I also worked in different capacities for Kathleen Anderson at Anderson Literary Management, Mary Kole at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and myself as an independent freelance editor.
Bob promoted me to associate agent at the end of July 2010 and I now work solely for D4EO. The jump up to agent came at the right time, as I was starting to look for different positions (as I’m moving to NYC at the end of August), and Bob and I both agreed that I could start handling my own clients while assisting with his submissions.
Magan: For anyone wanting to query you what are you looking for?
Weronika: I’ve never been a few-genre kind of person; it’s good writing that is the drug for me. As a result, I represent pretty much everything—single-title romance, women’s fiction, literary fiction, commercial fiction, thrillers/mysteries/crime fiction, horrors, fantasy/sci-fi, memoirs, and nearly every kind of commercial non-fiction.
Magan: What do your friends think of you being a teenager who already has your dream job?
Weronika: I don’t think any one of them understands how huge this is. They’re all happy for me, of course, but there’s a disjoint between their understanding of how the publishing industry runs and our—writers’—understanding of the industry. It’s hard sometimes because I have nothing to show for it, and I won’t for another few years, until the first of my clients’ books is published and I can show a physical copy.
Magan: Are you still going to be editing? Or have you put that aside? Will you edit for your clients?
Weronika: I am no longer available to work as a freelance editor since it creates a conflict of interest, in a way. I will, however, be completely an editorial agent. I can’t imagine submitting projects cold, without revisions and even rewrites. If anything, I’ve honed my editorial eye over these different jobs, and I plan on putting that eye to good use.
Magan: What is something that you definitely aren't looking for or something that you are seeing in queries that writers shoudl be aware of?
Weronika: I don’t want to see any YA unsolicited. I write YA, and I am friends with many YA writers, but please do not query me with a YA. My associate Mandy Hubbard is the MG/YA agent.
As for queries, I’ve seen a lot of long queries come through my inbox. In 98% of the cases, a very short and brief query letter would be sufficient. I will often not even read the query and skip instead to the ten pages that I request be attached with queries—it’s all about the actual writing.
Magan: What can you bring to new writers and why should they query you?
Weronika: -- I am a new agent, which means that I am very actively looking for new clients and have room on my roster to add additional writers.
-- I have a lot of energy, which means that writers can expect a lot from me in terms of editorial suggestions and submission rounds. This also means that I spend a lot of time reading about the industry and finding new venues of information. I will do whatever I can to get my writers book deals.
-- I know many editors, thanks to my internships, informational interviews, attended conferences, and networking. This immediately makes submissions easier for me.
-- I’m part of an agency with an incredible reputation and I work for someone with decades of experience in the industry. This means that we have a lot of power in terms of foreign and subsidiary rights, and this also means that all contractual negotiations are the absolute best.
-- I’m very picky, which means that if I offer you representation, you have an agent who completely adores your book and knows immediately where she will try to place it. I’ve always followed publishers and their imprints, and at the very least I have an understanding of why some books do better with some houses, etc.
Magan: How do you plan on balancing college, a career as an agent, and a social life?
Weronika: I plan to maintain a very small client list, first of all. I also have experience in handling different workloads; I graduated from high school working three different jobs without a problem, and now I have the opportunity to both work with clients I want to work with and to take the classes that I will enjoy the most. Immediately my workload is lighter.
Magan: You originally were going to pursue being a writer, are you still pursuing that or are you putting that aside for agenting?
Weronika: I still write—instead of handling four different internships and positions, I’m now handling one position, which still leaves me with a lot of time. Not much has changed.
Magan: Favorite book, movie, food?
Weronika: If I had to say one, my favorite book is THE SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Ruis Zafon.
My favorite movie is a set of three, actually—the Oceans Trilogy.
As for food, lasagna from my favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities.
Magan: Famous last words?
Weronika: Go in search of your dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity.
(Thank you, Paulo Coelho.)