Agent August with Stacey Graham
Stacey Graham knows how hard it is to be a writer. She's a published author herself, and brings this compassion and understanding to her job as agent at 3 Seas Literary. She also brings her passion for strange-but-true stories, creepy or quirky nonfiction, and leading haunted writing retreats.
With her experience as an author, screenwriter, and freelance editor, Stacey helps writers produce work that publishers love. She comes to 3 Seas Literary after five years as an agent at Red Sofa and is excited to learn what new adventures are on the horizon.
Nonfiction Ninjas caught up with Stacey and asked her a few questions.
Why did you become a literary agent?
While my own projects were out with my agent, I loved the behind-the-scenes process and wanted to dig into the business side of publishing more. It was a natural fit!
What excites you most about working in publishing?
I love seeing writers taking chances and breaking out of what they felt were limits and discovering they were only minor roadblocks.
What are you looking for in nonfiction projects?
I would love to see more quirky nonfiction in my inbox. The more offbeat, interesting, and truly odd projects always capture my attention. I would also like more how-to books, craft books, and hobby books such as antique collecting or sports such as sumo.
Are there specific topics that interest you?
History, archaeology, antiques, adventures, exploration, collecting (mini-museums), weird places.
What trends are you seeing in the industry?
I see a lot of biographies of fantastic people and their stories that haven't been explored in depth before. It's exciting!
Who is your ideal client?
I love to represent writers that are prepared to put in the work of being a professional writer. It's a lot harder than it looks! Revisions, proposals, understanding the long haul of submission, acceptance, and finally publication can take up to two years (or longer) on one manuscript plus marketing and promotion to follow. Writers become business people so enjoying the process is key.
Are you more interested in PB, MG, YA, or all three?
What do you want to see in a nonfiction proposal?
I like to see a solid plan for marketing and promotion, plus a succinct and well-thought-out overview that focuses on the core of the project.
What are some of your favorite kidlit nonfiction books?
The Magician and the Spirits by Deborah Noyes
Pink is for Blobfish by Jess Keating
The Boxcar Children Guide to Adventure: A How-To for Mystery Solving, Make-It-Yourself Projects, and More by Gertrude Chandler Warner
What advice can you give to people who want to break into the nonfiction market?
Scour history books, magazines, and websites for stories to spark an idea to build on and become an expert in that subject. Start building a platform early (articles, conferences, podcasts, blogs) so editors and agents see that you've done the research and that you have a plan for the project.
And last but not least – are you a dog person or a cat person? And do you have a pet?
I am a human person. Most dogs and cats are not able to type as well as I can to answer these questions.
Think you have a manuscript that Stacey would love?
Then submit your query here.
8/17/2020 01:12:40 pm
I think Stacey is spot on with her comment about writers being business people - even though I’m pre-published, I see how much time and effort my published writer friends put in marketing their books. You also have to be your own boss and show up and write. It takes tons of discipline!
8/17/2020 08:02:25 pm
It’s great that you are also an author. Gives you greater insight.
8/18/2020 06:42:45 am
Thanks for a great post - I appreciate the point about writers taking chances.
8/18/2020 12:13:19 pm
I appreciated the interest in quirky topics and more unusual fields like archaeology and antiques! This sounds like fun!
8/18/2020 12:27:59 pm
Looking at the lists of top picture books on Goodreads for the last few years, a good percentage are picture book biographies. My favorites elevate little-known, buried stories!
8/18/2020 03:42:08 pm
I have a quirky non-fiction idea that I need to develop more so I can send it your way for consideration. Thanks for sharing your insights!
8/18/2020 06:44:39 pm
It’s so important to be prepared to put in the work. Thanks for the reminder and for the great interview!
8/19/2020 12:59:21 am
Great interview. I love your sense of humor and the fact that your looking for "quirky nonfiction and truly odd projects."
8/21/2020 04:48:21 pm
Thanks for the tips. I'm still a little unsure of what constitutes a platform, so the suggestions were really useful.
8/24/2020 02:56:12 pm
This was a great read. I would love nothing more than a critique of my non-fiction piece by Stacey!
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We are nonfiction authors who support readers and writers through our writing, author visits, and workshops.
Disclaimer: The Nonfiction Ninjas are a group of writers with diverse ideas . The views expressed in each post are those of the author and may differ from others in the group.