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Apr 6, 2021

Agent Spotlight Series: Amelia Appel

A warm welcome to associate literary agent Amelia Appel! Amelia joined Triada after previously assisting at McIntosh & Otis, Inc. and Writers House. She is seeking adult fiction, non-fiction, and YA.

CritiqueMatch: Share a fun fact about you. 
Amelia: I was a college athlete!  I ran indoor track in the winter and played softball in the spring.  I like to think being a student athlete was proper training for the multi-tasking and time management that’s essential for tackling an agent’s daily workload.

CM: How did you become an agent? If you were not an agent, what career would you have pursued? 
Amelia: I pursued a pretty linear path to becoming an agent.  After majoring in English Literature in college, I completed my first post-college internship at HG Literary, then interned at Writers House before landing my first job there.  I then worked for McIntosh & Otis, where I started taking on my own clients, and now I’m happily building my list with Triada.  Had I not been an agent, I would have pursued a career that either involved sports or the outdoors, or a combination of the two.  A quiz I took in high school said I was best suited for a Park Ranger position, so it’s fun to imagine I’d be wandering the woods for a living if I weren’t getting lost in books!

CM: How many authors do you represent? How has your author list changed over time? 
Amelia: I have roughly a dozen clients; a bit more than that when counting clients I share with other Triada agents.  My author list has grown over time (I’ve only ever parted ways with one client) and it’s expanded genre-wise; when I started out, most of my clients wrote non-fiction, but several of my latest clients write adult and YA fiction.

CM: Once you make an offer of representation, what happens next? 
Amelia: Assuming the writer accepts the offer (though it’s standard for them to take two weeks to consider, while other interested agents potentially offer), I draw up a standard agency agreement for them, and my boss and I welcome them to the team.  Then I get to work on the project I signed them for!  I’m a very editorial agent, so I usually go through rounds of revisions of their project before building a submission list and pitching it to editors.

CM: What sets you apart from other agents?  
Amelia: This is a difficult question because all agents have the same end goal (sell their clients’ books!), and only an agent’s team/clients can really speak to their methods/abilities, but I hope my team/clients would agree that I put my heart and soul into every project I take on. I don’t cut corners, I am very detailed in my revision notes, I take great pride in my pitch letters, and I research the heck out of my submission lists.  I don’t care to be lazy about any part of the process, and I have an amazing team that brings so much experience, knowledge, and support to the table.  I like to think all this gives me an edge!

CM: How hands-on are you in the editing process before you send the manuscript out to publishers?
Amelia: EXTREMELY.  When I take on a project, I want to make sure it’s in the best possible shape before an editor sees it.  Selling books is hard – I don’t want to give an editor any excuse not to want to take on the project.  All of my projects have required some revision, and some projects I approach potential clients about writing, so I have a pretty big hand in building the proposal.  If you want an agent who’ll submit your projects as-is (and there are agents who are happy to do so!), I’m not the right agent for you.

CM: Can you share a client success story, from their query/introduction to you all the way to publication? 
Amelia: I read a query last spring that completely hooked me; the premise, the voice, the characters, all of it.  I requested the full manuscript within a couple of hours of receiving the query, then devoured the manuscript within a few days and offered representation.  The author received an offer from another agent as well but ultimately picked me!  After a couple of revisions, we went on submission a little over a month later and had an offer in hand about a week after that.  I’m so enormously proud of my client, Alexene Farol Follmuth, and so excited for her YA debut, MY MECHANICAL ROMANCE, to publish with Holiday House next year.

CM: What is a common myth about agents?  
Amelia: I think there’s this idea that agents are talentless, parasitic gatekeepers who enjoy crushing writers’ dreams, and I think every agent has received at least one email from a rejected querier saying as much.  But the truth is this: We work for our clients.  We work very hard to be good at what we do.  And we hate sending rejections, but we send them 1) hoping you’ll find the perfect match for your project, and 2) knowing it’s helpful for you to know when it isn’t us.


Wish List

Genres/sub-genres you’re looking for:
  • For adult fiction, she is most interested in literary fiction, mystery, thriller, upmarket women's fiction, and horror. 
  • For adult non-fiction, she is primarily looking for creative non-fiction, humor, sports, how-to, pop culture, and true crime. 
  • For YA, she is particularly interested in stories with a savvy protagonist and a slightly dark tone that deal with serious coming-of-age issues well.
    What you’re not interested in:
    • Romance novels
    • Memoir

    2 Client Examples
    (This list includes affiliate links)
    Page Street Kids - 2021
    Rowman & Littlefield Publishers - 2020

    Query Tips

    Please provide a couple of tips for querying authors.

    • Address the agent politely by name and include why you queried them specifically; 
    • Follow their submission guidelines (these are often found on the agency website); 
    • Let every agent considering your project know when you have an offer of representation.
      • Be rude or self-deprecating in your query; 
      • Send your query without making sure you’re sending it to the right person; 
      • Ask an agent who’s passed to give you more information (we do not have the time to do this with every query) or try to convince them to change their mind (it won’t help your case and will dissuade them from wanting to consider working with you on future projects).

        Submission Guidelines:
        Please send an email with QUERY and the manuscript title in the email's subject line. In the body of the email, please paste your query letter, the first ten pages of the manuscript, a full synopsis, and an author bio.