Editor’s Note: The winner of last week’s giveaway with author Dahlia Adler is Emmy Neal. Congrats Emmy! Also, this week on The Ball is Agent Week, where each Deb is interviewing her own agent. Check back each day for insider publishing tips from some of the best agents in the business!
Rachel Ekstrom found my little book about food, love, and second chances floating in her slush pile and we haven’t looked back since. She’s whip-smart and works tirelessly for her talented clients. Speaking from experience, she can explain the twists and turns of a publishing contract in plain English and has endless patience with my perpetual random questions. In addition, she makes great recommendations for restaurants (I still crave the strawberry hotcakes at Pamela’s Diner) and responds positively to corgi gifs.
Read on for Rachel’s wishlist and her delicious description of Glugg.
How many pages into a manuscript do you know it’s something you want to acquire?
If I’m reading a manuscript and the writing really shines and I’m carried away by the story, I’ll get a really good feeling early on… almost like goosebumps. I start rooting for the book at that point, hoping that it delivers all the way through; thinking about which imprints or editors it might be right for. But I need to keep reading to make sure it all hangs together, and that it’s a good project for my list. So—even if I love what I’m reading—I won’t make a decision until after I finish the manuscript. I also rep a lot of crime fiction, and with those the endings are incredibly important.
When you’re looking to work with an author, what are the three things that are most important to you?
First and foremost, I’m looking for great writing. Professionalism and complimentary communication styles are also important.
What was it about my book that made you say, “YES!” Editor’s Note: Yes, this is a shameless attempt to hear good things about my book.
I was drawn to your main character Lou from the beginning. I loved that she was far more comfortable in her restaurant’s kitchen—wearing Crocs and coming up with new recipes—than squished into Spanx and high heels at a fancy event. I also loved the idea of food fostering friendships and love interests in Lou’s world.
If you were a drink, what drink would you be and why?
My family throws a yearly holiday party where we serve Glugg, a traditional Swedish drink. It’s a sort of mulled/spiced wine concoction: warm & festive (like me)… and due to generous amounts of Aquavit, it gets the job done (also like me). Also, you can add slivered almonds and yellow raisins to it, and who doesn’t like having a snack with their drink? Editor’s Note: How to I get some of this?
What’s on your manuscript wish list?
I’m always looking for upmarket women’s fiction, domestic thrillers and psychological suspense, YA with an authentic teen voice, compelling narrative nonfiction, and diverse voices. Lately I’ve been really hungering for novels set in other countries, or with historical elements.
There you have it, dear reader, send her your brilliant manuscripts. Thank you, Rachel!
Rachel Ekstrom Courage is a literary agent at the Irene Goodman Literary Agency and a publishing professional with over a decade of experience working in the publicity departments at St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, and Penguin’s Dutton and Gotham imprints. Follow Rachel on Twitter or visit her website for more information and submission guidelines.
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