Linda Camacho is a fabulous new agent with Prospect Agency. And guess what? She’s hungry for new clients!
Linda and I met when we both attended the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She’s always wow-ed me with her background in publishing and marketing, her nurturing and friendly demeanor, and her absolute passion for books! I’m such a big fan of Linda I couldn’t wait to interview her on my blog. Being the lovely lady that she is, Linda was kind enough to answer some questions for me. Here it is … the inside scoop on what kind of agent Linda is and what she hopes to find in her in-box!
Read on to see if Linda is the perfect agent for you!
1) Linda, I know you’re made of 100% awesome! Take a moment to share your awesomeness with my readership: Who are you and what makes Prospect Agency so wonderful?
Prospect is a boutique agency of six women who really do embody the spirit of community. We not only advocate strongly for our clients, but we do so in a positive manner. A lot of editors I’ve spoken with have only wonderful things to say about my fellow agents. Not only are they successful, but they’re a pleasure to work with.
2) What kind of books do you represent?
I’m looking for middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction across all genres (romance, horror, fantasy, realistic, light sci-fi, and graphic novels). I’m more of a genre fiction fiend, but I’m also acquiring upmarket fiction (literary fiction with commercial bent) and very select picture books. And I’m absolutely seeking diverse submissions of all types (ethnicity, disability, sexuality, etc.).
3) So much of the publishing process is about taste. What’s your taste in books? What gets your heart racing?
I’m pretty open in terms of what I like, but I have to say, I tend to skew older—middle grade through adult fiction. I like literary fiction with commercial appeal, like The Book Thief, When You Reach Me, or I’ll Give You the Sun.
In terms of genre fiction (romance, horror, fantasy, sci-fi), I enjoy books like Anna and the French Kiss, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, and Graceling. While I do like funny, quirky stuff, I’d love to see some darker tales like Coraline or This is How I Live Now. One of my favorite movies of all time is Pan’s Labyrinth, so a book like that? I’d love to see it!
4) … And what makes you want to fall asleep?
I’m not into any story where there’s a heavy-handed lesson to be learned. No one wants to be preached to!
5) Name three books you just adore (and why)!
That’s a toughie, but here goes nothing!
- Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt – This fantasy is a lovely romance that is just lyrically written. This book is the reason I applied to the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
- The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson – In this skillfully plotted fantasy, the protagonist is ethnic and plus-sized (like me!). I was so excited to see such a diverse character that wasn’t in an “issue” book.
- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – This book tore my heart out in the best way. It’s about grief and monsters and healing and I can never say enough about it. I can’t wait for the movie!
6) You’re a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts. How has attending VCFA informed your role as an agent?
I’ve become much stronger editorially, which was my primary goal. After all the workshops and packet feedback, I’m better at articulating what isn’t working in a piece of writing and how it can be improved. Also, I learned to not write (or expect others to write) with such a stern eye on the trends (an affliction I had from Random House marketing). I still keep an eye on the market, of course, but I’m more flexible now if my clients are looking to experiment. Writers really should be writing the stories they believe in, not just following a fad.
7) In addition to your literary background, you also have extensive experience in the marketing department of a top-tier children’s publisher. How does your knowledge of the marketing side of the business inform your job?
I’m a new agent, but I’ve been in the business a decade and am still being mentored every step of the way. I’ve seen publishing from just about every angle—publicity, marketing, production, editorial, writing—and it helps me advise my clients about the process. Want to know what goes on in an acquisitions/launch meeting? Want to know what a standard marketing plan is? Want to know about NetGalley, metadata, or the process of cover reveals? It helps to know what goes on behind the screen so I can understand the way publishers think, which affects the way I pitch and the way I interact with them. It also helps me give my clients the inside scoop when they have questions.
8) Are you an editorial agent?
I’m definitely an editorial agent. Not every manuscript needs the same attention, however, so it varies client to client. Even when a manuscript is essentially submission-ready from the outset, I like to give broad strokes to whip a manuscript into even better shape!
9) In the submissions you see, what is number one thing writers need to improve on?
In the query, don’t give me your whole life’s story and barely anything about the book. I’ve gotten quite a few of those where I finish the query and really have no clue what the manuscript is about!
10) Do you think an author needs an agent? What if they want to self-publish?
I would advise getting an agent if an author wants to be traditionally published. At the big publishing houses, editors don’t generally accept manuscripts that aren’t submitted by an agent (there are exceptions, but even if it results in an offer, the author will need to get an agent to move forward).
If an agentless author lands a publishing contract at an indie press, is he sure that he’s getting the best deal possible when signing on the dotted line? Publishing houses aren’t actively trying to take advantage of authors, but they’re big business and are looking out for their interests, sometimes to the detriment of the author. An agentless author can go the route of hiring a publishing attorney to look over the contract for such deals. I’m biased, but an agent is a career manager. A good agent can be the bad cop who handles the nitty gritty while the author focuses on writing.
For those authors who really want to handle every single aspect of the publishing process, then self-publishing could be the way to go. Keep in mind that it does work better for some than others (It works best depending on genre—romance writers, especially). And also be aware that each book has a whole team behind it, consisting of the editor, copyeditors, production folks, managing editors, sales reps, marketers, publicists, operations teams, designers, etc. My pet peeve is when someone says they want to self-publish because they don’t need an editor. It’s not quite as simple as that.
Lastly, if author does decide to get an agent, caveat emptor: No agent is better than a bad agent, so do your research!
11) Are you open to submissions and how can my readers send you their work?
I’m building my client list, so I’m absolutely open to submissions!
I’m currently accepting query letters, the first three chapters, and a brief synopsis through Prospect Agency’s submissions page (https://www.prospectagency.com/submissions.php). Once the query and pages are submitted, writers will receive an automatic confirmation. If I’m interested in reading the full, I’ll reach out as soon as I can (turnaround can take up to a couple of months depending on the volume of submissions. I can get up to 50 a day).
*Please don’t query by email and or inquire about the status of submissions via email.
12) If you were a super hero, what would be your magical power, and perhaps more importantly, what color would your hair be?
If I were a super hero, I’d be able to teleport, so I can go anywhere I wanted at the drop of a hat (without the hassle of commuting!). And I’d be rocking emerald green hair!
Linda Camacho joined Prospect Agency in 2015 after nearly a decade in publishing. After graduating from Cornell University, Linda interned at Simon & Schuster and Writers House literary agency, and worked at Penguin before happily settling into children’s marketing at Random House. She has an MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Unofficially, Linda loves chocolate, travel, and far too much TV. In terms of submissions, she’s pretty omnivorous. She enjoys a variety of categories and genres, ranging from picture book to adult, from clean and lighthearted contemporary to edgy and dark fantasy.
Follow Linda on Twitter: @LindaRandom
Tags: Literary Agents