By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison
Lorin Oberweger, agent with Adams Literary, is on faculty for this year’s SCBWI CenCal Writers’ Day, Discovering Your Path to Publication, on October 13, 2018. As an agent with Adams Literary, Lorin is actively acquiring authors for her list. She has also served as a highly sought-after independent book editor, helping to shepherd hundreds of books — including many bestsellers — to publishing success. Lorin’s ghostwritten books have received glowing notices from the New York Times and Kirkus Reviews. And she is co-author of Boomerang, Rebound, and Bounce (Harper Collins) under the pen name Noelle August. She is a popular speaker at conferences around the country, including many appearances at SCBWI events. Teaching writing craft rates right up there in her list of favorite things to do. She’s agreed to answer some questions.
ANN ROUSSEAU SMITH: We’re very excited you’re joining us for Writers’ Day in October. How did you become an agent?
LORIN OBERWEGER: Becoming an agent was a natural offshoot of my years and years (and years) of experience as an independent editor, writing workshop director, instructor and traditionally published author. I was attracted to the new role because of the new challenges it represents, but much more so because it allowed me another avenue for helping writers succeed. I know that sometimes all it takes is that one person who really believes in you and can lift you up, and becoming an agent helps me to become that person for deserving writers.
ARS: Tell us about your agency, Adams Literary.
LO: To borrow from the website, which says it best: “Adams Literary is a full-service, boutique literary agency exclusively representing children’s and young adult authors and artists. Founded by Tracey and Josh Adams, Adams Literary prides itself on nurturing the creativity of its clients and maintaining close relationships with editors and publishers in New York City and around the world.” Josh and Tracey are a pretty unbeatable team (Tracey is actually MY agent) and good people to boot. They also sell a whole lot of books!
ARS: What age groups or genres are you looking for?
LO: Personally, I’m interested in middle grade and young adult of pretty much any genre. Our agency’s guidance on picture books at the moment is that we’re looking for author/illustrators — and I’d add that a really singular style is of great benefit.
ARS: What are you NOT looking for?
LO: Picture books, early readers, chapter books: sadly, just not my areas of expertise. Also, a work of high fantasy has GOT to give me something different in terms of world-building, plot, and/or characters for me to be interested and feel I can do something with it. This is likely my own limitation as a reader, but I’m so hungry to be dazzled by something fresh in this genre. (All genres, really.)
ARS: I’ve read that you are an editorial agent. What does that look like?
LO: On the pro side, it looks like me advocating for you to write the absolute best story you have in you. I don’t need a book to be perfect in order for me to take it on (and really, I think about taking on clients and careers more than books), because we can brainstorm ways to develop it into something richer, if need be. I’ll get down on the page with you and offer line-editing comments, and I’ll offer instruction and resources that I think it will be helpful for you to have.
On the con side, this is probably a daunting relationship for writers who haven’t received a lot of feedback, and I may be harder on books and expect more from them than other gatekeepers — both agents and publishing house editors. I want my clients to have the opportunity for breakout novels and career longevity, and that might mean pushing hard but with a ton of enthusiasm and respect.
ARS: Your talk for our SCBWI CenCal Writers’ Day is titled “Tension and Desire: How Your Character’s Deepest Longings Make for Page-Turning Fiction.” Can you share any teasers?
LO: Hmm… Won’t it build the tension if I DON’T? 🙂
Let’s just say that I’m hoping writers will be willing to crack open their own lives in order to create more fire and pathos and HEART in their stories.
ARS: You are offering a follow-up webinar, free for Writers’ Day attendees. Can you share any content details?
LO: The webinar will follow on the class and take us deep into techniques for creating tension on the page.
Thank you, Lorin!
Join us for Writers’ Day, October 13, 2018, to hear more from Lorin Oberweger and the rest of our illustrious faculty and speakers. For information and registration, go to: https://cencal.scbwi.org/events/writers-day-2018-discovering-your-path-to-publication/
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Images provided by SCBWI Central-Coastal Region