Lydia Moëd is an associate agent at The Rights Factory in Toronto. She came to Canada from the UK, where she worked as a foreign rights executive for UK children’s publishers. She has also worked as a freelance literary translator and editor, and as a bookseller at Foyles in London. In addition to handling foreign rights for The Rights Factory's children's and YA list, she is also building her own list of clients for representation. You can read her blog at lydiamoed.wordpress.com, and follow her on Twitter as @LydiaMoed.
What genres are you drawn to most?
I’m drawn to books in any genre that transport me - to another world, another planet, a different time or a foreign country. I have been known to read books set here and now occasionally, but every book on my list is set in some form of Elsewhere, and that’s how I like it.
What is on your wish list?
I say this all the time, but I think it’s important so I’m saying it again: I’m looking for different perspectives. Anybody who is interested in making my favourite genres less white, straight, and abled/ablist, who can contribute religious diversity or neurodiversity or any other kind of diversity, is particularly welcome to query me.
I’m interested in YA science fiction and fantasy as long as it isn’t too trope-y (no love triangles please). I’m always looking for well-researched historical fiction set in a less familiar time and place, and I’d be interested to see some alt-history with an unusual point of divergence from actual history. I keep a specific wish list on my blog here: https://lydiamoed.wordpress.com/wish-list/
What are some things you love to see in a query?
I love it when people get straight to the point. I don’t need any ‘I am querying you because…’ or any waffle about potential marketing opportunities or why you think your book would be successful – just hit me with your pitch and let it speak for itself. I need to see good writing, obviously, and I like a bio that gives a hint of the author’s personality – I want to know that you’re the kind of person I’ll enjoy working with.
What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?
This is more of a ‘pet peeve’ than a ‘worst thing’, but I really hate insincere personalisation. When people have read somewhere that personalising your query is paramount, but they haven’t really stopped to think about how to do it effectively, they’ll often open their query with ‘I am querying you because of your love of urban fantasy’ or whatever (NB I don’t actually like urban fantasy and yet I see this exact opener pretty regularly). If you don’t have a real reason why you think we would be a good fit for one another, shoving in a throwaway sentence like that is not going to convince me that you do. As I said above, I don’t actually care that much about whether a query is explicitly personalised or not, so if you’re going to say something, say something sincere.
Character, world, or plot?
Obviously all three are important, blah blah, but the one that grabs my attention most as an agent is actually world. Plenty of writers can write a good plot, a decent number can create characters that readers can connect with, but a unique and immersive world shows up in my slush pile very rarely, and when one does I find it hard to let it go.