Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5 Agent Spotlight: Q & A with Connor Eck of Lucinda Literary

Today, I’m excited to talk with literary agent Connor Eck of Lucinda Literary!

Connor Eck joined Lucinda Literary in 2016. He brings a multifaceted literary skill-set, having experience in both the editorial and marketing spheres—for GOLF Magazine, CBS Television Studios, and The Weinstein Company, among others. Connor graduated with a B.A. in English from Union College in Schenectady, NY, where he was quarterback and captain of the football team. His thesis, a feature-length screenplay, was selected in 2016 as a finalist for the 25th Woods Hole Film Festival. Connor has a passion for writing, nurturing literary talent, and for bolstering the careers of fellow writers. He most enjoys reading fiction, for all age ranges.

Hi Connor! Thanks so much for joining us at AYAP! Can you share with us how you began your career in agenting?

I always knew I wanted to work in a creative field, though I was never quite sure what that would be. Around the time you’re supposed to have a legitimate answer for the question what do you want to be when you grow up? I found a word that felt right: writer. So I declared English as my major, very knowingly cementing a precarious fate for myself, and vowed to let hard work and the universe carry me somewhere great. My first internship was at a startup magazine company writing about the band One Direction (go ahead, laugh). For a semi-macho football player, it was awful, hysterical, and fulfilling all at once. Next was The Weinstein Company where I worked in distribution and really began to hone my passion for film. Then I found myself running around as a production assistant for CBS Television Studios, which was fun and crazy, though ultimately it left me editorially unfulfilled. I had to get myself back behind a desk doing writerly things. 

Soon after voicing my displeasure to the universe, coupled with many rounds of feverish networking, I landed an internship at GOLF Magazine (Thanks, John Cooney!) and another at Lucinda Literary (Thanks, bookjobs.com!). Professionally, that was without a doubt the best summer I’ve ever had. Working under Lucinda Blumenfeld, founder of Lucinda Literary, I discovered that my writerly niche is working with authors, so I was thrilled when she offered me a full-time position last summer. I’m very grateful to have such a brilliant and conscientious mentor. So here I am building my list! Hard work and the universe have been wonderful companions to me.


All of your previous experience sounds pretty fascinating, but it's great that you've found your passion. And this is an exciting time for you as an agent since you’re moving into representing fiction. As an agent who is building their client list, we’d love to know more about the types of fiction you’re looking for within adult, MG, and YA. Are there certain genres in these categories you’re really excited to receive?

As a kid I was really into Captain Underpants, so I definitely have a soft spot for original fiction that is silly and endearing, and whenever an author can weave in important human values, you know you have a worthwhile book in your hands. I remember Dan Gutman’s Honus & Me having a profound impact as well, an underdog baseball story driven by magical realism but more so by the desire for solidarity, acceptance, and achievement. A Wrinkle in Time sits on my nightstand, and I’m also sure to keep Harry Potter close by of course, and also Hunger Games is another example of the type of fiction I’m drawn to. 

I’m particularly keen on eccentric characters with depth and idiosyncrasies, those with a burning desire or some type of trauma ailing them, like Margo Roth Spiegelman and Alaska Young. (I'm a big John Green fan.) Male characters that chase the girl never cease to compel me either, and I’m a sucker for a good romance or family drama. I think in any work, fiction or nonfiction, regardless of age range, it's the human underpinnings of a story, and of course good writing, that create valuable, powerful reading experiences. I just want to be moved, really, and it's not the genre that determines that for me. Plus I enjoy exposing myself to every kind of literature. You never know where inspiration and a good story might lie. I’m also excited to represent nonfiction, as well!


And specifically for YA, can you expand on what submissions you’d love to see?


Oops, I think I got a little carried away and answered this in the previous question! To put it plainly, in YA I look for authenticity and heart. I err away from anything that feels diluted or that harps too closely on stereotypes or cliches. I’m open to anything and everything!


What types of fiction are you not interested in?


Apologies for being repetitive, but it's true! I'm not interested in stories and characters that are cliche, stereotypical, or predictable, and writing that is diluted or melodramatic.


No problem! It’s great to have a clear idea of what you are and aren’t drawn to.
When reviewing query letters, are there any pet peeves that turn you off immediately?

I always try to give every query a chance no matter its flaws, because I recognize how difficult the query process is for writers. The way I see it, there’s possibility that behind a bad query letter lies a promising talent, so I do my best to give each submission the attention it deserves. I personally like queries that are short and sweet: author bio, story synopsis, and why you’d like me to represent you—that’s pretty much all I’d hope for. The best query letter however, includes a compelling manuscript.


Do you like a personalized introduction to know why a writer queried you, or do you prefer to get right into the pitch?

I think any time a writer acknowledges why he or she has queried me, the submission immediately stands out. A personalized touch shows thought and effort, that a writer is serious about finding a true partner for his or her work. That being said, don’t spend too much time on it, keep the query short and sweet.


Would you consider yourself an editorial agent, where you work with your client to edit their manuscript before going on submission?

Yes. I love working with authors from the raw editorial phase. Here I feel my personal literary passions and greatest ability are most realized.


Can you describe your perfect client?

My perfect client deeply respects the art of writing, takes constructive criticism graciously, is honest, hardworking, friendly, writes from the heart, and communicates efficiently.


And now for our lightening round of questions! Ready, set…go!

Please tell us your:


Favorite TV show (current or past): The Office, for comedy, definitely—every character is so memorable; I can’t help but smile just thinking of them. Breaking Bad, for drama. Walter White gave me so much wonderful anxiety watching that show for the first time.

Favorite YA novel: I can’t pick a favorite! I’d feel too bad for the ones I didn’t pick. Here are a few: Looking for Alaska, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, 13 Reasons Why, If I Stay, Paper Towns, Holes, Touching Spirit Bear. The list of favorites only grows!

E-book or hardcover: Easily hardcover. Books are trophies; they’re meant to be held and appreciated. They belong on shelves.

Coffee or tea: That’s like choosing Mom or Dad. I’d say both. At separate times, please.

Animal you'd love to be for a day: Koala. They seem like some pretty chill dudes, and I bet they give the best hugs in all of the animal kingdom.

There is suddenly only one sport left on Earth—which one do you choose to exist: The obvious choice is underwater basket weaving—not only does it build up the lungs, but it builds character. Only kidding. I’m going to go with golf, because you can play golf into your elder years, it helps you harness your nerves, it builds concentration, it’s harmonious with nature, it can be social or solitary, you rarely get concussions from it or break your bones (unlike football), and it’s a heck of a lot of fun to whack a ball long distances in the air over immaculately manicured grass.

Thanks so much, Connor! It's been a pleasure getting to know you!

If you’d like to learn more about Connor, you can connect with him on Twitter (@connoreck11), and be sure to visit Lucinda Literary as well.


5 comments:

  1. Thank you for this interesting interview! Is Connor open to queries? If so how do we query him? Thank you again

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    1. Visit the Lucinda Literary website and see the submission guidelines to submit to Connor. Good luck!

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  3. Thankyou for this interesting interview with Connor. Most of the books he has mentioned are my favourites. I'll check the Lucinda Agency's submission guidelines, as I have a manuscript that has what Connor is looking for (endearing as well as has elements of silliness and it also has important human values.)

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  4. What about basket weaving in space?

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