Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent at Books & Such ‹ Return to Interviews ›

 

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Rachelle Gardner

Rachelle is an agent with Books & Such Literary Management, representing both fiction and nonfiction. Rachelle has been in publishing since 1995 and previously worked for two publishing houses in positions encompassing marketing, sales, international rights, acquisitions and editorial.

What information do you need from an author on their initial contact with you?
A query letter needs to include information about your book, and information about you. Summarize your book in a paragraph or two, making sure to capture what's most interesting and unique about it. You want to hook me! Then tell me something about yourself. If you have a non-fiction book, then it's crucial for you to explain your platform, credentials, and any other reasons you're the person to write this book. If you're writing a novel, then less biographical information is necessary; tell me about any fiction awards or accolades you've received, and just a sentence or two that tells me who you are.

Do you consider content or platform first?
I always consider (1) the idea or premise, (2) the writing, and (3) the platform. With fiction, the premise and the writing are of primary importance, with platform being secondary. With non-fiction, the premise and the platform are equally important.

How would you describe your perfect client?
I think all my clients are "perfect" in their own ways! I love working with a wide variety of personalities. They are hard workers, talented writers, diligent marketers, and generally good people. They understand the necessity of marketing their books, and they don't complain about it although it can be difficult and expensive. They're always learning and growing as authors. They have big dreams but don't harbor unrealistic expectations. They're an incredibly smart and gifted group of people, and I am truly blessed to work with them.

What is the market like for Christian books these days?
I see the market as quite robust, with Christian readers hungry for new resources all the time. People want encouragement, inspiration, entertainment, and education that reflects their spirituality and values, and the Christian publishing industry is providing it. In the non-fiction realm, we are seeing the need for bigger platforms, so bloggers and speakers tend to be in demand.

How did you get your start as a literary agent?
I've worked in various aspects of publishing for 20 years, and I've been an agent for almost eight years. I had been an editor for several years, and I knew a lot of agents, who would often discuss with me the idea of being an agent. For a long time I resisted it, until it finally became clear to me that authors really benefit from having a partner - and advocate - and I realized it would be a good role for me. I'm a natural coach, I enjoy working on contracts and negotiating with publishers, and I love working with writers. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

Are you doing any sideline publishing of your own?
I have a short e-book available on Amazon called: "How Do I Decide? Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing"

BIO
Rachelle has been in publishing since 1995 and previously worked for two publishing houses in positions encompassing marketing, sales, international rights, acquisitions and editorial. She has ghostwritten eight books and edited more than 150. As an agent, she loves helping authors strategize and build their careers, and takes great joy in sharing the important milestones in a writer’s journey. Learn more about Rachelle by visiting her blog:www.rachellegardner.com.

 

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