Hi Jonathan, I’m so excited to interview you for our Agent Spotlight here on the Mixed Up Files, the blog you yourself started and have watched go from success to success over the last 10 or so years. You recently made the jump to agenting as well, joining The Seymour Agency, so now we get to tap your brain from the “other side!”
Can you tell us a little about your path to becoming a literary agent?
Jonathan: Hi Meira,
Thanks for asking me!
Being an agent is something that I had thought about doing for a while. So, at the end of 2021, I spoke to my agent, Nicole Resciniti about it, and she thought it was a good idea. So, mid-year of 2022, I started learning the ropes and announced shortly afterwards.
People who follow you on social media will quickly see your sense of humor. Is that something you look for in authors to represent?
Jonathan: I’ll always have a soft spot for humor in anything, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be a humorous story in order for me to be interested in it.
People will also see how much a fan you are of retro popular culture. Do you bring that to the table as an agent?
Jonathan: I will say that I’m very interested in anything pop culture related. I handle a lot of nonfiction as well, and a lot of it is grounded in the pop culture realm.
What most struck you when you made the jump from author to author AND agent?
Jonathan: A few things. Not that I didn’t know it, but I got to see for myself just how busy agents are. It really is a lot of work. A lot of reading, research, and working on things for clients. It really keeps you busy. Another thing that struck me is just seeing things from the other side. Learned a lot of things.
Knowing what you know now as an agent, what do you wish you would have known when you yourself were querying, and then as a pre-published author on submission, and then as a published author?
Jonathan: Proper submission format or etiquette. You’d be surprised at how many generic queries you get. Even with addressing it as Dear Agent. Just making sure everything is done right. Your query, your submission should be in great shape as well. Have even received queries, that say, It really starts getting good on page 6. Then, why doesn’t it start there? Don’t sabotage yourself.
What MG books influenced as a child and what are you loving that’s out there now?
Jonathan: My favorite books as a child were the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I just devoured them. As far as what’s out there now, there are so many that I do love. Won’t name specifics, but there are many that I read and admire.
As much as it’s important not to “write to trends” it’s interesting to see what trends or themes emerge in publishing. What trends are you seeing in children’s publishing: is anything over the hill now and what do you think might be on the horizon?
Jonathan: I don’t speak of trends. I am a firm believer that you should just write what you want and if it’s good, a home will be found for it.
Can you tell us a little about your own MG work?
Jonathan: I still am writing MG, and have several stories planned, but currently have been working on an adult book. Have other stories that I want to tell.
What’s the best way for people to find out more about you as an author and what you’re looking for as an agent?
Jonathan: As an agent, you can check my bio on SeymourAgency.com, my MSWL wishlist, or just query me. I really do have a variety of tastes. I’m interested in so many different types of things, so take a chance.
As far as my work as an author, besides my website, Houseofrosen.com, I guess we’ll find out more about my work when my own agent submits it to editors. Have a few things in the pipeline that I’m excited about. 😊
Jonathan, it was so great to speak with you and get your insights–thank you!
Jonathan can be found on Twitter at @houseofrosen
Thanks for a great interview. It was so interesting to read about Jonathan’s perspective, especially since he’s an author and agent. Yes, being an agent sounds like a lot of work to me too.