“I want my clients to feel like they can approach me with any question they have — we’re a team.” -Patricia Nelson
Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 28th Annual A&E Conference, taking place September 17-19, 2021, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.
An Interview with Patricia Nelson
Patricia Nelson has been a literary agent with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency since 2014, representing all genres of young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as women’s fiction and romance. Her clients include bestselling and award-winning authors, and recent sales include books placed with Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster, among others. Patricia holds master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Southern California and has previously taught literature and writing at the college level.
Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Patricia Nelson: I’m extremely hands on and prioritize transparency. I want my clients to feel like they can approach me with any question they have — we’re a team.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
PN: First and foremost, I’m looking for writing I fall in love with, from authors that have a strong voice and a unique point of view. Beyond that, I like to work with kind people who are curious about the world, dedicated to improving their craft and growing as artists, and who treat writing as a career, not a hobby.
Scribe: What’s one piece of advice you find yourself giving to others time and time again?
PN: Stay hopeful and don’t give up.
Scribe: What excites you the most about the publishing industry today?
PN: The same thing that drew me to the industry in the first place is still what drives me every day: getting great books that I believe in onto shelves, so that they can be found by the readers that need them.
Scribe: Tell us about a recent book/project that you worked on that excited you and want everyone to know about?
PN: I always want to shout about all my clients’ books, so it’s very hard to choose just one here! I’ll recommend Mary McCoy’s INDESTRUCTIBLE OBJECT (Simon & Schuster Children’s), a smart, beautifully-written YA contemporary about friendship, found family, podcasts, fried pickles, what it means to be an artist, and, most of all, love.
Click here for more information on the 2021 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (September 17-19) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.