“Remember that there are no shortcuts — convincing a reader to spend $25 on a book is an incredibly high bar, and requires a tremendous amount of work from all parties involved, beginning (and ending) with the author.” -Allison Hunter
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 Allison Hunter
Allison Hunter began her publishing career in 2005 working for the Los Angeles-based literary publicity firm Kim-from-L.A, and was an agent at InkWell Management and the Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency before joining Janklow & Nesbit. She is actively acquiring literary and commercial fiction, especially book club and women’s fiction, as well as memoir, narrative nonfiction, cultural studies and pop culture. She is always looking for great love stories, campus novels, family epics, smart beach reads and for non-fiction projects that speak to the current cultural climate. Allison has a B.A. in American Studies and Creative Writing from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she currently splits her time between Austin, TX and Hyde Park, NY.
Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Allison Hunter: I am extremely hands on. I love to brainstorm and provide editorial feedback. I am quick to respond and very available to my authors for whatever kind of help they need.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
AH: A great, compelling voice that moves me emotionally, transports me, or makes me feel seen.
Scribe: What’s one piece of advice you find yourself giving to others time and time again?
AH: Remember that there are no shortcuts — convincing a reader to spend $25 on a book is an incredibly high bar, and requires a tremendous amount of work from all parties involved, beginning (and ending) with the author.
Scribe: What excites you the most about the publishing industry today?
AH: The push for diverse voices, both for authors and for publishing professionals behind the scenes, has been way too long in coming, but feels like a more sincere and thoughtful analysis of the barriers to entry in this industry than has ever been done, at least in my tenure in this business. It may still be too little, but I do not believe it is too late.
Scribe: Tell us about a recent book/project that you worked on that excited you and want everyone to know about?
AH: My author Anne Helen Petersen and her (work and life) partner Charlie Warzel are publishing a book in December 2021 that I believe will change the world (no pressure). It started out being about the potential of remote work after the pandemic, and ended up being a much bigger and broader undertaking, forcing readers to reexamine our relationships with our jobs and what it means to live a meaningful life. It made me cry. It made me question everything, and make big life changes.
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.