“Writers do an incredibly brave thing, putting themselves out there and sharing their work, and every small step forward counts, so don’t forget to take the time to stop and celebrate how far you’ve come.” -Erica Bauman, Aevitas Creative Management
Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings 20-25 literary agents and book editors to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 29th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 24 – 26, 2022, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our visiting agents and editors here.
An Interview with Erica Bauman
Erica Bauman represents a wide variety of authors across middle grade, young adult, and commercial adult fiction. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and has worked in the publishing industry since 2012. Prior to Aevitas, she worked at Spectrum Literary Agency. Based in New York, Erica is most interested in commercial novels that feature an exciting premise and lyrical, atmospheric writing; imaginative, genre-blending tales; speculative worlds filled with haunting, quietly wondrous magic; fresh retellings of mythology, ballet, opera, and classic literature; sharply funny rom-coms; graphic novels for all ages; fearless storytellers that tackle big ideas and contemporary issues; and working with and supporting marginalized authors and stories that represent the wide range of humanity.
Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Erica Bauman: Collaborative—each writer has their own creative process, so I like to tailor my approach to compliment what works best for them. I always want to make sure that our strategy and approach, whether it’s in regards to editing a manuscript, submitting to publishers, or strategizing long-term career goals, is aligned with their ambitions and vision for their career.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
EB: Well, for one, beautiful writing and a story I fall in love with (and have a strong feeling that I can sell). But beyond that, writers who have both ambition and flexibility (which sounds like a contradiction, I know)—ambition to set goals for their career that we can work towards together, and the flexibility not to strictly adhere to any one path to achieve those goals. It’s good to have an idea of where you would like your career to grow, but know that the road to get there is not always a straight line, and that opportunities can come from many different directions.
Scribe: What’s one piece of advice you find yourself giving to others time and time again?
EB: Celebrate the wins, no matter how small. There isn’t really a straightforward path in publishing—there are a million different variables that affect an author’s journey, most of which are out of the author’s control. Sometimes it can seem like others have an easier go of it, and it’s easy to get swept up in jealousy or disappointment, but everyone experiences setbacks and bumps in their career, even if, from the outside, you can’t always see them. That’s why it’s so important to celebrate all the victories, whether they’re big (getting a multi-book deal, hitting the bestseller list, etc.) or small (finishing a revision of your manuscript, getting a request on a query). Writers do an incredibly brave thing, putting themselves out there and sharing their work, and every small step forward counts, so don’t forget to take the time to stop and celebrate how far you’ve come.
Scribe: What excites you the most about the publishing industry today?
EB: This is cheesy, but the incredible talent I see—both already working and publishing in this industry, and those taking their first steps. Publishing isn’t perfect, and there’s a lot the industry gets wrong, but the talent from authors and the amazing stories they’re telling makes a lot of the frustration worth it. And, I’ll admit, it’s exciting and gratifying to think that a book that I’ve worked on could then go on to transform a reader’s life, the way that my favorite books transformed mine.
Scribe: Tell us about a recent book/project that you worked on that excited you and you want everyone to know about?
EB: Do I have to pick one? I have several 2022 books that I am so excited for: MY DEAREST DARKEST by Kayla Cottingham, THE PRINCE OF NOWHERE by Rochelle Hassan, VIOLET AND THE CRUMBS by Abigail Rayner, and THE BRUISING OF QILWA by Naseem Jamnia.
Click here for more information on the 2022 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 24-26) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.