“I look for breadth of interest in stories and for someone clearly driven to write more than one book.”
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 23rd Annual A&E Conference in June, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.
An Interview with Liz Parker
Liz Parker explored a variety of areas in publishing before joining InkWell Management in June 2015. In the years leading up to June 2015, Liz worked in the editorial department at Viking Penguin, was a scout with Maria B. Campbell Associates, and was the publishing director of Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press in Berkeley, CA. Liz is actively signing authors of commercial and upmarket women’s fiction and narrative, practical, and platform-driven non-fiction. While Liz reads everything under the sun, she is most on the hunt for the beach read.
Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Liz Parker: My two largest strengths are fantastic communication skills and editorial experience, so my approach consequently revolves around those two elements. I am very hands on editorially-speaking and work extensively with authors before starting a submission. And, in an industry where passes are far more commonplaces than offers, the one thing I can control is how and when I communicate whatever information I have to an author.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
LP: I look for breadth of interest in stories and for someone clearly driven to write more than one book. I also look for writers who know and understand their community.
Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?
LP: I think social media presence for those authors savvy and fluent in that language can help launch their career. However, for those authors who either don’t have the interest or don’t have the fluency (and aren’t interested in learning), then a creative and methodical approach to marketing sometimes proves just as effective. Basically, going after social media at half steam doesn’t necessarily garner results.
Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
LP: Don’t assume your first book will sell, even if you love it, your family loves it, and your agent loves it. With that in mind, be prepared to write a second book before the first book sells.
Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an editor.
LP: I recently took on a podcast, even though I don’t listen to a lot of them, and even though I don’t represent any other multimedia properties. However, at its essence this podcast is about sharing otherwise unheard stories, which is what I aim to do as an agent. It’s new territory, yet utterly fitting for what I’m trying to do.
Click here and here to read our 2016 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.
Click here for more information on the 2016 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.