Meet the Agents: Amy Collins (Talcott Notch Literary Services)

“An author who works to develop their craft impresses me more than anything. It is a MUST for me.”  Amy Collins, Talcott Notch Literary Services

Every other 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 30th A&E Conference, taking place June 21 – 23, 2024, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our visiting agents and editors here.

An Interview with Amy Collins

Amy Collins, agent with Talcott Notch Literary Services, has over 30 years’ experience matching books with readers. As a former book buyer, publisher, and sales director for one of the largest non-fiction publishers in the US, Amy has been focused on market and sales potential research for authors for over ten years. As an agent, she represents many authors who have signed deals with major publishers for non-fiction projects such as The Unseen Photos of Sesame Street (Abrams), Sex and the City (Globe Pequoit), and You’re Going to Die Alone and Other Good News (Blackstone). Amy is the author of several non-fiction books ranging from self-help (It’s The Little Things, Simon & Schuster/Adams Media) to books on publishing and working toward becoming a successful author. She is currently traveling the country with her two dogs meeting with editors and authors and can be found on Twitter at @askamycollins and online at www.amysadvice.com.

Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author? 

Amy Collins: I tend to focus on the marketing and business side of things when working with an author a bit more than the editorial. I see my job as bringing the marketplace to my authors so that they can stay on top of current trends. And, conversely, I bring my authors to the marketplace in the form of pitches and proposals. I do not pretend to know everyone’s taste, so when a well-written manuscript comes across my desk, even if it not my personal taste, I tend to start by focusing on finding editors that WOULD like it. My years as a bookstore book buyer taught me to consider the vast different tastes and desires out there in the reading population.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author? 

AC: Nothing catches my eye faster than a premise or concept that I have not heard before. Originality is my favorite thing. In addition, while writing talent is key, I also look for an author who is always reading and learning. An author who works to develop their craft impresses me more than anything. It is a MUST for me.

Scribe: What’s one piece of advice you find yourself giving to others time and time again?

AC: Learn about the industry and stay up to date on trends, news… This is a business and learning the business side of a passion will help you in every aspect of your writing career. It is not possible to “just write.” It has NEVER been possible to “just write.” The thing that separates talented authors from successful authors are all the things that happen BEFORE and AFTER you have written.

Scribe: What excites you the most about the publishing industry today?

AC: I love that independent authors who publish directly are having so much success. There is now room for stories that traditional publishers will not touch, but readers are clamoring for. There is no longer just one path to author success and I love that. Many of my clients are both indy AND traditionally published. It allows them to achieve their financial and creative goals. I am so excited that it is possible to do both now.

Scribe: Tell us about a recent book/project that you worked on that excited you and you want everyone to know about? 

AC: Stacey McEwan wrote a trilogy that did very well with a smaller press and is now ready to break out to a larger audience and larger house. Her Artisen duology was recently acquired by Simon & Schuster for world wide release in UK, US and AUS. The story was so much fun to brainstorm with Stacey on. I am very proud of Stacey and her growth as an author over the last three years.

Thanks, Amy!

Click here for more information on the 2024 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 21-23) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.