“I look first and foremost for a strong voice. I want a voice that will carry me anywhere.” –Carrie Howland, Howland Literary
The 2023 Agents Symposium is a year-long program of monthly events with literary agents – taking writers step by step along the journey to publication. We’re happy to share Q&As with some of our featured agents here. To register for Carrie Howland’s presentation on April 29th on “How to Set Yourself Apart in the Agent Search,” click here.
An Interview with Carrie Howland
Carrie Howland founded Howland Literary, LLC in 2018, after thirteen years as an agent, most recently at Empire Literary. Carrie holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College, where she was the Poetry Editor of The Albion Review. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals and magazines. She attends several conferences, both nationally and internationally, throughout the year. In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue and is an active member of the Junior League. Her passions include music, pop culture, and the Midwest. She has been featured in several publications discussing her work as an agent including Poets & Writers, SCWBI insight, Akashic Books, and Slice Magazine.
Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Carrie Howland: I tend to be very editorial when working with authors. I don’t only take on perfect manuscripts. I look for something with amazing potential and then spend time working with the author to make that manuscript shine. I absolutely love what I do, and working closely with authors is a big part of that!
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
CH: I look first and foremost for a strong voice. I want a voice that will carry me anywhere. Along with that, my background is in poetry, so I always want to see beautiful writing. I always feel like we can work on things like plot, but I can’t teach you how to have a strong, distinct voice.
Scribe: What’s one piece of advice you find yourself giving to others time and time again?
CH: Be kind! It seems simple, but you’ll get so far in publishing (and life!) simply by being kind to others. We’re all in this together, working toward the same goal. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be nice to each other along the way?
Scribe: What excites you the most about the publishing industry today?
CH: I love how diverse the industry has become. That’s not to say that we don’t still have a long way to go, but what I am seeing makes me hopeful for the future!
Scribe: Tell us about a recent book/project that you worked on that excited you and you want everyone to know about?
CH: I recently sold a new novel by my brilliant author, Kaitlyn Greenidge. She’s the author of the amazing books, We Love You, Charlie Freeman and Libertie. Her new novel is being published by Flatiron Books and should be out in 2024. Stay tuned!
Click here for more information on the 2023 Agents Symposium, an event that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.