Meet the Agents: Victoria Dillman (Howland Literary)

“Remember that, ultimately, this is your book and your vision. Of course, listen to the opinions of those around you but know that you have the final say and you know your work and what it’s trying to accomplish best.”  -Victoria Dillman, Howland Literary

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 Victoria Dillman

Victoria Dillman is an Associate Agent at Howland Literary. Prior to Howland, she was an assistant and foreign rights associate at Sobel Weber Associates and an intern at Linda Leith Publishing, as well as a reader for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Awards. She holds a B.A. in English from McGill University, and an MFA in Fiction from The New School. Victoria is most interested in adult literary/upmarket fiction and narrative and expert-driven nonfiction. She would particularly like to hear from underrepresented communities including neurodivergent, queer, and BIPOC voices. In fiction, she looks for a well-paced plot with a strong, distinctive voice. She is fascinated by complex and nuanced characters with conflicting desires. She especially loves literary fiction with a speculative or magical element. She is also intrigued by hybrids of literary-genre fiction: pieces that work to subvert genre conventions. She will always be captured by family relationships, particularly the complexities of sibling dynamics and intergenerational trauma. As someone who grew up internationally, Victoria is drawn to narratives exploring transitory homes and cultures. In nonfiction, she is looking for projects that have a passion for and in-depth knowledge of niche topics. She is drawn to narratives that focus on the individual and offer fresh perspectives on our world. Some of the topics she is interested include social justice, climate change, mental health, cults, true crime, and counterculture.

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

Victoria Dillman: I view my role as advocate and support for the author and so my approach varies based on what the author needs. I am there to hand hold and give constant updates and check ins, or I’m there to leave the author alone and provide only the necessary information. Each person has their own needs during this process, and I want to collaborate with them so I’m being the best support they uniquely require from the very beginning with editing, to submission, to publication and throughout their careers.

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

VD: First and foremost, I look for a voice that grabs me and won’t let go. Ideally I’m working with an author throughout their career, and that works best when I’m passionate about a voice that I know will shine through multiple books. Of course, I’m also looking for an author who is passionate about their work, where I can see that passion really radiate across the page.

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

VD: Remember that, ultimately, this is your book and your vision. Of course, listen to the opinions of those around you but know that you have the final say and you know your work and what it’s trying to accomplish best.

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

VD: While there’s still a far way to go, the industry is finally beginning to open up to underrepresented voices and stories, bringing forth a massive wave of exciting new talent.

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

VD: I adore all my authors and their projects so it’s impossible to choose! A lot of the projects I’ve been working on recently, that I can’t wait to see out in the world, unflinchingly take a look at the complexities of home and identity, chosen family, and what it is to be rejected by those you love.

Thanks, Victoria!

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.

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