Dear Gabriel’s Angels & William’s Cassitas (of course).
First, we want to say THANK YOU for your support. The past March 8th (2017), we celebrated the 2nd year anniversary of The Gabriel Series Fan Podcast. We really have fun in every podcast and we are so glad that you join us everytime you can and that you send us your favorite quotes for every chapter.
We love parties (you must know this already), so we did a special party to celebrate our 2nd year. We invited Anna-Alizette Ruiz (one of our special listeners) & Cassie Hanjian (Sylvain Reynard’s literary agent – from
We also want to share with you a special interview that we did with Cassie. She is so nice and so funny. Thank you, Cassie for accepting our invitation to our party and for this little interview.
Enjoy the interview!
You have an amazing career as a literary agent. You get to promote great books from fabulous writers. Could you tell us what inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
Cassie: When I was fifteen years old, my high school English teacher, who was just starting her career in education, told our class that she had worked as an editor for a publishing house before becoming a teacher. Before that moment, I had no idea that working in the publishing industry was a viable career option. I was a bibliophile from a very young age; my love of books was fostered by my mother, an educator, and my paternal grandparents, who took me to the library every chance they got. Once I realized that I could spend my life working with books, there was nothing else I ever wanted to do from that point forward. During my college years, I worked with a curriculum advisor to customize my courses to specifically prepare me for a future in the publishing industry. I took a very intense English grammar class, participated in countless workshops, and even became an editor for the university’s literary magazine on the side. After college, I attended the University of Denver’s Summer Publishing Institute and then landed in New York to pursue a Master’s degree in Publishing and intern at a major publishing house — which, coincidentally, ended up being for the same company my high school English teacher had worked at all those years ago.
Tell us about your job and about the genres that you read.
Cassie: I think the biggest misconception that budding authors have is that an agent spends the majority of their time reading. While reading and giving feedback is obviously a hugely important part of my job as an agent, there are many other important tasks — like vetting contracts, coordinating meetings with the author and their publishing team throughout the publication process, and preparing submissions — that take up a good chunk of my office hours. Most of my reading is done “off the clock,” on nights and weekends. On the nonfiction side, I represent titles with a practical bent, primarily in the categories of health and wellness, self-help, inspirational memoir, and spirituality. In fiction, I’m focused on representing women’s fiction, romance, and suspense.
We read on The Waxman Leavell Literary Agency web site (Submissions) that the typical time ranges for consideration is 6-8 weeks to send a response. How long does the manuscript have to be? And how many manuscripts can you read, let’s say, in a week?
Cassie: The guidelines you’re referencing refer to the length of time it typically takes us to review a initial query. Our agency asks that writers send us an initial query letter with the first 10 pages pasted into the body of the e-mail. If we’re interested in seeing more, we’ll request either partial or full materials after reviewing the query. I’ve never actually counted the number of manuscripts I’ve read in a given week, mostly because how much I’m reading varies widely depending on what the priorities are for that week. If I focused primarily on reading during the week, I could likely read about 8 manuscripts. In reality, the number is quite a bit less than that, mostly due to my other professional responsibilities and the fact that much of what I’m reading for clients usually requires me to respond with pretty detailed feedback.
What is your advice for all those people who want to be an author but are afraid to send their manuscripts?
Cassie: Keep writing and keep networking. Attending writers’ conferences is a great way to build confidence, learn what has worked for others, and get first-hand advice from industry professionals. Getting early feedback from others is also key. Joining a small writing group or taking a class at a local college will help you become more comfortable sharing your work while allowing you to grow and hone your craft.
Social media is very important in this era. You get to hear from the readers right away. Does that help you decide what books you will select next?
Cassie: I tend to use social media more as a research tool to see how the general public is feeling about certain topics. The publishing market is cyclical like any other market, so chasing current trends tends to put you behind the curve. Using social media helps me tap into the communal mind of the reading public to get a sense of what elements are most appealing, so it does help me refine what I’m looking for in broad strokes.
How does it feel when you see the books you selected published and in the bookstores?
Cassie: As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s very exciting! When I see a book on the shelves, I’m reminded of the long journey the book has taken and how much hard work the author and their publishing team have poured into its creation. It’s also an important reminder that the work I do — and more importantly, the work authors create — has the power to change our world for the better, one reader at a time.
Do you have any anecdote you can share with us about Sylvain Reynard’s books?
Cassie: The Boss and I have a long history together that started back when I was scouting. A literary scout essentially acts as a consultant to publishers outside the US, advising them on what to buy from the US market. During my time as a scout, Gabriel’s Inferno started receiving quite a bit of attention from readers in North America. The company I worked for represented a few publishers that were very active in the romance and women’s fiction market, so I started reading the novel to see if it might be a fit for any of our clients. I remember devouring the book in one, maybe two, sittings that weekend. Monday morning, my first e-mail was to enthusiastically recommend Gabriel’s Inferno to the company’s Brazilian client, Arqueiro, who became the Brazilian publisher of the series. It was one of my fondest memories during that stage of my career, not to mention that discovering Gabriel’s Inferno early on was one of the major events that inspired me to become an agent myself, which is why it is such an honor to work with SR professionally.
As you know we do a podcast on the Gabriel Series written by Sylvain Reynard. Each week we learn new things from the paintings, different authors, and movies mentioned in the books. When you read Sylvain Reynard’s books, did you stop each time to do research?
Cassie: I generally didn’t, mostly because I was too engrossed in the stories to want to stop reading!
Thank you again to everyone and to our special guests – they are amazing girls, and of course to our dear Boss – Sylvain Reynard for the support.
You can listen to the party here: The Gabriel Series Fan Podcast – Mixlr
Betty & Perling
The Gabriel Series Fan Podcast