Interview with Cindy Miles - The Art of Giving Yourself Away by Nephele Tempest
The Knight Agency Newsletter: Write. Read. Repeat.

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Top Announcements

» Lily Everett's HEARTBREAK COVE received a fantastic review from Romantic Times.

» THE CLOSER YOU COME by Gena Showalter received a very nice review in Publishers Weekly.

Top Sales

» Shirlee McCoy's contribution to a new K9-centric continuity, featuring puppies in training and their new handlers, to Tina James at Love Inspired Suspense by Melissa Jeglinski.
Italian rights to Nalini Singh's ARCHANGEL'S STORM by Maura Solinas of Piergiorgio Nicolazzini Literary Agency, on behalf of Elaine Spencer.

In this issue

» The Informer

» Agents of the Roundtable

» New Clients on the Block

» Sales Roundup

» Agency News

» Author Interview

» Author Tip of the Month

» New Releases

The Informer

Referrals, or The Art of Giving Yourself Away
by Nephele Tempest

I never thought this was something I would need to explain to people, but recent trends in my inbox suggest otherwise. So I am taking a moment here to discuss how referrals work in terms of sending me a query for your project.

If you begin your query letter by stating that so-and-so referred you to me, then I need to actually know that person. And by know, I mean they are my client or an editor I work with or a friend with whom I chat at conferences/online/by phone/in person on a fairly regular basis. Just because I spoke with someone once at a conference eight years ago, that does not make them a valid connection. It needs to be a person with whom I’m comfortable confirming that referral, as in, “Hi, did you send such-and-such author my way?” Because I will do that. I will check up on you. So do not name-drop if it won’t stand up to my verification.

Also, please understand what a referral actually is. It is when someone who knows both of us specifically suggests that you drop me a line. It is not a referral if someone you know read my name in a round-up of agents who represent a specific genre. It is not a referral if your critique partner (who does not know me personally) suggested you add my name to your submissions list. Nor is it a referral if we know someone in common, but they never actually suggest you query me. Referrals are based on real-world connections, and involve a suggestion that we might work well together.

Now, I realize writers talk among themselves and brainstorm and share information, and it’s wonderful if your fellow writers or industry friends give you lists of agents to check out because they represent your kind of book, or represent some author you love. This is how the business works, how you come across people to query. But suggestions and recommendations are not the same as referrals, and it’s important to keep them separated in your mind—and in your query language.

Every writer hopes to find that foot in the door—the trick that will help get them to the next level—and referrals, when genuine, certainly qualify. As an agent, I’m always looking for ways to weed through the material coming my way for a clue as to quality, so if a writer or editor I know and admire suggests that I take a look at something, I trust their judgment and give that writer’s work a chance. That doesn’t mean I’ll sign someone just on someone else’s say-so; I still need to love the writing and feel I can sell it. But a true referral definitely serves as a short-cut to my desk.

And that’s the key. It has to be real. Because no agent wants to work with a writer who lies to get a foot in the door, and there’s no quicker way to find yourself with a rejection letter than to pretend a connection that does not exist. I’ve seen a sharp increase in name-dropping in my inbox during the last few months, and maybe it’s something I should simply ignore—shake my head and send the rejections and let the writers in question struggle on. But I suspect some of these are honest mistakes—a misunderstanding regarding the terminology that results in some writers giving an incorrect impression—so I’m putting this out there in hopes of setting them straight.

Agents of the Roundtable

Question: When did you make the decision to become a literary agent? Were there any mentors in the early part of your career?

PAMELA HARTY: Today I am a literary agent because of Deidre Knight. As many of you may know, she and I are sisters and had known for a very long time that one day we wanted to have some type of business together. I was by her side as she selected the first Knight Agency logo in 1996, but didn’t come on board to agent for another four years, after the birth of both my children. I started as agent number two in the fall of 2000 and have been part of TKA ever since. Deidre and I have a very special relationship, and I consider myself blessed beyond measure that I have had this incredible opportunity. She has been my mentor since Day One!

LUCIENNE DIVER: When I first applied for jobs in publishing, I thought I wanted to be an editor. I was willing to take any job that came along that got me a step closer to the publishing world. I’d always been an avid reader, often devouring multiple books in a single day. (Not to be confused with leaping tall buildings in a single bound, which I only do every other Sunday.) When I got my first publishing job at Spectrum Literary Agency in New York, I was elated. Eleanor Wood was my first mentor, and she was really wonderful for teaching me the ropes and putting up with all my questions. It wasn’t long before I realized that what I really wanted to do was agent—take on any novel that appealed to me regardless of whether it fit into a line or whether I had a slot for it. I still have to consider marketing, of course, but I have a world of freedom. When it was time, I moved over to The Knight Agency, and every member of our team is so savvy that I’ve continued to learn and grow and thrive.

MELISSA JEGLINSKI: I decided to make a career change in 2008. I was leaving New York City and I knew publishing jobs would be hard to find where I was going, but soon realized I could still work with writers by becoming a literary agent. Thankfully, The Knight Agency was located not far from where I was moving to, and Deidre Knight was wonderful about inviting me to join the team. She was a great mentor when I was first starting out, because being on the other side of negotiations was certainly different for me. I also have to say that Elaine Spencer was a fabulous mentor with the business side of things, and I still run questions by her. The entire TKA family has been a great support during all of my years here. 

The One You Want

New Clients on the Block

» James Alan Gardner:  Website | Twitter | Facebook

» Alli Sinclair:  Website | Twitter | Facebook

» Harper Fox:  Website | Twitter | Facebook

» Kelly Farmer:  Twitter | Facebook

» Amy Woods:  Website | Twitter | Facebook

For a complete list of Knight Agency clients, visit


Sales Roundup

» Italian rights to Nalini Singh's ARCHANGEL'S STORM by Maura Solinas of Piergiorgio Nicolazzini Literary Agency, on behalf of Elaine Spencer.

» Shirlee McCoy's contribution to a new K9-centric continuity, featuring puppies in training and their new handlers, to Tina James at Love Inspired Suspense by Melissa Jeglinski.

» Czech rights to Nalini Singh's CARESSED BY ICE, to Fantom Print, by Martina Knapkova of the Kristin Olson Literary Agency on behalf of Elaine Spencer.

Sales Roundup is a selective sampling of TKA's deals for the past month. For more info on our recent sales, visit
Agency News
» Ramez Naam's NEXUS was selected for the Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire (a French award for speculative fiction) in the Best Foreign Novel and Best Translation categories.

» Gena Showalter's THE DARKEST NIGHT and Nalini Singh's ANGEL'S BLOOD made Goodreads Top 100 Romance Novels.

» Lily Everett's HEARTBREAK COVE received a fantastic review from Romantic Times.

THE CLOSER YOU COME by Gena Showalter received a very nice review in Publishers Weekly. For a chance to win some fantastic prizes, readers are invited to join the pre-order campaign.

» TKA client Kathleen Gilles Seidel did an interview with Ravishly about writing romance.

Library Journal gave a great review for Z.A. Maxfield's MY COWBOY HOMECOMING.

» The audio version of Robin D. Owens's GHOST KILLER received a lovely review from My Golden Reads blog.

» Kristen Painter's CITY OF ETERNAL NIGHT and HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN won both first and second place respectively in the Houston Bay Area's RWA Judge a Book by Its Cover contest.

90 Minutes In Heaven Movie
Interview with Cindy Miles

National bestselling author Cindy Miles grew up in
Savannah, Georgia, a city that has provided the inspiration for eleven novels, three short stories, and an anthology. Her latest New Adult release, STUPID BOY, is the second book in the Stupid in Love series. The first title, STUPID GIRL, hit the #3 spot Apple’s iBooks bestseller list for romance.

Cindy has also recently partnered with Harlequin Books to write a three-book contemporary romance series, set to release soon under the Superromance imprint.
What advice would you have for a girl like Harper Belle, who's always walked the straight and narrow, keeping her secrets locked away, until she falls in love with a "player"?

Cindy: Hmm. If I didn't know Kane like I do, probably RUN! Lol!

Seriously though, if a girl like Harper Belle privileged me with the kind of secrets she was keeping? I'd be a rock of a friend. And I'd run a background check on any guy she dated. And, I'd cherish the courage it took for her to share such secrets.

TKA: You have written contemporary romance, New Adult, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, and more. Which genre is your favorite, and are there others you'd like to tackle in the future?

Cindy: Boy, that's a tough one. I really love YA. And I'm really loving NA. My first series was a ghost romance series, and I adored it—and would totally write more of it! I'd love to combine a few favorites and perhaps tackle a YA Horror. Yeah, that'd be fun!

TKA: If you could interview any of the characters in the series, who would it be? What shocking (or stupid) thing might he or she say?

Cindy: It'd have to be Grandpa Jilly from STUPID GIRL. What a character! I'd love to ask him about his days as a Texas Ranger. I can only imagine the stories he could tell!

TKA: Without spoiling anything, what was your favorite scene to write so far in the Stupid In Love series? 
Cindy: Another hard one! I LOVED writing the initial meeting scene between Brax and Olivia in STUPID GIRL. Where he slams into her as he’s catching a wild football pass on the lawn of her dorm. Again, I loved the scene where Olivia is showing Brax his first constellation. In STUPID BOY, weirdly enough, I loved the scene where Harper faces some of her demons back home.
Can you give us a hint about what's to come in the third book?

Cindy: I am SUPER UBER excited about STUPID LOVE! The hero is going to be Olivia Beaumont's older brother Jace, from STUPID GIRL. And the heroine is named Memory... and trust me... she will be unforgettable. More secrets. And a lot of romance!

Visit Cindy Miles's official website, follow her on Twitter, or join her fans on Facebook.

Author Tip of the Month

Leigh Evans is the author or the Mystwalker Series, including the upcoming fourth and final book THE DANGER OF DESTINY.

Leigh's Tip: Now, I can almost see it coming. Having been asked, I have replied, "I am a writer." The next few minutes are often devoted to explaining what urban fantasy is. Alternatively, I may be required to nod agreeably to "One day when I have more time, I am going to write a book."
I never get tetchy with that reply. Life can be hard and complicated, and sometimes writing has to wait. Case in point: I waited until middle age to write my first Mystwalker novel. But every so often, the person will look down at the table or perhaps to the side. Inevitably, when they lift their eyes, they are going to admit that they are writing a novel.

Do I have any wisdom for them? Some shortcut to success?

Only this: after you have figured out dialogue and "show not tell", and once you've decided where you stand on the three-act structure, spend some time evaluating whether or not you've kept your promise.
Have you told the story? Have you answered the implied "what if" seeded in those opening pages? Forget the dazzling prose, the knee-slapping humor. In the end, that's what your reader is looking for—the resolution of your story premise.

Give them that and they will come back for more!

For more information about Leigh and the Mystwalker Series, be sure to visit

New Releases

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