Agent Spotlight: Shannon Snow Interview and Query Critique Giveaway
Today I’m thrilled to have agent Shannon Snow here. She is an associate agent at Creative Media Agency.
Hi Shannon! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.
I made a career switch from working in Finance and Marketing at Fortune 500 companies. I had spent quite a few of those years providing manuscript feedback and book reviews on the side just for the love of books and writers. Finally, I decided to participate in Creative Media Agency, Inc,’s internship program where I interned for a little over a year before becoming an associate agent. I’ve been an agent for nearly two years now and am actively building my list. I also manage the Audio Department at CMA as well.
About the Agency:
2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.
CMA is a boutique literary agency that has built an impressive list of clients who write primarily commercial and upmarket fiction. We are always looking to expand however and are also taking on memoirs, non-fiction, and other areas. CMA also handles subrights for our clients as well as marketing and promotional guidance. We want to represent the author’s career and not just the book.
What She’s Looking For:
3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?
I handle primarily adult and young adult, but I am open to almost any subgenre under these two including romance of all types, science fiction, soft fantasy, historical, paranormal, horror, thriller/suspense, etc., and probably others I forgot to mention. I’m a sucker for a good Greek myth retelling! I’m actively seeking adult or YA romance with diverse voices and those written by POC authors.
4. Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?
I would love to see either a rom-com or serious high school YA with diverse characters, perhaps featuring a trans romance. I’m also looking for some dark boarding school stories, especially if they feature a romance. An eerie, creepy horror in either adult or YA would make me giddy!
What She Isn’t Looking For:
5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?
Unfortunately, I’m not taking on any non-fiction or memoirs at this. Although that may change in the near future.
6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?
One of the most important things for me is to make a connection with a perspective client because I want there to be trust and partnership in the relationship. I want my authors to feel they can reach out to me at any time with questions, thoughts, concerns, or even if they just want to brainstorm. My main motto is that I want to represent the author and their career and not just the one book. A solid relationship is needed, in my view, to make that happen.
As far as philosophy for the types of books I want to take on, I need to love them. I want to feel passionate about a book in order to offer representation. I love to see a well-plotted book with a unique style and voice but I also have to love the characters.
7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?
Absolutely. I generally make some notes during my first read but then go back for a deep dive. Once I have all my thoughts together, I’ll send an Editorial Letter to my author with all of my suggested changes and thoughts. If they need to have a phone call with me to brainstorm any points, or they strongly disagree with something I’ve suggested, I always want them to feel that they can discuss it with me. If we can find a compromise, great! But in the end, it is their book and I want them to feel comfortable with what we will be putting out to editors.
Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)
8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?
Queries should be sent to our email@example.com email address. It’s always helpful if they put my name in the subject line. As far as content, I want to see a brief and tight summary telling me about the book, making sure that character goal, motivation and conflict are present. A short bio is helpful, including any comp titles that can give me an idea on the type of book. Lastly, I like to see the first five pages pasted below the query. A query can be brilliantly written but I want to see that the writing can deliver.
9. Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?
It’s always a good idea for the person to address me or at least make certain I know the query is for me by putting my name in the subject. On the actual query itself, some of the most common problems I see are the lack of a title or genre, rambling queries where the author spends too much time telling me why they wrote the book and not enough time telling me about the book. Or perhaps it takes them so many paragraphs to give me their summary so that the message and actual story are lost. Lastly, with the pasted pages, make sure you’ve started your story in the right place so it will immediately pull me in, and make sure you’ve checked your manuscript for a lot of telling and not enough showing.
10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?
Generally, my response time is anywhere between four to six weeks, but I will admit that during this time of COVID, it has taken me a bit longer to meet that deadline since so many more people have been at home and thus so many more queries are coming in.
Self-Published and Small Press Authors:
11. Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?
Yes, I am open to self-published or small-press published authors. Just mention this in the bio section. If these previously published books have been selling especially well, it would be great for the author to mention that as well.
12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?
I don’t necessarily see the agent’s role changing but I do believe agents will need to have very good pitch plans for submitting new works from previously self-published, hybrid or small-press published books, especially if the prior books may not have a good sales track record. A lot of the time, in those circumstances, editors at larger houses may view these submissions as more like debut authors. I believe the agent and the author should discuss this and have a good plan that they can both agree on.
13. Who are some of the authors you represent?
In addition to some of my amazing debut authors on submission now, I’m pleased to include some of my published authors, such as: Tina Gerow, Lucas Pederson, Mary Beesley, and Tricia Wentworth.
Interviews, Guest Posts, and Podcasts:
14. Please share the links to any interviews, guest posts, and podcasts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.
Duotrope Interview: https://duotrope.com/interview/agent/29466/shannon-snow
The Manuscript Academy Podcast: https://manuscriptacademy.com/podcast-shannon-snow
Query Letters and Colds Workshop from the Southwest Writers Conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MFqf7xYQb4
Links and Contact Info:
15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.
Queries should be sent to our firstname.lastname@example.org email address.
My CMA page: https://cmalit.com/shannon-snow/
16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?
Write a book that you love, and that passion will shine through the pages to the agent. Believe in yourself and your work. Don’t let rejections get you down. If you’ve learned your craft, received positive feedback from beta readers and people tell you they love your work, up is the only way for you to go. That rejection just means that wasn’t your agent, or the timing wasn’t right. The right one is out there waiting. Don’t give up!
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Shannon.
Shannon is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through January 29th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know in the comments.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at email@example.com
Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.