Monday, April 20, 2009

Agent Kelly Mortimer Speaks Out

My guest today is Kelly Mortimer of the Mortimer Literary Agency. Welcome, Kelly.

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for havin’ me, Terry!

Kelly Mortimer, Literary Agent, here. Diabolically Diligent. Maniacally Moral. Defiantly Different.

A Warning to Those Who Seek Representation:

I have a wicked, sarcastic sense of humor; and I use it.
I’m blind to the color gray (in all areas).
I’m stubborn, opinionated, and a fighter; some editors don’t like that. I don’t care.
I am who I am. Love me or don’t, but I ain’t changin’.

Keep Reading...

Back to the writing business. It’s not all doom and gloom, at least for romance writers. Readership is stable. People like to escape in tough times. A book is cheaper than a movie. Bad side of that is many people purchase copies from the Internet at a huge discount. Yuck. I know; we’ve all done it. Please stop. Pretty please? Really hurts the author. I suck it up now and pay full price. Boy, the words “full price” make my fingers numb. [Either that, or it’s my double tennis elbow acting up.]

As an agent, no doubt, it’s harder to sell in this market, especially when your product is a writer who has yet to prove herself/himself. I only sign writers who have never been published, or not published within the last three years. [“Published” meaning by a traditional house that pays at least a $1,000 advance.] Way harder to get an editor to take notice. I always use humor. If an editor likes me, they’re more likely to actually read what I send them.

So, is it harder for such a writer to snag an agent now? Sorry: yep. I used to give a writer 5 pages to interest me; now I give a writer 3 pages. And if what ya got ain’t as good, or better than what I’m already tryin’ to sell, I won’t offer to sign you. Still, there are writers out there who do have excellent stuff but no one has discovered them, or no one will give them a chance. I keep an open mind [and an open eye, but just the one.].

I now only take queries/submissions from writers I meet at conferences. No other option unless you live out of the country. I’m booked at several smaller conferences this year, and one for San Diego State University from last month, but I’m not going to the RWA conference, as it’s across the world in D.C. [I live in beautiful So. Cal.] American Christian Fiction Writers conference is in Denver, so I’ll be there in September.

And, I’m such a nut; I decided to have my own mini-conference. A one-woman show! If any of ya live near Murrieta, CA, or wanna fly here, you might think about comin’ on over. It’ll be from a Friday at 4:00 p.m., until Sunday morning. Hopin’ to schedule the last weekend in May. I’m callin’ it the “Hangin’ with a Happenin’ Agent Conference.” Yes, I’m serious. I’ll be conducting workshops, hangin’ out with attendees, and everyone will get a ten-minute appointment to pitch. I’m limiting registration to 50 fortunate people who wanna get up-close and personal with me.

I’ve chosen a sic spot! Has a mammoth swimming pool, Roman Spa that holds 80 people, 6 natural hot springs, tennis, volleyball, basketball, billiards, foos ball, ping-pong, etc. All this, meals and lodging included, for a mere $250.00. Not per night, for both nights, total. Yep, that covers everything but transportation. What a deal! Buut, it’s dorm-style. Up to six people per room, although the rooms are kewl, and I’ll be in one of them. Feel free to let your friends know. E-mail me for your spot or more info.

Also, I wanna get the word out about my Web site just for writers. Has all kinds of links to everything writer-esque. If you have a link to a Web site you can’t live without, send it to me. If you're a writer with a writing-related business, you can place a free “yellow page” ad. Come on over!

Any agent-type questions I can answer, gimme a shout.

You can reach Kelly via email at

Her Mortimer Literary Web Site:

Her Monthly Snarky Humor Column:

Her blog

Her publishing venture, Underdog Press has a new release.
And, as if that's not enough, Kelly also designs handbags.


Jess said...

wow...i don't write, but i want to go to the conference! Too bad I'm in Ireland

Mary Ricksen said...

I wish you the best of luck with your conference. What a novel way to approach it! I wish to heck I could go.
Good luck Kelly!!

Kelly said...

Hey Jess and Mary,

So sorry ya can't make the conference, and thanks so much for the well-wishes. Y'all rock!


Kate said...

Hey I would love to come too. I would love to talk to Kelly about my book, but being 15 i can't :( Hummm.....i'm going to sulk now.

Hugs and byes,