Name: Jessica Watterson
Agency: Sandra Dijkstra and Associates Literary Agency
What was your first job in the industry, which led directly or indirectly to your current agent role? My very first “job” in the industry was as a blogger for indie romance books, which helped me land where I today!
There’s no specific agent qualifications, so what would you say best qualifies you to do your job & allows you to do it well? Reading voraciously and critically, but there has to be a huge element of passion involved as well. You have to know what’s going on in the genres your represent, and how that will effect your list and possible new acquisitions to your list.
What routine, if any, do you look to start each working day with? I don’t have a typical routine, with the exception of ALWAYS checking my email.
Lift the lid as best you can, and describe a typical working day? My wake up routine is usually grab a muffin and coffee, and then check my email. If nothing crazy has broken out through the night, then it’s usually going through a to-do list of tasks that I need to get done (checking in on submissions, checking in on authors, making sure things aren’t being forgotten). From there I will usually go into editing mode until I have to go into my day (read: evening) job
What do you feel a client and agent should expect of each other in the course of a fruitful working relationship day-to-day? Communication, firstly. Trust is another huge component, as well as genuinely having respect and liking each other. It sounds cheesy, but I don’t want to work with someone who I don’t enjoy talking with.
Is there a typical process that sees a first enquiry turn into a working client relationship? A good hook and a good story. There is also a level of competence that came across in all of my client’s queries showing they “got” that this is a business, and their query was a business transaction.
What is the best way to approach you, or any agent, with a view to representation? Is there one part of an approach that makes you think this client is or isn’t for me? When someone is too familiar right off the bat, it’s such a turn off. You need to set your best and most professional foot forward before you can develop that comfortable working relationship.
Is there any part of your day-to-day work that manifests itself in evenings & weekends? Reading and editing. Since I am still a younger agent and have a part time job outside of the agency, I do have to squeeze in reading and editing into the weirdest places. I’ve been at intermission at a play before editing, and I heard one of the actors going, “Someone is actually on a computer right now!” But, hey, I didn’t want to usual coffee and cookies over actually getting to sleep at a decent time. 😉
What one piece of advice would you give to a writer just starting out? Read, read, read, and read some more in your selected genre. Then write, write, write, AND EDIT.
What one piece of advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t worry about those kids judging you for how much you read, they’ll be jealous that you’re doing cool things in a few years. 😉
Favourite film? :Bride and Prejudice”.
Favourite TV program (currently or all-time)? “Gilmore Girls”.
Favourite book? “The Blue Castle” by L.M. Montgomery.
Favourite director? Joss Whedon.
Favourite writer? Jane Austen.
Favourite actor (male or female)? I’m a total J-Law girl.