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[Agency] John Hawkins & Associates, Inc.

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The Scribbler

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Hey all, I m new here, and I did some thread mining but did not see anything about this particular Agency. I was wondering if anyone has had any dealings with John Hawkins & Asssociates. Any info is appreciated. Thanks
 

The Scribbler

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Thanks. I was pretty sure they were on the up and up. They asked to see the first 100 pages of my book after I queried them, and I just wanted to double check before I sent anything off.
 

Maryn

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I don't know a thing about Hawkins, just wanted to slip in early and be the first to say, Hey, great to have you join us, The_Scribbler. Welcome!

Maryn, feeling friendly because she really did just bake a batch of cookies (yes, you can have some)
 

dragonjax

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One of the people in my critique group is repped by one of the JHA agents. So far, so good! It's an excellent agency -- I heard Anne speak at a conference, and I was very impressed.

Best of luck!
 

Chacounne

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[Agent] Anne Hawkins/John Hawkins and Associates

I have the opportunity to meet Anne Hawkins, of the John Hawkins and Asssociates, Inc. agency, at a writer's conference in October. Having never actually pitched to, or approached, an agent with a proposal before, I would appreciate any words of wisdom or helpful hints, especially from anyone who has worked with her. My proposal will be for a non-fiction historical book, if that helps.

With gratitude,
Chac
 
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ColoradoGuy

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Chacounne said:
I have the opportunity to meet Anne Hawkins, of the John Hawkins and Asssociates, Inc. agency, at a writer's conference in October. Having never actually pitched to, or approached, an agent with a proposal before, I would appreciate any words of wisdom or helpful hints, especially from anyone who has worked with her.

With gratitude,
Chac
She rejected me during my first round of agent queries, but did it with a very useful letter and mini-critique that went far beyond the usual form rejection. She struck me as a very straight-shooting, honest person. I used her advice to help land an agent, who has since sold my book. Hope that this helps you.
 

HapiSofi

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I've done pitch sessions. The conferences always tell the authors not to bring their writing. I always wish I could see it, since otherwise I have no idea what level of proficiency I'm dealing with.

Other agents and editors have their own preferences.

IMO, here's how you can tell these pitch sessions are organized by writers: they're sure that editors and agents can't possibly arrive at any judgements just from looking at a manuscript for a couple of minutes.
 

Julie Worth

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HapiSofi said:
I've done pitch sessions. The conferences always tell the authors not to bring their writing. I always wish I could see it, since otherwise I have no idea what level of proficiency I'm dealing with.

Other agents and editors have their own preferences.

IMO, here's how you can tell these pitch sessions are organized by writers: they're sure that editors and agents can't possibly arrive at any judgements just from looking at a manuscript for a couple of minutes.

Pitch sessions make even less sense to me than query letters. In both, the author is judged more on her potential ability to market her book, and less on the book itself. At least the query letter has some connection to actual writing, but the pitch has none at all. I recently took a novel writing class where I noticed that the best writers were the worse speakers, and vice versa. So judging a book by the author’s ability to speak about it could lead one totally astray.

 

CaoPaux

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Julie Worth said:
Pitch sessions make even less sense to me than query letters. In both, the author is judged more on her potential ability to market her book, and less on the book itself.
Er, no, both are judged on professional presentation (preparation/format, content, and understanding of their own work). I expect agents are more tolerant of hiccups in a physical presentation than typoes in a query letter, since they understand folks are often nervous face-to-face. Conversely, a slick pitch won't interest an agent in an unpublishable book.

Anyway, here's JH&A's link, if anyone wants to check 'em out: http://www.jhaliterary.com/
 

Julie Worth

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CaoPaux said:
Er, no, both are judged on professional presentation

I was just reporting my observation. There were some who were excellent speakers, who knew what their story was, where it was going and so on. Interesting stories, at least until you read what they had written. And the converse was true too. There were good writers who seemed almost incoherent, who didn't seem to know what they were writing about. I'm sure there are many counter-examples one could give, but it's not surprising to me that people who spend a lot of time in their heads might have trouble when thrown into this situation.
 
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waylander

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Miss Snark has passed comment on this topic, worth searching her archives.

I believe the most useful thing she said was that you should start by asking the agent what she wants to know about your book.
 

CaoPaux

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Julie Worth said:
I'm sure there are many counter-examples one could give, but it's not surprising to me that people who spend a lot of time in their heads might have trouble when thrown into this situation.
I'm glad we agree that a writer does not a public speaker make, but that doesn't address your contention that
In both, the author is judged more on her potential ability to market her book, and less on the book itself.
Agents aren't (or at least, shouldn't be) judging a pitch/query in terms of the writer's potential ability to market the book. Marketing is the publisher’s job, and the author's participation (for this example; public appearance) is ideal but by no means required, and isn’t (or shouldn't be) an agent's primary concern -- that’s whether they can place the book. Similarly, how well an author can market a book is irrelevant to whether the book is publishable. There are 1,000’s of examples of that over in the PA threads alone.

Frankly, I’d be wary of an agent who seemed more concerned with marketing ability than the writing, especially at the pitch/query stage. I’d suspect they couldn’t place me with a publisher big enough to do their own marketing.
 

Julie Worth

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CaoPaux said:
I'm glad we agree that a writer does not a public speaker make, but that doesn't address your contention that
Agents aren't (or at least, shouldn't be) judging a pitch/query in terms of the writer's potential ability to market the book. Marketing is the publisher’s job, and the author's participation (for this example; public appearance) is ideal but by no means required, and isn’t (or shouldn't be) an agent's primary concern -- that’s whether they can place the book. Similarly, how well an author can market a book is irrelevant to whether the book is publishable. There are 1,000’s of examples of that over in the PA threads alone.

Frankly, I’d be wary of an agent who seemed more concerned with marketing ability than the writing, especially at the pitch/query stage. I’d suspect they couldn’t place me with a publisher big enough to do their own marketing.

Oh, I agree completely. Query letters are exercises in marketing, and pitches even more so. If an agent has a client who can do interviews, that’s a plus, but certainly not necessary, unless the only outlet for her work is some small press with no budget. But I imagine--and only imagine, I WANT TO MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR, because I have no experience with pitches--that pitches can be an excellent way of evaluating a prospective client. Looking for the bulges that might be hidden weapons, the odd tics that suggest progressive Tourette's or irreversible insanity.



 
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UrsusMinor

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Pitching Anne Hawkins

Unlike a lot of agents, she isn't young. She's got a pretty cynical take on a lot of things, and is fun to talk to. She repped two major debut novels, "Eddie's Bastard" (which sold really well) and "Effects of Light" (which didn't sell so well, but was well-reviewed). She likes literary fiction and commercial fiction that is well-written, and likes talking books. She goes to a number of conferences, but doesn't take on a lot of new clients.

My advice would be relax and have a good chat. Talk about your book, but leave time for other things. She's too smart and wary to flim-flam.
 

KAP

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Chacounne said:
I have the opportunity to meet Anne Hawkins, of the John Hawkins and Asssociates, Inc. agency, at a writer's conference in October. Having never actually pitched to, or approached, an agent with a proposal before, I would appreciate any words of wisdom or helpful hints, especially from anyone who has worked with her. My proposal will be for a non-fiction historical book, if that helps.

With gratitude,
Chac

Anne Hawkins presented at a local conference last month, and I joined the presenters and a few others for dinner afterward. I was representing the organization that sponsered the conference, so I did no pitching, just let the speakers unwind. So I don't know how a pitch session goes with her, but she's a hoot. Very fun, adventuresome, quick-witted, and intelligent. No-nonsense.

I'd go in as relaxed as possible and try to enjoy the experience. She'll probably steer things if you don't launch into a pitch, and I'd encourage giving her the reins. Present a quick overview if that seems appropriate, then have a chat, as UrsusMinor suggested. Answer questions succinctly. Be ready for probing questions. And treat her like a nice lady who likes to laugh and have fun.

Good luck.
 

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Julie Worth said:
Oh, I agree completely. Query letters are exercises in marketing, and pitches even more so. If an agent has a client who can do interviews, that’s a plus, but certainly not necessary, unless the only outlet for her work is some small press with no budget. But I imagine--and only imagine, I WANT TO MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR, because I have no experience with pitches--that pitches can be an excellent way of evaluating a prospective client. Looking for the bulges that might be hidden weapons, the odd tics that suggest progressive Tourette's or irreversible insanity.
Um. I take it you haven't met a lot of published authors.

I had an interesting conversation with a knowledgeable old agent at one of these conferences. She said she refused to do cold pitch sessions. Instead, she had the conference organizers send her bios plus writing samples from the writers who were interested in talking to her. If she liked what she saw, they made an appointment to have a longer talk.

I thought that was a great idea. I found myself giving wildly varying advice to the authors I saw at pitch sessions, depending on the impression I got of where they were with their writing. For example:
-- You're trying to reinvent the wheel. Here are some outstanding authors and titles that've wrestled with that material...

-- Before we go any further, were you thinking of sending this to someone other than Cecelia Tan?

-- I'm sorry, that won't work. Cut the frame tale, write in third-person past tense, and start over from scratch where the real story begins. Trust me.

-- Don't switch over to fantasy just because you think it sells. Everybody and his brother wants to be the next George Martin, but there's never enough hard SF.

-- [Another editor at the house where I work] already has this on submission? Well, best of luck to you! Now is there something else you wanted to talk about?

-- I'm sure your writing group was on to something when they told you where you were going wrong, but you might want to reconsider before taking their advice about how to fix it.

--You're right, horror's a hard sell, but some horror novels are still getting published. Here are some alternate terms you can use to describe your book when you submit it ...

-- Mind, that additional exposition shouldn't amount to more than a sentence or so per instance. Try to tighten up the adjoining descriptions when you're laying it in.

-- Yeah, you're doing fine, just keep writing. You already knew that, right? Thought so ...

-- Oooh, interesting -- do you have the complete manuscript with you? Can you forward it to me as an .rtf file?

My favorite was a working scientist who was starting to write fiction, had determined that the available advice was unreliable, and figured the price of his membership was worth getting ten minutes with someone he could talk to about where to start, how to proceed, and who to believe. Smart guy. I hope I see him again.
 

UrsusMinor

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On pitching in general

I HATE pitching, hate it with a passion. That said, I landed my present agent, and several other representation offers, after doing pitches--when 22 queries on the same novel didn't even get me requests for partials.

(I should mention that I had to attend a previous conference and ptich unsuccessfully just to get a feel for the process. It's pretty weird.)

I think that face-to-face pitching works better when you have something that is complex to explain or contains an unlikely juxtaposition of material. Agents reading queries don't want to see anything too complicated, and they immediately tend to steroetype.

Pitching a book allows you to throw in the "BUTs" and answer questions. By throwing in the BUTs, I mean it lets you explain that this is a literary novel about a young man dying of AIDs BUT it's also an upbeat comedy, or that this is a book where the plot sounds like Tom Clancy BUT it is written with the sensibility of Dennis Lehane (or Kurt Vonnegut, or Ann Beattie).

Pitching allows you to say that this is yet another book of historical non-fiction about the Civil War BUT you've written it like early Tom Wolfe. (There is less of a problem with this in non-fiction, of course, since you get to send an entire book proposal. Us fictioneers really get the shaft in the query process.)

Some novels with interweaving storylines are almost impossible to synopsize, even though they may read easily enough. ('Meanwhile back at the ranch' doesn't work well in synopses.) It's easier to squeeze this in to pitches.

But above all, pitches allow the agent to ask you questions, and lets you address their specific concerns. So the number one rule is: Don't talk too much. If this is a ten-minute pitch, plan on only using one or two minutes with your actual pitch, and then give the agent time to talk.

Ten minutes is much longer than you think. Don't be afraid to take time chatting.

And above all, try to have fun.

Good luck!
 

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I had good luck at two pitch sessions at last year's SIWC. I was nervous, but the agent and editor both put me at ease and they both requested that I send them a sub.

I took away something really important that I'd like to share. The agent asked me if my middle-grade historical would fit into an elementary curriculum. I noted it, spent a few hours researching the topic and made a spreadsheet with the information. Though she eventually passed on it, I was able to include my marketing research with every requested MS and partial when I started my agent search. I'm sure this helped give me an edge when I subbed.

So, listen carefully when you pitch. You never know what advice you'll find a use for later. Good luck!
 

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Julie Worth said:
But I imagine--and only imagine, I WANT TO MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR, because I have no experience with pitches--that pitches can be an excellent way of evaluating a prospective client.
They are, but that was nothing to do with:

In both, the author is judged more on her potential ability to market her book, and less on the book itself.
To be perfectly clear, that Just Ain't So.
 

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HapiSofi said:
-- Before we go any further, were you thinking of sending this to someone other than Cecelia Tan?
Hapi, you nearly choked me to death with that one.
 

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Moses Cardona

Has anyone worked with Moses Cardona, one of the agents at John Hawkins? Any info on him would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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