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Lazar. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the 2014 LDS Storytellers conference.
Do you need an agent? Dan says, "Yes and no." If you're in a more mainstream market, then yes. Dan says a "literary agent is a business partner in publishing." He continues, "There are so many questions agents know the answers to and can ask the right questions."
What does he represent? Dan reps Literary and commercial fiction, Women's fiction, Historical fiction, Thrillers, Mysteries, Gay and Lesbian, Young adult, Middle grade, Graphic Novels or Memoirs, Judaica, Memoir, Narrative Non-fiction, Fitness, Pop-Culture, Humor. But he notes he is, "not firmly entrenched in a genre."
What doesn't he like? No sci-fi, thrillers or fantasy, but then he added, but you never know.
What does he think about trends? He told us, "Don't try to time the market. It'll pass you by." However, if you want to know what's hot now, "visit Barnes and Noble once a week and see what's on the new release table. You'll start to see by osmosis what's working."
What does he think about query letters? " A great query letter will get you in the door every time." He then said, "You don't have to know anybody to get in. That's a total myth. It just gets you a faster answer."
He listed several items he believes should be included in a good query:
1. Let him know you are writing him for a specific reason.
2. Give good comp titles.
3. One paragraph for book summary, and don't be dry. Use your own voice and not that of a character.
4. First novels are very exciting. Mention it if you are a debut.
5. Send only one project at a time.
Things he hates in queries:
1. Do not use, "to whom it may concern".
2. Don't be longer than a page.
3. Do not try to make up some weird genre for your book. If you don't know what it is, just call it a novel.
4. Don't say, "it could be a movie".
5. Don't try to nail down your market.
6. Don't say, "my kids read it and loved it".
7. Do not use initials for your name in the query. He wants your real name, not H.K. Hill.
But the biggest no-no ever? DO NOT PITCH TO HIM LIVE. Only send emails.
How do you query him? Email him at dlazar@WritersHouse.com.
** Please include the first 5 pages of your manuscript with your query letter.
** If you email, NO attachments please, unless requested.
** We respond to every query -- you'll hear from me or my assistant. And our response time is 1 minute to several weeks.