Friday, February 12, 2016

A conversation with Literary Agent Liza Fleissig and a Query Critique Giveaway

Today I have an interview with Literary Agent Liza Fleissig. Liza and I became acquainted when I had queried her for my Middle Grade novel. Liza and I kept in touch. I found Liza very warm and approachable. In the short span of time since she started her agency, she is going places and everyone I know has the nicest things to say for her and her agency. As Liza was the first agent I kept in touch with, it was but natural that I when start hosting agent interviews, her interview would be the first one on my blog.  

Q. Tell us something about yourself?
A. After dissecting a chicken in 5th grade, I became a vegetarian and eventually a hard core vegan (before it was a “thing”) but I still cook meat dishes for my family.  Despite my not tasting them, they somehow come out really well; in fact, my husband jokes that my next “new venture” should be to open a restaurant and call it Beethoven’s — a reference to the fact that he created masterful symphonies despite being deaf.

Q. How did you become an agent?
A. I have always had a strong sphere of influence from friends in the publishing industry, and had been searching for something creative to do for a long time after my children were born.  Besides, I guess when you come from an entrepreneurial family, it’s in your blood to take risks and try new things!

Q. What’s a typical day like in your life?
A. Exhausting but good. I am up early to make breakfast and get my kids off to school. After dropping them off, I am at my office by 8:15am. I toggle between emails, reading/editing and contracts most of the day - and also try to get a work out in somewhere in between (usually a conference call on the treadmill is a good way to multi-task). I generally have lunch meetings, whether with a client, an editor, someone in pr, etc., and then am back at my desk until I need to leave to get my kids after school. They get out on the later side given their sports and extra curricula activities. If we don’t have any school event or sports game, then next comes dinner and homework. I am very lucky to have kids who are strong students, but I still like to go over their work. It’s not only a great way to stay connected to them, but it’s really interesting to be learning things again! By the end of the night, there is family reading and yes, some TV, before my kids go to bed. Once they are settled, I am back on my computer, though at this point I usually focus more on reading/editing until I can no longer keep my eyes open.

Q. When you are reading all these query letters, what makes you sit up and pay attention?
A. Any short and sweet query - one that’s well written and has a compelling storyline - is something I will always consider if our current list can support it. If you add a strong social media/marketing platform, that might make me more optimistic, but in the end, it’s always about the book.

Q. What kind of manuscripts are you looking for right now?
A. I love a good thriller/suspense/mystery that keeps me guessing until the end. I also love commercial women’s fiction with sarcastic comic voices. Most of all, I love being surprised. Nothing is more exciting that being over the moon for a book that I never expected to like. So at the end of the day, just grab my attention!

Q. What’s something you have sold that comes out now, that you’re excited about?
A. Celeste Fletcher McHale’s SECRET TO HUMMINGBIRD CAKE (Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian) is a commercial women’s fiction novel that comes out this month and Robert Bailey’s BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE (Thomas & Mercer) is a legal thriller that comes out in March. Both of these books are off the charts amazing and I cannot wait to see readers’ reactions!

Q.  What’s on your nightstand to read right now?
A.  Honestly right now the only thing on my nightstand now is a pile of mss!

Q. Three all time favourite books?
A. Really tough question. I know other agents have solid answers for this, but really, how can you pick just 3? For which part of life? I read Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys as a kid. Later, I loved books like Pride and Prejudice and Great Expectations, though I also read a lot of plays from Shakespeare, O. Henry and Ibsen.  Eventually I became a suspense junky, devouring Cornwell, Ludlum, King, Koontz, Demille and Patterson. And my guilty pleasure? Nora Roberts writing as JD Robb for her “In Death” series. To this day I would love to see Dallas and Roarke take the silver screen.

Q. Will you be attending any writer’s conferences where writers can pitch to you?
A.  I will be at NJSCBWI annual summer conference and also Thrillerfest in NYC. I have other events coming up but I have not finalized those yet.

Q. Which book you wish you could have represented? Why?
A. There are too many books to list that I would have been proud to work on, but the fact that they were given flight by someone else doesn’t make them any less to special to me. I’m just happy they are out there for the world to read and enjoy.

BIO: Liza Fleissig, with her partner Ginger Harris-Dontzin, opened the Liza Royce Agency (LRA) in early 2011. Their goal was, and remains, to represent authors in all stages of their careers, from the most established to those developing their craft, as well as debuts. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business with a degree in Finance, and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law with a JD, Liza is a former partner in a NYC based litigation law firm and brings more than 20 years of negotiating experience to the field. This background, along with connections rooted in publishing, movies and television, allowed them to focus and build on a referral based clientele.
From picture books through adult projects, fiction and non-fiction, LRA welcomes strong voices and plot driven works. Their inaugural books became available in stores January 2013.  Their first was an Edgar nominee, another was an Indie Next Pick, and two others were optioned for film. LRA’s success began right out of the gate.
(I also have @LizaFleissig  but the agency account is the best one if they don’t want to follow both)
Liza Fleissig Facebook Liza Fleissig Facebook
Liza Royce Agency Facebook Page Liza Royce Agency Facebook Page

Liza has graciously offered a Query Critique Giveaway to one of my lucky (blog) followers. Let me know in the comments if you want to be a part of the draw.


  1. How awesome you and Liza stayed in contact. She sounds like a fantastic agent, with her connections to the publishing world and legal background. I don't have anything to query so not entering the contest.

  2. That's great Liza devotes time to her kids. That's important.
    I have nothing to query now either.

  3. Always so wonderful to hear from agents. Thanks for taking the time to post this. And thanks Liza for the interview. I'd love a chance to have my query critiqued. Thanks again.

  4. Thanks so much for posting this! And thanks for a chance to win a query critique! That would be so great.

  5. I would love to be part of the draw. Thanks so much for posting.

  6. I would love to be part of the draw. Thanks so much for posting.

  7. Hmm...I may be able to send her something. ;) Great interview!

  8. Thanks for the post :) Would love to be part of the draw. My twitter handle is @SujaSukumar

  9. Liza sounds like an awesome person. I wish I had a good mystery or thriller to offer! But I'll settle for an opportunity of a query critique. Thank you for the delightful interview. I love getting to know agents :) (And to see they're nice normal people!)

  10. Great interview. Liza sounds like Wonder Woman. How does she accomplish so much! I am at a rewrite stage of a book, so no query yet, but I liked her advice in your interview.

  11. I love literary agent interviews and Liza's is no exception. Thanks for the glimpse! I would love to be entered into the query critique giveaway.

  12. Sounds like a great agent indeed. I was helping my cousin with homework and forgot some of the stuff, it came back, but you do relearn indeed.

  13. Great interview! Its always interesting to find out a literary agent's likes and dislikes! I'd love to be included in the draw for a query critique!
    - Gargi

  14. Wow, cool. All the best! I really appreciate the fact that she's a Vegan :)

    Destination Infinity

  15. Thanks, Rachna, for introducing us to Liza. She sounds like she's dedicated to her work.

  16. Great interview! Thanks for posting it. I would love to be entered into the contest. :)

  17. Interesting interview, very well done indeed. Greetings!

  18. Wonderful interview. Being an agent sounds like a busy yet satisfying career. I'll bookmark this since I keep a file on agents.

  19. This was a great interview, ladies. I enjoyed it.
    I'm not vegan but I've been a vegetarian for years.

  20. Great interview! I love that picture of her cooking for her family with meat but not tasting it. Isn't that such a mom? I would love to be part of the drawing for the Query Critique Giveaway if it's not way too late.

  21. I'd love to be part of the drawing if it's not too late. Thanks for the interview!

  22. I'd love to be part of the drawing if it's not too late. Thanks for the interview!

  23. Hello! Is it too late to be part of the drawing? I'd love to have her critique my manuscript. And the interview was great!

  24. Hello! Is it too late to be part of the drawing? I'd love to have her critique my manuscript. And the interview was great!