Book Broker—an interview with Stephanie Winter
Agent: Stephanie Winter
Preferred genres: Nonfiction, graphic novels, thrillers, women’s upmarket.
Bio: Stephanie Winter is an associate agent at PSLA. She first joined the agency as an intern before becoming the agency’s relations assistant. Stephanie holds a B.A. from the University of Toronto in English Literature and an M.A. in English: Issues in Modern Culture from University College London. She is looking for diverse, inclusive voices in a variety of spaces. Stephanie particularly appreciates strong characters who bend stereotypes, genders, and more.
1) What stands out in a good submission?
There’s a hook and clear stakes easily evident in the query.
2) What's a typical warning sign that a manuscript isn't ready for representation?
Superfluous grammatical errors. Or a word count that’s considerably longer or shorter than the average book in the genre right now (e.g. 200k or 30k in upmarket fiction).
3) What's at the top of your manuscript wish list right now?
I’d love a good thriller/suspense. Think Grady Hendrix’s THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP.
4) Writers are frequently told to "show" rather than "tell." What does this craft maxim mean to you, and how does an overreliance on "telling" impact your assessment of a submission?
In my opinion, telling too much will make the text feel more like a synopsis. We’re either living so much in the protagonist’s head (or the narrator’s) that we’re not appreciating the present scene/event. Often, this can feel like not having our senses engaged. Every project is different. If something is "too telling" for me, it might not be for someone else.
5) When you sign a new client, to what extent do you work through additional revisions together before their manuscript is ready for submission to publishers?
Every project is different. I will work with my client on as many revisions as are needed until we’re both happy with the work going out on submission.
6) If you could change one thing about the publishing industry, what would it be and why?
I would change the publishing industry’s exclusivity. I think publishing would be a much more interesting world if it didn’t make it hard (geography, cost, etc.) for new voices to enter the scene.
7) What's the best (non-client) book you've read recently, and how did it hook you?
I loved ACTS OF VIOLET by Margarita Montimore. I was hooked by the audio version, which did a phenomenal job with the voice acting and making it feel like I was listening to a real podcast. The suspense around the mystery of Violet and her strong woman persona were entrancing.
8) Can you tell us about an exciting author you're working with at the moment?
Alexandra Stratkotter’s THE EMBROIDERED CLOSET is just hitting shelves now!
It’s a beautiful book, easy to pick up, and filled with stunning designs. You can thrift, mend, and embroider your way to a more sustainable and customized closet. Stratkotter is a POWERHOUSE. So hard-working, an incredible business person, and a great teacher–seriously, I learned to embroider from this project. It’s a great holiday gift.