She shares her background (she was an engineer, later an editor, and feels that being an agent is the perfect mix of left and right brain for her.) She started her agency 12 years ago, and has four agents that work for her. She feels her agency is further distinguished from the field by also having a social media strategist, and says they help their authors build their platforms and even with their publicity.
Regina encourages we authors to think about what's our book's hook, as well as saying that she's looking for authors who are bringing something new.
She also runs an annual contest for YA writers - asking them to share the first 250 words of their manuscript and explains there is so much she and the editor judges can get from that - the quality of the writing, a sense of where the story is going...
She represents titles across the board, from the poetry of Marilyn Nelson (a three time finalist for the National Book Award) to "Putting Makeup On The Fat Boy" by Bil Wright, which just won the ALA's Stonewall Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award.
"A Global Reach"
Regina says that when she speaks to publishers they want to look at books that have a global reach, that aren't too domestic or locked into the U.S.A. If your book has a global reach, it's easier for her to sell. She posits this may be the reason for the success and popularity of fantasy, as
"fantasy isn't locked into the U.S. or domestic marketplace."
State of the Union of Children's Publishing?
Regina rattles off five new YA imprints that have just formed, and feels this is a sign of robustness. There are opportunities beyond the big six publishers.
"Middle Grade is the new Y.A."
(Which means publishers are asking her for Middle Grade.)