Friday, September 14, 2012

An interview with Pam van Hylckama!

Hi everyone!  Pam was gracious enough to give me a little mini interview about everything and to set a few things straight! She's pretty awesome like that and I have to say, if anyone wants to submit to an agent I don't think you'll find many more people more straight forward and fair than her!

First off, how has all of this affected you? I thought it was pretty scary when I heard about this. I can only imagine what it must be like for you, the person who actually went through all of this!

have no new updates at this point. Also, at this point, it could still be just a random incident. I'm waiting for more information other than a call I had when a suspect was apprehended. To be fair, I just wanted to put that out there, that maybe there isn't a disgruntled author at all, innocent until proven guilty and all of that. 

The way this is changing how I do things online. I'll be talking to Tee Morris tomorrow about online safety. I will be giving my children aliases and not posting pictures of them anymore. If anything this whole situation has taught me that a lot more people pay attention to what I say online than I had thought. I still want to be open with everyone, and with a lot of aspects of my life, but not my family or my whereabouts.

I noticed that you mentioned that you’ve received “go die” letters before. Is that sort of normal for being an agent? I can see getting the irate “I’m a genius, why can’t you mortals see perfection when it’s in front of you” e-mails, but death threats and stuff to that nature? How do you deal with authors like this other than just ignoring them?

Death threats to me are "I'm going to come and kill you". "I hope you die", or "You probably would reject Jane Austen!" are just frustration. While I don't like getting frustration in my inbox, it is easy to understand and I would still consider work from the authors in the future. 

It's not like we all haven't said something dumb online before.

On a side note, I’m going to take this opportunity to ask you some questions about the job in general. What advice can you give to authors looking to submit their work to an agent? Is there anything special that makes a book stand out and sparkle?

Don't submit before you are ready! It becomes incredibly hard not to submit after you finish that draft! Put it in a drawer for two weeks, and send it out to a critique group. Think hard about your submissions.

I’ve heard some people show an interest in becoming a book agent. Are there any special classes or training for this that you can recommend?

I honestly don't know of any classes. The exciting thing about being an agent is that it's one of the last careers where apprenticeship is still in place! Finding internships and helping out in query boxes is the first stage of becoming an agent. 

I have to say though, don't expect to make any money your first year, or to make a living for the first five years!

Thanks Pam!! And everyone, make sure to check out her websites and Twitter!


  1. Wow, she sounds pretty calm and controlled after all that happened. I'm glad she's okay!

  2. Best to Pam. So glad she's okay!

  3. I'm absolutely impressed by how calm and rational she is after all of this. I'd have been running around like someone had cut my head off and set fire to my book collection after receiving an attack like that!