Curious about breaking into the publishing industry and becoming a literary agent? Or how to craft the best query letter for your story? How about the common mistakes to avoid as a new author navigating the publishing world? We talk about it all and more with Linda Camacho.
Linda is a literary agent with a B.S. in Communication from Cornell University and an MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She’s held various positions at Penguin Random House, Dorchester, Simon and Schuster, Writers House, and Prospect Agency. Now at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency, Linda is looking for MG, YA, and adult fiction across all genres (especially upmarket, women’s fiction/romance, and literary horror); she’s also seeking select graphic novel writer-illustrators.
We kick off the conversation talking about horror movies and how they sparked her love for storytelling inspiring her publishing career. We discuss the publishing world and the different roles she had that lead her to become a literary agent. From this conversation, she shares how crucial it is to uplift your community, not take any opportunities for granted, be relentlessly persistent in your creative pursuits, and to know your worth. Further in, we talk about how to create lasting diversity in publishing.
And later, Linda chats about her experience getting her MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and how her degree helped strengthen her skills as a literary agent and communicate better editorially with her clients. We dive into how to improve your query letter, the common mistakes new authors make navigating the publishing industry, and how to avoid them.
Books and resources:
- A Nightmare on Elm Street directed by Wes Craven
- Vermont College of Fine Arts
- Author Matt de la Peña
- DVpit created by Beth Phelan
- Literary agent Marietta B. Zacker
- Author Ibi Zoboi
- Mooncakes by Wendy Xu
- American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera
- Pan’s Labyrinth directed by Guillermo del Toro
- Literary agent Carrie Pestritto’s blog
- Query Shark
- Five Midnights by Ann Cardinal
- Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
- Story Genius by Lisa Cron
Check out these highlights:
- How growing up on horror movies sparked Linda’s love for storytelling and inspired her publishing career
- Linda’s journey breaking into the publishing world and the steps she took to becoming a literary agent
- The importance of uplifting your community and leaning in to help others reach their goals
- How to stay relentlessly persistent in your creative pursuits
- Ways we can create lasting diversity in the publishing world
- Linda’s experience getting her MFA in creative writing at VCFA and how it strengthened her skills as a literary agent
- How to make your query letter stand out and catch a literary agent’s attention
- Common mistakes new authors make trying to navigate the publishing word and the steps you can take to avoid them
- The best strategies to help you cope with rejection during your querying process
“You really can’t give up. If you really, really want this, you cannot stop.”Linda Camacho
“The reason I went to VCFA was not necessarily so I could be an amazing writer and write all the bestselling books. I really did it with the intention to become even better editorially at my job, and that way I could have the language of communicating what might not work.”Linda Camacho
“Every great story is a love story.”Linda Camacho
Say “Hi” to Linda:
Learn more about Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency:
The Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency focuses on developing and finding the right home for the work of some of the most talented writers and illustrators in the book industry. Established in 2000 by Nancy Gallt, and later joined by Marietta B. Zacker, we aim to bring to life stories and artwork that help young readers throughout the world become life-long book enthusiasts and to inspire and entertain readers of all ages. We represent authors and illustrators who share and, through their work, exemplify that vision.
Learn more about Linda Camacho:
Linda Camacho has a B.S. in Communication from Cornell University and an MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She’s held various positions at Penguin Random House, Dorchester, Simon and Schuster, Writers House, and Prospect Agency. Now at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency, Linda is looking for MG, YA, and adult fiction across all genres (especially upmarket, women’s fiction/romance, and literary horror); she’s also seeking select graphic novel writer-illustrators.