Founded in 2004, by Dr. Uwe Stender, TriadaUS Literary Agency have grown over the last decade and now represent authors and celebrities working in Fiction and Non-Fiction throughout the U.S. and internationally.
The U.S. was added due to the country of origin of the agency, as well as the founder's initials.
During this period and for a short time after, Brent also worked as an editor for a leading teen fiction website.
Brent is also very active on Twitter, so do follow him by clicking the link at the end of this interview, for links, submissions advice, and updates to his wish list.
During your years as an intern what did you learn about the workings of a literary agency that were a surprise to you? Did you see any contrasts between the two agencies you worked for?
I started my publishing career in 2010 interning at a small agency, and then began interning at a bigger, Brooklyn-based agency in 2011. Over the course of the last four years, I’ve worked at three agencies, in different capacities with a total of five literary agents—in two different continents and publishing markets. It’s not much of a surprise, but what I really liked observing was the difference in style between literary agents, sometimes even within the same agency. When I say difference in style, I mean the agent’s personal philosophy on nudging editors, editing client work, building submission lists, strategizing multiple submissions rounds. There’s no necessary “correct” way to go about anything. Finding out what my own personal style will be has been one of the most exciting aspects about signing my own clients on at TriadaUS.
As a freelance editor did you spot any similarities in the words and phrases used to tell a story for the teen marketplace? How hard is it for a writer to connect with that demographic in an authentic way if they are older?
I noticed a lot of slang used in dialogue, especially when it came to text messages or social media. I always urge writers to write as timelessly as possible. Connecting with a particular demographic, if you do that, shouldn’t be too terribly difficult.
With TriadaUS based outside of New York, does it have any impact on the amount of submissions the agency receives? What advantages does the agency hold for a prospective client?
One of my former bosses would receive, honestly, about 100 queries a day. I’m not quite there yet, but I am not at all displeased with the amount or quality of the submissions I receive. And considering the amount of clients that came out of the slushpile that my boss, Uwe Stender, has made book deals for, I would say he agrees.
TriadaUS has a ton of great advantages. We have very eclectic taste, so a project that one agent might pass on immediately, another loves and signs on. In terms of advantages for a writer, I would say that since we’re a smaller agency we’re able to tailor and individualize our work for each client. Because my list is smaller, I’m able to spend more time pondering a submission list and finding the perfect editors for a project, and I get to spend a bit more time deciding how precisely I want to pitch a project.
New York is only a phone call or email away. Even if I were working out of an office in New York, if an issue regarding one of my clients came up, I wouldn’t show up angry and frazzled at their publishers’ doors. This is the twenty-first century.
When building a client list how hard can it be to acquire the right clients in such a competitive industry for new writing talent? Do you seek out clients at festivals, conferences, or other avenues?
The two clients I’ve signed up so far weren’t hard to secure at all. In both instances, the writers and I shared a perfectly matched vision for their projects and careers. That’s what it all comes down to, or at least should come down to.
Do you encounter common mistakes in the slush pile? Have you got any advice for a writer before they query you?
Not mistakes, per se. As an agency, TriadaUS just asks for the query letter (no pages). But personally, pages are essential in determining whether or not something is of interest to me, so I stipulate that on my Publishers Marketplace page and most interviews. When a writer has included their pages, it clues me in that they did other research beyond just looking at the website.
Should a writer ever mention in a query letter that their submission is part of a trilogy? Or should they concentrate on making the first story work as a standalone book first?
What do you consider a manageable roster of clients before you would have to temporarily close to unsolicited queries?
I can’t answer this quite yet. I’m really not sure it’s even a set number, really. When I got to the point where I was unable to give each client of mine 110% of my efforts, then I would close to unsolicited submissions.
When you are reading the latest manuscript from a client, do you ever speculate on the adaptation potential of the book?
I absolutely do. One of my favorite things about TriadaUS is the agency’s extensive film/TV contacts. I just put a project very dear to me out on submission with editors, and it’s simultaneously being shopped around Hollywood.
Are self-published avenues explored by the agency if traditional publishers choose not to pursue the work of one of your clients? What are you feelings towards self-publishing as a means to establish a voice in the industry?
I am very supportive of authors who choose to self-publish and think it can be a very exciting avenue. However, I don’t currently offer any actual assisting with that process.
What genres do you represent and how should writers contact you? Do you represent writers based internationally?
I represent middle grade, young adult, and select adult fiction (women’s, crime, and literary fiction). I would be open to representing international authors. Writers can send a query letter and their first ten pages to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit my Publishers Marketplace page.