Some time ago, before julie Gwinn became an agent, I had contact with her in my role as the organizer of the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy Blog Tour. At the time she was working for a publisher in a marketing capacity and was the person I contacted to set up tours. Since then, she’s moved to the agency side of the publishing business. In 2014 she became an agent at The Seymour Agency and in that capacity will join the Realm Makers faculty in the upcoming conference. The elective she’s scheduled to teach is entitled “Developing the Best Proposal Ever.”
Originally from Ohio, Julie lives in Nashville, is married, and has two children. She’s spent more than a decade in the book industry in one capacity or another. As an editor in 2013 she won the ACFW Editor of the Year award. She’s also spent many years working in advertising, marketing, and public relations, including volunteer positions at a number of non-profits.
In a recent interview, Julie answered a question about trends in the Christian publishing industry. First she noted that Amish literature seems to have plateaued. Then she said this:
I also see spec/fantasy/sci-fi growing in Christian publishing. Realm Makers, a writer’s conference for Christian spec/fantasy/sci-fi authors has doubled in size in three years.
I find such an answer encouraging on a number of levels. First, it’s exciting to hear this independent report about the popularity of Realm Makers. Second, it’s great to know that industry professionals are taking note of the interest in speculative literature.
Julie’s interest in speculative literature seems to have some roots in her personal interests. She lists Lord of the Rings, for example, as one of her favorite movies, and has named Harry Potter as her favorite speculative hero. She also includes speculative literature among the genres she will represent. However she has some limits. First she doesn’t represent horror:
I do not represent horror as this is not a genre I read and so I’m not familiar with what makes a great horror novel.
Second, some speculative fiction falls in the “done too often” category. In answer to what she has seen too much of, Julie said, “I’ve seen a lot of dystopian, angels and demons, novels where the protagonist suffers from multiple issues (alcoholism, bulimia, abuse, homelessness).” I suspect a writer would have to produce an exceptional story with a unique premise and character if they wish to approach Julie for representation in those areas.
As an agent Julie provides writers with some good advice. She emphasizes the need to create a platform, to pay attention to specifics such as grammar and typos when querying an agent, and doing research to find the best representative for you and your work.
At present Julie is open to submissions. She “accepts queries in the following genres: Women’s Fiction, Romance (contemporary, historical, suspense, inspy. Amish) Spec Fiction and Fantasy, Mysteries and Suspense, Inspirational Fiction and Nonfiction, Historical Fiction, YA.” (from the Seymour Agency website).
Writers seeking an agent who wish to contact Julie may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org . Of course one great way to move your query to the top of the pile is to meet her face to face at the Realm Makers Conference. That’s the best way to get to know her and to pitch your work directly to her.