Jessica is an agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a degree in sociocultural anthropology and English. Jessica has made books a serious part of her life for many years. During college, she started an indie review blog that featured author interviews and reviewed several self-published books that eventually ended up on the New York Times Best Seller List.
Jessica is actively building her list and is most interested in all genres of romance, especially historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, and paranormal. She greatly enjoys romance novels with strong characters that jump right off the page and a plot that stays with the reader long after the book has finished. She is also interested in young adult fiction that takes the reader on an emotionally satisfying journey, whether that be in far off places or at home. Jessica also loves select Women’s Fiction that concerns elements of life that greatly change one’s perspective and outlook on culture and events one experiences.
She is also interested in author illustrated picture books that capture the joy and fun of reading between adults and children.
Please welcome Jessica Watterson to the blog. Now, let’s get to know her.
What led you to a career in agenting romance?
The short story is: I grew up with a love of reading, and in college that transitioned into a blogger for indie releases, which then led to my internship, then my job, and finally into agenting at SDLA (Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency).
Three of your favorite books?
The Blue Castle by LM Montgomery
The Last Summer (Of you and me) by Ann Brashares
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
Top three favorite romantic movies?
How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Bride and Prejudice
The Wedding Date
What’s hot in your world right now?
I’m on a HUGE fantasy romance kick right now.
What’s hot in the market right now?
As far as the market: COWBOYS
Tips for successful pitching (in 3 sentences or less)?
- Don’t overthink and be nervous;
- Be prepared to list the highlights of your manuscript, and
- Be prepared to then go into detail when asked.
Tips for successful query?
Make sure it’s exciting and short! Your main characters need to be introduced first and you always lead off with what’s at stake (aka why I need to keep reading!)
Weirdest pitch experience?
I had a lovely individual sit down and pitch me a sci-fi that was about incest and would not allow me to talk AT ALL during the pitch.
Favorite thing about attending conferences?
Talking about books with people I’ve just met! So fun when you find people who adore an author as much as you do!
Not many, but I really don’t like it when people bash the genre they are writing in, or say that they’re the next (insert big author here). It tells me you have unrealistic expectations about your career.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
A nice cold coke. I try SO hard not to drink soda, and I fail a lot. 😉
What’s the best advice you ever got?
Don’t compare your career to anyone else’s. It’s YOUR career, jealousy will never get you anywhere. If you celebrate your friends successes, that will make yours all the much sweeter.
To learn more about what Jessica looks for, here are some of her recent sales:
Emily Alibright’s Everyday Magic (Merit Press), Tara Wyatt’s Holiday Novellas (St. Martins), Jamie Howard’s All The Ways You Saved Me series (St. Martins), Sophia Henry’s continuation of the Pilot’s Hockey series (Flirt/Random House). Jamie Howard’s Until We Break series (St. Martins), Amanda Heger’s Without Borders (Diversion), Emily Albright’s The Heir and the Spare (Merit Press), Tara Wyatt’s Body Guard series (Forever/Grand Central), Melissa Brown’s Red Carpet Kiss (Montlake Romance), Beth Ehemann’s Cranberry Inn series (Montlake).