Megan Close Zavala is an associate agent at Keller Media, an agency responsible for over 1,200 rights deals worldwide, including 16 New York Times best sellers and 9 international best sellers. Her passion lies not only in getting great books published, but in working closely with the authors who write them. Nothing is more exciting than a great new idea or story!
A bibliophile for as long as she can remember, Megan has found her dream job working in the world of publishing. Prior to her agenting career, Megan read, reviewed, edited, rejected and selected thousands of book and script projects for agencies, film companies and publishing companies. She uses her background in entertainment and legal affairs in negotiating the best deals for her clients and helping them think outside of the box.
Megan is interested in working with both debut and previously published authors and enjoys forming long-lasting partnerships with them.
She looks forward to meeting talented writers who are offering something new and exciting and/or fresh takes on pre-existing subject matter. While she represents books in all genres, she is currently most interested in the following genres: Self-Help, Relationships, Pop Culture, Pop Psychology, Parenting, Management, Career, Entrepreneurship, Business, Personal Finance, and Fiction (especially Crime, Mystery/Suspense, and Literary).
Megan Close Zavala is a self-described “obsessive bibliophile (especially mysteries!),” though her first career was in the entertainment industry working in production legal. She knew early on that the entertainment industry wasn’t for her, and she spent her spare time freelancing—reading and evaluating thousands of manuscripts and screenplays.
“I have truly read the good, the bad, and the ugly over the years!” she jokes.
After Megan was laid off from her last entertainment job, she took the opportunity to travel to India. There, she spent a year travelling and soul-searching, after which she returned to the U.S. with an unshakeable determination to break into the publishing industry. She got a job at Keller Media as an editorial assistant and quickly worked her way up to agent.
“I have not looked back,” Megan says. “This is the job I was born to do and I love doing it every single day. To help writers never ceases to be inspiring.”
For fiction clients, Megan pays special attention to the piece’s voice and the originality of the story being told. She also likes to see well-developed characters who connect with her.
“Eventually, things like word count will become important, but it’s really important for me to connect with the material over anything else,” she says.
For her nonfiction clients, her tastes are much the same. She likes books that present new ideas, or visit old ideas in new or “better” ways.
“And, of course, I always need to look at the author’s platform—this is the number one thing that editors will be asking me about, so I need to have something awesome to share with them,” she adds.
When asked how a potential client could get Megan excited about representing him/her she had this to say:
“Well, to be blunt, write an amazing book! Aside from that, know your book inside and out and have all of the necessary submission materials prepared. No matter what genre you write in, it is important for an author to think of his or herself as a salesperson, as well.
“When you pitch me in person, have a concise pitch prepared and let me really see your passion and enthusiasm. Don’t tell me every plot point—let me get excited about reading more! Be prepared to answer questions.
When you query me, make sure your voice is present in your query letter—I want to know that it is YOU writing the letter. Hook me and pitch your book to me—again, keep things short and to the point.
“When it comes time to submit the first few chapters or a synopsis, make sure that your writing is in great shape—if you tell me you’re still in the process of editing, or if it is rife with typos, it will greatly lessen my enthusiasm.
“Bring something new to the table—be aware of what other authors in your genre are doing (so your book doesn’t appear duplicative), what they are doing well (so that you can follow suit), and what you can do better (so that you can stand out!).”
Of her agency, Megan says:
“Keller Media, Inc. is a literary agency responsible for over 1,200 rights deals worldwide—including 16 New York Times bestsellers—and we are passionate about helping writers achieve their publishing dreams!
“I speak at writers conferences all over the country helping authors avoid mistakes and missteps, and have even written a recent piece in The Huffington Post based on those presentations: http://huff.to/1S4lmIO.
“We often host free webinars and send out an author tips newsletter, so please feel free to visit our website (www.kellermedia.com) to learn more.”
She adds, “Mystery, suspense and thriller are my favorite genres (to represent AND read for pleasure), so I am especially excited to meet the folks attending Killer Nashville.”
You can query Megan Close Zavala at www.kellermedia.com/query.