SDSU Writers’ Conference: Five Questions with Literary Agent Kevan Lyon

Kevan Lyon

Kevan Lyon, Literary Agent

1. What’s the best advice you can give to writers who are right now polishing their pitches, query letters and first 10 pages of their manuscripts in preparation for the upcoming SDSU Writers’ Conference?
Try not to be nervous – give us your best work and then try to look forward to the feedback. We are at the conference to help, to find possible new talent and to meet interesting people who are as passionate about the business as we are. 

2. Can you share one of the best and one of the worst opening lines from query letters that you’ve received?
There are a few things that immediately strike us as “not helpful” – for example, telling us upfront you know with certainty that this book will make an amazing film. It may be true, but this is definitely not relevant at this stage of the process and film/TV is such a long shot in general, it makes the writer sound like they haven’t done their homework on the publishing business.

Best opening is one that reads like the opening of your book, one that pulls us right into the story.

3. What’s the first book that spoke to you as a young reader?
One of my all-time favorites was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I still recall being enchanted by that story and read it to my own girls over and over.

4. What do you love most about your work and, as an SDSU conference alumna, what keeps you coming back?
I love helping authors achieve their dreams of seeing their work published and then developing a career as a writer. The very best part of the job is calling an author with their first offer, no matter how big or small the offer is.

I really enjoy the SDSU conference – it draws a terrific group of writers and editors who come to escape the NY cold!

5. What do you hope to find at the 31st Annual SDSU Writers’ Conference?
I’d love to find a writer with a wonderful women’s fiction novel that I fall in love with.

For more information about the SDSU Writers’ Conference, visit neverstoplearning.net/writers