Literary Agent Spotlight: Latoya C. Smith

Happy Monday Everyone!

I’m trying to have an upbeat attitude; otherwise, I will start bawling, and I won’t stop. Today is September 11th, and while it’s a day that impacts our entire nation, as a New Yorker, it hits me particularly hard. I remember the events of that morning sixteen years ago as if it were yesterday. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones. They are gone but never forgotten.

I also want to wish the people recovering from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma continued strength. It’s like we’re living in an alternate universe these days. Climate change is the real deal, and if we don’t acknowledge it and be proactive about combating it, I fear for future generations.

Anyway, enough with me being Debbie Downer. You know what keeps people happy during tough times? Books. So keep reading folks. Dive into those HEA’s and find your place of joy! #teamromance

Today’s spotlight features one fierce and fabulous lady. I first met Latoya at RT earlier this year. It was a brief interaction, but she later came to speak at my RWA NYC chapter meeting and of course I talked her ear off afterward (I can’t help my social butterfly tendencies, sue me). She’s also the recipient of the RWA NYC Chapter’s 2017 Golden Apple Award for Agent of the Year! Go, Latoya!!! *claps wildly* 

Get to know a little about this fantastic lady!

Everyone is asked this question. Librarians, bloggers, authors, no one is immune. *cackles

Since you’re my first agent/editor to be interviewed, you get the honor of being put on the hot seat too! I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure the same can be said for editors/agents. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

I have OCD, so I obsess about EVERYTHING, sometimes to the point where I have to sing or chant to get whatever the thought is out of my mind.

What attracted you to the literary world?

I’ve always been an avid reader since I was a child. A Scholastic kid all the way! Then Goosebumps, Babysitter’s Club, and on and on. So when I got the chance to be the assistant of a New York Times bestselling author, I jumped at the chance.

I know reading isn’t big on your list since you spend so much of your day staring at a computer screen but when you have time for leisure reading, whose writing do you fangirl over?

I am a fan of so many writers, styles, stories, etc. I am a true lover of BOOKS! However, yes, I do read a lot for work. So when I have time to read for pleasure, I try to shoot for anything in audio. Mostly fictional stories, particularly women’s fiction, romance, and thriller are my go-tos.

What are three quick tidbits of wisdom you’d give to a new writer beginning the query process?

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. You should always know your market better than anyone else; know what your competition is doing and taking notes; and assessing the analytics of your social media, sales, information, promotional efforts, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from publishing professionals and other authors. And be ready to spend money to hone in on your craft. It’s worth it in the end!

What’s the funniest query you’ve ever received? You can give as much or as little detail as you’d like. 

I had someone query me as Jesus incarnate…

The first concert you ever attended?

Jodeci and Mary J. Blige!

Describe your first kiss in two words. 

Really short.

What do you think people misunderstand most when it comes to the romance genre?

They don’t understand its value–call it fake writing or not real literature. And yet romance outsells MOST genres in fiction.

If you could assume the identity of any living person before 1920, who would you choose? 

Madame CJ Walker. She made women feel beautiful and made a lot of money while doing it!

In life, we get caught up on significant events and never really take the chance to appreciate the little things. Is there a “little thing” you wish you had celebrated a bit more? 

Me! We often are so busy complaining or looking at the things that are not working out that we rarely take the time to appreciate the things that we love about ourselves and our lives. I am working on celebrating myself more and focusing more on the things I love, not the things that bother me.

**Bonus Question**
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you? 

Not exactly. Not big on pain. However, I have tried handcuffs and candle wax. *There was a smirking emoji here* LOL, I felt you all should know that tidbit of information.


Latoya C. Smith started her editorial career as an administrative assistant to New York Times bestselling author, Teri Woods at Teri Woods Publishing, while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at Temple University. She graduated Cum Laude from Temple in August of 2005. She then attained a full-time position at Kensington Publishing in March of 2006. In October 2006, Latoya joined Grand Central Publishing, an imprint at Hachette Book Group. For the span of her eight years there, Latoya acquired a variety of titles from Hardcover fiction and non-fiction, to digital romance and erotica. She was featured in Publishers Weekly and USA Today, as well as on various author, book conference, and book blogger websites. She is the winner of the 2012 RWA Golden Apple for Editor of the Year.  In early 2014, she appeared on CSpan2 where she contributed to a panel discussing the state of book publishing. From August 2014 to February 2016, Latoya was Executive Editor at Samhain Publishing where she acquired short and long form romance and erotic fiction. Now, Latoya provides editorial and consultation services through her company, LCS Literary Services. She is also an agent with the L. Perkins Agency.

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