Monday, February 20, 2012

Secret Agent Unveiled: Carrie Hannigan

Huzzahs for this month's Secret Agent, the lovely and helpful Carrie Hannigan of Hannigan Salky Getzler.

Carrie's Bio:

Carrie had the pleasure of working at Russell & Volkening literary agency for 14 years where she helped to manage the works of such luminary authors as Anne Tyler, Ntozake Shange, Eudora Welty, Barbara Tuchman and Bernard Malamud. In May 2011 she and her colleagues, Josh Getzler and Jesseca Salky, left Russell & Volkening to start their own agency, Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency. During her time at Russell & Volkening Carrie had her hands in almost every aspect of the business from selling audio and first serial rights to reprint and permission rights and finally settling in as a children’s book agent. Carrie also represents select adult books, both fiction (no thrillers please) and narrative non-fiction.

Things Carrie is looking for:

Adult fiction: Women's commercial fiction and literary fiction
Adult Non-fiction: Narrative non-fiction
Middle grade: Anything!
YA: Almost anything. But I'm not looking for dystopian YA right now. I also don't represent many paranormal or fantasy writers unless their manuscript really stands out in the crowd.

Thanks so much, Carrie!  Winners forthcoming.


  1. I think this is a great exercise for writers to get feedback on their work. Or, it can be. No, it should be. What I took away from this (my first experience)was the diversity of opinion. However, there is a real danger than must be stopped. The importance of CP's can't be overemphasized but what's as important is to get the right ones. That means a keen - and sometimes - tough love approach. This month in particular there was far too much cheerleading going on. SO many commmenters could only say "awesome!" and "holy smoke!" the best writing ever! That's nice in 5th grade but what is needed here is criticism of a sample. Also, with so many hundreds of people wanting to get in, it would be nice to see some participatory criticism - people spending more than 2 lines on an entry and many more reviews whould be entered for each piece. As it is, there are about 7-10 entered and it is obvious that 5 of those come from friends. Come on people. Becoming professional begins with acting like it. Also, on many occasions it took multiple tries to enter comments or criticisms because the text to be entered in the "prove you are nto a robot" line was completely illegible.

  2. Agreed, and thanks for commenting on it. The cheerleading would be more appropriate in a private Msg. It made the whole contest less professional, IMO. The bot was fine for me though, . I also appreciated the lottery system.

  3. That's my comment above. I wanted to say that the cheerleading by CPs wauld be better served in a PM. There's no acctg for what friends and family might comment, but as writers we shouldn't be trying to stack the deck for others in this venue. It lessens the experience. Some noted that they were CPs (thank you), but still, I think it muddied things up.

  4. The bot didn't pick my entry, but I might query Carrie on my own. Will you please post her submission guidelines? I'm finding inconsistent instructions on the internet. Thanks!

  5. I did notice what I perceived to be unusually supportive commenting this round. Nothing wrong with encouragement, of course, but I wonder how helpful it is to the author to get 9 overwhelmingly positive reviews and then one that picks at serious flaws (can you ignore a critique of it's only 1/10 who noticed it?).

    I'm not sure how much it muddies things up (I'm not sure what the above comment meant by that). I can see an author not getting a very good estimate of how well their own page is working if people are being only encouraging; the writer might ignore flaws in the work if few or no reviewers point them out.

    But I can't see how it's "stacking the deck." The final decision is made by the SA. It's not a popularity contest. I expect a professional, experienced agent will judge an entry based on what she's read in submissions before and what experience tells her does and doesn't sell. Sbe doesn't need "CPs" to tell her what to think of a first page. She knows her own mind.

  6. Thanks for your time Carrie! Your feedback is so appreciated!

  7. Yes, agreed Heather, so shy waste the space? Do you find that helpful?

  8. Secret Agent CarrieFebruary 20, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Thanks to Authoress for inviting me and to all the writers for submitting. There were a lot of good excerpts and it was hard to decide off only 250 words.

    In response to skywriter's question about my submission guidelines: All of the agents at HSG ask for 5 pages included in the body of the email. You can find more details on our website


  9. Big thank you to Ms. Hannigan! Your notes were most encouraging.

    As for the other comments in this thread, I enjoyed the spurts of enthusiasm. Support is a great thing to have, and appreciated the constructive feedback as well.

  10. Anonymous, I don't think the space was necessarily wasted. As I said, there's nothing wrong with encouragement. I think the best thing is to strive for a mix of encouragement and constructive criticism.... No one really wants to get beat down with only negative comments either. ;)

  11. I tried to give good critiques, but found later that all of them had been deleted. Not sure what happened there.

  12. Kelly, nobody's crits were deleted. Blogger sometimes eats comments at random.

  13. Thank you Ms. Hannigan for your participation. It is such a huge benefit to be able to read an agent's thoughts on any first page, let alone fifty. These contests provide struggling writers with much-needed insight into what snags interest and what gets passed on.

  14. Thank you to Ms. Hannigan and to Authoress for this opportunity!