Subjectivity In Publishing (And Why It's Good For Your Book) with Agent Kayla Lightner

The Manuscript Academy Podcast

Episode 80 with Literary Agent Kayla Lightner

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We talk with Kayla Lightner, agent at Ayesha Pande Literary, about how agents are trained to go through their inboxes—the role of subjectivity—and the benefits of a very specific #MSWL.

We discuss the energy of querying—how that’s conveyed to new publishing hires—and what this means for you, your work, and your chances in publishing.

Comps, also, come up as useful not only to your pitch, but also as an editorial tool to convey specific direction. And we talk about why people in publishing are discouraged from writing, themselves. We also talk about literary scouts, and what they do (hint: they’re the spies of the publishing world).

Our favorite takeaway? In publishing, there is no wrong answer, as long as you can back it up.

You can view Kayla’s #MSWL here:

And find her on Twitter here:

You can find our Facebook group (and the writers who want to be your critique partner!) at

Prior to joining Ayesha Pande Literary, Kayla worked as an assistant at Liza Dawson Associates. A Georgia native, she earned her B.A. in English from Vassar College. Before finding her way to publishing, she held various positions including a fashion market assistant at Harper’s Bazaar and a freelance writer at Creative Loafing Atlanta. An adventurous reader, Kayla loves stories—across commercial fiction, literary fiction, and nonfiction—that masterfully straddle the line between story-telling and teaching her something new. She’s particularly enamored with speculative fiction that centers black voices, humorous essay collections, and compelling family sagas. When Kayla’s not reading, she can be found writing, performing stand-up, and reminiscing on her rugby days. @LightnerKayla

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