The pitch contest starts now!
We have the fabulous Sarah LaPolla with Curtis Brown LTD. ready to peruse your pitches and pick her favorites! So if you're ready to enter read on...
Here are the rules:
1. You must be a follower of my blog.
2. You must follow her blog Glass Cases too. (which is really just a bonus reference for you!)
3. You can only enter one pitch - be sure it is something she is looking for.
Your pitch can only be 1-3 sentences long. (not long run on sentences!) Leave your pitches in the comment section of this post. It's that simple!
1st place winner can submit the entire manuscript
2nd place winner can submit a partial (first 3 chapters)
3rd place winner will get a query critique
Any questions, please let me know! The contest will run until tomorrow night at midnight. Good luck to everyone!
And now the moment you've all been waiting for...Ms. Sarah LaPolla herself...
Thank you again Sarah for graciously agreeing to this interview here today and to judge this contest. What a great opportunity for everyone!
Tell us about yourself and how you got into agenting?
Thanks so much for having me. I recently became an associate agent with Curtis Brown, Ltd., but I guess you can say I first got into agenting while I was getting my MFA (creative nonfiction) a few years ago. I knew I wanted to work on the publishing side of writing, so I started interning with different agencies. I only had a vague idea of what an agent actually was at the time, but I ended up really liking that field. Then a friend told me about a job in the foreign rights department at Curtis Brown… and two years later here I am!
What do you feel sets you apart from other agents?
I don’t know if much sets me apart from other agents, to be honest. Like most agents, I got into this business because I love books and finding new writers. We all share the same passion, even if individual tastes in what we’re looking for vary.
When it comes to queries, what kinds of things are instant rejections?
I hate the phrase “instant rejection,” and I hate to admit that I do it. I usually try to give every query the same level of consideration, but sometimes it is clear writers are not doing their research. If I see a query for a screenplay or picture book or something else I definitely will not represent, then I instantly reject those. Or if the actual query letter is sent as an attachment or as a link, I just delete them with no response.
What are your top 3 books of all time? And why?
This is like choosing my three favorite children, by the way! (Well, if I had children.) I would have to go with The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger), The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky), and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Michael Chabon). With Perks, it was just the first book I fell in love with. Like, really, really in love with. The Catcher in the Rye was just written in a way I hadn’t seen before. It was brilliant, as was Holden. And with Kavalier and Clay, I literally let out a breath in amazement once I finished. To me it’s like the perfect novel. There are so many layers and it transcends genre and style; Michael Chabon’s work in general is pretty awe-inspiring.
I just realized it looks like I have a thing for depressed or wayward youth. I guess I do, but I assure you I also like happy, well-adjusted characters too!
Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
I don’t know how surprising this is, but few people know of my love of Broadway musicals. I have a secret desire to sing and like to pretend I can, but I sadly lack the talent.
What are you looking for and how can authors submit to you?
I’m looking for character-driven novels, mostly. The genres I’m most interested in are literary fiction, urban fantasy, magical realism, paranormal romance, and young adult, particularly older YA or crossover. I prefer email submissions (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the query pasted in the body of the email. Sending the first five pages of the manuscript is fine too, as long as they are also pasted in the email. No attachments.
From an agent’s perspective, what is the biggest mistake a writer (agented or unagented) can make?
I think it’s always a mistake when writers try to follow trends. If you sit down and say to yourself, “_______ is popular; I’ll write about that,” chances are it’s going to be bad. If you don’t write what you want to write, it’s not going to be your best work, and it’ll show.
Is there any other advice that you would give to aspiring authors at any stage of the process?
The main thing is to stay professional and not get discouraged when querying. Rejection is a part of writing, so it’s bound to happen some time. As long as you love what you do enough to keep going, you’re in good shape.
Thanks again Sarah for the awesome interview and great advice! Again, good luck to everyone and have a great day!
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