3 S.R. Johannes: Agent Pitch Contest with Suzie Townsend!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Agent Pitch Contest with Suzie Townsend!

General updates

All the books that have won through today will be mailed out by Friday. Sorry about the delay

Sorry about not stopping, we had a nasty bug run through the family. Yuk.

Also the winners of this last week's giveaways:
Today, Suzie Townsend stops by!

Agent Pitch Contest

Winner: Gets a query critique from Suzie!
When: Tomorrow, Wed July 14th. Begins at 91 EST, ends Thursday 15th at 9am EST
What: Leave your 140 character book pitch (children's books ONLY - including PBs, CB, MG and YA) in the comments.
Eligiblility: You cannot have an agent (obviously) or a book sold/published. This is for unagented/unpublished writers only.
Notes: It must NOT be longer than 140 characters. You can test this in Twitter or do a character count in Word.

Suzie Townsend, FinePrint Literary

*Comment on today's post and get an ARC of PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers.

Hey Suzie. Tell us a little about yourself and what made you want to be an agent.

When I first started exploring publishing, it was because my sister had working with McGraw Hill in the English textbook department. When she was working with them, she would tell me all about the job, and I found myself thinking about how much I would enjoy something similar. But getting into publishing itself was very difficult - and I wasn't sure which aspect of publishing I wanted to pursue.

I took an internship with FinePrint Literary, first thinking that it would be a stepping stone to getting a job in an editorial assistant position, but I just fell in love with FinePrint and every aspect of agenting. Luckily for me, everyone at FinePrint loved me too and offered me a job.

Tell us a little about your clients and their upcoming books.

I've sold six books now, which is very exciting, but I'll just name three of my clients' books which will be coming out in the next year.

PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers comes out 9/14 from Tor. It's the first book I sold, a YA paranormal romance about a girl who finds herself caught between an angel and a demon who are fighting over her soul - and her heart.

INVINCIBLE SUMMER by Hannah Moskowitz comes out April 2011 from Simon Pulse.

BELL JAR SUMMER by Arlaina Tibensky comes out summer 2011 from Simon Pulse.

In your opinion , what are some things authors should do to promote their books?

Having some kind of web presence is really important. A website with contact information, a blog, or a twitter account are all things I've seen that have worked well.

But people are different and what works for one person doesn't work for everyone so I think it's important for writers to try different things and find out what works best for them.

In terms of touring, it's really important for authors to make themselves available to their target audience. For instance, if someone is writing women's fiction that will be popular in book clubs, it's important for them to make themselves available to do talks with book clubs who are going to read the book.

In your experience, what are the top 3 query fails? Query success?

1. Sending presents. 2. Sending some kind of "I'm trying to stand out" query - like a Starbucks cup or something scented or an unusual package. 3. Claiming this is the next Harry Potter/Twilight/Da Vinci Code.

Successful queries tell what the book is about in a succinct and concise manner. It's so simple it's hard.

I spent time with you at BEA and shared your need for speed in getting the great galleys. When did you know you were a fellow Bibliomaniac? Bibliomania is an obsessive–compulsive disorder involving the collecting or hoarding of books to the point where social relations or health are damaged. One of several psychological disorders associated with books, bibliomania is characterized by the purchase of multiple copies of the same book and edition and the accumulation of books beyond possible capacity of use or enjoyment are frequent symptoms of bibliomania.

I hadn't considered there was a name for it until I read this question. But I've had symptoms since I was a little kid. Instead of picture books, my dad used to read my sister and I Lord of the Rings and as soon as I was old enough to realize there were different "editions" of the book, I tended to want each one. As anyone could tell from my TBR (to be read) room, I'm an avid book hoarder today.

If you could be a letter in the alphabet – what would it be and why?

Z. I'm not a hundred percent sure why. But it's always been my favorite letter. My parents actually spelled my name "Susie" when I was growing up, and I always wanted to change my name and spell it with a Z. And eventually I did.

If past lives really exist, what or who do you think you were in a past life?

I was a delivery girl in a past life. It is amazing how well I can go for a Starbucks run.
What is she looking for in children's books?
I'm representing everything from children’s books (chapter books to YA, both fiction and non-fiction) to adult fiction (speculative, fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, and romance, especially paranormal). I'm interested in strong characters and voice driven stories that will keep me up at night. I also gravitate towards strong female protagonists, complex plot lines with underlying political, moral, or philosophical issues, and stories which break out of the typical tropes of their genre, like Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series.

You can follow Suzie at her blog or on Twitter.

See you back here tomorrow and good luck!


Jamie Manning said...

Thanks for this awesome interview! And thanks to you *and* Suzie for the contest!

Spav said...

Great interview. I've been wanting to read Personal Demons since I heard about it. Can't wait!

Unknown said...

Ooh very cool.Thanks for the contest. I will query Suzie one day (she is at the top of my list) First I need to get over my fear of being rejected by her! :)

X said...

Suzie's got some awesome clients! I'm so excited for those books :D

DL Hammons said...

WOW! I can't believe I won. My entire family will be after this book. Thanks bunches Shelli! I will e-mail you my address. :)

Meradeth Houston said...

Great interview! Thanks for posting it :) And Personal Demons sounds awesome!!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the great interview and contest. I especially appreciated the advice that marketing is different for different authors. I can't wait to read Personal Demons.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I love learning that Suzie is fascinated by strong female protagonists and stories with underlying meaning. The Kushiel books are so intense and really stay with you. Great interview.

throuthehaze said...

Apparently I am a bibliomaniac :) Great interview!

Janet Reid said...

"offered her a job" means "begged her to stay" and "everybody at FinePrint loves her" means "we'd roll up into balls of moaning jelly if she left."

I'd say Suzie is the cat's pjs but her doggies would probably bite me.

Laurie Lamb said...

Nice interview, Shelli. Thanks for the information, Suzie.

trailer mix said...

Great interview, thanks so much! PERSONAL DEMONS sounds like an awesome concept--I'm definitely going to look out for the book!

Riv Re said...

Awesome contest and interview. I'm YA, so no pitch! (I'd love Personal Demons, though...)

Unknown said...

Can't wait to read Personal demons, sounds so amazing ;D

Unknown said...

and I won the contest OMG!!
Gonna send you an email :DDD


Janet Johnson said...

I love Ms. Reid's interpretations. :D

Good luck to everyone with their pitches!

Khelsea @ Once upon a review said...

Great interview! And amazing questions, I learned slot of helpful tips.
I'd love to win Personal Demons so thanks for the contest!

Paula said...

Bibliomania! Hmm. So does that mean if I'm at a signing and I buy two books, one signed to me and one just signed, that I am a bibliomaniac or just a maniac? : ) I know, crazy, that's me.

Great post, as always.

Anonymous said...

Very cool interview ! I've heard a lot about Personal Demons and I can't wait to read it !


Elizabeth Briggs said...

Great interview! She is definitely on my "agents to query" list.

Unknown said...

What a terrific interview -- Suzie's advice on book promotion makes a lot of sense. I look forward to reading Personal Demons -- there's a lot of good buzz about it!

Shelley Watters said...

Great interview!!

I follow Suzie on Twitter and her blog. I just love her! I can't wait for Personal Demons to come out!!


Lacey J Edwards said...

Great interview! Z is a great letter.
Shelli, I love the definition of Bibliomaniac.

Lacey J Edwards said...

And I am sad that you were both at BEA and I didn't see either of you. Did either of you go to the Houndstooth afterward? I was there, hiding in the corner.

Emma Kate "Coops" @ Whats Cracking Coops said...

This was such a great and helpful post :D I starred it in my google reader I loved it so much, thanks! :D

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