3 S.R. Johannes: Agent Pitch Contest - Sarah LaPolla (Curtis Brown LTD)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Agent Pitch Contest - Sarah LaPolla (Curtis Brown LTD)

NEWSFLASH: Sarah LaPolla is doing an Agent Pitch Contest starting tomorrow morning at 9amEST! It will be an paragraph pitch of no more than 4 sentences. Winner gets a special prize (revealed tomorrow :)

So get your pitches ready and come back tomorrow for more deets!

For now, here is a little about Sarah!

Hi Sarah, tell us about yourself and how you got into agenting?

I am an associate agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. and have been with them since 2008. I started as the foreign rights assistant and a few months ago I started building my own list. Before getting my job at Curtis Brown, I received my MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School. I still vaguely consider myself a writer, but I always knew I wanted to be the one to make things happen for other writers, as opposed to getting my own work published. (Maybe, possibly, someday though…) While I was in grad school, I interned with Loretta Barrett Books and the Renee Zuckerbrot Agency, and I knew I wanted to continue down that career path. So here I am!

What is your biggest pet peeve when receiving submissions? Query fails vs query successes?

It bothers me when it is very clear the writer has done no research whatsoever before querying me. Another pet peeve is when authors compare their books, whether for better or worse, to other popular novels. I’ve been getting a lot of Twilight-meets-blank lately and then realize that the only thing remotely close to Twilight in the book is that a vampire shows up. I want writers to be able to describe their work without relying on anything else other than their own story.

As an agent, how do you plan on helping your clients promote their books?

I have my own blog, which I will use as a marketing tool when the time comes (promote books and events, hold contests, etc.) I’m also pretty active on Twitter. I would encourage my authors to do the same. Ultimately, I think the bulk of publicity still ends up falling on the publisher and the author, but the role of the agent is changing in that way. The outlets for effective marketing also change fairly often, so I plan to keep up with those trends as best I can.

What are you looking for and how can authors submit to you?

I love literary fiction, urban fantasy, magical realism, narrative nonfiction, and young adult fiction. I’m also always looking for engaging narrators and strong, complex characters. I should also point out that I am never, ever looking for picture books, romance novels, or general nonfiction books.

Authors can email me their query letters and the first five pages of their project, pasted into the body of the email, at sl@cbltd.com.

Last question, if you could have a special power, what would it be and why?

Teleportation, easily. It would be so time-saving, and I’d go so many places! Plus, my commute to work would be pretty sweet.

If you have any questions for Sarah, feel free to leave them in the comments! Don't forget to come back tomorrow!


Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Enjoyed the interview and advice... and I love the superpower of teleporting. So much quicker than flying everywhere.


Thanks to you both,

Alli Sinclair said...

Thanks for the interview, ladies! Sarah, how do feel about cross-genre? For example, magical realism mixed with suspense? And do you see a market for this?

Thanking you in advance for your time.

Anita Saxena said...

Teleportation has been a life long dream of mine. In fact the MC in my WIP can teleport. Looking forward to the contest.

Sarah LaPolla said...

@Alli - Definitely interested in cross genre! Magical realism is a perfect genre to mix up a little too.

Colene Murphy said...

Great interview. Good information to have.
Transportation would be awesome..oh so awesome

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. That's great that you use your blog to help promote your authors' books.

I'm guessing from what you've said you're interested in that you're not looking for any high fantasy. Is that right.

Thanks for the contest, whether it's one for me or not.

Jemi Fraser said...

I've enjoyed Sarah's blog before - great interview ladies!

Looking forward to the pitches!

Carolyn V. said...

That was a great interview! Thank you for the info on the query letters. I can't wait to read everyone's pitches. =)

Claire Dawn said...

Nice interview. I'm definitely going to give her a closer look.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Sarah's awesome! Great interview, Shelli! :)

Renae said...

Great interview! Sarah's fantastic! Good luck to all that enter the contest!

Jess said...

Definitely teleportation, too! Fun interview. :)

Kelly Polark said...

You are awesome, Shelli. You always have such great interviews and contests!
And I would so choose teleportation too. Our family is always taking road trips!

Susan R. Mills said...

Yes, teleportation would be a great super power to have. I especially wish my teenagers had it. That way, I wouldn't have had to teach them to drive. :) Great interview! Thanks to both of you for sharing it.

Marilyn Peake said...

Wonderful interview!

- Marilyn Peake