At the summer 2011 PNWA Conference, Michael Larson and Elizabeth Pomada, of The Larson-Pomada Agency in San Francisco, took the time to give their advice about pitches and the real role of an agent.
The group was told that agent's use pitches to look at you as a writer. They want to see potential in you and your ideas. Agents and Editors are also looking to see if you can meet the needs of the marketplace and promote your own work. Michael said the magic formula is “talent, luck and persistence”.
Make sure you use good grammar, correct spelling and the proper introduction. They also mentioned that a writer needs to use clear and concise English. Michael was firm that the very first things out of your mouth should be title, genre, intended audience and word count.
Why should a writer have an agent? A good question. Elizabeth said that an agent is a mediator, advocate, mentor, scout and negotiator. Editors don’t have the time to edit, so agents are the new editors. They also take care of business matters so that you are free to write.
Agents also know what editors want, who to submit to and who to avoid. Did you know agents reject 90% of what they read? Make sure your work is 100% ready when you submit it.
Further advice, if you are unable to get an agent, then it is absolutely necessary to get help with your contract. They told us, “You will be taken advantage of”.
Michael Larsen, Elizabeth Pomada, Laurie McLean and Lindsey Clemons are the literary agents at Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents. According to their website, “Michael handles non-fiction. Elizabeth represents commercial fiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction, romance, mysteries and memoir. Laurie handles adult genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, horror, westerns, mysteries, thrillers, suspense, etc.) and children’s middle grade and young adult books. Lindsey represents adult thrillers, mysteries and literary fiction.” http://www.larsenpomada.com
Queries should be sent via email to the specific agent. No attachments. Each agent has different submission requirements. Response time varies from 4-8 weeks.
Elizabeth Pomada- please email the first 10 pages and a 2 page synopsis to firstname.lastname@example.org . (14- point typeface, double-spaced and no attachments) Their website mentions, “Elizabeth cannot take the time to read a full manuscript if other agents are reading it. That’s why she asks for complete manuscripts, on an exclusive basis, when she is interested in a project. More info here- http://www.larsenpomada.com/lp/pages.cfm?ID=2
Laurie McLean- “At present, my assistant Pam van Hylckama Vlieg and I are only accepting unsolicited queries at email@example.com . Otherwise, I will take submissions for everything I represent from people I meet at conferences or who are referred to me by clients and publishing professionals.” More info here- http://www.larsenpomada.com/lp/pages.cfm?ID=51
Please send the first 10 double-spaced pages and a 1-2 page synopsis. No attachments.
Michael Larson- Straight from the website, “For non-fiction please read Michael’s How to Write a Book Proposal book-available through your library or bookstore and through our website- so you will know exactly what editors need. Then, before you start writing, send him the title, subtitle and your promotion plan via conventional mail (with SASE) or email.” More info here- http://www.larsenpomada.com/lp/pages.cfm?ID=3
There are also two associate agents looking to build their lists:
Lindsey Clemons- thrillers, mysteries of all sorts and literary fiction. Please query her with the first ten pages of your MS and a 1-2 page synopsis. No attachments – at Lindsey.Reads.Books@gmail.com
Kat Salazar- Children’s Picture Books, Easy readers, Chapter books, Middle-grade, and YA. For adult audiences she is interested in both fiction and non-fiction. Please query with first 10 pages and a 1-2 page synopsis. No attachments- at QueryKatSalazar@gmail.com
Tune in next week for Inside the Publishing World Wednesday, when I take a look at Michael and Elizabeth’s conference session- The six “C’s” to becoming a writer in the digital age.