Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview with Agent Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Literary AND Contest Announcement!!

Hey, guys! I'm excited to post this interview with agent Carrie Pestritto of Prospect Literary Agency. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! :)

Carrie Pestritto joined Prospect Agency in 2011 after working as an assistant at Writers House. With a B.A. in English from Amherst College, she has experienced all sides of the publishing industry, having worked as a ghostwriter, freelance writer, and in the editorial acquisitions department of the Greenwood Publishing Group. As an agent, she loves the thrill of finding new authors with strong, unique voices and working closely with her clients to develop their ideas and manuscripts. (Link.)

Now the interview! 

Hi Monica, I'm really excited to be talking with you today.  Thanks for having me on your blog.

Thank YOU for being here! ;)


1) How and why did you decide to become a literary agent?

I always loving reading and writing, but when I was in college, I wasn't really sure what I wanted (or could) do with an English degree.  I explored all the different facets of the publishing industry; I interned at publishing houses, literary agencies, and magazines, worked as both a ghostwriter and freelance writer, and finally ended up working as an
assistant at Writers House.  I realized that I truly enjoyed agenting and met with Emily Sylvan Kim, the president of Prospect Agency, and found a home there!

2) From your web page we know you represent mature YA fiction. Can you give some examples of published YA books that you loved? And also by reading your bio, I guess you prefer literary YA, like THE BOOK THIEF instead of TWILIGHT, right?

At the moment, I am actively seeking non-fiction YA.  I love Adeline Yen Mah's CHINESE CINDERELLA: THE TRUE STORY OF AN UNWANTED DAUGHTER, Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos's SUGAR CHANGED THE WORLD: A STORY OF MAGIC,
SPICE, SLAVERY, FREEDOM, AND SCIENCE, and Leanna Renee Hieber's DARKER STILL, as well as classic YA novels like Diana  Wynne Jones' HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE.  When it comes to fiction, I do prefer literary YA, but I also do like reading more commercial YA occasionally.  Books like Cecily von Ziegesar's GOSSIP GIRL can be great, fun reads.  They are often my guilty pleasure reading books!

3) What do you want to see more in your query inbox? And what are the fiction genres you definitely wouldn't represent?

I would like to see books with really unusual premises, where you either become completely immersed in the character's mindset or are brought into a world that you knew nothing about.  I enjoy reading books about details in history, religion/mythology, film, relationships, nature, music, archaeology...anything that can capture my imagination and teach me something new.

I'm not really the right agent for heavy science fiction or fantasy, children's books, middle grade YA, or romance.

UPDATE! (February 2013) 
Carrie is now actively looking for great girl teen fiction. For more details go here

4) What part of the editorial process with your clients do you like the most?

I really love working with my authors to cultivate their manuscripts and polish the general idea or concept of their story to make it the best it can be.  Working with authors and feeling like I am contributing in some way to their creation is a wonderful experience.

5) Can you tell us why writers would be thrilled to have you as their agent?

I am very passionate about books and once I sign clients, I work with them to fine tune their manuscripts and do everything I can to help them develop and grow their careers as authors.  I am pretty open and easygoing when it
comes to revisions, as well, although I am a perfectionist.  I love bouncing ideas back and forth, and am always willing to be a sounding board, discuss different thoughts, and try different options for revising.

6) Where do you hope to be in five years from now?

I am already doing what I love, so in five years, I hope to be working with more great authors and helping more amazing books get published.  I also hope that in five years, I am living in an apartment that allows pets so that I can get a dog! I love dogs and miss being able to have one of my own!

7) Is there anything else you'd like to say?

Publishing truly is a very subjective industry, so don't get discouraged by rejection!  If you really want to be an author and see your work in print, keep working on your writing and submitting to different agent; eventually
you will find an agent who believes in your work as much as you do.

And now the 4Fs.  (Fast Five For Fun!)


1) Guilty pleasure?   (That has nothing to do with books??)

I am a big walker, which drives some of my friends crazy (they just want to take the subway or a cab), so one thing I love doing when I have free time is just walking around the city and exploring different neighborhoods.

2) Some random and funny fact about you that we probably don't know?

When was younger, I used to figure skate and perform with a synchronized figure skating team.  We performed in shows every year and would do "on ice" shows, like The Nutcracker.

3) Professional food spiller or spick-and-span lady?

Sooo spick-and-span!  Sometimes when I get busy, I let things get a little messy around my apartment, but I can't take it after a while.  I have to have everything neat and organized.

4) If you could go anywhere, where would you go?

Right now, I would not say no to a trip to Italy!  I have been to Venice, but never to Rome or the more coastal cities like Positano.

5) What makes you laugh?

I laugh at pretty much everything.  I feel like I most often laugh out loud at the way funny way people phrase things.  They're not trying to be silly on purpose, but it will strike me that way.  For instance, I was with a friend when one of the ASPCA pet neutering/spaying trucks drove by and he said, "It's like an ice cream truck...but for bad things."  That had me bent over double on the sidewalk with tears coming out of my eyes.

Thank you so much for doing this interview on Love YA!

Thank you, I had so much fun doing this!

More info you might like to know if you want to query Ms. Pestritto:
-Click here for the Prospect Literary Agency Submission guidelines. Please note that they have a submission online form.

Now, about the contest with agent Carrie Pestritto!!
1) It will open at 10:00 a.m. EST, on Nov. 16th, and it will close as soon as 50 people enter the contest. (Don’t post your pitches under this post.)

2) Polish your one-sentence pitch and your first page (250 words). There will be one winner and s/he will get a partial request.

3) The contest will be for finished YA manuscripts (non-fiction and fiction). Please read the interview to know what Ms. Pestritto is looking for.

4) This is only for unagented writers only.

5) Since I’m doing this to help writers, you don’t need to be a blog follower, but I’d love it if you are. And I’d love it if you’d follow me on Twitter too ;)

6) Please, spread the word. I’m not going to haunt you if you don’t, but it’d make me REALLY happy if lots of people had the chance to enter.

What should you post next week?

-Your Name
-Title of your book
-Genre
-Word-count of your manuscript
-The one-sentence pitch
-Your first page (250 words). No more than 250, and please don’t stop mid sentence.
-Your email

If you’re a bit lost: I’m pasting a few links so you can read more about writing short pitches.

19 comments:

  1. What a great opportunity! Thanks for your generosity!

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  2. Great post! *waves hi* to Carrie. :o)

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  3. Great interview! And I loved Chinese Cinderella too - it's on the 5/6th grade list for Battle of the Books this year so thousands of kids are reading it right now.

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  4. Great interview! And awesome contest, too! Can't wait.

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  5. You always have such great contests!!!

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  6. I love getting to know new agents and Monica you alwasy throw the best contests! Thanks:)

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  7. I had some interaction with Carrie when she was at Writers House. (*waves*)

    Glad to see she's found a home, and I wish her all the best. :o) <3

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  8. I wish I was finished with my ms so I could enter some of these contests! *sigh*. Someday...

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  9. Great interview. I love reading agent interviews - wish I knew someone who had an ms for this, because I love competitions too!

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  10. Fabulous! You are awesome and Carrie sounds awesome too. I'll go tweet for you.

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  11. Yay for another contest:):) Will follow on Twitter . . .

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  12. Yamile, Kim, Melodie, Holly, Patti, Deana, Leigh, June, Ruth, Lisa, Jamie, thanks so much for stopping by!!
    And thanks for helping me spread the word. :D

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  13. Excellent interview! I'm spreading the word about this great opportunity.

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  14. Post in comments on 16th or on our blog?

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  15. Hey Cynthia!
    You have to post here, on this blog, when I upload the new post. At 10 AM EST. ;)

    Heather and Jenny! Thanks for stopping by!

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  16. Thought so just making sure Thanks! :-)

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  17. How nice to meet, Carrie. Best wishes to all the contest entrants.

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