Wanna Be Lit AGENT

May 24, 2011

Interview with Suzie Townsend Literary Agent

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wanna Be Lit. Agent @ 5:15 pm

Hello everyone, today’s interview is with Suzie Townsend of Fine Print Literary Management!

How long have you worked in publishing? as a literary agent? I’ve been in publishing since January 2009 when I started as an unpaid intern. In May, I was hired as the executive assistant to the CEO at FinePrint, and I started actually agenting when I signed my first client in June. 

How did you become a literary agent? Did you always want to be a literary agent? If so, how did you learn about Literary Agents. If no, what was your dream career before? For a long time I wanted to be a flight attendant. But then eventually I graduated with an English degree and wound up teaching high school English in Florida.  After feeling disillusioned with teaching, I decided to take a year off and explore other career possibilities. My sister had been working in editorial for a textbook publisher, and the more she told me about the industry, the more I wanted to check it out. This led me to bookjobs.com where I found a post for an unpaid internship position at FinePrint Literary Management. I applied, interviewed, and took an intern position. And I loved it! 

What is one thing you did not expect came with the job description of Literary Agent? Everything. I had no idea what Literary Agents did until I started. I thought they were all going to be the Ari Gold’s of publishing–all phone calls, yelling, and then partying at night. It’s not that glamorous–though I do spend a lot of time on the phone.

What are some day to day tasks that you can expect as a Literary Agent? Expect to get a lot of emails. Answering emails from clients, editors, colleagues–it’s really important to keep track of everything and be organized. Calls to editors to pitch a project, to follow up on a project, to ask about something pertaining to a project. Most of the reading and editing, I do at home.

What schooling if any did you need/receive to be a Literary Agent? I have an English degree and a Masters in Education. I don’t know if either of them were needed or helpful in terms of being an agent. I do know that the six years I spent teaching and editing and grading papers and then explaining to kids how to do what I wanted them to–that’s helped me a lot when it comes to writing editorial notes.

What is your best advice for stepping into the publishing industry? Get an internship. Even if it’s unpaid. I don’t think there’s anything that can teach you about publishing unless you’re in the industry–and when you have an internship, go in early, stay late, take every networking opportunity, and listen to everything that happens in the office. The things I learned by just listening to Janet Reid talk on the phone are innumerable.

Any perks to being a Literary Agent? I read for a living and work with books and authors. It’s all a perk.

What type of clients do you see on a day to day basis? Most of my clients I don’t “see” at all. We only meet in person when they come to NY and we get lunch or when I happen to be at a conference in their area.

What’s the biggest challenge in selecting clients? Finding things that I love and that don’t compete with what I already have. Really the hardest thing is that there are so many manuscripts out there. A lot of them are decent, but finding something that really stands out, that I love and think about all the time, that’s hard. And of course, it’s not anything I have any control over.

Are you working on any projects you can tell me about now?  I’m really excited about a project I just read recently. It’s one of my first big adult projects, called LA SERENISSIMA by Jess Hartley. It’s this beautiful and epic historical fantasy. It reminds me of Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel Series which is one of my favorites.

How many queries in any given week do you receive and how do you handle them? I get between 200-300 a week. Every once in a while a lot of people decide to query at the same time and I get over 300. Last week I got 330. I used to try to read them every night before I went to bed. Now I try to answer them every few days. I never let it go past a week because I panic about missing something.

Where can readers find you on the web? ( this can be a profile of your self and your Literary Agency)

 FinePrint’s website has my bio: http://fineprintlit.com/about-the-agents/suzie-townsend/

I also blog at http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com/ and tweet at http://twitter.com/#!/sztownsend81 and I have a Publisher’s Marketplace page: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/sztownsend81/


May 17, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — Wanna Be Lit. Agent @ 9:07 pm

Hello everyone!

I’m sorry about the absence and infrequent updates. I just finished about three weeks of finals and projects. I’m thankfully done and home for the next 4 months. (does happy dance)

Anyway I am home now and ready to get back on blogging schedule.

Again sorry for my absence

April 7, 2011

Interview with Sylvia Rosen

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wanna Be Lit. Agent @ 7:13 pm

Hello all,

Today’s Interview is with Sylvia Rosen, a web content writer. Hope you enjoy.


Sylvia Rosen is a web content writer who writes on a variety of topics,

ranging from residential services like home security systems

to the latest telecom trends such as business telephone systems.


Tell me a little about your background? Schooling?

I’m from Marblehead, MA which is a town 20 miles North of Boston. I went to the University of New Hampshire to study English/Journalism. I graduated there last May with a BA in Journalism. 

When did you first consider yourself a writer? / How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I was in third grade and a teacher assigned my class to keep a diary. In addition to writing about my daily schedule, I started writing short stories.

It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school, however, that I decided I wanted to be a writer as a career choice. A piece I wrote about being adopted was published in my town’s paper (The Marblehead Reporter) and it got a lot of positive feedback. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how powerful the printed word could be.   

What is your best description of a web content writer?

Being a web content writer means writing content for a wide range of websites. Depending on a site’s focus, a web content writer could write material relating to technology, health or fitness.

How did you begin as a web content writer?

That was the hardest part. My dreams of wanting to be a journalist had to be put on hold because the industry was struggling.

The first step was to find the sites that wanted contributors. From there, once you’ve built a bit of a portfolio, you can take the next step in offering blog post and article ideas to sites that don’t advertise for contributors.

It’s an ongoing process of finding the sites, brainstorming ideas, pitching the ideas to the sites, and then writing them.   

What’s the biggest challenge in selecting clients?

Sometimes I’ll find a site that I really like and want to contribute to, but can’t find a topic to write about that either hasn’t already been done or I can’t find a source for.

When it comes to sites reaching out to me to write for them, sometimes I have to say no because I just don’t have enough time or they aren’t developed enough.

Are you working on anything now? 

Yes! I’m excited because I’m about to interview a friend from college who is an entrepreneur. It’s been a year now since he’s starting putting together his internet marketing business, and I want to be one of the first people to tell his story. It will be featured on an entrepreneurial site for young professionals.

What kind of people do you work with?

A wide range of people: industry professionals, small business owners, entrepreneurs, retired professionals, health experts, fashionistas, everything.

That’s what I like about what I do – every new writing assignment means working with different people.

What is one thing you did not expect came with the being a web contents writer?

The rejection – when I made the move to pitch story ideas to sites that weren’t looking for contributors I got a lot of nasty rejection emails. Some were nice and basically said “we aren’t looking for contributors.” However, others would go into lengthy detail about how dumb my ideas were.

The worst is when they would accept my idea and I would write it, but then after they looked it over they would say it’s terrible and that they didn’t want to work with me.

It’s hard to not take that personally because it is my writing; however, after a few I’ve learned that if one site doesn’t like it, another site will LOVE it.   

Do you save everything that you have written? Or do you delete anything that you consider unusable?

I save absolutely everything. I save all my publications on social networks like Digg and Delicious so I can present them to sites when I’m pitching ideas. It helps for them to see that I’m capable of writing on a variety of topics.

In addition, when I was writing for newspapers, I printed out each of my articles and laminated them. It just helps me remember what I’ve done.

I definitely recommend saving your published pieces of work because it’s helpful to see how your writing style changed over the years.   

What is a fun fact about being a web contents writer?

It’s never really boring. Because I work with so many different bloggers and sites I’m constantly writing about new things. Last week I was writing a dating article and this week I’m writing a business story.   

What is the best part of being a web contents writer?

Seeing readers’ reactions. I write a lot of advice articles in dating, health, business, and technology industries. It’s really nice when readers comment saying that my article helped them in any type of way.

When readers’ comments are negative, it’s still a good learning experience. They’ll typically make good suggestions about a point or area I didn’t cover. This helps me strengthen my writing even more the next time.  

What is the best part about being a writer?

For me, it’s seeing my stories, poems, articles and guest posts matter to someone. I want what I write to help someone in some way.   

What is your favorite part about writing?

The overall process: Having an idea, writing the article, editing the article, and then reading it after it’s published.

It just amazes me how a simple idea can turn into viral content – well, that’s what every web content writer hopes for anyways.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

I need to write like I’m on a deadline. I think that’s why journalism appealed to me so much. It’s fast pace. As a result, every morning I challenge myself to write a completely new story and edit it before lunch.  

I have to do this because when I have too much time, I often write too much (and a lot of its nonsense). This makes the editing process dreadful because I’ll have to take out paragraphs of rubbish. When I have a deadline, I write a lot faster and to the point.  

What was the last amazing book that you read?

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

The only reason I was interested in reading the book is because I was excited for the movie. After reading it however, I was blown away. I love the overall message that life can throw you a curve ball for whatever reason, but in the end, things will work out.  

What gets you into the mood to write? – (this could be a writing quirk too)

A headline. I know it’s backwards but I can’t start writing an article until I’ve thought of a headline. The site doesn’t have to use it, but I need to have it. It gives me direction when I start writing. Once I have a headline and an idea, the sentences just start flowing.  

What is your favorite writing environment?

An office. I like to come into work, sit down at my desk, and feel like a writing professional. I don’t think I’ve ever written a story while relaxing on a couch or in bed. My mind needs to know it’s in “writing/work mode” and I don’t think it can do that if I’m lounging about.  

Other than writing, what are some of your passions in life?

Reading and fitness. I always have a book on my nightstand, in my purse and even in my car. I love to read because it inspires me in my own writing. My favorite authors include Nicholas Sparks and Tatiana de Rosnay.

Fitness is a huge passion in my life because it’s my time to escape. Some of my favorite articles I’ve ever written were half written in my head while I was running or swimming.

What is the best advice you have for making writing into a career?

Always write for the readers. In today’s writing world where social media is taking over and comments sections are posted under every article, it’s important to write content that will get you positive feedback.

It’s also important to do research on social networks like Twitter to see what people are talking about; if you can add to the conversation in your writing, do it! That is what will get you attention and make your writing valuable.

When I was studying journalism in college, I heard that journalists at some newspapers were starting to get paid based on how many comments and RT’s they were getting. Not sure if that practice still exists, but the idea behind it definitely does.   

Where can readers find you on the web?

My Twitter and LinkedIn page. I also have a contact page on my personal blog, Written On, where I post my opinions on the writing world.


Publishing Word of the DAY!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wanna Be Lit. Agent @ 6:16 pm
Tags: , , ,

Today’s Word

Full: refers to a full manuscript

April 6, 2011

The Publishing WORD OF THE DAY

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wanna Be Lit. Agent @ 2:34 pm
Tags: ,

In the hopes of expanding my knowledge, and your knowledge, of the publishing industry I will host a publishing word of the day. This section will feature words and phrases that come up in the publishing world.

Today’s WORD!


Slush Pile: also known as slush, is material sent to an agent or an editor that has not been requested.

March 19, 2011

Interview with Laurie McLean, Literary Agent

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wanna Be Lit. Agent @ 11:55 pm

Welcome everyone to my first interview post! To follow is my interview with Laurie McLean of Larsen Pomada Literary Agency.


How long have you work in publishing? Worked as a Literary Agent?

I am entering my seventh year as a literary agent.  For two years prior to that I was completing three novels. For twenty years prior to that I ran a multi-million dollar publicity agency in California’s Silicon Valley.

Did you always want to be a literary agent? If so how did you learn about Literary Agent? If no, what was your dream career before?

See above for my history.


How did you become a Literary Agent?

I decided to become a literary agent by accident. I found an agent for my first romance novel during the San Francisco Writers Conference and even though my novel did not sell to a large New York publisher, I ended up becoming an agent at the same firm that represented me!  You never know what will happen when you go to a writer’s conference!


What is one thing you did not expect came with the job description of Literary Agent?

I had no idea the sheer magnitude of rejections I would have to hand out to hopeful writers.  It is simply staggering.  I get 1200-1500 queries each month.


What are some day to day tasks that you can expect?

I read a lot, communicate with editors, keep up on the latest publishing developments, research trends, and write.


What schooling if any did you need/receive to be a literary agent?

It is a good idea if you know business things (like how to negotiate a contract, time management, organization, multi-tasking, etc.) and writing/publishing things (grammar, spelling, how to write well, the history of the publishing industry, the process of publishing a book, digital publishing), plus have a bold personality and a thick skin.  Tact is also invaluable.

What is your best advice for stepping into the publishing industry? What steps should you take?

Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write. Learn all you can about your chosen profession, the players, the deals, the process of buying and selling books. Either intern at a literary agency or with a publisher.  Or step laterally from another business.  But get some life experience before you become an agent.  It’s not for the faint of heart.


What type of clients do you see on a day to day basis?

I don’t see clients very often.  We connect via telephone, email and at conferences. I have a couple local San Francisco Bay area clients and I see them once a month.  It’s a lot of fun when we do get together and we always have a lot to talk about.


How many queries in any given week do you receive and how do you handle them.

I receive between 300-400 email queries a week.  I reply with a receipt confirmation via email, but do not contact anyone again unless I want to see more from them.  It’s the only way I could keep up with the volume.


What are some key terms that you should be familiar with?

I don’t understand this question.


What’s a fun fact about literary agents?

A fun fact.  Hmmmmm.  We like each other and are very supportive?  No, that’s boring.  How about I know a literary agent who used to be a cop, another who was a high-level management consultant and another who was a nurse!


What is the best part about being a literary agent?

The variety.  The ability to use both halves of my brain (creative and business).  The people I work with (editors, authors, other agents).  I am totally crazy about my job.



Laurie McLean, Literary Agent, Dean of San Francisco Writers University & Indie Publishing Contest Director

Larsen Pomada Literary Agents
1029 Jones Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
email: laurie@agentsavant.com
queries: query@agentsavant.com
website: www.larsenpomada.com
blog: www.agentsavant.com
twitter: @agentsavant
Facebook: www.facebook.com/laurie.mclean

I handle adult genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, horror, ‘new’ westerns, thrillers, suspense) and middle-grade/young-adult children’s books of all stripes. I read email submissions of the first ten pages followed by a 1-2 page synopsis in the body of your email to QUERY@AGENTSAVANT.COM.(I’m not big on prologues, so start with chapter 1). I do not open attachments due to virus concerns. Due to the overwhelming volume of queries I receive (1,200 per month or more) I no longer reply to them, although you will receive an automated confirmation email when I open your submission (which might be days after you send it so be patient). If you haven’t heard back from me in 8 weeks with a request for more pages, assume that I am rejecting your submission. Query my colleagues Michael Larsen for non-fiction and Elizabeth Pomada for literary and commercial fiction, women’s fiction/romance, narrative non-fiction/memoir, historical fiction and mysteries. They can both be reached at larsenpoma@aol.com. None of us handles children’s picture books/early readers or graphic novels.Please: Only query one of us!

San Francisco Writers University: Where Writers Meet and You Learn
website/blogs/free classes: www.SFWritersU.com
email: sfwritersu@gmail.com
twitter: @SFWritersU

9th San Francisco Writers Conference: A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community
February 17-19, 2012 at the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill
email: sfwriterscon@aol.com
website: www.sfwriters.org
twitter: @SFWC
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Francisco-Writers-Conference/112732798786104

Indie Publishing Contest
Where the grand prize is a publishing package complete with mentoring and marketing


I want to thank Laurie for being a part of this interview and sharing her knowledge on the publishing industry. I invite you all to check out her wonderful blog and other links.


Thanks for Reading

M. Nicole

March 16, 2011

Path to Publishing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wanna Be Lit. Agent @ 11:05 pm

Not a lot of information is available on publishing jobs. As to date, I have only found one site, (bookjobs.com), that caters to publishing job listings on the internet. I didn’t grow up hearing, “Oh you can be an editor one day!” I always heard, “Go to school and be something fancy. Maybe you could be a lawyer, a doctor, or a police”

This blog will be helping to fix the above problem. Although being a doctor, a lawyer or a police officer maybe fulfilling, so can being a literary agent, an editor or any of the numerous jobs that the publishing world offers. Plus they all come with a book loving guarantee! That was a joke, kind of. But seriously, for people who really love books, why not work in marking as an associate for Penguin, or as a merchandising expert for Random House. Why not be a publicist for HarperCollins or be a literary agent in one of the many agencies around the country.

As I said earlier, publishing isn’t a viable job to many people just because of the lack of information about the industry and career choices out there.

I personally found out about the publishing industry by accident. All through high school I was told that my reading habits were really good for school and I wouldn’t have time for it when I got in the ‘real’ world. I was pushed towards business, a ‘reasonable’ career and that would have been the end of it. I’m still in school for business as a matter of fact, only now I’m not resign to the fact that I’ll have some desk job that doesn’t really mean anything to me.

On the day I learned that one of my favorite online authors had found an agent and was in the process of editing her manuscript for to one day be sold I had to find out more. From there I found blogs, twitters, and publishing. Now I will make my way into publishing! And I’m so glad that I will be.

As soon as I learned that there was this whole industry out there I knew without a doubt that I wanted to work in it. If I had possible had learned in high school about publishing, I know I would have made different decisions about my schooling, gone for a English degree and maybe a school in New York. Now with the help of my councilor I’m taking classes that will hopefully help me, and compliment my publishing dreams.

I want this site to do for someone, what Sarah J. Maas did for me, and that is realizing a dream.

I want to give a special thanks to you Sarah if you’re reading this!

Anyway, my plan for this is to have interviews about different aspects of publishing. Like what does an agent do day to day. About interning, what workloads editors have to handle. Work environments, locations, habits, life styles! Be on the lookout for interviews on the way!

Thank you for your time.

M. Nicole


March 12, 2011

Hello world!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Wanna Be Lit. Agent @ 6:32 pm

Welcome to my blog! I’m M. Nicole but you can call me Nikki or Nicole.

Well a little about me:

I love reading! I read three or four books at a time. As of late, I have become fascinated with Harry Potter fan fiction and tend to read it on my phone throughout the day. I Have a Kindle and a Kobo that i enjoy reading. Well i’ll day again, I just love reading!

I use to write fan fiction as well, but I took a break from it when I started college.

I am currently a sophomore going for a business major with a focus in marketing. And hope to graduate early. Then it’s straight to graduate school for me. I hope to pursue a degree that will further compliment my publishing dreams.

I enjoy musicals, plays, jazz and rnb, coozy couches, painting and the occasional jog. Okay maybe not so much the jog. He he he.

Some of my favorite authors are Danielle Steele, Janet Evanovich, Sarah J. Maas (soon to be 2011- 2012 Debut Author) Christine Feehan, Diana Palmer and so many more.

I read and love many different genre’s but I can never turn down a historical romance, or young adult novel.

and that’s me ..

Hope you like my blog,


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