Thursday, May 21, 2009

Literary Agent Update - Kelly Sonnack

Post Western Washington SCBWI Spring Conference 2009 update:

On cover submissions: "I'm pretty easy." She will read on in an e-mail query to see the writing sample even if the query letter is not catchy- She gives the benefit of the doubt.

It is important to do a two sentence pitch- especially for picture books.

In query letters, if your publishing credits are small, local, not well known, make sure to explain a bit about the work and publisher so she can understand.

If you have no publishing credits, leave that out entirely.

If your book is long, example of a 130,000 word novel, don't tell her that in your cover letter. It usually signals to her that there is a lot of cutting that needs to be done. She said leave it out, and let her fall in love with the work first before letting her find out how long it is.

On the other end of the word count spectrum, she says it is almost impossible to sell a novella right now.

Make sure you give a full sense of the work in your cover letter- don't leave an editor or agent with a cliffhanger in an effort to get them to read a snippet if you are submitting to someone who only goes off of query letters.

She thinks a thirteen-year old protagonist is way too young for a YA novel.

In the last few months, especially with picture book authors, she'll ask to see other picture book manuscripts to see what is in the future for the author.

A short paragraph or sentence about your other works in progress might intrigue her if she likes your writing but the specific work that you submitted is not a fit for her.

Don't panic if you do not have previous publishing credits. A lot of Kelly's authors are debut authors, and for her, it is all about the story- credentials won't guarantee a work will be acquired.

She's interested in graphic novels.

Tomorrow: Nathan Bransford

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