Wednesday, May 9, 2018

An Interview with Lit Agent Erica Bauman

April Literary Agent Mentor

Erica Bauman

We're so happy to have Erica Bauman join us as Agent Mentor for April. She will be answering questions on the #1st5pages Twitter chat on Wednesday, April 4th, 8-9PM EST, but she's also answered some here! Take a peek and get your own questions ready! 

When reading a query/pitch, what makes you want to request the manuscript? 

I’m always looking for a clear, concise pitch that gives me a sense of your main character and the stakes of the plot. It should say what your character wants, and what big obstacle is standing in their way, and then leave me hanging and dying to know more.

What makes you sit up and take notice when you read a submission sample? 

The voice!  Voice is everything, and the right one casts a spell on the reader. It’s sort of an unquantifiable, X-factor, so it can be tricky to identify where things go wrong, but when everything is right, it’s electric.

What makes you reject on a query or pitch? 

There can be a lot of reasons—if the pitch is too long and rambling, if it’s too short and sparse, if it’s evident the writer hasn’t done any research on their market (or if they insult their market, which makes zero sense to me), if it’s evident the writer hasn’t done any research on me, or if the sample pages just don’t grab me. It’s kind of like dominoes, all these things need to be lined up to work. If something is out of place, you don’t get the same incredible cascading effect.

What’s on your current wish list?

First and foremost, I’d always love to see more diverse, #ownvoices stories and authors in my query inbox, in any genre. I’d also love to find a great historical YA set in the early 20th Century, or a MG about a family that travels the world a la The Wild Thornberrys

What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you?

Have someone unfamiliar with your book read your query before you send it. If they get the gist of the story, and don’t have any questions other than “what happens next", then your pitch is working.

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