Interview with literary agent Elizabeth Pomada.

Today, we have literary agent Elizabeth Pomada of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents on the blog. Thank you, Elizabeth, for being here!

Me: How did you become an agent?

Elizabeth: I became an agent by accident. After working in publishing in NYC, We moved to S.F. with no jobs. An agent for writers & artists told me there were no jobs in S.F. or promotion directors in publishing. And then she said “meanwhile, all these people send me manuscripts and I have no idea what to do with them.” So I went into her office every Tuesday and tackled the piles and actually found 2 books. One which became a huge best-seller, and the other was published posthumously. So I actually started selling books.

Me: Many of my readers are aspiring authors and are actively looking for their first agent. Can you tell them a little bit about what the author/agent relationship is like? What can they expect after they sign with an agent?

Elizabeth: The agent/author relationship should be a working marriage. After an agent has accepted the book and signed the contract with the author, she aims to sell it to the most appropriate publisher for the best possible deal. The agent then receives the money from the publisher and writes a check for each author and for herself, and then tries to sell subsidiary rights–foreign,movie, etc., and then guides the author through the publishing process and sometimes through their career.

Me: What are you looking for right now in fiction submissions and not getting? Are there any subjects or genres that are near and dear to your heart? And on the flip side, what are you getting too much of?

Elizabeth: I’m looking for literary and commercial novels that will keep me up at night reading. They are few and far between and the bar keeps getting higher.

I’m getting too many novels that are going nowhere. No drive, no action, no voice, no emotion.

Me: What is one thing about you that a writer would be surprised to learn?

Elizabeth: A writer might be surprised to learn that I have very eclectic tastes and like things that are new and different. Best piece of advice we can give a writer: If anything can stop you from becoming a successful writer, let it. If nothing can stop you, do it and you’ll make it.

Me: Best piece(s) of advice you can give a writer we haven’t talked about yet?

Elizabeth: Don’t submit anything prematurely. First/second/third drafts may not be enough. Polish your craft. And read, read, read.

Me: Are you open to submissions? If so, how should a writer go about submitting?

Elizabeth: Yes, authors can simply follow the submission guidelines on our website.

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