Tanusri had a somewhat unorthodox transition into publishing. A lawyer by training, she has a PhD in legal philosophy & human rights from Oxford University, and a Master’s degree from Harvard Law School. Along the way she worked in the legal department of the World Bank in Washington and as a teaching fellow at Columbia Law School. An avid fan of children’s literature, Tanusri joined a book club devoted to kidlit in 2012, which sowed the seeds of her decision to become a literary agent specializing in children’s books. To this end, before joining HSG, she gained valuable experience interning at Knopf Young Readers and Foundry Literary+ Media.
She is interested in all sorts of kidlit, ranging from picture books and middle-grade to YA (including YA/Adult crossovers). Tanusri is drawn to storytellers who deftly inveigle readers into their intricately-crafted plots with great voice and a touch of humor, and to writers with a vivid sense of the absurd. And while her primary interest is kidlit, she is also open to selective domestic suspense (Tana French and Sophie Hannah are two of her favorite authors in the genre) and voice-driven narrative non-fiction on social justice issues.
You can follow her on twitter at @TanusriPrasanna.
Below is Part Three of my Interview with Tanusri:
Do you let people know if you are not interested in what they sent?
Tanusri: Yes, HSG’s policy is to respond to every query personally. Given the sheer volume of queries we receive it can take quite a long while to get back, but that is the intention!
How long does it usually take to respond to requested material?
Tanusri: My aim is to respond within 8 weeks but I’ve found that to be somewhat aspirational! Things can get very busy with ongoing projects in which case that time-frame can get longer.
Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?
Tanusri: Getting my name wrong in the query! it’s not a big deal but it throws me off a bit. Other issues I’ve come across: forgetting to remove sentences in the query that are specifically tailored to a particular agent (“since you represent so and so…”) and nudging too soon and too often after submitting the query.
Any pet peeves?
Tanusri: Queries that ramble or pose too many rhetorical questions and those where the pitch and the sample pages seem very disconnected; when writers don’t follow submission guidelines, and either omit to include sample pages with the query or send manuscripts as attachments (before I request them) instead of the sample pages.
Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?
Tanusri: Yes, definitely! I only take on a project if I have a very clear vision for it and where the author is open to revisions if necessary. Most projects go through at least a round of edits before submission.
Do you have an editorial style?
Tanusri: Sometimes the author is too close to the book to be able to see certain problems and my editorial input typically consists of pointing those out, for example, inconsistencies in character development or plot points, awkward transitions, too many red herrings, random changes in point of view and chapters that don’t seem to advance the plot in any way. But any changes must feel organic and authentic to the author or they wouldn’t work, so it’s all about working as a team to get the manuscript in the best possible shape.
How many clients do you have?
Tanusri: I have four clients at the moment and I’m actively looking to build my list. That being said, I LOVE each of my current projects and everything I take on needs to meet that bar!
Check back next Friday to read Part Three of this Interview with Tanusri.
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES For FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:
In the subject line, please write “November critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).
Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.
DEADLINE: November 24th
RESULTS: December 2nd
Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!