Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 11, 2018

Agent of the Month – Zeslie Zampetti – Interview Part One

SEE FIRST PAGE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES AT BOTTOM OF PAGE.

LESLIE ZAMPETTI IS MAY’S FEATURED AGENT OF THE MONTH AND WILL CRITIQUE FOUR FIRST PAGES – START SUBMITTING.

Leslie joined Dunham Literary in June 2016. Previously, she was an intern for The Bent Agency.

A former librarian with over 20 years’ experience in special, public, and school libraries, Leslie has cataloged rocket launch videos and Lego rocket ship models, presented SEC documents and story times, and negotiated with organizations from Lexis-Nexis to the PTA. Her experience as a librarian has given her a distinct perspective on publishing and readers. A writer herself, Leslie is very familiar with querying from both sides of the desk.

Leslie graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in English and has a Master’s of Library and Information Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
She is available to speak at conferences.

You can follow her on Twitter @leslie_zampetti.

​Member:
AAR
SCBWI

What She’s Seeking

For children’s books, Leslie seeks middle grade and young adult novels, especially mystery and contemporary. Historical fiction set in the recent past, novels in verse, and off-the-beaten path romances are on her wish list. For picture books, Leslie wants unusual true tales, biographies of unsung heroes and heroines, or stories that show everyday diversity to mirror under-represented readers and open windows to others. She is drawn to books about Florida, baseball, and kids with book smarts and big hearts.

For adult fiction, Leslie is interested in literary mysteries, upmarket romance and women’s fiction, and historical fiction from lesser-known eras and places. For nonfiction, Leslie finds narrative nonfiction that straddles the boundaries between crime, memoir, and literature especially appealing. An armchair adventurer, Leslie enjoys experiencing wild places and extreme challenges from the comfort of her chair.

BELOW IS PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH LESLIE:

What influenced you to become an agent?

Had I realized I could work in publishing when I was in college, I might never have become a librarian. Many people become librarians because they love books, but librarians work with people. Editors work with books. Agents work with books AND people. My kind of job.

I actually had an epiphany while at an NJSCBWI Summer Conference some years ago. I’d been chatting with an agent and a group of other writers, and when the agent left, I mentioned that it sounded like an interesting job. Two of the published writers said they’d be my client if I was an agent! I was really flattered, but I thought they were crazy. But it stuck in my head, and I started thinking… and here I am.

Do you have a number of clients you will represent? 

Not specifically. It’s about balancing current clients with potential clients. It also depends on the clients themselves; some folks are very speedy, very prolific writers and others work at a more measured pace. Picture book writers tend to produce more manuscripts than novelists, obviously.

What are your favorite genres?

Mystery, mystery, mystery. Middle grade contemporary, fantasy, and adventure. YA contemporary and romance. Historical fiction from unusual periods or settings. Novels in verse. Magical realism.

I’m also willing to represent adult fiction – my tastes are on Manuscript Wish List.

Any story or themes you wish someone would submit?

Stories where the diversity is innate to the story. I love Tracey Baptiste’s fantasies, for example. Kathryn Erskine’s Mockingbird is also a favorite. I would love a book about a kid who’s too smart for their own good.

Would you consider a book with a character between 18 and 25 years old?

I would, but it likely would be a hard sell. The character would need to be that age for a reason specific to the story. Not just a college story.

Do you think it’s okay for an author to write picture books, middle grade novels, and YA novels? Or do you feel it is better to focus on one age group and genre?

I do think it’s fine for an author to write across categories. That said, it’s important to learn how to write different categories well. One person might be an amazing picture book author but not necessarily as successful as a novelist. I believe in working with an author for their career, not just a specific book.

How important is the query letter? 

Very. Short, sweet, and businesslike is ideal. While I always read the sample pages, I want to know what your book is about – and that YOU know what your book is about.

Can writers send a few pages with their query?

Dunham Literary requests the first five pages as part of every query.

Also, we share queries, so please only send one – if your work isn’t a fit for me, but might be for Jennie or Bridget, I’ll give it to them.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

Professional query, solid story, engaging first five pages – but it’s still subjective. I see so many queries that are great, but we don’t represent that genre at Dunham or the subject just isn’t personally appealing to me, even though the writing is strong.

I wish there was an easy answer, as an agent and as a writer, but there’s not. Just be your best self.

STOP BACK NEXT FRIDAY TO READ PART TWO OF LESLIE’S INTERVIEW.


 

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR MAY FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “MAY 2018 FIRST PAGE 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).

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!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: May 25th.
RESULTS: June 1st.

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!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson.

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