CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

Stuck in a Good Book Giveaway Hop through September 14th
NOT EVEN BONES through September 23rd
Larissa Helena query critique through September 22nd
THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC through September 29th
Clean Your Shelves Giveaway Hop through September 30th
Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Wendi Gu Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/29/18
Weronika Janczuk Agent Spotlight Interview on 11/26

AGENT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH LARISSA HELENA AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Larissa Helena here. She is an associate literary agent at Pippin Properties.

Status: Open to submissions.

Hi Larissa! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Larissa:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.

You know that kid – the one who will definitely inherit all of your old books? The one you know would be happy to get a bookstore gift card for their birthday because they are always reading anyway? That was me. As I grew up, I was astonished to realize that someone must make those things called books. So I immediately set out to become one of those people. My entire career, from majoring in Literature, to working as an editor, translator and rights manager has always been focused on children’s and YA books. For the last two years, at Pippin, I have been handling subsidiary rights and signing my own awesome clients, who write and illustrate books for young readers. It has been a joyful ride!

About the Agency:

2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

Pippin is the most successful 20-year old I know! Founded by Holly McGhee in 1998, the agency has no parallel amongst those dedicated exclusively to books for young readers. I am always happy to brag about all of our incredibly talented, award-winning and NYT best-selling clients. We are also in the heart of New York City (right by the main branch of the NYPL – I wish my 15-year old self could see me now!), which makes it easier to meet with many of the main players in the US publishing industry.

What She’s Looking For:

3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?

All of the above, and I’m mostly drawn to fiction. I also have always loved comics, so it’s wonderful to see how everyone seems hungry for graphic novels these days!

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?

I am particularly excited about stories written from perspectives that US American children usually aren’t exposed to: neuro-diverse narratives, stories that take place in different countries, and that do not presume a “traditional” US American experience. Please send my way anything that helps kids broaden their horizons.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?

I am generally not easily drawn to rhyming picture books, biographies or historical fiction. For the reasons I mentioned above and also because I did not grow up in this country, if a story hinges on a quintessential US American experience, it might be a bit hard for me to relate.

Agent Philosophy:

6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?

I just want to believe firmly in my clients’ art. So firmly that I do not mind reading and re-reading, discussing and editing and commenting. Agenting is hard work. But if I am certain a story deserves to be told, fighting for its success will come naturally to me.

Editorial Agent:

7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?

People interpret that term in different ways. I was an editor for many years, so I give a lot of feedback. Authors who are too certain they have something ready for publication or are sentimental about letting certain parts of their stories go would probably be in the wrong hands with me. A manuscript will not leave my desk for submission unless the author and I are entirely satisfied with the material we are sending.

Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)

8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?

Over e-mail, with the first chapter of your novel along with a short (please, make it short!) synopsis for fiction, the entire manuscript for picture books, and a link for the dummy of a full picture book for author-illustrators.

I like unique query letters, and to know why someone thinks I, of all agents in the whole universe, would be a good fit for them. If you are reading this, please know that this is true for almost any agent. We want you to want to work with us, and letters that start with “Hi, all” are very unappealing.

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

I have some pet peeves. “I have just finished a manuscript” makes me think the person just typed the last word then rushed it my way. I am skeptical about books that begin with someone waking up. I’m also not a fan of “you’re going to love this” – I really prefer to know why you are in love with it. But pet peeves are just that, and a book or query letter with those characteristics is not necessarily a bad one – that just means I will start reading it with less enthusiasm.

Response Time:

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

It is our company policy: if you don’t hear back within three weeks, that means we are not interested.

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:

11.  Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?

Yes. I’d just recommend letting agents know if you have good numbers and results in your self-publishing experience, and explain why you are looking for an agent now to make sure your reasons are compatible with how the agent prefers to work.

12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?

Maybe in a good way. The good ol’ myth that agents are “the gatekeepers” can be finally put to rest. Agents continue to be necessary for those who want to take their careers to the next level and make sure their best interests are taken into account when signing a traditional publishing contract. These changes make me happy for us, for the authors, and for the readers.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Sally J. Pla, a wonderful human and unbelievably talented writer; Joe Bluhm, a true artist who can craft illustrations in so many different styles, and always full of heart; Gidalti Moura Jr., an award-winning Graphic Novel writer and illustrator from my home country, Brazil; and Colby Cedar Smith, a poet whose book in verse I can’t wait to show the world.

Interviews and Guest Posts:

14. Please share the links to any interviews and guest posts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.






Links and Contact Info:

15. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.

Our website is currently under construction, but it will be back online only a few days after this interview is posted, so I’m sharing the link: http://www.pippinproperties.com/

In the meantime, you can find us on twitter @LovethePippins and submit directly to me at lhelena@pippinproperties.com

Additional Advice:

16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?
We all understand it is hard to submit a query, in which you have put so much of your work and time, to the busy eyes of an agent. And even more difficult to never hear back or get a negative response. But remember that not all manuscripts are a good fit for all agents, and that you are looking for the perfect fit, the true champion for your work. And that a no here can mean a yes there.

If you can, take a deep breath and consider there is another human at the other end of the line, who loves books as much as you do and is trying to do their share for the sake of literature. Maybe not your human just yet, but that doesn’t mean your time won’t come. Keep on working, and remember to choose kind.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Larissa.

Larissa is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follower button if you're not a follower) and leave a comment through September 22nd.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know in the comments. FYI Larissa will be in Frankfurt in early October so it will probably be about a month after I announce the winner that she gets back to this person.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This is an international giveaway.

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com

Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.

36 comments:

  1. Thanks for this informative interview. I like Miss Helena's enthusiasm for children's books.

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  2. Hi, y'all, I just finished a manuscript! Yeah, not a good way to start a query letter.

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  3. She sounds like a wonderful agent! Thank you for the interview.

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  4. I enjoyed this interview and Ms. Helena's responses made me wish she could be my agent. I plan to submit to her, but winning a critique would be great.

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  5. Great interview, as always!

    I have probably used the "I just finished this" line in my newbie past, thinking agents and editors would be impressed with how easy a story is to write. That line was probably an excellent red flag to warn the reader that the manuscript was just as unprofessional as the query.

    Live and learn, I suppose. :)

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  6. So true that one agent's "no" can be another's "yes." It's about finding the right fit. Excellent interview!

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  7. What a great, comprehensive interview, Natalie. This truly gives insight to the agency line to publishing. Thanks so much!

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  8. Thanks! I immediately subscribed and bookmarked Literary Rambles after reading the fabulous work you've done with this blog. Wowee! So... helpful!
    Joyce

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  10. Love Larissa's client Sally Pla's books, which immediately makes me like Larissa. ;)

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  11. Loved this line...”Maybe not your human yet...” ❤️ Remarzullo11 at gmail

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  12. Thanks for the interview most wonderful to read Natalie.

    Yvonne.

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  13. Great interview! This was very helpful. Thanks, Natalie! Nice to meet you, Larissa Helena! Angelecolline at yahoo dot com

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  14. Wonderful, insightful interview. Thank you for sharing!

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  15. "Choosing kind" is something that we should do in every aspect of your lives (even though it isn't always the easiest). Thanks for the great interview!

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  16. Excellent interview. And thank you for including links to your other interviews and guest posts. :)

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  17. Thanks, Larissa and Natalie. Natalie - it was great to see you in person at Kerrytown BookFest over the weekend!

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  18. This was a wonderful spotlight! I met Larissa this year and her enthusiasm and devotion to her authors is incredible. She's whip smart and very talented. I am represented by another agent at Pippin and can say that everyone there is amazing and the agency operates like a powerhouse family.

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  19. I had a great critique last year with Larissa at an SCBWI event - she's open, smart, and clearly her clients' advocate. Would love to get another one ahdale [at] yahoo dot com

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  20. A really helpful and informative interview. Thanks for sharing!

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  21. Thanks for the great advice and encouraging words!

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  22. Thanks for a terrific interview. Totally agree that Sally Pla is a wonderful human and unbelievably talented writer (and great friend)

    noanimrodi@gmail.com

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  23. Love hearing the agent commentary, and thanks for the great critique opportunity!

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  24. Woo hoo! Would love a critique from Larissa. Thanks for this fabulous post. So helpful to see what agents are interested in.

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  25. A wonderful interview. Thanks for all the great advice.

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  26. Another wonderfully informative interview. Thanks for this.

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  27. Love the 'Hi y'all'! There are so many great points in this interview. Thanks for doing it.

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  28. I’m curious to know if there is room for more of an intersection between graphic novels and more traditional fiction styles. Helena sounds like the right person to help navigate that path. Nice interview!

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  29. I am a follower and a fan of literary rambles and would be excited and honored to have Larissa Helena critique my work!!

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  30. I'd love to have Larissa critique my work. Just tweeted about the giveaway too.

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  31. Great interview questions and glad to find this helpful site! Thank you and happy to follow.

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  32. Thanks for this fantastic interview! I would love a critique from Larissa!

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