Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Literary Agent Interview: Stuti Telidevara Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Stuti Telidevara here. She is an associate literary agent at Park & Fine Literary and Media.

Hi­ Stuti! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Stuti:

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

When I signed up to be an English major, publishing was an industry that immediately jumped out to me. As a teen I always read the acknowledgments at the end of my favorite books to prolong the experience, and so I was aware of the role of a literary agent earlier than I might otherwise have been—and when I was first exploring publishing, my earliest internships were with agencies, first with Transatlantic and then with Raven Quill. Still, I wasn’t entirely sure that I didn’t want to be an editor instead, and a fantastic summer at Orbit Books at Hachette didn’t make the decision any easier. But when I started at Park & Fine in 2021, I was told I’d be convinced this was the path that was right for me—and I quite conclusively have been!

 In the nearly-three years since, I’ve learned the ropes alongside one of the agency’s partners and have helped support incredibly talented and bestselling authors. Now I’m looking to grow my own list of YA and adult fiction, with a special focus on genre. I bring a sharp editorial eye to every project I work on, and am lucky to have the support of a robust, experienced team at Park & Fine.

About the Agency:

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

Home to dozens of #1 New York Times bestsellers, Park & Fine Literary and Media is a literary agency designed to discover and support bestselling authors across categories and genres, who require a uniquely robust kind of representation. Park & Fine is independently funded and founded by Theresa Park and Celeste Fine. We recognize that authors are expected to do more than ever: write a great book, market to readers, and shine in media and on tour, all while composing their next bestseller. Our team brings unparalleled expertise to these conversations, drawing from backgrounds in editorial, law, sales, branding, international rights, and television and film.

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?

In kidlit (I work on adult fiction as well), my focus is on YA, but I am open to middle grade, where I’m only looking to take on select adventure and fantasy novels. I’m not looking for picture books or chapter books! Across all genres I am especially looking for books featuring marginalized perspectives.

In YA, my tastes lean speculative and I’m eager to find fresh, exciting new voices in fantasy (whether contemporary or second-world) and horror. I enjoy a sprawling, well-constructed setting, but I love to see that lived-in, imaginative backdrop even in a fantasy set in our world—I need the read to be truly transporting. I am a fan of an ensemble cast and multiple POVs, but I do want the stakes for each character to be abundantly clear from the outset, so that I’m invested right away. Some of my perennial faves are Legendborn, Strike the Zither, If You Could See the Sun, and House of Hollow. I prefer horror that is using genre in service of social commentary, and psychological over gory—though I’m not too squeamish! I’m less interested in slashers, unless they are in some way subversive.

I’m interested in mysteries and thrillers that come with a heavy dose of drama and/or darkness, and prefer to see these stories really delve deep into character. But by no means does this mean I don’t like humor in this space—I am a big Truly Devious fan, and I am always on the lookout for a Veronica Mars-esque novel.

In contemporary, voice is key, and I’m most excited by characters who leap off the page. I’ve always been drawn to protagonists who are troublemakers or “unlikeable” in whatever way. If a contemporary novel makes me laugh out loud and cry, then I’m sold!

In middle grade, I would love a propulsive, unusual fantasy premise, and also anything adventure-y in the vein of The Mysterious Benedict Society.

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

Absolutely! In no particular order:

·       Fantasy worlds influenced by real-life history, particularly outside of European history; I would love to see the accessible, hilarious voices of My Lady Jane or Gwen & Art Are Not in Love applied to less-(re)told histories and folktales

·       Myth-inspired fantasy that’s not Greek or Roman

·       South Asian fantasy, especially ones telling stories of marginalized perspectives within South Asia

·       School and/or university settings (a dash of magic is a plus)

·       Anything Austen-inspired

·       Contemporary stories centering a fun game or school tradition (like This May End Badly, or the game of assassins in P.S. I Still Love You)

What She Isn't Looking For:

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

As mentioned earlier, I’m not looking for anything younger than middle grade. I’m not a good fit for stories centering wholly around social issues, without any kind of genre element. I’m also not looking for MG historical fiction devoid of any genre elements—not YA, though, I would love something like The Davenports!

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 am looking for authors who are thinking big—both in terms of the scale and imagination they bring to their writing, and in terms of their ambitions for their career. Is there a niche they want to claim for themselves, or are they excited to write different kinds of books? They might not have an answer right away, but I enjoy starting to unearth how they consider their own careers over the course of editorial work and conversations. I am especially interested in books and authors who are adding something to the literary conversation—and diversifying it.

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?

Certainly—digging into a project editorially is one of my favorite things about this job. The process looks different for each book, as some require a bit more revision work to really sharpen the project, while others can be closer to ready. But I always want to make sure that the client and I are both confident in and happy with where the book is before it’s in an editor’s inbox. Every author will receive a robust editorial letter on the first draft we’re working on together, and the focus there is to spell out what I’m seeing in the manuscript—I think of it like holding up a mirror to the book. Is that reflection what the author was going for? Or do we now realize there’s places where we can push the manuscript a little further? At the same time, I’m not looking to upend the author’s own vision, and more often than not, an edit I suggest only prompts them to come up with something better. Usually we go through a couple more passes, depending on how long it takes for us all to feel really great about the manuscript. Then we do a line edit and clean-up to make sure the edits haven’t raised any continuity issues and we catch any little typos.

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?

I currently welcome queries only by email.

Please put "Stuti Telidevara" as well as the category and genre of your submission (i.e.: “Stuti Telidevara – YA Fantasy”) in the subject line of the email. Send your query letter and approximately the first 10 manuscript pages for MG/YA (OR 25 pages for adult manuscripts) to queries@parkfine.com in the body of the email. (No attachments, please!) I aim to respond to all queries within 12 weeks of receiving them.

I wrote a Substack post about the nuts and bolts of query letters, as well as some do’s and don’ts. But all a query letter (to me) needs is the pitch itself and one line summarizing your bio. Don’t overburden it with a synopsis, and make sure you learn how to write the pitch in a query—it’s not the same as how you might verbally describe your book!

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

When the pitch isn’t actually a pitch, as mentioned—when it’s a synopsis, or a big paragraph of “this book is about” or “this book is for fans of.”

In first pages, I find it very disorienting when the query is organized around a character who doesn’t appear early on in the sample. If you have a prologue, I prefer that it’s short, and if for some reason your main character doesn’t appear in the first 10 pages…consider reorienting your query.

Response Time:

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

I aim to get back to queries within 12 weeks, and generally my passes are quicker than that. I try not to take longer than that to request a full manuscript, and have requested same-day fulls more than once. My maybe pile takes a while to parse through, and I wish that weren’t the case, but I hope authors understand that I’d rather fully consider a query than pass because I’m too rushed to read.

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, definitely! I would even add that I’m looking for authors who write online or in fan spaces—it’s its own little beast that comes with its own learning experiences, not just about writing but about self-promotion and cultivating readership. But I will say that those authors should be sure they want to delve into traditional publishing, and as with all my clients, I’m looking for writers who are seeking editorial feedback and partnership. 

Clients:

12. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I’ve sold a number of unannounced projects at this stage—that I can’t wait to talk about!—but among the books I have sold are QUEEN OF FACES by Petra Lord, a truly transcendental young adult fantasy about a trans girl who’s roped into a complicated world of politics and magic as she tries to earn enough money to replace her dying male body; SPIRIT SERVICE, a fun, spooky middle grade novel by Sarena and Sasha Nanua pitched as Ghost Squad meets Babysitters’ Club, which I co-represented with my colleague Pete Knapp. I also now represent the incredibly talented Elle Tesch, whose debut YA fantasy WHAT WAKES THE BELLS comes out from Feiwel & Friends next year.

Interviews and Guest Posts:

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

N/a

Update on 5/10/2024:

Interview at SCBWI Insight (05/2024)

Links and Contact Info:

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

Please query me only via email at queries@parkfine.com! You can read more about me on the agency’s website, as well as find what I’m looking for on MSWL and on Publishers Marketplace. You can also find me on Twitter/X @StutiTelidevara. And I write the occasional Substack post here.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Stuti.

Giveaway Details

­Stuti is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through March 30th. If your email is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that’s okay. Just let me know in the comments.

If you follow me on Twitter or 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 email 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.

 Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Monday, March 27th I have an agent/author guest post by agent Rachel Orr and debut author Cathy Carr and a giveaway of Cathy’s MG contemporary Lost Kites and Other Treasures

Friday, April 1st I’m participating in the Honey Bunny Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, April 3rd I have an interview with debut author Trish Lundy and a giveaway of her YA thriller The One That Got Away With Murder and my IWSG post

Monday, April 8th I have an agent spotlight interview with Paula Weiman and a query critique giveaway

Monday, April 15th I have a review and giveaway of Finally Heard by Kelly Yang

Tuesday, April 16th I’m participating in the Rain Drop on Roses Giveaway Hop

Monday, April 22nd I have an agent spotlight interview with Hillary Fazzari and a query critique giveaway

I hope to see you on Monday!

 

 

 

22 comments:

Yalda Ash said...

I have been following Stuti Telidevara's stubstack for a few months now, she is definitely a dream agent to critique my query. I believe it is right up her alley too, Legendborn X Persian Mythology. I have shared this interview on X/twitter as well for an additional chance *crossing my fingers*.

Thank you!

Caitlin Rieser said...

I queried Stuti in the past (it was unfortunately form rejected!), and I would love to get her feedback on my query letter and the areas I can improve it. I've been querying my first novel for over six months now and the rejection gets harder and harder every day. Anything I can do to help my odds, I'll take it. Thank you Stuti and Literary Rambles!

Storm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Liz A. said...

Very informative.

Emily Besidski said...

Would love feedback from Stuti as I begin my querying journey

Ilona Bray said...

I love the idea of Stuti's edits prompting writers to come up with something better. Inspiring interview, and I'd be excited to have Stuti critique my query letter, too!

Eileen said...

Great interview--thank you!
Would love a chance for a query critique!

Alicia J Novo said...

Wonderful interview! I would love a chance at the critique. aliciajnovo@gmail.com

Mewla Young said...

Such an inspiring interview--Thank you! I'd like to have Stuti critique my query letter,

Shanti Thirumalai said...

Hi Natalie,
I'd love to send a query to Stuti. Please include my name in the giveaway.
Best wishes,
Shanti

Anonymous said...

Lovely interview! I would like to be entered in the query critique giveaway: alwrite [at] vivaldi.net. Thank you!

Janet Ruth Heller said...

Thank you for posting this helpful interview. Best wishes for the spring!

Sincerely,
Janet Ruth Heller

Author of the poetry books Nature’s Olympics (Wipf and Stock, 2021), Exodus (WordTech Editions, 2014), Folk Concert: Changing Times (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012) and Traffic Stop (Finishing Line Press, 2011); the scholarly book Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, and the Reader of Drama (University of Missouri Press, 1990); the middle-grade chapter book for kids The Passover Surprise (Fictive Press, 2015, 2016); and the award-winning picture book for kids about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006; seventh edition 2022).

Karen K. said...

Thanks for sharing this informative interview. I would love to be part of the query critique giveaway.

polly said...

email subscriber/pkeintz@gmail.com

Andy N said...

Great advice on query letters. I've occasionally encountered "pitches" that weren't really pitches and it can be frustrating.

DMS said...

This is a great interview. Loved hearing about what she likes and doesn't like in a query. Thanks for sharing. :)

Mary said...

Thank you, Natalie, for another great agent interview! Interesting to learn about Stuti and Park & Fine Literary. Please enter me in the contest.
Mary

Mary said...

Forgot to say, I shared on X (twitter) and on my facebook profile and facebook author page.

Anneliese Schultz said...

What an excellent interview. She sounds so helpful, enthusiastic, and professional that you would think she's been agenting for decades!
A critique from her would be gold. :)

DBKwriter said...

Love the interview! Sign me up!

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Alexia Chantel said...

Your website is an excellent resource, Natalie. Thank you for sharing another great interview!

Please throw my name in the hat for Stuti's query critique!