Agent VICTORIA MARINI on TPT, Professionalism + Her Manuscript Wish List!

Editor’s Note: The winner of last week’s giveaway with author Allison Winn Scotch is Michelle Westenbroek — Congrats, Michelle! Also, this week on The Ball is Agent Week, where each Deb is interviewing her own agent. Check back each day for insider publishing tips from some of the best agents in the business!

Tiny Pretty ThingsToday on the Deb Ball, I’m so proud to introduce you to agent extraordinaire VICTORIA MARINI, of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners. V is young, smart and — here’s the key word — collaborative. She’s super-keen to hear our thoughts, what we have to say about the direction our career is going in. And she handles all of our incessant questions very gracefully. And she’s funny and fun and loves books and cool eyeglasses and treats (naturally) and her cats and a nice Prosecco (see below). Essentially, she’s just the right person to handle our CAKE craziness with aplomb! So you should get to know her too. Today, she dons her tiara for her take on the Deb Ball Interview!

How many pages into a manuscript do you know it’s something you want to work on?

It’s not so much a matter of pages, but reactions. I tend not to make the final rational decision until I finish a book, but I know within the first few pages if I’m feeling excited about a something, and generally by the half way point I’ll either be bored or still feeling captivated. Once I take a step back to consider it more thoughtfully as an agent as well as a reader, I’ll start getting carried away with it – that’s the moment I know I want something; when I come out of my book reverie and my first thoughts are about how I’d represent it. Also, when I get so thrilled by something I want to tell my colleagues or my husband. That’s a good sign I’ll want to sign it.

When you’re looking to work with an author, what are the three things that are most important to you?

Communication, expectations, and professionalism. I’m very fortunate to call many of my clients friends, but that’s simply icing on the cake. When I search for clients I look for people who will listen and talk, who understand the role of an agent (or who will ask if they don’t), and those who can behave professionally even when it’s difficult. And when I say “professional” I don’t mean “formal” or “proper,” I just mean… hmmm… I mean I want someone who can read a nasty review of their book on GoodReads and simply disengage (and then call me, your cp’s, your friends, etc. and say anything you want to- offline).

What was it about TINY PRETTY THINGS that made you say, “YES!”

It was not a single particular thing, but many aspects, as it often is. I’d been hungry for a plot driven high concept teen drama for a long time, and while I found myself reading a lot of material that had strong plot and/or concept, I was finding that particular reading pile bereft of emotional resonance and stand-out writing. I wasn’t finding anything that had the heart or the voice to make the drama matter to me on a deeper level. TPT was that perfect meeting of high drama but real emotional character depth and voice and je ne sais quoi which made the dreams and ambitions of three (flawed!) ballerinas feel tremendous and universal to me.

If you were a drink, what drink would you be and why? 

I want to say “Martini” because they’re sophisticated and attractive (and it’s so close to my last name), or like “cold water” because you know that feeling when all you want is a glass of water and you finally have some and it feels like victory. But I’m probably more like Prosecco because it, like me, is bubbly and too much of it will give you the spins. Editor’s Note: Hahahahahaha!

What’s on your manuscript wish list?

I am open to everything! Today, I’d love a tense, dark suspense novel that feels a little noir almost like TRUE DETECTIVE or BOSCH. I adored BONE GAP and would love something that shares that magical small town quality (and, of course, Laura Ruby’s staggering writing). Magical realism for sure in both adult and children’s. A contemporary YA that’s funny and heartfelt, any novel that I can pitch as TWIN PEAKS meets anything b/c that show was so weird and stellar. A strong YA thriller, suspense or mystery (psychological or otherwise works for me) in adult or children’s. I love novels and shows with wonderful cat and mouse relationships! Strong flawed female protagonists navigating unusual obstacles. I’d also love to see a YA or MG novel with a well-built ensemble cast in which all parents and siblings are alive and well. Space Operas. Pirates. Music. History. Strange machines. Heartstrings… I am all over the place. I also am always looking for diverse children’s fiction and LGBT children’s fiction and truly literary YA. I tweet a lot about what I read and love, too, with the MSWL hashtag, since it’s always evolving.

Victoria-MariniVICTORIA MARINI is an agent at Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners, representing an eclectic list including literary fiction, women’s fiction, YA, middle grade and memoir. Her clients range from bestsellers to debut novelists to graphic memoirists, and she’s always eager to find fiction and non-fiction that haunts her. For more information about her clients and what she’s looking to represent, please check out the WHAT I’M INTO page of her website! Find her on Twitter here!

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An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, SONA CHARAIPOTRA currently curates a kickass column on YA books and teen culture for Parade.com. A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she's not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Twisted and Vampire Diaries. But call it research: Sona is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. Her debut, the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), is due May 26 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com or CAKELiterary.com.

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Author: Sona Charaipotra

An entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, SONA CHARAIPOTRA currently curates a kickass column on YA books and teen culture for Parade.com. A collector of presumably useless degrees, she double-majored in journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she's not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Twisted and Vampire Diaries. But call it research: Sona is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. Her debut, the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things (co-written with Dhonielle Clayton), is due May 26 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com or CAKELiterary.com.

2 Replies to “Agent VICTORIA MARINI on TPT, Professionalism + Her Manuscript Wish List!”

  1. Hi, this is Michelle. I see from the editor’s note that I won the Allison Winn Scotch giveaway. YAY! I have posted several places asking where to send my mailing information. How do I claim the book?
    Thank you!!
    Michelle Westenbroek

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