This year, at the Write on the Red Cedar conference, we tried something new. Instead of flying one or two agents in for our attendees to pitch to, we compiled a list of awesome agents that were willing to take a look at queries from our attendees. Over the next few months, we'll be posting interviews with some of these agents. Carrie Pestritto is our first interview!
Carrie joined Prospect Agency in 2011 after working as an assistant at Writers House. With a B.A. in English from Amherst College, she has experienced all sides of the publishing industry, having worked as a ghostwriter, freelance writer, and as an intern in the editorial acquisitions department of the Greenwood Publishing Group. As an agent, she loves the thrill of finding new authors with strong, unique voices and working closely with her clients to develop their ideas and manuscripts.
How and why did you become an agent?
My first introduction to the agenting world was via an internship I did at Writers House during college, and after that, I realized that it was my dream job! I worked there as an assistant after graduation and then became an agent at Prospect Agency.
What's the best query you've ever received and what made it stand out?
It's hard to say what the single best query I've ever received is, but what makes a query really stand out for me is having sharp, compelling writing (similar to something you would see on the back of a book jacket) that draws me in and makes me eager to read more. Of course, having a great story that matches my interests is a big part of that, so making sure that you research the agent you're writing to and personalize your letter to them is also a good way to make sure that you don't earn an automatic rejection.
Can you tell us about something that's recently sold for one of your clients?
Are you also a writer or do you just love books?
When I was younger, I tried my hand at writing (I remember a gigantic manuscript that basically ripped off Cassandra Clare's fan fiction), but quickly realized that I am a much better reader, editor, and champion of books than I am a writer!
What are dying to see in your inbox? What are you tired of seeing?
So many things! For a more complete list of my interests, check out my bio or my #MSWL tweets, but right now, I would love a selkie/fae fantasy or a really lush Asian fantasy for YA, a quirky adventure that features diverse characters for MG, and fun cozy mysteries or chick lit.
I enjoy memoirs and mystery/thrillers as well, but I'm tired of seeing predictable stories in those genres, e.g. memoirs about people going on their own EAT, PRAY, LOVE journeys or thrillers about ex-CIA operatives who discover a secret conspiracy from within the government.