Sunday, December 28, 2014

Query Critique Winner

I hope you all had a great holiday!  I'm posting a bit early again because tomorrow is John's little brother's birthday and he is spending it in New York with us...I predict a lot of sneaker shopping in my immediate future, haha.  

Anyways, I'm excited to present the critique for the contest!  The winner was Daniel DiFranco, and his original query is below:

Dear Carrie,
Rock and roll is a young man’s game, and for Paul, who just joined an up-and-coming indie band, time is running out. This is the best shot he’s ever had. Paul and his band are hurled across the country by a momentum that is part self-made, and part created by arbitrary forces they encounter in pursuit of their dreams. As they tramp across the country to a gig in New York that could be their big break, Paul’s future becomes uncertain when his bandmates threaten to quit, cross paths with a self-serving, arrogant manager, and leave a bag of pot cookies around the wrong people. When Paul runs into an old friend who has been successfully working the scene in L.A., he questions if he has made the most of his life.

PANIC YEARS, in the same spirit as Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad, is a rock and roll road trip novel that gives the reader an insider’s view of a touring indie band. This book would especially appeal to music fans and young people who are trying to find their way in this world, and to those who have felt the deep personal call to adventure.

Some of my short stories have been published in journals like Philadelphia StoriesCrack the Spine, and Wyvern Lit. I have just completed my MFA and am a high school English and music teacher. I have spent the better part of the past two decades in bands.

Thank you for your time.
All the best,

Daniel DiFranco

And now here is the critique:

Dear Carrie,
Rock and roll is a young man’s game, and for Paul, who just joined an up-and-coming indie band, time is running out. [Does this mean that Paul is older?  Why can't he be successful as an older musician - is it because of some kind of physical demand or because fans only like heartthrobs?  Give me a little more here.] This is the best shot he’s ever had. Paul and his band are hurled across the country by a momentum that is part self-made, and part created by arbitrary forces they encounter in pursuit of their dreams. [You don't need to include this.  It only raises questions about the plot that aren't necessary to answer in a short query.] As they tramp across the country to a gig in New York that could be their big break, things start to fall apart instead of getting better like Paul thought they would.  Paul’s future becomes uncertain when His bandmates threaten to quit, they cross paths with a self-serving, arrogant manager [Who does what to them? Give them bad advice? Steal their money?], and leave a bag of pot cookies around the wrong people. When Paul runs into an old friend who has been successfully working the scene in L.A., he questions if he has made the most of his life. [How does meeting this person make him question himself?  Wouldn't it make it believe that it is possible to succeed in the music industry?  And wouldn't his bandmates' antics be the thing that make him wonder if he's made the most of his life?  I'm also left with the question: what does any of this have to do with being older and a rock and roll musician?  Clarify here a bit more for us.  Does he question if he should settle into a more corporate role in the music industry instead of following the avenue he has been pursuing?  Does he think about leaving the band?]
PANIC YEARS, in the same spirit as Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad, is a rock and roll road trip novel that gives the reader an insider’s view of a touring indie band. This book would especially appeal to music fans and young people who are trying to find their way in this world, and to those who have felt the deep personal call to adventure. [When you say young people, this makes me think that this is meant to be a NA novel.  If that is the case, I think there should definitely be a romantic element to the story that should be talked about in the query and Paul's age should be mentioned so that agents don't think that the story is about a forty-year-old rocker and for a different genre and then get confused here.] 
Some of my short stories have been published in journals like Philadelphia StoriesCrack the Spine, and Wyvern Lit. I have just completed my MFA and am a high school English and music teacher. I have spent the better part of the past two decades in bands. 
Thank you for your time.
All the best,

Daniel DiFranco

This is an intriguing concept and a great start.  What do you guys think of my edits to Daniel's letter?  Let him (and me) know.  Also, previously I had said that only the comments made on the day the query critique is posted count towards the eight needed to win the author treatment, but since it is Sunday and 8:00PM, both today and tomorrow (Monday) will count!

The next time you hear from me, I'll be 28 years old!!!  It looks like I am going to be a bit shy of my goal for 2014 deals...I guess my New Year's Resolution is going to be to work even harder and shoot for 8 deals in 2015!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Out of the Office

Posting a little earlier than usual because I am off to Connecticut to enjoy the holidays!  I've been working non-stop lately, so the idea of spending my time sleeping in, wrapping presents, and eating sounds great!  I also can't wait to see my Dad who was in the ER earlier last week.  He was having problems breathing because of a combination of asthma, allergies, and bronchitis, which was very scary.  He's okay now, though--I just really want to see him and give him a hug!

John is going to be working at the restaurant, so I'll be heading home by myself, but I'm sure he will be one of the main topics of conversation, since most of my extended family is going to figure out we're getting married when they see me (and my **GLITTERY RING**).

Hoping to do some reading on the train...maybe also hear about a few deals to make my 2014 goal?  Fingers crossed!

I hope everyone has a great holiday - I'm looking forward to returning to the city well-rested and pumped for 2015!!!!

Art from one of our amazing Prospect illustrators! Click to check out more artwork.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Hi everyone!  Two important things:

1. Contrary to popular opinion, the query critique is still on...I still am looking for lucky #8. Keep entering your pitches!

2. John and I are going to be planning a wedding!!!!  Get ready for this to shamelessly turn into a publishing/bridal blog :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Query Critique

Time for Query Critique Contest #2!  When I did this for the first time last month, I realized that there were rules and clarifications missing that I hadn't thought of, so I spent some time over the month figuring out how the contests will go.  If I'm still missing something, feel free to tell me in the comments!


1. Once a month, I will announce that the contest is open.  Please email me your query with the subject heading LITERARY CARRIE QUERY CRITIQUE - my email is cpestritto(at)ldlainc(dot)com.  The eighth person to email me will win the query critique!

2. The critique will be posted in a month.  If the critique gets eight real comments that day (and by real, I mean comments about the choices I made when editing, questions about the critique, discussion about the way the author chose to word something, etc.), then the author will win an additional prize: the "author treatment," in which I will critique the first 100 pages of their novel the same way I would for my clients.  Comments by me or by the author do not count.

UPDATE AS OF 5/23/16: Because it has been taking me a very long time to get the "author treatment" winners their 100-page critiques, from now on, the additional prize for having eight meaningful comments on your critique will be critique of your first three chapters!

3. If you've entered a previous query critique, you can still enter following contests!

4. You can enter any query you like, even if it is in a genre that I normally do not represent.  Please be aware that if you submit in a genre I am not interested in, however, it is likely that my comments may not be as useful to you.

Also, this month's contest is now officially open!  May the odds be ever in your favor!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!  John had to work (he has a job as a chef at the restaurant where I work) but I got to go home to see my family for the holiday.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorites: I love all the yummy food and now that I'm living in New York, I think I appreciate the cozy New England setting much more.  I was going to take a picture of the table to post here, but got so swept up in eating that I totally forgot.

No pics, but this is basically what I had :)

I also braved the madness and came back to the city for Black Friday shopping at Macy's AND Best Buy.  Talk about being a glutton for punishment.  John is very excited that I did, though, because we have a new TV for the apartment and all of our collective Christmas shopping done except for his little brother.

I was actually crazy enough to go into Macy's and lived this for an hour.  
There was also a protest going on outside, so it was a madhouse all around.

Now I can focus on reading for the month of December!  I've started in on a few client manuscripts and am REALLY hoping to make headway on those last two deals that I want/need for 2014.  Oh, Santa...

Will you give them to me?  WILL YOU? 

Monday, November 24, 2014

So. Busy. Ahhhh.

Well, you guessed it: I'm busy!  I've been requesting a lot of manuscripts lately and also have a ton of author reading that I am pressuring myself to complete before's never going to happen, but a girl can dream.  The manuscripts I have on deck are all for authors who I owe/have promised fast responses to, so looks like I'm going to be burning the midnight oil for a bit.

My mantra for the next couple weeks.

In other news, we have changed our submission policy.  I feel kind of bad about not responding if I'm not interested, but it will also make my life easier, especially since now that John is here my free time has shrunk down to next to nothing.  To counteract that sad news, though, is something extra wonderful: we are adding a new agent to the agency!!! She is going to officially start in January, but we all met her for lunch this past week and she is really nice.  Looks like I will no longer be the newest Prospect agent...too bad we don't have some kind of newbie hazing tradition. ;)

I'm also excited that Dean's Chinese contract for MURDEROUS MINDS is done!  He will be the first one of my authors to have a foreign language edition of a book, which is pretty cool (getting commission for something I didn't have to work on is not so bad either). 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Query Critique Winner

I'm happy to report that the first query critique seems to have been a success.  There were more entries than I thought there would be (thanks to everyone who entered!) and the winner of the critique was Emy Shin.

Dear Ms. Pestritto,
In a kingdom where magic promises power and wealth, the only fate worse than death is having magic stripped from you[This sentence didn't really draw me in. It was clunky and didn't quite convey anything important...wouldn't people with magic naturally be powerful and wealthy, and want to keep that power?]  To the elite few bestowed with magic, power and wealth are only a wish away. What To eighteen-year-old Rin wishes for, however, it’s  is the perfect revenge against her father, the coward who abandoned his family for magic [So then not everyone has magic?  And how would you abandon someone FOR magic? Explain this a bit more.] and caused her mother’s death.
However, the magic-draining spell is forbidden  only very few people know how to perform the forbidden magic-draining spell, and to steal it, Rin must seek out the man who invented it himself: the Beast, a vain and prickly creature who only cares for himself. [Maybe instead of letting us know he is vain here, tell us who is he (Government scientist? Rogue magician?) and why he has the magic-draining spell and is cursed.]
The Beast needs to have his curse [What curse?] broken before the winter passes, or risks being stuck in this form forever [So he’s man? How does he know how to drain magic and yet not deal with this curse?  Who was the curse bestowed by?... This sentence is bringing up a lot of questions for me as a reader.]-- and Rin needs an excuse to remain close to him. Her bargain: She will find him his true love in exchange for a new identity as his apprentice. It’s the perfect arrangement. [The word “bargain” makes me think that she’s not STEALING the spell from him so much as telling him what she needs and giving him something in return.  Is that the case?  If so, why would she need an excuse to stay close to him?]
What Rin doesn’t count on, however, is falling for the Beast herself . Except [Except what? This reads a little awkwardly – I get what you’re trying to say, but it needs to be worded differently or it doesn’t quite make sense.]falling in love with the Beast and thinking that she might be the one to break his curse. But she has already triedkissed kissing him. And failed he is still a monster.
MORE THORNS THAN ROSES is a YA Fantasy complete at 90,000 words [That word count is a little scary.  I would leave it off and instead say that this is a re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast!]]. Thank you for your consideration.
Emy Shin

I thought this was a great story idea with a lot of interesting potential, and if you have any thoughts on the critique or questions about why I did the things I did, post in the comments section below.  If there are more than eight comments (and not just one-word things, please, real comments!  I don't want to be giving away 100-page critiques like glasses of water) then Emy will win the author treatment :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Literary Agent = Pro Juggler

So literary agent equals pro juggler because I've been feeling like I've been getting things done, but only by the tips of my fingers.  

I just realized that "the tips of my fingers" thing could be interpreted as I've only been typing this past week, but what I mean to say is that there is a maelstrom of things to do swirling around my head and I'm getting them done, but barely.  

And I blame John.

He moved in at the start of the month, and while it has been great, it has also been distracting.  I was able to have a pretty great work-life balance before because I pretty much only worked, aside from the odd special occasion here and there.  Now when I go home, I don't make ramen and edit, I cook something with John and watch a movie.  All lovely things, but it's driving my inner juggler crazy.  He keeps shouting at me, "You know I'm not a wizard!  It would be awesome if you could pitch in here."

Basically I am discovering the wise old adage that all couples know: moving in together can be tough.  I'm sure I'll soon have some kind of cleaning/organizational meltdown, but for now, I just need to get myself back on track and maybe create a "focus corner" of the house where I, well, can focus.

Wish me luck!

I'm 50/50, but this woman is clearly going to drop them all.

P.S. Query Critique results next week!!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Happy Pub Day!

Big congratulations to Brianna, whose pub day for FAMOUS PHONIES: LEGENDS, FAKES, AND FRAUDS WHO CHANGED HISTORY is tomorrow!  This book is the first of two (and hopefully many more!) in her Changed History middle grade series and, I have to admit, probably one of the most fun projects that I've worked on so far.  Brianna has a hilarious, quirky writing style and the people she profiles in the book are so interesting -- definitely a great book for any history buff no matter their age.  I'm excited for you to learn more about Brianna and FAMOUS PHONIES!

So, how did you come up with the idea for this book/series and what made you decide to gear it towards children rather than adults?

Like many books, Famous Phonies started out as a completely different idea. The original proposal was for a book about thieves who changed history. It evolved over the course of eighteen months into this multi-book series. I've always been interested in the so-called “underbelly” of history, which to me is infinitely more interesting than memorizing dates and battles and such.

As for writing for children, that’s easy. If I can get a kid interested in another side of history, that’s what I’m after. Besides, I think all children’s writers believe deep down that they've never grown up. Call it the Peter Pan syndrome, but I’d prefer reading and writing children’s books all day. 

What has researching these books been like?  And how did you choose which historic figures to profile? Can you tell us about your favorite ones and maybe some that didn't make the cut?

I probably considered thirty different historical figures for the book, but ended up with the twelve you see. I can say with 100% certainty that I spent way more time researching than actually writing. For every week of research, I probably spent a day of writing, which is fine by me since research is my first love. Maybe that’s why I insisted on finding more and more people to consider—I loved the search! I also strove to find a good mix of well-known people (whose stories hadn't been fully told for kids yet) and lesser known figures. To that extent, I think my favorites are the lesser known ones. Prester John is incredibly cool. An imaginary guy who was invented to stir up pro-crusader sentiment and who “lived” on for hundreds of years, spurring crusades and exploration. It doesn't get much more awesome than that. My husband’s favorite is the Turk, though. Anything with robots gets his vote.

I did write a whole chapter for Mary Magdalene so her story could finally be told, but she ended up not making the cut. I think when you've got to figure out how to say the word “prostitute” without actually spelling it out, there’s a fundamental problem.

When writing for a middle grade audience, did you have to tone down any sensational facts about these people or eliminate more scandalous details?

I try not to tone down anything. Kids are very perceptive, and they’ll probably figure out if you’re trying to hide something. Anyway, if it’s scandalous, it draws their attention. Why not harness that? If it’s super controversial to this day, as in the Mary Magdalene example above, then it’s best not to put it in there. But on the whole, I didn't cover up instances of nakedness, lying, or even cannibalism. I didn't try to gloss over it quickly, either. When famous people are given this glossy sheen and treated as super heroes, we’re doing a disservice to them as a person.

You have been working really hard at promoting FAMOUS PHONIES.  Can you give other writers advice given what you have done?

Reach out to other successful authors. You can’t know everything, and the business side is one place where I think many writers are at a loss. I contacted a few middle grade writers whose work I appreciate and asked for their advice. (Another reason I love writing for kids—the authors are so friendly!)

Second, set out a day each week to work solely on promotion. I’m busy writing the second book of the series, Fugitives Who Changed History, but I make sure to give this first book, which I worked so hard on, its just due.   

You have had a very interesting journey to the final title and cover image for this book.  What was that like and what have you learned about what an author can do when it comes to voicing an opinion over elements of the book that aren't strictly in his/her territory, i.e. the actual writing?

Speak up. I read a book about the journey your book takes to the bookshelves, and in it, the author, Susan Page, says there are two things that you must (and should) fight for—the title and the cover of the book. It’s hard to be a pain to the editor you want to impress, but if something comes back that you’re not happy with, you've got to speak up. You’re the one who has to live with it forever. That being said, I've talked to authors whose stories got turned into graphic novels against their wishes or who didn't get listened to. That happens. But you’ll never know unless you ask. Make sure you’re polite, tell them your concerns in a thoughtful letter, and bring alternate ideas to the table. Be open, be flexible, be kind. Everyone wants your book to succeed—they just have different ideas on how to go about it.

Speaking of journeys, your road to finding a publisher was a crazy one, too!  Do you think your story can inspire other authors having a hard time finding a home for their work and can you tell us about it?

Like they always say: patience and perseverance. There’s really nothing else you can do during the waiting period. Once you receive feedback, take it honestly, leave your ego behind, and revise, revise, revise. Good books find good homes eventually. 

Tell us about the next book in the series!  You also are working on other projects - what are those?

Fugitives Who Changed History is the second book, due out a year from now. I’m currently halfway through the first draft and feeling good about it. This time, I really wanted more girls in the mix, and fugitives, surprisingly enough, gave me a great outlet for that. The book is half women, half men. There are some really fantastic stories in there. Did you know that the world’s greatest pirate was a Chinese woman? She commanded 70,000 pirates in her hey-day, the largest confederation of pirates the world has ever seen. So it’s incredibly fun.

I like to keep a few novels in my back pocket to work on during weekends and weeknights. Writing isn't just a career, it’s also my hobby. If I take time off, it’s only a day or two before I’m doodling scenes and characters. Since it’s not really work, I love having multiple projects going at once. Middle grade fantasy and historical novels have been favorites of mine since I was a kid and not much has changed.  So I've been simmering away at a historical fiction piece and a fantasy series for about a year now.  Then, just because I like the variety, I also work on a memoir when the mood strikes. It’s an industry/millennial piece and a little bit of a coming of age story. Never boring here!

Any advice for middle grade writers out there?

Get involved in your writing community. Join a critique group online or become involved in your local chapter of SCBWI.  Get support and help from others. You’ll be rewarded tenfold. 

Be sure to buy a copy of the book, everyone!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Query Critique

Hi everyone!  Because I've been wanting to make this blog more helpful for awhile now, I've decided to feature a special query critique contest every month!

Here's what I'm thinking: When I announce the contest each month, the eighth person submit their query (and you don't need to use the submission form for this, guys, just email me directly!) with the subject header LITERARY CARRIE QUERY CRITIQUE at the beginning of their pitch (because eight is my favorite number), will win a free query critique that I will share on my blog the following month.  If their critique gets more than eight comments on my blog, they will then win the "author treatment," where I will critique/edit the first 100 pages of their manuscript the same way I would for my clients.

What do you guys think?  Does it sound like fun?  I hope so, because the first query critique is now open!  Submit your query with the header above to enter!

Monday, October 20, 2014

New Things Every Day

This past week was full new things, despite the fact that I had/had a bad cold! 

We all met with one of our film agents, Justin Manask, to catch up and talk more about that side of the business.  It was interesting to hear him tell us what kind books he is looking for (nonfiction that can be turned into Oscar-worthy films and sci-fi YA novels) and what the trends are in the entertainment industry (books that can be turned into TV shows are hot right now). 

And I made an offer to my first picture book author, Christina Matula-Hakli!  She was referred to me through Susan and has written a great picture book about the Mid-Autumn Festival.  Her illustrator, Pearl Law, caught Teresa's eye, so hopefully we both will be working with Christina and Pearl.

This is not for another week or so, but I will be participating in YARWA's Reckless Youth Pitch Party for the first time, thanks to one of Emily's clients, Marissa Doyle.  I'm looking forward to doing this a lot, especially since I could go for a swoon-worthy teen romance right now.  There's nothing better for a drippy nose and sore throat.

Also, for anyone who is looking for a great novella: Dan Newman has just released a prequel to THE CLEARING, available on Amazon to download for .99 cents!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap

That is my brain tapping its foot.  It (and I) realized this past week that I am still a deal away from reaching my goal of six new deals this year.  Technically two, since I didn't really do that much for Dean's ABC-Clio book, and it feels like including that in my list is cheating.

There are a lot of projects out right that have the potential to be the final two of the year.  JB Turner's Deborah Jones series have serious interest from Thomas & Mercer, Jackie Cantor is a big fan of Rachel's KEEP SWEET, Andrea over at Vintage loved Meghan's FIRELOCK and requested to see a revised version, an editor at Harper really liked Jessica Arnold's PURE...

It would be the coolest thing in the history of my life if all these books got deals before the end of 2014.  As it stands, I'll settle for the two needed to meet my goal.  

Either way, I am excited about how my year is shaping up!  I couldn't pinpoint what exactly is different if my life depended on it, but so far, 2014 has been very different for me and in a very great way.  I feel like my authors have been turning out ever more fantastic projects, I've found wonderful new authors, I'm networking more, agenting more, making more deals, etc.

My colleague Teresa told me that in her agenting experience, all of sudden things just get good.  I guess (knock on wood) that is what is happening to me!

Guess I must have one!

Monday, October 6, 2014

On a Roll

Wow, I am just on a roll with great weeks lately.  I went to a fun speed networking event last Monday hosted by Dealmakers at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe.  I really suggest you check it out if you're in the city - it is a beautiful bookstore and 100% of their profit goes to Housing Works to benefit AIDS research.  I met a lot of great editors there, and even some editors from Berkley, who all told me that they had heard of Rachel Mork's project, KEEP SWEET, that Jackie Cantor is considering (and apparently very enthusiastic about!).

I signed a new author this past week as well, the wonderful Donna Scott, and I am very excited about her Jacobite Scottish historical women's fiction, SHAME THE DEVIL...we all know why! ;)  She is a fantastic author and  I know I am going to love working with her.  I'm hoping to send out her novel very soon, since I've already seen Scottish historical romances popping up on Publishers Marketplace deal listings due to the OUTLANDER craze...speaking of which, my friend over at Random House sent me DRAGONFLY IN AMBER since I finished the first book, and I can't wait to start it!

I've been dying for a reason to post this picture!

I also have an intern!  I've been a bit overwhelmed with my reading list lately and it seems like I'm only going to be getting busier from here on out, so I contacted my old thesis advisor, Professor Barale, to ask if she knew of anyone at Amherst who might be interested in a remote internship, and was thus introduced to Maia!  She is going to be helping me with second opinions on manuscripts and occasionally assistingBrianna with some of her publicity stuff for FAMOUS PHONIES, which is great!

Add getting to meet another one of my authors, Susan Meyers, who was in town visiting, and that pretty much rounds out another amazing seven days in the life of Carrie!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Feeling Glam

Had another fantastic agenting week!  I went with Emily and her NYT bestselling author, Tracy Deebs, to Random House to deliver cupcakes and made a new editor friend!  Her name is Sarah Murphy and, like me, she loves OUTLANDER.  I didn't realize RH published the book, but she gave me the first in the series and we are going to go out for drinks to discuss projects she is interested in.  Yay!

I also took Nicole out to Koi in the city, where we celebrated with her signing her Penguin contract!  I'm was glad that she was in town for us to be able to something special like that and that her contracts were miraculously ready while she was here.  It was lots of fun - there was a couple next to us and when we were talking about GIRLS WHO TRAVEL and Penguin, they sneakily checked us out and made me feel very big shot-y :)

Nicole signing her contract!

I will be following up with submissions this week, hopefully working on the agency website, and getting psyched for Brianna's publication day for FAMOUS PHONIES!!  Better pre-order if you haven't already!

Monday, September 22, 2014

High on the Hog

It appears that I am living high on the hog right now.  Far from my usual week of reading (and I am sorry to all the authors who have been waiting for to get them their notes - this week, promise!), this past week was full of all kinds of fun, author-related things and there are more to come!

First of all, I got to meet Susan for the first time when she came to the East Coast to do several readings/signings.  I went to her event at 5C Cafe in Alphabet City, where she read an excerpt of her book and answered questions from the 20+ people who had come.  It was great to finally meet her in person and to be at one of my author's event, where I got to hear other people discuss the book and what they loved about it.  You can read more about Susan's tour on her website.

I  got to meet  Kara for the first time, too, and we had an awesome walk home from the reading together and an energetic chat the next day about her proposal, which is currently on submission.

Kara, Me, and Susan

Earlier that week, I also facilitated a conversation between the wonderful Jackie Cantor () and Rachel; they discussed revision ideas for Rachel's commercial women's fiction manuscript and were generally inspired/excited together.  I wasn't a part of the call, but I got filled in via email and phone, and the two of them had lots of positive, productive things to say about their chat.  I am looking forward to working on these edits with Rachel and resubmitting to Jackie soon.

I was at the office for most of the week, but in addition to Susan's reading, also got to have a very Big Deal Agent day in the city with Emily and her author Lia Riley, where we lunched with lots of editors, art designers, and publicity people at Grand Central Press who are involved in Lia's books, UPSIDE DOWN and SIDESWIPED.  

And next week, I get to have a super glamorous agent day.  Nicole is in town and I just received the final copies of her contract from Penguin, so we are going to go out to dinner and celebrate her signing together!

Now tell me you aren't jealous ;)

Oh, and P.S.: Brianna got bookmarks made to prepare for the release of FAMOUS PHONIES in October.  Don't they look great?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Agent 2.0

Had such a fun time at the wedding last weekend!  It was wonderful to see Laura and Marco get married and also spend time with friends from home.  John and I even went on a hike the next day with a couple of our other friends and ran into people that I haven't seen since middle school.

In other news...I am  happy to announce the unveiling of Carrie Pestritto, Agent 2.0.  I'm going to be working at the agency more often during the week and cutting back on restaurant work, which will be mostly on the weekends.  For those of you who are not lifelong Literary Carrie readers (shame on you!), I work part-time at a restaurant in addition to agenting and it's actually not that unusual for people in publishing to have side jobs because, let's face it, we make no money.  In fact, one of my favorite editors at Bloomsbury also works at a Sephora in the Upper East Side on the weekends.  

Anyways, I will slowly be taking over working on/being responsible for our website and I'm hoping to incorporate some ideas I've had on how to add different features, such as a log-in contracts database for agents and publicity tools for authors.  It's been in the works for a little while and something I've been wanting to do.

I'm hoping this extra time to devote will mean that I will get to do an even better job for my clients and also continue to learn a lot from Emily, the best mentor ever!  

P.S.  Very excited to get to meet Susan for the first time this week at her reading this Wednesday at 5C Cafe!  If you're in the area you should definitely stop by!

Monday, September 8, 2014


This was a shorter week than normal, but it felt even more so because my work week was squished in between CT visits.  I went home for Labor Day and then circled around and traveled back this past weekend for a family party.  I do feel like I got a lot done in that short period of time, though, including sending out two projects for their debut round of submission, so go me!  Also had a very energetic conversation with Jeff about a few of his ideas for other books - I am very excited about one in particular and looking forward to seeing it start to take shape.

I've been going home more frequently lately, and I have to admit, I really enjoy doing it.  You don't realize how adorable and picturesque your hometown was until you get used to the view from your apartment window being another person's apartment window.  John and I went to the Hebron Fair while I was home, and I couldn't stop commenting on how much wide open space there was on the drive there...guess New York is getting into my head too much, because I kept thinking about how many apartments you could fit onto the fallow fields and forests we sped by.

I'm having another short week this week and going home for our friends' wedding.  Hopefully I will be as productive as I was this week so that once Friday hits, I can line dance and eat cake with a carefree heart!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Good Stuff

I had such a great, productive week this past week!  I felt like I got a lot of reading/edits done and I also had a good call with two of my authors about their projects and our plan of attack for moving forward.

And I'm excited to announce that I signed a new client!  Her name is Kim Graff and her YA novel, LIV ON FIRE, is a fantastic, suspenseful, contemporary book with a snarky, damaged heroine you can't help but root for.  She was one of the contestants in The Voice competition that I participated in awhile back, so yay for blog contests and Love YA.

I got to spend some quality time with the folks and John this weekend, too, which was really nice.  All in all, a pretty perfect week.

Now that everyone is back to work, I'm going to be following up on projects I have out on submission and see if I can get some more books sold!  I'm really hopeful about the books Beth Ellyn Summer, Rachel Mork, and Jessica Arnold have out on submission right now - they all have editors who expressed a lot of interest in them, so I'm holding my breath waiting to see if they will be my Indian Summer deals!  

Writing the words "Indian Summer," made me realize that fall is right around the favorite season!!  I think I'm going to start indulging in things like cider, kettle corn, and butternut squash soup to psych myself up!

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Week, New Goals, New Look

Although relaxing last week didn't quite turn out the way I thought it would, I'm still energized and ready to get things rolling this week, especially since I have 11 manuscripts that I need to read, and lots of submissions to follow up on!  

On top of that, I just received the first draft of Nicole's contract for GIRLS WHO TRAVEL, and am looking forward to reviewing it ASAP.  I'm going to be very Berkley-focused for awhile, since Jackie Cantor also really enjoyed a project I sent her by another one of my incredible clients, Rachel Mork!  She wanted to see some changes made and have a chat with Rachel, so fingers crossed everything goes well!

I'm hoping to squeeze in some time to watch the season finale of True Blood on HBO GO--a guilty pleasure that shall exist no more--and maybe even finish unpacking my kitchen as well?   We'll see how lucky I get :)

And if you didn't guess by seeing the new blog design, I was sucked into the world of fancy blog templates today!  I found a great web designer, Maiedae, that had beautiful design packages, and then stumbled upon Designer Blogs, a blog design studio that offers really gorgeous, inexpensive pre-made Blogger templates.  You should really check them out - I clicked on the website, then looked up and realized that two hours had gone by in a blink.  I ended up choosing the "Scout" design but was debating between that and "Hazel" for quite some time.

This is Hazel, and my blog current is repping Scout.  Which one do you like better?

These templates are only $15 each, and they are a great way to give your blog a face lift  - so I might end up trying out many more!  

I also figured out how to change my share buttons to cute, circle images thanks to the Blog Decorator.  She also offers pre-made blog templates that you can purchase, as well as more expensive custom packages, but the really great thing about her site is that she gives really handy tutorials, like the one I followed to change my share buttons.

My blog was long overdue for some freshening up, and I love the way it looks I actually know something about blogging, haha!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Taking a Break

I have been doing a lot of doubles at the restaurant lately and been finding it hard to knuckle down and focus, so not much reading was done this past week.  I've realized that I can't really push myself to do edits, because if I'm not in the right frame of mind, I just end up doing a bad job with them.  This means I basically wrote myself a free pass to relax.

So far, this has meant a trip to the Museum of Natural History with my parents, a Nicki Minaj dance party with my Assistant General Manager in the restaurant's office, organizing my lovely kitchen, and going to a future laugh fest this Friday with John (we're going to see Louis CK and a bunch of other awesome comedians perform at Nikon Theater at Jones Beach).

As much as I love my job, I also love getting away from it now again.

Because of this, I am telling all my authors who are fed up with writing at the moment to follow my lead and let themselves RELAX this week.  Or at least give yourselves five minutes to enjoy Nicki's "Super Bass."  It can't fail to make you jump up and dance.  And then hopefully jump back into work fully refreshed :)