Agent John Cusick on PERFECTING YOUR PITCH! with Lindsay Bandy

Fall Philly pitching is just around the corner, and today agent John Cusick from Folio Literary Management is here to give you some advice. Everyone say, Hi John!
JCLB: What is your best advice for crafting a strong pitch?
JC: Tell me what’s at stake for your character: Why must the mystery be solved? What happens if the hero fails? What does she stand to gain or lose? Also, give me a few choice details that make your story or concept stand out. Agents and editors want to know what makes your project unique.

LB: What are you looking for/not looking for right now? JC: I’m seeking unique voices in fiction for young people, stories that move readers, moments that make me look up and say “Wow, yes. I’ve felt that.”

Send me the books kids will sneak / steal / borrow in secret. Those personal, dangerous, life-saving stories. I’m looking for boundary pushers, a pitch that makes (certain) people say, “You can’t write a YA / MG about THAT!!” I want beautiful, character-driven YA and MG that connects like an emotional gut-punch. I love the strange, iconoclastic, and unusual.

I’m drawn to contemporary realistic stories with strong hooks, as well as fresh fantasy set in our world and others. I love stories told in alternate formats (letters, texts…sticky notes?). I love funny, quirky, and spooky. I want books that keep me turning the page. I love proactive protagonists, kids and teens chasing a dream or a hero who swings in with a song in her heart and a knife in her teeth.

WHAT I’M NOT LOOKING FOR: Picture book texts. I also tend to shy away from novels with talking animals, sports stories, and poetry.

LB:  Are you open to representing picture book authors and/or illustrators?

JC: When it comes to picture books, I’m only considering submissions by author-illustrators. Thank you!

Thank YOU for stopping by! We’ll see you in Philly!

If you haven’t registered yet, just click on over and reserve your spot to pitch to John!

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