Happy Friday! Today, I'm featuring Pippin agent Larissa Helena on the blog. Larissa is new to agenting . . . she was previously an Executive Editor and translator at Rocco in Brazil, but she moved to New York last year with a visa as an “Alien of Extraordinary Abilities in Publishing,” which was awarded to her by the US Government. A few months later she came to Pippin as the Manager of Subsidiary Rights and Associate Literary agent. Now she's looking to build her client list, and I spoke with her about what type of clients and work she is looking for. Check out her answers below.

1. What genres are you most excited to see hit your inbox? 

Funny books! I love middle-grade and YA equally, am crazy about sci-fi and fantasy, but nothing makes me happier than when a book actually makes me laugh. My dream is to describe my reaction to a manuscript as ROFL – but even a LOL will have my heart. 

2. What themes or issues do you like to see books address? 

Being Brazilian, I find ethnic diversity of the utmost importance. I'd love to see stories that address the immigrant experience, the struggle of having to live in a language that's not your own, and stories about children and teens coming to terms with their heritages or discovering the extent to which the tales and cultures of their ancestors have influenced their lives. 

3. Are there any genres you aren't interested in?

 I've never quite developed the taste for historical fiction – it's just not my jam. I also hardly ever enjoy rhyming picture books: people seem to assume this is an easy one to write, but it's the hardest of 'em all! 

4. In your opinion, what makes a book special for readers? 

If you pay attention to any random conversation, you'll see people tend to steer away from those boisterous displays of interestingness that Hollywood movies try to make us believe is just the right way to make friends. Everyone prefers honesty and a sincere listener instead. An open conversation will take you a looong way. I believe the same is true for books: when they are not trying to be something, a formula that has previously worked, that's when they are special. When an author finds the truth within themselves and in what they want to write, magic happens.

5. Do you have any query pet peeves? 

I strongly dislike when authors tell me "You will love this", as if they were my best friends and knew exactly what will catch my eye! I do enjoy when someone says they think this would be a good fit because they read something about me somewhere, but please don't start your e-mail telling me I will love your story! It can only go downhill from there! I also rarely read submissions that do not follow our website guidelines... if an aspiring author didn't care enough to follow them, they're probably not the right fit for me. 

6. Do you have any advice to aspiring authors on getting your -- or any agent's -- attention? 

Long e-mails are discouraging. Make it short and simple, and catch my eye from the beginning. Some authors start their submissions with questions, and this could work really well if it's a good one. If you're not too sure... well, don't do it! Also, make sure you let me know from the start why this story is different from all the others, why this one is worth reading. 

7. What has been your favorite read so far in 2017? 

Emma Straub's Modern Lovers is so much fun! Even though it's an adult title, it's still a really good example of the kind of humor coupled with creative but honest writing I am looking for.

If you are interested in submitting your manuscript, please visit our submissions page for guidelines on how to do so!

Posted by elena at 11:07 PM
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