Thursday, October 23, 2014

0 Agent Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Lit on Wanting Diversity, Comp Titles, and Book Love!

Welcome, Saba!

Saba Sulaiman is the newest member of Talcott Notch Literary Services, a boutique agency located in Milford, CT. She joined the team after working as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, where she worked primarily on their romance line. She's looking for up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir, both in adult and YA. She's also actively looking for MG. Follow her on Twitter @agentsaba

1. What is it about a manuscript that excites you? 

A strong, gripping, mature voice, well-rounded characters, and an instant emotional connection. I want to be invested in the story as soon as possible, and I love stories where there is a clear and relatable conflict. 

2. What is on your wish list? 

I'd love to see any story that incorporates diverse characters and backgrounds, and does it well. Throw in a unique twist to a classic story. Invert a tried and tested formula or trope, and make it compelling enough for me to get on board with it. I hesitate to be too specific because I'm open to almost anything within the genres I represent, but I'll definitely pay more attention to manuscripts with these qualities.

3. What are some things you love to see in a query?

Other than what's standard, I like to see comp titles -- but please don't compare your book to a huge bestselling book that everyone's heard of! You don't have to include comp titles in your query, but if you do, show me that you really know what's happening in your genre by making them specific.

4. Are you an editorial agent?

Yes I'm very hands-on! I'm happy to work with authors to polish their work, and I don't believe in presenting manuscripts that aren't quite ready to be looked at yet. That having been said, please don't query me with first drafts! I have to be convinced that you've already been through multiple revisions and that you know your craft inside out before I'll consider working with you.

5. Character, world, or plot? 

Character all the way!

6. What do you like to do for fun?

Well, other than reading (surprise!) and my other hobbies (see my webpage!) I mostly bother my friends and think a lot about my next meal (I take food very seriously.)

7. What genres are you drawn to most?

In YA, I'm generally drawn to contemporary realistic stories, but I'm also open to magical realism and historical YA with spunky, edgy heroines. 

8. Which is more crucial: emotional connection or current marketability? 

Emotional connection. Market trends come and go, but I need to connect with the manuscript in order to be able to back it 100% and make editors fall in love with it.

9. Why did you become an agent?
I read and talk about books for a living -- I think that says it all :)

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