Thursday, May 28, 2015

0 Interview and Chance to Submit to Agent Victoria Selvaggio of JDLA

With a strong background in business ownership, Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to JDLA as an Associate Agent with over seven years of actively working as a volunteer and Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio.  Drawn to the publishing scene first as an Author writing all genres, with her most recent publication in the 2015 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market, Vicki’s passion for honing the craft carried over into reading manuscripts for the agency. Currently, she is excited to read compelling manuscripts that will resonate with her long after she’s done.

To Submit:
Please email a query to  ( and put “Adventures in YA Publishing" in the subject line of your email. For queries regarding children's and adult fiction, please send the first twenty pages in the body of your email (for picture book manuscripts—send the full manuscript), along with a one-paragraph bio and a one-paragraph synopsis.

For queries regarding a nonfiction book, please attach the entire proposal as a Word document (the proposal should include a sample chapter), along with a one-paragraph bio and a one-paragraph synopsis of your book in the body of your email.

As a note, I “personally” respond to every query I receive, which takes some time. Response time can fluctuate from two to four months and up to six months, depending on my schedule. Feel free to follow up, if you haven't received a response after six months. PLEASE do not email me before six months!

            For more information, visit The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency website:

Connect with Victoria:
Twitter: Victoria Selvaggio @vselvaggio1
Facebook: Vicki Selvaggio
Linkedin: Victoria Selvaggio
My Website:

Now on to the interview!!

What is on your wish list?

            I am currently looking for all genres (lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction), but find I’m particularly drawn to middle grade and young adult. I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me. On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.

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

            I love when it’s evident that someone has taken a few minutes to research me (my likes/dislikes), and then addresses the query letter properly, with the correct spelling of my name. I make it a point to address my responses correctly. In addition to reviewing websites, blogs, and other information included.
             It’s important to me, as an agent, to know why I’m being queried. Connecting with the querying writer is something I look for immediately.
             For me, I’m looking for long-lasting agent-author relationships, and I appreciate when writers mention other genres and/or other projects (or works-in-progress).
            While I wish to receive a well-crafted query letter, I’m more interested in one’s manuscript. I’m happy with keeping things simple and to the point.

What are some of the worst things you've seen in a query?

            While I personally review and respond to all the queries I receive, I’m more open to queries addressed properly. From receiving queries addressed to other agents (mass mailing of agents) to receiving queries addressed to editors and publishing houses. Please, take those extra few minutes!
            Connecting with a querying writer is important to me. I can’t highlight enough to be professional. Never be rude, and please, don’t ever apologize for not being published.

What makes you a great agent?

            Honestly…I’m a workaholic. As my clients will note, I’m devoted, patient, and compassionate. I share in all their emotions, good and bad. And I never stop until we reach their goals (revising several times, if necessary, before submitting to editors).
            Having the background of being Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio for several years, and then working hard at my own publishing goals, I’ve seen the emotions of rejection. I’ve experienced rejection myself. That understanding pushes me to respond personally to every query I receive, in which I often note why the project isn’t a good fit. This, however, does take time.

Character, world, or plot?

            All are equally important to me. It’s all about balance.

What advice do you have for writers getting ready to query you?

            While I wish for a well-crafted query letter, be yourself! Query letters tend to be stiff/ boring. For me (all agents are different, so make sure to always submit per listed guidelines), I rather writers relax–be yourself! Give me the needed information, while not forcing it.

Why did you become an agent?

            We are all destined for the “right” path. Becoming an agent was mine! After several years as Regional Advisor for SCBWI: Northern Ohio, and becoming a published author myself, I found myself limited on what I could do to help writers and illustrators reach their goals. I was able to provide tools (education, motivation, inspiration), but building careers was out of reach, so I strived to make it reachable.
            For me, I love, love, LOVE, working one-on-one with my clients!

Is there anything you'd like to add that you think our readers should

            As with all professions, becoming a published author and/or illustrator takes education, dedication, and confidence. We all have imaginations and the ability to create, but learning how to hone this craft and bring life to words and/or illustrations, is only reachable for those who are willing to persevere!
            As with all professions, one should expect rejections, obstacles/challenges, and possibly, when the timing is right, success!


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