Happy Agent Monday, everyone! Today I’m so happy to introduce you to another fine new Associate Agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency – Zabé Ellor! So let’s get this Q & A started!
Q: Hi Zabé! Thanks so much for joining us here. How did you get into agenting?
A: When I got my first publishing job out of college, I was very unsure of what I wanted to do, but I knew I loved working with authors and helping them achieve their goals. Listening to an interview with agent Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch helped me realize that agenting would be a career that could fit well with my passions. I sought out agency internships and, after interning for a year, received an offer to join JDLA.
Q: Can you share some details about yourself, and how these have shaped who you are as an agent and as someone working with authors?
A: Books have always been my guiding passion! I was a voracious reader growing up, and my favorite kids’ books will always have a special place in my heart. When I take on a project, it’s because I feel it has the potential to leave just as deep a mark on readers.
Q: What types of projects are you representing? Anything you are especially hoping to find in your inbox?
A: I represent all genres of YA (except for category romance) adult SFF, graphic novels, and select nonfiction (preferably history/science). If you’re a science journalist with a strong story to tell about an under-explored topic, I’d love to see your proposal in my inbox!
Q: Can you give us an example of one of your favorite books in each category that you represent, and why it’s your favorite?
A: In YA, I’m really enjoying A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney—an action-packed, fun, voice-driven Alice in Wonderland retelling. I love YA books that really feel like they were written with teenagers in mind! In science fiction, I really loved An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon—a dark, literary tale that seemed to perfectly capture the feeling of hanging adrift in space. In graphic novels, I absolutely treasured Estranged by Ethan M. Aldridge, a beautifully drawn tale of family, friendship, and belonging. Finally, in nonfiction, Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean B. Carroll is one of my favorite pieces of science writing. I love how it takes a complex subject and distills it for a mass audience.
Q: To help folks understand your point of view, what are some of your favorite TV shows and movies?
A: I’m a sucker for classic comedies—my all-time favorite is The Princess Bride—but while I love humor, I find it very difficult to pull off in a novel!
Q: What’s in your reading pile?
A: Too many books! Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James is at the top of my TBR right now, as is Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty.
Q: What makes a successful query to you?
A: Get me excited by showing me you have a unique, cohesive story to tell in a genre I represent.
Q: What are some common query mistakes that will result in an immediate rejection?
A: Not telling me about the project. The goal of the query is to tell me what the book is about. Your publication credits, platform, the themes of the book, potential market are all secondary.
Q: Are you a very editorial agent? What does that mean to you?
A: Every project needs a different level of editorial input. To me, being an editorial agent means I meet the project where it is and help shape it into what it has the potential to be.
Q: What is your idea of an ideal client?
A: Someone with an interesting book that’s a good fit for the market, and someone interested in a collaborative partnership to bring that to life. It’s incredibly important to me that I have a diverse base of clients.
Q: Where can folks go to follow you online?
A: I’m best reached on Twitter, where my handle is @ZREllor
Q: Your link for submission guidelines?
A: Please send a query letter, 1-2 page synopsis, and first 25-30 pages to http://queryme.online/ZabeEllor
Q: Anything else you’d like people to know about you or what you are looking for?
A: I have a pretty eclectic MSWL, but if you can relate your story to one of my tagged tweets, I’ll be really excited to see it!
Thanks so much for letting us all get to know you a bit better, Zabé! Folks can also visit Zabé’s page over at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency by clicking here. And pop by again for another Agent Monday post!
*Marie is a Literary Agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City. To keep up with all her posts, subscribe to her site.