Daddy Salami Writes: An Interview with Literary Agent Sarah Negovetich

Daddy Salami wrote a book about his son. He calls it Rebellious Ruber: Tales of Me Disrespectful Son. You didn’t know Salami was an author, did you? Neither did this professor until just recently.

Anyway, Daddy Salami had the opportunity to ask literary agent Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary Agency a few questions about writing.

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Of course, the professor was there to make sure Salami behaved.

(NOTE: All questions belong to DS, save for the last one. That’s the professor’s.)

***

1. I’ve heard that hooks are important for a query letter. Hehaha. Is me hook any good?

Salami’s Hook: The first time I realized I was a good daddy was when Ruber was a bad son.

SARAH: I see how it is. Oh, Sarah, would you please do an interview with me? By the way, now that I have you in my clutches, can you edit this for me? Very sneaky, Daddy Salami, sneaky indeed.

Actually, this isn’t a bad hook for an opening line of a novel. Right away, I want to know what Ruber did that made him a bad son. That said, I don’t love this as the hook to a query because queries written in first person always feel gimmicky to me. And if there’s one thing I know you don’t want to be, it’s gimmicky. Someone of your caliber strives for more.

2. Does the fact that in me youth I was a fisherman, knight, and awesome daddy make ya want ta take me book? [Note: Could be taken to mean: Do writing credentials matter?]

SARAH: Good question. Is your book about fishermen, knights, or awesome daddies? If so, then this can be relevant. If your book is about swans or the worlds best PB&J, then no. It’s all about context. But just remember, no matter how interesting your personal life is (and you’ve got quite an interesting one), the main goal of a query is to get me interested in your book. So keep your bio short and sweet. After all, this is book publishing, not a dating service.

3. How did ya get into the agent business? Did ya have ta deal with a lot of cur-sauces?

SARAH: Unlike 99% of agents, I got my degree in Communication/Marketing instead of English. After college I went straight into marketing and loved it. After all, a big part of marketing is figuring out the right words to say or write. A few years ago, my family moved across the country and I found myself without a job. The lovely Marisa was looking for an intern who could help her out with PR and Marketing. I thought it would be a fun way to pass the time until I got a new job. Plus, it combined books and marketing, two of my favorite things.

Once I got into it, I stopped looking for another job and a few months later started building my own list. Seriously, being an agent is the most fun. It’s strategic and creative, letting both sides of my brain play nice together. I get to work with books, market writers (both to editors and readers), and help authors make their dreams come true. It’s the best job in the world (and that includes the Punchy Lands).

4. What makes ya cranky in a query?

SARAH: Cranky is definitely not a mood you want an agent to be in when they are reading your query. To avoid this most hazardous of mental states, it is of the utmost importance that you follow the guidelines. Even someone of your stature, most honorable Daddy Salami, isn’t immune to the guidelines.

Make sure all the important info is in there, like the genre and word count. And be absolutely certain your query tells me what your story is about. You’d be surprised how many queries I get that tell me who the main character is and leave out the plot.

5. Is ya gonna read me entire 1,000 word query?

SARAH: For you…no. Sorry, not even for you, I’m not going to read that. And it’s probably not for the reason you think.

Sure, I don’t have time to read a query that long, but here’s the real reason. If you overwrite your query, chances are you’ve overwritten your whole novel. This is especially important for the YA and MG novels I’m looking for. Young readers want a book that is fast paced and engaging. If you need 1000 words to write what others can do in 250, your book is neither fast paced or engaging.

6. How many queries do ya get about me? ‘Cause I’m pretty famous.

SARAH: Wow, I thought I was a semi-popular agent, but I guess not since I’ve yet to get a single query about you. Looks like I have a new personal goal. On average, I get about 100 queries per week that are not about you.

7. Do ya usually take on projects that would bore me?

SARAH: Heavens to Betsy, I certainly hope not! For sure, I’m not taking on any projects that bore me.

8. Are there any agents who hate reading’? ‘Cause if Daddy Salami were an agent, I wouldn’t read!

SARAH: Daddy, I’m gonna suggest you stick with the current plan and keep clear of a career change. Reading is a big part of being an agent. Reading queries, reading manuscripts, reading edits, reading contracts, reading emails. It’s a pretty constant part of the job.

9. [From the professor.] Are there any upcoming projects that you are excited about? What kind of query would you like to see in your inbox?

SARAH: I’m excited about all my projects, otherwise, I wouldn’t have signed them on. Asking an agent about a favorite manuscript is like asking a mom who her favorite kid is. I might have one, but I’d never confess to it. :)

In my query box, I tend to lean toward the dark side and would love to see more SciFi. But more than anything, I’m looking for something that sounds different with elements I can’t find on the market. Like any agent, I want to find the next big thing in my inbox.

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66 Responses to “Daddy Salami Writes: An Interview with Literary Agent Sarah Negovetich”


  1. 1 krugthethinker October 8, 2013 at 04:33

    Cool feature! I like this very much, and it’s kind of fun to see DS in the interviewing chair!

    • 2 Professor VJ Duke October 8, 2013 at 13:11

      Yes, isn’t it? The professor had to keep him in control.

  2. 3 Anja October 1, 2013 at 21:44

    soething…anything…O Punchy Family!

    • 4 Anja October 1, 2013 at 21:45

      hahaha *something

      • 5 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:09

        I like the former spelling better.

      • 6 Anja October 2, 2013 at 00:02

        oh you would

      • 7 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 15:20

        Because it’s :cool:

      • 8 Anja October 2, 2013 at 17:32

        Your a dork :p

      • 9 Anja October 2, 2013 at 17:33

        Ugh you’re !!!! I give up

      • 10 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 17:34

        I like the former—never mind!

      • 11 Anja October 2, 2013 at 17:39

        I think I should just stop trying to write. Lol. I can’t spell basic words.

    • 12 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:09

      :lol: You’re very wicked. You were suppose to say how great the interview was.

      • 13 Anja October 2, 2013 at 00:02

        The interview was very entertaining…..I am not wicked sir, professor, sir. :)

      • 14 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 15:20

        :lol: Not at all!

  3. 15 The Dancing Rider October 1, 2013 at 21:11

    Insight into agent’s mind very interesting and engaging. I feared for her when I read the title of this entry! I think DS might want to stick with his current “career”. ;-) DS’s question number two was so like him. Do you agree?

    • 16 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:08

      That’s awesome! :lol: You mean you wouldn’t read DS’s book? :shock: The professor definitely agrees. (I don’t think he was happy with the answer, though.)

      • 17 The Dancing Rider October 2, 2013 at 12:53

        Oh, I’d probably try DS’s book….for sure. It couldn’t be as bad as, say, eating at Ruber’s could it?

      • 18 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 15:23

        Well…that could be true. But Ruber’s Catering is apparently safe to eat at now–and tasty too. I’m sure you’d try it.

      • 19 The Dancing Rider October 2, 2013 at 19:36

        How did you know I’d be stopping by today?! ;-)

      • 20 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 21:03

        Stopping by Ruber’s Catering?

      • 21 The Dancing Rider October 2, 2013 at 21:07

        Oh, of course. I was planning on having lunch in the PL’s. ;-) Now that Ruber’s is safe! ;-)

      • 22 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 21:09

        Awesome! I’m sure the place will be great. (I’ve yet to try it.)

  4. 23 ladycheetah7 October 1, 2013 at 21:06

    Awesome interview. I am so glad Daddy Salami didn’t cut up too bad.

    • 24 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:06

      Thank you! :lol: DS needs a strong hand. I was worried about keeping him in control, you know.

  5. 25 Susan P October 1, 2013 at 20:25

    The unexpected interview. Nice. :D I think someone should have put DS’ toes to the fire – figuratively speaking.

    • 26 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:03

      Isn’t the unexpected great, though? Ha, I think you’re right. What would you have asked him?

      • 27 Susan P October 2, 2013 at 00:09

        I’d like to ask him why his finger prints are all over that poor computer that died last week.

      • 28 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 15:21

        :lol: Was it him? I see now!!! The professor should have known.

      • 29 Susan P October 2, 2013 at 16:37

        I’m sorry – I thought you knew?

      • 30 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 17:28

        I probably should have. This professorish mind, you know.

      • 31 Susan P October 2, 2013 at 18:02

        Alas. I was just going by the axiom: “If you see something, say something.” :D

      • 32 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 18:05

        And I’m glad you told (reminded) me.

  6. 33 Simply Skeptical October 1, 2013 at 19:40

    Thanks for this interview which shown some light on how literary agents think. Keep up the interesting variety provided here.

    • 34 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:02

      You’re more than welcome! Sarah did a great job with the interview. Personally, the professor would have been a bit intimidated interviewing DS.

  7. 35 Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister October 1, 2013 at 19:21

    Interesting, yet I’m still waiting for tomorrow. However, I am interested in how the professor is feeling today. Better?

    • 36 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:01

      It’s coming soon, I think. No, not that much better, sadly. But I shall rally!

      • 37 Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister October 1, 2013 at 23:35

        I’m sorry. :( Not easy being Punchy when sick.

        I’m wondering how I missed that DS wasn’t a reader. I live to read all things. Maybe I missed my calling.

        A rally…very noble of you, professor.

      • 38 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 15:19

        The professor back to his normal professorish self today!

        :lol: I’m sure DS has read something.

        :D

      • 39 Oldest Daughter Redheaded Sister October 2, 2013 at 15:49

        I’m so glad to here this!! Cannot wait to settle in with a cup of coffee later today and see what’s happening in the PL. :) I hope it’s something exciting!

      • 40 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 17:23

        Thank you! I hope you find it exciting!

  8. 41 Jackie October 1, 2013 at 17:57

    Interesting interview! It appears Salami needs to learn a thing or two about publishing a book, agents, and stuff like that. How coincidental – we just read about Ruber’s restaurant success and now this. This could get ugly. :twisted:

    • 42 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 18:59

      :lol: The professor didn’t think about that! But…so true! Do you think this is Salami’s way of feeling important too?

      • 43 Jackie October 1, 2013 at 19:22

        Absolutely! Speaking of feeling – how are you feeling?

      • 44 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:02

        The professor regrets to report…the same. But I should be a new professor by the end of the week.

      • 45 Jackie October 2, 2013 at 09:55

        I apologize for my late reply. I spent the night at an undisclosed location so they could conduct a sleep study.

        I’m sorry you’re still not feeling well. I do hope you will be back to your old self soon! Here – have some more soup [_]b

      • 46 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 15:22

        No problem!

        Well, the professor has rallied today! I’m sure it has to do with your fabulous soup! Thank you.

      • 47 Jackie October 2, 2013 at 15:54

        You’re very welcome but I think you give me too much credit. I’m so glad you’re doing better! Yay! 8-)

      • 48 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 17:24

        Oh no! :cool:

      • 49 Jackie October 2, 2013 at 17:28

        Oh no? What do you mean? :?

      • 50 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 17:32

        You had more to do with the professor getting well than you think! The soup!!!

  9. 51 Hazy October 1, 2013 at 15:59

    Excellent interview! Learned a few things about literary agents, writing, and DS. Maybe DS should try his hand at SciFi, he could be a famouser writer!

    • 52 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 17:30

      Many thanks! That’s awesome. But would you read a DS book? The professor isn’t sure he would. Would you read a professor book?

      • 53 Hazy October 2, 2013 at 12:53

        A DS book, perhaps. A professor book, of course! (even if it gets listed as a banned book!) I’ll even post about it on my blog. :D

      • 54 Professor VJ Duke October 2, 2013 at 15:23

        :D The professor is honored! I’m not sure that I’d read a DS book!

        The professor is really honored!!!!!!

  10. 55 deanthefish October 1, 2013 at 15:59

    I thoroughly enjoyed this interview. Some very nice questions with comprehensive answers and a very skilled handling of even the wackiest questions by Sarah. Bravo!

    • 56 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 17:29

      I agree, Mr. Fish! I was worried that Mr. Salami could have gotten out of hand!

      • 57 deanthefish October 1, 2013 at 20:55

        Yes, but under the certain circumstances it seems as if even D. Salami can be civil.

      • 58 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:06

        I suppose so. Lucini Pavarinni has mellowed DS, I think.

      • 59 deanthefish October 1, 2013 at 21:59

        Good job of tying him down ;)

      • 60 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:09

        Yes, well I had help.

  11. 61 FictionFan October 1, 2013 at 15:54

    Nice interview! I would very much like to read Daddy Salami’s book, though, so I think Sarah should snap it up! It was interesting to see the old sausage trying to be polite… (I mean DS, of course, not the Professor!)

    • 62 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 17:27

      Thank you! I was worried that DS might ask some very…uncomfortable questions. But it turned out well. You’d want to read that, really? I’m not sure if the professor would even read it!

      :lol: How sad. FEF hates Salami all the sudden. But he is a sausage. I think I’ll tell Ruber that. ;) Maybe the professor is a sausage now that you say it. You know, Andres Segovia supposedly had sausages for fingers!

      • 63 FictionFan October 1, 2013 at 19:18

        Well, I am on a mission to find a really scary book…

        Don’t tell Ruber!!! He’ll start creating sausage recipes!!

        Goodness! You’d think the strings would have cut off neat little slices…(yucketh? or yummy?)

      • 64 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 23:01

        :lol: That would do the trick, sure.

        Yucketh! Maybe I’ll reconsider.

        :lol: :lol: Double Yucketh, I think!!!!

  12. 65 sknicholls October 1, 2013 at 14:05

    What a Great Interview Daddy and Sarah. Had not thought about that. If a query is extraneous or verbose, the book probably is also. Hum? Same with a book description most likely.

    • 66 Professor VJ Duke October 1, 2013 at 17:17

      Thank you! (I’ll pass your words onto DS!) Yes, that is a good point. And it made the professor think!


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