Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Quickfire Questions with agent Catherine Pellegrino

Catherine Pellegrino joined Rogers, Coleridge & White agency in February 2007. She represents children’s and young adult writers and her client list includes Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (Tunnels published by Chicken House), Pearl Morrison (The Wind Tamer and The Wave Traveller both published by Bloomsbury), Ceci Jenkinson and Steve Feasey.

The author I wish I’d ‘discovered’ most is…..

So many – David Almond, Haruki Murakami, Kate Atkinson, Lorrie Moore…

Left on a cliffhanger or told all?

It depends how quickly the sequel is available ie whether I can swing an early copy or occasionally a manuscript or whether (in the case of Stieg Larsson) a foreign edition in a language I can read is already available.

The perfect book deal is…

With the right editor who completely gets the book and shares the author’s vision, the right support team (increasingly crucial in this polarised market) who can market and sell the book effectively and an advance that neither undermines or overwhelms, in practical or creative terms the author in his/her endeavours as a writer. And of course a good contract with favourable terms.

You really must read…

What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami – a book as much about writing as running and one brimming with humanity.

I get most excited by…

Reading an unsolicited partial which makes the hairs on my neck stand up on end.

My biggest tip for a writer is..

Endurance and patience

My pet hate in a submission package is…

An overlong covering letter with a marketing plan

Favourite desktop snack

One that doesn’t give me food poisoning. I was so caught up with something a while back that I ate something which was clearly dodgy and within the hour thought it was my last.

Best thing about my job is…

Working with wonderful people, writers, colleagues and publishing people and meeting the International book community at book fairs.


Email or phone?

I try and blend both. I think both have their uses.


The hardest part of my job is…

Managing expectations


The most common mistake I see is…

In submissions we receive for children’s literature, writers who write down to their audience.

If I didn’t work in the literary business I would be...

A landscape gardener or a synchronised swimmer

3 comments:

Helen Black said...

Thank you for posting, Catherine.

There are always so many myths out there as to what agents may or may not be thinking. Better to get it from the horses mouth.

I was interested to hear you say you hated an author to provide a marketing plan. Given that it's so rare for publishers to put together decent marketing plans these days, wouldn't you say a writer who has plans in this regard would be a good thing?
HB x

Caroline Green said...

Just wanted to say thanks again, Catherine for coming over to Strictly. I'm fascinated by the synchronised swimming answer!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Thanks for a great post, Catherine. I particularly liked your description of the perfect book deal.
Susiex