Interview with agent Victoria Marini

Marini VictoriaVictoria Marini is the newest member of the Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency. Victoria’s  website includes her blog, client list, query updates and more. You can also find her on Twitter. She started taking on clients in 2010, and she has begun to build her own client list which includes literary fiction, commercial fiction, pop-culture non-fiction, and young adult. She is very interested in acquiring engaging literary fiction and mysteries / suspense, commercial women’s fiction (romantic suspense, sci-fi, fantasy), and Young Adult (contemporary, sci-fi/fantasy, thriller and horror ). Above all, she is looking for anything with an engaging voice, compelling narrative and authentic characters. Victoria was interviewed by MWW social media intern John Carter.

John: When you think about the great pitches you’ve heard, what set them apart? Was it the quality of book being proposed, or was it the author’s delivery?

Victoria: It’s generally about the book itself. A great premise, engaging voice, and straightforward approach work very well. I think that a poor delivery of a great concept can ruin a query, but a great query–without the book to back it up–is just as disappointing.

John: Because this might be a new process to some attendees, if you show interest in a manuscript, what’s the next step for the writer?

Victoria: Well, it depends on your definition of “interest.” If I like a query and sample enough to request a partial or full manuscript, I usually wait for the author to send it to me as a document or PDF. Then I confirm the receipt of a manuscript (and yes, it IS okay to make sure I got it if I don’t let you know). Then I’ll read it and decide whether it’s something I want to offer on, whether it’s something I’d like to see revised, or whether it’s something I have to pass on. If I want to offer, I make an official offer of representation and give the author time to notify other agents reading the manuscript, and give him or her time to make a decision. If I like the work, but it needs revision, I’ll write an e-mail detailing my concerns and ask to see the work again should the author choose to revise.

John: On your website, you consider yourself a “future agent,” being “highly collaborative and responsive.” What does this high level of involvement mean for potential clients? What should they expect when working with you?

Victoria: What that means is that I’m open to exploring a lot of different options for my clients depending on their own needs. I’m not afraid of digital only, I’m happy to work with smaller presses if they’re a good fit, I’m happy to submit to editorial directors and the big six publishing houses if you’ve got a commercial, splashy “blockbuster” on your hands, despite my not sharing a generation with said editor (usually). Gelfman Schneider also facilitates self-publishing through Amazon’s white glove program or through all e-reading platforms.

Being collaborative and responsive just means that my clients can expect a more frequent and more in-depth level of contact than they might expect from an agent at a larger agency that has a lot more clients. I e-mail and talk with my clients often, and I’m all about making people feel comfortable and confident in me and my process.


Victoria’s Part II sessions include:

  • The Perfect Pitch
  • Agent Panel Q&A: Sarah LaPolla, Victoria Marini, John Cusick, Amanda Luedeke, Brooks Sherman.Topics: The 3-minute pitch, query letters, etc.

Victoria represents a changing dynamic in the agent-client relationship that involves a deeper level of collaboration between the two parties. With new technologies and evolving forms of social media shortening the physical distances between people, it is more important than ever before that writers be aware of the resources available to them. Luckily, the Midwest Writer’s Workshop offers free social media tutoring appointments to help answer your questions about enhancing your online presence and finding online community. If you’re registered for MWW Part II and would like to take advantage of this opportunity, begin by filling out and submitting this brief questionnaire.

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