The holidays are here and we have a gift for you! President and Senior Agent Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein of McIntosh & Otis will be taking pitches right here on the Sub It Club blog next Tuesday, December 13th! Elizabeth will be making requests and giving feedback as time permits. Read our interview to learn more about Elizabeth and find out if you have something that might fit her list and what she looks for in a pitch:
What are your looking for right now? Is there anything on your wish list?
I am actively looking for literary fiction, women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery/suspense, and memoir, along with narrative non-fiction, history and current affairs. I would love a new project with a great voice and a fantastic hook!
What does a manuscript need to hook you?
It has to be unique in a way that works, whether it have an intriguing premise or a fresh voice. To really pull me in, though, most of the important elements have to already be working together pretty well.
What do you think makes a good submission package? Any pet peeves?
I think the best submissions are polite, professional, and proof-read! Submissions that follow all our agency’s requirements and offer new, interesting stories are the best ones. It’s a huge pet peeve when a query is sloppy and/or doesn’t follow directions.
What are some of the most common reasons you pass on manuscripts?
I most often pass on a manuscript for the following reasons: the story isn’t as original as the query suggested, the plot is too meandering for there to be a clear arc I can work with, or the voice isn’t as engaging as I was hoping it’d be.
How much work are you willing to do with an author on a manuscript you love?
For a manuscript I love, I will go through several rounds of edits with the author if necessary. I’ve spent many months working on manuscripts I felt needed and were worthy of the extra push. It’s great when manuscripts don’t need that much work, but for the ones that do that I can see have a lot of potential, I definitely go the extra mile.
How important is author platform to you when it comes to clients?
It depends on the project – for nonfiction, a decent platform is more important. For fiction, it’s always a bonus if a new client has a sizeable platform, but it’s not a huge factor for me when I’m taking on new clients in that category.
What do you look for in a client ideally?
My ideal clients are hardworking, open to suggestions, and friendly! I often discuss projects with my clients over the phone, so it’s important for me to have a friendly, constructive relationship with my clients and be able to bounce things off of them. I also love helping clients build their careers, so it’s great when clients have ideas for multiple projects that I can help them with in the future.
What is your advice on how to formulate a pitch? What elements do you think are important?
Pitches can be difficult, so an important thing to remember when writing one is to make the hook clear. Identify what the main elements of your story are that are going to draw people in, and then emphasize those. What about your project excites you? Why should I be excited about it as well? The best pitches communicate that reason for excitement.
A big THANK YOU to Elizabeth for answering these questions for us! If you have something that might be a good fit for Elizabeth mark your calendar. (You can follow our blog in the sidebar to have new posts delivered to your email so you don’t miss the pitch post.)
Pitch Day is this Tuesday, December 13th!
Elizabeth will be looking at pitches starting at 10am EST. She will be making requests on those that pique her interest and may also offer feedback here and there if time permits.
Elizabeth is looking for:
- literary fiction
- women’s fiction
- historical fiction
- narrative non-fiction
- current affairs
Here are the rules:
Only pitch work in the genres that Elizabeth represents.
Pitch completed work only.
Post your pitch on the Pitch Day post. I will have it up at 9am EST on Tuesday, December 13th.
Please use the following format your pitch. Pitches are to consist of:
- Word count:
- Pitch: 35-words maximum
- Excerpt: The first 250-words of your novel
To learn more about Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein before pitch day, check out the McIntosh & Otis blog. There’s also a great interview with Elizabeth at The Debutante Ball. Plus you can follow her on Twitter @30Winick.
As always, join us in our Sub It Club Submission Support Group where you can post your pitch and get feedback on your pitch before the big day.