Thursday, February 2, 2012

Interview with Agent Sharon Belcastro

Interview with Agent Sharon Belcastro
by j.a. kazimer

It is my pleasure to interview my agent, Sharon Belcastro of the Belcastro Agency for the Chiseled in Rock Blog. Sharon's been my agent for over four years, and I cannot say enough good stuff about her, but I'll let you read for yourself.

JK: Welcome Sharon. Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for us. First off, can you tell our readers what genres you accept and what sort of thing you're currently looking for?

SB: Thank you Julie. I am so humbled by your kind words and your interest to interview me because I’m really not that interesting. Ha ha. We accept fantasy, all things paranormal, historical fiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction, YA, crime, thriller and suspense, true crime and crime fiction. We aren’t so crazy about chick lit, erotica or straight romance. Right now we are looking for that novel that is unique and addictive regardless of genre. One that grabs us from the first chapter. You know like, "Opening my good eye, I tried to focus, something I regretted immediately. Ivan wasn’t wearing pants, or underwear, or skin for that matter. He stood in front of me in full muscle, veined, and skinless splendor. 'Laundry day?' I gestured to his sagging pectorals." (from The Body Dwellers by me. I told you that Sharon rocks!).

JK: How did you get started in the publishing/agent business?

SB: I’ve always been a geeky book worm. While all the other kids in the neighborhood were playing kick the can, I was sitting on the steps reading a book. But it took me a lot of years to realize I could actually do something with that passion. After a degree in engineering, a master’s in business and 20 years in corporate America, I decided I wanted to really LOVE my job rather than just make a good living. So I took all that I had learned from the business side, took a year studying the publishing business, brought on the talent I needed from the writing side in my partner Ella Marie and launched Belcastro Agency.

JK: How many queries do you receive in an average week? From those, how many requests do you make?

SB: We receive about 50 queries per week and may request 2-3 full manuscripts although we only sign 1 in several hundred manuscripts.

JK: What unique features make you sign a client/manuscript?

SB: A really unique voice and concept and a writer that is not completely head over heels in love with themselves.

JK: What is the most important thing a writer can do for their career?

SB: When it comes to writing, read-read-read. After being published, get your name out there through every outlet applicable. Find all the Facebook pages and communities that relate to your genre and get engaged. Share your advice, experience, expertise, articles you find helpful, everywhere and anywhere you can. Of course mentioning your book as often as you can without being too obnoxious about it.


JK: What are your current favorite books?

SB: Besides those from our beloved authors of course, I’m tending toward the quirky or the literary these days. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein, anything Christopher Moore, Mistress Shakespeare by Karen Harper, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier, Water for Elephants, The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S King, Henrietta Hornbuckle's Circus of Life by Michael de Guzman and currently reading The Midget's House (A Circus Story...A Love Story...A Ghost Story) by Anita Bartholomew. I could go on for hours. And I just noticed there seems to be a circus theme running through my list. Hmmmmm.

JK: Thoughts on E/Indie Publishing? Will it eat all of publishing as we know it?

SB: Given the way of movie and music stores, I’d say it’s really going to put up one heck of a fight if it doesn’t.

JK: And finally, what advice do you have for new writers?

SB: Read, read, read. Learn what agents and editors are looking for and not looking for in terms of writing. Ask for and take criticism well. And finally, don’t start your query letter with, “I’m giving you two weeks to read my future best selling novel…………”

Thank you, Sharon, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with us
Thank you girl. Love you loads!
If you are interested in learning more about or the guidelines for submission at the Belcastro Agency, please visit


Patricia Stoltey said...

Excellent interview, ladies. Thanks so much to Sharon for being here.

Your "read, read, read" advice works for even the published writers among us. We need to stay on top of changes and keep on learning, learning, learning.

linda collison said...

"Quirky and literary?" Yes!!