Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Literary Agent Ella Marie Shupe Would Read Cave Etchings

I hope everyone gets an agent like Ella Marie Shupe.

Not that other agents aren’t top shelf, but I can definitely vouch for Ella Marie because she represents me. Professional, cordial, focused, and most of all, encouraging. I can’t state that enough. Just when I was beginning to think I was a hack, along comes Ella Marie with the Belcastro Agency. She requested my manuscript, read it in the time she said she would, and got back to me faster than she promised to chat about the book and representation. She called me right on the top of the hour that she’d scheduled. I mean…wow!

Ella Marie is a somewhat private person, but she loves books and her job. So, I was able to persuade her into an interview as long as I kept it on the good stuff.

We’re very tickled to have her join us today on the Rock.

CIR: Thank you for visiting with us, Ella Marie!

EMS: I mean…wow! Now I’m nervous. I hope I can live up to that shining introduction. Thank you so much for interviewing me.

CIR: Apparently, the norm is that agents easily work 12 hour days because that’s what the job requires…not to mention the dedication due to passion. From the messages we’ve traded, it wouldn’t surprise me if you put even more time in than that. Roughly how many hours a week do you read?

EMS: Well I’ve never counted how many hours per week I read. It is safe to say that I wake up reading and many times fall asleep reading. It’s a wonderful thing.

CIR: Of course, writers should take editing and polishing their manuscript as seriously as possible. However, if you request a full and enjoy it, but there are a couple of blemishes in it—for example, an omitted conjunction and maybe a dangling modifier, both of them towards the back of the book—would that cause you to reject it? I always worry about this even though I edit mine three times then send them to a couple of proof readers.

EMS: Please edit your manuscripts! It is so much easier reading a manuscript that isn’t full of landmines. Mistakes can sometimes jump out and over power the story. On the flip side, a well edited manuscript doesn’t sell me the story. If you have written something special, rest assured, I want it blemishes and all. I mean… a few blemishes and all.

CIR: What would an ideal author/agent relationship be for you?

EMS: Well, one just like ours! It is wonderful to work with authors that are so passionate about their manuscript. I have the utmost respect for a person who can take a blank page and turn it into a painting, a piece of music, or of course a book. The best author/agent relationship comes from mutual respect for the story. I love picking the author’s brain, getting into the dark recesses of the story and sharing not only where the story comes from, but also where it takes me, the reader. That’s the beauty of being an agent. How many people get to discuss their favorite books with their favorite authors? Lucky me… and I do it all the time.

CIR: Do you celebrate when a book you represent is picked up by a publisher? If so, how?

EMS: It brings tears to my eyes. Publishing a book is giving it life. It’s taking a manuscript and transforming it into a book. There is such a desire to make that happen, that there is joy mixed with the relief. Relief in knowing that people will be able to receive the gift the author has given.

CIR: Per our trademark, I have to ask a bizarre question. If stories were still etched in caves (or chiseled in rock) and had to be decoded would you still read them?

EMS: I would have no choice. I love to live vicariously through stories. It makes up a big part of my life. If I didn’t decode stories, what would I possibly do? I would hate to wait around to get clubbed over the head. No, I’m definitely the type of person that would stare at etchings until they made sense. Of course, I’m also the type of girl would carry my own club. No one disturbs me when I’m reading.

Thanks, Ella Marie!

Interview conducted by Gusto Dave Jackson urban fantasy and YA western steampunk author represented by...well, that's been established already.


Patricia Stoltey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia Stoltey said...

Sorry about that, I couldn't leave a comment with a typo on a post interviewing an agent. :D

The corrected version: Thanks to Ella Marie for sharing and thanks to Dave for conducting the interview. Being an agent is clearly the ideal job for a book lover (as long as we ignore the part about reading bad, unedited manuscripts and sending rejections).

j.a. kazimer said...

Thanks Dave adn Ella Marie for such a wonderful interview. You both ROCK!

Terry Wright said...

I want Ella to be my agent. Some of my unpublished material is old enough to be found on cave walls.

Karen Duvall said...

Thanks, Ella Marie, for being a guest on the Rock today. I have a question. If one of your authors writes a new manuscript and you don't like it, what do you do? If the work was written well, but just not your cup of tea? I've had this discussion with some of my other agented friends who ended up having to shelve the work their agent didn't want to represent. So I'm curious about what you would do. :)

Ella Marie Shupe said...

Thanks, Karen, for your question. I can't imagine something being written well, but not my cup of tea. We are behind our authors all the way. If an author has written something that they are invested in, then we will find its place. It's possible that a manuscript may be put on hold to submit it at a better time in the author's career, but tastes are always changing. We can't always jump on the bandwagon, sometimes we have to start the parade.

Karen Duvall said...

Thanks, Ella Marie, for answering my question. Starting the parade, I like that! :)