Monday, March 31, 2014

Kickass Queries Series! # 7 - Carla Luna Cullen

Hi Peeps!

Today we're highlighting something a little different on the KAQ series - a Kickass *Pitch.*

That's right. Carla Luna Cullen is here to share the pitch that scored an offer of rep from her agent, Erin Niumata at Folio Literary Management.

Carla's Pitch:

Bridget Jones meets Indiana Jones when an awkward 21yo travels to Cyprus to work on her first archaeological dig and finds romance. NA. #Adpit

G: How many manuscripts did you query prior to signing with your agent?

C: I queried two manuscripts before FIELD RULES—a young adult fantasy and a young adult fairytale retelling. Both times, when I gave up, it wasn’t because I’d exhausted all the agents on my list, but because I realized the books might be difficult to sell.

G: How long did it take to write your pitch, and what things/steps do you think were most important to make it agent/contest-ready?

C: For the longer, 35-word pitch that I used for Pitch Wars, I worked with my mentor, Karma Brown. She helped me distill the pitch down to the essence of the story, yet keep the unique elements. The idea for my Twitter pitch came to me on a whim—I wanted to do an “X meets Y” pitch and use Indiana Jones, since it makes people think of archaeology. “Indiana Jones meets Bridget Jones” sounded catchy, plus it was appropriate for the tone of the story, since my heroine is awkward and lacks self-esteem.

G: Tell us about your query style – do you approach your entire list of prospectives at once, or query in small batches and revise in between?

C: I always query in small batches—between five and eight per round—and then revise as needed. With my last young adult manuscript, I had sent out about ten queries when I got an R & R from an agent. I made a lot of revisions based on the R & R, so I’m glad I hadn’t queried dozens of agents with the earlier version.

G: Now the fun part – what was “the call” like? How did you know your agent was the right person to represent your project?

C:The call was really exciting. I was jittery and nervous, and I’d barely slept the night before, but Erin was easy to talk to. It helped that she offered representation right away. I loved her agenting game plan and the way she spoke about representing my career, rather than just one book. 

G: If you could give one piece of advice to authors seeking publication, what would it be?

C: What has helped me the most is the support of other writers. Whether it’s a local or online critique group, a chapter of RWA or SCBWI, or a group of Twitter friends, I suggest finding writers to bond with. No one else will understand the highs and the lows of writing in the same way. These are the people who will kick you into gear when you lose momentum or keep encouraging you when you feel like giving up. 

Thanks for stopping by, Carla! Can't wait to see where your publishing journey takes you next!

You can learn more about Carla and her work by following her on Twitter (@casacullen) or visiting her blog at You can also find her on Tumblr.

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