Thursday, March 11, 2010

Some Questions for Chuck Sambuchino

Hey all! Sorry I've been uncharacteristically mute for awhile. It's been a busy week and a half. But things have calmed down and now I can share with you the Wisdom of Chuck and everything you ever wanted to know about literary agents.

What do you believe is the average amount of clients that an agent reps at any given time?

Hard to say, but perhaps 25 is a good average. Some can rep 40 or more. Others 15 or fewer. It just depends on how many books the writers are churning out.

Hey, Chuck! Any advice about marketing for us playwrights?
Never underestimate 1) referrals, and 2) the ability of a good developmental workshop. Get some actors in a space to workshop the play. Invite producers to see it, and let that baby fly. If the work has potential, power players should approach you afterward and talk about a regional production.

Is it wise to get an experienced agent for my fiction?

Newer agents are actively looking for clients and will have more time to put into your manuscript. A more experienced agent will probably know plenty of editors and sell your work quicker, but they are not often taking on new clients, and will probably give your work less attention. It's a trade-off.

I'm looking for an agent who lives near me but can't find anyone? What should I do?

Most agents are in NYC, and you don't have to live near an agent to work with one. I know both of you would like to meet face to face, but in-person contact is not mandatory to have a wonderful and successful agent-author relationship. Keep in mind, though, that agents who live outside of NYC are still great choices. Look for sales they've made. If they're selling books, then they're good at what they do. Plenty of great agents live in California, Colorado, Florida, Boston, DC and Texas.

I've heard of writers selling their novels based on a synopsis only, but a lot of advice says you should only query with a finished manuscript. Which is correct?

If you're a new author, you need a finished, polished manuscript. After your agent sells that book, you may run into some editors who like your writing and want to line up other books from you. This is a situation where editors can ask you for synopses and make deals on those alone. In other words, never plan on this happening. Just hope!

Agents love writers with platform, but I'm new to this whole thing. Can you give some advice on building a platform?

This is a topic that could require hours. But I will tell you that an underestimated tactic is teaming up with others. For instance, if you're having trouble producing blog content and getting readership (and thereby building a platform), start a blog with other like-minded writers. So instead of just you writing about fantasy writing, there are seven of you and each writes one day a week. Also, if you want to write about a nonfiction subject (parenting, for example), but lack credentials, then team up with an expert. They supply the expertise and credentials, and you do the writing.

Thanks for visiting, Chuck and be sure to visit Chuck's blog at


  1. Very interesting. Thanks, Chuck and Lisa!

  2. Nice interview Lisa! Thanks for answering Chuck!

  3. omg this is awesome! thanks so much for sharing!!

    love the blog and the tag line! "Why A?"

    tehe. very cute!

  4. Lisa, your blog is so interesting and well-done.
    You are an incredibly creative and talented person. I love your title...Have I said so before?

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