Monday, November 7, 2016

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Barbara Ivusic

Over the course of twelve years working in the publishing industry, Barbara Ivusic has amassed an invaluable skillset in publishing, editing, and cultivating talent. 

After graduating with honors from the University of Sydney with a degree in English literature, Barbara pursued a postgraduate certificate in editing and publishing while simultaneously working for Rick Raftos Management. There, Barbara was responsible for hunting through unsolicited manuscripts to help select new clients, as well as liaising with editors and publishers.
With her new found love for helping aspiring authors discover their voice, Barbara established New Author Literary Services an editing company with a strong focus on helping emerging authors.  
Since arriving at Inkitt Literary Agency, Barbara has already launched the careers of numerous new authors and succeeded in publishing five novels.

From smaller firms and old fashioned hardbacks, to big name publishing houses, like Random House and Tor, and new media innovations, she has honed skills and fostered relationships in all facets of the industry.

And now Barbara Ivusic faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

This is a difficult question indeed! The ones that stood out for me are:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Question Six: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows?

My three favorite movies are: Out of Africa, Into the Wild, The Hours

I don't really watch TV shows.

Question Five: What are the qualities of your ideal client?

I have been lucky because I have worked with some amazing authors who have been more than receptive to feedback for their work. In doing so, they have grown to understand that publishing is a business.

As as editor and agent I can see both sides of a project; from the importance of polishing a manuscript and getting it ready for publication to approaching a publisher and finding a market for it. My ideal client has a clear vision of what they want and they are driven to make their work better.

Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for?

The project I would most like to receive a query for is unique; it is something I am intrigued by, something that I can't turn away from, a story I can't put down because it is so different yet so familiar. It is something that can become universally popular and at the same time be edgy and raw.

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?

I love being an agent. I love every aspect of it but what I love the most is meeting new authors. 

My least favorite is having to reject people especially because I know how hard people work to write their stories. It makes me happy that people reach out to me and take the time to submit to my agency.  

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

The advice I would like to tell to an aspiring writer is that it is important to research your market as thoroughly as possible. Try and picture your book on the book shelves; where would it be located, among which books would it be positioned. Think about your readers, who are they, where are they, what do they do? What is it about your book that they are going to love. When you picture your readers, you will also have a better understanding of how to pitch your work when you approach publishers and agents.

I would like writers to understand that in our day and age it pays off to have an online presence, somewhere where their fans can reach out to them and ask questions and interact with them. We are incredibly lucky with how much social media has given us in terms of helping to establish relationships and friendships with people who are on the other side of the world. I encourage writers to engage with their readers.

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

If I could have lunch with any writer, it would be Charlotte Bronte because she made such a great contribution to English literature and I have always been fascinated with her view on Victorian spirituality. I would like to know where her ideas came from and I would love to know her as a person. 

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