Meet Martin Literary’s newest agent

Please welcome Natalie Grazian, our newest agent, who recently relocated to Seattle from San Diego. Natalie is smart, witty, and lovely. She represents Adult Fiction projects, from commercial to literary, and has a special lean toward fiction with speculative elements. You can direct your queries to natalie@martinlit.com. You can read about her submission policies here. Her official website bio is below:

Natalie Grazian, Associate Literary Agent

As the latest on staff, Natalie is eager to build her adult fiction list. She is currently accepting queries for commercial, upmarket, and literary adult fiction.

Natalie has a BA in English and Minor in Spanish from Santa Clara University. Upon graduating, she worked as a sales representative for W. W. Norton & Co. and interned for two literary agencies, including Martin Literary & Media Management. For two years, Natalie was the Fiction Editor of The Santa Clara Review, the oldest literary magazine on the West Coast.

She’s thrilled to join MLM and fully realize her passion for working with authors and bringing their stories to life. She has a knack for collaborative manuscript development, extensive insight into the publishing world, and an irrepressible drive to see her clients’ work at the bookstore.

Natalie would love it if you sent her contemporary fantasy (in the vein of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians). She’s drawn to dark comedy that still carries a beating heart—because at the end of the day, she turns to books to find humanity. She is highly interested in reimagined myths and fairytales from different cultures, historical fiction, and a good quest narrative in any genre. More than anything, she looks for complex characters who make the unrelatable relatable, and for a smart, distinctive narrative voice. At this time, she’s not seeking military thrillers, sports stories, or romance novels. 

Natalie grew up in sunny San Diego, which she recalls wistfully from time to time, but not too often. She’s taken to Seattle like a duck to water. When she isn’t lost in a book, she might be writing stories or doing any number of bipedal activities in the mountainous Pacific Northwest. She is distrustful of any purse that can’t fit a slim paperback. Or two. Natalie tweets at @NatalieGrazian.

In Pursuit of Delight

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IN PURSUIT OF DELIGHT

My mission statement, which you can read at the top of my Manuscript Wish List post, specifies that I look for books that delight readers.

On my introductory phone calls with writers, I always read this mission statement so they can get a sense for who I am as a person, agent, and reader. And so they can see why I gravitated toward their work.

On a phone call with a writer recently, I mentioned that I found her work particularly delightful, and I thought readers would too. “Delightful projects are tough to find,” I explained.

Really?” she asked in disbelief.

Yes, really.

It seems that most of the picture book submissions that cross my desk are either too serious, or too didactic. They’re out to teach, inform, or carry out their agenda, and the story gets lost in the lesson. They lack delight. If you’re not sure what delight looks like, it looks like this: kids giggling, cackling at times, kids gasping, kids cheering as the story is being read aloud to them. Delight is NOT watered down commercialism-fueled projects with no substance, or a trend-chasing concept. It’s a story filled with twists and turns and all the good stuff.

I particularly love working with librarians and teachers, because I feel like they have their fingers on the pulse of what kids find delightful. They’re surrounded by kids so they can’t forget what it is that kids like. When they write, they’re not writing with a hypothetical child in mind. They’re writing with specific names and faces in mind. Real life wiggly kids with sticky hands who want to be delighted by stories, rather than scolded by them.

I’m hoping to spend the rest of my career in pursuit of delight.

Good morning, Baltimore!

BALTIMORE

I went to Baltimore for the first time a couple weeks ago because my dad was having a rare heart surgery at Johns Hopkins hospital. We had the weekend before the surgery to wine, dine, and explore the city. And folks? It was glorious. Brick buildings, gorgeous churches, cobblestone roads, amazing restaurants, and the kindest people.

But the most glorious part of Baltimore had to do with books. I mean…

Exhibit A: This Barnes & Noble just a few blocks from out hotel. Amazing. I bought two creepy YA books  that I can’t wait to read.

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Exhibit B: George Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins University. Pinch me. 

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My “5 in 5” Rule

There’s a lot that goes into reading and evaluating a project that shows up in my inbox. One of the tools I utilize is called a “5 in 5 Rule.” This is a tool I use when approaching novel submissions in particular.

My 5 in 5 Rule: if I can’t instantly think of 5 specific names of editors I’d send a project to within reading 5 chapters of a manuscript, I pass.

There’s so much throwing-spaghetti-against-the-wall-and-seeing-what-sticks in publishing. And though I’m guilty of spastically throwing just as much spaghetti as the next agent, I’m striving to—more and more—send out tighter submission lists that are as personal and specific as possible. I want to find the right wall and the right spaghetti. Some editors are brick walls, some are paneled walls, some like whole grain spaghetti, some like gluten free. Okay, this analogy is falling apart. But you know what I mean—hopefully. (Also, going to Olive Garden to carboload real quick. BRB.)

I also use this 5 in R Rule because I only want to take on projects if I think I can be the best advocate possible for a writer. And sometimes, this means I pass on great writing. I did recently, in fact. And, likely, I will again soon. But if I don’t have the right set of contacts for a project, I could be setting up the writer—and myself—for failure or disappointment.

So while I know that a pass from an agent can feel like the worst rejection ever that stings, remember that these is nuance to these decisions. And when one agent comes up empty, there’s another one out there brimming with ideas.

Tasting Cider Book Launch Party – Erin James

My husband Alex and I had the best time at Erin James’ Tasting Cider book launch party at The Woods in Seattle. We did a tasting of some of the most delicious, autumnal ciders from The Seattle Cider Co.

I forgot how amazing craft cider can be. Especially compared to the makes-my-teeth-feel-grimey sugariness of Angry Orchard.

Tasting Cider: The Cider Craft Guide is out now, represented by my colleague Clelia Gore.

Green Burial Guidebook – Preorder NOW!

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The Green Burial Guidebook by Elizabeth Fournier

Release Date: March 15, 2018

Publisher: New World Library

Despite the widespread attention garnered by Jessica Mitford’s 1963 exposé of the funeral industry, The American Way of Death, the American way of death still includes average funeral expenses of between $8,000 and $12,000. What’s more, every year conventional burials in the U.S. bury 800,000 gallons of embalming fluid, containing carcinogenic formaldehyde; hundreds of thousands of tons of wood, steel, copper, and bronze caskets; and millions of tons of concrete vaults. There is a better way and Fournier, affectionately dubbed the “Green Reaper,” walks readers through it, step-by-step. With green burial and home funeral basics to legal how and what’s; choices in practices (at home, at sea, etc.); and even detours into examples of celebrity green burials; this is comprehensive and compassionate guidance. The idea of a “good death” has been much discussed. Fournier points the way to good post-deaths, ones that consider the environmental well-being of the planet and the economic well-being of loved ones.

Preorder this fascinating book on Amazon now!

 

Meet my new intern!

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Martin Literary’s newest editorial intern joined us yesterday for her training day. I met Madi at the Seattle Writing Workshop and was instantly impressed by her smarts and go-getter attitude. I’m so happy to have her on board for this school year.

Madi will be helping me respond to submissions, evaluate manuscripts, edit actual client manuscripts, research, and so forth.

She’s pictured here, double-fisting my two kittens, Maple and Mulberry.

You can follow her on Twitter at @madeline_seaman