Tuesday, November 25, 2008

GumboWriters Interview with Literary Agent, Peter Riva with International Transactions

How long have you been agent and how did you get your start Peter?

My wife and I founded the company in 1975 in London. In 1981 we moved the company to New York and our 1st licensee here was to Viking: Lucien Clergue's Nude Workshop, a photographic book.

What makes your agency different than any others?

We only handle the project we believe in, personally enjoy and, therefore, can stand behind 100%.

What are you looking for specifically that you wish you would see more of?

"you were there" historically accurate non-fiction. Experts who broaden our perspective with 1st hand accounts, page turning accounts.

Peter what are you tired of receiving?

Well, we reject or pass on about 200 submissions a week. It is exhausting wading through the dross that some people send, especially fantasy nonsense.

How can a new writer get your attention in a good way?

Send a letter that is literate, to the point and – like a dust jacket – quickly gets our attention.

How can a signed writer stay in your radar without driving you insane?

E-mail questions are fine, we like telling what is happening. But authors need to remember that we're at the mercy of very slow editorial review boards and editors. Sometimes months can pass by with no real answers.

What do you wish more writers understood about you as an agent Peter that they don't seem to?

I think they mostly forget that we don't work for them. We work with them, co-investors in their work and our effort/expertise to get their work read and, hopefully, accepted. Authors who begin to order us to do this or that we quickly dispose of, wishing them well elsewhere.

What's the best way for a writer to reach you?

E-mail. With all the travel and time zones, e-mail is the best method. Calling is a waste of my selling time to editors.