Monday, March 14, 2011

Interview with Marisa Corvisiero, L. Perkins Agency

Marisa Corvisiero is an attorney as well as an agent with the L. Perkins Agency. She is actively building her client list and focusing on science fiction, fantasy, horror and romance, as well young adult and children's literature. In non-fiction, she is interested in seeing proposals for memoirs, how-to (in any industry), guides and tales about the legal practice, parenting, self-help, and mainstream science.

Come meet Marisa in person at the June 17-19th, 2011 Crested Butte Writers Conference.


  1. Which categories do you currently acquire? Which category has a special/constant place in your heart?
    Answer: I am currently acquiring Romance and Cross Genre Romance; Thrillers, Adventures, and Mysteries; Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal; Young Adult and Middle Grade in any of those genres; and Picture Books for Children. In non fiction I like environmental and popular science books; How To, Self Improvement, Parenting and Baby Books, and Spiritual.

  1. What length synopsis do you prefer to see with a partial? Single spaced or double?

Answer: Two to Three double spaced pages.

  1. In terms of submissions, what are you sick to death of and what would you like to see more of?

Answer: I’m tired of the feisty female protagonist, and glamorized oversexed vampires. I’d like to see more far out plots and character growth. If you’re going to give me vampires, please let them be unique. Sexy is good, but do they all have to be hypnotically beautiful? It gets old…

  1. What are the most compelling elements you feel are necessary for a good
    read? What particularly grabs your attention?

    Answer: I like situations that are not ordinary. Mix that with a quirky or flawed or unaware character and you have a good mix. The key is to make me want to know what happens, but don’t make it so weird that it looks like you’re trying to just shock the reader.

  1. For you, which elements in a fiction submission are terminal problems garnering automatic rejections and which are tempting and fixable meriting a look at a revision if a talented author is willing to accept your advice?
    1. Voice – must have an interesting voice. I don’t like whining or shallow characters unless there is a reason for it.
    2. Weak Grammar- Fixable
    3. Common plot- If it’s been done before, make sure you give me a reason to read it.
    4. Poor character development- Can be enhanced, but make sure they are compelling enough to make me/reader connect.
    5. Story is too controversial (ie rape, politics, religion—what else?) Not a problem, just make it work. Controversy sells, but don’t just shock me without a reason.
    6. Mediocre / uninspired writing- It depends on many things. May suggest rewrite.
    7. Excessive use of violence or cursing- It depends on plot and characters. There should be a reason and it should fit the plot or scene.
    8. Lacking genre –specific requirements like, suspense/sexual tension/ world-building- As long as author has a good idea of what is going on this can be fixed.
    9. Pacing is off—plot is too slow- Fixable, but if you loose me too quickly I may not get far enough to make helpful suggestions.
    10. Story starts in wrong spot- May be a turn off and I’ll stop reading.
    11. Ending is unsatisfactory- Not good. I’ll make you rewrite it. I like neat packages even if its sad. Something about it must give me satisfaction and make me feel like I didn’t waste my time.
    12. Other

  1. Does meeting an author face-to-face at a conference make a difference in your response time, the submission process, or the rejection process (ie. Form letter vs a few sentences of advice)?

Answer: Yes, it makes a lot of difference. The majority of my clients are authors that I met at conferences. My response time is often quicker too. I always try to give some constructive feedback. If I don’t, it means that the story just really didn’t grab me or the writing is not ready.

  1. Besides the writing, the story and the talent, what are the most important elements you look for in an author, ie. contest wins, cooperativeness, affiliations to writers organizations, knowledge of publishing industry, promotability, etc?

Answer: I look at the whole package. Often the writing speaks for itself, but it helps in many ways when an author is marketable and easy to work with.

  1. Do you have any pet peeves?

Answer: I don’t like to waste time and I don’t like to be rushed. I appreciate it very much when people understand how hard I work and how busy I am.

  1. What are you addicted to?

Answer: New romances when the characters or one of them dislikes or misunderstands the other; time travel; and serendipity.

  1. What have you always wanted to do?

Answer: Space and/or time travel; Sing in public…but I’m too shy ;)

  1. Do you have a favorite quote?

Answer: “If there is no other life out there, then there’s an awful lot of wasted space” Carl Sagan- Contact.

4 comments:

Vince said...

Hi Theresa:

I just love these interviews.

I'd like to know if Marisa is also a writer and if she has a fiction WIP. Also does she think agents should also be writers or does she think that might be a conflict of interest.

I really liked Carl Sagan. However his quote:

“If there is no other life out there, then there’s an awful lot of wasted space” Carl Sagan- Contact.

is probably what Adam and Eve would have said about the earth. : )

Vince

P.S. I read Contact and Carl was much better at nonfiction.

Theresa said...

Hi Vince,
You'll have to come to the conference and chat with Marisa as she's so dang busy, it took her months to make the time to answer these questions. She also is a practicing attorney, so I doubt she has time to write. On the CB Writers Conference website under her bio is a link to another interview she gave recently and I don't remember that she writes.
Sorry I can't get your answers from her.

Sue Palmer Fineman said...

Fantastic interview. This is my kind of agent!

Marisa A. Corvisiero, Esq. said...

Hi Vince, Thanks so much for posting here. I do write. I love to write. I write science fiction, romance, and children's books. I'm also working on other projects, which are taking way to long to get completed. Mostly it's an issue of lack of time. But like getting here to post a reply a month later, I'll get to my 'stuff' too. :)

I don't think that agents need to be writers, but to be an agent you must be a good reader and at least be able to write. There are some basics that all agents need to know, and quite frankly, I think that it would be very difficult to de an effective job without those skills. The conflict of interest arises if one is not careful in submitting his/her work at the same time to a publisher... in other words, competing with clients. But I don't think that that happens. An agent makes no money unless they sell to a publisher. And the more money the client earns, the more money the agent makes. So it would be pretty self defeating to neglect a clients in any way or compete with them. A good agent can sell the work of multiple clients at the same time, so selling her own work should not be any different. When it comes down to it, the publishers buy what they like and what they want to add to their list.

I do hope that you can make it to this wonderful conference. I'd love to chat more. I have a few things to say... can you tell? Yes, a long winded agent/attorney. No surprise there right? lol

By the way, I use that Carl Sagan quote every time!

Best regards,
Marisa