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An Interview with Laura Pohl upon receiving an offer of representation.

01/12/2017

Laura Pohl (onlybylaura on QT) has signed with agent Sarah LaPolla of Bradford Literary Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
I’ve always loved alien invasion stories, and INDEPENDENCE DAY was my favorite movie. When I set out to write a sci-fi with an alien invasion, it was natural that I was drawn back to it – and had my main character be a pilot in training as well.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing fanfiction when I was fifteen. After three years, I decided I’d go into my own ideas, and I’ve been writing ever since.
How long have you been working on this book?
A year and a half. I wrote the first draft in June 2015.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
There are days that are worse than others. I’ve always known I loved writing – and that’s the one thing I knew how to do. So I always kept pushing forward, because writing and publishing is about not giving up. If you persist enough, you’ll get there.
Is this your first book?
Not by far! More like my 9th.
Do you have any formal writing training?
No. I am graduated in Literature, but we didn’t have any special courses on creative writing.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
No. Between college and working part time, I just wrote whenever I could. Sometimes on the bus, sometimes during lunch break, sometimes at night when I got home.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
I drafted it once and made 3 revisions after that.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Of course! Critique Partners and beta readers are ESSENTIAL for a good manuscript. I had six people read the book and their input helped me achieve a better story.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I am a devoted planner. I wrote down all my character names and motivations, and proceeded with the outline of the story. Personally, I don’t do a super detailed outline, but I do outline the main plot and how it’s going to end.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I queried my previous manuscript for two years. This one I queried for six months.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
A total of 52 query letters.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I selected agents who I followed on twitter and liked what they talked about, or the books they represented. I also verified if they represented my genre, or if they had an item in their MSWL list that matched my book.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Yes. I always made an opening paragraph. Sometimes I mentioned the name of a client whose book I loved, or mentioned an item in their MSWL wishlist, or an interview. It’s always good to mention why you’re querying them.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Stay on course, don’t give up. Rejections are very subjective, and I got a bunch of those before I got an offer. Sometimes, what an agent dislikes is exactly what’s going to make another agent offer on your book.