Agent Critique

Agent Critique


The first pages have been read and critiqued. If you were a finalist, check your email for a message from Nicole.

Here’s the breakdown: 8 partial requests and 1 FULL request.

Thanks for entering and participating in my “learning” process of agenting. It’s been a real eye-opener, and I have a new appreciation for everyone involved in the business side of writing.



This was waaaay more difficult than I first imagined. Whew! Thanks for all the wonderful entries! I chose 16 first pages, but I’m sure Nic will read through all 56 entries to double-check me. Just in case…

Here are the sixteen: Aaron G, AJ L, Ally H, Amy F, Cari D, Cris A, Debbie H, Denise B, Jessa R, Julie B, Kate L, Ryan H, Sonya W, Stina L, Tammy P, and Tosha S.

If all goes according to plan, you should hear from Nicole soon. She hinted at requesting some partials, so polish those pages and happy writing!

UPDATE: The contest is now closed. I’ll post the winners here next week. Here are some professional notations I’ve made (just in case you’re interested):

– ending your first page on a great hook is guaranteed to have me discussing your entry with Nicole over dinner the same night I read it (if you’re this entrant, you know I’m talking about you – nicely done)

– spelling my name correctly in my email addy and then incorrectly in the body of the email shows me the reason agents frequently tweet about spelling their name correctly (over 50 entrants and four spelled my name wrong when addressing me)

– sending me an unproofed page is evident when the typos are small – good, detail-oriented critique partners are invaluable for this reason

– writing a great story really is what drives forward this profession – and even after reading over a thousand published novels and over a hundred unpublished manuscripts, I still can’t define voice, but I know when it’s three in the morning and I keep turning pages or scrolling down or clicking next that I know I’ve found an author with a gripping voice

Thanks again for entering! I look forward to reading the pages and discussing them with Nicole and hearing how she breaks down a page to a partial request or a full to representation. Ahhh, the inner workings of an agent’s mind.

It’s finally here! Your chance to win a one page critique by agent Nicole Resciniti.

The rules are simple.
– Polish your first page
– Email your first page in the body (no attachments will be opened) of the email by June 1, 2012 to the Agency’s intern: (yes, that’s me!)
– I will read and choose one, two, ten! (however many catch my interest) first pages to pass onto Nicole

It’s that easy. But it’s also completely subjective.

Why would we offer this one page critique?

Here’s my story: It all started in New York! Last summer I accepted the position of Agency Intern for The Seymour Agency. I judged a contest, loved one of my entries, and encouraged that entrant to query Nicole. I then learned that same entrant received SIX agent offers and is now a Golden Heart Finalist. The rush of discovering new talent was too much to resist. I’m never without a book to read, and working for one of Publishers Marketplace‘s top dealmakers (both Mary Sue and Nicole are listed in the top 20) is thrilling. So this is my chance to see if I can spot a winner, and it’s your chance to see if you can land an agent.

Happy writing!

Final Notes: Yes, that’s my awesome treadmill desk where I will be reading the first pages. Yes, I will pass on as many as I LOVE. Yes, I will post the “winners” here on this blog. Yes, I will email you your one page critiqued by Nicole, unless she requests a partial or emails you herself.



About Marisa Cleveland

writer. reader. infinite dreamer.
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38 Responses to Agent Critique

  1. Thanks for doing this, Marisa! Are there time constraints, genre limitations?

  2. Marisa Cleveland says:

    Hi Dale. Nicole represents action/suspense/thriller, mystery, sci-fi, romance, UF/fantasy, YA/children’s, and non-fiction. Thanks for mentioning the deadline. I updated my post. June 1st. Cheers!

  3. Marisa, what constitutes a “page”? For instance, my chapter 1 starts 1/3 of way down the page. Is from that point down to the end of that page considered a “page”, or is there a certain word count you’re looking for? Thanks for this opportunity!

  4. Marisa Cleveland says:

    Hi George. You could consider a page to be the same as if you didn’t have to start the chapter a third of the way down, if you’d like to get in a few more lines. 🙂

  5. Jamie Ayres says:

    Great contest idea, Risa:) I hope you discover some hidden gems!

  6. Marisa Cleveland says:

    Thanks, Jamie! Nic’s workshop at RT where she signed a new author inspired me.

  7. mvfreeman says:

    This is an awesome opportunity, thank you.

  8. Anita Exley says:

    Do you want anything in particular in the subject line, so you know they are contest entries? thanks 🙂

  9. Marisa Cleveland says:

    Hi Anita. Your subject line can be anything you’d like, but I think most entrants are putting Contest or Agent Critique. 🙂

    • Marisa Cleveland says:

      That’s so awesome of you! Thanks so much! I already fell in love with an entry and can’t wait to share with Nicole! She’s brilliant with talented writers.

  10. Pingback: New Contest « Jamie Ayres

  11. salarsen says:

    Love that you’ve organized this!! Thank you so much!

  12. Debbie Herbert says:

    Thanks for the opportunity Marisa!

  13. Jessa Russo says:

    WOW! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity, Marisa!

  14. Jessa Russo says:

    Hmmm, I’m wondering if we should send single-spaced or double-spaced first pages. I know that in submitting work, its always double-spaced of course, but for this, should we do single?


  15. My critique partner sent me over. 🙂 Thanks so much for the opportunity, Marisa!

  16. Mark says:

    Very cool, thanks for doing this Marisa. One day you’ll be the kind of agent I look forward to querying and being rejected by. 😉

  17. Debbie Herbert says:

    Yay! I can’t wait to see what Nicole thinks of the first page. Many thanks Marissa.
    p.s. Wish I had the energy to treadmill walk and write at the same time. 🙂

    • Marisa Cleveland says:

      Congrats! …and I walk slowly when I’m writing. Very slowly. 2 miles an hour. Sometimes 2.5. 😀

  18. Oh wow!

    Thank you so much for picking me as a winner. That’s just made my day. No, actually, my week!

  19. Aaron Grant says:

    Thank you, Marisa. I’m honored and excited that you’ve chosen my first page.

    From my excitement comes a bout of anxiety. Now to work on polishing up my manuscript, just in case.

  20. I’m so thrilled to be in the list of winners. Good luck everyone!

  21. Congrats to all the winners of the contest! 🙂

  22. Oh, two more things. First, congrats to Nicole Resciniti on her nomination! Second, I still love the treadmill desk, Marisa! 🙂

    • George, I sent you an email. It went to MY spam. I don’t know why. I resent it just now. The treadmill desk is definitely one of my favorite places to write. Good luck with your writing! I hope to see it on shelves one day.

  23. Amy smith says:

    Congrats to all the winners and thanks for the opportunity, Marisa.

  24. Ally Hayes says:

    So excited to have been picked. Welcome any and all feedback from Nicole.
    Thanks again for doing this, looking forward to hearing back!

    Ally Hayes

  25. MVFreeman says:

    Thanks for the opportunity–and congrats to the winners! Well done! 😉
    (I still envy your treadmill desk, Marisa) 🙂

  26. amyskennedy says:

    I am almost dumbfounded, and ecstatic — thank you, and congrats to the others chosen!

  27. Talynn says:

    Oh my cow! I am so excited! I am for sure speechless. Thank you soo much Marisa for hosting this contest. I am thrilled I was chosen.

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