“You’ll never work at your best capacity if you’re constantly fighting against your weaknesses.”
Oh. Em. Freaking. Gee.
What’s with the eagerness?
We have our first-ever literary agent on the podcast! Not just any literary agent, but the President of New Leaf Literary & Media, one of the hottest and most sought after management and representation firms today. Joanna discovers and helps to shape the careers of talented and successful authors like Veronica Roth. For those who’ve gone MIA for the past several years, Veronica is the author of the DIVERGENT series, also an extremely successful Hollywood Blockbuster trilogy that Joanna’s firm helped to shepherd into the world. FYI: You’ll hear all about those specific details in Joanna’s episode!
Joanna and I dive right into the heart of why she’s a literary agent and we dissect her leadership skills as an entrepreneurial badass. A special note to fellow writers, this episode is L-I-F-E. We discuss agent representation, what it takes to be the kind of author that stands out from the crowd, Joanna’s ideal client, how she likes to creatively work with them, and crafting solid query letters (Joanna even shares examples of rare query letters that have made her fall head-over-heels).
Get ready for an episode that’ll blow your mind!
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“Just keep writing. Get your butt in the seat and keep going.”
“Keep reading. You’re not going to be able to be a good writer unless you know what good writing looks like.”
“It gets me really excited for people to do things that excite them.”
What You’ll Learn From This Episode:
Joanna’s entrepreneurial journey building a strong foundation for New Leaf Literary & Media
How to lead your team to success by leaning into your strengths instead of fighting against your weaknesses
- How Joanna creates an inspiring, passionate, and soul-filling work environment for her team of loyal agents and staff
- What Joanna looks for in potential future clients
- Examples of query letters that immediately caught Joanna’s attention
- Why it’s crucial to craft a query letter that reaches the central conflict
- How Joanna works creatively with her clients
- Examples of long-term goals that Joanna’s ideal client would have
Learn More About Joanna Volpe
Joanna represents all brands of fiction from picture books to adult novels. Her picture book taste is the most eclectic, ranging from sweet to fun to smart to quirky. For other fiction (both adult and children’s) she has an affinity for stories that have a darker element to them, whether they be horror, drama or comedy. She’s not the kind of reader that needs a romance in her novels, though she does appreciate a good one.
On the non-fiction side her tastes are much more specific. For children she looks for topics that captivate kids: biographies, animal-related stories, all sciences and history, etc. Joanna also has an affinity for morbid, weird or offbeat topics. In her adult non-fiction tastes she tends toward all things geek-related, foodie books, travel books, and general pop-culture and pop-science.
Joanna’s Recommended Books & Resources:
Strength Finders by Tom Rath
Good to Great by Jim Collins
The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Andrea Brown Conference in Big Sur
Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, Indiana where Joanna discovered Veronica Roth (“Divergent”)