An Interview With… Ludo Cinelli

Hi everyone! Today I’m delighted to welcome literary agent Ludo Cinelli to the blog. Ludo is an agent at the Eve White Literary Agency and was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Over to you, Ludo…

1) Did you see yourself becoming a literary agent after you left school? Did
you have any other career plans?


I don’t think I knew what a literary agent was when leaving school. I think
I wanted to be a journalist and I spent a lot of time working on my school
newspaper. I knew I liked reading and writing, which is why I ended up doing an English degree and then a Creative Writing degree. Then in the nebulous post-university times, I had the privilege of trying out a few different work experience positions in publishing and enjoyed working at an agency
immensely.

2) How do you feel that your Creative Writing degree has helped you in your
current job role?


My job involves a lot of editing, as we have to give a manuscript the best possible chance of getting lots of offers of publication when submitting it. This editing isn’t so much on a line-by-line level, but more on a big-picture level like structure, character, and plot. I believe that giving feedback to my classmates during my degree really helped me gain experience
in this type of editing. I also believe it’s helped me to see the
submissions process from both sides, as I did submit some work to a couple of agents after I’d finished my degree. The latter pushes me to keep my
empathy when dealing with writers’ hard work.

3) What do you consider a standout query letter?

One where all the different elements required in a query letter align towards the same purpose. If we can know what you’re writing, why you’re
writing it, and what you’ve done to develop that writing thus far, and all these form a cohesive picture, it’s likely that you’ll have me hooked.

4) On the other, what wouldn’t attract you to a submission?

A hard sell. Don’t tell me that your book is incredible – it’s my job to
make that call. When writers submitting to us tell us how many millions of copies their books will sell, it reveals a few things: a lack of understanding on how many books actually sell, a probable lack of flexibility in editing and guidance, and a lack of understanding in how
competitive the market is.

5) What are your views on the crime and thriller market currently? In your view, is there a sub genre you think is in need of more representation?

It’s a strong market – it’s crowded and it’s hard to make something stand out, but there is always room for amazing new work that truly puts a new spin on things. The psychological thriller sub-genre remains the easiest to
sell across the world. Domestic suspense also can be very fruitful. Police procedurals are tougher and will really need to pull off something special to grab editors’ attention.

6) Do you have a genre that you read for pleasure?

My passion is in literary fiction – fiction that experiments with the limits of what fiction can do. Recently I’ve enjoyed work by Ben Lerner, Mary Gaitskill, Olga Tokarczuk, Rachel Cusk and Kevin Barry.

7) Is there any genre of book that you wouldn’t read?

I struggle with sci-fi and adult fantasy, unless it’s particularly radical or
experimental.

8) What was the last book you read, that wasn’t one of your clients, and if so, did you enjoy it?

Boulevard Wren and Other Stories by Blindboy Boatclub. I enjoyed it immensely – this collection of short stories isn’t the most technically polished you’ll read, but it lives by the sheer quantity of mad ideas packed
into it and its willingness to follow through with them. Humour is so tricky
to pull off in prose, but every story had me laughing.

9) When you leave your desk on a Friday, what’s the first thing you do? On a
Friday evening/on the weekend, what do you do to relax?

I love to cook and I often try new recipes. At some point during the weekend I’ll usually stick a film on as I love cinema. I like to go on long walks in London, and I’m on a quest to find the best pizzeria in town. I’m also partial to good pub quizzes, board games, and more video games than I care
to admit to.

10) If you had to choose between Rod Stewart and Freddie Mercury, who would
you choose and why?

I find Freddie Mercury the far more interesting and mysterious character of
the two. Rod Stewart is an entertaining hot mess, but he’s too obvious. Can
I keep “Young Turks” though? I don’t want to throw the baby out with the
bathwater.

Thank you for visiting the blog today, Ludo. It has been a pleasure to interview you.

Bio: Ludo Cinelli joined Eve White Literary Agency in 2017, after various internships in the publishing industry. He assists Eve White on her list of clients as well as building and maintaining his own. He has an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London. Regardless of their genre, the books he loves shine a light on unfamiliar people, places and things.

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