Noah Ballard


#57: Behind the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with literary agent Noah Ballard by Maria Gagliano

Only three weeks left until the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference hits downtown Brooklyn. As we confirm final details with our panelists, we can’t help pull a few of these guys aside for an early conversation about their work with debut authors. Today we riffed with Noah Ballard, who recently set up shop at Curtis Brown after several years working with Emma Sweeney. Noah will be on our Pitching an Agent: The Maddening Art of Writing a Query Letter panel on September 7. The weekend’s complete panel schedule can be found here.

How many queries do you typically receive in a week? And how often do you ask people to send more material after you’ve read their pitch?

​When I was working with Emma Sweeney, we typically received anywhere from 100-500 queries per month. Maybe more. Typically, we’d only request five or so per week, if that many. Now that I’m building my own list at Curtis Brown, I’ve been more proactive about reaching out to writers directly instead of waiting on submissions. But, I still receive 30-40 submissions per week, and I request two or three.​

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