Slice and Dice

Interview

#81: A Sneak Peek at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with Writers House agent Andrea Morrison, by Maria Gagliano

As a writer, you’ve likely turned to Google for industry advice at some point. And who can blame you? With a few clicks you can dig up agent contact lists, read forums about the best agents to query, even swipe query letter templates. Some of the resources out there are more reliable than others, and when it comes to querying agents your best source of wisdom is the agents themselves. If only you could personally ask them the burning questions that keep you Googling long after Stephen Colbert is done for the night.

We chatted with Writers House agent Andrea Morrison about her best advice for writers who are getting ready to query. She’ll join a team of fellow agents on our “Ask the Agents” panel at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference on Sunday, September 11. Their talk will unveil so much more than a Google search ever can.

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#80: A Sneak Peek at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with G.P. Putnam’s Sons editor Stacey Barney, by Maria Gagliano

With so many adults reading YA fiction these days, writers crafting young characters might struggle to decide where their work falls on the spectrum. For publishers, the line between YA and adult fiction is absolutely clear—regardless of who the end reader might be.

We spoke with G.P. Putnam’s Sons Senior Editor Stacey Barney about her process for acquiring YA fiction. Stacey will also share her insights at our panel “But Will It Sell?” at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference on Sunday, September 11.

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#79: A Sneak Peek at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with literary agent Andrea Barzvi, by Maria Gagliano

If writing a book isn’t enough to max out a writer’s brain, the pressure to ‘build a platform’ also looms for anyone hoping to land an agent and publisher. But what does having a ‘platform’ really mean? And how do the rules change based on the kind of book you’re writing?

We chatted with literary agent Andrea Barzvi about the nuances of building a following before your book is published. Andrea will talk more about this on our panel “Plugged In” at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference on Sunday, September 11.

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#78: A Sneak Peek at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with Ballantine/Penguin Random House editor Sara Weiss, by Maria Gagliano

As writers, we spend so much time on our craft that it can be hard to imagine pitching our book as a product that will “sell” to thousands of consumers. But if we want to connect with an agent or publisher, that’s essentially what we need to do: convince them that readers will want to buy our book. It’s a difficult mind shift after spending months—often years—looking at our writing as art. In truth, we have to see it both ways: as a work of art, and as a product that will sell.

We chatted with Ballantine Senior Editor Sara Weiss about the fine line between art and sales when she’s considering a book for publication. Sara will talk more about this on our panel “But Will It Sell?” at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference on Sunday, September 11.

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Interview

An Interview with Jeffrey Thomson, by Heidi Sistare

Jeffrey Thomson’s most recent book, fragile, is a memoir that covers years and many miles, exploring our relationship to the natural world and to risk. It’s a story that gives us unfettered access to Thomson’s thoughts; we share his experiences with travel, teaching, fatherhood, and the edge between living and dying. In addition to being a memoirist, Thomson is a poet, translator, and teacher. I spoke with Thomson about place, collaboration, and his current project—a historical novel inspired by Thomson’s own ancestry set in the 1700s. He also shares the most important lessons he hopes to impart to his students and reminds us: “Writing is about learning. Always.”

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Interview

An Interview with Mira Ptacin, by Olga Kreimer

Mira Ptacin’s debut memoir, Poor Your Soul, about the grief of losing an unexpected pregnancy at twenty-eight, is not depressing. This might be surprising; between that event and the braided-in story of her brother’s sudden death at sixteen, you expect tears before you’re done reading the dust jacket summary. But the slice of her history that Mira’s book offers is full of color and nuance, peppered with details and even humor that breathe life into all its layers. The result will probably still make you cry. But it’s the familiar details that bring it home, the flashes of recognition of sticky youth, new love, New York City sidewalks, iron-willed parents, teenage cigarettes, petulant silences, 80s fashion, puzzling neighbors, unexpected joy—and of grief and pain, yes, but also of irrepressible resilience.

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