Sharon Pelletier grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan and moved to New York in 2009 to pursue a career in publishing. She joined Dystel & Goderich Literary Management in 2013 after working for Europa Editions, Vantage Press, and Barnes & Noble. While her interests are broad, Sharon’s list focuses on upmarket commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction. Recent mystery/thriller titles Sharon represents include IRON GODDESS by Dharma Kelleher (Alibi, June 2016), THE PRISONER OF HELL GATE by Dana I. Wolff (Picador, July 2016) and THE GIRL BEFORE by Rena Olsen (Putnam, August 2016).
Like many an agent before her, Sharon Pelletier’s publishing career began with a lifelong infatuation with books and literature.
“I was sure from a ridiculously young age that I wanted to be involved with books when I grew up,” Sharon says, “and while my aspirations evolved from author to journalist to editor to agent as I grew up and gained experience, my core passion never wavered.”
Before signing on at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, Sharon was a bookseller. She’s also held a few editorial positions and worked as a freelancer, for a brief period.
Of her role job, Sharon says, “Agenting lets me edit intensively and creatively and lets me rave about books I love, connecting them with editors who will love them just as much, so it’s the perfect fit for my goals and talents.”
Before all else when considering a potential client, Sharon takes an author’s work ethic into strong consideration. She gleans this information via the efficacy of an author’s query letter or pitch.
“If you’ve done your research on how to present your work most effectively in a query or pitch, that’s an indication you’re generally hardworking and will take every aspect of getting published seriously,” Sharon says. “Talent is so important, both as a storyteller and as a prose stylist, but if you’re not ready to support your talent with research and dedication, then you’re likely not ready for an agent.”
The best way to reach out to Sharon is via email. Though DGLM’s full submission guidelines are available on their website, below Sharon offers some insider tips on how to catch her eye with your query:
“Write a strong query letter of roughly three paragraphs that includes a compelling story pitch, other publication credits, and any information about yourself that’s relevant to the book, and send it via email with the first 25 pages of your novel (or your proposal, if you’ve written nonfiction).
“For bonus points include a sensible word count and a couple of well-chosen comp titles, both of which demonstrate that you understand the market and how your book would fit in it. It can also help to mention why you queried me, specifically, at our agency—for example, you read this interview, or we met at Killer Nashville!”
When asked if there was anything else she’d like to share with fans of Killer Nashville, Sharon replied:
“Jane Dystel and her business partner Miriam Goderich started DGLM two decades ago, and it has now grown to a staff of fourteen! Our agents represent basically every category, fiction and nonfiction: from cookbooks and life and style to serious biography and narrative nonfiction to popular science and celebrity memoir; from mysteries and thrillers to women’s fiction to scifi/fantasy to romance. Adult and YA, middle grade and picture books, we do it all!”
“I prefer white wine to red, coffee to tea, skim milk to whole, cheesecake to pie, caramel to coconut…I’m dying for a fantastic Les Miserables retelling of some sort to cross my desk (Eponine the Rum Runner, anyone??!), and am a sucker for any kind of closed community – cults, island civilizations, boarding schools—or relatable big families (I am the oldest of seven siblings). But of course, as every agent will say in every interview or panel . . . I’m looking for amazing stories that I can’t imagine saying no to! So I hope you have lots of good stuff coming my way, Killer Nashville writers!”