Noah Ballard is a good guy. A nice guy. Raised in NJ, Noah traveled to the Midwest to attend the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Upon earning his degree, he returned east to work for the Emma Sweeny Agency. Now, he’s settled close to home and family at the literary agency, Curtis Brown, Ltd. in NYC.
But this good guy will go loco with a few simple words. Playful – Pleasant – Predictable.
Don’t say these words. Don’t do it. Because he’s a nice guy. We don’t want him to go loco—not yet.
Let him go “good” loco over your amazing manuscript. Noah is looking for thrillers, upmarket fiction, and noir contemporary. He wants provocative authors. He’s in the “now” – so nothing from last season, smarmy, or outdated. Hook him in the opener by a cute little Corgi with bloody paws. Give him characters with bright green hair and tattoos of ancient Sumerian gods. Thrill him with a chase scene, taking him backwards, the wrong way, through the Chunnel – oh wait, that’s been done before. But he’s cool if you do it again; with panache and no – ‘ly’ words. Challenge his intellect with a Kobayashi Maru scenario, then add a few RKO twists and turns.
Look, this isn’t his first rodeo. He’s been all over the country and the world, presenting at conferences, workshops, and generally enthused about writing and publishing. His agency represents bestselling authors and Pulitzer prize winners, so he’s not easily manipulate by trends. He longs for the underserved voice. He particularly dislikes when authors try to school readers. His advice: don’t start any piece of writing with the definition of a word. Give him a good story that’s honest and relatable. Give him vigorous dialogue. Speech, he reminds us, is what characters do to each other. It’s just as interactive as punching a villain in the face. Above all, Noah wants to be different after he reads your powerful book. He’s picky, street-wise, tough.
He’s even quit smoking.
Noah will be taking pitches at the 2020 GLVWG Write Stuff Conference™ on Saturday, March 14 (advance registration required). When you query or pitch to Noah:
- Do … be polite and respectful.
- Don’t … try to shock or disgust him.
- Do … be confident.
- Don’t … stalk him (you won’t get published and it’s illegal).
- Do … provide a query with just enough info about your finished manuscript (and you) that will make him ask for sample pages. Think of queries as a window display and agents as window shoppers. You want the agents to come in and buy from your shop.
And oh yeah, he lives in Brooklyn. You don’t mess with people from Brooklyn. They go bad loco over tepid literature.
To read more about Noah Ballard, click on the following links:
Bernadette Sukley, Write Stuff Writers Conference™ Flash Literature Contest Organizer and Chairman of the 2016 GLVWG Anthology, ‘The Write Connections’, has been researching, writing and editing for over 25 years. Her work has been featured in national and international publications. Her focus is human interest, health and lifestyle. She’s also written and edited guides, pamphlets, columns, stories, and novels. She’s published two novels (A Saving Hurricane, Find Me a Woman) and a nonfiction book (Made in Pennsylvania) within the last eight years.