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How Marisha Pessl Found Her Literary Agent

Elle Magazine ran a long profile of Special Topics in Calamity Physics author Marisha Pessl this month.

Pessl has a new book called Night Film coming out on August 20th, and the profile explored how she landed an agent for her debut novel. She would end up with a $615,000 advance for Special Topics in Calamity Physics, according to the article. Check it out:

In 2004, Pessl cold-e-mailed 15 literary agents about her novel, including Susan Golomb, who represents Jonathan Franzen. Golomb was charmed by Pessl’s note—in particular, by her blurbworthy description of her own work: “a funny, encyclopedic and wildly ambitious literary tale about love and loss, youth and yearning, treachery and terror” … In 2008, Pessl left Golomb for superagent Binky Urban, whose agency, ICM, has a strong Hollywood division. (Bret Easton Ellis and Cormac McCarthy are among Urban’s clients.) Then she changed publishers, moving to Random House. “I happened to meet Binky Urban socially, and it just seemed like a very nice fit, the two of us,” Pessl said of the agent who reportedly secured her a $1 million deal for Night Film and a $1.5 million deal for a yet-to-be-written third novel.

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