Wind Up for The Pitch: Meet Monica Odom

Posted on Mon, Mar 26 2018 9:00 am by Loft Staff

Image text: Monica Odom - Liza Dawson Associates


As we get ready for the 2018 Pitch Conference (April 20-21) here at the Loft, we're getting to know some of the agents and editors who will be in attendance. They can't wait to hear your pitches and read your work. If you have a finished manuscript to pitch, here's your chance—register now!

Monica Odom is an agent at Liza Dawson Associates, where she represents a variety of nonfiction by authors, as well as literary and upmarket fiction, and illustrators. Monica earned her Masters in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University in 2014, and has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University. She was also schooled in bookselling and event coordinating at her local indie, Watchung Booksellers. She loves to see a personal project turn into something original and surprising, and is committed to the expansion of diversity and inclusivity in the publishing industry.

What's the best book (or books) you've read this year?

I just glanced through my Goodreads list of what I read in 2017 (yes, I do the annual challenge) and actually some of my favorites were backlist or reissued/rediscovered backlist titles! Tampa by Alissa Nutting blew my mind and reminded me that books can do very wild things. Both Sex & Rage and Slow Days, Fast Company by Eve Babitz are books I could read every summer. The book that brought me the biggest smile last year was We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby!

What's the most common misconception about agents?

That we’re scary! I promise this is not Shark Tank. (Although would kind of love a pitching panel like that.)

What's the most rewarding part of your job? What's the most difficult part?

The most rewarding part of being an agent is seeing/hearing about people reading and enjoying the books I helped make happen! The most difficult part is actually making the book happen (aka selling the damn thing).

If you could change one thing about publishing, what would it be?

I don’t have an immediate solution, but lessening the barrier to entry into publishing is something I would change. Maybe dropping the requirement for college degrees? Creative comprehensive employment packages to acknowledge not everyone who wants to get into publishing is coming from a certain background socioeconomically speaking and might have different needs than “traditional” publishing candidates? I think this would create a more diverse and inclusive industry that better reflects its readers.

When you aren't out finding the next literary superstar, what keeps you busy?

I’ve been doing a lot of jigsaw puzzles lately while listening to podcasts (Hygge life), but as soon as summer hits I am off to the beach to pleasure read!