Meet the Agent: Anjali Singh of Ayesha Pande Literary

Literary Agent Anjali Singh has been with Ayesha Pande Literary for 2 years. In this profile, learn about her best writing and pitching tips.
Author:
Publish date:

Anjali Singh grew up splitting time between New Delhi, India (her father’s hometown), and Alexandria, VA (her mother’s), while spending summers on the Rhode Island coast with her grandmother. A graduate of Brown University, Singh went on to study Hindu, Urdu, and French in Wisconsin and Paris, and took time to travel around India before eventually settling in New York City. She did editorial stints at various publishing houses—including Vintage Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Simon & Schuster—then turned her focus to agenting, joining Ayesha Pande Literary in 2015.

Singh works in Harlem and lives on the Upper West Side with her husband and two daughters.

Image placeholder title

Seeking

“Graphic novels (YA and adult)—particularly stories we haven’t seen before, memoir, literary fiction.”

Dream Project

“Any project that opens up a new world to readers. I’d love to find another truly great graphic novel or young adult book that is at once very personal but opens up an important piece of history. I’d also love to read and represent more books that contribute to our understanding of the minority/immigrant experience in America, or a book like Patti Smith’s, at once very personal and also beautiful, while illuminating a certain time and place.”

Writing Tips

“Build a community.”
“Practice your craft.”
“Read widely, know who you’re writing for.”

Pitch Tips

“Be able to describe your book succinctly in one or two lines.”
“Have a sense of who your audience might be and which authors have inspired you.”
“Know what it is you want to say, what your books is contributing to the world and why it’s important.”

Query Pet Peeves

“Speaking about yourself in third person.”
"Using more than 350 words to describe your book.”
“Not being able to compare your book to any others (it’s unlike anything else ever written).”

Mentor

“My colleague, Ayesha Pande. She was an editor long before I was, and then modeled for me the kind of agent I want to be in the world. [Her best advice:] Represent projects you find meaningful, and always treat others—authors and colleagues—how you would want to be treated.”

Why She Agents

“I started out in publishing because I loved reading and writing. I’ve stayed because it’s a wonderful community to belong to, and being an editor—and now an agent—has allowed me to help people whose stories I believe in become published writers.”

Clients

Sherine Hamdy and Myra El-Mir, an untitled graphic novel about growing up Muslim in America (forthcoming from Dial Books for Young Readers)

Bridgett M. Davis, author of What Does Happiness Play For? (forthcoming from Little, Brown)

Arif Anwar, author of The Storm (co-agented with Ayesha Pande; forthcoming from HarperCollins Canada and Atria in the U.S.)

Fun Facts

“I love biking around NYC. Citibike has changed my life!”
“My favorite vacation would involve a good long hike along a seaside cliff or forested mountain trail followed by an afternoon in a hammock with a good book.”

Favorite

Drink: “Manhattan”
Blog: “The Millions (themillions.com)”
Living author: “Patti Smith. I just heard her interviewed and was reminded again of what an amazing artist and human being she is.”
Dead poet: “Michael S. Harper”
Poem: “‘A Blessing’ by James Wright”
Mantra: “Don’t compare your insides to anyone else’s outsides.”
Place: “South County, Rhode Island”

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 2.57.50 PM

The biggest literary agent database anywhere
is the Guide to Literary Agents. Pick up the
most recent updated edition online at a discount.

If you’re an agent looking to update your information or an author interested in contributing to the GLA blog or the next edition of the book, contact Writer’s Digest Books Managing Editor Cris Freese at cris.freese@fwmedia.com.

Freese-Headshot
Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Chasing Trends

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is chasing trends in writing and publishing.

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Lessons Learned From Self-Publishing My Picture Book

Author Dawn Secord shares her journey toward self-publishing a picture book featuring her Irish Setter named Bling.

Poetic Forms

Crown of Sonnets: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the crown of sonnets, a form that brings together seven sonnets in a special way.

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (and as a Person)

25 Ways Reflective Writing Can Help You Grow as a Writer (And as a Person)

Reflective writing—or journaling—is a helpful practice in helping understand ourselves, and by extensions, the stories we intend to write. Author Jeanne Baker Guy offers 25 ways reflective writing can help you grow as a writer (and as a person).

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Being Followed

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let your character know they're being followed.

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Amanda Jayatissa: On Spiraling Out in Suspense

Author Amanda Jayatissa discusses the fun of writing "deliciously mean" characters in her psychological thriller, My Sweet Girl.

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

3 Tips for Writing a Memoir Everyone Wants to Read

A memoir is an open window into another's life—and although the truth is of paramount importance, so too is grabbing hold of its reader. Writer Tasha Keeble offers 3 tips for writing a memoir everyone will want to read.

Zoe Whittall: On Personal Change in Literary Fiction

Zoe Whittall: On Personal Change in Literary Fiction

Bestselling and Giller Prize-shortlisted author Zoe Whittal discusses the complexity of big life decisions in her new novel, The Spectacular.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 582

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a transition poem.