Thursday, April 18, 2019

Middle Grade Ninja Episode 18: Literary Agent Holly Root

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Literary Agent Holly Root and I discuss her career in publishing from working in the mail room, to making a name for herself as an agent, to now running her own agency. She also takes us through the cycle of a published manuscript from the time it starts out as a query in her inbox, to the time she negotiates its contract, to guiding its author through launch and onto their next book and the rest of their career. And she makes a JURASSIC PARK reference, so you know she's awesome. Prepare to learn a lot about publishing and to be inspired.

Click here to see Holly Root face the 7 Questions.

Holly Root began her publishing career as an editor in her hometown of Nashville, TN. Prior to joining the Waxman Literary Agency in 2007, she worked at the William Morris Agency and Trident Media Group. Holly has launched over two dozen New York Times bestsellers before founding Root Literary in 2017. The agency's clients benefit from its agents' proven skills in identifying talent, negotiating advantageous deals, and advocating for its books all the way from submission to publication. They offer their clients broad-based industry insights as well as individualized strategic thinking to empower each author to define and pursue their own unique path to success.

Holly's wishlist:

general fiction: I'm particularly interested in upmarket execution of commercial concepts. I love book club fiction; I want to read the book you'd recommend to all the women on your favorite group text. I'd love to work on a page-turning domestic suspense (my taste leans more on the domestic end, a la Liane Moriarty--I find the interplay of human relationships, when well done, every bit as potent a story driver as espionage). I like structural conceits (whether in the form of timeline, a la One Day, or an epistolary novel like Attachments, or anything surprising). Open to speculative elements within general fiction, too.

middle grade fiction: I love books that respect their kid readers. I like humor, great settings, and books as weirdly wonderful as the minds of their intended readers--whether they're realistic contemporary or high fantasy. Open to most genres within the category.

SF/F: I love very accessible, five-minutes-in-the-future grounded SF...but also I grew up reading anything and everything with a dragon on the cover, so this category is often determined by voice for me. I'm open to science fantasy, SF, and fantasy.

In all areas, I love a good high-concept hook.

My nonfiction list is smaller, and therefore a little harder to define a wish list for. The projects I'm most likely to pursue pair a distinctive voice with a strong platform to match.

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