Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Middle Grade Ninja TV 25: Literary Agent Molly O'Neill

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Molly O'Neill and I discuss her career in publishing from her start in marketing with Clarion Books to her time as an editor with Harper Collins to her current role as a literary agent with Root Literary. She shares the experience of discovering and editing DIVERGENT (and I reveal an embarrassing encounter I had with Veronica Roth). We talk about the relationship between authors and editors and how to keep it from going off kilter, the truth about rejection, and some practical tips for writing the dreaded synopsis. As a special bonus, we're treated to a live reading of ROBERT PATTINSON: ETERNALLY YOURS from one of its coauthors. This episode is packed with insight into the world of publishing and you'll want to listen to it multiple times through.






Molly O'Neill is a literary agent with Root Literary. For the past sixteen years, she has held various roles inside the publishing industry: previously, she was an Editor at Harper Collins Children's Books, where she acquired Veronica Roth's juggernaut Divergent series, among many other fantastic projects; the Head of Editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; a member of the School and Library Marketing departments at both Harper Collins and Clarion Books; and an Agent at Waxman Leavell Literary Agency.

Molly loves the creative process and early-stage project development, is invigorated by business strategy and entrepreneurial thinking, and is fascinated by the intersections of art, commerce, creativity, and innovation. Molly is especially passionate about the people behind books, and takes pride in discovering and evangelizing talented authors and illustrators, expanding the global reach of their work, and finding new ways to build connections and community among creators, readers, stories, and their champions. She hunts for new talent and speaks about the importance of books for young people at a variety of conferences for writers, illustrators, and educators around the world each year, and is on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course, where she helps train new generations of publishing professionals.

Molly is an alum of Marquette University, an erstwhile Texan, and a current dweller of Brooklyn, NY. She is drawn to authors and artists who constantly challenge themselves, who are adept at communicating with their audiences, who are creative and flexible thinkers, and who have as much enthusiasm for their readers as for their own successes. Wit, strong writing, vivid settings, a passion for craft, or a well-timed reaction gif will always catch her eye.



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