So excited for today’s interview, which features Emmanuelle Morgen of Judith Ehrlich Literary Management. Enjoy!
KV: How did you get into agenting?
EM: I grew up reading anything I could get my hands on, from Grimm’s Fairytales to Nancy Drew to Stephen King, and from an early age I remember wanting to work with authors and be a part of the book production process. In college I interned at Penguin and eventually I went to work as an editor at Fodor's, the travel arm of Random House.
After several years I made the switch to agenting so I could work with stories of all kinds, fiction and nonfiction. I’ve worked in publishing more than ten years now and currently represent women's fiction and romance, historical fiction, urban fantasy, YA, memoir, and select how-to titles.
KV: How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?
EM: My job is to guide an author’s career and maximize the financial return for their work, which also means helping them reach the widest audience possible. I’m constantly thinking about the best way to publish my authors’ creative output in all formats: print, digital, audio, visual, etc.
As for the relationship, I like my clients to be good communicators, and since they’re all talented and fantastic writers, that’s usually the case. :-) I can’t say enough good things about my authors. They’re all wonderfully proactive and professional, getting to know their markets and actively seeking publicity opportunities, while still maintaining busy writing schedules.
KV: What client work do you have coming out soon? What drew you to those writers and/or projects?
EM: I’m thrilled to have three debut romances published this fall!
FORBIDDEN, an erotic historical romance by Christina Phillips, will be out in September, and I’m very excited about it. It takes place in the unusual setting of Cymru, or ancient Wales, with a druid princess named Carys as the heroine and a Roman centurion named Maximus as the hero. Their people are lifelong enemies, so it takes a miracle to bring them together. And it just got a four-star review from RT. :)
LORD LIGHTNING, a Regency romance by Jenny Brown, will be out also in September, and it’s the first in a 12-book astrology-theme series in which every hero will have a different sign. Lord Hartwood, known to the town as Lord Lightning partly for his temper, is, of course, a Leo, and he falls in love with a modest, little astrologer named Eliza. Jenny’s knowledge of astrology is surpassed only by her knowledge of Regency-era history, and I love how she has put the two together.
ENEMY WITHIN, a futuristic paranormal romance by Marcella Burnard, comes out in October, and it’s a fast-paced story about a female starship captain whose brush with death and psychological torture by an enemy race resulted in armor so thick, no one will ever get close to her again, until a certain pirate commandeers her ship. The sequel, ENEMY GAMES, will be out in the spring.
KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?
EM: I represent romance, historical fiction, urban fantasy, high-concept women’s fiction, thrillers, young adult fiction, and select memoir, narrative nonfiction, and how-to projects.
I don’t do cozy mysteries, picture books, cookbooks, or health guides.
KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?
EM: I recommend that writers stick to the hook and the plot of the book, plus a little information about themselves personally. If they do that and they query about a genre I represent, then they’re doing everything right.
KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now?
EM: I’m looking for a great read I can’t put down by an author with many more books in them! I’d love to find women’s fiction with depth and meaning, plus a hook that makes me say, “I HAVE to read this.” I’m also looking for beautifully written historical fiction, along the lines of Philippa Gregory or Sarah Dunant; a thriller series; YA; and more romance.
In nonfiction, I’d like to see well-researched narrative nonfiction by journalists with platform and reach.
KV: What’s the best way to query you?
EM: Via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the first chapter in the body of the e-mail.
Thanks again, Ms. Morgen, for these responses, and good luck to everyone who decides to query. Hopefully, that’s a lot of you, as her interests are so diverse.
Happy Friday, everyone! (And don’t forget to enter my “Help! Bob Needs a Title” blog contest. It closes at the end of the day on Monday, so you still have a little time.)