Today’s interview features Michelle Brower of Folio Literary Management. When Empty Refrigerator asked to see more interviews with agents who rep women’s fiction, I was so excited, because I already had Ms. Brower’s interview waiting in the queue. Enjoy!
KV: How did you get into agenting?
MB: I actually answered an ad on Craigslist for an internship, and once I was in I was hooked.
KV: How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?
MB: My personal agenting philosophy is all about love--if I love the book and have a vision for it, then I’m going to find a way to get it published and make it successful, come hell or high water. But that always means that I really, really have to love something, and if I didn’t that writer would be better served with another agent who was passionate about their work. I love for my authors to be eager to revise, eager to promote, and to feel like they are on a team where we have the same goal in mind.
KV: What client work do you have coming out soon? What drew you to those writers and/or projects?
MB: I have a wonderful book just out now called DUST by Joan Frances Turner--it’s a zombie novel, but it was unlike any zombie novel I had ever read. It had action and gore, but also an incredibly complicated main character and writing that really crackled with energy and style.
There’s also MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE by Philip Stephens, which will be out in January. It’s a dark, literary novel about a washed-up folk singer and a murderess whose paths cross in rural Missouri. It reads like an old-fashioned murder ballad, and that’s something that certainly was beautiful and arresting.
KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?
MB: I represent a wide range of genres, from literary fiction, to commercial fiction, to certain kinds of non-fiction. My favorite books are those that fall on the literary/commercial border, narrative non-fiction that is subject driven, and things that have a supernatural twist that aren’t limited to the supernatural genre. I have a lot of those right now, though, so I’m currently more hungry for literary fiction, and fiction that might be a good fit for book clubs.
KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?
MB: I absolutely hate queries that begin with a rhetorical question. If someone asks, “Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you were an elephant?” and my answer is “No!” I don’t have any reason to read further.
I also hate it when the only descriptions of the story are vague or only about a character’s emotional development. It takes a real story for a novel to work.
KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now?
MB: I would love some women’s fiction with a redemptive, heart-warming story and some amazing writing. I’ve been doing a lot of dark books lately, and I need a little sunshine!
KV: What’s the best way to query you?
MB: E-mail is the only way, with the query and first ten pages pasted in the body of the message.
Thanks, Ms. Brower, for these responses. And I’m sure all you adult fic (is that a word? Word says it’s not a word (go figure), but I decree it is) writers just added another agent to your lists!
Happy Thursday, everybody!