Well, today’s the day! So pleased to give you Brianne Mulligan of Movable Type Literary Group. As always, details on the interactive part are at the bottom. See you down there!
KV: How long have you been agenting, and how did you get into it?
BM: I joined Movable Type in November 2010, but I’ve been in the publishing industry for almost six years. I started on the editorial side: first at Random House’s Doubleday Broadway imprint, then at Penguin’s Gotham Books, and most recently I was an editor with Razorbill, a division of Penguin Young Readers.
KV: How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?
BM: I’m an editorial agent first, meaning I work with my authors to develop the best possible version of their manuscript before we submit to publishers. Secondly, I’m a quality-over-quantity agent: my experience on the other side has made me hyper-aware of how important it is for an agent to maintain a reputation for quality submissions. Finally, I consider myself a career-long agent: I love brainstorming new ideas and being able to use the knowledge from my time as an editor to make the whole publication process less mystifying and more fulfilling for my clients.
KV: What client work do you have coming out soon? What drew you to those writers and/or projects?
BM: It’s too soon for me to have books coming out that I’ve sold, but the clients I’ve signed so far have been terrific writers with great ideas--the perfect marriage of voice and concept. There are some excellent novels I acquired at Razorbill publishing soon, but I don’t want to risk leaving anyone out, so I’ll just say that you can’t go wrong with any book on Razorbill’s well-curated list.
KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?
BM: I generally focus on the genres with which I have the most experience: high-concept young adult and middle grade fiction (by the way, Nathan Bransford has a great description of “high-concept” on his blog: http://bit.ly/dLR18j); commercial nonfiction for adults (humor, narrative, pop culture, practical); and select commercial fiction (very select).
To be honest, juvenile fiction is where my heart is right now--there have been so many exciting innovations in the genre recently, it’s where many adult readers are coming for entertainment, and it’s one of the few growth areas of publishing.
KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?
BM: Please be sure to read my submission guidelines before you query me. For fiction, I ask for the first ten pages of your manuscript in addition to a traditional query letter. That sample is invaluable. If I’m on the fence about a pitch, stellar writing can help tip the scales.
KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now? What are you tired of seeing at the moment?
BM: In general: an original concept, an ambitious plot, and a pace that proves you understand your audience (and the limits of their attention span!).
More specifically: I would love to see a grounded teen thriller with crossover potential (meaning: a good old-fashioned thriller without a paranormal angle) and a thoughtful middle-grade adventure (think: MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY). Although publishers are being extra selective about dystopian, I’m still excited about the genre and think there’s room to approach it in a fresh way. I believe everyone in the industry is growing a little tired of paranormal, but again, if it has a unique hook, I’m open to it. (I’m unlikely, however, to sign a vampire or fallen angel novel any time soon--sorry.)
KV: What’s the best way to query you?
BM: E-mail. I read everything on my iPad. Check out the submission guidelines on my Publishers Marketplace page: http://bit.ly/hOoGJl
Thanks again, Ms. Mulligan, for these insightful responses. I have a feeling a lot of you just added another agent to your lists--me included:)
And now on to the fun part. Just leave Ms. Mulligan your questions in the comments section below, and then she’ll pop in a few times throughout the day to answer them. We’ll wrap things up at 5:00 p.m. EST (which, of course, is 2:00 p.m. PST), just so Ms. Mulligan can enjoy her Friday night.
Have a fantastic weekend, and thanks for reading, everyone!