Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Novel Girls Welcome Agent Holly Root!

Hey everyone!

Please join me in welcoming literary agent Holly Root of the Waxman Literary Agency! She's not only my agent, but fellow Novel Girl Lisa Patton's agent, too. And she's uber fabulous!

Holly began her publishing career as an editor in Nashville, TN before coming to New York and joining the William Morris Agency’s agent trainee program. She then moved to Trident Media Group, where she sold audio rights for the agency’s clients, including a number of New York Times bestselling authors, before joining The Waxman Literary Agency to represent her own list of authors.

ML: What are you currently looking for?

HR: Right now I have the most room on my list for YA, and narrative nonfiction. I'm always sniffing for a high-concept mystery. I would love to take on more big commercial women's fiction but I am having to be super, super picky about it too--must have a high concept that feels fresh and great writing; I have to say no to a lot of "lovely but quiet" projects because they're just tough to place.

ML:What's selling well now?

HR: YA & romance remain strong, nonfiction's perennial...Moreso than any one area that's "working," really, it is so much about having an incredibly clear, strong hook. Make it easy for the editors, the sales force, and the marketing team to all say "We know exactly what this book is and how to sell it."

ML: What's your favorite part about being an agent?

HR: Working with my clients. I am so lucky to work with authors who are just fabulous. Getting to read their work and make good things happen for them and then see that manuscript I loved in final book form on the shelves in the store--can't be beat. Although calling someone with good news (an offer, a marketing coup, etc.) ranks pretty high too, but part & parcel with "working with authors," so I'm still on point, right?

ML:What catches your attention in a query letter or sample pages?

HR: Voice and concept--when they're both there and both working, my Spidey-sense just goes off.

ML: What are some of your favorite books?

HR: Counting out my own authors, I'll read anything Scott Westerfeld writes, ditto for Marian Keyes. I, like everyone else alive, adored THE HUNGER GAMES. Over Christmas I picked up a YA novel called ARTICHOKE'S HEART by Suzanne Supplee, which is set about two towns over from where I grew up and was really lovely, and CHEER by Kate Torgovnick, which is a great nonfiction book that follows three competitive college cheer squads through one season--I highly recommend both!

Thanks so much for stopping by, Holly!


LisaMay said...

Very interesting interview!

Jillian Cantor said...

Thanks for a great interview Maureen, and thanks to Holly for being a guest with The Novel Girls!!

Tracy Madison said...

Thank you, Holly, for guesting at The Novel Girls. Loved the interview!

Rhonda Stapleton said...

Great interview! Thanks for posting it.

I met Holly at RWA nationals last year--she's super nice!

Carolyn McTighe said...

Thanks, Holly. Great interview.