Thursday, October 21, 2010

Interview with an Agent: Michelle Brower

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!

20 comments:

Anne R. Allen said...

Thanks so much for this. Great interview. And I'm so happy to hear from an agent interested in women's fiction that isn't unrelentingly dark and/or gory. Thanks! It means there will be more stuff out there I want to read.

Lorena said...

Thank you for a great interview! Any information about the tastes and personality of an agent are really helpful during the querying process!

Love the title of your blog! (I'm in the exact same cycle as you are: Mother. Write. Repeat. Somewhere in there goes Sleep, but only for a few hours :))

Best,
Lorena
http://divinesecretsofthewritingsisterhood.blogspot.com/

Krista V. said...

Anne, you're welcome. You know, being a part of the online writing community means we're always on the leading edge of what's coming up in the world of books. I love being able to tell people about stuff that hasn't even come out yet!

Lorena, welcome! There's never enough sleep for the mother writer, is there? :)

Lorena said...

No, there never is! (And sometimes we are our worst enemy when we wake up in the middle of the night with a wonderful idea :))

lotusgirl said...

Nice interview. Thanks Krista and Michelle.

Krista V. said...

Lorena, I must admit, I don't usually wake up in the middle of the night with a wonderful idea - usually, it keeps me from falling asleep in the first place:)

Lotusgirl, you're welcome.

Jess Tudor said...

Aside from the interview --

love the new layout! the blue's pretty. :)

Krista V. said...

Thanks, Jess. I like it a lot, too:)

Jodi R. said...

Hi Krista -

I like the new blog look!

I looked for an e-mail address for you but couldn't find one. I was just wondering if it is ok to link to your blog from mine - I just started it recently and am not certain of the protocol. Here's the link:

http://nowweretalkingwithjodi.blogspot.com/


As you can see, I have you linked there already. Just let me know if you'd like me to take it down.

Thanks!
Jodi R.

Krista V. said...

Jodi, glad you like the new blog look. And thank you so much for including a link to my site on your blog. It's more than okay:)

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for the interview! And Krista, I love your blog's new look!

Krista V. said...

Myrna, you're welcome (for the interview), and thank you (for the compliment)! I like how this look has so much more color.

Empty Refrigerator said...

Great interview. Thanks so much for all you're doing!

Krista V. said...

You are very welcome, Empty Refrigerator!

Jodi R. said...

Thanks Krista - hope you have a chance to check out my blog some time!

Jodi R.
http://nowweretalkingwithjodi.blogspot.com/

Krista V. said...

Heading over there now, Jodi...

Stephanie said...

Hi Krista! This is my first post on your blog (my apologies if you're getting this twice-- a few glitches on my end). I just wanted to say I'm so impressed with your creativity! You're a blogging machine. Lorena and I are of the same mindset-- your title sounds like my life!

The interviews are amazing. They truly nail exactly what we all need to know. I'm curious-- how do you land them?

I just started blogging myself (this past week-- I'm so the newbie!) and you've definitely inspired me to get on it! I'll be back!
Stephanie
http://thecrackedslipper.wordpress.com/

Krista V. said...

Stephanie, thanks for dropping by! I'm glad you like the interviews. As for how they came about, I've been thinking of typing up a whole blog post on the subject, so I think I'll defer until then to answer your question.

Jumping over to check out your blog now...

Stephanie said...

Look forward to reading that post! You've given me some great ideas for blog posts. I've gotten so much helpful info on blogs, I think it's time I started posting some of my own! Let the un-scientific research begin...

Looking forward to reading Danielle Chiotti's interview...she's on my "Hmmm" list!! Thanks for checking out my blog! Halloween candy heading to the troops asap...

Krista V. said...

You're welcome, Stephanie! I enjoyed reading about your Halloween exploits.