Emmanuelle Morgen – Agent Extraordinaire
My awesome agent Emmanuelle Morgen (Stonesong Agency) is stopping by today to do a little Q & A with me! If you’re a reader, this might be a fun insight into a world you haven’t known of before. If you’re a writer, pay attention, because you might learn something new! Also, she’s coming back tomorrow with a fantastic give-away. What’s that? Read to the bottom and find out!
Emmanuelle and I will be doing a short Twitter Q&A session using the hashtag #AgentEm starting at 3pm Eastern time. Pop over to learn a few more things you might not have known! (Updated: The Twitter chat was AWESOME! Thanks to all who participated. If you want to review, or you weren’t able to go and need to read it for the first time, the transcript has been saved HERE!)
Jeanette: Okay, first off, thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this. So let’s get to it. Are you more drawn to character-driven or plot-driven stories, and why?
Emmanuelle: Character-driven, definitely. I think characters inform plot. That said, something has to happen at the outset to challenge the characters, to make them strive for what they want, whether it’s survival or a better life. So in that regard, a good balance between plot and characterization is ideal.
Jeanette: Any big regrets of “the one that got away?”
Emmanuelle: Yes! One of my clients, Jamie Blair, read a self-published YA called Beautiful Disaster a few months ago. She loved it and recommended it, which I so appreciated. I should have read it right away but didn’t, and it recently sold to Atria/S&S for bucket loads. That’s one I wish I’d read faster. J In general though, I haven’t regretted passing on a project, even if it later sold. There are many deserving stories and many agents with varying tastes, so it often comes down to an author finding the right fit. Similarly, there are many different possible publishing scenarios, and an agent’s job is to help ensure an author has a positive publishing experience.
Jeanette: What in a query letter will grab you, make you look twice, almost every time?
Emmanuelle: Clear, concise writing. You’d be surprised how many people use too many words to convey a simple idea, or who repeat themselves using different words.
Jeanette: With your editing background, are you looking for a diamond in the rough?
Emmanuelle: Nope! I look for manuscripts that are complete and saleable as they are, and that are perhaps 90% close to being publishable. Then I make suggestions that ideally will make the manuscript worth the most that it can earn on the market. And finally, an editor will work her magic on a manuscript, helping an author to add subtlety and depth, work out any kinks or errors, polish it all over and ideally make it a bestseller. J So while I do offer editorial feedback, my primary goal is to help an author maximize his or her potential readership and thereby income. And by “readership” I mean audience, whether that audience discovers the story in book, audiobook, film or graphic novel format.
Jeanette: Anything in a query that makes you instantly stop reading and move on?
Emmanuelle: Instantly? Nah, I follow a three-strikes guideline. Strikes might include material that feels very derivative of other works, lots of errors (one or two is no big deal), or the material simply being outside the scope of what I represent.
Jeanette: What projects do you have on shelves now, or hitting the shelves soon?
Emmanuelle: Oooooh, my favorite part! Everyone should run out and buy The Officer Says “I Do” because it’s a fabulous read and everyone will fall in love with Tim and Skye. And the following new and upcoming releases as well:
Hemlock (May 2012), about a town besieged by werewolves and various human pro- and anti-werewolf groups.
A Gentleman Undone (May 2012), a historical romance about a kept woman who will use every skill in her arsenal to gain her independence.
Confessions of an Angry Girl (August 2012), about a 14-year-old girl who is (you guessed it) angry at the world and everyone in it after experiencing a series of losses.
What’s Left of Me (September 2012), about a 15-year-old girl fighting for her right to exist in a world where two people are born in each body but only one is allowed to survive.
Licking the Spoon (November 2012), a memoir by a woman who completely redefines her life but not before examining where she came from.
Archangel of Mercy (December 2012), a sexy romp with angels.
The Typewriter Girl (January 2013), a lush historical novel about a working class young woman who defies every convention of Victorian London society.
Jeanette: I see some great reads on that list! And talk about varied. Anything that hasn’t crossed your desk recently you’re dying to see?
Emmanuelle: I’m open to submissions in all my usual categories: women’s fiction and romance, YA, historical fiction, memoir, psychology-related nonfiction, plus fantasy, contemporary fiction for all ages, and middle grade. In general, I’m completely taken by stories that, in addition to being great stories with fabulous characters, illuminate a setting or culture I wouldn’t otherwise be aware of. Your two series are wonderful for that reason! The Officers series, starting with The Officer Says “I Do”, about Marines and their families taught me more than I could ever have hoped to learn about base culture. All I knew about the experiences of our servicemen and women I learned from the news, but this series offers a much more intimate look at their lives and relationships. It’s all I can do to stop myself from peppering you with questions about what it’s like to live with an actual real Marine. Instead I stop by your Twitter and Facebook feeds pretty regularly.
Your Roped & Wrangled series from Kensington is equally fascinating—I had no idea the modern ranch and stud industry was still dealing with so much sexism. I love how your cowboys are both responsible and can share those responsibilities with their leading women! They are the ultimate in what’s sexy.
Can’t agree more with the sexy men. Thanks to Emmanuelle for stopping by and answering some questions, and for playing around on Twitter with me. (This totally counts as work, right? It’s not, like, procrastination? I’m going with that.)
Don’t forget to stop by Twitter at 3pm Eastern for more questions and answers with Emmanuelle. Use the hashtag #AgentEm or follow us (below) and watch the fun! And pop back by TOMORROW, FRIDAY the 20th because Emmanuelle is offering up one hell of a prize. A one-chapter critique* to one lucky winner! What an amazing prize! Come back tomorrow and enter for your chance to win.
* One chapter to not exceed 7,000 words.