Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 12, 2021

MARCH AGENT OF THE MONTH: ANN ROSE at Prospect Agency

ANN WILL CRITIQUE FOUR FIRST PAGES THIS MONTH. PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES AFTER INTERVIEW. DEADLINE MARCH 19th.

ANN ROSE AT PROSPECT AGENCY:

I am a California native who now resides in Texas after a stint in Florida. Each place has its pros and cons, but I can say that I left my heart in San Diego and dream of going back one day (although that will probably never happen). My degree is in Communication from San Diego State University, and my resume holds a gamut of jobs from Life Guard to Business Systems Analyst/Portfolio Manager, but books have always been my passion. I’m excited to finally merge my love of literature with my past professional experiences as a literary agent with Prospect. It is my honor to help authors build successful, sustainable careers.

I fell in love with young adult books when my niece asked me to read with her and I remain devoted to YA of all genres. I am looking for characters who aren’t afraid to stand up for their convictions and beliefs — whether they fight with their fists or their words. I’m also open to all genres of middle grade, and especially love stories that push the MG boundary by exploring topics that affect middle graders but aren’t always broached in stories written for them. In the adult arena, I adore swoony romances, light sci-fi or fantasy, commercial fiction, and heartwarming — or heart wrenching — contemporaries. I’m always looking for unique voices, diverse perspectives, vivid settings, and stories that explore tough topics. Dark and edgy is totally okay too. Above all I’m looking for compelling characters who make me think in new ways, and laugh and cry, hopefully in the same story!

My clients know I’m ready to roll up my sleeves to help create the best books possible, from brainstorming at the idea stage all the way through submissions and beyond. I love attending conferences, and sharing my knowledge of the publishing industry. I am a member of the SCBWI, YARWA and RWA.

ANN WILL BE ONE OF THE AGENTS JOINING JULY’S FULL MANUSCRIPT VIRTUAL WRITER’S RETREAT on July 24th and 25th 2021.

SEE ANN’S WISHLIST MY INTERVIEW WITH HER:

Interview with Ann Rose – March 2021 Featured Agent

What made you decide to become an agent?

I first became interested in agenting when I started writing seriously—meaning not just for me or for fun, but with intention of trying to sell my work. It dawned on me that if I wanted to be published and if I wanted to get an agent, I needed to understand what agents wanted and what they looked for. So I ended up getting an internship with an agency while I worked my full time job. I learned quickly that I enjoyed the work—the thrill of finding a gem in the query box, writing editorial letters to author, hunting for the perfect editor for a project.

How did you get the job with the Prospect Agency?

It’s kind of my serendipity story because I had been interning for a few years while I worked full time and then suddenly one day my job was eliminated. The company decided to dismantle the group I’d been working in. I mentioned in one of my writing groups that I needed to find a new job and that I was hoping to do something more with publishing, so a friend offered to introduce me to her agent and that agent introduced me to Emily and the rest is kind of history. Like with most things in this industry the timing was right and the stars aligned and I found a really great group of people to work with.

Do you think getting your degree in Communication from San Diego State University has helped you as an agent?

I think having a Communication degree helps me in life. It’s helped me in all the jobs I’ve had and continues to be something I utilize every day. Do I think I NEED it to be an agent? No. But I do think it helps in so many ways.

What are your thoughts about prologues? Any tips on how to best use them?

LOL. I’m sorry to laugh at this but I have very strong feelings about prologues. Normally, I find they aren’t needed. I would say 9 out of 10x they are just drops of backstory or information the author thinks the reader needs in order to understand the story, but they don’t.

That said, prologues do have their place. If they can help set the tone or provide something to the reader the pages just can’t because of the POV, for example, they can be very effective. The trick is knowing when you NEED it and when you just want it.

Lastly keep it short and sweet. Get in, get out.

What would you like to see from a writer sending you a query letter?

I’m not sure how to take the direction of this question. What I want to see from writers are great stories, with professional query letters. What do I mean by this? Just that the writer has done their research and tried the best they can at it. Queries are hard. Every agent gets that. But it’s also super clear when a writer hasn’t even run an internet search on, “how to write a query letter.” It happens more times than you would think. So that is first and foremost what I’m looking for.

Now beyond that, I love to hear why an author was inspired to write the story or why they are the person to tell this story. I find this tidbit of information fascinating and sometimes it gets me even more excited to dive into pages.

I always want to know the genre and word count of the project—and if applicable the age group, like in kidlit.

And finally not just comps by why they are comps. Throwing titles in is one thing, but I’m curious what about that story is why it’s a comp to the current project. Does it have the swoony romance of X? Or the sisterhood bonds of Y? Tell me. I’m interested.

How important is the query letter? 

Extremely. It’s the first glance I get at the project. I read every query letter and it helps set the tone and expectations for the pages. I know it’s a lot of pressure, but I promise it’s not as bad as it seems. It’s just that a really great query can get me really excited about the project before I even read the first word, and the more excited I am the more I usually end up reading hoping the query lives up to its promise.

Should the writer try to be funny in their query to you or is it alright to be more business like? Do you prefer short?

Funny can be really hard to pull off in a query letter. Only one writer has done it successfully and now they are my client, but I think that might be one of those serendipitous moments. If I had read that letter at a different moment would I have found it as funny? I don’t know. I share it often at conferences and workshops (with the author’s permission of course) and the reactions I get are so mixed.

I suggest just being straightforward with the query. This idea to stand out and be different rarely works. But was does work is a well-crafted, professional letter.

As for short? That feels too subjective. But I don’t think it should be more than a page.

Do writers need to mention some comps in their query letter?

Need? No, I supposed they don’t NEED to, but I do like to know the comps and more importantly why they are a comp.

Would you have an example of a query letter that got your attention that you could share?

Sure. This project really jumped out at me because of the strong female lead during a historical time that hasn’t been explored much in fiction.

Thalia Lawrence thought she had it all, but without the truth, she had nothing.

In 1900, amidst the industrial revolution when employees are beaten and worked to death, Thalia Lawrence is doing a man’s job as she runs her family’s lucrative factory while treating her employees with respect and dignity.

When her best friend’s mangled body is found at the factory, everything about her life is about to change. As the only suspect, she takes matters into her own hands to discover what happened but it seems like she has more enemies than friends and that her family has more secrets weaved into their past, than they do truths.

With a husband who prefers that she disappear completely so that he can take over the family business so he can run things his cruel way, she must dig deep to protect everything that is important to her, no matter the cost. If she fails, not only will her own future be destroyed, but the fate of her employees, her mother, and her best friend’s sister will be doomed.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX is a historical mystery novel that is complete at 80,000 words.

Author Bio removed from this example.

I enclose a brief synopsis and the first 3 chapters below. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Have you ever read something that is not for you, but you feel another agent at your agency might like and pass it on?

Yes. And not just at my own agency. I will pass things along to other agent friends at other agencies if I think it would be a good fit for them. Agents really do want authors to succeed and have the best chance at finding their match.

Now this is not an open invitation to send me everything in hopes I will pass it along. LOL.

Do you feel it is better for an author to focus on one age group and genre?

In the query letter, yes. Please don’t pitch more than one book in a query. Yes, this has happened.

Now in their career, not necessarily. Writers are creative people, and I understand the need to try all the things, so unless there’s a really good reason, I support my clients in branching out to try new things. There is always a way to potion and make things work.

Would you be interested in representing a writer/illustrator?

Yes, and I do. I have my first graphic novelist on my list, and we are working on getting their first project out there, and I’m super excited about it!

*******

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR MARCH 2021 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “MARCH 2020 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: Paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you put your name, the title of the piece, and genre: a picture book, chapter book, middle grade, or young adult, Non-fiction, contemporary, historical, Sci-fi, fantasy, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2021 February  – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED! Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page.

Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Sending it to my hotmail account will probably keep me from seeing it and including you in the running.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: March 19th. – noon EST

RESULTS: March 26th.

*******

ANN’S WISHLIST:

WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR:

YA of all genres: But especially stories that have heart and humor. I want you to transport me to new worlds–even if those “worlds” are in the middle of Iowa. But especially if its fantasy, I really want you to take me there and show me something I haven’t seen before.  I’d love some fantasy that’s based on something other than western cultures. I’m always looking for strong character who are willing to stand up for their convictions–whether it be with their brains or their brawn.

Give me fabulous friendship stories (and some no so fabulous ones). LGBTQIA+ stories!!! I’d still really love a story where two girls are running against each other for class president and then they fall in love.

In both YA and MG: I don’t shy away from stories that deal with issues kids are dealing with today. I will say, if you are going to discuss topics like suicide make sure you’ve done your homework–proper language matters.

I’d love to see more YA thrillers–not necessarily gore but a story that keeps me on the edge of my seat, guessing until the very end. I’m still looking for my YA version of CLUE (and if it has three different endings, even better.) Which means mystery is a go for me, too.

I’d love some YA that deals with toxic masculinity.

A funny how to survive high school book with tips and tricks how to make the most out of your four years would be good.

Show me characters who are beautifully flawed doing the wrong things for all the right reasons.

Give me body positive MC’s.

Unique sports books: crossfit, ultimate Frisbee, rock climbing, mountain biking, roller derby, and even speed walkers.

Oh, and twins: good twins, evil twins, twins that get along, twins that don’t, rom-coms where twins switch places and hijinks happen… anything goes.

Historicals: that tackle things other than WW2–bonus points if there are badass women in history.

MG of all genres, especially ones that push the boundaries of middle grade

All of the above from the YA section pretty much goes for MG, too. There’s not topic off limits here either, just make sure it’s handled in the best possible way. I’d love to see a camping book–and not just where the kids are running around all a muck, but fun camping stories with responsible councilors and s’mores! Sibling stories. Show me supportive older siblings and in tack family units. Families of all shapes and sizes, too. Unicorns? Do you have one in your book or gnomes? Then I want to see it. Kids doing amazing things–like being on competition reality shows and solving climate change. Show me your kid activists, and kids doing things for their communities. Bring me new twists on old troupes.

In the adult arena I’m a little more picky.

I love swoony romances: Any heat level from mild to hot, but not extra spicy. (So, no erotica.) I love slow burns, and enemies to lovers will never grow old. Give me fun and unique meet-cutes. I’d love a romance that starts with texting the wrong number. LGBTQIA+ romances–everyone deserves their happy ending. Give me stories where I’m dying for the characters to get together–don’t make it too easy. Give me your “soft boys” that don’t have six pack abs or the perfect hair.  

Light sci-fi or fantasy: If it’s epic, it’s probably not my jam in the adult arena. I’m not really looking for Tolkien world building or understanding how to build a flux capacitor. Retellings in fresh ways.

Commercial fiction: Heartwarming (or heart wrenching) contemporaries–bonus points if it’s both I’m always looking for unique voices, diverse perspectives, vivid settings, and stories that explore tough topics.

Give me your dark and edgy stories with unlikable characters–that underneath are totally likable. Above all I’m looking for VOICE. It’s the characters themselves that will make me fall in love or not. Plot can be fixed if you have just the right characters to tell the story. 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Great interview!

    Liked by 1 person


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