I love books that surprise me: the ones that are just a little unexpected, a little more clever, or funny, or twisty than I’d anticipated going in. Across the board, I’m looking for high-concept premises and manuscripts that demand to be read in a single sitting. I also love books that blend genres or try new and interesting modes of storytelling, whether that means playing around with format, or putting a new spin on a tried-and-true trope.
I often describe my taste as boiling down to "witches and kissing" - smart, inventive, female-focused fantasy on one end of the spectrum, and fun, delightful romance on the other (though sometimes the stars align and the witches are kissing!).
But time and time again, the number one reason I fall for a submission is voice - that quality to your writing that makes it distinctly, uniquely yours. When it comes to my clients’ books, I’m constantly thinking, only this particular author would describe something like this, or write dialogue like that, or rip my heart out with a single sentence, like so. And I like to think that I could always pick their writing out from a lineup, if such a thing existed. So, as corny as it sounds, I want the stories only you could (or would think to) write.
Right now, I’m specifically looking for...
General commercial fiction, women’s fiction, and romance
Send me books that are perfect for the beach – ones that feel like vacation. Deceptively easy reads are my favorite – books that are smart and so well-crafted I forget I’m reading them for work. I'm always looking for smart, funny, voice-driven projects to add to my list, and have a tendency to fall for books that blur the lines between genres. High-concept is key! (Two upcoming client titles that are great examples of my taste here are Emily Henry’s BEACH READ and Kate Clayborn’s LOVE LETTERING). For romance, I'm primarily looking for contemporary, and anything that plays with tropes in a fun and interesting way. I’m likely not the best fit for romantic suspense, though – never say never! I’m a big rom-com fan, but my bar is very high, since I have so many fabulous authors writing in this space. (Sally Thorne and Jen DeLuca, to name just two!) I’d also love to find a big, sweeping gothic romance. In both women’s fiction and historical fiction I’m looking for big hooks, unique points of entry, and books that make me feel. In all these areas, I want the book that you can recommend to your mom, best friend, neighbor, and yoga instructor all in one go, as well as books that are just plain fun – and extremely well executed.
I’d also love to find gorgeous contemporary fantasy, fun and clever fantasy rom-coms, and books grounded in our world (or near-future) with a speculative twist.
Above all else I want to be surprised by a story I haven't read before. I love sibling, friendship, and found-family stories, swoony romance, interesting magic systems, brilliant world-building, smart & witty humor, and plots that go where you aren't expecting them to. I love high fantasy that is big and ambitious and feels undeniably fresh (Natasha Ngan’s GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE, Destiny Soria’s BENEATH THE CITADEL, and Amanda Joy’s A RIVER OF ROYAL BLOOD are all great client examples of my taste here), but right now I’m particularly on the look-out for contemporary fantasy – something grounded in our world, with a magical/speculative twist. (Along the lines of Lana Popovic’s WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE, for instance!) My love of rom-coms is true in YA as well, and voice and concept are particularly important to me here. (I’m so excited for the world to meet Marisa Kanter’s WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU and Cameron Lund’s THE BEST LAID PLANS in Spring 2020!)
Across the board, I welcome authors of all backgrounds, and am eager to work on inclusive books that reflect our world.
I absolutely love what I do, and feel so lucky to work with the brilliant minds (and incredible humans) at Root Literary to bring exceptional books into the world. (Something you may have picked up on from the way I shamelessly name dropped approximately 100 client books in the last three paragraphs alone!) I’m actively looking for exciting new authors and projects to add to my list, so don’t hesitate to try me if you think your project might be a fit!
ABOUT THE AGENCY:
Literary agent Holly Root launched over two dozen New York Times bestsellers before founding Root Literary in 2017. The agency's clients benefit from our agents' proven skills in identifying talent, negotiating advantageous deals, and advocating for our books all the way from submission to publication. We offer our clients broad-based industry insights as well as individualized strategic thinking to empower each author to define and pursue their own unique path to success. We love what we do, and we do it best in partnership with authors who combine skillful storytelling with the drive to build a lasting body of work.