Lit Agent, Molly Lyons of Joelle Delbourgo Associates began her career working for such magazines as Working Woman, Gourmet, Elle Decor, SELF and Lifetime magazines. Now, she uses her editorial skills toward her clients and in today’s interview she discusses why it’s more important than ever to lay the ground work for your manuscript before it goes out, why you should do your homework before approaching her for representation and her distaste for bananas.
Let’s get right to it, Molly. What are you looking for right now and what are editors and publishers pounding on your door for?
Publishers are looking for big, platform-driven books. I’m always looking for distinct voices, in fiction and non-fiction, and for authors who understand the importance (and necessity) of their role in marketing and promoting their work. I only take on projects that I believe in, so I work that much harder to help shape my clients’ literary lives.
Publishers such as Crown Publishing Group are shuffling their staff, lay-offs are more abundant which of course makes it more difficult to sell projects. What have you done to prepare your authors for all that’s happening in book publishing today?
I’m a big believer in focusing on your strengths and thinking strategically about the long-term results. The economic challenges are in some measure due to huge changes in the business, changes that can bring new opportunities. Agents and authors like should be thinking of ways to use these new mediums to expand the reach of their work. We also have to scrutinize every project and to spend an enormous amount of time laying the groundwork before even shopping a project, whether it is going the extra mile in the research or building a platform.
What about what’s happening with iPad and other online-based opportunities what are your thoughts about that?
I’m enthusiastic about these new technologies because they are bringing us new readers. We just need to figure out a business model that will reward the creators of all that content fairly.
So, if I’m an aspiring writer who’s reading this right now what’s the best way for me to approach you, Molly?</b
Our agency guidelines can be found on our website: www.delbourgo.com. I am open to both emailed and mailed queries, but be aware that emailed queries often end up in my spam folder. Authors should be selective in the agents they queryâ€”in the age of email, it’s easy to blast your query out to hundreds of agents at once, but it may not be the most successful way of getting representation. Do you homework and select agents that truly seem to be a good fit.
And finally, what is something about you that very few people know?
I’ll eat anything except for bananas.