Monday, July 21, 2008

Secret Agent Unveiled: HOLLY ROOT

Thanks and kudos to our tenacious and generous Secret Agent: Holly Root of The Waxman Literary Agency.

Holly's bio:

Holly Root is a literary agent who began her publishing career as an editor in Nashville, TN before coming to New York and Joining the William Morris Agency's agent trainee program. She then moved to Trident Media Group, where she sold audio right for the agency's clients, including a number of New York Times bestselling authors, before joining The Waxman Literary Agency in 2007 and starting her own list. She is actively seeking commercial fiction, including mystery/thriller, romance, YA, and women's fiction, as well as nonfiction projects, with particular areas of interest in style & relationship projects, narrative nonfiction of all sorts, and pop culture. Some of her clients include authors Amie Stuart, Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna, Carrie Tucker, Diana Cosby, Freeman Hall, Kate Perry, Laura Drewry, Leo Babauta, Libby Sternberg, Lisa Patton, Lori Devoti, Mary Kennedy, Maureen Lipinski, Misa Ramirez, Rachel Hawkins, Serena Robar, Sophia Johnson, Susan Kearney, and Trish Cook.

Here's what Holly is currently looking for:

"I'm really always eager to see strong submissions in any of the genres I work in, but I'm especially keen (at this exact second, subject to change in the next exact second or batch of queries) to add authors in YA, mystery/thriller (with caveat -- I am the wrong person for any thriller whose premise contains the words "Russia" or "China" -- just not my thing) and nonfiction. For romance I'm mostly looking for paranormal or historical (I have a personal soft spot for contemporary but the market's just tough, same for chick lit); in general fiction, I tend to favor the very commercial stuff. If it's got a big hook and the pages turn fast, I'm a good bet for it."

So there you have it! And I'm sure you'd all like to take a moment to thank her. She's not going to have time to sift through all the posts again hunting for "thank-you's," so feel free to post your sentiment in the comment box here.

(And of course you all know that it's not kosher to send her an email or a bouquet of exotic violets or a personalized ring tone in order to express your thanks. I'm just, you know, covering my bases.)

And to you, Holly: An effusive public THANK YOU for everything that you have invested in this fine group of writers over the past several days. You never balked, never grumbled (at least not audibly), never asked for more time. I couldn't be more pleased with the results of this contest, and I am in your debt.

Stay tuned, everyone! The announcement of THE WINNERS and HOLLY'S PRIZE is forthcoming! Wrapping up, attending to details, whatnot.

(Did she say winners?)


  1. Holly, thank you so much for the thoughtful feedback and the enormous amount of time you committed to the contest.

    I crave the sort of input you offered, and I suspect I'm not alone there. :)

    Thank you for an incredible experience!

  2. What a great contest!

    Naturally, big thanks to the awesome secret agent, and thanks to you too, Authoress, for putting this whole thing together.

    This sort of feedback opportunity is just invaluable.

    Thank you!!

  3. A huge thank you to Holly! I had fun entering the contest AND reading Holly's comments on each and every post.

    And there were a lot of posts to read!

    And thanks again to Miss Snark's First Victim blog!

  4. Holly, I can't thank you enough for the time you put into this! It was so generous of you. I learned so much from all the authors brave enough to post...and the critters kind enough to take the time to comment. I'd read the entries and mentally note what I liked or what didn't work, without being sure why. But your comments would put words to my feelings and the lightbulb would go off.

    I notice you don't mention middle grade as a genre you're actively seeking. Would you ever represent middle grade fiction?

    And authoress--you rock for setting this whole thing up.

    Thanks to both of you! onetiredmama

  5. When I looked at the enormity of Holly's task - reading each entry and providing meaningful comments - I had to lie down. A HUGE thanks to both of you for pulling it all together and providing such a fun opportunity!

  6. Authoress,

    Thank you for your generous devotion of time to this project. It has been an awesome experience.


    I was so impressed by your thoughtful responses to the entries. It was obvious that you invested a huge amount of time into reading and responding. THANK YOU! We have all benefited enormously.

  7. Holly, thank you so much for your feedback. Seeing what you generally rep I know the sci-fi pieces really weren't your cup of tea but your comments were very helpful and kind. Thank you for devoting so much time to us and for being unbiased in your appraisals.

  8. Holly - thank you so much for taking the time to help all of us out. I've learnt so much over the past few days!

    And authoress - thank you so much for putting all of this together.

    You are both legends!

  9. Thank you Ms. Root and Authoress for the experience!

    Congratulations to the winners!

  10. A huge thank you to authoress, to Holly, and to everyone who took the time to post thoughtful, kind, and intelligent comments. This is undoubtedly the best contest I've ever entered (which makes it sound a little like I'm a contest junkie... I hope my friends will agree when I say that I'm not!). I am inspired and incredibly grateful to everyone who participated.

  11. Holly - thank you for taking the time to comment, not just on my sub, but also everyone else's.

    It was fun seeing what works or what didn't work.

    And of course I was rooting for all my critique buddies.

    And thank you Authoress for setting this up and hosting.<:

  12. All my gratitude to authoress, everyone who reviewed, and to our secret agent, Holly.

    I can't tell you how much I learned from this contest, both in tweaking my own work, and by reading the comments on all the other entries, too. Plus, I was thoroughly impressed with the different genres, styles, techniques, and talent shown.

    Thanks to all!

  13. This contest was so much more than JUST a contest! The feedback on submissions was a prize in itself. Thanks so much to everyone who posted and a BIG thanks to Ms. Root and Authoress.

    :) Terri

  14. Thank you Holly, for taking the time to offer your comments on our entries!

    And thanks Authoress for putting this together.

  15. Thank you so much for your time and insight, Ms. Root! It's greatly appreciated. I've been working all morning on the opening chapters and can already feel things "tightening" more. :)

  16. There are no words to say thank you enough to both Holly and Authoress. This has been wonderful to participate in, "hookie" and a "hooker."

    Hmm. Must edit that last sentence.

    Brava to both of you!


  17. Holly:

    Thanks for all the feedback! I have no doubt that reading these pages, the critters' responses, and your feedback has helped others think about revision strategies just as it has helped me.

  18. Holly,

    Thanks for doing this. Your advice is wonderful and I appreciate it.

  19. Authoress, thanks for putting together this amazing contest--everyone was a winner with all the thoughtful comments and feedback.

    Holly, many thanks for undertaking a HUGE commitment and for your generous responses to EVERY entry.

    You both rock!

    Hugs and chocolate to you both!

  20. Thank you, Holly, for your generous donation of time in critiquing all the contest entries. I didn't enter, but I read every single post and critiqued most of them, and I got a lot out of the comments you made on each and every one.

    And thank you, Authoress, for putting this phenomenal competition together! It's inspired me to consider organizing some kind of contest myself and see if my agent will help. 8^) That's waaaay down the line, though.

    Thanks also goes to those who entered the contest because I throughly enjoyed reading your posts! I'm amazed at the talent displayed here and I look forward to reading your books someday.

    Best of luck to you all!

  21. Thank you Ms. Root for your time and expertise. I have learned much from your comments on my story as well as the comments on others.


  22. Thanks so much Holly. I'm amazed at how much detail you provided in your critiques - clearly a lot of effort. It was very helpful for all of us.

    And thank you faceless words for setting this whole thing up. It was a highly participatory, fun and educational event.

  23. Thank you so much, Ms. Root, for taking the time to read through all of these and leave your comments. It was extremely helpful and I learned so much from both the comments on my own submission and the comments on others' submissions. Many thanks! And many thanks to Authoress for putting this together. This was an excellent experience and I appreciate it very much!

  24. Holly,
    You were competent, kind, and efficient. Many thanks.

    This was fun. We should all do it again some time.

    Kenn Amdahl

  25. Thank you so much, Ms. Root, for all your time and effort put into this contest. And thanks to Authoress for hosting it. It was a great learning experience!

  26. Authoress and Holly, thanks for doing this. It gives a really insightful experience about how difficult it is to go through a slushpile and find something that hooks (and I had a distinct impression this "slushpile" is not as hopeless as the real slushpile you go through at an agency).

    Thanks for those who had the courage to enter and to absorb the reactions on a public forum. Next time, when I have something polished, I hope top stand between you, with weak bowels but head held straight!

    And hi to the folks from CC!

  27. Holly, your remarks were not only thoughtful and diplomatic, but so accurate. It's been a wonderful chance to learn from you. I echo the many many thanks, and to you also Authoress. It's been alot of fun.

  28. Authoress and Holly:

    Many thanks for all time and effort put into this contest. I appreciate the helpful feedback.


  29. Holly, thanks so much for spending such a huge amount of time on our hooks! Your advice has been helpful, encouraging, and a pleasure to read. You've been amazing!

    And Authoress, I can't imagine how long it took to organize this contest! Thanks a thousand times over for your time and dedication to helping all of us aspiring writers. :)

  30. Thank you for your support to all the writers. You mentioned a couple things I hadn't even thought of and my writing will be all the better for it.

    Thank you.

    (P.S. Total shocker that the agency represented David Wellington, one of my favorite authors in recent months. I'm humbled.)

  31. Thanks for your efforts. Significant time and concentration commitment on your part - can't have been easy.

    Nice to see that professionals are actually interested in the industry hopefuls, as opposed to just the currently commercial.

    Hope you don't regret it!

    And thanks again.

  32. Thank you, Holly, for putting the time and effort into reviewing our first pages! It was an immensely helpful and eye-opening experience for me (as well as for others, I'm sure).

    Thanks again!

  33. Holly and fellow writers, thanks so much for your input and spot on critiques. This was a wonderful opportunity and I'm looking forward to the next one.

  34. Wow, thank you soooo much for taking the time to help us. I'd also like to thank all my fellow writers who took the time to read my work and comment. It was invaluable.

  35. Holly, you are my new hero. Not only did you complete a Herculean task, but you were gracious and incredibly helpful all the way through. Your clients are so very lucky to have you on their side.

    This was the sort of learning experience writers live for (oh, all right -- "for which writers live"). I learned a tremendous amount from your comments not only about my first page, but also from what you wrote about others' entries. I'll be digesting your comments for quite some time. THANK YOU.

    And thank you, too, Authoress, for providing all of us an unforgettable experience.

  36. Thank you both. I believe everyone came out winners on this one. I got some great feedback from both Holly and other comments which gave me a fresh look on my work, and I learned so much reading everyone else's openings. This was a great experience.

  37. I've said it before, but I'm happy to say it again. :)

    THANK YOU to Holly, Authoress, and everyone who took the time to comment. A lot of you read through all the submissions, which shows an amazing amount of dedication to this whole project. Above and beyond! :)

    Thanks again!

  38. How will she pick from this talent of slush? ;)

  39. Thank you Authoress for organising this - its truly been a fab week, with lots of persona learning going on.

    Thank you Holly for being the SA, I have total admiration for the job you do every day. For me your comments helped me focus on what I need to work on in my work, but it's nice to know when a story concept is interesting, makes me and no doubt many others keep beavering away at our work. Thank you!

    Virtual flowers, home-baked cookies and cakes for both of you!

  40. Holly, I got so much from reading your comments. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
    Authoress, thank you for putting it together.
    Every entry and every comment was an education.

  41. Holly,
    Thank you so much for your time and effort in commenting on all the entires! I really appreciate that you can take the time from your busy schedule to do something like this--cookies forever! :)

    Authoress, thanks again for hosting this. ;) I think it counts as a hands-down success all around. Go treat yourself for all your hard work!


  42. Ms. Root, thank you so much for doing this contest! It was so informative and helpful and it must have taken a ton of time! Your comments were very kind.

    Thank you also to Authoress. This is the first time I've shared something of my novel online and all the comments were really eye-opening and helpful!

    Thanks again to you both!

  43. Thanks for doing this, Holly! Your critiques/time/effort are very much appreciated.


  44. Yes, thank you so much, Holly! You were so thoughtful, professional, and offered wonderful insights on everyone's entry. I was thoroughly impressed by you. You're a wonderful encouragement to all of us to see what a "real agent" things.

    And thank you too, Authoress for putting this together. It's really boosted my motivation and determination to keep working on my writing.

  45. Ms. Root, Thank you so much for lending your expertise to help us better our writing. All of the comments lend an honest perception and help me see ways to improve my writing.

    Authoress, Thank you for taking your time to host this contest. It's the first time I've had an opportunity to gain such honest and unbiased feedback.

  46. To Holly, Authoress, and all the readers who left comments -- thank you. The time and commitment on everyone's part was priceless.

  47. Authoress and Holly Root and everyone participating, thank you all. :D It was awesome, getting feedback that was both critical and encouraging on my entry. Going back to read the other entries and their comments, I'm learning loads, and this entire experience has been very educational. Thanks again. :D

  48. Thank you so much, Holly.
    I appreciate the feedback and your time. What a major task. Lots of great stories out there. You had some great things to say that will help all of us better our writing. Now, take a break. You earned it.

    Authoress, thank you so much for hosting this contest. I enjoyed the competition and seeing all the great entries. I'm certain this took a great deal of time and energy on your part. Hats off to you and cookies to you both!

  49. Holly,
    I just want to add to all the thanks and appreciation you've received. You've generated a truck-load of good will among writers in the past few days.

  50. I know this has been said before (:D), but THANKS HOLLY! :D Your feedback was absolutely invaluable, and I really enjoyed going through all the posts and reading your remarks. I've learnt a lot from this competition, and am so grateful to you for the time you've been willing to devote to it :)

    Thanks also to Authoress, for hosting such an awesome competition, and managing to nab an agent for it in the first place ;):)

  51. Thanks, Holly, for saying yes when Authoress asked you and for giving us your valuable time and expertise. I really enjoyed reading all your comments and know I have learned a great deal by doing so.

  52. THANK YOU, Holly!
    Your comments were very much appreciated and so was your time and effort.

  53. I just want to echo all of the many thanks to Holly for doing such a great job with her comments, and Authoress for organizing this. I've enjoyed reading these, and have learned so much about hooks. Thanks SO much everyone who participated.

  54. Holly, thank you for taking the time to help so many with your thoughtful & constructively-worded input. Faceless Words, thank you for your time & effort in putting this gigantic undertaking together. And writers, thanks for being brave enough to post your babies -- this newbie learned a lot. I am so impressed with the talent I've seen here.

    Allie (aka Writercat on the BB)

  55. Authoress... if you weren't nameless and faceless, I would definitely send you gourmet chocolate!

    And Holly... if gifts to agents weren't so frowned upon, I'd probably send you a new car or something :)

    I really appreciate all the hard work and helpful advice!

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  56. Ms. Root,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. The comments and critique have all been so good for me as a writer! I'm 14 years old, so this was a big deal. Thank you again!

    (Mine was Post 113)

  57. Holly:

    Your comments on my piece were very encouraging, and I thank you for taking the time to participate in this contest. Even for those of us who did not win, it has been a worthwhile experience.

    Thanks again.

    Post 77

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