Book Broker – an interview with Jessica Errera

Book Broker—an interview with literary agent Jessica Errera

 

Agent: Jessica Errera

Website: janerotrosen.com

Preferred genres: book club, women’s fiction, romance/rom-com, YA/MG, the occasional suspense/thriller or historical.

Jessica Errera—literary agent with janerotrosen.com

Bio: Jessica has been with JRA since 2014. She is looking for commercial women’s fiction with a fresh and fun hook, all genres of YA (especially diverse stories), contemporary romance, thrillers and suspense, the occasional historical fiction, and anything that might be read in a day on the beach. Jessica is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a former intern at Algonquin Books.

1) What stands out in a good submission?

Unique voice, good pacing, and a hook I haven’t seen before (bonus points for turning a well-known trope on its head)!

2) What's a typical warning sign that a manuscript isn't ready for representation?

Typos are the obvious sign, but in terms of craft I see a lot of starting in the wrong place, showing instead of telling, lack of tension, and underdeveloped world-building.

3) What advice can you give to writers who are submitting their work?

Read the submission guidelines and follow them exactly! Equate your query with a cover letter on a job application—it should be professional, polished, and meet all necessary requirements, but still show off your personality.

4) What are the three most overused openings that you encounter in submissions?

These don’t bother me, but I see a lot of (a) jokes about being a Tar Heel (or Blue Devil), (b) “I saw on twitter that…” and (c) a generic “I believe you might be a good fit for my work.”

5) Approximately how many query letters do you receive per year? Of those, how many will you respond to with a request for a full manuscript? And of those, how many are likely to receive an offer of representation?

I would estimate 3-5 queries a day, which equates to hundreds of queries a year. I request full manuscripts about 10% of the time, and offer on less than half of those. That said, I will often leave the door open if an author is willing to revise and resubmit.

6) What is the average length of time it takes to place a manuscript with a publisher, and what is your strategy for a client whose manuscript isn't selling?

This varies greatly! In general I’ve noticed that YA takes much longer than adult but, of course, some projects are snapped up overnight! If a manuscript isn’t inspiring any editors to make an offer, I like to see if there’s commonality in the feedback. If so, we have a roadmap to revise and try again. If not, perhaps it’s time to set that one aside (for now!) and work on book two in the interim.

7) What's the best (non-client) book you've read recently, and how did it hook you?

The best book I read for pleasure lately was NOTHING TO SEE HERE by Kevin Wilson. I was completely captivated by the bizarre premise that, somehow, seems totally normal! Wilson asks a lot of the reader in terms of suspending disbelief and yet, when you’re in it, the world he’s built feels 100% natural.

Miel Moreland’s YA debut IT GOES LIKE THIS

8) Can you tell us about an exciting author you're working with at the moment?

Yes! I am beyond excited for Miel Moreland’s YA debut IT GOES LIKE THIS, which publishes 5/18/21 from Feiwel & Friends. It’s about a teen pop band that has broken up (somewhat messily), but agrees to one last benefit concert to help save their hometown—I like to call it a queer take on Jem & the Holograms, with elements of fanfiction thrown in. You can find out more at: mielmoreland.com/books

About the Darling Axe

We are professional editors as well as award-winning writers. We understand the intense effort and emotional investment you have poured into your work. It's our job to help you take your manuscript to the next level.



Work with a professional fiction editor from the Darling Axe: manuscript development and book editing services



Darling Axe Academy – Query Quest: a self-paced querying course

Darling Axe Academy – Best-laid plans: a self-paced outlining course

Book a sample edit with a professional fiction editor from the Darling Axe: manuscript development and book editing services

Related Posts

Book Broker – an interview with Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts
Book Broker – an interview with Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts
I'm always looking to champion writers that don't have access to the usual avenues of success, so a note about passion a
Read More
Resource review: #PitMad and other pitch battles
Resource review: #PitMad and other pitch battles
#PitMad and other submission battles are a great way to catch an agent's attention as well as practice your pitching ski
Read More

Leave a comment

Name .
.
Message .

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published