QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Contest Results and Interview with Emmanuelle Morgen

Contest Results

The QT Blog team would like to thank literary agent, Emmanuelle Morgen, for volunteering to judge our contest. The entire process has been a delight. Ms. Morgen selected some honorable mentions and gave comments in addition to selecting the top three. The winners are as follows:

1st Place: IN THE AETHER, by Amanda Sabourova (Send full manuscript)

2nd Place: EYEWITNESS, by Sarah Templeton (Send 50 pages)
3rd Place: BITE ME, YOUR GRACE, by Brooklyn Ann Smith (Send 30 pages)

Honorable Mention: WILD FIRE, by Rashda Kahn - Interesting concept. I'd welcome a query and the first full chapter or first 10 pages.

Honorable Mention: HER DANGEROUS INHERITANCE, by Daphne Olivier -
Interesting concept and solid start, though I'm not sure yet about the sales potential. I'd welcome a query and first chapter or 10 pages.
Honorable Mention: VIRTUALLY YOURS, by Joanne Huspeck - Concept seems more women's fiction than romance, and it could be hilarious. I'd welcome a query with the first chapter or 10 pages.

Honorable Mention: EYE CONTACT by Rebecca Royce - Concept is fantastic, but prologue didn't catch my interest. The author seemed to avoid jumping into the story; I missed having a character to relate to up front. I'd suggest cutting the prologue and starting the book with Chapter 1. I'd love to get a query after the author revises.
Honorable Mention: LEAP, by Kristi Lea - Writing is solid, but aliens are a really tough sell, and it was hard to get a sense of the heroine's motivation from the blurb.

Congratulations to our winners!

Interview with Emmanuelle Morgen

Emmanuelle Morgen is a literary agent with Judith Ehrlich Literary Management LLC.

I met Ms. Morgen last year at a writers' conference and attended some sessions in which she sat on the panel of experts. I found her charming. That sounds stupid, I know, but she stood out. Her demeanor was reserved compared to the other panelists and her answers were direct and well-thought out. She listened, which to me is a valuable trait in an agent. Had I been on an agent hunt, I'd have been in stalk mode. Really.

What I found out about her during this interview process is that she's funny too. I misspelled her name--something I was sure would be listed in her pet peeves in the interview--and her response was fantastic. I saw my mistake and immediately fired off an apology. Her response?

"No worries! I've often though of changing my email address to too-many-vowels [at] gmail. com :-)"

QueryTracker: What inspired you to become an agent and what keeps you in the business?

Emmanuelle Morgen: Growing up in Oregon I read nonstop, and I always knew that someday I’d work with books. I came east for college, interned with various publishers in New York City, then eventually got a job in editorial at Fodor’s Travel. After a few years, I switched to agenting so I could work with fiction and different kinds of nonfiction. I think the publishing industry is full of interesting, passionate people who love books as much as I do and are committed to bringing great books into the marketplace. I have a huge respect for authors and their creative abilities, and working to maximize their career potential is the most fulfilling aspect of this job.

QT: We appreciate your willingness to judge a contest for the QueryTracker Blog. What made you agree to do it?

EM: For me it’s a chance to receive targeted submissions in specific genres by writers who are likely to be more professional and better informed than average. I receive 100-150 queries per week, and many of them are clearly not right for me, either because the author is writing in a category I don’t represent, or their material just isn’t submission-ready. Judging a contest is a great way to scout for new talent. :-)

QT: We've discussed conferences and oral pitches several times on our blog. Why do agents participate in conferences? Any advice for conference attendees searching for agents?

EM: I attend conferences to scout for new talent, network with other publishing professionals, and get the news out about my agency and what I look for as an agent. I find RWA conferences in particular to be well-organized and attended by writers who are serious about learning and improving their craft, and finding out the best ways to get published. A well-informed author is an agent’s best friend.

QT: Pet peeves?

EM: Queries that are obviously not for me! My interests and categories are clearly stated on my website, as are our agency submission guidelines, and we hope writers will read them before sending in their queries.

QT: Pets?

EM: Yes! I have an insane 9-year-old Cornish Rex whose real name is Mr. B but who I alternately call Gremlin, Gollum, or Evil One, depending on how good his behavior is. :-) Here’s a photo of him. He is the most cuddly cat I’ve ever known. If he’s not on the windowsill basking in the sun, he’s usually on my lap trying to crawl up under my sweater!

QT: What is the most exciting thing happening in your agenting life right now?

EM: Right before the end of the year I sold a wonderful Regency romance called A LADY AWAKENED to Bantam. It’s about a widow who finds out her recently deceased husband disinherited her because she didn’t bear him an heir, and what she does to preserve her independence. The author is Cecilia Grant, and she is definitely one to watch. I’m also very excited for my longtime client Alissa Johnson, whose fourth book DESTINED TO LAST is coming out in March. And then I’m absolutely over the moon about a new historical novelist I just signed up, whose first book takes place in an English seaside holiday town, the site of the country’s first pleasure park.


Once again, our deepest thanks to Ms. Morgen for judging our contest and taking the time for an interview.

More can be found about Ms. Morgen on the QueryTracker main site and the Judith Ehrlich Literary Management LLC website.

Have a great week!



Stina said...

Great interview! Congrats to all the winners and honorable mentions! That was really cool that the latter group even got some feedback on their entry. :D

Brooklyn Ann said...

W0000T!! Thanks so much to QT for setting this up and Thanks, Emannuelle, for doing this! You sound wonderful to work with and you're a cat person!
(I have 2 siamese overlords and an impish calico. They have a dog.)

B.J. Anderson said...

Woo hoo! Way to go Amanda! And congrats to all the other winners for the contest!

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Feliciations to all the winners and honourable mentions.
Also lovely interview, Ms Alspaugh was very kind to me when I queried here a year ago with my first manuscript and I'm so very sorry I missed entering this contest.
Warm regards,

Anonymous said...

Woo-Hoo! Congrats winnterrs!!!! Fantastic.

Rashda Khan said...

Thanks for a great contest. I met Ms. Alspaugh last year and found her very approachable and enthusiastic. Good luck to everyone submitting!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the great interview. And congrats to all the winners.

Amanda Gaume said...

Congratulations to all the winners! A big thanks to Ms. Alspaugh for judging the contest and for the interview!

Suzette Saxton said...

Lovely interview! I always enjoy hearing from agents. Thanks, Mary, and Ms. Alspaugh!

Elana Johnson said...

Thank you Ms. Alspaugh! And so funny about the email address. I feel the same way about my name. *sigh*


Silke said...

And LOL about the email address.
Occasionally I feel like changing mine to the-one-with-the-weird-name@ or just oddname@
I can relate :)
On the other hand... a unique name is kind of a rarity.
Great interview, and nice cat!