We have our next literary agent visiting today, so if you’re looking for an agent, get ready! P Lease welcome Bree Ogden from D4EO Literary Agency! Thanks for being here today, Bree!
Me: How did you become an agent?
Bree: I had just finished my masters program in Journalism. At this point in time, I had a BA in Philosophy and a MA in Journalism, a TON of editing and writing experience and NO newspaper was hiring because of the great newspaper crisis of 2009. I moved home to BainbridgeIsland in search of a job and I found an internship with the lovely Sharlene Martin, fabulous agent at Martin Literary Management. At that point, I kind of just needed to do something that put all my schooling to good use. But about 7 months in, it turned out that I had fallen in love with the profession and Sharlene put a tremendous amount of faith in me and allowed me to start representing my own authors. After about two years at Martin Literary Management, I made the switch over to D4EO where I have been agenting for about a year now.
Me: What are three things that elicit automatic rejections from you when reading the first 50 pages of a manuscript?
Bree: Unfortunately, these are going to be fairly obvious answers. But the first is just poor plot development. A plot should move smoothly from one idea to the next, and all too often, the transitions are jarring. The second is poor character development. I hate when it takes me several chapters to figure out who the protag is going to be. The third is when I have a sense that the writer isn’t sure of their own idea. This happens all too often. I’ll be reading a manuscript and I can immediately tell that the writer was just so anxious to shop their work, that they didn’t put enough time into sussing out all the details of the plot.
Me: What are you looking for right now in contemporary fiction submissions and not getting? Are there any subjects or genres that are near and dear to your heart? And on the flip side, what are you getting too much of?
Bree: I am looking for quiet, beautiful literary fiction. I’m sort of over in-your-face issue books. Because I have set myself up as liking darker stuff, which I do… I am constantly getting queries for issue books, and I’m a little worn out on that. Ironically enough, since I’ve always said I don’t like romance, I’m also looking for a great contemporary romance like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. Also, anything along the lines of what David Levithan writes. He is a genius.
Subjects near and dear to my heart include Anne Boleyn, Marie Antoinette, The Black Dahlia, Halloween, Frankenstein’s Monster, monsters in general, and horror. I’m also looking for adult transgressive fiction.
Me: What is one thing about you that a writer would be surprised to learn?
Bree: I was preparing to go to law school instead of journalism school in the summer of 2007. I’ve always wanted to practice law but for some cosmic reason, journalism won out and I am glad it did, because I love my job.
Me: Best piece(s) of advice you can give a writer we haven’t talked about yet?
Bree: Don’t write to the trends. If your manuscript happens to fall into a very trendy plot, try to alter one facet about it to make it a bit more unique. But when you set out to write a book, the words should be tugging you along, not the other way around. The manuscript should unfold in your mind, don’t force it to unfold according to what is hot right now.
Me: Are you open to submissions? If so, how should a writer go about submitting?
Bree: Yes, I am always open. Email your query with the first 5 pages of your manuscript copied and pasted into the email to Bree@d4eo.com.
You can find Bree on the web at:
Underneath the Juniper Tree: http://underneaththejunipertreemag.com