Agent Interview: Ann Rose

A surefire way to determine an agent is the best fit for your manuscript/writing career is by learning everything you can about them. Such information is great when choosing who to query and deciding who you’d love to work long term with. As a site dedicated to guiding writers through the publication journey, we’ve put together awesome agent interviews for you!

Today we’re introducing Ann Rose at Prospect Literary Agency!

Path2pub: How did you become an agent?

AR: It’s a kind of a long story so I will try to keep it simple. Years ago, my niece was super upset that a MC of her favorite book (that we were reading together) died, and she called me bawling her eyes out. In that moment, I did what any good aunt would do and told her I would write her a book. Well, me being me thought, if I’m writing this, I should find out everything there is to know about publishing. So I got myself an internship and worked there learning as much as I could about the industry. When my full-time job was eliminated, I took the leap into agenting full-time and really haven’t looked back since. It’s been a round about road on getting here, but I finally fell like I found my place.

Path2pub: Wow, what an awesome path! What genres do you represent and why did you decide ‘these are what I want to help bring to the world’?

AR: I represent books of all genres in MG and YA, and select adult genres. I have a soft spot in my heart for kidlit and feel passionate about getting books that readers need into their hands. Which is why I don’t shy away from any topic. If it’s something a kid would deal with, it should be talked about.

As much as I love kidlit, I am still a sucker for a good romance novel or suspenseful thriller. There are areas in adult fiction that I also feel are underserved and love finding those special books that fill those gaps. My adult list (especially) leans very heavily feminist, and this is not by accident. 

Path2pub: What instantly catches your eye in a query letter/manuscript?

AR: Aside from a well written letter, a strong concept (or hook) will always get me excited about a query. Sometimes its more about the intention behind the book than the actual book itself that will get my heart a thumping. I love hearing why authors are inspired to write what they do, or how they are connected to what is on the page.

I would also say if a query can make me laugh (which is NOT an easy feat) it will have me searching for the pages. 

Path2pub: Thank you for sharing these!What is that element that makes you know at once that a story is not for you?

AR: I’ve said this many times before, and it probably seems a little silly to some, but a story that starts with a character waking up rarely has me reading any further than that action. The issue is that I see it so much that it doesn’t feel fresh or interesting. There is nothing unique about it. I can name at least a dozen books and a dozen movies that start with this action—so IMO it’s been done to death.

Although it might seem obvious, but any book that is overtly racist, sexist, misogynistic, homophobic etc. just isn’t my jam. Does this mean I won’t take books that deal with these topics? No, of course not. I’m very interested in stories that present these in nuanced ways, but if they are just racist, sexist, etc for the sake of it, then I’m not interested. And I’m not really interested in “terrible male character becomes a better person because he learns from an underprivileged group” troupe either.

I’m also not interested in stories that require a female character to be assaulted in order to propel the plot or character arc for a male character. Now again, this doesn’t mean I won’t consider books that deal with assault. It’s just in the way the assault is handled and the intention behind it that makes the difference. 

Another thing I don’t enjoy is when there are power imbalances in romance—like boss, employee—kind of thing, or falling in love with one’s captor. Stockholm syndrome just isn’t sexy to me. Also in romance, I’m not really excited about stories that are just “woman wants to find man.” I like when characters have larger goals outside of the romance and the romance just happens to happen along the way. 

Path2pub: How hands-on are you editorially?

AR: I consider myself to be pretty editorial. My clients and I will go through a few rounds of edits before anything goes out. We will often brainstorm together beforehand too on next projects to make sure they aren’t spinning their wheels on things that just won’t be marketable.

I do like manuscripts to be as clean and ready as possible before they reach editors’ hands.

Path2pub: Do you have goals for how many clients you want to acquire in a year?

AR: No. I have no set number or expectation. I just follow my heart when it comes to signing clients.

Path2pub: What is your favorite trope?

AR: Oh my. It might be easier to say what I don’t like. LOL. Something I’m super into right now are strong friendship groups, especially if they are girls supporting each other. We’ve done this “mean girl” thing for too long and it’s time we collectively understand that we would be so much stronger together than tearing each other down.

Otherwise, I enjoy:

  • Friends to lovers
  • Fish out of water
  • Female revenge
  • Grumpy sunshine
  • Monstrous girls
  • Anti-heroes
  • Reluctant hero
  • Opposites attract
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Fake dating
  • Rivals
  • Forced proximity
  • Road trips
  • Food magic
  • Slow burn
  • Secret heir
  • Alternate universe
  • Creating monsters
  • Story within a story
  • Unreliable narrators
  • Doppelgangers/twins

Really I could go on and on. And even if it’s not on this list, if it’s done well, I’m likely in.

Path2pub: What are some books you think everyone should read?

AR: Well, who would I be if I didn’t recommend my client’s books?

  • Seton Girls (8/2022)
  • Curious League of Detective and Thieves: Egypt’s Fire
  • IronSpark
  • Phoebe Unfired
  • Jiu-Jitsu Girl (1/2023)
  • It Happened on Saturday (2/2023)
  • Some I can’t mention yet (wink)

Books that aren’t mine, but I think are awesome:

  • The Awesome
  • The Squad
  • The Swag is in the Socks
  • Belzhar
  • The House on the Cerulean Sea
  • Forward Me Back to You
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker
  • The Poet X
  • Darius the Great is Not Okay

I know I’m forgetting a bunch, but there are SO MANY AMAZING BOOKS OUT THERE! 

Path2pub: True! If a writer could write a book specifically for you, what would you want it to be about?

AR: Oh, this is a dangerous question. …

I think the perfect book for me right now would be a blend of women banding together and seeking revenge or teaming up for the greater good in some way. Like I mentioned, I’m really into stories of women supporting each other, however that may look.

Other than that, I have an extensive MSWL that I try to keep updated. 

Path2pub: What advice do you have for querying writers?

AR: Be patient. I know it’s tough and publishing can be slower than a sloth crossing the road, but if this is what you want, take a breath and just try to ride the wave. Things are moving, even if it feels like they are taking forever.

Another thing I would say is find your people. Find other writers with similar goals to help get your work to the next level. Critique partners and accountability partners are critical. Join writing groups, book clubs, whatever you can to get connected to people who share your passion. You will need them when things are tough, and you will need people to celebrate with too. Like does a non-writing person understand what it means to get a partial or full request? Or getting a 10 page edit letter from your agent/editor? You need people who just get it and can commiserate. 

Path2pub: Great advice! What are your non-publishing related hobbies?

AR: Wait. We are supposed to have time for non-publishing related hobbies?

Haha! Thank you for stopping by and a fun, insightful interview, Ann.

Ann Rose—Literary agent, wrangler of words, drinker of way too much coffee, and someone who’s always looking for the bright side. If the quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” were a person, it would be Ann. She can be found at Prospect Agency.

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Published by path2pub

From The Trenches To The Shelves

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