Editor / Agent Spotlight

Agent Spotlight with Ann Rose of the Prospect Agency!

Hello Mixed-Up Filers! Are we in for a treat today! For my last post of the year, I’m pleased to welcome Ann Rose, who besides being a really great author, is also an agent with the Prospect Agency!

JR: Hi Ann, thanks for joining us today!

AR: Thanks for having me.

JR: To start, could you tell us a little bit about your path to becoming an agent and also about the Prospect Agency?

AR: Absolutely. A million years ago (okay, maybe not that long) my niece had asked me to read some books with her. She was a vivacious reader and her friends really weren’t but she wanted someone to fangirl with over books. So I told her to tell me what to buy, and we started our own little book club. After one of her favorite characters died, and she called me sobbing, I told her I’d write her a book and this is were my story truly begins. As a girl who has never liked to do anything halfway, I decided if I was going to write her a book I was going to learn everything there was to know about the publishing industry which included getting an internship at an agency on top of my forty hour(+) a week job managing a portfolio of applications for all of America and part of Latin America.

I found agenting to be fascinating, and I loved how each day brought different challenges to conquer, so after a few years, and my day job being eliminated (thanks corporate America) I took to agenting full time and found a home with Prospect Agency. I call it serendipity because really all the stars aligned to make it happen, and I haven’t regretted it a day since.

JR: That’s a great story. I hope you’ve found some books for her that don’t make her sob now! 🙂 How did you get your first client?

AR: I met my soon to be client at a SCBWI conference here in Houston. She had requested a manuscript critique and from the very first sentence of her story I knew I found something and someone special. I requested the full manuscript. Her book then went on to be sold to Macmillan and comes out next Spring. We are already talking about next projects one of which is a Graphic Novel that I’m super excited about and can’t wait until it’s finished.

JR: You must be very excited about that. What’s changed in publishing between the time you started and now?

AR: Publishing is always changing in some way or another which is why I really like this industry; nothing is ever boring or stagnant. Editors come and go, and they move around—which is always interesting to try to keep track of. I’m excited to say that the amount of diverse books written by diverse authors seem to be getting more attention in the market which is awesome and something I’m always on the lookout for.

JR: What do you enjoy the most about your job?

AR: I love working with my clients. I love helping them bring their manuscripts to another level. I love challenging their abilities and constantly watching them grow as writers. I love texting them and telling them how a particular part of their story made me laugh or cry. And once their books get out in the world I know I’m going to love how readers love their books as much as I do.

JR: Your clients must love having you in their corners like that.

Like me, I see that you’ve moved around a lot. Funny that I almost moved to Texas from New York, but wound up in Florida, and you moved from Florida to Texas. Do you think that living in different places has helped influence your taste in books?

AR: I don’t think the places I’ve lived affects my taste as much as the people I meet. But I will say that my move to Texas (and since I didn’t know very many people here) gave me more than enough opportunities to read lots of books.  Now the longer I’m here and the more people I meet and the more integrated my family gets into the community does take some of that pleasure reading time away.

JR: Your friends will just have to understand that you have books to read! 🙂 What sort of books do you look for?

AR: I look for books that make me want to keep reading. I know super specific, right? But really, it’s the voice and heart of a story from the very first line that helps pull me through. I’m always looking for books to take me to new places and that allow me to experience new cultures and worlds. I may have moved a few times, but I haven’t traveled nearly as much as I’ve wanted so anything that can show me something different than I’ve seen before. So, I’d love more diverse books written by diverse authors in my inbox please. (Of all age groups MG-Adult. If it sounds like I could like it send it my way.)

That said, I’d love to see some more middle grade of all genres in my inbox. As well as more adult stories. Rom-coms – historicals with a strong feminist twist (that do or do not have romance) LGBTQIA+ stories. I’m also hoping to open up to graphic novels in the near future.

For a comprehensive list please visit my MSWL page at Ann Rose Manuscript Wishlist

I do try to keep this updated.

JR: That’s great that you represent a wide variety of books and genres. What do you want in an author/agent relationship?

AR: I’m looking for a long-term monogamous relationship. This sounds like a dating service listening doesn’t it, LOL. But seriously, I’m looking to help authors grow their careers. So while it would be great to find that one “Harry Potter” in the bunch, I really want people that I can work with for a long time, because while those big breakout books do happen they are more the exception than the rule. My authors are like my family—we call ourselves the Rosebuds, and I love it.

JR: I LOVE that name! Except now, I’ll probably start thinking of you as the Citizen Kane agent!

You’re also an author of your own books, Road to Eugenica and Breakout. Can you tell us a little bit about them, and also, do you think it helps you to look at your own work through an agent’s eye, or do you sometimes get too critical of yourself?

AR: Sure.

Road to Eugenica came out in 2018 and basically it is about a girl with superhuman abilities from another dimension on Earth—who is being hunted for those abilities. This is actually the book I wrote for my niece all those years ago (and rewrote a number of times).

Breakout is about a group of teens who are forced to work together to escape and AI enforced prison, except, who do you trust when everyone is guilty?

As for looking at my work through an agent’s eyes, I don’t really do that. I mean it would make sense to, I guess, but it’s still an artform, and so I have to write what my heart wants me to. Whether that’s what’s “hot or not” really doesn’t matter to me as a writer. While sure I’d love to sell all the things I write, it’s a journey and with each book I learn something new along the way.

JR: Your books sound really good. Love Sci/Fi and going to have to pick them up! What advice can you give to authors?

AR: Keep writing. If it’s in your heart and something you can’t not do than keep doing it. If you are writing just because you think your book is the next Harry Potter and you will never have to work another day in your life than maybe it’s time to quit while you’re ahead. Publishing/Writing in general is not for the weak of heart. It’s not easy or simple, and the people who love it and stick with it are the ones that will see their time (eventually). It’s not the newest get rich quick scheme. It takes a lot of sweat (and tears) and determination but if you can handle a lot of “no’s” and there will be lots of them. It will make the “yes’s” all that much sweeter.

JR: I can vouch for the seat and tears part! What was your favorite book as a child?

AR: I used to love those choose your own adventure stories. I remember sitting at my friend’s house for sleepovers and staying up way too late deciding if the character should take a ride in the gondola or not. Which I guess it makes sense why I’m a writer now, because I like being the one to make those decisions.

JR: I think I might’ve gasped when you answered! The CYOA books were among my favorites as a kid. My dad always used to get me one whenever we went to the bookstore. And speaking of being a kid, what’s one thing from your childhood that you miss and wish could come back?

AR: Do kids do lip-sync contests anymore? Because if not that should definitely be a thing. I remember going all out having contests and choreographing for lip sync contests as a kid. Those were the days.

JR: Going to have to find out which song was your go-to for lip-syncing. Before we go, I have to ask, I read that you trampoline enthusiast? I’m afraid of even doing standard jumps, so like how good are we talking?

AR: Good? No, I’m horrible. I just think they are lots of fun.

JR: Where can we find you on Social Media?

AR: You can find me of course on Prospect Agency’s website – www.prospectagency.com

On Twitter I’m @annmrose – Twitter

On Instagram I’m @totally_anntastic – Instagram

For my author page, you can find me at Facebook

JR: Thanks so much for taking the time to speak to us today!

AR: Thanks again for having me. This was such a blast.


Well, that’s it for this month, Mixed-Up Filers! I’d like to once again thank Ann Rose for joining us. You can check out her books over at Indiebound

I’d love to stay and chat more, but Dorian Cirrone is having me scrub the ballroom floor for our big Mixed-Up Files New Year’s bash!

To the rest of you, Happy New Year from your Mixed-Up Files team!


Editor Spotlight: Georgia McBride, Georgia McBride Media Group

Georgia McBride is founder and editor of Georgia McBride Media Group, which is home to Month9Books, Swoon Romance, and Tantrum Books. She has used her experience launching brands in the music business, licensing music to film and TV, launching new technology products, and marketing and product development to build the Georgia McBride Media Group brand. Georgia is one of Publishers Marketplace’s most prolific editors. She’s completed over 225 publishing, audiobook, and film/TV deals on behalf of three imprints since 2012. Georgia founded the #YAlitchat hashtag and weekly chat on Twitter in 2009.

Hi Georgia, thanks for chatting with us!
You’re publishing two of my 2019 middle grade debut-mates: Malayna Evans and Kristin Thorsness. Can you talk about what originally sparked your interest and made you want to acquire their debut novels?

Thanks for having me, and congratulations on your debut! Malayna’s Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh has everything a kids’ action adventure fantasy should have but most of all, it has heart. Sure it’s a time travel adventure that takes Jagger and his little sister back to the Ancient Egyptian court, but it’s also funny and full of historical references and gags. So, while readers go on this harrowing adventure, they learn about Ancient Egypt and laugh the entire time. Additionally, the characters in this series are biracial, like my own kids, so I definitely was intrigued when it crossed my inbox. Representation is so important, especially at this age.

On the other hand, Kristin’s The Wicked Tree, which went through a title change after acquisition is spooky, atmospheric, and creepy. When I read it for the first time, it reminded me of a spooky tree outside my bedroom window when I was about the same age as the main character, Tav. I remember seeing a figure in the tree one night and screaming at the top of my lungs. None of the adults believed me, of course. The Wicked Tree captured all those creepy feelings I had back then, and I knew it would have a similar effect on readers. It’s also got a pretty cool mystery. So readers can put on their detective caps while getting spooked out.

With both of these stories, and especially for middle grade, I’m looking for something that makes the story and its characters unique. In both examples, I made a personal connection to the characters in both stories, so that helped.

Both these novels, The Wicked Tree, and Jagger Jones & The Mummy’s Ankh are in some sense quest/mystery novels. And Jagger is set in a very remote historical period. Are there any particular challenges in editing these genres?

I’m a lucky editor in that the author of Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh, Malayna Evans, has Ph. D. in Ancient Egyptology. That said, we did try our best to fact-check. We still asked questions, challenged assertions, and focused a lot on consistency during the edits.

For Kristin’s The Wicked Tree, we looked at the logic and reasoning behind the mystery and why characters did and said what they did – or why not. Mysteries can always be solved, and therefore, they have to follow basic and consistent logic, even with twists and even if it isn’t something a reader would personally do, think, or say.

Can you talk about your experience in the music business? What aspects do the music and book industry share?

As you can imagine, working in the music business is a lot of fun. It is also a lot of hard work. The music business and publishing business are very much alike in that my roles have remained basically the same. When I worked in music I did so mostly in marketing, talent acquisition, and packaging. Whether it is discovering, marketing, packaging, producing, editing, etc., the process and prospects are almost identical.

I miss the music business though. I no longer get free music now that I’m out. And, as of this year, I have had to pay to attend concerts. That is definitely new for me. I love what I do as a publisher, though. The similarities in my roles prepared me to hit the ground running in 2011. And now, I get free books and invites to all manner of spectacular bookish things.

What’s the number one thing authors can do, pre- or post-publication, to help boost sales of their books?

Be available. Be personable. Engage your audience in an authentic way. That may include in-person events, online, on social media, etc. I encourage those who write children’s literature to go where the kids are.

On average, middle schoolers spend 6-8 hours of their days in school. They receive book recommendations from teachers, librarians or media specialists, book fairs, etc. Engage that audience frequently, and you will soon start to build your own. Don’t give up or be discouraged if you don’t hit it out of the park on book 1. Stay focused, determined, and undeterred.

What’s an under-represented middle-grade genre or topic that you’d like to see more of?

This fall we published BERTIE’S BOOK OF SPOOKY WONDERS about a little girl who has difficulty making good choices. Her mother’s impending wedding to a widower with two kids compounds her difficulties. Of course, being TantrumBooks/Month9Books there’s magic and some spooky goings on in this story also, thus the wolves and raven on the cover!

As parents, we tend to focus on perfect behavior and good decision making for our kids, and sometimes fail to realize that our kids may struggle with impulse control and or feelings of anxiety. We expect our kids to manage their emotions and feelings well most of the time. Some kids are going through so much at home, and it can sometimes manifest as acting out. I love that BERTIE’S BOOK OF SPOOKY WONDERS tackles these issues. In her new blended family, Bertie’s parents are very much around, and are trying to help her cope. I would like to see more stories about coping with life in general and all the pressure twelve-year-olds are under to adapt in these modern times.

Do you have other forthcoming middle-grade novels you’d like to introduce us to?

Of course we have the sequels to Jagger Jones and the Mummy’s Ankh and The Wicked Tree releasing in 2020. We also have The Prince and the Goblin, a heavily illustrated adventure fantasy told from the point of view of a goblin who wants more from his life. Then there’s Kids from G.H.O.S.T, a graphic novel about kid ghost detectives, and The Fate of Freddy Mitchell, which is the new one from Andrew Buckley, author of Hair in all the Wrong Places.

Thanks so much for your time, Georgia!

Thank you!

Follow Georgia on Twitter: @georgia_mcbride
On Instagram @iamgeorgiamcbride, @month9books
Or visit her website at https://www.georgiamcbride.com/

Interview with Editor Jonah Heller – Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.

We are delighted to have with us, Jonah Heller, associate editor at Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.

Welcome to Mixed-Up Files, Jonah!

Hey, thanks for having me!


Could you share your editorial journey at Peachtree with us?

My editorial journey with Peachtree started shortly after I graduated with my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from VCFA. I was fortunate enough to have a network of peers connected to Peachtree who helped advocate my intern application, and I did my internship with Peachtree in the summer of 2016. Through hard work, careful attention to detail, and routinely showering everyone with baked goods, I left enough of a positive impression that I was hired on as a publisher’s assistant on January 1, 2017.

From there, I was entering orders for sales, organizing mailings, proofing our catalog, and doing just about anything that needed an extra pair of hands while also training into editorial assistant work. As my supervisor left for other horizons—I eventually did take on more editorial work and started dipping into acquisitions by examining imports from Frankfurt and Bologna. It was great exposure to literature abroad and an excellent opportunity to develop my own taste and direction. Of course, the reward for work done well is—more work! So lots of paperbacks and reprints and editorial outreach as an assistant editor. And now I’ve been upgraded to an associate editor, so I’ve been set loose into the wilderness to go find exciting things and build my list. Woo!


What are some books you’ve worked on?

Peachtree is very well established in the picture book arena, so plenty of those!

In terms of middle grade: Peachtree is a smaller house, so that means it’s an all-hands-on-deck environment and everyone’s got their hand in the cookie jar at some point. I’ve helped proof various stages of our Charlie Bumpers and Nina Soni series. I’ve also overseen the paperback adaptation process for quite a number of our middle grade titles, which can involve anything from a new cover and revised back matter to substantial text edits and updates with the author.


Working on imports as an assistant, I adapted The Bookshop Girl from Scholastic UK and oversaw the illustration process from sketches to final art and cover. It’s a fun mystery about a girl who can’t read and has to save her family’s recently acquired bookstore from a shady con man. A good choice if you love whimsy and the idea of a mechanical wonder bookstore with rooms dedicated to rocket ships or pirate treasure aquariums.

What are some subjects you’d like to see authors tackle in middle grade?

Ultimately, I’d like to see them tackle whatever interests them. That’s the best place to start. But as far as my wish list for this group…

Themes: adventure, animal points of view, comedy, coming of age, contemporary, magical realism, mystery, wilderness survival,

Craft: character driven; compelling voice; page-turning digestible plot; 3-dimensional protagonist & antagonist

It’s one of those things, where I’ll know it when I see it and get into the first ten pages. So I try to keep a wide net cast. I would, however, especially LOVE ownvoices LGBTQ+ stories.

Could you share with us your ideas and goals when it comes to the representation of diversity in the books you publish?

Everyone should be able to reach out to literature and see themselves. That’s critical not only to a sense of belonging but also to establishing empathy for other walks of life outside of our own experience. I strive to be mindful and thoughtful in my acquisitions, because I don’t want a one-note list. I’d be very bored and disappointed with that and, ultimately, so would my publisher and our readers.

Putting that into practice: I don’t ever actively look to check off a box and then move on to something else. I don’t think that’s a good approach, nor a sincere one. My goal is to ultimately acquire talent from all walks of life, who can deliver an excellently crafted story while also offering authentic mirrors and varied experiences. I don’t want to just acquire you and your one book and then be done with it:  I want to build a long-lasting relationship with you and work on lots of cool things for years to come.

What are some common reasons for a manuscript to make it to acquisitions at Peachtree Publishing?

For middle grade fiction, it’s usually character- or voice-driven. You can really latch onto someone’s journey and empathize with their trials and triumphs if the writing lets you step close enough. It’s not really theme or topic that drives fiction for us; it’s a fully satisfying story and arc of growth. You walk away from the book, having had some sort of raw emotional experience that sticks to you and you carry around for a while.

Nonfiction: it’s not my area of expertise, admittedly. But this can be topic or theme driven at first and then develop into something that will ultimately be more for the institutional market. So, we’ll ask: how can this be used in the classroom? What makes it different and specialized from everything else already out there? How can we grow it further from this one book? Etc.

What advice do you have for writers who want to query you?

So if you’re unagented, I’m on snail mail at the moment. It’s not everyone’s favorite method, but it’s mine and it keeps me organized! You can find Peachtree’s address and submissions guidelines on our website, and if you were dutiful enough to read this then you’ll now discover that if you don’t put my name on the envelope, it won’t ever come to my desk.

My general wish list is above, but it’s always a good idea to check out a publisher’s catalog and see what kind of stuff they’ve done. That’s always step one. Ask yourself: does it feel like they’re a good fit for my work, or am I going to be an odd duck out here? Or, if they’ve done something similar: how is my work going to stand out?

As I’ve said, nonfiction isn’t generally my cup of tea. But maybe I’ll surprise myself one day.

I’m also probably not the right editor for a divorce or abuse story, unless it culminates in healing and/or some type of cathartic and triumphant resolution. Additionally, fantasy and science fiction haven’t been as prominent at Peachtree, so the pacing, world building, and character work has to be top-of-the-line.

Other tips:

  • Spelling the editor’s name right is cool
  • Showing up at their office in-person is not cool
  • Neither are frequent phone calls
  • Explore resources on writing query letters

What’s going on in Middle Grade at Peachtree right now?

I’ve been Americanizing an illustrated adventure from the UK, called Mr. Penguin. It’s Indiana Jones meets Sherlock, but with a penguin and a kung fu spider. So basically loads of fun.



Our Nina Soni series continues, and upcoming for 2020: we’ve bought the US text rights to Lavie Tidhar’s Candy from Scholastic UK. It’s an awesome film noir-like mystery following young detective Nelle Faulkner as she uncovers the shady underworld of candy smuggling in a town that’s outlawed sugar. We will be re-illustrating, so expect a fun story and a fresh American package!

Domestically, I’m on the verge of some exciting things I can’t share just yet. So stay tuned and be on the lookout for Peachtree’s middle grade!


Jonah Heller is an Associate Editor at Peachtree Publishing Company Inc. in Atlanta, GA. He graduated with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and earned his BFA in Dramatic Writing for Film and TV at the Savannah College of Art and Design. His editorial focus ranges from board book to young adult. Say hello on Twitter @jrheller87