163 episodes

The Manuscript Academy brings you conversations with agents, editors, and writers who can help you on your publishing journey.

The Manuscript Academy #MSWL

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.3 • 4 Ratings

The Manuscript Academy brings you conversations with agents, editors, and writers who can help you on your publishing journey.

    Editing, Rejection, Growth Mindset: Sourcebooks Editor Anna Sargeant on What Makes A Great Book

    Editing, Rejection, Growth Mindset: Sourcebooks Editor Anna Sargeant on What Makes A Great Book

    We are so happy to welcome the creative and delightful Anna Sargeant, editor at Sourcebooks, to the podcast!

    We talk about Anna’s journey from curriculum development to children’s books, Sourcebooks and their growth mindset, what makes for good children’s nonfiction, and how being an editor changed her approach to rejection.

    Plus, we talk about her fiction podcast, how Bridge to Terabithia changed her life, and whether you can pitch her (and editors) directly.

    Read her post on nonfiction that's a good story here: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/2022/03/anna-sargeant/

    Anna Sargeant is an editor of nonfiction children's books for Sourcebooks eXplore. Previously, she has been an editor of children's and teen books at B&H Kids, director of children's curriculum, managing editor, classroom teacher, math tutor, and freelance writer. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach, moved to Austin, Texas shortly after getting married, and now resides with her husband in Franklin, Tennessee. When Anna is not editing, writing, or reading, you might find her outdoors hiking, playing pickleball, or riding horses, indoors streaming shows or sports, or catching a plane to visit fun places or loved ones. Bridge to Terabithia is the book that changed her life, igniting her passion for children's literature and showing her that books for kids are often just as smart, insightful, and important as books for adults.

    • 33 min
    Pitching Agents Vs. Pitching Small Presses, Indie Success & Magical Realism

    Pitching Agents Vs. Pitching Small Presses, Indie Success & Magical Realism

    This week! Join our NEW Submission Packet Workshop to get your query and first pages optimized for today’s stressed-out agent. Learn more here: https://manuscriptacademy.com/product/submission-packet-workshop

    Have you ever wondered about the rule to not pitch agents and small presses at the same time? Or wondered how small presses treat you—versus agents?

    Douglas Weissman thought he was set right away—he has an MFA thesis project, and was exited to start querying. Nine years later, he pivoted and found success—and his forthcoming novel, Life Between Seconds, comes out with Addison & Highsmith in November: https://bookshop.org/books/life-between-seconds/9781592111749

    Douglas Weissman is an author and travel writer who has spent time exploring diverse corners of the world. He is the husband of a museum educator, father of a delightful girl, and lives in Los Angeles. He has an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and spent time in Buenos Aires. But he has also worked in a safari game reserve, sold timeshares, and edited nonfiction books. When he isn’t traveling, writing, or eating, Douglas loves to share characters with endearing flaws and surprising resilience.

    • 43 min
    Bestselling Author Juno Dawson on Multiple Storylines, Trilogies & Desperate Housewives with Witches

    Bestselling Author Juno Dawson on Multiple Storylines, Trilogies & Desperate Housewives with Witches

    In the first lockdown of 2020, Juno Dawson’s editor was expecting a YA thriller—but all she wanted to write was Desperate Housewives, with witches.

    We talk about organizing multiple storylines, plotting a trilogy, and the question of “At what point do you turn the card”—when do you reveal information to the reader?

    Plus the delightful idea that a story is like a VHS tape for your brain, the fact that the voice of Lady Whistledown narrates her audiobook, and how you can find YOUR story—and tell it best.

    Juno Dawson is a bestselling novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and a columnist for Attitude Magazine. Juno’s books include the global bestsellers, THIS BOOK IS GAY and CLEAN. She won the 2020 YA Book Prize for MEAT MARKET. Her first adult fantasy trilogy HER MAJESTY’S ROYAL COVEN arrives in 2022.

    She also writes for television and has multiple shows in development both in the UK and US. Her debut short film was THE BIRTH OF VENUS (BBC 2020) and she created the first official Doctor Who scripted podcast DOCTOR WHO: REDACTED (BBC Sounds 2022). An occasional actress and model, Juno had a cameo in the BBC’s I MAY DESTROY YOU (2020), a recurring role in HOLBY CITY (BBC 2021) and was the face of Jecca Cosmetics Play Pots campaign.

    Juno grew up in West Yorkshire, writing imaginary episodes of Doctor Who. She later turned her talent to journalism, interviewing luminaries such as Steps and Atomic Kitten, before writing a weekly serial in a Brighton newspaper. Her writing has appeared in Glamour, The Pool, Dazed and the Guardian. She has appeared on Pointless Celebrities, BBC Women’s Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight.

    Juno lives in Brighton. She is a part of the queer cabaret collective known as CLUB SILENCIO. In 2014, Juno became a School Role Model for the charity STONEWALL.

    • 34 min
    Summer Novels, Compelling Villains, and Multiple Agents with Bestselling Author May Cobb

    Summer Novels, Compelling Villains, and Multiple Agents with Bestselling Author May Cobb

    We are thrilled to talk with author May Cobb about planning your author financial life, working with multiple agents, writing lifelike sociopaths, and the changing trends of “likability” in characters.

    We loved reading My Summer Darlings—it really is the perfect summer read—and hearing about the story behind the story.

    May says:

    I grew up in the piney woods of East Texas where MY SUMMER DARLINGS, THE HUNTING WIVES and BIG WOODS are set. After college, I moved to San Francisco where I studied Victorian Literature for my Master's, and gravitated towards that era's detective novels, known as "sensation novels", such as Wilke Collins' THE WOMAN IN WHITE. I then lived in Los Angeles for a few years where I worked for filmmaker/writer Ron Shelton and his wife, the actress Lolita Davidovich.
    I currently live in Austin, Texas, with my husband and son where we enjoy traipsing around the area’s many beautiful parks. I also enjoy napping, staring into space, making to-do lists for my to-do lists, shoveling cookies down my throat when I'm writing a particularly difficult scene (and even when I'm not), wearing my PJ’s as often as I can get away with and collapsing into bed at the end of a day with a great book.

    I'm currently finishing a book about the late, jazz great, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, a project which has been in the works for twenty years. Kirk was a human phenomenon—a multi-instrumentalist who was best known for his miraculous ability to play three saxophones simultaneously. During his brief life, he defied staggering odds—from blindness, to prejudice, to a paralyzing stroke—in order to play the music that came to him through dreams. His story is what made me want to become a writer.

    My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Rumpus, Austin Monthly, and Texas Highways Magazine.

    My proudest achievement remains clinching 1st place in the UIL competition for Personal Writing when I was in the 4th grade.

    Learn more about May here: https://www.maycobb.com/

    • 36 min
    What Writers Can Expect of Agents (And How To Get It) with Author Jo Wu and Agent Tricia Lawrence

    What Writers Can Expect of Agents (And How To Get It) with Author Jo Wu and Agent Tricia Lawrence

    Today is a longer than usual episode—something we thought about breaking into two chunks, but—just as Jessica hates requesting a 50-page partial, getting to a cliffhanger, and having to wait for more—we figured we’d bring you everything, the full episode, all at once.

    This is an episode that goes deep into the dynamics between authors, agents, the industry, and what authors can reasonably expect (and how to get it).
    The beginning is an interview on referral-only agencies, publishing norms, and how Jo found Tricia, her perfect match.

    And around 20 mins through, we pivot to what a writer can reasonably expect of an agent, and how to get it.

    We love to think of you, our listeners, while you are out in the world doing things. But if you happen to, say, be driving a minivan of neighborhood kids while you’re listening, please note that this episode mentions several adult themes (including a notable mention of blue pills for adult males). If you get stuck with awkward questions, well—you’ve been warned.

    Jo Wu is an author born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she studied Biology and Creative Writing at UC Berkeley. Her works explore fairy tales, Chinese and Taiwanese mythology and identity, gothic tropes, and uplifting narratives. Some of her notable works have been published in Uncanny Magazine, Insignia 2020: Best Asian Fantasy Stories, and People of Color Destroy Lovecraft. Her short story, “Devoured by Envy,” was praised by Publishers Weekly as “the most Gothic of the successful stories” from the gothic romance anthology Darker Edge of Desire.

    When writing, she can be found accompanied by a plethora of goth mugs constantly refilled with green tea, while blasting a mix of metal and orchestral scores. When she is not writing, she will be sewing her next costume, deadlifting her next powerlifting goal, and auditioning for voiceover gigs.

    Jo is proudly represented by Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

    Find Jo online:

    Tricia is the "Pacific Northwest branch" of EMLA—born and raised in Oregon, and now lives in Seattle. After 16 years of working as a developmental and production-based editor (from kids books to college textbooks, but mostly college textbooks), she joined the EMLA team in March 2011 as a social media strategist and began working as an agent in October 2011.

    As senior agent, Tricia represents picture books/chapter books that look at the world in a unique and unusual way, with characters that are alive both on and off the page, and middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction that offers strong worldbuilding, wounded narrators, and stories that grab a reader and won't let go.

    Tricia loves hiking/walking/running, camping out in the woods with her family (her husband and their dogs), and collecting rocks. She loves BBC America and anything British. She has way too many books and not enough bookshelves. She’s obsessed with pattern and color and is always listening to music (playlists for every situation and project) and lately has spent her spare time draping and fitting a half-size mannequin the size of a doll (this after binge-watching all of Project Runway).


    You can find Tricia on Twitter @authorblogger. She accepts queries by request or referral, or from people who have attended conferences where she part of the faculty via the contact page on EMLA or the contact page at her website.

    Find Tricia: https://trishlawrence.com/about/

    • 54 min
    Multiple Agent Offers, Power & Agency For Characters, and Shelving Books One Through Three

    Multiple Agent Offers, Power & Agency For Characters, and Shelving Books One Through Three

    We love this author-agent pair! When Kimberly Brower first offered representation, she worried that, in a multiple offer situation, Jessica Payne would say no. Some authors just want a quick "It's perfect, I'll send it tomorrow"--but this was actually the first sign that they'd be the perfect pair.

    We discuss why nurses great make thriller writers, how international rights work (and what you should ask your future agent), and how to find critique partners whose work you *want* to read. Plus, how your writer brain is always working—whether you’re on a walk or making soup.

    We then go on to talk about how your best next step is, creatively, doing the thing you’re afraid of. Jessica’s found wonderful success—but she’s shelved her first three books. And if you end up doing the same, you may just be on exactly the right path for your writing.

    Jessica Payne’s debut novel, MAKE ME DISAPPEAR, is a twisty psychological thriller about a woman on the edge who is willing to do anything to escape her sociopathic—potentially dangerous—boyfriend, including arranging her own kidnapping.

    Jessica grew up in Kansas City, later moving to the Pacific Northwest where the mountains and Puget Sound became home. Beyond writing, she loves to run, rock climb, and explore the great outdoors with her daughter and husband. She is also an RN. When holding still, which isn’t often, you’ll find a book in her hand and a cat or dog in her lap. Jessica writes suspense and thriller and is the host of #MomsWritersClub on Twitter and YouTube.

    Get a copy of Make Me Disappear here: https://bookshop.org/books/make-me-disappear-a-twisty-and-gripping-psychological-thriller/9781803142630

    Kimberly Brower – President & Literary Agent
    Kimberly fell in love with reading when she picked up her first Babysitter’s Club book at the age of seven (Super Special editions were her favorites) and hasn’t been able to get her nose out of a book since. She holds a BS in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge and received her JD from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. After spending a decade in the business world, it was kismet that she found herself in publishing. She takes great pride in her client list, from the debut authors to #1 NYT bestsellers, and likes to consider them all her favorite authors. She previously worked for over two years at a boutique literary agency before starting her own. After spending 14 years in California, she is thrilled to be back on the east coast. When not providing individual attention to her clients, Kimberly manages all of the day-to-day operations of the agency. This includes overseeing the management of the foreign, audio and all other subsidiary rights for all the authors in the agency.

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

ski bunni ,

Great subject

However, I’m not keen on the interviewer’s voice - too much of a drawl

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