Fizzy Fangirling – An Interview with Juliet Mushens

Hello my darlings!

Today I bring to you a flailing Fangirl session with the perpetually fabulous Juliet Mushens of The Agency Group, Ltd.

I am a huge fan of Juliet’s over in Twitterville, and you should be too.  Aside from her awesomely awesome agenting advice (alliteration FTW!) she is a saucy, hilarious little thing.  Her unstoppable fashion genius causes me to equally stare in awe and weep at the fact that I am usually wearing jammie pants while checking out her pictures of leopard printed badassness.

ALSO!  The lovely Juliet was ace enough to answer a fistful of questions that some of you faboo peeps passed along through me from Twitter.

So, without absolutely any further ado…

1. Okay, let’s hit the basics. How long have you ben an agent and what made you choose this crazy profession in the first place?

I’ve been an agent for a year and a half now. I started out at HarperCollins in marketing but soon realised I’d like to be an agent and joined PFD as an assistant in 2010. I was made an agent in 2011 and have just left PFD to join The Agency Group. I always loved books, I also love people, negotiating and coming up with ideas. My skillset and passions matched what an agent needs – luckily!

2. What genres do you rep? How important is the genre tag to you? Will you jump outside that usual zone for something that gives you the feelings?

I started out thinking I was going to do literary fiction and non-fiction… But the bulk of my list is YA and commercial non-fiction! I represent anything really except diet books and picture books, and I’m not overly fond of political thrillers. But genre in general isn’t a turn off for me – I am all about the writing.

3. Tell me your query turn on’s, and even more fun, your turn offs.

My turn ons (apart from long walks on the beach, long baths ETC) are: high concept hooks, a great elevator pitch and someone doing their research. Tell me why ME? Do you love my list? Are you a fan of one of my authors? Do you just think I seem fun? Let me know.

Turn offs: arrogance, generic letters, getting my name wrong, not giving me what I’ve asked for.

4. I’d love to hear a good, “The One That Got Away” story.

Ah there are too many! There was one book I LOVED and he had 6 offers of representation and went with someone else… It was a year ago and I am still hoping to see it on the shelves.

5. What is the absolute best part of your job? On the other hand, what is the absolute *worst* part of being an agent?

Best part: calling an author with the news they have a deal.

Worst part: sometimes I take my job really personally. When I can’t sell something I love and have ‘no’ from every editor (sometimes brutally put!) it is really tough.

6. Do you have any knowledge nuggets you wish you could share with all the writers in all the lands?

I wish more people realised that when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter about all the blogging and connections and marketing – I will sign you because of the quality of your work itself.

7. Because this is my blog, it is here I will ask you to share an embarrassing moment, industry related or otherwise, with the class. Extra credit if someone’s pants fell off.

I am a farce of a woman so picking JUST ONE is hard. Okay, most embarrassing moment ever – I had an allergic reaction to snogging a boy. I have a nut allergy, he’d been eating peanuts… MORTIFYING. My face swelled up. He’s probably never kissed a woman since.

And now, questions from Twitter!

nicole tersigni @nicsigni
@Fizzygrrl I have a million questions, and can think of none. Grr. I guess the classic, what’s she looking for right now? #AskAgent

Literary historical fiction; a great police procedural; a psychological thriller; a fascinating memoir.

Amanda Foody @AmandaFoody
@Fizzygrrl #AskAgent If you receive and offer of rep, should you notify an agent who gave an R&R? Esp if you like their edits?

YES! Always notify everyone involved. I always say to authors that if they have more than one offer they should see what else is out there: I’d rather be a considered second choice than a hasty first choice.

Brian W. Taylor @KeytoEden
@Fizzygrrl What character from a book does @mushenska have a crush on? You know, her literary crush, and why?

OOH good one! I grew up in love with Gilbert Blythe because he’s hot, dependable and has cracking banter with Anne.

Liana Brooks @LianaBrooks
@Fizzygrrl What would make Juliet read science fiction?

What makes me read any genre – cracking pace, great characters, strong concept.

Lyudmyla Mayorska @LudmylaFirebird
@Fizzygrrl what happens right after you sign & complete the edits? How many editors do you usually submit to? how well do you know them?

Depends on the book. Some books go through several edits. Sometimes I’ll submit exclusively to one editor, sometimes to a handful first, or sometimes to all at once. I tend to know most of them: some of them very well, others just in passing. But I try and go round all the publishers to meet their teams as I think it’s important to get a personal sense of someone.

And that’s Juliet, kids!  Isn’t she a treat?  Love all the things about her.  Check her out on Twitter, send her all your brilliant queries, and if you have anything to add, throw it down in the comments section!  Show her all the loves!!

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and WERK!!!

7 Comments

  1. Love your interviews, they’re so entertaining! Adding Juliet to my list. Thanks. and back to WERK!

  2. Another delightful Fizzy interview! I love the grabbyhands cat with all my heart.

    I see that Juliet is looking for police procedurals, but I wondered if that extended to encompass works in which those police might not be human? I’ve been told my Urban Fantasy is more of a procedural that happens to be staffed by shapeshifters. If this would be of interest, what are her query guidelines? I checked on the website, but it only offers the option to email her directly. Just send the query? No pages, no synopsis, nothing else? I aim to please. 😀

  3. Great interview, Fizzygrrl. My husband looked over my shoulder while I was reading. “Who’s that?” he asked, suddenly interested in what I choose to read.
    I replied, “A fab literary agent.”
    He mumbled something unintellible.
    “What?” I asked.
    “I want HER to be your agent,” he said.
    *rolls eyes* “Oh go wipe the drool from your chin and get back to your Wall Street Journal.”
    Of course if he’d read the interview (even without going ga-ga over Ms. Mushen’s photo), he’d know we would ALL like her to be our agent!
    Thanks, Fizzy.

  4. Awesome interview! Thanks to you and Juliet for sharing. As soon as I do a little pruning and polishing (okay a lot, maybe) , she moves to the front of the query line.

    Merry Christmas!

  5. Thanks for this interview Fizzy Fangirling – love your bio – so much I have added you to my favourites. No running away from me (me running away from you, that is, not vice versa – cos that just sounds creepy!)

    This interview with Juliet Mushens is spot on. I nearly quite met here today at the Newcastle Writing Conference. She knows her literary stuff and is really rather fun. A wicked combination.

    Thanks for the further insights.

  6. Thanks for posting this great interview!
    It’s refreshing to see a literary agent in a fun light.
    This is what all new writer’s should strive to obtain – someone approachable
    and honest who simply likes your work.

    Lovely website by the way.

    Michelle

  7. Good interview, I did have some anxious moments with the vidio going all the time. I do intend to send a query for my novel.

    It’s been edited for all the right reasons.

    James M. Copeland

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