Internet, meet our newest agent:
So excited, I can’t even tell you. We’ve known Margaret Bail for years and really respected her work as an agent. In fact, I once referred an author to her who wasn’t a fit for me, and she sold the book to Simon & Schuster. She’s really fantastic.
The two of us sat down over coffee and the internet to chat about her big move. Enjoy, and if she represents what you’re writing, definitely add her to your list.
How does it feel to be here?
I’m excited to be part of the Fuse team, and energized to be the best agent I can be!
What made you want to become an agent?
Well, probably the same thing that drives every agent – a deep and abiding love of books and storytelling. I love that as an agent I get to play a part in bringing amazing books to eager readers.
Which genres do you represent?
I represent adult genres (no YA or kids), and primarily romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction.
Tell us about some of the books you’ve represented.
I’m so proud of all of my authors and their work, including a couple of wonderful mystery series, The Downward Dog series by Tracy Weber which is a cozy series featuring a yoga instructor and her German Shepherd, and the Country Club Murders by Julie Mulhern set in 1974 Kansas City. My favorite historical fiction is Avelynn by Marissa Campbell which is like Outlander meets Vikings. It’s just fabulous. One of the first projects I sold was a superhero thriller called The Protectors by Trey Dowell. It’s still one of my all-time favorites. I’m passionate about a memoir by William Noguera that chronicles his life as an artist on death row at San Quentin. I’m a fan of fantasy, too, and I’m so proud of Bishop O’Connell and his American Faerie Tale series. I have an epic fantasy out on submission right now that’s everything I’ve ever wanted from fantasy, and I’m so excited about it. And, of course, romance is also a passion of mine, especially Anna Stewart‘s multiple series with both Penguin and Harlequin.
What are some concepts that you really want to show up in your inbox?
I’ve had some similar wishes for my #mswl for a while now, and they still stand: I’d like to see more mysteries, cozies, amateur sleuth, etc), that mash up genres (e.g fantasy-mystery? historical mystery? etc), I still want to see a story (any genre – mystery, romance, etc) set in the world of gaming or LARPing, I’d like a story where a house features prominently (almost as if it’s a character itself), a story set in the 1960s that’s grounded in a cultural niche other than music, historical fiction or historical romance where the heroine is a Viking shield maiden, and of course pretty much any romance (though not Christian/religious/inspirational).
What was your favorite book of this year?
It’s a little self-serving, but Send In The Clowns, by Julie Mulhern.
How do you see the role of the agent changing?
I know it’s always been the agent’s job to champion their authors, but I feel like agents are becoming more involved in partnering with authors for their entire career, not just to serve as a doorway to big traditional publishers. Given the way the industry is evolving, agents are helping authors navigate all that change and assisting them to figure out what’s best for their entire career, whether that means traditional publishing, self-publishing, hybrid publishing, or what have you. Agents will continue to do the things they’ve always done by advising and negotiating and serving their authors, but I’m excited to see how things develop and progress in the industry and to do everything I can to help my authors plan their journeys.
Where do you see publishing going in general?
I wish I had a crystal ball that could answer that question! I think it’ll continue to branch into several different paths. Traditional publishing will never go away, but it’ll have to adjust and be more nimble in its response to the other changes that are happening. With technology continuing to grow and evolve, the experience of reading and publishing will, too. I expect the self-publishing trend will continue and likely gain even more legitimacy as authors who have been traditionally published see it as a way to add to their resume. Overall, even though it can be challenging to keep up, I think it’s really exhilarating.
How do you like to read?
I will always be a traditionalist in that I love the feel of a book in my hands. You can’t beat that tactile experience, and the smell of the paper pages. However, I tend to read more and more on my phone and Kindle, only because of the convenience of loading manuscripts and lots of books onto one device. I can carry an entire library with me!
Do you have any guilty pleasure reads?
I never feel guilty about reading anything. I read what I like and to hell with what anyone else thinks!
What is your favorite kind of cookie? (This is important here.)
This is a tough question because I’m a carb addict. My drugs…er…carbs of choice are donuts, cupcakes, cheesecake, but in a pinch (if there are no donuts/cupcakes/cheesecake available), I’ll eat cookies. I’m willing to try just about anything, honestly. I made some amazing cranberry orange shortbread for Thanksgiving. But as far as traditional cookies are concerned, I guess my faves would be chocolate chip (with or without oatmeal) and snickerdoodles.
Excellent. Thanks, Margaret! We’re thrilled to have you aboard. Folks, follow our newest best friend on Twitter: @MKDB.