This week's Agent Spotlight features Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management.
Status: Open to submissions, selectively building her client list.
About: “Molly has been working closely with Folio authors’ projects since 2008, and is an Associate Member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR). In addition to building her selective but growing list of clients, Molly utilizes her editorial background, previous work experience in the e-publishing industry, and intimate knowledge of the Folio list in her position as Director of International Rights. She actively pursues sales of international and audio rights and attends all major international book fairs, helping Folio clients’ books reach wide audiences in as many formats as possible. Molly is an avid reader, and when she’s not devouring manuscripts, she can usually be found camped out in the aisles of the Union Square Barnes & Noble (until they kick her out at closing time). Her clients include Lana Krumwiede (FREAKLING, Candlewick, October 2012, and an untitled sequel in 2013), Pamela Jane (LITTLE GOBLINS TEN, Balzer & Bray, 2011), and Gever Tulley (50 DANGEROUS THINGS, NAL, 2011). Follow her on Twitter @molly_jaffa.” (Link)
About the Agency:
"Folio Literary Management, LLC, is a full-service literary management company dedicated to providing comprehensive representation and career management to authors. Like other literary agencies, we focus on selling the domestic and subsidiary rights to our clients' books. But unlike most other agencies, we don't consider our job done when a client's book hits the shelves. At Folio, we recognize that's just the start. In addition to the traditional role of literary agents, we work closely with all of our clients to develop their platforms, writing, and credentials, and to assist them in extracting the most value possible from their intellectual property." (Link)
What She's Looking For:
Middle Grade, Young Adult, Select Non-Fiction (Women’s Issues). (Link)
From the Website (as of 04/2012):
“Fiction:I focus exclusively on middle grade and young adult fiction. I’m looking for books that challenge the reader intellectually and emotionally, from the high-concept and fantastical to the frank, fresh, and contemporary. I love fiction set in another country, time, or place (real or imagined!) that opens up a rich new world for the reader to discover. Stories featuring characters with strong passions, talents, or smarts – or characters in search of theirs – resonate with me. I’d also like to see: Contemporary YA that’s not afraid to explore complex social issues, historical fantasy, smart middle grade adventures, and good, old-fashioned YA romance.
“My current favorite (non-client) middle grade and YA books include Divergent, Across the Universe, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Moon Over Manifest, The Fault in Our Stars, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, When You Reach Me, Wintergirls, and Cinder. All-time favorites include The Phantom Tollbooth, A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter, The His Dark Materials trilogy, Go Ask Alice, Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, The View from Saturday, and anything by Dianna Wynne Jones or Tamora Pierce.
“Nonfiction: I’m looking for books that explore social issues relevant to women of all ages. Think Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters; The Purity Myth; Pledged; The Morning After; Enlightened Sexism.” (Link)
From an Interview (02/2012):
“I love all kinds of fantasy! It’s what I grew up reading. Sci-fi/fantasy, alternate history, and urban fantasy are particular favorites. I’m least partial to high fantasy, though, because I feel like it’s one of the hardest sub-genres to write well. A lot of world-building needs to be done for high fantasy to feel original. It’s a rare writer who can balance all that world-building with solid character development.” (Link)
“For me, it’s more about the writing than the genre. I lean toward projects that feel “big”, that elicit an intense emotional reaction as I read. When I’m so invested in a character that I have chills down my spine or tears in my eyes as I read, then I’m hooked! I have an amazing group of clients, and they’re all very different writers-one is working on a heart-poundingly suspenseful post-apocalyptic novel; one is honing a gorgeously epic science fiction/fantasy project; another is writing a laugh-out-loud contemporary piece. There’s very little that, if written well, would be an automatic “no” for me (though I’m not a fan of vampires or werewolves).” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
“Paranormal ‘creature’ YA (no werewolves, vampires, shapeshifters, selkies, or mermaids, please). I’m probably not the right person for books narrated by animals or focusing on a human-animal bond (girls and their horses, boys and their dogs).” (Link)
Picture books, adult fiction, poetry, screenplays, stage plays. (Link)
“I consider myself to be an editorial agent, and will work closely with clients through as many drafts as necessary to make their manuscript the best it can be. When I fall in love with an author’s work, I’m committed to being his or her biggest advocate, part of a two-person team in a career-long relationship.” (Link)
“I truly believe in the lasting impact books can have on young readers. Who among us doesn’t remember the first time we read a book that felt like it was ‘ours’—not our parents’ or teachers’? How many times did a book affirm our sense of self (hello, Judy Blume!) or keep us up all night with a flashlight? I have a deep affinity for the voices of young protagonists and the writers who bring them to life. The best part about being an agent today is having the chance to find books by writers who can inspire, enthrall, and engage the smartest, savviest generation of readers yet—and then getting to share them with the world!” (Link)
“For me, well-developed secondary characters and believable relationships between them can elevate a manuscript from good to wow.” (Link)
There are lists of Folio clients on the website. Ms. Jaffa’s clients include:
As of this posting, Ms. Jaffa is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 4 deals in the last 12 months and 5 overall. Recent deals include 2 middle grade, 2 picture book.
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.
E-mail: Yes (only).
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
See the Folio Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines, then send Ms. Jaffa a query and the first ten pages of your manuscript in the body of an e-mail with the word “query” and your title in the subject line. (Link)
“Please don't query me with a ‘high importance’ flag. My heart stops every time I see one. I think it's a work emergency. Auto-reject.” (Link)
“You should include ‘query’ and your book's title in your query's subject line. That title makes a big first impression! If your title sounds dated or seems unoriginal, I'll read your query with that mindset.” (Link, Link)
“Your blog isn't private just because it's not in your query. A Google search can turn us off an otherwise promising submission.” (Link)
Her policy is to respond to all queries (Link), and her stated response times are 2 weeks for queries and 4 weeks for requested material, though she often responds sooner (Link). Stats on the web reflect this.
What's the Buzz?
Molly Jaffa has been with Folio since 2008 but began building her client list in 2010. She is the agency’s Director of International Rights and newly an Associate Member of the the AAR. She’s making sales, and her clients seem very happy with her. Folio Literary is recommended by P&E.
I recommend following her on Twitter @molly_jaffa.
Worth Your Time:
Interview with Literary Agent Molly Jaffa at Stacey O’Neale’s blog (02/2012).
Agent Interview: Molly Jaffa at Janet Sumner Johnsons’s blog (06/2011).
Interview with Molly Jaffa at How to Publish a Book (06/2011).
PitchFest Literary Agent Interview: Molly Jaffa with Folio Literary Management at Pitch University (04/2011).
Interview with Molly Jaffa at Victoria Scott’s website (03/2011).
Interview with an Agent: Molly Jaffa at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (06/2010).
Interview with Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Agent at View from the Top (06/2010).
Around the Web:
There's a great list of resources on the Folio Literary website.
You can sign up for the Folio Literary newsletter here.
See Ms. Jaffa’s page on the website for conferences she’ll be attending.
Folio Literary Management on P&E (Recommended, $).
Folio Literary Management thread on Absolute Write.
Literary Agent Molly Jaffa – Pitch Evaluation Lab - at Pitch University (04/2011).
Literary Agent Molly Jaffa – Pitch Evaluation Lab – Before and After Feedback at Pitch University (04/2011).
Please see the Folio Literary Management website for contact and query information.
Last updated: 4/5/12.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 4/5/12.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.