JILL MARR is an agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.
She graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in history. She has a strong Internet and media background and nearly 15 years of publishing experience. She wrote features and ads for Pages, the literary magazine for people who love books, and continues to write book ads for publishing houses, magazine pieces, and promotional features for television.
Jill is interested in commercial fiction, with an emphasis on mysteries, thrillers, romantic suspense and horror, women’s commercial fiction and historical fiction. She is also looking for non-fiction by authors who are getting their work published regularly and who have a realistic sense of the market and their audience. Jill is looking for non-fiction projects in the areas of history, sports, politics, current events, cookbooks, health & nutrition, pop culture, humor, music, and very select memoir.
Some of Jill’s recent and soon-to-be-published non-fiction includes the Travel Channel’s Nick Groff’s Chasing Spirits (NAL); Maybe We’ll Have You Back (Skyhorse) by actor Fred Stoller; The Chosen Few (Da Capo) by USA Today writer Gregg Zoroya; Break Free from the Divortex (Seal Press) by Christina Pesoli; Teaching Kids to Think (Sourcebooks) by Darlene Sweetland, PhD and Ron Stolberg, PhD; Doulas A. Wissing’s Funding Our Enemy (Prometheus Books); Press One for English (The New Press) by Washington State Senator Pramila Jayapal; Why We Love Serial Killers (Skyhorse) by Scott Bonn; Mission High (Nation Books) by journalist Kristina Rizga; Don’t Lick the Minivan (Skyhorse) by Leanne Shirtliffe; William Jones’ More Than the Dream: The Untold Story of the March on Washington(Norton); and Spitting in the Soup (VeloPress) by Mark Johnson.
Some of Jill’s new and upcoming fiction includes Brain Storm (Thomas & Mercer) by Anthony-and-Agatha-Award winning author Elaine Viets; A Place We Knew Well (Ballantine Books) by Susan Carol McCarthy; Moving Day and Two for the Show (Thomas & Mercer) by Jonathon Stone; Fishbowl (St. Martin’s Press) by Bradley Somer; Bloodman and American Woman (Thomas & Mercer) by international best-seller Robert Pobi; Dead Souls (Gallery) by J. Lincoln Fenn; Killer Nashville Noir: Cold Blooded (Diversion Press) edited by Clay Stafford; Dragon Springs Road (HarperCollins) by Janie Chang; A Killing at the Creek (part of the Ozarks Mystery series from Witness Impulse) by Nancy Allen; The Cordell Logan thriller series (The Permanent Press) by David Freed; LA Times best-selling A Voice from the Field (Tor/Forge) by Neal Griffin; The Dog Year (Berkley) by Ann Garvin; The Change Your Name Store and No More Beige Food (Sky Pony Press) by Leanne Shirliffe; Casting Bones (Severn House) by Don Bruns; and the Jaden Terrell series that includes the Shamus Award nominee Racing the Devil and A Cup Full of Midnight (The Permanent Press).
Please note that Jill is specifically not interested in: YA, children’s books, sci-fi, romance, screenplays, graphic novels, or anything involving unicorns.
Jill Marr began her career at Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency back in 2001 as Sandra’s assistant. She’d just left a job in television and says she wanted to try her hand at a different career path.
“And, boy, did I get different!” Jill says.
Jill had to hit the ground running when she joined the agency. Almost immediately, it seemed, Jill began to help Sandra sell various projects, write pitch letters, and talk with editors.
“It was the best boot camp I could have possibly asked for, if not a little terrifying at first,” Jill says. “My favorite part of that particular position was digging through the slush-pile. The possibilities seemed limitless then, and they still do in many ways.”
In potential clients, Jill looks for authors who are consistently pushing the envelope, constantly concerned with improving their work, brand, and platform.
“I love to work with authors who can continue to come up with unique, fresh concepts year after year, and who are excited about growing their readership,” Jill says.
Though, in order to catch Jill’s attention, authors should know their genre intimately, with a strong understanding of “what works and what doesn’t.” She also believes it’s paramount that an author be familiar with the business of publishing, and the industry as a whole.
“That way, we can work together to create a really powerful partnership,” Jill says.
“I think it’s important to know that agents, and our agency definitely applies here, are actively looking for new talent,” Jill continued. “When we open your project we are hoping that it’s going to knock us out. Agents don’t make any money until we sell something, so we don’t want to reject authors; we’re hoping to fall in love!”
Jill is best reached by email. Visit Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency’s website for more information.