Sarah’s Bookshelves Live

Hosted BySarah Dickinson

Sarah’s Bookshelves Live is a weekly show featuring real talk about books and book recommendations from a featured guest. Each week, Sarah of the blog Sarah’s Bookshelves will talk with her guest about:


I’m getting real about all things books and serving you up a bit of snark on the side.

Ep. 56: Holly Root (Literary Agent) on the Rise of Rom-Coms & Publishing in the Coronavirua Era

In Episode 56, Holly Root (Literary Agent and Owner of Root Literary) talks about the rise of the rom-com and publishing in the coronavirus era…plus, the story of selling Jasmine Guillory’s debut novel to publishers.

This post contains affiliate links, through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).


  • Starting in June, the podcast will move to a bi-weekly airing schedule for the summer (just like last summer).
  • Every episode this summer will be a full length episode (mini episodes will go on hiatus until the Fall).


  • Holly’s journey to becoming a literary agent.
  • What you need to be good at to be a good agent.
  • Holly’s agent “style.”
  • How the current rom-com trend got started and Root Literary’s role in that.
  • The story of selling Jasmine Guillory’s first book to publishers.
  • The move of romance from mass market only to trade paperback…and which types of romance fall in each category.
  • “Patient 0” for the contemporary rom-com trend.
  • The role Book of the Month has played in the rise of the rom-com.
  • How coronavirus is impacting publishing (particularly book acquisition and publication dates).
  • How publishers are deciding which publication dates to push back and which to hold in place during coronavirus.
  • A publishing secret about Edelweiss.
  • Spin-offs being a big thing in romance.
  • The hard part about the “enemies to lovers trope” in romance.
  • The differences between a “romance” and a “rom-com.”

Holly’s Book Recommendations [27:49]

Two OLD Books She Loves

Two NEW Books She Loves

Discussion About Reading Books You Don’t Like [38:17]

Two NEW RELEASES She’s Excited About

Rate It Game [43:30] Other Books Mentioned

Other Links

About Holly

Website | Instagram | Twitter

Holly is the founder of Root Literary, which opened in 2017. Prior to opening her agency, she worked at Waxman Leavell Literary, Trident Media Group, and William Morris. Based in Los Angeles, her clients include #1 New York Times bestsellers, international bestsellers, RITA winners and nominees, and numerous titles named to Best Books of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, NPR, the American Library Association, RT Book Reviews, Kirkus, and Amazon. She represents authors of commercial fiction for adults and kids, as well as select nonfiction. 

Next Episode

Mini Episode featuring Liz Hein (@lizhein89)…airing May 6.

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