CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

PIPER MORGAN PLANS A PARTY through December 9th
THE TRUTH BENEATH THE LIES through December 23rd
COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS through December 23rd

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Elizabeth Bewley Agent Spotlight Interview on 1/10/18
Molly O'Neill Agent Spotlight Interview on 1/22/18

2009 Goals - March Review

I'm going to do a quick review of my goals (as I do every month) since it's the 31st already! The original set for 2009 is here.

March:

Still on track to have my WIP finished by the end of May.
Still on track for my end-of-year goals.
Read four books.
Blogged regularly.
Continued my usual learning and researching.
Reviewed my goals for March!

For April, on top of the usual, I'm charging myself with:

Finish the 30k in 30 (one) days challenge (on time.)
Continue writing daily (minus weekends, perhaps).
One book review.
One teaser or excerpt.
Practice reading out loud on my children.

Anyone else want to post some April goals? Don't forget to check back for our weekly goal post tomorrow - Wednesday's Words!

Goals, goals, goals. I seem to be all about goals this year, don't I?

Writer's Envy

I'm reading THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak and I'm having a serious case of writer's envy.

Reading is both a blessing and a curse, it seems. It's what fuels much of my writing but it can also make me stall. Puts a nasty dent in my complex. I think, gosh... how I'd love to write a book like this. And man, my book is far, far, far from ever being this awesome. Why aren't I this brilliant? Why do I even bother? Bwaaaa!

I love me a fantabulous book as much as the next reader/writer, but geez, it does sting the self-confidence a little. Or a lot.

Does everyone else deal with this? Do you have a coping mechanism? I guess I just hunker down with my writing and remind myself that I have my own unique story to tell, in a way that no one else can, and try to take comfort in that.

But I'm allowed to stick out my lip and stomp my foot a little while doing so, right?

Question Box

This is going to be my Question Box post. I know there are a lot of new writers out there, people new to blogging, and people with questions they've just never asked about the writing biz. Asking questions, no matter how trivial or silly you think it might be, is not stupid. Questions are seeds of knowledge and can help a person grow in a lot of ways.

So, I'm inviting you to leave your questions in the "box" and I'll see if I (or other readers) can answer them for you by posting them up on the blog (as many agents do, for example). They can be about writing, the publishing business, querying, blogging, me, anything! As long as they are appropriate.

Anonymous questions are welcome, if you feel more comfortable that way. And you can always e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com, if you'd prefer.

I'm going to put a link to this on my sidebar, so it will always be accessible. If it gets too long I'll make a Question Box II, and so on.

Ask away!

Blogger of the Week!

Happy Friday!

I'm being featured as Blogger of the Week on Alice's CWIM Blog. Alice Pope is the editor of the invaluable Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market. I'm so honored! Please check out her fabulous blog and consider following her. There is plenty of greatness to be had.

Thanks so much Alice!

Agent Spotlight: Faye Bender

This week's Agent Spotlight features Faye Bender of The Book Group.

Screen shot 2011-02-08 at 12.17.22 AM  About: "With almost 20 years of experience in the business and a focus on strong collaborative working relationships with her authors, Faye Bender represents fiction for readers aged 8 to adult. Her authors have won numerous awards and honors, including the Newbery Medal, the Schneider Family Book Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, the Indies Choice Book of the Year Award, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award, and the International Latino Book Award, and have been finalists for the National Book Award and the Impac Dublin Literary Award. Her clients' books have been #1 New York Times bestsellers, New York Times Book Review Notable Books, and selected for Best Books of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, School Library Journal, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, the American Library Association, and the New York Public Library, among others.

Faye is always eager to discover authors with a strong narrative voice and an eye for imaginative storytelling, and she works with her authors for the length and breadth of their careers. Born and raised in Denver, Faye lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children." (Link)
Status: Open to submissions.

What She's Looking For:
Genres of Interest:  Middle grade and young adult as well as literary, commercial, and women's fiction.  Non-fiction interests include pop culture, women's issues, narrative, health, memoir, biography, and popular science.
From an Interview (02/2011):
“I've never been a sci-fi or fantasy reader as an adult, so when I got into the children's book world, I assumed I wouldn't be a good agent for those types of books. But fortunately, Kristin Cashore (author of Graceling and Fire) challenged that mental boundary when she submitted Graceling to me and I fell in love instantly. 
“I'm still not particularly interested in high fantasy, but I'm sure there are terrific writers out there who can make me reconsider that stance. In the end, superb writing and well-crafted stories can speak to any reader, whether initially a fan of the genre or not.”
"I choose books based on the narrative voice and strength of writing. I work with previously published and first-time authors." 

What She Isn't Looking For:
Faye does not represent picture books, genre fiction for adults (western, romance, horror, science fiction, fantasy), business books, spirituality or screenplays.

About the Agency
"Launched in 2015 by publishing industry veterans Julie Barer, Faye Bender, Brettne Bloom, and Elisabeth Weed, The Book Group shares a singular passion: to seek out and cultivate writers, and to serve as their champions throughout their careers.

We represent a wide range of distinguished authors, including critically acclaimed and bestselling novelists, celebrated writers of children's literature, and award-winning historians, food writers, memoirists and journalists.

With our hands-on approach at every stage of the publication process, our exceptional subsidiary rights team, and our commitment to helping each client reach his or her fullest potential, we provide the benefits of a larger agency alongside the personalized attention and collegial spirit offered by a boutique group.
" (Link)

Editorial Agent?
Yes. I've seen Ms. Bender's clients mention revisions and the web site claims:

Web Presence:
The Book Group
LinkedIn.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker, AuthorAdvance.

Clients:
A list of clients is available on the website.  Clients include: Natalie Anderson, Kristin Cashore, Deborah Davis, Catherine Friend, Ariel Gore, Nicole Helget, Patricia Henley, Jennifer Anne Kogler, Liane Moriarty, Rebecca Stead, Francisco Stork, among others.

Sales:
As of 06/2010, Ms. Bender is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 0 deals in the last 12 months, fifty-two overall, and one six figure+ deal. 
NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales. 

Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query letter and ten sample pages by e-mail (no attachments). See The Book Group website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:
Please keep your letters to the point, include all relevant information, and have a bit of patience with us.

Response Times:
There is no stated response time on the website, and it does not appear that agents respond to queries that they are not interested in.

What's the Buzz?
Ms. Bender has great buzz in the online writers' community.  She has years of experience in the publishing industry and some truly fabulous clients and titles on her list.  She's a member of the AAR and has built a great reputation.
There was some concern over the controversy that ensued when her client, Margaret B. Jones (Peggy Seltzer,) admitted her memoir was actually all fiction. I did quite a bit of digging on this and found nothing that suggests Ms. Bender's capacity or reputation as an agent has been jeopardized. In fact, everyone involved, except the author herself, seems to have been unaware of the falsities.
Her clients seem very happy with her representation and have described her as "fabulous," "smart," "highly professional," "eager," "enthusiastic," "lovely," and much more.  See the comments!

Worth Your Time:
Interviews:
Agent Advice Interview with Faye Bender at The Guide To Literary Agents Blog (02/2011).
Around the Web:
AbsoluteWrite thread on Faye Bender Literary.

Contact:
Please see The Book Group website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:
Last updated: 6/11/17
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes – 6/11/17
Reviewed By Agent?  No – No response
Comments: Added Interview / new quotes - 2/11
***
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiguirre7(at)gmail.com
Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who represent 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.

Wednesday's Word Count

Here we are at another last Wednesday of the month. Next Wednesday is April 1st! Wow. This year is flying. I know, I know. I keep saying that but it certainly feels that way!

Prior Goal:
7,000 words.

Achieved: 7570 words.

Goal for new week: 7,000.

Excuses / comments: Last Friday and Saturday were rough writing days for me. I've still managed to write every day since the start of our writer month, but on those two days I only squeaked out a couple-few hundred words. So, in making up for those days, my word count isn't as high as it would and could have been but it's still above my goal, so I'm quite happy with it.

Anyone making any progress in daily and/or weekly goals? Even if you aren't doing so hot with the 30k in 30 (one) days challenge or your daily writing, please leave an update! I'm rooting for you no matter how much you get done!

The key is to keep writing, even if it's just a little when you can find the time.

P.S. Don't forget to check back tomorrow for an Agent Spotlight on Faye Bender. Also, we'd love to see more people over at Flashy Fiction. It's a great place to get some writing practice in!

Agent News: The McVeigh Agency

Former Simon & Schulster/Aladdin editor Mark McVeigh has announced the formation of his agency, The McVeigh Agency. He'll be representing both children's and adult literature.

"I'm looking for select picture books (think character driven, funny, or with a totally kid-centric hook to work in today's PB market), chapter books of all kind, middle grade for both boys and girls--think everything from BEACON STREET GIRLS and FRINDLE to TUCK EVERLASTING and KIRA KIRA (especially things that can be turned into series), YA of all sorts, from comic to angst-y, from envelope-pushing issue-based to romantic, graphic novels for both kids and adults, unusual or very topical nonfiction, and select adult. If a person has a unique idea, concept, or vision AND a voice, I'll do all I can to help them shape it into a manuscript that can work in todays market."

Update: Mr. McVeigh's web site is now up. You can find it here. Also a Q&A with Mark McVeigh at Alice Pope's CWIM Blog here. And more recently, another interview here.

Queries can be sent to: mark(at)themcveighagency.com

So Tell Me: What's in Your Notebook?

It seems like a lot of writers keep a notebook.

The only time I actually use a physical notebook is when I'm brainstorming. I can't write longhand for the life of me, but I brainstorm on paper better than I do on a Word document. I also jot down names and ideas in my notebook when I come across ones I just have to remember.

My favorite English teacher from college once mentioned she keeps notebooks full of quotes and metaphors she likes from the books she reads. I was thinking about this yesterday, when I came across a descriptory sentence I just loved, and began wondering why I don't do the same. I think, if I kept a notebook full of great writing to review when I'm needing inspiration, my writing would be better for it.

So, just curious. What's in your notebook?

Ahh, the Sweet Sanity of Organization

Heather introduced me to Document Map in Word the other day. Oh my. Am I the only person who didn't know this wonder has been available in Word all this time? I've only been using it for a couple days and I already can't beleive I've been writing for the last five years without it. If you set it up right, it's like having a mini-outline right on the side of your document. No more scrolling through pages forever. And I can keep track of all my notes and thoughts. I feel so much more organized and sane, like I might actually be able to get through this draft without losing my mind.

So... if you haven't tried it, I'm officially recommending it. The same goes for Windows Live Writer. I started using Live Writer last week for my Agent Spotlight entries and it's a huge help. I can write up the post, link all my links up ahead of time, upload any pictures I want to use, and avoid any formatting issues between Word and Blogger.

With these two things working for me, my writing world suddenly feels so much more together and streamline.

You might not have a need for Live Writer, but really, seriously, try the Document Map if you aren't already. Plus, you can e-mail me if you want an easier run-down on how to use it.

KT Literary: Live-Blogging Queries

Agent Kate Schafer Testerman of KT Literary is live-blogging as she goes through queries today.

Check it out!

Wednesday's Word Count

I'm feeling rather happy today. The weather looks to be beautiful. I'm actually getting out of the house to spend time with a friend. This is my 150th post. I have several new followers. My one-year blogiversary is right around the corner (April 3rd.) Tomorrow is our third Agent Spotlight (Maya Rock.) And, I have a great word count to report for Wednesday's Words this week!

Prior Goal: 7,000 words.

Achieved: 9215 words.

Goal for new week: 7,000 to keep up with our WriMo.

Excuses / comments: There really is something to writing every day. One of my goals for our writer month (MarPrilWrimo) was to write daily. The first couple of days it was a breeze. I'm always amped up when I start something new. The next few days, however, proved to be more challenging. I managed to write every single day but getting my goal of 1k a day onto the page was becoming more difficult. I did it. There hasn't been a day since we started that I've ended up under 1k, but there have been a few days where I've had to stop and come back to my writing two or three times to get it done. This is day ten and now that I've gotten into the routine of writing daily, I'm finding that it's getting easier. I was looking over my writing log this morning (I keep a daily word count log) and noticed that I've actually crept up to about 1300 words a day. Now I'm wondering, if I keep writing daily, will it keep getting easier? Will that word count keep creeping up? I think it just might but I'll have to wait and see.

For those of you doing MarPrilWrimo, how is it going? As our mid-month-to-mid-month writing challenge progresses, is it getting easier or harder for you to keep up with the demand?

For those of you not doing MarPrilWrimo, how is your writing going? What are you working on? Any goals you'd like to share?

I hope everyone is having a great Wednesday today! Check out the Query Tactic post from yesterday and chime in if you haven't already. I've enjoyed reading everyone's take on querying!

So Tell Me: Your Query Tactic

This is something I've wondered about for awhile but I always forget to blog about it.

 

What was/is/will be your course of query-action?

 

Specifically, did you query your top agents first?  Did you do any exclusives on the off-chance that your dream agent would want to take you on?  Did you hold off on querying favs in order to see how your query would do elsewhere first?   Or did you just query across the board and hope for the best?

 

Whatever your tactic, I'm curious!  How did you approach the monumental task of querying?  And, is there anything you regret or have learned that you'd like to share?  Please do!

Lindsey Leavitt Contest: Get Lucky!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Lindsey Leavitt is having a Lucky You! Contest on her blog in honor of all things lucky and unlucky, so get over there and try to luck-out!

What's the deal? Tell her about a time you got lucky (keep it PG!) and why it was important or awesome or...whichever.

She's giving away four books and a Lindsey critique on whatever you like. Fun!

Good luck!!

Bookshelf Muse: Contest Extension

I meant to blog about this earlier, but I guess that didn't work out. Better late then never, they say!

Anywho, The Bookshelf Muse is having a contest for their followers. They are looking for 1-2 sentence book blurbs from either a completed novel or a work-in-progress. The key is to hook them with your blurb. The prize? One of three double critiques on your first chapter or first 3000 words (whichever comes first.)

This is a great opportunity to get feedback on your writing! So, if you're a follower of The Bookshelf Muse, get over there and give it a go. If you're not a follower, you should be! Their thesauri are fabulous and they'll be doing more follower-only competitions in the future.

They've extended the contest to March 20th in order to get more entries, so you've got four more days to enter.

Good luck!

Change

I was thinking about my various pursuits this morning. From all the different careers I've considered to all the different hobbies I've tried, and how each has been a small journey that has affected me in one way or another. Choices. Essentially, how I've changed.

In recent years, I feel like I've really crawled into myself. I don't handle socialization outside the Internet very well anymore, and the thought of doing things outside of this world freaks me out. I think about doing things like... going back to school, establishing a writer's group, going to writing conferences, etc., and it honestly gives me anxiety just thinking about it. A lot of this probably has to do with how isolated I am these days. I work at home, all my hobbies are in my home, I have only a few friends who have these things called lives (hey, how do I get one of those?), and I have two children that make it challenging to get out without feeling like I'm dragging a circus and all its cargo with me.

I guess I've been trying to figure out where this began, how it developed. Was it when I started taking online college courses 90% of the time for my degree? Was it when I started working from home? When I had my daughter and found myself getting out less and less? Did it start back in high school when I decided to go into Independent Study to finish early? Or has it all just compounded? I don't know. I've always been fairly introverted but the difference between then and now is that I used to try.

I think about things I tried to get into in the past - choir, voice lessons, drama, dance, modeling classes, etc. - and I just boggle over it. I look at that list and think, hey! that person's an extrovert. But I'm not and really never have been. I just tried to be, and the person I am now can't imagine doing any of those things. But you know what? Those experiences, no matter how distant they feel now, remind me that I have it in me somewhere. I just have to find it again.

So what does this have to do with anything? The rest of my life. Promotion, marketing. The frightening prospect of eventually having to sell myself. I'm pretty young in the scheme of life and I feel like I've really gone downhill in this regard. If I've let this much go already, where are the next few years going to take me? The next twenty, even? I don't necessarily want to change for the sake of becoming published, but I'm definitely going to have to muster up some of that can-do (or at least, can-try) attitude. Otherwise I'll be shooting myself in the foot and this, becoming a (successful) published author, is a huge part of who I want my future-self to be.

So, for the sake of my introspection, share with me some of the ways you've changed, things you've had to overcome for your dreams, or fears you have or had about becoming published.

I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Next Week's Agent Spotlight

Hello everyone!

Rather than make a post every week announcing the next week's Agent Spotlight, or adding it to the bottom of the previous, I've decided to put it in my sidebar. I've added an Agent Spotlight link list on the side there, and every week you'll find an agent listed as "Up Next."

So keep an eye on that list!

And remember, if you have any experience with the upcoming agent that you're willing to share, but do not want to post in the comments when the Spotlight goes up, or you think I should have the information prior to the post's launch, please e-mail me at agentspotlight@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Agent Spotlight: Michael Bourret

This week's Agent Spotlight features Michael Bourret of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC.
Status: Open to submissions.
staff_mikeAbout: "Michael joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret as an intern while studying film and television production at New York University, and began at the agency full-time in 2000. After ten years as an agent in the New York office, Michael now works in Los Angeles in the West Coast office of DG&;B.  There, he continues to represent his own list of bestselling and award-winning clients while also aggressively pursuing new film and television opportunities.
Michael wants to see more…Thrillers” (Link)

About the Agency:
Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC was founded in 1994 by Jane Dystel, who has been a respected figure in publishing for over 30 years — first as an editor, then as a publisher, and finally as a savvy and successful agent. The agency is the product of her innovative vision of author representation as a full-service enterprise.
“DG&B was launched with a quickly growing roster of Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, celebrated experts in fields as diverse as parenting, women’s health, and cooking, acclaimed literary and commercial fiction writers, and an eclectic and exciting list of titles. The primary goal of the agency was and is to offer not just financial and contractual advice to its clients, but also editorial guidance and support.
“Being involved in every stage of putting together a non-fiction book proposal, offering substantial editing on fiction manuscripts, and coming up with book ideas for authors looking for their next project is as much a part of our work as selling, negotiating contracts, and collecting monies for our clients. We follow a book from its inception through its sale to a publisher, its publication, and beyond. Our commitment to our writers does not, by any means, end when we have collected our commission. This is one of the many things that makes us unique in a very competitive business.” (Link)

Web Presence:
DG&B website.
Twitter @MichaelBourret.
AAR profile.
Instagram.
DG&B Twitter.
DG&B Facebook.
QueryTracker.
AgentQuery.
What He's Looking For:
Genres / Specialties:
Fiction, African-American, Gay + Lesbian, Historical, Horror, Mystery, Thrillers, Women's Literature, Non-Fiction, Biography, Memoir, Business, Investment, Crafts, Hobbies, DIY, Health, Diet, History, Politics, Current Affairs, Pop Culture, Entertainment, Science, Technology, Picture Books, Early Readers, Middle grade, Young adult. (Link)
"He specializes in children's books, from picture books through young adult. He is actively seeking children's books of all kinds, but especially commercially-minded (though not necessarily commercial) young adult and books for boys." (Link)
Manuscript Wish List  Via Twitter (06/2013):
“I want a YA western. But a modern one. Think McCabe & Mrs. Miller or Cormac McCarthy. #MSWL” (Link)
“I want challenging, original, literary, smart, books that are still engaging and readable. #MSWL” (Link)
“If everyone tells you “you can write that for teens,” I probably want to see it. #MSWL” (Link)
From an Interview (03/2013):
“I'd love to see anything that's new, original, daring, different, out-of-the-ordinary, that pushes boundaries, that's uncompromising. I'm actively looking for both MG and YA, and I like a challenge. If you've written a book that breaks the mold, that doesn't sound like other things on the market, please be in touch. It can be realistic or fantasy, but it can't be familiar.” (Link)
What He Isn't Looking For:
Christian Literature, Erotica, Poetry, Puzzles, Games, Romance, Textbooks, Dramatic Works
Editorial Agent?
Yes.
Clients:
A list of clients is available on the website.
Mr. Bourret’s clients include: Brodi Ashton, Marcy Beller Paul, Emma Carlson Berne, Bryan Bliss, James Dashner, Gayle Forman, James Hankins, Rhoda Janzen, A.S. King, Stephanie Kuehn, Malinda Lo, Richelle Mead, Lisa McMann, James Riley, Anne Rockwell, Suzanne Selfor, N. H. Senzai, Bernadette Shustak, Andrew Smith, Nova Ren Suma, Molly Wizenberg, Sarah Zarr, among others.
Query Methods: E-mail: Yes (only).
Snail-Mail: No.
Online Form: No.
Submission Guidelines:
Send a query and sample chapter. No attachments. Query only one agent at the agency. 
See the DG&B website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Query Tips:
"I hate when my name is spelled wrong, I hate typos in the first sentence, I hate being queried by writers who haven’t done their research.  But in the end, none of that really matters if the query is compelling.  As I’ve mentioned on our blog, the details aren’t the most important thing, the idea, the narrative, the storytelling – that’s what hooks me." (Link)
Response Times:
The agency's stated response time for queries is 6-8 weeks and 8 weeks for requested material. If you do not hear back within the stated timeframe, feel free to resend (Link). Stats available on the web appear consistent with these numbers, though Mr. Bourret often responds much quicker.
What’s the buzz?
Michael Bourret has been with DG&B since 2010 and has a very impressive list of authors and sales. He is regularly a Top Dealmaker on Publisher’s Marketplace and his clients are very loyal, suggesting happy partnerships all around. For what it’s worth, Bourret makes my personal list of tip-top agents.
I recommend following him on Twitter @MichaelBourret for further insight.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews:
Interview with Agent Michael Bourret at All the Write Notes (03/2013).
LitChat Interview: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management at LitStack (10/2012).
Interview with Michael Bourret, agent at Laurie Ann Thompson (04/2010).
Interview with Michael Bourret at client Joelle Anthony's blog (02/2010).
Interview with Michael Bourret at Alice's CWIM Blog (08/2008).
Around the Web:
Before querying, I recommend reading all the pages on the DG&B website, including a great FAQ and What’s New section.
Contact:
Please see the Dystel, Goderich & Bourret LLC website for additional contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last Updated: 6/12/17.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 6/13/2017.
***
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's/teen 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.

























Wednesday's Word Count

Merry Wednesday! How's the week-to-week writing going?

Prior Goal:
Write like a mad woman - ha!

Achieved: 5858 since last Wednesday. 3316 since MarPrilWriMo started Monday.

Goal for new week: 7,000 to keep up with our WriMo.

Excuses / comments: I'm happy with my word count for the week and having a blast with my new novel. Have to do a bit more for the next 3 1/2 weeks to keep up with our little WriMo though! So far I'm keeping my head above the proverbial water.

How is everyone else doing?

Psst: The second Agent Spotlight goes up tomorrow!

Stuff and Things on a Tuesday

MarPrilWriMo is going great. We now have, I beleive, eight people participating.

Tyler made us a Facebook group. If you want to jump in and join us, you're still more than welcome to. Or, if you'd like to join the group just to watch and encourage, that'd be super cool too.

If you're already participating in the 30k in 30 (one) days challenge and don't normally come by, stop by tomorrow for a Wednesday Words check-in!

Reminder: The live chat with Agent Michael Bourret happens tomorrow, if anyone is interested.

And... my first prompt is up on Flashy Fiction. Head on over. I'd love to see what you come up with!

MarPrilWriMo or 30k in 30 days

Tyler, Heather, and I are doing a 30k in 30 days challenge. The same rules as NaNoWriMo apply except we're shooting for 30k (at least) and the challenge runs from 3/09/09 (today) to 04/09/09. That's roughly 1k a day, not too bad.

We're all working on first drafts. I think Heather is about a third into hers and Tyler and I will be working on new novels. Gotta get those awful first drafts cranked out somehow.

Want to join in? Please do!

Let us know in the comments, throw a counter up on your blog, and get to writing! We'd love more company.

Side note: I feel way to cheery for a time-change Monday, but then, I didn't stay up late because of it. How's the time change treating you?

Linktastic

I've been meaning to post some of these for awhile but I actually had a week full of stuff to blog about. Hey, not complaining about that!

So you might have already read them, but if you didn't....

$13.99 + (head) tax over at Janet Reid's blog (LOVED this.)

When You Really Mean That the Work is Not Right For You over at Pubrants.

Confident or Delusional at A Newbie's Guide to Publishing.

A couple new entries in the Publishing Dictionary over at Editorial Anonymous.

If you missed it, catch up on #Queryfail day, started by Colleen Lindsay at The Swivet, which was awesome! Miss Snark's First Victim posted some examples and thoughts if you don't feel like digging through Twitter (also, plenty to find with a Google search.) A lot of it was head-desk worthy, really.

Ten Commandments for the Happy Writer over at Nathan Bransford's blog.

Book Comparisons was a short, informative post regarding log lines at Janet Reid's.

And... some great recent posts over at Redlines and Deadlines, including one just today about Queryfail day.

Cheers!

Michael Bourret: Next Week's Agent Spotlight & Live Chat

Update: If you'd like to read Michael Bourret's Agent Spotlight click HERE.

I'm working on next week's Agent Spotlight, which will feature Michael Bourret of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management, and let me tell ya, there is a ton o' info out there on him. Yowza. I didn't realize he was such a hotshot until I started researching him!

Two things:

If you have any experience with Michael Bourret that you're willing to share, but do not want to post in the comments when the Spotlight goes up, or you think I should have the information prior to the post's launch, please e-mail me at agentspotlight@gmail.com.

Michael Bourret will be doing a live chat over at Editor Unleashed (run by former WD editor Maria Schneider) on Wednesday, March 11 from 1-2 p.m. I wanted to let everyone know in advance since his Agent Spotlight post will being going up the day after this and I *beleive* you have to register to be able to access that portion of the forum. Also, they are asking that questions be posted for him on the forum in advance.

Happy Friday everyone! Don't miss my earlier post about the new group blog Flashy Fiction.

Flashy Fiction Fun - Join us!

More news and newness!

I'm part of a new group blog called Flashy Fiction! We give you prompts seven days a week, you give us flash fiction in the comments!

The crew:

Miss Monday: Patti Tucker
Miss Tuesday: Moi!
Miss Wednesday: Trish Doller
Miss Thursday: Heather Hansen
Miss Friday: Suzanne Young
Miss Saturday: Christy Raedeke
Miss Sunday: Amanda Morgan

(I so just added the miss-day thing in so we could feel like hot calender girls!)

Here's the 411!

Are you struggling to find the words? Have you lost your desire to write? Need to remember how fun it is to create without criticism? This is the site for you!

What is Flashy Fiction?

Flashy Fiction is a blog designed to motivate you to write. We will give you prompts, your job is to write a flash piece and post it in the comments. The prompts can be anything – pictures, a series of words, a news article, a sentence, or quote.

Make this process something creative for you! Use it as a jumping off point to get back to your manuscript.

How does Flashy Fiction work?

Anyone can participate in Flashy Fiction. Read or view the prompt and then spend 10 to 20 minutes writing your flash piece. We do not care about your level of experience.

What can you write?

ANYTHING! It can be silly, or cute, or downright sad. Language is your choice as well. The only thing we ask is that it be on topic.

As a matter of courtesy, we do ask that all comments be nice. This is NOT a critique site and should not be treated as such. The participants are sharing pieces for fun.

Come check it out!

Agent Spotlight: Sara Crowe

This week's Agent Spotlight features Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Sara CroweAbout: "Sara Crowe has been an agent with Harvey Klinger, Inc. since 2005, and represents adult and children's books. On the adult side, she represents commercial and literary fiction and a range of non fiction. On the children's side, her list includes YA and middle grade fiction, as well as picture books. She is always looking for strong, original new voices: there are many debuts among her recent sales, and she'd like to keep it that way. She represents the author and not just the project, working to establish long-term relationships and develop authors' careers. Her well known projects include ZOOLOGY by Ben Dolnick, HOLD STILL by Nina LaCour (William C. Morris Award Finalist), PATIENT ZERO by New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry, GENTLEMEN by Michael Northrop, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder and LOST IT by Kristen Tracy.

"She aggressively markets British and translation rights for her authors, utilizing her seven years of experience as a foreign rights agent at Trident Media Group and The Wylie Agency in London. Recent rights sales include SHADOWED SUMMER by Saundra Mitchell in Italy, SECRETS OF TRUTH AND BEAUTY by Megan Frazer in Germany, HOLD STILL by Nina LaCour in Germany and Holland, and I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER by Dan Wells to the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan.

"She also actively markets film and TV rights, and recently optioned PATIENT ZERO by Jonathan Maberry to Sony TV, and I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER by Dan Wells to British based The Bureau Film, with Bertrand Faivre producing and Billy O'Brien slated to direct and write the screenplay." (Link)

Status: Open to submissions and seeking new clients.

What She’s Looking For:

Genres of interest: Children's picture books through young adult, fiction and nonfiction. Adult commercial and literary fiction and a wide range of nonfiction. Interests per Publishers Marketplace include: History, politics, current affairs, pop-culture, narrative non-fiction and humor.

From Ms. Crowe's website:

“I am always looking for strong, original new voices: there are many debuts among my recent sales, and I’d like to keep it that way. I want to represent the author and not just the project and to establish long-term relationships and careers.” (Link)

“For adult and children’s fiction, my taste tends to be for the more literary, often quirky, sometimes funny, always with a strong, original voice. While my list is mostly contemporary realistic fiction, I also like horror, mystery, urban fantasy and historical fiction.” (Link)

From 03/2010:

"I am very open to queries for children’s nonfiction, and do hope to find more. Many of my favorite books as a child were nonfiction, and it is something I remain interested in reading." (Link)

"I would love to see more YA memoir." (Link)

From 11/2006:

“I am always looking for books for boys, too--especially young adult books. I don't work with much straight fantasy, though it’s not a strict rule. I do like books with many layers, though, and often that means a fantastical or magical element.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

"I am not the right agent for self-help, health, business books, romance or poetry." (Link)

She also does not represent screenplays or illustrators who only illustrate.

Editorial Agent?

Yes. "I am an editorial agent and do think I am very hands-on. I edit everything I take on before it goes out to editors. If I see any sweeping changes that I think need to be made before submission, I talk to the writer about that when we discuss representation. And the editing does not stop with the first sale. I continue to edit my authors’ books, and to discuss their new book ideas with them. I usually read major revisions before we send to the editor, and I read and discuss synopses and partials, or sometimes just ideas, about what the author should do next." (Link)

Quotables:

"I represent the author and not just the project, working to establish long-term relationships and develop authors' careers." (Link)

"Unless it is adult nonfiction, where platform truly matters, I am only looking at the book first—and if I love it and feel confident I can sell it, I am not concerned about a platform or an online presence. [...] Once we have sold it, I do think all authors should get online. Of course a blurb or recommendation from a well known author is appealing, as it might make the book easier to sell, but its not necessary." (Link)

About the agency:

"Harvey Klinger, Inc. began as a one-man, one office literary agency in October, 1977. Over the years, it has grown and expanded, and is widely recognized as among the top boutique literary agencies in the publishing industry. Similar to its eponymous founder, the agency's tastes range from commercial and literary fiction, to serious narrative non-fiction and self-help psychology books." (Link)

Dislikes:

"People often send queries to all of the agents here--even though it says not to on our website, and that is ineffective --we won't look. I also ignore group queries, or those that don't address me by the correct name. I don't like queries that are not spell checked or have terrible grammar. It makes me not want to request and read many pages of bad spelling and grammar, and I think it makes it seem like you aren't sincere when you don't take the time to be careful." (Link)

Web Presence:

Harvey Klinger website.

Personal website.

Publisher’s Marketplace page.

Crowe's Nest Blog.

Twitter.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker, AuthorAdvance.

Clients:

A complete, up-to-date list of clients is available on Ms. Crowe's website.

Clients include: Mary Atkinson, Marianna Baer, L.A. Banks, Carolee Dean, Christine Deriso, Ben Dolnick, Marion Downs, Darrin Doyle, John C. Ford, Megan Frazer, Edward Hardy, Jeff Hirsch, Elizabeth Holmes, Troy Howell, Holly Nicole Hoxter, Varian Johnson, J. James Keels, Karen Kincy, Heidi R. Kling, Jacqueline Kolosov, Libby Koponen, Nina LaCour, Jonathan Maberry, Jenny Martin, Alexa Martin, Brian Meehl, Michael Northrop, Jason Ockert, Micah Perks, Randy Powell, Erik Raschke, Brian Sack, Susan Maupin Schmid, Peter Schmidt, Karen Halvorsen Schreck, Lisa Schroeder, Yuko Taniguchi, Kristen Tracy, Coert Voorhees, Dan Wells, Allison Whittenberg, Brian Yansky, and Elizabeth Zechel.

Sales:

As of 05/2010, Ms. Crowe is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 15 deals in the last 12 months, 83 overall, and 6 six figure+ deals. Recent deals include 10 young adult, 2 middle grade, 1 picture book, 1 paranormal, and 1 thriller.

NOTE: PM is usually not a complete representation of sales.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (preferred).

Snail-Mail: Yes.

Online Form: Yes (via agency website).

Submission Guidelines:

E-mail (preferred): Send a brief query letter in the body of the e-mail only. No attachments.

Snail-Mail: Send a brief query letter and SASE.

Online Form: Send a query via the website form by choosing Ms. Crowe from the drop down box.

Query tips:

"As for queries, make them count! Spend the most time on your book description as its the most important thing. And do not make it all about the query—make sure the manuscript is in great shape before you start querying." (Link)

E-mail submission get the fastest response. Let Ms. Crowe know if you are querying multiple agents. Do not query more than one agent at Harvey Kinger at a time.

See the agency website and Ms. Crowe's website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Response Times:

The Harvey Klinger agency has a no-response policy and only responds if interested with a response time of 2-4 weeks. However, Ms. Crowe is still responding to all submissions, generally within hours to a couple weeks, with an average around one to two days.

What’s the buzz?

Sara Crowe is a highly sought after agent who is very polite and professional. She has great experience in the industry, fabulous clients, and impressive sales. Her clients seem extremely pleased with her representation. Definitely follower her on twitter and subscribe to the Crowe's Nest blog to get a feel for her personality and keep up with the latest news.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Interview with Sara Crowe at Laurie Thompason's blog (03/2010).

Interview with Sara Crowe at Cyansations (02/2006).

Posts of interest by Ms. Crowe on the Crowe’s Nest blog:

I Won't Be Sorry, But Neither Will You (03/2010).

Call for Submissions - Ms. Crowe talks about some of her YA clients and why she took them on (10/2009).

Queries that Worked (10/2008).

Revision from the Agent’s Perspective (10/2008).

Blog posts from Sara’s clients (the Nesters) and their experiences with her as their agent can also be found on the Crowe’s Nest blog.

On the Website:

Keep an eye on Ms. Crowe's website for recent titles, deals, and news!

Other:

Sara Crowe: My Favorite First Pages - a conference summary including Ms. Crowe's likes and dislikes in first pages at Chinook (05/2010).

Sara Crowe on Finding the Right Agent - a conference summary at Day by Day Writer (02/2010).

Contact:

Please see Ms. Crowe's website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 5/17/10

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes - 5/22/10

Reviewed By Agent? No - no response.

Comments: N/A

***

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.

Introducing...Agent Spotlight!

Researching and querying agents is extremely time consuming, and when you’re trying to put together a personal query for each agent (which you should be) it’s even more so. And this is only after you’ve compiled a list of agents who represent your genre, which takes its own share of time.

I’m here to help!

Every other Thursday I’ll spotlight an agent who represents children's and/or young adult literature. I’ll profile whatever I can find on them from what they’re looking for, to personal quotes, to interviews, to average (realistic) response times, to what other writers are saying about their professionalism, etc. as well as linking up their web presence into one post. How much information I find will rely heavily on the agent’s web presence, but my goal is to find enough information to help my fellow writers make informed decisions about the agents they're interested in without having to look too far.

You can help, too!

Please e-mail at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com if you have any suggestions, requests, agent news, or information regarding an agent I've Spotlighted or will be Spotlighting in the future. I encourage everyone to contact me or leave a comment—good or bad, open or anonymous—about the agents you've had experience with.

Good luck in the query trenches and thank you!

Update as of January 1, 2016

Casey is on Sabbatical until further notice and Natalie is taking over agent spotlights. I will do them as I receive requests and time permits. They will be done in an interview  with the agent being spotlighted and will include a query critique giveaway. These interviews will contain all the agent information you've come to depend on. Please e-mail me if you would like to be interviewed for an agent spotlight at natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com. Like Casey, I encourage everyone to contact me or leave a comment about an experience you've had with an agent spotlighted or to update the agents profile.

Thanks so much! Good luck with your querying!

Wednesday's Word Count

Golly gosh, it's March people! Any exciting spring plans?

Prior Goal: Finish last week's chapter and writer another.

Achieved: Finished last week's chapter and other (see comments.)

Goal for new week: Write like a mad woman?

Excuses / comments: I have news. I started a new novel. I can hear your collective groans, BUT this novel is really more worth my time and I have my critique partner's blessing. I might still plink away at my MG, but I'm definitely switching focus. I'm both excited and frustrated at once. I'm starting over AGAIN and it's going to throw off my goals (unless I write like a mad woman - MarchWriMo anyone?) but I'm excited about the potential! I feel like this is "the one." We'll see!

So what are you working on? Have any specific goals this week?

P.S. Later today I'll be announcing my new blog series-thing, so check back!

Blog Topics for Writers

Awhile ago I made a post about blog topics for writers. At the time I wanted to start blogging more but didn’t really know what to blog about. Apparently other writers are wondering the same thing because I keep getting hits on that post. Since I’ve put together a list for myself, and I love to be helpful, I’ve decided to expand on the topic for others.


Blog Topics for Writers:


Talk about Your writing: Seems like a no-brainer, huh? Really though, a lot of writers don’t spend much time talking about their writing (me included). Maybe we should. The writing community is incredible. Since joining the blogosphere, I've found that fellow writers are a great source of feedback and encouragement.


Post Excepts or Teasers: Feedback is extremely important to a writer’s progression. It’s really hard to learn without it, so post some excerpts and reap the benefits!


Open Discussion Questions: Have a question about the publishing biz? About writing? About anything? Post it! Get input, opinion, and/or feedback.


Book Reviews: If you’re writing, I hope you’re doing some reading, too. Book reviews are always great for a writing blog and good reviews mean a lot to authors. Review the books you love!


Interviews: Have any author friends? Any contacts in the publishing business? Been following any up-and-coming debut authors? Ask to interview them! Interviews are always fun and informative.


Discuss Current Events: Seriously. If you’re completely stumped for blogging ideas, there is a wealth of publishing news to draw from. From book releases to big sales to lay-offs and the economy, there is always news you can spew words about.


Discuss Other Blog Posts: Unless you’re bran-spanking-new to blogging, you’re probably following some great writing blogs and/or publishing professionals (if not, see my sidebar). Keep a folder on your computer where you can bookmark posts that interest you. Like publishing, there is always something discussion-worthy out there!


Friday Five: Popular among all sorts of blogs is the Friday Five. And, although no one has spelled out the “rules” of the Friday Five to me, I get the impression you simply list five things you’d like to share on a Friday.


Lists: List and discuss your favorite books, authors, characters, even your favorite book covers, etc. And don’t forget, you can discuss your least favorites as well!


Inspiration: One of the questions that published authors often get asked is: “Where do you get your ideas?” It’s a pretty good question, too. Where the heck do we get the inspiration to create fictional worlds and characters? Start thinking about it now and maybe blog about your inspirations as you become inspired.


Here are some other topics/questions you can consider addressing:


Do you write with music? Why or why not?

What are your comfort books, books you can read again and again, that foster and rekindle your desire to write?

What is your ideal or dream writing space like?

What or who inspired you to write?

Do you belong to a critique group? Writing organization? Tell us about it!

Going to any conferences? Make a shout-out and see if you can find other writers to meet up with.

What are your favorite writing blogs? Why?

Are you querying? Share your journey through rejection and (hopefully!) acceptance.

What are your favorite kinds of characters to write? To read?

What are you doing to improve your craft?

How do you stay motivated?

Are you an outliner or a seat-of-your-pants writer? Why?

Would you like to be a bestseller or have a smaller, more manageable following?

Do you have any fears about becoming published? Why not talk them out?

What are your marketing plans? Are you working on your platform?

Do you have a writing “process?” Do share!

And so on…


That should give any writer a pretty good start, but I’ll be adding to this list as I have time.


Feel free to add suggestions or other topics in the comments. Are you a writer here looking for blog topics? Post your blog in the comments and I’ll check it out!

Marketing Contest: Comment Your Butt Off. Win a Free Web Site!

Shelli over at Market My Words is having an awesome competition for writers (published and pre-published) through March called "Comment Your Butt Off." She is trying to bring her lurkers out of the woodwork and gain new interest by offering the choice of one of three marketing prizes:
  • A five-page custom designed web site valued at $1,000.
  • A branding package which includes custom business cards and stationary design.
  • Five hours of marketing consultation by phone or in person.
Check out this blog post for details on prizes and participating, as well as an example of a web site she designed. I don't know about you, but I'd love to have a web site designed for me for free!

Book Poll - Closed and Open

My book poll is closed. Thanks to your input, I've just purchased the following:

I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder.
LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green.
THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak.

Thanks!

I'm going to start REBEL ANGELS by Libba Bray today.

Also, I'm putting up a new book poll. It will be up for the next two weeks, so whenever you feel like weighing in, please do!