CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

The Mutant Mushroom Giveaway through November 28th



Tori Sharp Query Critique through December 8th

Reeni's Turn through December 8th

Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews and Guest Posts w/ Debut Authors & Query Critique Giveaways

Maria Vincente Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/7/20

Amy Brewer and Dana Swift Guest Post and Query Critique Giveaway on 1/18/21

Tricia Skinner Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 1/20/21

Pam Gruber Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/17/2021

Allyson Hellegers and Sam Taylor Guest Post and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/22/2021

Caryn Wiseman and Merriam Sarcia Saunders Guest Post and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/15/2021

Jennifer Herrington Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/17/2021

Agent Spotlight Updates

All agent spotlights and interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated again in 2023.

Research Tip Tuesday

Another great writing research tip from Tara McClendon!

"For history writers, a good source of information can be histories of fashion. Often these books have drawings and definitions for terms used during specific eras. C. Otis Sweezey
provides a Web site with information on a text published from 1861 to 1880. Other modern books provide a look at a wider range of eras."

Tara is a freelance writer and editor. She maintains her own blog Eye Feathers.

Thanks Tara! Anyone else have any favorite web sites they frequent for historical research? Please share them in the comments.

The Post In Which I Become Scarce

Hey all -

I'm about to become scarce around these here blog parts for a week or two. I'm finally getting married this coming Thursday, and my mom arrived yesterday to help with all the last minute details I er... put off (me = wedding planner fail). After the wedding, we'll be taking two short trips and I'll probably be torn from my computer for most of that week as well.

Things are and will continue to be, in simpler words, busy.

The good news for you is that I'll still be posting my regular features (except maybe Wed), thanks to post scheduling (providing I don't have a schedule fail), and there might be some downtimes I can take advantage of while all this is going on. Though, I should use those to write since I have my new deadline and all.

I have some great posts planned for when I come back, and I'll be a busy blogger bug updating the Agent Spotlights. Some of them are becoming dated, it seems. If you've noticed anything of that sort or have any suggestions, please leave a comment or e-mail.

While I'm away, I'd love it if you wrote a guest post for the blog, submitted a tip for Research Tip Tuesday, requested an interview, or sent in a question by e-mailing me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com. Just don't expect an immediate response as I probably won't be responding to much e-mail until things settle down around here.

It seems I'll be away from my computer more in the next two weeks than I have been in the last couple years. What does it say about me that I'm more panicked about that than getting married? I probably shouldn't ask. ; )

I'll miss you much! Please keep me updated in the comments on the happenings of our fabulous blog community. I don't want to miss anything great.

Agent News: Teresa Kietlinski

Head on over to the Guide to Literary Agents blog and check out Teresa Kietlinksi with Prospect Agency. It sounds like she'll be representing all areas of children's fiction, but she is particularly interested in writers who also illustrate.

Best to all who query.

Agent Spotlight: Eddie Schneider

This week's Agent Spotlight features Eddie Scheider of JABberwocky Literary Agency.
Status: Open to submissions.
Schneider About: "Eddie Schneider (Twitter: @eddieschneider) is the Vice President of JABberwocky Literary Agency, which he joined back when the nerve center was still Joshua Bilmes’ living room.
"These days, the agency is in a real office, sandwiched between Grand Central Station and Times Square in midtown Manhattan, and the bustling new digs only serve to motivate Eddie in his pursuit of great authors, both new and new to JABberwocky.
"Eddie is an Iowa graduate, where he studied fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. He has an M.S. in Publishing from New York University, and his client list includes Hugo, Andre Norton, Philip K. Dick, and Bram Stoker Award winners, as well as New York Times bestselling authors Brandon Sanderson, Daniel José Older, and Alison Wilgus.
"When he isn’t agenting, reading, or editing, he has been known to run ultramarathons, and is technically an award-winner himself, although his form wouldn’t necessarily get rave reviews.” (Link)
About the Agency:
"JABberwocky Literary Agency, established in 1994 by Joshua Bilmes, is the world's leading agency for fantasy and science fiction, and our interests extend beyond these to many areas of trade fiction and non-fiction.” (Old Link)
Web Presence:
JABberwocky website.
Publisher’s Marketplace page.
Website / Blog.
Twitter.
#mswl on Twitter.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
What He's Looking For:
From His Bio Page:
What I’m looking for
"Major changes are underway here in the U.S., both in terms of reading technology and demographics, and any time something comes along to disrupt the status quo, it presents huge artistic and economic opportunities. This dovetails nicely with what I desire most—books that are groundbreaking, genre-defining, and reflect the whole spectrum of human experience.
"No matter the genre, I have a strong interest in working with authors who bring fresh and diverse voices to the literary conversation, especially those who come from historically marginalized groups. All people should be able to see themselves reflected in the stories they read, as well as in those who pen them.
"The genres I represent, and the types of books that most interest me within a given genre, follow."
Fiction
"Literary fiction – I’m an avid reader of literary fiction, and what lights up my cerebral cortex here are more plot-driven novels with a strong emotional core, which engage in areas beyond and outside the middle-class concerns endemic to a large swath of books published in this genre. Two examples of (non-client) novels from the last few years that I particularly enjoyed are Ruth Ozeki’s A TALE FOR THE TIME BEING and Louise Erdrich’s ROUND HOUSE.
"Science fiction – I love science fiction, especially SF set in the near future, often with social or cultural commentary, as well as the occasional space opera. Two examples of (non-client) novels that I enjoyed in this vein are Ursula K. LeGuin’s classic THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS and Octavia Butler’s PARABLE OF THE SOWER. I am very much interested in SF written from non-Western cultural perspectives, and one good non-client example of that is G. Willow Wilson’s ALIF THE UNSEEN.
"Fantasy – With fantasy, my favorite novels have tended to be those that toe both the real world and the fantastic. In any case, I go for stories with intricate, imaginative settings that are internally consistent, address political and social concerns, and have often found myself preferring tight writing to florid. I’m especially interested in fantasy novels set outside the Northern European milieu from which the genre originated. Two examples of (non-client) novels that I particularly enjoyed like this are Octavia Butler’s KINDRED and Susanna Clarke’s JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL.
"Young Adult – My favorite YA novels tend to be both character- and concept-driven, while embracing the intensity of emotion that characterizes a lot of the best YA fiction. A couple (non-client) favorites published in recent years include Laini Taylor’s DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE and AMERICAN STREET by Ibi Zoboi.
"Middle Grade – Middle grade novels have a special resonance for me, because the genre has such breadth. Here, I’m also interested in both realistic/contemporary and sf/fantasy. Two examples of (non-client) novels that I really enjoyed are Dianna Wynne Jones’ classic HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and Rebecca Stead’s WHEN YOU REACH ME.
Nonfiction
"Science – I have wide-ranging interests here that include the physical, earth, life, medical, and social sciences. Science books most likely to appeal to me tend to deal with specific topics, and sometimes unlikely ones. Examples of (non-client) books in this vein that I enjoyed are Rebecca Skloot’s THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS, and especially Mary Roach’s STIFF.
"History – I am interested in histories that focus on a single subject, rather than wide-ranging works about a time or place. I particularly enjoy historical biographies, including those where the biography’s subject is an artifact or commodity.
"Narrative nonfiction – Here, I’m interested in memoirs that take on issues that extend beyond those in the author’s own life, travel narratives that are socially engaged and possess an individual stamp, and in ‘nonfiction novels.’
Graphic novels and comics
"Note: When querying with a graphic novel or comic, please feel free to include 2-3 images representative of your art, pasted in the body of your email below your query letter. A link to your online portfolio is also good.
"Graphic novels – Few things are better than a truly great graphic novel, where the writing and the art flow together, but are each strong enough to stand alone. I’m looking for work that’s both awe-inspiring and totally engrossing, and am only interested in author/artists, or an established author-artist team. I’m would like to see both fiction and non-fiction, realistic or speculative, for adult, YA or middle grade. A non-client example of a graphic novel I really enjoyed is Marjane Satrapi’s PERSEPOLIS.
"Comics – What I’m after here are projects that either are, or are influenced by, comic strips and webcomics. What will most catch my eye are comics that are both humorous and incisive."
What He Isn't Looking For:
Picture books, early readers.
Editorial Agent?
Yes.
Clients:
A list of clients can be found on the JABberwocky website.
Mr. Schneider’s clients include Tobias Buckell, Adam-Troy Castro, Frederick Durbin, Mark Hodder, Dene Low, E.C. Myers, Janci Patterson, Jon Sprunk, among others.
Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Email queries with the first five pages of your manuscript pasted in the body of the email. A 1-3 page synopses may also be included at the very bottom, but isn't mandatory. No attachments.See the JABberwocky website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Response Times:
Unknown.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews:
7 Questions For: Literary Agent Eddie Schneider at Middle Grade Ninja (07/2011).
Interview with Eddie Schneider at Fear of the Dark (06/2011).
Literary Agent Interview: Eddie Schneider at Writer's Digest (03/2011).
Contact:
Please see the JABberwocky website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/30/2020.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/25/11.
***
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 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

Happy Wednesday! Was yesterday the first day of fall? I love fall! Here's my report for the week. The rewrite is looking like this...

Current word count: 17,517

Goal last week:
4,000

Accomplished:
3,488

Words 'til finish: 37,483/750 words a day until Nov 13th.

Goal this week: 5,000

Excuses / comments: As you can see above, I've adjusted my goals some. I asked Heather to give me a deadline and make me accountable, and this is what she came up with. Though, I'm really supposed to hit 1k a day since this takes wedding plans into account. I think it's perfect, and we've both agreed that I'll sit out of NaNo this year to make it work. If I've fallen behind by the time Nov 1st hits, I'll definitely use NaNo to spur me on, but I won't be doing a new project. Sort of a bummer in some ways, but it's a definite relief in others. It feels good to have a manageable goal again.

Now, how are your goals coming along? What have you got going on for the week? Any new or exciting fall plans?

Research Tip Tuesday

Another great research tip from Ann Finkelstein today! You can check out her lovely blog here. Ann acquired these smarts from her local SCBWI-MI listserv where they had a discussion about formatting issues. Carrie Clickard supplied the most helpful of the tips, so we're plugging her as well (thanks Carrie!).

"Electronic queries with weird formatting aren't the best way to make a good impression on a prospective agent. This happens when text formatting commands aren't recognized by the recipient's email program. If you write query letters in a word processing program and paste them into email, or add formatting (like italics) to an email, it may look fine on your screen but terrible on the agent's.

Solutions that may help are:

1) typing the query directly in your email (don't cut and paste)

2) writing the query in Windows "notepad" instead of a word processing program

3) avoiding unusual fonts, bold letters, underlining and italics

4) avoiding non-English symbols or accents if possible

5) using plain text format.

6) setting email preferences so they do not allow HTML tags

You can test drive your electronic query by sending it to a friend who uses a different email provider."

Thanks so much, Ann! I always paste into Notepad first if I'm stressing about formatting. And peeps, if you'd like to send in a tip (please do!), see this post.

Guest Post: Heather Hansen on Dealing With Disappointment

Today I have a guest post by one of my fabulous critique partners, Heather Hansen.  You can visit her blog here where she's always posting some kind of cuteness or hilarity.  One word, people: PUPPY.

(Keep an eye on this girl.  Great, great books to come.)

Here's Heather!

Heather_2Dealing with Disappointment:

There’s lots of advice out there on the steps to get published. I have to admit, when I read them I can’t help but snicker. Yeah, sure, in a perfect world maybe you could write a book, query agents, land an agent, sub to publishers, sell and BAM! your book comes out in a bookstore.

It does work like that. It’s rare, but it happens. We all know someone that's happened to.

For the majority of us, we get stuck somewhere along that timeline. Sometimes for years… Sigh. *raises hand* I’ve been stuck between “land an agent” and “sub to publishers” for … oh, almost two years. :)

Guess what? I got past that hurdle.

There’s always going to be disappointment in this business. The trick is to use it to your advantage.

So what do you do when everyone around you is seeing success and you’re not?

Stay optimistic

Number one most important thing is to keep a good attitude. Sadness, depression, anger… these affect your writing. Either you can’t write or the writing is unintentionally angry.

And if you can’t stay optimistic – and I admit that I can’t! – get some friends who can be optimistic for you. There is nothing more important than having a cheering section!!!

(thanks Mom, Casey, Suzanne and Deb!)

Focus on your goals

All that energy that you’re using to get angry and/or cry (*raises hand again*), it’s more productive to use it to achieve your goal. Figure out what it is that you really want. That doesn’t mean “have a book in a bookstore.” Focus on something that is in your power to accomplish within the next three to six months.

Ask for help

I was shy about asking for help. I paid for that shyness for many years. Many. I could have been much farther along with my career if I had just stopped and asked someone to tell me what I was doing wrong.

I admire people who do ask for help. This is actually how I met Casey two years ago. She wanted to improve her writing and needed someone to bounce ideas off of. We clicked. Of course, now she outshines me!

Write another book

It may take 5… 7… 10 books to make it work. What I do know for absolute certainty is that you will never be published if you don’t keep trying.

Don’t put your eggs in one basket! If you’re subbing one book, you should be almost done with another. That way when you’ve completed your submission cycle you have another to pimp.

Key things to note:

Make sure the idea is BIGGER AND BETTER. Can you pitch your novel in one sentence? If not, go back and keep at it until you can… and then write it, not before!

Work on your craft. No one is a perfect writer. We all learn. Do not think you’re above learning.

Read! Read! Read!

Go to Conferences

Networking! I cannot stress enough how important networking is!

There are different conference stages depending on where you are in your career. In the beginning you’re there to learn. That morphs in to making friends with other authors (this is gold!). After that it becomes scoping out the agents/editors you want to work with.

You better believe that I have an opinion about whom I want to sub to. I can make that opinion because I’ve met/talked/hung out with the editors in question.

Rethink what you’re doing

Don’t bang your head against a wall! If you’re in a bad relationship would you just take it and never say anything? Never try to do anything different? No! You’d try to fix the problem. Why then do writers do the same things over and over again and expect different results?

For me, I was not understanding what my previous agent wanted. I don’t really think that was either of our faults. I’m sure she was trying to impart her wisdom to me and I was trying to learn it. Still, we broke up.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Okay, yeah, it didn’t feel that way at the time. It felt like I’d gotten a divorce and didn’t even get alimony payments let alone the bed, car, couch or the dog.

But then… I was open to accepting new representation. And I did. My current agent is Mark McVeigh – I’m only name dropping because I adore him. *gush* I wish everyone was as happy with their agents as I am.

You know what? I got it. He made sense to me.

Be proactive instead of reactive

Bottom line is this: You’re going to be disappointed. There are a million things you can’t control. Grab the ones you can! Do whatever it is you can to get ahead! Your biggest advocate is you.

***

Bio:  Heather L. Hansen lives on a tropical island in the East China Sea. With two kids and a marine husband, she writes to keep her sanity. Heather writes young adult novels that are a little particular, always sassy, with just a touch of angst. And of course kissing!  You can visit her for the daily dish at http://heatherhansen.blogspot.com

So Tell Me: Your Blog

I'm always discovering great new blogs (despite the groans of my reader), and I'm sure you are too. I was thinking it'd be fun if everyone piped in and promoted their blog a bit. I try to visit the blogs of everyone that comments, but I don't always have enough time to get a feel for what's all there. I'm sure I miss out on a lot.

So tell me, what do you blog about? Is there a focus? Do you have any regular features?

Please share, and make sure to keep an eye out for new blogs that might interest you. You never know what you'll find, and I'm sure everyone would like some new readers and friends!

Holy Moly, Hello & Welcome.

You know that saying, "I made you!"?  Well, in blog terms, I feel like I just "got made" with many thanks to Jenny Bent and Janet Reid, respectively.  Though, with any smarts on my part, they'll never have to say those words, as they're usually delivered with some kind of towering disapproval.  And yikes, who'd want to rile up someone Fiercely Bent on Books, or the Great Query Snark Shark?

But, joking aside, this blog has had a lot of champions since its ill-planned inception, and I'd like all my readers—old and new—to know it's nothing without you, your comradery and support, and your input.  Your encouragement and appreciation push me higher each month (I'd like to think), and I really hope everyone can find a little something here.  If not, well, feel free to make some suggestions or, you know, bugger off, yes?  ; )

That said, I'd like to welcome Lit Rambles' new followers, subscribers, and stopper-bys!  I'm opening up this thread to all of you, so please leave a comment.  Say hello, tell me about your writing, your blog, your writing-supportive animalpanions (or human companions, I suppose)—whatever you'd like.  And hey, this includes you lurker types, too.  Yes, YOU!  Come on, say something!  I'd love it.

And I'm really nice.  Promise. 

: )

Agent Spotlight: Joe Monti

Profile removed 11/2013.

Mr. Monti is now editor of Simon & Shuster's new science fiction and fantasy imprint.  He is no longer a literary agent. Do not query.

Wednesday's Word Count

Things have been pretty busy this week, and they're about to get crazier for the next two to three. What does that mean? If I start slacking off on the blog, and in my word count, don't be too hard me. ; )

Current word count:
14,029

Goal last week:
6,636

Accomplished:
3,331

Words 'til finish: 45,971/1021 words a day until October 31st.

Goal this week: 4,000

Excuses / comments: I only did about half of what I needed to in order to stay on track, but I'm still making progress so it's all good. I'd have to do over 7k a week to stay on track from here, and I just don't see that happening, but I'll push on and try to get to at least 4k this next week. Things are hitting the proverbial fan for my MC in my WIP right now, so I'm hoping that will drive a lot of words out of me in the next few days.

Hm, what else? I can't beleive we're already halfway through September! How are your goals coming along? Any news you'd like to share? I know a few of you about to start subbing - good luck!

P.S. If you missed my interview on Beth's blog on Monday, check it out (hope I don't read like a dweeb)! Beth's been so nice to feature me as her Blog of the Month. Thanks again, Beth!

Agent News: Ted Malawer Joins Upstart Crow

Ted Malawer has joined former Firebrand colleagues at Upstart Crow and will be specializing in children's fiction. The web site should be updated soon, but until then, the fabulous Guide to Literary Agents Blog has the latest details. Check it out:

YA: "I am really looking for books that walk the line between commercial and literary. I like high concept novels with great 'hooks,' unique premises, and great humor. I also enjoy lyrical fiction, as long as it has an authentic and compelling voice.  I'm a huge fan of mysteries, smart historicals, and urban fantasy about original topics (no vampires, please). I'm not so much into the snarky 'chick lit' voice, but great writing trumps everything...

MG: "I am drawn to unique coming-of-age stories.  I like stories that make me laugh, but if you can make me cry, even better. I like projects with fantastical/supernatural elements, too, and action/adventure plots.  I love fun and exciting chapter books, especially with multicultural characters."

Click over the Guide to Literary Agents Blog for this and contact info. I'll try to get Ted's Spotlight updated later today as well. Best to all who query.

Research Tip Tuesday

On this fine Tuesday, I'm featuring Tara MClendon, who offers a fabulous writing-related research tip. Check out her bio below! And remember, if you'd like to see your own tip featured, just shoot me an e-mail. Here's Tara:

"Writers who need to do research for the medical field can register to view journals and abstracts from Web sites like Free Medical Journals, which also has a subscription option. While some sites charge a membership fee, writers can find a variety of free ones by searching the Internet for "Free Medical Journals." Another great source of information is the Mayo Clinic, which provides in-depth information on nearly every known disease."

Tara is a freelance writer and editor. She maintains her own blog Eye Feathers.

Guest Post: Beth Revis, Book Comparisons In Your Query

I have a fabulous guest post by Beth Revis of writing it out to share with you today! 

I read one of Beth's queries awhile ago on the KT Literary blog, Ask Daphe, and she had one of the best book comparisons I'd ever read in a query (I usually don't like them), so I was pretty excited to receive this here guest post on the subject, and I'm equally excited to share it with you.  

Now... here's Beth!

*** 

Beth RevisIT'S LIKE THIS MEETS THAT

I know you've heard it a million times before: do your research before you query. But what, exactly, are you supposed to research...and how do you apply it in your query?

Beyond the obvious things (such as genres represented and submission guidelines) one of the top things to research for your query is what books compare best to yours.

Why you need comparisons
You've probably heard before that you shouldn't compare your work to others. And that is true. When I say research what books compare best to yours, what I do NOT mean is that you're going to include a list of bestsellers and tell the agent your book is at least as good as theirs. No. NO. Do NOT do this.

But what you DO need to do is prove to the agent two things: 1) You've done the research in your market, and 2) You have a book that will actually have a specific place on a bookseller's shelf.

Saying you have a romance/science fiction/literary/children's/masterpiece is a red flag to an agent. Saying you have a YA that would appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman's STARDUST is actually helpful.

Comparing to bestsellers
Don't do it.

Comparing to non-bestsellers
First, read *current* books in your genre. You're looking for something recent to the market that is moderately well known but not a bestseller. When I started pitching my YA SF, the obvious choice to compare it to would be Orson Scott Card's ELDER'S GAME (as the most popular YA SF of all time), Suzanne Collins's THE HUNGER GAMES (as the current bestselling YA SF), or Stephenie Meyer's THE HOST (as Stephenie Meyers is writing gold in these here parts). But those were all the wrong choices for me. Card's work is too classic--and you need to prove to the agent you've read things beyond the obvious and have your finger on the current market's pulse. Collins and Meyer's were too big of names--they're overused (much like Harry Potter and Dan Brown).

The point of comparing your work to others is so that you can stand out from the crowd. Do this by using a current, specific, work that suitably compares. I used Mary Pearson's THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX to compare my work to--it's in the genre, came out only a few years ago, and is well known but not overused.

It's all in how you phrase it
One reason why so many people say to avoid making comparisons to books in your query is because it makes you sound rude, cocky, and self-centered. Saying "My book is like X but so much better because..." makes you sound like the loud, annoying guy at the party everyone wishes would go home early.

So how do you say it? There's a couple of good approaches. First, the simplest way to compare your book to another one is by saying, "Fans of X may also like my work because..." The key is to have a good "because," one that proves you've read the book and that fans actually will like your work. For example: "Fans of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series will also like my book because I also tap into Greek mythology as a base for my character's problems." Make your sentences work for you--this one sentence has two purposes: to give a competent comparison to your work, and also to emphasize the use of Greek mythology.

This also works if you're having trouble coming up with a comparative title for your work. My WIP is a YA SF, and there's precious little of that on the market today. So, in addition to comparing it to THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX, a YA SF title, I also used a middle grade title, Jeanne du Prau's THE CITY OF EMBER. My work isn't exactly like hers, but I do have a mystery line like she does, so I said, "Fans of the contained mystery in Jeanne du Prau's CITY OF EMBER may also enjoy my work."

Research the agent
Use sites like Query Tracker to discover what agents represent what books. If you can find an agent who specifically represents a book you think directly relates to your own, then be sure to send it to that agent. You better believe I'll be researching Mary Pearson and Jeanne du Prau's agents.

But also, check out blogs and interviews with agents. Often, an agent will mention a book they don't represent and how much they wish they did. Use that! Compare to books the agent likes, even if they don't represent them.

Likewise, look at their wishlists. If they say they like one book but are looking for a fresh twist, mention that. For example: "I noticed in your interview with Casey that you're looking for a Dan Brown with a twist; I think you'll agree that my use of X will appeal to Brown's fans, but my use of Y will add a fresh aspect to the genre."

Avoid sucking up
Just because you know an agent's full client list doesn't mean you should use it. Don't throw out a bunch of titles from the agent's list. Use them only if they are truly comparable, and if you've ACTUALLY READ THEM and know they're comparable. Agents can sniff a suck-up a mile away.

Using comparisons in your query shouldn't be the meat of your pitch--but if you do your research and use them well, they can be just the sweet dessert that makes your query stand out from all the rest.

Bio: Beth Revis is currently pitching a YA SF and writes at bethrevis.blogspot.com.

Agent News - Myrsini Stephanides, Erica Silverman, and Adam Korn

Announced via Publisher's Lunch yesterday, 09/10.

"Myrsini Stephanides joins the Carol Mann Agency, focusing on pop culture, music, humor, popular science, narrative nonfiction, and memoir, as well as offbeat literary, graphic, and YA fiction. She has spent ten years as a nonfiction editor and book packager of illustrated books."

The following were also announced, but I am yet unsure what they'll be representing.

"Erica Silverman, formerly a Senior VP at William Morris and ICM, has joined Trident Media Group as a literary agent.

"Adam Korn has joined DeFiore and Company as an agent after a short stint at Vigliano Associates. He had been an editor at Harper, Crown and Random House."

There was one other but the agency doesn't rep children's or YA.  I'll update this post as more information becomes available. 

Agent Spotlight: Merrilee Heifetz

This week's Agent Spotlight features Merrilee Heifetz of Writers House.
Status: Open to submissions.
WritersHouseAbout: "Merrilee Heifetz has been at Writers House for over 20 years and was one of the first agents to handle comic books/graphic novels when asked
by a very young Neil Gaiman to represent his work with DC Comics (he did promise to write bestselling novels one day and she is very glad she took him at his word.) She is one of the few agents who is well known for representing both adult and children's books and she finds she has been very successful with authors who don't fall into categories and who can benefit from overall career management.  Her New York Times Bestsellers include Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Melissa Marr and Beth Revis, whose 2011 debut novel ACROSS THE UNIVERSE she placed in a major deal.  Her award winners include three Newbery Medals (Cynthia Voigt, Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman) a MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient (the late Octavia E Butler) and many best of the year awards such as the Hugo, the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award. For five years she chaired the Contracts Committee for the Association of Authors Representatives (AAR)." (via e-mail)
About the Agency:
"Writers House was founded in 1973 with a vision for a new kind of literary agency, one that would combine a passion for managing a writer's career with an integrated understanding of how storytelling works. With this two-pronged philosophy, Writers House has played a critical role in developing the careers of hundreds of novelists and non-fiction authors. We believe in offering our clients not only our expertise in negotiating contracts, but in contributing to all phases of the editorial and publishing processes. Our goal is to maximize the value of our clients' work by providing hands-on editorial and marketing advice, as well as leading the way in branding, licensing, and selling film/TV, foreign, audio, dramatic and serial rights." (Link)What She's Looking For:
Fiction: Literary fiction, science fiction, commercial fiction, fantasy, young adult, multi-cultural, middle grade, graphic novels.
Non-fiction: Celebrity, pop culture, music, film & entertainment. (Link, Link)
Per AgentQuery, Ms. Heifetz "specializes in science fiction and dark fantasy, and she also does books on rock music and pop culture."
What She’s Not Looking For:
Picture books.
Editorial Agent?
Unknown, though the quote above might suggest she does help "develop" her clients' projects if needed.
Web Presence:
Writers House website.
AAR.
Twitter.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
Clients:
C.T. Adams, Sarah Ash, Octavia E. Butler, Cathy Clamp, Mark Crilley, Les Daniels, Ellen Datlow, J.M. Dillard, Kristine Grayson, Ellen Emerson White, Neil Gaiman, Laurell K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Alethea Kontis, Melissa Marr, Robin McKinley, Perry Moore, An Na, Beth Revis, Jean Stone, Elizabeth Vaughan, Rachel Vincent, Cynthia Voigt, Terri Windling, among others.
E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: Yes.
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Do NOT query multiple agents at Writers House simultaneously.
See the Writers House website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Response Times:
The agency’s stated response time is 6-8 weeks. Ms. Heifetz’s response time on queries seems to range from a week to a few months.  Requested material usually receives a response within a couple months. 
You can expect a response from her assistant initially.
What's the Buzz?
Ms. Heifetz is a highly respected agent with over 20 years at Writers House.  Her amazing clients and sales speak toward her ability and success as an agent. 
Neil Gaiman, who Ms. Heifetz has repped for over 20 years, considers her a great partner and friend, and another client described her as the type of agent that goes "beyond the call of duty." If you like the agent-author relationship / marriage analogy, she seems to have made some great "marriages."
Worth Your Time:
Interviews:
None that I could find online.
Contact:
Please see the Writers House website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/8/2020
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/21/11 (further updates to follow)
***
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 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.

September Blog of the Month!

wio-award

Look! Isn't it purdy?

Beth Revis over at writing it out awarded me her Blog of the Month Award for September, and wrote the nicest post about me, too. 

Please go check it out, and consider following her blog if you're not already doing so.  Beth posts a fabulous variety of content from hilarious conversations in her class (love those!) to great writing-related articles (okay, so I love those too!). 

I'm honored to be the second recipient of her lovely award, and incredibly happy that Agent Spotlight is helping her in her preparation and search for representation. 

You can look forward to an awesome guest post by Beth on Lit Rambles next Monday, as well as an interview with yours truly on her blog that day too.  Cool, huh?  I'm so excited!

Wednesday's Word Count

Samantha over at Day By Day Writer does a neat little word count update where she posts her current word count, new words written, and the words she needs until her goal, including a fluctuating daily-required count. I love the idea of keeping track that way, so I've decided to steal her idea and do my own while keeping my weekly goals as well.

Current word count: 10,698

Goal last week:
5,000

Accomplished:
3,625

Words 'til finish: 49,302/948 words a day until the end of October.

Goal this week: 6,636

Excuses / comments: Things were busy this last week with my daughter's birthday and all the wedding planing going on. I didn't do as much as hoped, but I'm definitely making progress. If I want to make my goal of being done with a new draft by NaNo, I have to maintain 948 words a day right now, coming in at a total of 6,636 for this next week. I'm not sure I'll be able to do it with everything that's going on at the moment, but I've done 1k a day in the past (easily) so I know I'm more than capable. After all, I managed NaNo last year, and that was around 11,000 words a week, wasn't it? Right. So I'll just tell myself...I can, I can, I can.

How are your goals coming along? Anyone else waiting to hear who Tabitha's new agent is? The full story is supposed to come out tomorrow. Woot! Congrats Tabitha!

Research Tip Tuesday

Today's research tip hits on queries and comes from lovely blog reader Ann Finkelstein, "writer of young adult novels, former scientist, wife, mother, and delighted owner of a digital camera."  You can find some of her amazing photos and musings on writing on her blog, Ann Finkelstein - thoughts on writing, reading, math and science:

"An e-query can be overlooked because words or phrases in the query trigger the agent's spam filter. Imagine a YA novel about substance abuse. The phrase "prescription drugs" could shoot it right into the spam folder."

Ann founds this fabulous tip in a blog post called "Query Diagnostics" on Janet Reid's blog.  Click over and see what other reasons may have prevented you from getting a response. 

Please stop by Ann's blog and say "hi!" everyone.  If you want to see your own research tip featured, go here. Next week, a writing research tip!

Thanks so much, Ann!

Agent Spotlight: Rosemary Stimola

This week's Agent Spotlight features Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio, Inc.
Status: Closed to submissions. Please check the agency website to check on Ms. Stimola's submission status.
rosemary-stimola About: "In more than thirty years of professional life, Rosemary Stimola has worn many hats, all of them centered on books for children and young adults. Her first work life as a PH.D linguist, teaching language and literature at the City University of New York, with a specialization in children’s literature, steeped her in the aesthetics of narrative, the power of the written word, and the nuanced partnership of word and art in the telling of story. Her second work life, as owner of A Child’s Story, an independent bookstore of national reputation in Teaneck, NJ, educated her in the business of children’s publishing, and brought her the Lucile Micheels Pannell Award, given by the National Women’s Book Association, for bringing children and books together. Given her experience and reputation as an educator, bookseller and literary agent, Rosemary has become one of the most sought after speakers at writer and illustrator conferences throughout the United States and abroad.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“The Stimola Literary Studio is a boutique literary agency founded in 1997. Through the years, it has established a stellar reputation in children’s publishing, respected for the contributions it has made to the body of literature for young people of all ages, cultures and ethnicities, across all genres and formats. Eclectic in taste but not in standards, we have helped to build careers for writers and artists from picture books through young adult novels with crossover appeal into the adult market. We are proud to count many NYT Bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators among our clients, including the National Book Award, the Edgar Award, the Caldecott Medal, the Caldecott Honor Medal, the Coretta Scott King Author Medal, the Sibert Medal, two Newbery Honor Medals, and the Pura Belpre Honor Medal.
"At the Studio, no matter the project, our goal is not just to sell that first book, but to build careers and strategize how, hand-in-hand, to walk a path of successful publication in the long term and achieve success in the marketplace. Our representation is based not only on a professional skill set, but on a personal passion and a relationship of mutual respect and compatibility. Whether it is a debut or the next in a long line of successes, we work to tap and stretch the talents of each author and illustrator, bringing out the best each has to offer with a sense of timing, publisher insights and market awareness that will serve them well." (Link)
What She's Looking For:
From the Website:
"Eclectic in taste but not in standards, we have helped to build careers for writers and artists from picture books through young adult novels with crossover appeal into the adult market. 
"And now, expanding our own horizons, our client list has now grown to include graphic novels for both young and adult readers, and projects in parenting, lifestyle, food culture, cookbooks, health and wellness, and green and sustainable eating." (Link)
There is more information on what the agency is looking for on the Submission page and the individual agent biographies on the website.
What She Isn't Looking For:
We are NOT interested in:
Picture book texts of 1000 words or more
Fables, folklore or traditional fairytales
"Mood pieces"
Stories for "all ages"
Educational workbooks/activity books
Nonfiction for institutional markets (Link)
Editorial Agent?
Unknown.
Web Presence:
Stimola Literary website.
AAR.
Twitter.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
Clients:
A list of Stimola Literary clients can be found on the website.
Clients include Suzanne Collins, Matthew Cordell, Mary GrandPre, Thanhha Lai, Karen M. McManus, Lesa Cline-Ransome, Renee Watson, Mary Pearson, among many others
Query Methods:
E-mail: No.
Snail-Mail: Yes.
Online-Form: Yes.
Submission Guidelines (always verify): Ms. Stimola is closed to queries.
Send a query letter only if you are querying a novel. You can attach a pdf dummy or sample illustrations if you are submitting a picture book.
See the Stimola Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Response Times:
They will respond if interested within two weeks.
What's the Buzz?
Rosemary Stimola has incredible buzz! In my research I came across more than one mention that Ms. Stimola is a "rockstar" or "superstar” agent, and from what I can tell, this seems very apt. She has the experience, reputation, clientele, and sales to warrant the praise, certainly. She’s a top dealmaker, highly respected, and her clients seem extremely happy with her. If you can peak her interest, you’re sure to be in good hands. 5/21/2020. I attended a conference where she was a speaker about 15 years ago. She is a creative, entertaining speaker too.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Guest Posts:
Bologna 2017: Agents Talk Children's and YA Trends at Publishers Weekly (03/2017).
Rosemary Stimola and Celeste Lin Guest Post at Literary Rambles (02/2017).
Agent Rosemary Stimola and the Changing World of Children's Books at Publishing Perspectives (05/2012)
SCBWI Bologna 2010 Agent Interview: Rosemary Stimola at Cynsations (02/2011).
Contact:
Please see the Stimola Literary website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 6/2/2020
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes
Last Reviewed by Agent: 6/3/2020
***
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiguirre7(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.

Wednesday's Word Count

Ah, September.

The month my daughter turns three. Also the month I planned to have my revisions done by. Not happening, seeing as "revisions" turned into "rewrite" and "rewrite" turned into chaos. Chaos subdued, I'm just now picking up steam on the new draft. *Whimper* The good news? Progress!

Goal: 3k

Accomplished: 5188

Goal for new week: 5k

Excuses / comments: I didn't realize I wrote as much as I did until I checked my word count this morning. I think I may have broken through whatever was holding me back. Time will tell. I plan on giving myself as much time as the project needs, but... you know me and goals. They push me forward. So, I'm aiming to have the rewrite done in time for NaNo. Probably not going to happen (two months?!), but you never know. I will manage a good chunk, at least.

How are your goals coming along? What does September mean for you? Anything?

Research Tip Tuesday

For our first research tip, I've pulled one from the comments that should kick things off hilariously. I give you the author of THE BOY WHO WENT APE, Ben Watson, who gives us some please-don't-really-do-this advice:

"I say if you're uncertain how reputable an agent is, search through their garbage cans. Do they recycle? Are there any plastic bottles in there? Too much paper? How's their diet? Getting enough fiber? Can't have your agent keeling over in the middle of negotiations. Big drinker? That could be good or bad. Social drinker, good at mixing with clients, private drinker-bad because there missing all those tipsy editor parties where publishing inhibitions are lowered. Lastly, coffee grinds? Let's hope so. They'll need some nervous energy to keep pushing that manuscript. No tea drinker is going to be aggressive enough.

So yeah, check their garbage."

Well, er... thanks, Ben! You didn't expect me to leave that languishing in the comments did you?

Make sure you check out Ben's fabulous blog, I, uh, think I killed my muse, everyone! And if you want to see your own research tip featured, go here. Next week, a query tip!