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Agent Spotlight: Ginger Knowlton

This week’s Agent Spotlight features Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, Ltd.

GKnowlton About: “Ginger Knowlton represents authors and illustrators of children's books in all genres, as well as a few adult book authors. Her list includes Newbery Medalists, Newbery Honor and Printz Honor winners, Edgar and Lambda winners, a Sibert and Orbis Pictus winner, New York Times bestsellers, and a host of other delightful and talented clients. Ginger started working at Curtis Brown as an assistant to Marilyn Marlow, one of the first literary agents to specialize in children's books in the 1960s. Working for Marilyn was a rite of passage, affectionately referred to as Curtis Brown’s ‘Boot Camp.’ Before joining the company, Ginger worked in the field of early childhood education in Sacramento and Mendocino, California. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Authors' Representatives and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Library in her hometown in Westchester County.” (Link

Status: Open to submissions. "I'm always on the lookout for exciting new clients. That said, I am rather picky." (Link)

What She's Looking For:

From her Bio:

“Ginger Knowlton represents authors and illustrators of children's books in all genres, as well as a few adult book authors.”

From an Interview (2006):

"Children's books, from picture books for the very young to y.a./teen novels and nonfiction. At the moment, I especially love middle grade and teen novels and quirky nonfiction." (Link)

What She Isn’t Looking For:

Stage plays, musicals, screen plays. (Link)

Otherwise, she prefers to remain open than specify what she is or isn’t looking for (Link).

About the Agency:

“Founded in 1914, Curtis Brown, Ltd. is among the most venerable and prominent literary agencies in the world, representing a wide variety of established and emerging writers from all genres.  Curtis Brown, Ltd. offers its clients the highest standard of literary representation, with a commitment to quality, innovation and integrity.” (Link)

“Curtis Brown currently employs 32 people in our New York and San Francisco offices. Since its inception, the agency has handled more than 50,000 contracts. Our clients include many bestselling authors, award winners, and some of the leading minds and voices in the world. Curtis Brown boasts innovative and successful film and foreign rights departments, and is one of the few literary agencies that handle ancillary rights in-house, providing a motivated team working on our clients' behalf across all platforms. We are well positioned to take advantage of the new opportunities afforded by technological innovations, and we are aggressive in achieving the best possible terms for our clients. With the media industries constantly changing, Curtis Brown continues to evolve and excel while maintaining its commitment to the principles that have made it a key player in the publishing and entertainment world for nearly a century.” (Link)

Dislikes/Don’ts:

Unknown.

Editorial Agent?

A client mentioned she is not an editorial agent in this 2008 thread; otherwise unknown.

Web Presence:

Curtis Brown website.

AAR member.

Publisher's Marketplace page.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker, AuthorAdvance.

Clients:

Rebecca Barnhouse, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, Thalia Chaltas, Nancy Etchemendy, Jean Craighead George, Peggy Gifford, K.L. Going, Anna Grossnickle Hines, Gary Hines, Francisco Jimenez, Gail Carson Levine, J.Patrick Lewis, Laura Manivong, Wendy Mass, Alice McGill, Todd Mitchell, Estate of Ogden Nash, Linda Sue Park, Debbie Rdipath Ohi, John Ritter, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Greg Leitich Smith, Barbara Stuber, Stephanie Tolan, Wendelin Van Draanen, Sally Warner, Nancy Werlin, Ellen Wittlinger, Ellen Yeomans, among others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Not preferred.

Snail-Mail: Yes.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

“I will not respond to email queries unless I am interested. If that concerns you, you're welcome to submit via post, with an SASE.” (Link)

Send a query, the first ten pages, and a SASE. Illustrators should send 1-2 samples of published work, if any, and 6-8 color copies (no original art).  (Link, Link)

See Ms. Knowlton’s Publisher’s Marketplace page and the Curtis Brown website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

“I think it would help if authors put ‘query’ as the subject line. Also, if authors who query me don’t hear back within a month, please feel free to send a gentle nudge along with the original email. Please don’t send attachments unless I request it.” (Link)

“Smart, funny, and engaging letters catch my eye. It's best to include at least a first page of a longer manuscript with your query, and an entire picture book if that's what you write. Let me see what you want me to sell.” (Link)

Response Times:

The agency’s stated response time is 6-8 weeks.  Ms. Knowlton usually responds within a month, often around two weeks. Response times on requested material are limited but suggest a range of 1-2 months.

What's the Buzz?

Everything I found on Ms. Knowlton is very complimentary.  Her 20+ years of experience, focus on children’s literature, and impressive clientele make her quite the catch for kidlit writers and illustrators.  Her clients seem very pleased with her representation and are happy to praise her.  She describes herself as being very picky but remains open and invested in submissions. 

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Interview with Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, Ltd at Mig Writers (05/2012).

Interview with Ginger Knowlton by K.L. Goings (06/2006).

Brief interview with Ginger Knowlton in the 2004 Jeff Herman Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents (page 511-512).

Around the Web:

Curtis Brown, Ltd. on P&E (recommended).

Ginger Knowlton on P&E (AAR).

Curtis Brown, Ltd. thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Debbie Ohi posted a darling cartoon called, “One of the Many Reasons I Love My Agent, Ginger Knowlton” on her blog, Inkygirl (12/10).

"How Not to Get to Agent" by Lisa Yee (HILARIOUS) featuring Ms. Knowlton (2009).

Ms. Knowlton gives tips on "Finding and Keeping Your Dream Literary Agent" at Raab Associates (2008).

Ms. Knowlton answers the question, "What Are My Obligations To A Former Literary Agent?" at Raab Associates (2004).

An old Inkspot Newsletter from 2001 where Ms. Knowlton answers a few writer-specific questions (about halfway down).

Contact:

Please see Ms. Knowlton's Publisher's Marketplace page or the Curtis Brown website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 1/21/2011

Reviewed By Agent?  Yes – 1/22/2011

***

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.

Wednesday's Word Count & April Goal Review

We're heading into May this week. Do you know what that means? Goals are upon me! Not just weekly goals, monthly goals, and even some of my "long term" goals. June is just around the proverbial corner and then half the year will be over. Yowza! So today, I'm going to mix Wednesday's Words with my Monthly Goal Review (cause I'm running out of month and we have a Spotlight tomorrow).

Prior Goal:
4,000 words.

Achieved: 8,539 (can I get a woot, woot!?)

Goal for new week: 7,000.

Excuses / comments: "The end" is in my field of vision and I'm amped! Of course, this particular "the end" will only lead to "the beginning" of massive revisions BUT, I'm still excited. I also challenged Heather with a deadline. We're to have to our respective drafts done by May 15th (the same drafts we worked on for the 30k challenge). We both need it, and if I can manage it, it will fall in line perfectly with my 2009 goal to have a complete draft done by May or June. What does it all mean? I have to write around 17k over the next 16 days. Given my track record with other challenges, I know I can do it.

Now for my review...

April:

Still on track to have my WIP finished by the end of May.
Still on track for my end-of-year goals.
Read seven books.
Blogged regularly.
Finished the 30k in 30 (one) days challenge on time.
Practiced reading outloud.
Reviewed my goals for April!

What didn't I accomplish?

I didn't manage to write daily, as hoped, but I've still done very well, I think.
I didn't do a book review STILL.
I didn't post a teaser.

So for May I charge myself with the following:

Finish this draft by May 15th, which will cover one of my year goals.
Begin revisions.
Read at least three books.
Write at least three Fashy Fiction prompts (I'm awful about this and awful at it).
At least one book review.
Maybe that teaser I keep talking about.
AND...the usual, i.e. blogging, commenting, learning, etc.

Woo! Glad that's over with. Please sift through all this madness as you please and add your own goals - weekly, monthly, yearly, whatev! If you'd rather just answer a question, what have you been doing this spring? How's your weather been?

So Tell Me: Audiobooks Vs. Reading

When you listen to an audio book, do you consider the book read? How do you view the experience of the different formats? As an author or aspiring author, would you prefer readers to read your novel(s) in text as intended, or have you no preference?

I'm exceedingly curious about this, but I have to admit that I'm not a good candidate for the discussion. I generally don't listen to audiobooks. The few times I have, I found the experience surprisingly different. The book is usually read in a different rhythm than I would read it. I don't have the time to pause and speculate over things, feel the words, like I normally might. I can't study the structure, etc. It's certainly an enjoyable experience in that it brings other unique elements to the table but I can't bring myself to say I've read a book that I've only listened to on audio. For me, the experience is much more enjoyable if I've actually, physically read the book first.

Let's discuss! What are you thoughts and opinions?

Agent News: Two New Agents @ Golblatt Literary

Putting this up later than I meant to but I thought I'd still post in case anyone missed it!

Barry Goldblatt Literary
is now home to two new agents, Beth Fleisher and Joe Monti. The Goldblatt web site has been relaunched to reflect its new crew and I'm excited to report both new agents will be living up to the Goldblatt standard and focusing their energies on kidlit!

An excerpt from the press release on the Goldblatt blog: “I’m thrilled to be growing the agency,” says Barry Goldblatt. “At a time when there’s a lot of doom and gloom out there, I’m optimistic about the future, and I thought what better way to show that than by expanding? And to be able to do so with smart, talented people like Joe and Beth sends the confident message that bigger and better things are ahead.”

You can read this and the rest of the press release HERE.


What are the new additions looking for?

Beth Fleisher:

"I'm particularly interested in finding new voices in middle grade and young adult fantasy, science fiction, mysteries, historicals and action adventure as well as select children's and adult non-fiction. I welcome both prose and graphic novel formats."

Joe Monti:

"As an agent I'll be focusing on children's and young adult, or teen literature, as well as some adult genre fiction. I'm also interested in working with folks who are writer-artists of graphic works, from graphic novels to picture books. Specifically I love work that breaks new ground, a work that is subversive or enlightening by utilizing a different approach.

"I'm also an unabashed lover of genre fiction, particularly fantasy and science fiction. I'm also looking for cultural diversity as I come from a mixed race family, and my son is an even bigger mutt than I am. And lastly, I'm a big beleiver that the widely held beleif 'boys over a certain age do not read' is nonsense. Guys read, especially if they have a range of materials to read from that interests and speaks to them."

Good luck friends! I hope to hear of at least one of you getting signed. ; )

Book Give Away @ Writing it Out

I know we all love a good book giveaway!

Head on over to Beth Revis' blog, Writing it Out, for a chance to win one of two sets of books she's giving away. Both sets look great! All you have to do is choose, and there are extra opportunities for points if you wish to take advantage of them.

(Also, read some of her "Today in Class" posts - they're hilarious!)

Good luck! The give-away post can be found HERE.

***

One more thing. Heather needs some questions to answer for her web site. If you could stop by her blog post HERE and throw some at her (feel free to peg her with some funny ones), that would be great!

Lit Soup's Birthday and Contest

First off, today is the 3rd Birthday of agent Jenny Rae Rappaport's blog, Lit Soup. She's celebrating by having a microfiction contest!

The rules: here.
The "magic" word and contest thread: here.
And make sure to stop by this post and say Happy Birthday to the blog!

***

Setting that bit of fun aside, what do you think of the new layout? Be honest. Too dark? Did you like the old one better? I'd really like to know!

Excuse the Mess

I'm changing up my template today. Please excuse any intermittent changes and issues there might be throughout the day. I have to fix some formatting and replace all my widgets.

Thanks!!

Agent Spotlight: Nancy Gallt

This week's Agent Spotlight features Nancy Gallt of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency.

Status: Accepting submissions.

panel1_startAbout: "Nancy Gallt attended Williams College where she received a BA in English. For nearly 25 years she worked in subsidiary rights at Viking, HarperCollins Children's Books, Morrow Junior Books, Greenwillow, and Lothrop Lee & Shepard. In 2000, she founded the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency in order to represent a wide-ranging list of authors and illustrators. In addition, she is the North American sales representative for the Australian Licensing Corporation, a scout for DTV Junior in Germany, and sub-agents for the children's book authors at New Zealand's Ray Richards Agency." (Link)

Ms. Gallt lives in South Orange, New Jersey with her dog and has two grown children.

About the Agency:

"The Nancy Gallt Literary Agency focuses on developing and finding the right home for the work of some of the most talented writers and illustrators in the children’s book industry. Established in 2000 by Nancy Gallt, and later joined by Marietta B. Zacker, we aim to bring to life stories and artwork that help young readers throughout the world become life-long book enthusiasts. We represent authors and illustrators who share and, through their work, exemplify that vision." (Link)

"At the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency, we represent people, not projects and we focus solely on writers and illustrators of children’s books." (Link)

Web Presence:

Nancy Gallt Literary website.

Facebook.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Ms. Gallt specializes in children's books from picture books through young adult, representing both authors and illustrators.

"She is actively seeking middle-grade and young adult novels." (Link now broken)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Ms. Gallt does not represent adult fiction or adult non-fiction.

"Not interested in rhyming picture book texts." (Link)

According to a commenter on QueryTracker in 2008, she isn't really interested in "horse stories."

Editorial Agent?

Ms. Gallt has been know to make revision suggestions, but I don't believe she is editorial.  A former client reported via e-mail that she isn't.

Clients:

A comprehensive list of clients is available on the website

Ms. Gallt's clients include: Bety G. Birney, Jeanne DuPrau, Bagram Ibatoulline, Jenny Moss, Rick Riordan, Janni Lee Simner, among many others.

Sales:

Ms. Gallt does not actively report her deals to Publisher's Marketplace, but she has many confirmed sales.  You can view her clients and some of their available titles on the Nancy Gallt Lit website.

Query Methods:

E-mail: No.

Snail-Mail: Yes.

Online-Form: Yes.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Electronic: See the submissions form on the Nancy Gallt website.

Snail-mail: Send a query and the first five pages (or complete picture book manuscript) with a SASE.

See the Nancy Gallt Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines including other submission particulars. 

Response Times:

The agency only responds if interested.  Stated response time is 6 weeks.  If you do not hear back, assume rejection.  Response times on requested material seem to fall anywhere from under a month to several.

What's the Buzz?

Ms. Gallt doesn't have a large Internet presence, but she is very legit and has over 25 years in the industry.  She has a great list of clients and sales, including several big names such as Jeanne DuPrau and Rick Riordan.  She appears to be a hands-off agent editorial-wise but knows the industry very well.

One writer sent the following information in in early 2009.  Since then, two other agents have joined the agency.

"Be aware that while Nancy has some very big name clients on her list, she works alone in her agency and is very busy. I know of more than one client who left because of communication difficulties and/or their submissions not receiving the personal attention needed to secure sales. That said, Nancy is very personable and friendly, and while not editorial, has a good pulse on how to reach readers effectively."

Worth Your Time

Interviews:

None that I could find.

Around the Web:

Nancy Gallt Literary thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Nancy Gallt on P&E.

Keep an eye on the contact page of the website for conferences Ms. Gallt will be attending.

Ms. Gallt answers the question: "How can a writer determine whether royalty or purchase (possibly with advance) will prove most advantageous?" here.

You can read a lovely article here about Ms. Gallt's annual publishing party and the passing of her husband, Crain Virden.

Contact:

Please see the Nancy Gallt Literary website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 9/21/11.

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes (in 2010).

Last Reviewed By Agent? No response.

***

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.

Wednesday's Word Count

Question for a Wednesday: What is your greatest source of motivation when things aren't moving the way you want?

For me, it's great books and re-reading the motivating words others have given me in the past.

Prior Goal:
4,000 words.

Achieved: 4,017.

Goal for new week: 4,000.

Excuses / comments: I had a pretty good week. I met my goal but I definitely could have written more if I had written daily. I'm back up to 35k now so I finally feel like I'm moving forward again after the cuts I did (although there are more I'll have to do eventually.) Still struggling with the story at this point but I'm confident it will shape up soon.

What do you have to report this week? Progress? Any good news? I'd love to hear some good news!

Vebal Agression You Say? For Real.

Some time last year I picked up a giant box of books, magazines, and various pamphlets and such. It was posted on my local Freecycle. I joined Freecycle to keep an eye out for books. What can I say? I'm a book junky. And, it's exciting because you never know what crazy stuff you're going to get. And I've picked up some weird stuff, let me tell ya.

So this morning I'm getting my coffee. I'm very much not awake.

My fiance says, "did you know you have a book of cuss words, of verbal aggression?"

I turn, spoon clutched in hand. He's interrupting my daily, required sacrifice of coffee beans and speaking some kind of babble, right? Did he just say... "Wha?"

"Verbal aggression. That yellow book down there."

I look "down there" at the box that was recently dragged out of my daughter's new room (once storage) and placed beside the back door. Said yellow book is in my box of books that need to go away. I don't reply because I'm still lost. I certainly don't recall owning any books on verbal aggression. Wouldn't I remember something as cool as that?

"You should keep it, for your writing at least." He grabs up the book, shows it to me, and reads the title. "Maledicta: The International Journal of Verbal Aggression."

I recognize the book now. It was from that box of crazy, crazy stuff and for some reason I never gave the book much consideration because it looked weird when I flipped open to a random page.

A random excerpt from MALEDICTA:

"Restrictions on the set of dirty words. In conducting research with dirty words the experimenter should be careful not to constrain subjects' responses."

Now, if I had read further or flipped a few pages, I would have seen what a jewel this is. I might have discovered "Table 1" of the section "Doing Research with Dirty Words," which details the "Frequency and Tabooness Ratings for Dirty Words." Did you know women use the word ass quite a bit more frequently than men? I wonder why...

Total. Riot. It's a journal that was published annually in two parts (eh, wouldn't that be biannually?). This edition was published Winter 1977 - their second volume. It even has a section called "Aggression in Children's Jokes." How cool is that? Let me add, I'm not one to use "verbal aggression" but it's fascinating and I certainly might take something away for my novel. You never know.

So after geeking out over it this morning, I Googled it. The last volume came out in 2004 but you can still order them all here. You can also see some excerpts from Volume 12 here. I SO want the most recent volume. And it just gets better. There was a five-year period it didn't print because the editor was in prison. Oh man. Who is this guy?

Katherine Patterson Prize for YA and Children's Writing

Hello!

I wanted to point everyone's attention to Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog, Cynsations, where she has announced the inaugural Katherine Patterson Prize for YA and Children's Writers in Hunger Mountain.

Hunger Mountain, the arts journal of Vermont College of Fine Arts, is launching a new online arts journal this summer, which will include YA and children's literature.

The prize, $1000 and publication in Hunger Mountain, as well as two honorable mentions who will receive $100 each, is open to writers of middle-grade fiction, YA, and picture books for fiction not under contract or consideration. Newbery Award-winning author Katherine Paterson will judge, which is a prize all in its own.

The deadline to enter is June 30th. For details see this post at Cynsations, and visit the LiveJournal posting if you have any questions.

Best-Seller Royalty Statement

I clicked over to Jenny Rae Rappaport's blog this morning and was quite intrigued to find a post called "Royalty Statement Anatomy." She brings attention to a post made by Lynne Viehl where Ms. Veihl shares the royalty statement for her New York Time's Best Seller, TWILIGHT FALL (sixth in her Darkyn series).

If you've ever wanted to see some hard numbers, which are rather hard to come by in this business, here's your chance!

You can see the royalty statement here.
Read Ms. Veihl's post about it here.
And, make sure you read Ms. Rappaport's dissection here.

Great stuff!

Wednesday's Word Count

First off, I loved this post by Maureen Johnson. I think she summed up my largest issue with this line:

" . . . you want to know what you do when everything slows down and goes splat. The problem PROBABLY isn’t that you’re bored, it’s that you don’t know what comes next."

Prior Goal:
4,000 words.

Achieved: Edits, some new scenes... eh, ??

Goal for new week: 4,000

Excuses / comments: I'm stuck. I really don't what my story needs to move it from middle to end. Like usual, I wrote a couple random scenes to keep me writing but the more I do this, the more the story feels disjointed. I needed to do something to keep me working on the manuscript though, so I worked through it and edited the major plot points that have changed since the story's inception. It was actually really refreshing. I feel less bogged down by all the changed details that were building up behind me. I think I ended up deleting about 6,000 words (ouch) but I added at least a couple thousand back and have a couple scenes to finish rewriting. In any case, I'm sitting at 32k rather than 35k now. It's kind of depressing going backwards but in other ways I feel better so hopefully moving forward will now be easier.

How are YOU doing? Better than me, I hope!

Agent for a Day

Yesterday I participated in Nathan Branford's "Be an Agent for a Day" contest. It was a BLAST and it's going to be open until Saturday, so if you haven't participated you still have time. It was really eye-opening.

My thoughts...

It was as hard as I expected it to be. I've read enough agent blogs to know what I was getting into, and yes, comparatively, we had it easier than a real agent would with a real slush pile. I knew it would be time-consuming, especially with the extra speculation of which queries were published books, and I knew it would be subjective based on what I like and actually read. It was.

So why was it eye opening if I expected all this already?

A few reasons.

1) I tried to offer at least one comment of personal feedback on each one but as I was working through them it got harder and harder. It wasn't that I didn't want to put the time into it, it was more often how difficult it was to pinpoint and/or word exactly what didn't work for me. In a lot of cases, I couldn't do so without having to sit there for 20 minutes to figure it out. And with tens of queries coming in on the hour, an agent can't let that 20 minutes go unless the query is really worth investing that time in and in most cases I imagine it isn't. Form reject. Problems solved.

2) This little competition didn't include reading partials, fulls, taking phone calls, writing proposals, and working with clients and editors. While I didn't have a problem with form rejections before, I really don't now. It makes sense. I can even understand why some agents don't respond at all unless interested. Sure, it may only take a few seconds to slap a form rejection in an e-mail, but if you're a busy agent who is continually swamped, those seconds could add up fast with the amount of queries that come in. Personally, if I were an agent, I would make a point to take the time for at least a form rejection - business etiquette, courtesy and all that - but at least I can better understand why some don't.

3) It was insanely easy to pinpoint the rookies. I often knew whether or not I was interested in a query within the first two sentences. Voice really did lend a lot to a query. Awkward phrasing and clunky, disjointed paragraphs were extremely common turn-offs.

4) It was hard to look for the published queries when I was really only interested in the queries for YA novels, which lends insight into why agents generally only represent what they are passionate about. When I start querying, I think I'm going to focus on agents who primarily (or only) represent children's/juvenile fiction. Having done this, I don't think I'd feel entirely confident in someone who represents a ton of genres.

5) I've heard several agents say something along the lines of: "I'm looking for a reason to reject your query." I understood this in essentials, but now I really, really understand it. If you have a handful of partials and fulls to read, client manuscripts you're offering edits on, published books you want to read, proposals to write, clients and editors to work with, and a never-ending stream of queries flooding you inbox, you're going to be loathe to take on any more reading material in any fashion unless you absolutely cannot say no to a query, which is exactly what we writers need to strive for. Make your query irresistible. If anything about your query is so-so, keep at it. Get it critiqued and critiqed again. Read article after article on crafting a perfect query. Don't let your eagerness work against you. You can't afford to - they really are looking for a reason to say no unless they can't, unless you give them something to be really excited about.

Overall it was an amazing experience and opportunity. As I continue on this journey, I think I'll continually come back to this experiment in my mind and apply it to things I read, experiences I go through, and queries I write. I really think I've gained something by taking the time to view the other side.

Huge thank you to Nathan and everyone that participated. I can't wait to see the results.

Rambles and Links

It's Monday, it's gray out, and I don't really know what to blog about.... so let's take a tip from my blog title and ramble a little.

MarPrilWrimo a.k.a. the 30k in 30 (one) days challenge officially concluded on 04/10. I'd say it was a success! We didn't all make it to 30k, but many thousands of words were collectively written that might not have been. At least two of us are going to stick around the Facebook group that was created to try and finish our current first drafts. If anyone wants to jump on board for the comradery, you're more than welcome to. We could always create another "finish that manuscript" group or something.

I ended up writing 31k by 04/10, which brought my total to 35k (I had written a little over 4k before we began) so now I'm aiming to conclude this first draft with another 20-25k and then worry about editing and expanding where needed. Don't know how it will go but my goal is to finish draft one by 05/15!

A reading bug caught me late last week. I finished THE BOOK THIEF, and then burned through THE BOOK OF NONSENSE (thanks PJ!), THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, and THE GIVER over the next three days. I started WICKED LOVELY yesterday, which is the last of the pile I bought after my last book poll. So it looks like I need to go shopping!

What else?

Sarah Garrigues, who's building up a very informative blog, posted an article called The Art of 'Showing' Vs. 'Telling' that I thought was particularly well done (read the comments, too.) I can't tell you how many articles I've read on this subject! What a great refresher.

Be an Agent for a Day is heating up today over at Nathan Bransford's blog. What a blast! I'm drafting up a "rejection" right now.

Amazon is facing the loss of thousands of customers due to their epic Amazonfail - a supposed "glitch."

"In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature..."

Hum, censorship anyone? If you'd like to sign a petition, you can do so here.

Also, Queryshark shared this helpful link on Edittorrent for crafting log lines. A neat little process!

I think that's all I have right now. Feel free to do your own rambling in the comments.

Agent Spotlight: Jennie Dunham

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jennie Dunham of Dunham Literary, Inc.

Status: Open to submissions.

jennieAbout: "Jennie Dunham has been a literary agent in New York, New York since May 1992. In August 2000 she founded Dunham Literary, Inc.

"She has been a member of AAR (Association of Authors Representatives) since 1993. She served on the Program Committee and was Program Committee Director for several years. She was also a member of the Electronic Committee.

"In 1996 she attended the US/China Joint Women in Business conference in Beijing where she gave a presentation about literary agents in the US. She also attended the NGO Forum at the International Women's Conference.

"She attended international meetings as the AAR representative to create the ISTC (International Standard Text Code) which is being created to ISO (International Standardization Organization) specifications. This business and tracking system will be based on titles not book formats (as is the case with ISBN) and will work in tandem with ISBN.

"She started her career at John Brockman Associates and then Mildred Marmur Associates. She was employed by Russell & Volkening for 6 years before she left to found Dunham Literary, Inc.

She frequently speaks at writers conferences and events." (Link)

Her favorite books from childhood include: DOMINIC by William Steig, ABEL’S ISLAND by William Steig, A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle, THE TOMBS OF ATUAN by Ursula K. Le Guin, THE PRINCESS AND THE GOBLIN by George Macdonald, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl, THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer. (Link)

About the Agency:

“Dunham Literary represents authors of quality fiction and nonfiction, books for adults and children and some illustrators of children's books.

“The Rhoda Weyr Agency is a division of Dunham Literary.

“Member AAR, SCBWI.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Dunham Literary website.

AAR profile.

AgentQuery.

QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

Literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, biography, memoir, history, parenting/family, politics/current affairs, relationships, science/technology, picture books, middle grade, young adult, illustrators. (Link)

From an Interview:

"I don’t represent individual short stories, genre writing such as romance and mystery, but I do like literary books with romance and mystery elements to them. I look for a strong voice, real characters, and compelling, memorable stories.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Individual short stories, chapbooks, novellas, screenplays, adult-targeted romance, horror, westerns, poetry, Christian literature, erotica, horror, business/investment, cooking/food/wine, professional/reference, true crime. (Link, Link)

"I’m not so keen on easy readers and short story or poetry collections." (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“While editorial services are not officially part of an agent's job, sometimes we will give some editorial suggestions that will help make a project more salable. We do not demand that these changes are made. No author should change his or her artistic work if it doesn't seem right. We do reserve the right to say we don't feel strongly enough about a project to submit it in which case the client has three options: revise the project, put the project aside and focus on a different project, or find other representation.” (Link)

Clients:

Nick Bruel, Marlene Carvell, Fred Chapell, Leslie Connor, Sandra Dutton, Jody Feldman, Tod Goldberg, Shawna Kenney, Reeve Lindbergh, Barbara McClintock, Margaret Mcmullan, Matthew Reinhart, Robert Sabuda, Anna Shinoda among many others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.

Snail-Mail: Yes.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

E-mail: Send a query letter addressed to Ms. Dunham in the body of an e-mail. No attachments.

Snail-mail: Send a query addressed to Ms. Dunham and a SASE.

Query only one agent at the agency. Queries are read by all interested agents.  

See the Dunham Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

"I look for a brief description of the book. A story that seems fresh or has a hook to it that will catch my interest. I also look at an author’s credentials. I look for other publications or relevant life experience the author has had." (Link – dead)

"Anything cliché such as ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ will turn me off. I hate when a narrator or author addresses the reader (e.g., 'Gentle reader')." (Link)

If you’ve received a request, see the “How to Submit” page on the website.

Response Times:

The agency’s stated response time is 4 weeks for queries and 4-8 weeks for requested material (Link, Link). Stats on the web show a range of days to several months with an average around 4-6 weeks.

What's the Buzz?

Ms. Dunham has been a literary agent for over 20 years, is a member of the AAR and SCBWI, and continues to attend conferences. While she has a long-established list of clients, she remains open to submissions.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Agent Interview with Jennie Dunham of Dunham Literary, Inc. at K.L. Goings' website (about halfway down).

Around the Web:

See the Terms and Services page for more information on how Dunham Literary does business.

Dunham Literary’s entry in the 2013 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market Guide via Google Books.

Jennie Dunham on P&E ($, AAR). Dunham Literary on P&E ($).

Dunham Literary thread at AbsoluteWrite.

Life After Self-Publishing, an article featuring thoughts from Jennie Denham and other agents by Chuck Sambuchino at Writer's Digest (09/2008).

Contact:

Please see the Dunham Literary website for further contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last Updated: 8/12/13.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 8/12/13.

***

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/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

Is it already Wednesday? Craziness. Here's the count...

Prior Goal:
5,500 words.

Achieved: 4786 words, I think.

Goal for new week: 4,000

Excuses / comments: Not much to say here. I totally could have met my goal but I slacked off a bit. I guess I wasn't too worried about taking a few days off since I've been running ahead on the 30k challenge. In fact, I have roughly 700 words left, which I'm off to write as soon as I post this. So I'll have my 30k two days early - woot! As for this next week... I'm going to slow down a little but I'd like to keep up a decent count since I'm still aiming to have this first draft done by the end of next month!

How are you doing with your writing goals?

Blogcation

I took a blogcation (blogvation?) and a writing break the last three days. I've been go-go-go for the last month with the 30k writing challenge, Agent Spotlight, and everything in between and amongst. I feel so behind now though - Twitter, blogs, comments, etc!

So what did I do? Other than the norms (work, taking care of the kids, cleaning, etc.) I spend an obscene amount of time researching my anestry. Talk about a black hole! Very addictive.

Anyways... a general update for today!

  • 2800 words left for the 30k writing challenge. My goal is to finish TODAY.
  • I'm still reading THE BOOK THIEF. Reading has been, most unfortunatly, low on the totem pole.
  • New Flashy Fiction prompt up for today, Tuesday, and it's a fun one!
  • Jennie Dunham is the next Agent Spotlight. Someone suggested her to me for a spotlight and I'm happy to deliver, though there isn't a lot out there on her. We'll need input from those of you who have experience with her and/or have heard her speak at conferences!
  • Lots of catching up to do on your blogs and comments.
I think that's about it. My mind feels a bit quiet today but hopefully I'll be able to get some good writing in.

One-Year Blogiversary

Today is Literary Rambles' one-year blogiversary. Party at my blog! I'm thrilled with how far both the blog and I have come in the last year, and want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read and/or comment.

Virtual confetti and cake all around!

Also, head on over to The Bookshelf Muse. They are celebrating 50,000 hits today, and if you comment on their 50k post by Monday you have a chance to win a signed copy of WAITING TO SCORE by J.E. Macleod.

Woot! April 3rd is just a celebratory kind of day.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Agent Spotlight: Stephen Barbara

This week's Agent Spotlight features Stephen Barbara of Foundry Literary + Media.

Status: Open to submissions.

stephenLAbout: "Stephen represents books for young readers, and adult fiction and nonfiction. His clients include New York Times and international Bestseller Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall, Delirium), Newbery Medal winner and New York Times Bestseller Laura Amy Schlitz (Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!), Indie Bestseller Lynne Jonell (Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, The Secret of Zoom), Edgar Award nominees Jack D. Ferraiolo and Todd Strasser, as well as the literary development company Paper Lantern Lit and the multimedia arts organization The Story Pirates, among many others.

“Stephen Barbara grew up in New Haven, Connecticut, and later attended the University of Chicago, where he studied English and literary criticism and was a co-founder of the college’s literary magazine. After a stint as a freelance book reviewer and sports writer for publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Weekly Standard, Stephen began his publishing career, working first as an editorial assistant at HarperCollins, then spending three years as Contracts Director of the Donald Maass Agency.” (Link)

About the Agency:

"Foundry is a full-service literary and media development agency. We are dedicated to providing the most positive and profitable publishing experience for our clients, from the American book market to foreign publishing, film, TV, merchandise, online media and beyond. Rooted in the tradition of representing writers and other talent in the book trade, the Foundry team is relentless in finding new and diverse ways for our clients to reach wider audiences." (Link)

Web Presence:

Foundry website.

Foundry Facebook.

Foundry Twitter.

Mr. Barbara’s Twitter.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker.

What He's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

Children’s books and select adult projects (commercial, literary; non-fiction).

What he Isn't Looking For:

Screenplays, Romance, Westerns.  

Quotables:

“I think the basic theme of my career so far has been discovering – and launching – debut authors, particularly first novelists. I have established clients, some of whom I took on mid-career, but I haven’t inherited any authors and generally speaking I’ve been less interested in writers coming to me after working with other agents and editors.” (Link – appears dead)

Peeves/Dislikes:

"Pages of exposition, lots of dry description, flat writing, lack of tension, lack of dramatic conflict, conventional scenes (particularly characters waking up in the morning and staring at themselves in the mirror or brushing their teeth), clichés, banalities, formulaic prose, lack of a striking voice, and tin-eared dialogue." (Link)

Editorial Agent?

"I tend to spend a lot of time on story development with my clients. I've come to see that the work you put into a manuscript with your clients prior to submission is invaluable. There's nothing like a brilliantly executed piece of storytelling to set the editors' pulses racing." (Link – appears dead)

Clients:

There is a page of agency titles on the Foundry website

Mr. Barbara's clients include: Heidi Ayarbe, Betsy Bird, P.J. Bracegirdle, Fleur Bradley, Cara Chow, Heather Davis, Julie Danielson, Monica Edinger, Richard Farr, Jack D. Ferraiolo, Lisa Graff, Lynne Jonell, Sam Munson, Shana Norris, Lauren Oliver, Paper Lantern Lit, Marlene Perez, Suzanne Morgan Williams, Jess Rothenberg, Leila Sales, Laura Schaefer, Katie Sciurba, Laura Amy Schlitz, Libby Schmais, Peter D. Sieruta, Michael Spooner, Tammar Stein, Todd Strasser, Paul Tremblay, Tom Venuto, among others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only)

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a brief query letter and the first five pages in the body of an e-mail.

See the Foundry Literary + Media website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines. 

Response Times:

Mr. Barbara tries to respond to all queries but does not guarantee a response due to the volume of submissions. (Link – appears dead)

Stats on the web show Mr. Barbara responding to most queries within hours to a week. Requested material usually gets a response within days to a couple weeks.

What's the Buzz?

Stephen Barbara is a favorite among aspiring authors, well-respected for his lightning fast response times and wit.  He has a strong list of clients and sales and his clients seem very happy with his representation.  Conference goers report him as being rather funny and gracious.

One writer, who wished to encourage other writers to submit to Mr. Barbara, e-mailed me this bit of feedback: "I received a personal rejection from him with a compliment to my writing and encouragement to query him on future projects. His response was timely and appreciated."

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Level 2 Launch Week Interview Series: Agent Stephen Barbara at Presenting Lanore (01/2013).

WANTED Blog Tour: An Interview with Agent Stephen Barbara at Cindy Thomas’ site (05/2012).

Interview with an Agent: Stephen Barbara of Foundry at Smack Dab in the Middle (02/2012).

Live chat transcript with Stephen Barbara and Leila Sales at WriteOnCon (11/2010).

Brief video interview with Stephen Barbara by Kathi Appelt on YouTube (06/2010).

Around the Web:

Foundry Literary + Media at AbsoluteWrite.

Foundry Literary + Media at P&E. Stephen Barbara at P&E.

Article on Stephen Barbara and three of his clients at The University of Chicago Magazine (12/2009).

Soapbox: How Stephanie Meyer Cramps my Style, article at Publisher's Weekly by Stephen Barbara (12/2009).

The Great American Query Letter, article at Publisher's Weekly by Stephen Barbara (11/2008).

Contact:

Please see the Foundry Literary + Media website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 3/11/13.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 10/14/11.

***

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.

Wednesday's Word Count

Happy (?) April Fool's Day!

Prior Goal: 7,000 words.

Achieved: 4643 words.

Goal for new week: 5,500

Excuses / comments: I slacked off a few days this week, and then yesterday I was having vertigo problems. It is not fun trying to write with a swimming head. Just sayin'. Shelli, if you read this, I can't beleive you've survived your vertigo issues this long! I was miserable! So far my head seems to be more agreeable today. Anywho, I have roughly 5,500 words left of my 30k, so I'm going to try to pump that out over the next few days. Woot! I must admit, my MS is quite the mess but it's all about getting the words down right now, right? Shh, internal editor, shhh.

Now, I want status updates (with excuses - ha!) for those of you doing the 30k challenge, and general writing updates/goals from everyone else. I hope everyone is having a great writing week!

Don't forget, tomorrow we're putting the spotlight on Stephen Barbara and there's some great flash waiting to be written over at Flashy Fiction!