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BEYOND THE DOOR through April 12th here

THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN through April 12th here

DEAR KILLER through April 19th here

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TINA WEXLER QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY COMING WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16TH

2009 Goals - May Review

I knew I was forgetting something. My goal review!

Note: This is pretty boring. See the earlier post from today for something slightly more entertaining.

My May goals included:

  • Finish draft by May 15th to cover one of my year goals.
  • Begin revisions.
  • Read at least three books.
  • Write pieces for at least three Fashy Fiction prompts.
  • At least one book review.
  • Maybe a teaser.
  • The usual, i.e. blogging, commenting, learning, etc.
I did all of this minus one Flashy Fiction piece and the teaser. Purty good.

June goals:

  • Finish first round of revisions.
  • Get Heather's input on draft.
  • Begin more revisions, undoubtedly.
  • Read at least three books.
  • Two FF pieces.
  • One book review.
  • The usual.
I'm pretty excited about June. By the end of it, I'm hoping to have my WIP whipped into decent shape. BTW, there are a whole bunch o' awesome writers doing a Revision Smackdown in June. Anyone else game?

Happy last day of May!

Friday Teen Files

Before you break the news to me that it's Sunday, let me tell you... I know it's Sunday.  But, I discovered a box full of notes and various stuffs from my teen years and have decided to start a new weekly feature:  Friday Teen Files. 

Yes.  I'm going to embarrass myself for our mutual entertainment - all in the name of research, right??  And since I didn't post on Friday, I've decided to jump in and get it going.  I have no idea where to start, so I grabbed the first amusing thing I saw.

I present to you:  A bubble chart + notes of (I think) fourteen-year-old me.  I can only assume, as I do not recall, that I was trying to 1) understand my life 2) understand why I am was such a geek.  Clearly I did not realize making a bubble chart of this nature only supported the latter.  I do recall jotting this down quickly because I was really frustrated about something.  Hmmm...

 020 copy

(I apologize for the quality of the picture.  I need to buy a scanner.)

Bubble Highlights: 

  • Baby me:  Healthy.  Misshapen head for awhile.  Moved.  Good family.  Good home life. 
  • Child me:  Public school.  Very immature.  Still playing animals in 6th grade.  Loved magic and animals more than anything. Unicorn visit.  
  • Teen me:  Matured quickly.  Started period.  Breasts grew.  Got a crush.  Bugged him.  Asked him out.  Jokes.  Many, many problems.  Always wanted to run away.  Depression.  Confused.  Decorated room fantasy-like.
  • To-be adult me: Want a job.  I want love - scared of it.  I want a kid a lot.  Have a dream of running away and taking some horses to search for anything out of norm.  Very odd.  Not ready to commit.

Note Highlights:

  • I watch all these movies.  I read all these books.  I love them yet they are teasing me.  I ponder around and around.  Ever wondering, ever silent.  Sometimes I try to tell people but they just nod and smile, act like they care.
  • I had a visit with a uni.  It was white and pure.  It talked to me.  I talked to him.  He told me something of my future to which I don't remember.
  • Passion to be different, to be something magic.  Maybe swept away.
  • I watched a mythical movie and started to wonder if things could be like that.  I walked out into the garage and noticed a card on the wall.  It said: Follow your dreams and see where they will take you.
  • 7th grade depression.  Tried to run away.  My friend bailed on me - sad but true - we had maps and plans to go to Alaska.   

And these are only the highlights.  No joke.  Are you starting to become concerned for me?  Cause...I am.  And I have to ask, is this...normal?  More next week. 

Agent News: Brenda Bowen to join Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

Brenda Bowen, who has 28 fabulous years of industry experience, is joining Sanford J. Greenburger Associates July 6th as a literary agent. Her focus will be on the kidlit market.

"Bowen will represent authors and illustrators of children’s books for all ages (preschool to teen) as well as, in her words, "graphic novelists, animators and maybe a surprise element or two." She says her client list will "start fairly small and dedicated, and then we’ll see."

Check out the full article here. Also, visit Brenda Bowen's blog, Bunny Eat Bunny.

ETA: The Guide to Literary Agents blog has the latest on Brenda Bowen's submission requirements.

Good luck!

Agent Spotlight: Stephen Fraser

This week's Agent Spotlight features Stephen Fraser of Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency.   

Status: Open to submissions. 

stephenfraserAbout: “Stephen Fraser joined the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency as an agent in January 2005. He worked most recently at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where he edited such creative talents as Mary Engelbreit, Gregory Maguire, Michael Hague, Ann Rinaldi, Kathryn Lasky, Brent Hartinger, Stephen Mitchell, and Dan Gutman. He began his career at Highlights for Children and later worked at Scholastic and Simon & Schuster. A graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, he has a Master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston. He represents both children’s and adult books in a wide range of genres. “ (Link)

About the Agency:

“The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency is a New York City-based full-service literary agency founded in 2001 and named one of the top 25 literary agencies in the country by Writer’s Digest.

“The agency represents children’s literature for all ages – picture books and middle-grade and young adult novels – but also represents high-quality adult fiction and non-fiction in a wide range of genres. The categories we are most enthusiastic about agenting are literary and commercial fiction; mysteries, thrillers, celebrity biographies; humor; psychology and self-help; parenting; health and fitness; women’s issues; men’s issues; pop culture; film and television; social issues and contemporary affairs.

“JDLA is proud to be one of the few literary agencies to represent illustrators, as well as screenwriters for both television and film, including Emmy-winning writers and a Peabody Award-winning illustrator.” (Link)

Web Presence:

JD Lit Website.

Agency Twitter.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker.

What He's Looking For:

Interests: Children’s picture books through young adult and select adult fiction and non-fiction.

Per the Agency Website:

“Currently we are looking for children’s books for every age – picture books, middle-grade, and young adult – and adult fiction and non-fiction in a wide range of genres. If in doubt, just query us." (Link)

From an Interview (04/2012):

“Everything. I do board books, picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, nonfiction.  I want to be dazzled.  I guess if a vampire book comes along, or a werewolf novel, I’d probably not be impressed. But if it is great, then I’d be interested in that, too.” (Link)

“What [am I] looking for right now? Not a high-concept, commercial novel. There is too much of that. Everyone is basically looking for the same thing. I am looking for a lyrical middle grade novel that will win the Newbery Medal. I think that if you make literature with a capital L your priority, you can change the publishing environment. It’s like a huge monster. If you feed it only commercial fiction, that’s all it wants. How about giving it more fruits and vegetables, that is, good writing that has balance, grace, and style. Soon, that’s what will be selling. How’s that!” (Link)

From an Interview (04/11):

“I adore picture books, even though they are having a hard time now, so I’ll never say no to a great picture book text. I have to say that I especially love middle grade. What I would like to see more of is chapter books (series).” (Link)

From an Interview (02/11):

“I’d like to see more mysteries and ghost stories (really scary ghost stories). Love stories are always fun. Nonfiction that is one of a kind and fresh is always welcome. I adore poetry – though it can be hard to sell (I’ll try!) And funny books, truly funny books.” (Link)

From an Interview (05/10):

“Always good writing. A good concept or story is valuable, but the writing needs to be good to carry it off. In terms of specific genres, I’m looking for a solid mystery and for humorous books right now. Both gaps in the current market, I think.” (Link)

From an Interview (03/10):

“I’d like to see some good mysteries for kids. I’d like to see a good gay novel. I’d like to see a novel where a teen grapples with religious concepts, but that isn’t preachy in any way. I’d like to see a genuinely funny novel. Humor is hard to do but it is a great way to write for kids.” (Link)

From an Interview (01/10):

“I am never looking for anything specific, but I am looking to be dazzled. Good use of language always gets my attention. I have to say, I don’t like books that are too dark. I like imagination, a sense of fun, real drama. And most of all, a fresh voice. Even Cinderella, of which there are more than seven hundred versions worldwide, can be told again in a writer’s fresh voice. I mostly look for children’s books but sometimes I represent an adult novel. I agented a book of photographs this past fall which I was quite taken with.” (Link)

From an Interview (2009):

“I like a story that is dramatic, but I don’t want to get stuck in dark, depressing material. A good novel might in fact have a dramatic, even dark storyline, but there needs to be a reason for it. And I’d like to see a glimmer of hope at least. What gets my attention is good writing, a love of language and a facility to craft a good story. A great concept is not enough; good writing must back it up. What’s important is what is called “voice,” an authentic originality that is the writer’s own.” (Link)

What He Isn't Looking For:

Romance, sci-fi, westerns, poetry.  (Link)

“I really am tired of vampires. I’m also getting tired of dystopian novels (and movies). I think it is too easy to be pessimistic these days.” (Link)

His Advice for Writers:

“Never be apologetic or falsely humble. Respect your talent. Think of yourself as a professional writer already. Make sure you always act professionally, when you are submitting a manuscript to an agent or an editor, when you are working on a revision. If you act professionally, you will find yourself becoming a true professional writer.” (Link)

“My advice is to read widely and notice trends. Learn who is publishing what. And most of all, hone your own sense of what is good writing.” (Link)

Dislikes (Don'ts):

“Being overly intrusive is a no-no. For instance, sending a whole manuscript without any kind of query letter is annoying. Or sending along a manuscript by special delivery when I haven’t even heard of the person before is also bad. Simple courtesy is always best. And if an agent politely says no, they usually mean no.” (Link)

“The worst thing you can say is ‘I am unpublished and this manuscript isn’t very good.’ If you don’t think it is good or publishable, then don’t waste anyone’s time mentioning it or sending it along. The writer becomes a professional writer the moment they act professionally and being apologetic isn’t being professional. Have confidence and poise.” (Link)

Editorial Agent?

Yes.  He works with his clients to improve their manuscripts before submission as needed. 

Clients:

The agency represents over 100 clients. A select list of clients can be found on the website; authors here, illustrators here.

Mr. Fraser's clients include: Christine Brodien-Jones, Ally Cowee, James Dashner, Mary Cronk Farrell, Thea Guidone, Brent Hartinger, Amber Keyser, Bev Katz Rosenbaum, Judith L. Roth, Rosanne Parry, Matthew Kirby, Carol Lynch Williams, Cat Woods, among many others.

Sales:

As 7/12, Mr. Fraser is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 6 deals in the last 12 months and 37 overall.  Recent deals include 1 general, 3 middle grade, 2 young adult.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query in the body of an e-mail.  No attachments.  Put “query” in the subject line.  If you don't hear back within two weeks, e-mail again.  Only query one agent at the agency at a time.  (Link)

See the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.  He suggests including a sample page in this interview.

Query Tips: 

“A simple query (with a sample of writing attached) is best. It’s really all about the writing.  I do like to know if someone has been published before, because it does give me a sense of where they are in their career. I don’t like when someone apologizes that they haven’t been published before and then says that their manuscript probably isn’t any good. That isn’t humility, it’s humiliation! I always answer right away. If I don’t, it’s always good to contact me again. Sometimes things go astray in cyberspace. Always follow up.  In fact, keep following up until you have answer. Sometimes someone pitches a book to me in person at a conference and that is fine, too.  I usually know right away if I am interested or not.” (Link)

“…make it polite and short, give only salient information, and attach a page of writing.” (Link)

“The query should include a succinct plot description and pitch.The pitch (positioning a book in the market) can be useful. I encourage every writer to create an ‘elevator pitch.’ This means comparing the manuscript with already-published and even classic books. This comparison helps sales forces know how to position a book on a publisher’s list. Learning to create a query and pitch also helps writers focus their ideas.” (Link)

Response Times:

His response time on queries is super fast, usually within hours to a week with occasional instances beyond.  His response time on requested material appears to be days to a month or so.

What's the Buzz? 

There is a growing amount of praise regarding Mr. Fraser on the net (including some great feedback from client Cat Woods in the comments). His clients have praised him as being communicative, efficient, honest, and fun.  A couple clients have mentioned their appreciation of his editorial skills.  

He has a healthy client list but is always looking for brilliant, new talent.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Interview with Literary Agent Stephen Fraser at client Judith L. Roth’s site (04/2012).

An Interview with Stephen Fraser at Humor Me (04/2011).

NESCBWI 2011 Agent Quick Query Sneak Peek Interview with Agent Stephen Fraser at Joyce Shor Johnson’s site (02/2011).

Interview with an Agent: Stephen Fraser at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (05/2010).

Agent Interview: Stephen Fraser at First Novels Club (03/2010).

Interview with Agent Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency at Throwing Up Words (01/2010).

2K9 Agent Interview with Stephen Fraser and Catherine Drayton at The Class of 2K9 (07/09).

Interview with Stephen Fraser at The Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop website (2009).

Around the Web:

Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency on P&E ($ Recommended).

Stephen Fraser on P&E.

Stephen Fraser–Project Writeway Agent! client feedback at Throwing Up Words (01/2012).

How I Got My Agent: J.H. Trumble at Guide to Literary Agents (12/2011).

Successful Queries: Agent Stephen Fraser and ‘I Was a Teenage Popsicle' at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (05/2010).

Stephen Fraser answers a symposium question at Agent Query: Publishing Changes (fourth down).

Read about client Matthew Kirby's experience with Mr. Fraser here and here.

Contact:

Please see the Jennifer DeChiara website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 7/11/12 – (added interview, updated sales)

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

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

Because I do this at the end of every month, pretty much - OMG next week is JUNE. Can you beleive it?

***

Round up of those who commented last week:

Elana was going to go over her novel one last time and send it out to two peeps who asked to see it.
Rhonda was brainstorming and working out new ideas.
Sherry was working towards having her MG finished by August.
K.M. Walton gave her opinion on revisions.
Keri gave me some great tips.
Nevets needed to wake up his brain to tackle his fab goals.
Christina was ho-humming : ).
Michelle stopped by and talked revisions with us, too.

My Wednesday report:

Prior Goal: Knock out major revisions.

Accomplished: Purty much.

Goal for new week: Finish the big changes.

Excuses / comments: I'm really happy with my progress, and it's really great seeing it come together the way it is. I'm excited about the potential of the story (Monster though it may be) so it's been fairly easy to stay motivated so far. Can't wait to see where I'm at by next Wednesday!

Wednesday question: As we're moving into June, tell me, have you kept your New Year's resolutions? Or are they long forgotten?

Don't forget to leave your goals in the comments. I want to know what you're up to.

Happy Wednesday!

Channeling My Mad Scientist

frankenstein-1931-its-alive-its-aliveHenry: Look! It's moving. It's sha--it's... it's alive. It's alive... It's alive, it's moving, it's alive! It's alive, it's alive, it's alive! It's ALIVE!

Victor: Henry -- in the name of God!

Henry: Oh, in the name of God! Now I know what it's like to BE God!

- Frankenstein (1931 film)

My revisions are going great. I have sixty pages left to go through. Granted, I'm just tackling the big stuff right now. That sixty will lead me right back to the beginning for another round of a different kind. I'm doing it in manageable layers to keep my sanity. And yet...

I'm feeling quite like a mad scientist. Not just in the sense that I'm inventing and creating a new novel (and losing my mind) but also in the sense that I'm creating a monster. What I'm writing goes against the grain in some ways. It's somewhat psychological, contrary - edgy maybe. I'm not even sure I have my mind wrapped around what it is in its entirety - yet. It's one of those novels that's really going to need the right agent and the right editor with the right publishing house if it's ever going to get published. So, in a business and a market that's already hard to break into, I feel like I'm willingly laying the mortar down where the odds will be stacked against me to form an impenetrable wall. And if I do break through the wall, despite the odds, I fear what I will face on the other side.

Dr. Waldman: This creature of yours should be kept under guard. Mark my words. He will prove dangerous.

frankenstein-1

Maybe I'm being over dramatic. The novel will just have to find a home where other edgy upper YA novels have, and I'll just have to face whatever backlash follows, but these famous lines from Frankenstein kept coming to mind anyway, so I looked them up and found some quotes from the 1931 film. You know what Henry's response to Dr. Waldman is in the film?

Henry: Dangerous! Poor old Waldman. Have you never wanted to do anything that was dangerous? Where should we be if no one tried to find out what lies beyond? Have your never wanted to look beyond the clouds and the stars, or to know what causes the trees to bud? And what changes the darkness into light? But if you talk like that, people call you crazy. Well, if I could discover just one of these things, what eternity is, for example, I wouldn't care if they did think I was crazy.

And that is why we persevere in the face of unlikely odds, why we believe in our unique creations, and why we must always ask ourselves and explore the age-old question, "what if?"

***

(Oh, but... let's not channel what happens to Frankenstein at the end of the movie, k?)

Time's A Wastin'

Jesse is giving me some solid, child-free time right now for revising. This is my first act of procrastination - telling you this. But, BUT, I'm going - right now - and I'm going to make awesome progress (please tell me I'm going to make awesome progress).

(See you on Twitter and Facebook.)


*Poof*

Friday Randomness

I made some great progress on my revisions today. There were even about seven seconds that I felt the potential of the story.

In other news:

Tyler was kind enough to give me the fabulous idea of spotlighting the agents that will be doing breakout sessions at the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA this August. So look forward to spotlights on Daniel Lazar (Writer's House), Steven Malk (Writer's House), Jen Rofe (Andrea Brown), Marietta Zacker (Nancy Gallt Lit), Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Lit), Jamie Weiss (Andrea Brown), Kelly Sonnack (Andrea Brown), and Stephen Fraser (Jennifer De Chiara Lit) in the upcoming weeks (not necessarily in that order).

Sherry Dale Rogers over at her blog, Excuse me, does this blog make my butt look big? (or Splatt Way of Life), is holding a contest. It's a simple contest that won't tax your brain (well, it might if you've been writing or revising for a few hours) and you can win a $50 Amazon gift card. Woot!

I'd also like to point your attention to Rhonda Stapleton's blog, Just Your Average Crazy Writer. She put up Chapter One of her upcoming debut novel Stupid Cupid. Yay! Rhonda is also having a contest for a $10 bookstore gift card. All you have to do is tell her romantic or not-so-romantic stories. Isn't that fun?

ETA: Rhonda has also been doing a fabulous blog tour of 2009 debut authors on her blog - make sure to check out those posts, too!

QueryTracker still has its 2nd Anniversary Celebration going on.

Check out the The Worst Review Ever blog to remind yourself how subjective this business can be. You might even gain some perspective on your own (or future) reviews.

Catch up on all the fabulous posts that have been going up on Agent Rachelle Gardner's blog (each word is a seperate link, BTW).

And so much more that I'm probably forgetting.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!

Agent Spotlight: Alyssa Eisner Henkin

This week's Agent Spotlight features Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group, LLC

Status: Open to submissions.

alyssah1About: "Alyssa Eisner Henkin is a 1998 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining Trident in December of 2006, she spent seven years at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers editing the NY Times bestselling Little Quack, The Mother Daughter Book Club, and The Wedding Planner’s Daughter. Alyssa is currently seeking middle grade and young adult novels, as well as projects with crossover appeal in women’s fiction. She is especially drawn to mysteries in mansions, adventures that suspend disbelief, wish-fulfillment premises that linger with what ifs, epic love stories, and settings tilled with strong regional flavors.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“In September 2000, Robert Gottlieb and Dan Strone left the William Morris Agency and founded Trident Media Group. Since then, Trident has become one of the fastest-growing, most-successful literary agencies in the publishing industry. In 2002, the Ellen Levine Literary Agency merged with Trident Media Group.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Trident website.

QueryTracker, AgentQuery, AuthorAdvance.

What She's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

Middle grade and young adult fiction; select children’s nonfiction and women’s fiction projects.

From Her Bio:

“Alyssa is currently seeking middle grade and young adult novels, as well as projects with crossover appeal in women’s fiction. She is especially drawn to mysteries in mansions, adventures that suspend disbelief, wish-fulfillment premises that linger with what ifs, epic love stories, and settings tilled with strong regional flavors.” (Link)

From an Interview (01/2011):

“I’m looking for middle grade novels with big, swashbuckling plots from mystery to adventure to wish-fulfillment premises. I have a particular penchant for classic middle grade books (especially illustrated ones) that in tone feel like they could have been written forty years ago (or forty years from now).

“I’m also keen on tween series in the vein of my first sale (Jessica Burkhart’s Canterwood Crest series) or the aforementioned MOTHER DAUGHTER BOOK CLUB.

“On the YA side, I’d love to find more epic romances, historical or otherwise, more snarky contemporary-set novels in the vein of EASY A, and a YA counterpart for Stieg Larson. We’ve all certainly seen many dystopian and paranormal projects, but I’m welcoming to those genres if the premise and the writing feel inventive, and/or dare I say, spiced with humor?” (Link)

From an Interview (03/2010):

“I am accepting new queries primarily for YA and MG novels. I am also looking to take on a very select number of new and returning author/illustrators with picture book dummies, as well as picture book manuscripts by previously published authors only. Above all, I’m most drawn to novel manuscripts with strong senses of place and regional flavors. I value strong writing, but my taste is not partial to the purely voice-driven story. I’m primarily looking for plot-driven and commercial books, be they YA romance, paranormal other than vampires, road trips, adventures, mysteries, or girl-oriented tween fiction that moms can appreciate, too.” (Link)

From AgentQuery:

“Alyssa's primary area of interest is middle grade and young adult fiction. On the middle grade side, she's actively looking for high-concept mystery and adventure. She'd love to find a spooky ghost storyeqsue project in the vein of The Book Of Elsewhere, and a tween girl commercial series in the vein of The Mother Daughter Book Club. On the YA side she'd love to find an epic love story for teens that has crossover appeal in the women's fiction market.”  (Link)

Quotables:

"My dream author is someone who has matchless ideas, an imaginative way with words, killer plotting/pacing skills, and a desire to market his or her work through innovative and often interactive online formats. The author I would not work well with is likely a legend in his or her own mind, who isn’t receptive to new ideas, even if his or her own ideas aren’t really working." (Link)

In a 2007 Q&A on teenlitauthors regarding contract termination with Trident Media:

"...we typically give clients the option to sign on with us for a pre-determined period of time based on the client's wishes, and if he or she is unhappy, then the client has the option NOT to renew 16 weeks before the term of agency agreement ends." (Link)

Her Advice For Writers:

"Pay particular attention to making your voice stand out and making your plot sizzle. Keep up to date on what the trends are—not to follow necessarily, but just to know what editors and agents might be looking for at any given time—it’s often changing." (Link)

"It's key to treat yourself like a published author before you're published." (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“Each case is different. But in general I do a good amount of editorial work. At a minimum, there’s usually at least one or two rounds of edits, where I focus particularly on pace and amping up the commercial factor of the book, since my job is to secure the best deal possible.” (Link)

Pet-Peeves:

“When someone sends a query to me…and everyone else in children’s publishing!” (Link)

“If I love the book or even just the sound of it, there are few pet peeves that can ruin anyone’s chances, and I have been known to break my own rules on occasion.” (Link)

Clients:

Anne Alstott, Lauren Barnholdt, Jessica Burkhart, Julie Berry, Jennifer Bryant, Melissa Darnell, Debra Diesen, Janet S. Fox, Sally Gardner, Lisa Greenwald, Wendy Anderson Halperin, Jen Haley, P.G. Kain, Caroline Kenney, Carolyn MacCullough, Sarah MacLean, R.J. Palacio, Kristina Purnhagen, Bobbie Pyron, Jennifer Roy, Jessica Schein, Christine Seifert, Susan Shaw, Shelli Johannes Wells, Ebony Wilkins.

Sales:

As of 04/2011, Ms. Henkin is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 13 deals in the last 12 months, 48 overall, and 5 six figure+ deals. Recent deals include 7 middle grade, 5 young adult, and 1 women’s fiction. 

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query including a plot synopsis, relevant background, and the first five pages in the body of the e-mail.  No attachments. (Link)

See the Trident Media website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines. 

Query Tips:

“In query letters I look for everything in the text body of the e-mail: a thorough and intriguing description of the book, five sample pages of the manuscript, and a brief paragraph summarizing the author’s prior track, or other relevant work experience.” (Link)

She's reportedly impressed with queries that mimic jacket flaps. (Link)

Response Times:

Ms. Henkin usually responds within two to three weeks; however, there are times it takes her up to two or three months and occasional instances of no-response.  Requested material ranges from a week to a few months. 

What's the Buzz?

There seems to be good buzz all around. Nothing but kind, praising words from queriers and clients alike. She attends conferences regularly and is building a fabulous list of clients.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Interview with An Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (01/2011)

Agent’s Notebook: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group at The Whole Megillah (11/2010).

Agent Perspectives: Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Class of 2K10 (03/2010).

Booklover of the Week Series Interview with Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Kay Cassidy's blog (09/2009).

Marvelous Marketer Interview with Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Market My Words (09/2009).

Interview with Alyssa Eisner Henkin at The Longstockings (05/2008).

Interview with Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Editors, Agents, and Blogs, Oh My! (02/2009).

Around the Web: 

Trident Media Group on P&E (highly recommended).

Trident Media Group thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Agent Appreciation Day posts by client Kristina McBride, client Lauren Barnholdt, and client Shelli Johaness Wells (12/2009).

How I Got My Agent: Shelli Johannes-Wells, client story at Guide to Literary Agents (10/2009).

Ms. Eisner Henkin answers a question at Gumbo Writers.

Succinct notes by the SCBWI Writers of Lower Fairfield on the NY 2009 SCBWI Winter Conference where Ms. Henkin and others talk about the economy.

2008 SCBWI conference notes regarding Ms. Henkin by Beth Revis at Writing it Out.

Contact:

Please see the Trident Media Group website or Ms. Henkin's AgentQuery page for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 4/21/11

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Last Reviewed By Agent?  4/18/11

***

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

Yup. It's that day again. The day I ask you to share goals, make them public, and answer to them the following week.

A roundup of last week:

PJ was working on revisions (but she's on vacation right now).
Stephanie set a daring goal of 12k.
Eric didn't make a specific goal but I'd like to think he's actively writing.
Tyler also didn't state a goal but I know he's working on a rewrite.
Nevets was getting behind. Hopefully he's back on track.
Heather was pretending to ignore me.
Sheri didn't state a goal but she chimed in on my writing question. How's the writing Sheri? Your meter says 90% done. Woo!
Rhonda also chimed in on last Wednesday's question.

If you want to review last week's thread, you can find it here.

As for me...

Prior Goal:
Finish draft by 05/15

Accomplished: Yes!

Goal for new week: Ehh... knock out some major revisions?

Excuses / comments: I'm on somewhat unfamiliar grounds all of a sudden. I don't have a process for revision and this novel needs a lot of it. Fortunately, Heather gave me a rundown on her process and it's a great one. I've decided to combine her advice with Holly Isle's One-Pass Revision technique whilst reviewing my three favorite writing books: The First Five Pages, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, and Plot & Structure.

So far there are things I love and hate about revising. I've noticed, in some cases, it's best to rewrite a scene from scratch on a new document. It helps to prevent me from clinging to sentences I've already written, and therefore gives me an increased chance at finding a better way to word something.

Wednesday Question: Do you have any tips or thoughts you want to share on revising and editing? Do you love it? Hate it? And of course, how are your goals coming along?

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Note: This is my second-ever review. Bear with me. I'm leaarning.

An Abundance of Katherines

***

Title: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

Reading Level: Young Adult

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

First sentence: The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath.

Self-professed “washed up" child prodigy Colin Singleton wants to matter. He wants to be the genius his father thought he could cultivate with hours of extensive study. More immediately, however, he wants his (ex) girlfriend Katherine XIX back – the nineteenth Katherine in a string of K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E-S (precisely) who have dumped him over the years from third grade to the night of his high school graduation.

Fortunately for Colin, he has one great friend, the humorous Hassan, who prescribes a road trip after finding post-dumped (x19) Colin wallowing in despair. They find a tourniquet for their road trip in a town called Gutshot Tennessee, home of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand's final resting place, and on initial exposure, no Katherines.

After being offered a job interviewing textile workers, Colin and Hassan settle in for a summer with highlights such as hog hunting, tampons, a family secret, the multi-faceted Lindsey, Monster Thickburgers, kissing, and yes, even another Katherine. But for Colin, the summer also includes his long-awaited eurika moment, and a mathematical theorem with the potential to predict the end result of any romantic relationship infallibly.

AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES is masterfully crafted with unforgettable characters, laugh-out-loud humor, historical facts, anagrams, theorems, brilliant math, and even footnotes, clearly living up to the John Green standard of original, mind-prickling books with smart, lovable characters.

***

And look, whilst practicing my revision-procrastination techniques, I made a personal seal of recommendation. It reads, "excellence in young adult literature - official seal of recommendation." Yeah! Uhm anywaySeal of Recommendation, AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES will be the first to get my seal, for whatever nerdiness it's worth.

Query Tracker Turns Two - Contests!


Query Tracker
is having a two-year anniversary celebration. There will be contests! There will be prizes! There will be wieners, I mean winners! Annnnnd... the grand prize is a free web site by Purple Squirrel Web Design. You're paying attention now, aren't you?

See THIS HERE POST over at Mindless Musings for details on getting entered (you'll need to leave a comment or e-mail Elana, so take note), as well as the carnival page on Query Tracker for continued details as the celebration commences.

You've got to have a post up (like this one) by May 23rd for an extra entry - good luck!

2009 NY Coalition Write-a-Thon!

Happy Write Your A** Off Day! 

The 4th annual Write-A-Thon put on by the NY Writer's Coalition is going down today.  So what if you're not there? You can still channel the fun and use it as an excuse to write you a** off, can't you?

writeathonlogo2009-rgb-300x300

Have a great day!  

Lemonade and Loveliness

Nearly a month ago, Emily Cross (The Chronicles of Emily Cross) awarded me the Lemonade Stand Award (for great gratitude and/or attitude) and more recently Shelli (Market My Words) bestowed upon me the One Lovely Blog award (for loveliness, I'm assuming).  I figured I should get in gear and share the love.  Thank you, Emily & Shelli!

 The Lemonade Stand Rules:Lemonadeaward

1) Post the award on your blog with the name of the person who gave it to you and link them.

2) Nominate ten other blogs and link to them .

3) Let your nominees know that they've received the award.

 The Lovely RulesOne_Lovely_Blog_Award:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 5 or more other bloggers that you've newly discovered.

3) Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

First off, am I missing some kind of symbology with the lemonade stand?  Second, since the idea is essentially the same, I'm going to combine the awards into one post and grant them to the same peeps.  I particularly like that the Lovely Award calls for newly discovered bloggers so that's going to be my focus.  You can take both awards away with you, just one, or...none.  Honestly, I'm hoping the guys will take the Lovely Award so I can see lovely pink frilliness on their blogs. *Grin*  But, as always, if you don't do these sorts of things, you can just smile and nod and love me for the plug.   

My Lemonade Lovelies (in no particular order):

1) Beth Revis - writing it out.

2) Sarah Garrigues - Sarah Garrigues

3) Crystal Roget - Crystal's Bookmark.

4) Elana Johnson - Mindless Musings.

5) Lynnette Labelle - Chatterbox Chit Chat

6) Tyler McBroom - The Singer (Tyler McBroom).

7) C.N. Nevets - Nevets.QST.

8) Ron Smith - Prince Balthazar.

9) B. Nagel - B. Nagel Books.

10) Deb Markanton - Diving Into A Writer's Life.

A few of these bloggers are somewhat new to the blogosphere and could use some welcoming, others are just new to me and super cool.  Check em' out!

Agent Spotlight: Jill Grinberg

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jill Grinberg of Jill Grinberg Literary Management, LLC.

Status: Open to submissions.

Jill; photo by Ali SmithAbout: Jill Grinberg was previously a partner of Anderson Grinberg Literary Management with Kathleen Anderson before establishing Jill Grinberg Literary Management in 2007. As well as running her own agency, Ms. Grinberg subagents for Curtis Brown Australia, David Higham Associate, Curtis Brown Ltd., Margaret Conolloy and Associates, Australian Literary Management, and Robinson Literary Agency. She has over ten years of experience as an agent, attended Tufts University, and lives in New York.

Web Presence:

Jill Grinberg Literary website.

Publisher's Marketplace page.

Twitter @JillGrinbergLit.

AAR Profile.

AgentQuery.

QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

Fiction: General fiction, Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Juvenile Fiction,

Non-Fiction: Biography, History, Mind/Body/Spirit, Travel, Lifestyle, Cookbooks
Children's, African-American, Science (Link).

What She Isn’t Looking For:

Screenplays, poetry.

Editorial Agent?

Yes. See this post at The Chinook Update.

Clients:

Alexandra Adornetto, Alma Alexander, Susanne Antonetta, Julie Chibbaro, Catherine Clark, Audrey Couloumbis, Sara Donati, Henry Gee, Alison Goodman, Andy Griffiths, Christopher Healy, Kevin Hearne, Jennifer Holm, Matthew Holm, Margo Lanagan, Justine Larbalestier, Rosina Lippi, Melina Machetta, John Marciano, John Marsden, Lauren McLaughlin, Marissa Meyer, Nicholas Montemarano, Jacklyn Moriarty, Cartherine Gilbert Murdock, Garth Nix, T.J. Stiles, Lian Tanner, Scott Westerfeld, Colin Woodard, among others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (preferred).

Snail-Mail: Yes.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

“Please send your query letter to info(at)jillgrinbergliterary(dot)com and attach the first 50 pages (fiction) or proposal (non-fiction) as a .doc file. All submissions will be read, but electronic mail is preferred.” (Link)

See the Gringberg Literary website or Publisher's Marketplace page for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Response Times:

Stats on the web show Ms. Grinberg responding to most queries and requested materials within 1-6 weeks.

What's the Buzz?

Ms. Gringberg is a long-established agent with an impressive clientele and track record.  Her clients seem quite happy under her representation and are quick to praise her. She’s noted to have a nice rejection letter and continues to respond to most submissions. 

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

None that I could find online.

Around the Web:

Jill Grinberg Literary Management, LLC thread at AbsoluteWrite.

Jill Gringerg at P&E ($).

Jill Grinberg and the Art of the Query at The Chinook Update (10/2013).

Jill Grinberg on Her Editorial Process at The Chooknook Update (10/2013).

Jill Grinberg Literary Management Rights Guides at Graal (2011 to Current).

Justine Larbalestier announces Jill Grinberg as her new agent and meets her perfect agent requirements (2005). Ms. Larbalestier also praises Ms. Grinberg in this post (2009).

Contact:

Please see the Grinberg Literary Management website or Ms. Grinberg's Publisher's Marketplace page for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 1/24/14.

Last Reviewed By Agent: 2/2/2011

***

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/teen fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying. The information found herein is subject to change.

Wednesday's Word Count

Um. Where did this last week go? I think I'm being plagued by time snatchers. But, anyway...

Prior Goal: 6,000 words.

Achieved: 3,248.

Goal for new week: Finish draft by 05/15.

Excuses / comments: I have not finished yet. I know! I'm so close. And I am. I have one scene left to write before I'll consider this draft done. The problem is... it's a scene I've been putting off for several weeks and I STILL don't how to write it. It seems insane because I have all the ground work for it laid down. I'm just missing a key detail that the scene hinges on. But, Friday is THE DEADLINE (I see you stressing, Heather) so I'm going to just hunker down and do it. I'm going to write it however it comes out and worry about nailing it down later.

Which brings me to a Wednesday question. Do you write from beginning to end or out of order? I normally write linear but I've had to jump all over the place for this WIP to keep my sanity.

Have as great a Wednesday as you can!

Researching Literary Agents Part II

In Part I we covered the best sources for finding literary agents.  We learned to weed out those agents who are closed to submissions and/or don't represent our genre.  And we've got a list of prospective agents ready or in the works. In Part II we'll be covering how to assess an agent or agency's legitimacy.

Your main interests are:  Making sure an agent/agency is legitimate, has a respectable name in publishing, and has verified sales.  I'd recommend checking at least three of the following before contacting an agent.  I'd also recommend keeping notes of interest on each agent as you research to help you prioritize later.

Check with the Association of Author's Representatives:

You don't necessarily have to do this first.  I've noticed that more and more agents are choosing not to be members (for a variety of reasons), and a lot of new but perfectly respectable agents just haven't met the criteria to join yet.  Don't be alarmed if some of the agents on your list are not members.  Just put a mark next to their name and carry on. 

However, it is a good starting point.  You might first consider familiarizing yourself with the AAR by reading the following:  About the AAR, Canon of Ethics, and Membership Criteria.  While word of mouth is an excellent vessel for information and opinion, you should make a habit of verifying the legitimacy of something by learning about it and coming to your own conclusions.  Now, use the search function and see which agents on your list are members.  If they are, mark that down somehow, perhaps by writing "AAR" next to their name. Make note of any specific information you can gleam from their profile.  If they aren't a member, mark that in another way.

You've just taken your agents through their first checkpoint.  But don't stop here.  I mentioned that market guides can have errors and scams.  Well, the AAR can have bad apples, too. 

Look to your friendly watch-dogs right here on the net:

Predators and Editors is a great place to go next.  P&E offers quick, reliable information for a second checkpoint.  Once again, I'd recommend familiarizing yourself with the site by reading their Rating Criteria.  You'll need this information to fully understand how the agents are being rated. 

Once you're ready to proceed, find your listed agents by first name in the directory.  If the agent is not recommended for any reason, I would personally scratch them off the list.  However, if you're iffy about the reasoning, you can always continue to research the agent.  Please note, however, that legitimate agents should never charge fees.  If any of your agents are noted to charge fees I'd highly recommend that you do not proceed.  While you're there, you'll be looking for agent rating, notes on the agent, if they have verified sales, etc. Make notes on your list as you see fit and carry on. 

You can also check with Writer Beware.  There is an invaluable amount of information available on the Writer Beware web site (including information on agent research) and Writer Beware will keep you up-to-date on schemes, frauds, unreliable agents, and information on how to protect yourself from the aforementioned.  You can familiarize yourself with there mission statement by reading About Writer Beware.  If your research reveals little about an agent and you're still unsure, you can e-mail Victoria Strauss (awesome WB staff member) and she'll check the archives for you.  Or you can use this (free) Agent Verification Service

Check out trusted industry resources:

Publisher's Marketplace is a great place to go for information.  If you're a member, you can see agent and agency profiles (editors, publishers, and authors, too), look up previous sales, clients, and publishing history, etc.  If you're not a member, it's still worth your time to check out.  Some agents and agencies have public pages and keep their recent sales and clients updated, and you can also sign up for Publisher's Lunch, a free newsletter that is e-mailed daily.  Also, consider signing up for at least a month or two of paid membership while you're doing your research.  Payment is month-to-month and you can cancel your subscription at any time. 

Another great site to check out is Agent Query, which is generally viewed as one of the best and most reliable resources for writers on the net.  Recommended by both Writer Beware and Writer's Digest.  They have a searchable database that offers generally up-to-date agent profiles.  They also have interviews, live-chat transcripts, message boards, networking opportunities, etc.  It's also free.

Google is your friend:

Google offers a variety of useful resources.  You can start by going to Google Groups and doing a quick search on your agents.  Sometimes you can find some great, pertinent information through questions and discussions about agents that have been posted.  After you've done that, you might choose to do a Google Book Search.  If you type an agent's name into the search box with quotations, you can often find snippets of acknowledgements where an author's agent has been mentioned.  This is a good way to 1) Check an agent's legitimacy. 2) See who an agent's clients are if you're unsure. 3) See how authors are describing their agents in the acknowledgements. 4) Check past sales.  This also works (sometimes) with Amazon's "Look Inside" feature. Beyond this you have your regular ol' Google search, which is equally if not more helpful.  I usually search for an agent by name-only and then also with the word "agent" or "literary agent" with it.  As a general rule, I look through 6+ pages, usually close to 10.  This might seem like a bit much, but I've found some hidden treasures farther into the pages than one might generally look. 

Check the buzz:

I'd highly recommend checking one or more message boards to see what people are saying about the agents you're interested in.  You may have already done this during your Google search as the boards will often come up.  If not, the Absolute Write Water Cooler has a Bewares and Background Check forum including a great index that you can check.  The Verla Kay Children's Writers and Illustrators Message Board also has certain boards where you can read about agents and their response times.  Another tip:  If you sign up for Query Tracker (it's free) you can read comments people have left after querying an agent.  This can help you get a sense of how an agent responds to their queries, the taste they leave in writers' mouths, and what you might expect when you send out your own query.  Keep in mind, however, how subjective this area of research can be.

You can do even more:

If you have any friends or acquaintances that are agented (online or in a critique group, perhaps), you can always ask them who their agent is, how they like their agent, and how the agent works.  You can also ask if they have any knowledge of the agents on your list or if they've had any experience with them, i.e. if they've queried them or met them at conferences, etc.  I would not recommend trying to get an "in" with anyone's agent unless they offer.  You're only heading in to awkward territory (for many reasons) if you do.

Go to conferences.  A great way of expanding your list and meeting legitimate agents is to go to conferences and network if it's within your means.  I'd recommend, however, that you get a good feel for how the conference is run and make sure you know how to handle yourself.  If you actually meet with any agents and cannot handle yourself professionally and competently, you might lessen your chance with an agent rather than increase it.

Keep an eye out for publishing news and interviews.  Publisher's Marketplace and The Guide to Literary Agents blog are great for this.  New agents and agencies are generally more open to expanding their lists than the veterans, and they spring up all the time.  So, if a new agent/agency has a decent publishing history (or has worked with a respectable house) and you've made sure they are not a scam, they would be excellent to target if they meet your criteria.

Final tips:

  • Resist agencies that advertise.  Respectable agencies usually don't need to.
  • Never trust one source of information.
  • If you're unsure about an agent, it's better to pass over them or continue researching.
  • Learn how the publishing industry works before querying.
  • Educate yourself about scams and warnings signs.
  • Try to get an idea of each agent's reputation - a legitimate agent is not necessarily a good agent.
  • Care about yourself and writing enough to find a good match.  

Hopefully everyone on your list so far has shaped up to be a good and legitimate match.  If you didn't do this before you began your research, you might begin to consider the things that are important to you in an agent, i.e. years of experience, track record, reputation, personality, if they are editorial, etc.  Using the Google and message board methods mentioned above, you can do even more research to try to answer your interest-specific questions.  Once you've found out everything you can, which is sometimes limited, I know, begin to prioritize your list.

In Part III we'll take a look at agent specifics, submission guidelines, and personalizing queries.  If there is anything else you'd like me to cover, let me know in the comments!  Also, I'm probably forgetting plenty here.  If you have some other nuggets of advice, please speak up!

Researching Literary Agents Part I

So you've decided that you need a literary agent. 

"But, but, but how do I find out who's who and what they represent?"

Note:  I'm assuming you are prepared with the following or are going to be before you query: A completed manuscript (or non-fiction proposal and sample chapters, etc.), a synopsis, and a query, all of which should be edited and polished.  You might also want to have a pitch/log line, cover letter, and author bio prepared.

1) Consider market guide books first.

We all love how handy and convenient the Internet is, but it's not always a reliable source of information.  Market guide books tend to be a much safer bet as the editors work hard to weed out bad agents, but be aware that they too can have errors and scams despite the efforts of their editors.  A quick Amazon search reveals a healthy list of guides including 2009 Writer's Market by Robert Brewer, 2009 Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market by Alice Pope, 2009 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino, Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2009 by Jeff Herman, etc. All very reliable and highly recommended market guides. 

Tips:

  • Check with your local library - they may have what you're looking for.
  • Don't use an outdated guide if possible.
  • Use a well-known guide if possible.
  • Make sure you obtain a guide that covers your market. 
  • Get a hold of more than one market guide if you can. 

 2) Books like yours and books you like.

If you know of any books like yours, try to find out who agents them.  Check the acknowledgments in the book, the author's web site, search Publisher's Marketplace online, and/or do a Google search.  This information is usually not hard to come by if the book has been published in recent years.  It also doesn't hurt to see who agents your favorite authors and/or books either - they may represent your genre. 

 2) The Internet (use with an intelligent brain for best results).

There are a lot of resources on the Internet for writers seeking representation.  A whole heck of a lot.  And not all of it is reliable, maybe not even a lot of it.  This is why you must tread carefully and never trust a single source of information.  Thorough research is the name of the game. 

That said, Query Tracker, Agent Query, and Lit Match are online agent databases.  You can also search the Association of Authors' Representatives, Inc. (the members of which are almost always legit - more on that later.).

"OK," you say. "What now?!?"

With your guide(s) and/or database at hand, compile a list of agents who are open to submissions and represent your genre.  It is a complete waste of your time and the agent's time if you query someone who is closed to submissions, doesn't accept unsolicited manuscripts, or doesn't represent your genre.  If you don't know what your genre is, take a step back.  You need to figure that out before you begin querying. 

Now you know how to find literary agents and their contact information and you've compiled a list of prospectives.  Woo!  Good work.  But you're not ready to query yet.  There is more research to be done.  Yes, more.  We're doin' this right.

Stay tuned for part II.

Posting Writing Online - Safe?

In case you missed it.

Moonrat has an answer to the rather popular, elusive question: What's safe to syndicate online?

On Researching and Dealing with Agents

A few days ago I received a query. This morning I had a tweet from someone wanting Jodi Reamer's e-mail and/or web site address. As someone trying to promote agent research, I find these incidences somewhat alarming. Let's have a closer look shall we?

The e-mail:

My first and foremost concern is that this person has an obvious disregard or ignorance of the following: publishing history, previous sales, scams. If said person had done any research, they would have realized I am NOT a literary agent. However, let's say there was a misunderstanding since I do happen to have an e-mail address with the word "agent" in it and do the Agent Spotlights. Even if someone had mistook me for an agent, a quick Google search would have revealed the following: no web site, no Publisher's Marketplace page, not on Preditors and Editors, AAR, or any query-tracking web site, and most importantly, I have ZERO sales to my name. Red flags, people. Huge red flags.

Beyond this, I must assume the author is also disregarding submission requirements. If the writer was following submission requirements, it seems likely he/she would have noticed I have none and am not an agent. On top of this, the query was addressed to "Dear Sir." I may have a gender-neutral name, but again, research would have revealed my name and, I'd like to think, my gender. But don't worry, I did not take offense because we have already deduced there was zero research involved. Tip: You can find an agent's gender on LitMatch.

The tweet:

My first thought was as follows: Google!? My second thought: Maybe this is someone I know and they want some quick information. Though, even that would have been alarming. Shall I repeat myself here? Research the agents you want to query, please! But, on realizing I did not know this person, I clicked over to their profile. What did I find? They are tweeting everyone under the sun (including John Green and Stephanie Meyers) trying to get Jodi Reamer's e-mail address. We must note, if the writer does not even know what web site Jodi Reamer can be found at, we can assume he/she a) does not know Jodi Reamer is with Writer's House, and b) he/she is planning on firing off a cold query with complete disregard to Ms. Reamers submission requirements. Alas, there is more. The writer was tweeting agents asking, "are you an agent?" and tweeting "e-mail me at X if you're interested in X kind of manuscript." Shall I continue? The writer also spelled query wrong in all of his/her tweets and was promoting their novel as "epic" and "fabulous." Can we get a tally on the mistakes here? Anyone?

Honestly, I'm not writing this to poke fun at either person. I would love to see them succeed. However, I am concerned, and I'm feeling an increasing amount of pity for literary agents. I took the time to e-mail both of these writers to suggest they use Querytracker.net, at least, and gave the tweeter a rundown on what he/she was doing that was unprofessional.

Where do we go from here? Look forward to a series of posts on researching and dealing with agents. I know most of my readers know what's what, but maybe we can field a few of these unknowing aspirees and help them. Feel free to put your 2 cents in on the upcoming posts.

Agent Spotlight: Regina Brooks

This week's Agent Spotlight features Regina Brooks of Serendipity LLC Literary Agency.

brooks_picture About: “Ms. Regina Brooks is the founder and President of Serendipity Literary Agency LLC. Equally at home in the technical world of engineering as in the literary world of writing and editing, Ms. Brooks has over a decade of experience in senior positions at major publishing houses including John Wiley & Sons Inc. and the McGraw-Hill Companies. She is a graduate of the Howard University Publishing Institute in Washington DC. Prior to her publishing career she worked as an aerospace engineer for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, and made history as the first African American woman to receive a Bachelors of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Ohio State University. She is also a graduate of The School of the Arts High School in Rochester, NY. 

“Brooks is the Executive Director of the Y. B. Literary Foundation, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote the reading of literature as a meaningful, lifelong activity and transformative experience for youth. She serves on the board of the Soul Mountain Literary Retreat, and the Association of Freelancers in Publishing. In 2004, she was a finalist for the Stevie Award for Women Entrepreneurs and was honored as the NY Urban Leagues Rising Star. She is listed in International Who’s Who under the categories of Engineering, Technology, Entrepreneurs, and Professional Management. Ms. Brooks is a member of the Association of Author Representatives AAR, has edited over 50 published books, and is the author of the Essence Magazine 2004 Quick Pick children’s book Never Finished! Never Done!, published by Scholastic Inc.” (Link)

Status: Accepting submissions.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties: General fiction, Literary Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Juvenile fiction, Young Adult, Multi-Cultural, Adventure, Gay & Lesbian, Graphic Novels, Biography, Business/investing/finance, History, Religious, Mind/body/spirit, Health, Travel, Lifestyle, Cookbooks, Children's books, Sports, African-American, Science. (Link, Link, Link)

“While we have a broad range of interest at Serendipity […] We are especially eager for non-fiction, African-American fiction, Latino fiction and non-fiction, young adult fiction, women’s fiction and non-fiction, and prescriptive non-fiction.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

“We are no longer accepting children's picture books, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, and submissions from authors who are currently incarcerated.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“Serendipity Literary Agency LLC. is a boutique literary agency representing a select list of authors and illustrators. Founded in 2000, Serendipity has established a diverse base of award-winning clients in adult and young adult fiction, non-fiction, and children's literature.

“We work tirelessly to help our clients build successful careers. Our mission is the cultivation of lasting relationships with new and established authors and illustrators. Serendipity seeks quality queries, manuscripts, and proposals.” (Link)

Her Advice to Writers:

“There are a lot of good manuscripts out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer or a National Book Award winner, the competition is fierce. Know the rules, expect some rejection, and put your best face forward.” (Link)

"To be a writer, you have to have a lot of courage. You have to push the envelope. The more you do that, the better you writing is. I go by that advice, too, because I’m going onto ground here that not a lot of people tread. I mean, there are not a lot of African American agents out there." (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“We see the writing and publishing process as a collaborative experience. You can expect guidance with content development, proposal development and certainly some editorial review. We are available to you throughout the entire writing process.” (Link)

"I like to develop writers. When I first started my agency, I was into that a lot: helping writers find their voice. I really got my hands dirty with manuscripts. But now, I’m finding I’m less able to do that. But I like to keep a balanced portfolio—of writers who are ready to go and seasoned writers, as well as people who need some development. I just love taking the seed of an idea and helping bring it to fruition." (Link)

Web Presence:

Serendipity Lit website.

Publisher's Marketplace.

Huffington Post blog.

AAR.

Twitter.

Facebook.

WeBook.

QueryTracker, AgentQuery.

Clients:

A list of Serendipity Lit clients is available on the website

Clients include: Aaron W. Smith, Afya Ibumo, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Ana Maria Rodriguez, Annika deGroot, Ann Gonzalez, Anne Boles Levy, Annette V. Leach, Bethany Hegedus, Beth Dove, Bil Wright, Brenda Richardson, Carol Peacock, Cecil Cross, Cindy NG, Christelyn Denise Karazin, Daniel Pearlman, Deborah Owens, Denise J. Hart, Derrick Barnes, Ellen Libby, Elizabeth Harper, Greg Carr, Hazel Dixon-Cooper, Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, John Weber, Dr. Jill Grimes, Kara Thomas, Karen Lascaris, Kevin Carr, Kit Herring, Lawrence Jackson, Lea M. Hill, Lynda Durrant, Dr. Lynn Webster, Marilyn Nelson, Marjorie Greenfield, Marva Allen, Matthew Dickerson, Michael Banov, Michelle Gourdine, Michelle James, Nando "Nandoism" Rodriguez, Nina Jablonski, Patrick Gabridge, Philana Patterson, R. Moreen Clarke, Dr. Raymond Mis, Rea Frey, Rebecca Boxer, , Sharon Murphy, Stephany Alexander, Steve Lesser, Sue Grant, Sundee Frazier, Tara Dowell, Teneisha Jackson, Thembisa Mshaka, Threshold Entertainment, Tonya Hegamin, Tracey Moore, William Francis, among others.

Sales:

As of 1/11, Ms. Brooks is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 3 deals in the last 12 months, 1 six figure+ deal, and 35 overall. Recent details include 3 middle grade and 1 young adult.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: Yes. 

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Fiction: Send a query, synopsis, and the first three chapters.

Non-fiction: Send a query, proposal, and sample chapters. The agency has very specific guidelines here.

Illustrators / Photographers: See the website guidelines here / here.

For complete, up-to-date submission guidelines, see the Serendipity Lit website.

Query Tips:

Ms. Brooks has a manuscript preference of 12 point Times New Roman. (Link)

Read the FAQs and submission guidelines for your project on the website before querying.

Response Times:

The agency has a stated response time of 4-6 weeks on queries.  If you haven’t heard back in that time, resend the e-mail with your original query. (Link)  Stats on the web suggest Ms. Brooks usually responds within a month or two, but there are much longer instances and instances of no-response as well. 

What's the Buzz?

Regina Brooks is a successful, well-respected agent with many years dedicated to the publishing industry.  She is a member of the AAR and has an established list of clients and sales.  She is a popular conference goer and has a particular interest in YA at the moment.  Follow her on Twitter and Facebook for news and happenings and an inside look at Serendipity Lit.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Literary Agent Regina Brooks on the Changing Publishing Industry, video interview with The Atlanta Post (12/2010),

Ann Beman talks with Regina Brooks (on non-fiction) at the Whidbey MFA community site. This has some great info on Ms. Brooks. For example, she loves astrology and psychic phenomena-type books, space travel, and tarot cards.

Agent Advice Interview with Regina Brooks at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (11/2007).

Around the Web:

See the calendar on the Serendipity Lit website for conferences Ms. Brooks is attending. See the FAQ page for more information about the agency and the publishing process.

See Ms. Brooks’s Publisher’s Marketplace page for recent sales and forthcoming titles.

Serendipity Lit on P&ERegina Brooks on P&E ($, AAR).

Serendipity Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.

The Publishing Process at a Glance, guest post by Regina Brooks at The Guide to Literary Agents blog (11/2010).

Revisions from Both Sides of the Desk: A Live Workshop with Lit Agent/Author Regina Brooks at WriteOnCon (08/2010).

Play By The Rules, guest post by Regina Brooks at Hunger Mountain (04/2010).

Is Your Book at Risk? A blog post at Lisa Tener's Writing Blog where she shares a conversation she had with Ms. Brooks about the market (04/2009).

If you have an AvantGuild membership with MediaBistro, check out "Pitching An Agent: From Rocket Scientist to Young Adult Lit Maven." (01/2009).

Ms. Brooks’s books on Amazon.

Contact:

Please see the Serendipity LLC website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 1/27/2011

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes – 1/27/2011

Reviewed By Agent?  No response as of yet.

Comments: N/A

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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.