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Agent Spotlight: Barry Goldblatt

This week's Agent Spotlight features Barry Goldblatt of Barry Goldblatt Literary.

Status: Open to submissions.

barry_portraitAbout: “Barry Goldblatt opened his own agency, Barry Goldblatt Literary, over ten years ago, and has been gleefully signing wonderful authors ever since. He used his experience working in rights and contracts departments at Penguin, Putnam, and Orchard as a springboard, and set out to find writers whose work made him laugh, cry, scream and jump up and down. His clients include award-winners and bestsellers Holly Black, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, and Lauren Myracle.” (Link)

For a complete bio and publishing history, see Mr. Goldblatt’s page on the BG Literary website

About the Agency:

Barry Goldblatt Literary was founded September 2000. The agency specializes in children's and young adult fiction as well as graphic novels and adult genre fiction.

Web Presence:

Barry Goldblatt Literary website.

Publisher’s Marketplace page.  

Twitter.

Facebook.

AAR profile.

QueryTracker, AgentQuery.

Goldblatt Literary Blog (inactive).

What He's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

Barry Goldblatt represents children's projects exclusively including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult. He likes quirky, edgy, and offbeat works and welcomes "older YA" as well as genre fiction including fantasy and science fiction. (Link, Link)

From an WD Article (03/2008):

"I need to find myself laughing hysterically or weeping my eyes out, or I need to be marveling at the intricate details of a plot or fascinated by an extraordinary voice."  (Link)

From an Interview (07/2006):

"I'd love to see more American fantasy writers get published, and more different kinds of fantasy: Eastern and/or Indian themed fantasy (heck, any cultural fantasy that offers more than traditional Western settings and archetypes). I'd be thrilled to see science fiction make a comeback, at all age levels. I'd also like to see more recent historical fiction, set in the 60s, 70s and even 80s." (Link)

What He Isn't Looking For:

Adult projects, screenplays, educational or institutional non-fiction.

Editorial Agent?

"I definitely have an editorial role with my clients, as well as the more typical agent one. It’s not so much that I edit—certainly not in the way a real editor will—but I definitely will talk with a client about a manuscript, about what works for me and what doesn’t, and I’ll often send them back for a revision before submitting to editors. [...]I want to be able to send out a manuscript that simply can't be refused, so I want it as polished as possible before I let anyone see it." (Link)

Quotables:

"The first thing I do after I read something I love is call the author. I've spent two or three hours with writers discussing their work, their goals, their favorite movies. I'm looking for a connection, a meeting of like minds, someone I can comfortably and without hesitation support and cheer on for twenty years or more. If I find that, I'll offer representation. If I don't feel that connection, odds are we're not going to be a good fit." (Link)

"I don’t like to blow smoke. I think one of the reasons I’ve been successful is when I call up an editor about a book I’m representing, they know I love it. I’m not sitting here creating a lot of hype over something that’s sub-par. I’m creating a lot of hype about something that I love. They may not agree, but they know that at least if I’m sending it to them that I’m passionately 120 percent behind it. I don’t think authors should expect anything less from their agent." (Link)

Regarding the retreat Mr. Goldblatt hosts for his clients each year:

"My retreat is probably the one thing I've gotten the most notice for, because it's unique and (in the minds of some agents) completely insane. But I feel that by bringing my clients together, building a community that's equally creative, supportive and just a whole heck of a lot of fun, that I've enhanced what I have to offer as an agent...not to mention, gotten some terrific book deals out of it, deals that almost certainly wouldn't have happened without the retreat." (Link, seems to be down)

Pet-Peeves:

“For me it's simply sending me things I don't represent. It drives me crazy.” (Link)

Clients:

A full list of BG Literary clients is available on the website

Mr. Goldblatt's clients include:

Holly Black, Libba Bray, Stephanie Burgis, Toni Buzzeo, Cecil Castellucci, Cassandra Clare, Michelle Hodkin, Angela Johnson, Jo Knowles, Lauren Myracle, Robin Wasserman, among many others.

Sales:

As of 2/12, Mr. Goldblatt is still listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 7 deals in the last 12 months, 8 six-figure+ deals, and 70 overall.  Recent deals include 4 middle grade, 3 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, synopsis, and the first five pages of your manuscript in the body of an e-mail with the word “Query” in the subject line.  Query only one agent at the agency; querying one is querying all. 

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

Query Tips: 

“I don't know that there really is such a thing as an ideal query letter for me. A query letter has one purpose and one purpose only: does it make me want to read the manuscript? Anything else is just decoration. It needs to be concise and present the plot of the novel quickly and clearly, without a lot of flowery language and overly detailed plot description. It's a quick introduction, nothing more.” (Link)

Response Times:

The agency’s stated response time is 2-3 weeks on queries and 3-4 months on requested material (Link). Stats on the web show Mr. Goldblatt responding to queries and submissions within these timeframes, often much sooner.

What's the Buzz?

For nearly twenty years, Barry Goldblatt worked in subsidiary rights for various children's publishers including Dutton Children's Books and Dial Books for Young Readers, The Putnam & Grosset Group, and Orchard Books. When Goldblatt heard Scholastic was buying Orchard in 2000, he decided it was finally time to form his own agency and founded Barry Goldblatt Literary.

Since then, Goldblatt has become a very successful, well-respected literary agent with some of the best children’s and young adult authors in his clientele.  He boasts a 98% sell-through rate and his clients absolutely adore him.  He’s married to the ever-fabulous Libba Bray. If you have a chance to hear these two speak at a conference, do yourself a favor and go.

Follow him on Twitter @barrygoldblatt for daily updates.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-Conference Interview: Barry Goldblatt (07/2011).

INTERVIEW: Barry Goldblatt - Founder of Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency at A View from the Top (05/2010).

Interview with Agent Barry Goldblatt by Todd Tuell (Date Unknown. Pre-2010).

Interview with Agent Barry Goldblatt on the Classof2k7 blog (07/2007).

SCBWI Bologna 2006 Agent Interview: Barry Goldblatt at Cynsations (03/2006).

Around the Web:

Barry Goldblatt Literary thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Barry Goldblatt Literary on P&E ($, AAR).

Mr. Goldblatt maintained a BG Lit blog from 2004-2009. While it’s inactive now, there are some still valid, informative posts that may be worth your time.

Agent Panel: Barry Goldblatt at the SCBWI Conference Blog (01/2012).

Video of Barry Goldblatt speaking at the 34th annual Mary Calletto Rife Youth Literature Seminar on YouTube. (11/2011).

The Wisdom of Agents – Panel Discussion, SCBWI-LA 2011 conference notes including Barry Goldblatt at Karen Sandler’s blog (08/2011).

Agent Friday: Barry Goldblatt at Writing While the Rice Boils (12/2010).

Post by Cheryl Reif on Barry Goldblatt's fair but blunt critique style (10/2008).

Children’s Literary Agent Barry Goldblatt Knows What He Likes In The Ever-Changing and Expanding Children’s Market at Writer’s Digest (03/2008).

Recap of some "query lesson" tweets by Mr. Goldblatt at Chinook Update (07/2009).

Contact:

Please see the Barry Goldblatt Literary website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 2/14/12.

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Last Reviewed By Agent? N/A.

***

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.

Wednesday Nada

No word count today. I haven't been writing (sigh) but I am trying to gear up for NaNoWriMo. Things aren't looking particularly good though... I'm still not fired up about any of my ideas, there's a cold making the rounds in my house, I haven't slept much in the last three nights (Dresden's been miserable, keeping me up), and there are a lot of other little things going on.

But, I'm trying to remain optimistic. I just read through my NaNo 2008 posts and I'm feeling quite a bit more excited now. I hung in there even when it got tough and managed to stay positive. I've just got to do that again.

IcanIcanIcan.

The word meter (right sidebar) and the icon are both from Language is a Virus. Last year, I found it much easier to update that meter than the official NaNo one (especially in the beginning when the site was running slow), so I'm defaulting to that one again. You might consider grabbing your own, and some of the cute icons, too!

Do you have a word count update you want to post? If you're participating in NaNo, are your ready? Don't let me be a downer, guys, please share your progress and goals with me. It's always inspiring! And yes, I promise there'll be a real Wednesday update next week with word stats -- NaNo style!

Writing / Research Tip Tuesday

Today's tip comes to you from Samantha Clark who has a fabulous writing blog where she talks about her works-in-progress, the craft, and posts great author interviews. Please, stop by visit her!

"I've found that movie credits are one of the best places to find odd and interesting names for characters. When watching a movie, I'll try to note down any that stick out as great character names. When I need a name, sometimes I'll browse through the cast and crew lists of movies on IMDb.com, and not just the actors' names, the behind the camera crew too. For example, Rhett Reese is a writer on Zombieland. Rachel Kick is a makeup artist. Toby Sells is a special makeup artist. Heather Wusterbarth is a second assistant director. Cat Rowe is a digital colorist artist. These are all from the same movie, and all interesting names -- true last names -- that I might not have thought of or found in a phone book."

Thanks Sam! I just love this tip. I always catch some great and unusual names in movie credits as they scroll by!

Interview with Author PJ Hoover

It always makes for a great Monday when I have an interview to share and today I have a great one with PJ Hoover, author of The Forgotten Worlds Trilogy. Check it out!

Hi PJ! I’m so excited to have you for an interview. Could you start us off by telling us a little about yourself?

Hi Casey! Thank you for having me. It's a huge honor to be on your blog! About me? I grew up as the girl who was good at math and science. I loved Computers, Calculus, and Archaeology. Archaeology? Yes, see, I always had this love of the unexplained, and though I got my degree in Electrical Engineering, I kept that love with me. So after designing computer chips for 15 years and having two kids, I decided to combine a love of the unknown and my enjoyment of reading, and write fantasy books of my own. The fun part is sneaking math and science into my fantasy books in fun, creative ways.

Your first novel, THE EMERALD TABLET, debuted in the fall of 2008, and the second book in the trilogy, THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, just released this month. Please, tell us about them!

THE EMERALD TABLET is the story of a kid who finds out not only does he have to go to summer school on a hidden continent under the Pacific Ocean, he's not even human. And to complicate matters, he's not even there a day when he and his friends are tasked with saving the world. Remember when summer was just for relaxing. The fun thing about THE EMERALD TABLET is that being of another species, the main characters can do cool things like telepathy and telekinesis.

As for THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, it picks up where THE EMERALD TABLET leaves off. I always like to say the most fun thing about NAVEL is two words. Time. Travel. I love time travel stories and had a blast writing my own!

Now, how about in haiku?

How fun! Here goes:

Telekinesis
What kid wouldn't like this skill?
Practical jokes thrive.

Brother can't be found
Time Traveling Telegens
Trouble will ensue.

What did your journey from aspiring author to publ
ished author entail? What were the key milestones along the way?

The key milestone for me was attending the SCBWI conference in New York one year. I met my editor there, who kindly offered to read my extremely long manuscript. She gave me phenomenal feedback which I grabbed and jumped on. When I finished, I asked her if she'd read it again. And again. And then she bought the trilogy.

How highly would you recommend SCBWI to aspiring children’s book authors and illustrators? How has the society helped you?

This kind of follows on to the previous question. If not for SCBWI, I would never have met my editor. SCBWI is an amazing resource for networking, critiquing, and bonding in general. I can't imagine not being a member. Writing is a bit lonely, and having people to compare notes, celebrate, and commiserate with is beyond measure.


Your second book, THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, had its happy release day on October 12th. What sort of release-day fun have you put into motion? Any upcoming events?


My biggest plans were my release party. I just had it on October 18th! It was a blast with lots of people coming out, including kids who always make any party better! In addition to the party, I'm traveling to some conferences and book festivals in the upcoming months. You can check my schedule on my website at www.pjhoover.com. In addition to conferences, I love talking to kids. I've spent the last few weeks talking to classrooms of kids about the books. They ask the best questions!

Where can readers stay up-to-date on the latest and greatest on you and your books?


There's my website at www.pjhoover.com. It has links to all the fun social networking sites I'm part of. Please find me. And friend me. And tweet me. And all that! I love getting email!

I'm also an avid blogger. My blog is at pjhoover.blogspot.com, and I love when people drop by and comment. So please, drop by, and comment!

In reading your blog and the interviews you’ve done in the past, I know your books have a lot of little life treasures and inspirations in them. I believe some have to do with your past work as an electrical engineer and others are related to family and interests. Care to tell us about some of these? I love getting an inside look at the creation of a book!


Well for starters, one of the bad guys is named after my high school Geometry teacher. He was one of my favorite teachers, and I immortalized him forever :)

I love Rubik's Cubes, and thus made up the Kinetic Orb which is like a Rubik's Cube but for smart people.

My son came up with the word "Nogical" which turned into a genetically engineered creature.

And I try to incorporate binary numbers whenever possible as my special tribute to electrical engineering. After all, there are 10 kinds of people in this world: those who understand binary and those who don't.

I’ve read most of the reviews you’ve received for THE EMERALD TABLET and I’m pretty curious. How does it feel to have your books compared to titles like the HARRY POTTER series by J.K. Rowling and the PERCY JACKSON series by Rick Riordan? I can’t think of any greater praise for a middle-grade author!


Yes, I love being able to say my books are in that same genre! Everyone has heard of HARRY POTTER, and being able to legitimately compare my books to those and the PERCY JACKSON books is such a blast. This is exactly the audience I was targeting with THE EMERALD TABLET, and I'm thrilled when reviewers point this out.

You’re currently a full-time author (and mother of two!) with an admiringly stable writing schedule. What’s an average work day like for you? Any tips for those of us struggling to pull it together?
What other nugget(s) of advice would you give for aspiring authors?

The best advice I have is to make chunks of time. If marketing needs to be done, work on a big chunk of it one day such that the next day revisions or writing can be done for a big chunk. Being able to focus on something for longer than a half hour at a time is key for me in completing anything.

Other advice I have is patience. Patience when writing and revising. Patience while waiting on agents and editors. Patience between revisions. I try to set aside stuff for a while (like months at a time) while revising. This helps give me a fresh, shiny perspective.

Oh, and finally, don't give up!

With THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS trilogy coming to a close in the fall o
f 2010 with THE NECROPOLIS, you must be working on something new. Can you divulge anything about your current works-in-progress?

I'm so totally closed-lipped about new projects. But here's what I have. I am working on new stuff! I have an Egyptian mythology themed middle grade book I've been working on, and I also have a young adult fantasy heavy with Greek mythology. Everything seems to be centered around mythology :) There's a YA I have in the oven also, but it's pre-anyone-reading it at this point.

You live in Texas and really seem to love it. What’s your favorite thing about living there? How’s the local writing community?


Amazing is the only word I can use to describe the Austin writing community. Seriously how did I get so lucky as to move to the best city in the world for children's authors? Aside from how many talented authors we have here, everyone is so nice. It's the most welcoming community I can image.

Finally, what’s one interview question you haven’t been asked and wish you would be? And please, answer it!


Okay, how about my favorite Mario Kart character. When I'm talking to kids, I always ask them if they can guess. No one ever does. The answer? Bowser.

Thank you so much for having me, Casey! It's been a blast!

Thank YOU, PJ! It's been a pleasure. I can't wait for my copy of THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD to arrive so I can have another adventure with Benjamin and his friends!

Everyone Doing NaNoWriMo 2009...

Let's unite!

BUDDY ME and then leave your link or user name in the comments for others. That is, if you're interested in buddying and being buddied. : )

Six days... six days...

P.S. Thank you for your sympathy, comments, and fabulous morale yesterday! It meant a lot to me, really. I've been pretty down.

Overthinking It

So...

I've been a bit mum about my writing lately and that's because it's not going well. I beleive I have a classic case of overthinkage. Having a really hard time shutting off my internal god-I-want-to-write-so-good-so-bad editor. It's gotten to the point that I can't stand anything I write creatively.

Yeah.

I do think it's sort of awesome that if you type "overthinking" in Google an article called "Overthinking Is The Enemy of Creatives" comes up first. And it's good! Give it a read if you can relate to my struggle.

Anyway, in overthinking overthinking, I overly think I've come up with a solution.








Yeah.

Whaddya think?

Inanimate Alice - Digital Fiction

You've seen all the future-of-publishing talk surrounding e-books, but what about digital fiction? Have you heard of it?

I was recently introduced to Inanimate Alice, a digital story that combines text, sound, images, and even games to create an interactive reading experience. It follows the story of eight-year-old Alice and her digital imaginary friend, Brad, as they grow up in the 21st century with a peculiar, somewhat troublesome childhood. With Brad's "help," Alice goes on to become an extremely successful games animator.

"'Inanimate Alice' is a study of human/computer relations in a world where having friends means never having to meet them."

It's co-written by Kate Pullinger, a novelist, and Chris Joseph, a digital writer and artist, and produced by Ian Harper of The BradField Company.

Check out the first episode, China, and see what it's all about. Four of the ten episodes are currently available online for free.

I can see a future for this form of media with reluctant readers, the video game generation, in schools as an interactive educational tool, etc., and I suspect e-readers of the future will be compatible with the format.

What are you thoughts on digital fiction? Do you embrace this as a form of advanced reading or do you think it's too game-like? Please share the link, and let's discuss!

Agent Spotlight: Sara Megibow

This week's Agent Spotlight features Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary Agency, LLC.

Status: Open to submissions.

sara_sized_160x240About: "Sara has been with Nelson Literary Agency since early 2006. Her first responsibilities included reading query letters, sample pages, and full manuscripts, and she was promoted to Associate Literary Agent in 2009. From sexy romance to epic fantasy, Sara has loved reading since picking up her first copy of The Hobbit. Sara earned a B.A. in Women’s Studies and a B.A. in American History from Northwestern University. She loves to ski, hike, kayak, and hang out with her beat-boxing husband, adorable son, and fuzzy cat." (Link)

About the Agency:

“Nelson Literary Agency was founded in 2002 and is based in the chic/hip urban setting of lower Downtown Denver—otherwise known as Lodo. Embodying a modern philosophy that technology is meant to be used, the Nelson Agency is a living example that a powerhouse agency does not have to be located in New York.

“In such a short time, the Nelson Agency has sold more than 100 books, landed several film deals, and has contracted foreign rights on behalf of our clients in all the major territories, including Germany, France, Holland, Japan, and even Russia and Indonesia. Nelson Agency authors have become national bestsellers, RITA-award winners, and have appeared on bestseller lists such as The New York Times, USA Today, Barnes & Noble, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, and The Denver Post.

“We are a hands-on agency that strongly believes in taking on clients for their whole career. We provide editorial and marketing guidance as well as aggressive expertise in contract negotiation.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Nelson Literary website.

Publisher's Marketplace page.

Twitter.

Facebook.

WeBook.

AgentQuery.

QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

General fiction, Romance, Fantasy/Science Fiction, Juvenile Fiction, Young Adult, Middle Grade, New Adult. (Link)

From the Agency Website (as of 1/2014):

Sara is currently looking for superior writing and a great concept. Whether a book has vampires or butterflies, spaceships or school buses, it doesn’t matter. Sara wants to be carried away by the story. If your book is fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, steampunk, contemporary, historical, short, long or a mashup of all the above, send it along! Boiled down to a list, here it is:

  • Young-adult and middle-grade novels in all subgenres
  • Super sexy romance with a solid dose of humor
  • Complex fantasy of all types: epic fantasy, urban fantasy, quirky fantasy, historical fantasy
  • All science fiction from very science-y to action-packed and commercial
  • New Adult manuscripts that feature early 20-something protagonists and conflicts about identity and independence” (Link)

From Publisher’s Marketplace (as of 1/2014):

“For middle grade, young adult, new adult and romance novels - I read everything. I love contemporary, historical, paranormal, fantasy - you name it and I read it. Some of favorite reads in 2013 (non-client books) included: THREE TIMES LUCKY by Sheila Turnage, WONDER by RJ Palacio, NO PROPER LADY by Isabel Cooper, HOW BEAUTY MET THE BEAST by Jax Garren, THEORY OF ATTRACTION by Delphine Dryden and ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill.

“For science fiction and fantasy, I am looking for books either for the adult market or the younger reader. I represent Jason Hough whose debut THE DARWIN ELEVATOR hit the New York Times bestseller list its first week on sale. Some of my favorite reads in 2013 (again, non-client books) included: DAUGHTER OF THE SWORD by Steve Bein, STORMDANCER by Jay Kristoff, ABOVE by Leah Bobet and VESSEL by Sara Beth Durst.

“I do occasionally give shout outs on twitter as to specific works I'm looking for, so be sure to follow me there for more insider tips.” (Link)

From an Interview (12/2013):

“Rolling in to the new year and young adult literature is still hot, hot, hot! I’m actively acquiring new clients and I read all the slush pile queries myself, so bring on the submissions! What am I looking for? Authentic, unique, masterfully crafted stories - set anywhere, anytime and about anything. I don’t acquire based on concept but rather on quality of writing and unique-ness of story. That being said...

“I’d love a straight up science fiction adventure for young adults - think Star Trek for the new generation. 

“Second, I would like a truly funny contemporary young adult or middle grade novel. We see serious and heartbreaking and terrifying on a regular basis and that’s great. But, I’d also like something funny - romantic comedy or slapstick comedy or anything that makes the reader laugh out loud. 

“Finally, I’d love a stand alone epic fantasy for young adults or adults. It can have elves, magic, unicorns, dragons - anything at all that’s epic and one book only (not a sequel and not a trilogy).” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

"We do not look at submissions for nonfiction, screenplays, short-story collections, poetry, children’s picture books or chapter books, or material for the Christian/inspirational market." (Link)

Agent Philosophy:

“Fundamentally, I believe that a client's book is THEIR art. So, in terms of philosophy - I encourage my clients to write the books of their heart. Likewise, I choose clients to work with whose books I absolutely love, love, love.

“From there, my ‘agent philosophy’ is all about communication. Once a book is finished (and yes I do editorial work with my clients before we call it ‘finished’), I put together a submission list based on editors I think will love the work - my clients know to whom I submit, when and what the response is. My clients usually hear from me every week - with updates on submissions, offers, releases, sales numbers and ideas for marketing, publicity or promotions. Aside from talking about submissions, the two top things I encourage my clients to do is to get a professional author website together and to keep writing.” (Link)

“Nelson Literary Agency tends to rely on the team approach in terms of covering all these bases. For example, we have a marketing director on staff here at NLA (Lindsay Mergens out of our NY office), so I rely on her expertise for book promotions. We definitely do work on editing manuscripts before submitting them to editors, but I find that I tend to leave a lot of space for the writers to have their own feedback in this process. Overall, my personal philosophy tends to be "pick projects that I REALLY, REALLY love" and that way I feel great about fighting for them on everything from finding a great editor to negotiating a great contract.” (Link)

Clients:

A list of Nelson Literary clients can be found on the website here.

Ms. Megibow’s clients include: Allison Rushby, Ashlyn Macnamara, Betsy Dornbusch, Christina Lee, Dave Lowry, Eleri Stone, Jaleigh Johnson, Jane Kindred, Jason Hough, Jennifer Shaw Wolf, Juliana Stone, Karina Sumner-Smith, Michael J. Martinez, Michael R. Underwood, Miranda Kenneally, Natalie Bahm, Roni Loren, Sarah Skilton, Stefan Bachmann, Stefanie Gaither, Steve Vera, Tiffany Reisz, and Wen Baragrey.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

One page query by e-mail.  Put QUERY and the title of your project in the subject line.  No attachments. 

“You are encouraged to include the link to your author website in your query letter. LGBTQ friendly!” (Link)

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

Response Times:

Very fast. The agency's stated response time is 5-10 days with occasional longer instances. Stats on the web show Ms. Megibow responding to queries within minutes to a few days.  Her response time on requested material appears to be days to a couple weeks.

What's the Buzz?

Sara Megibow has been an associate agent since February 2009. She is known to be very nice, professional, and enthusiastic. The agency is highly respected and her clients seem quite happy with her representation.

I recommend following Sara on Twitter, @SaraMegibow, and Kristen Nelson’s blog for further insight and agency info.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews & Chats:

Agent Interview with Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency at YA Misfits (12/2013).

Interview with Sara Magibow Part 1 and Part 2 at Fantasy Fiction (07/2013).

Agent Sara Megibow On Whether You Still Need an Agent at Paranormal Point of View (04/2013).

Sara Megibow Discusses Her Work as an Agent and the Challenges of Getting Published at Boulder Writer’s Workshop (12/2012).

Sara Megibow, Literary Agent & Kat Brauer, YA Writer at The Madeleine Project (10/2012).

Interview with Sara Megibow at Bethany Hensel’s site (08/2012).

Literary Spotlight: Agent Sara Megibow at The Bearded Scribe (08/2012).

Interview with Literary Agent Sara Megibow at Stacey O’Neal’s site (02/2012).

October Mystery Agent Revealed: Sara Megibow at Operation Awesome (10/2011).

Literary Agent Sara Megibow at Blog Talk Radio (09/2011).

Sara Megibow Interview at Jairus Reddy Blog (07/2011).

Critiquerly Interview with Agent Sara Megibow at Not an Editor (06/2011).

Publishing Interviews: Agent Sara Megibow & Author Miranda Kenneally at YA Highway (05/2011).

An Interview with Sara Megibow of the Nelson Agency at Chiseled in Rock (05/2011).

Interview with an Agent: Sara Megibow at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (02/2011).

Live Chat transcript with Agent Sara Megibow at WriteOnCon (10/2010).

Interview with Literary Agent Sara Megibow at YA Fantasy Guide (2010).

Interview with Sara Megibow at Anita Laydon Miller's blog (03/2009).

Interview with Sara Megibow by Janet Lane (2008).

AgentQuery chat transcript with Sara Megibow (08/2009).

Podcast interview with Sara Megibow at SandDollar Publishing (2007).

Guest Posts:

Before You Query a Literary Agent: Sara Megibow Shares Her Best Tips at Book Contry (09/2013).

Guest Agent Sara Megibow: Is the Agent Pitch Session an Effective Tool or Could it use a Tweak? at The Other Side of the Story (03/2013).

Literary Agent Sara Megibow shares “A day in the life…” at Linda Joyce Contemplates (05/2013).

Sara Megibow Sells Romance – Who is a “good” literary agent? and other articles at Romance University (2012).

Being a Feminist Romance Reader, guest post by Sara Megibow at Reader, I Created Him (3/2011).

Sara Megibow Visits the YA 5 (11/2010).

Tips From the Slush Pile by Sara Megibow at LDS Publishers (05/2010).

Guest post by Sara Megibow on Kristin Nelson's blog, Pub Rants (02/2009).

Around the Web:

Nelson Literary Agency at P&E ($, Recommended).

Sara Megibow at P&E (Recommended).

Nelson Literary Agency thread at AbsoluteWrite.

For conferences Ms. Megibow will be attending, see her Publisher’s Marketplace page.

Successful Queries: Agent Sara Megibow and ‘The Siren’ at Guide to Literary Agents (07/2012).

Agent Appreciation Day post on Sara Megibow by client Natalie Bahm (12/2009).

Client Natalie Bahm's agent success story (09/2009).

Advice highlights from Sara's AQ chat at JeanOran.com (08/2009).

Contact:

Please see the Nelson Literary website and Ms. Megibow’s Publisher’s Marketplace page for further contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 1/16/14.

Last Reviewed by Agent:  3/31/11

***

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.

Research Tip Tuesday

Want to know what people are saying about a particular agent or subject? Google Blog Search specifically searches blogs (all blogs, not just Blogger) for your search term or phrase. Advanced options also allow you to filter and search by date. I use it all the time for my spotlights!

Next week, I have a fabulous tip from Samantha Clark. Look forward to it! Want to see your own tip featured? E-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

So Tell Me: What Personal Greatness Do You Aspire To?

What an interesting discussion we had yesterday! Some of you agree with King and some of you don't. From reading through all the comments, I'd say King's view of the bad, competent, good, and great writer looks something like this.

Great = Innately talented, has something that can't be learned or taught.
Good = The majority of successful published writers (and those aspirees with this level of drive and talent).
Competent = Potential to become published, potential to become "good," but maybe never quite good enough if the drive isn't there (the line walker).
Bad = Actually incapable or unwilling to reach competency.

Which would put most of us in the "competent" and "good" categories, including beginners not stuck in the (unfortunate) bad category. Would you agree with assessment?

I've got a different but related question for you today though. What PERSONAL greatness do you aspire to? Is it becoming a published author, prolific, renowned, a bestseller, an award winner? Or is it more related to craft... is there a level you're trying to reach, and how are you gauging it?

Do tell!

On the Potential of the Bad, Competent, Good or Great Writer

I recently devoured ON WRITING by Stephen King. It really is a great read (fascinating, inspiring), and I'm happy to have finally read it. Since finishing, I have found myself returning to a couple things Mr. King said and I'd like to discuss one. And that is the following:

"...while it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one, it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one." (p. 136)

I don't know how I feel about this. The horde of hopefuls in my head want to beleive that, wherever I'm at talent-wise, I have a chance at becoming good or great. But then, I also don't see myself developing the talent of, say, Markus Zusak or Suzanne Collins—ever.

So I see what he's saying, and I think it comes down to how one defines or views such words as "good" and "great." A writer can improve greatly, for example, as I think many of us have, but will never be a [insert author that fills you with awe]. And yet, I still find myself balking at the idea that we have a built-in cap to our potential, and wondering if it really is impossible to cross these thresholds. Even if a good writer will never become one of the greats, does a bad writer really have no chance at becoming competent or good? I'm not sure. I find myself agreeing and then disagreeing in the span of two thoughts.

What's your take?

Agent Spotlight: Michael Stearns

Profile removed. Mr. Stearns is no longer directly representing authors (see comments below).

Thanks!

Casey

Review: FROM THE QUERY TO THE CALL by Elana Johnson

A few weeks ago, I won a copy of Elana Johnson’s e-book, FROM THE QUERY TO THE CALL, just as it was released. I was pretty darn excited. Why?  Well, despite the many, many examples of queries I’ve read online, how-to posts I’ve studied, and attempts I've made, I’ve never been able to write a good query. I love Elanja’s blog (so smart and funny!), and I especially love her voice, so I was eager to see if this e-book would be the eye-opener I needed.

The short answer:  It was.  The long answer:  I’d like to skip today’s WIP post one more week and review it for you.

***

from the query to the callElana Johnson's e-book, FROM THE QUERY TO CALL, is exactly what the title lends you to believe it is; an informative guide that takes you from the basic start-questions of what a query is and isn't and why you need one, to two detailed sections called "Writing a Killer Query" and "Entering the Query Trenches."  By the time you finish its concise, organized, well-written 63 pages, you'll not only understand the anatomy of a successful query but how to research agents, query professionally, endure the dreaded WAIT, and everything after—dealing with rejection and fielding THE CALL. 

Three things I really love about Elanja's book.  1.)  It has everything for the writer just starting to learn about "the process" of seeking representation, but plenty also for the writer who has a good handle on it.  2.)  It is, essentially, said "process" in one well-organized bundle with a handy column ever-present on the side that enables you to jump to the section you want to read or re-read.  No more hours of searching Google and hopping from site to site as you try to piece it all together. 3.)  There are seven well-written query examples used to teach throughout the book and then available in their entirety at the end.  All of which have gained their respective writers representation or resulted in a high percentage of requests.  In other words, all successful.  I learn well by example, so these queries were like the icing on the cake.

There's no telling which section(s) will be the most helpful to you until you buy it and read it for yourself, but for me, it was the meat of the book, "Writing a Killer Query."  The way Elana broke the example queries down and showed me the four elements of a successful query was exactly what I needed.  Many others have done this online for free, sure, but not quite so in depth and certainly not Elana-style.  The big eye opener for me?  Learning I've been missing a very important element in my query—the consequence—and how important that small element really is.

Believe it or not, there's a cherry on top all that cake and icing. If you buy FROM THE QUERY TO THE CALL, Elana will critique your query either by e-mail or on her Query Ninja blog.  Not only are you bound to learn a lot from this book, but you'll get a personalized, hands-on lesson too, if you wish.  Pretty darn good deal, and a great opportunity. 

Congratulations on a fabulous e-book, Elana, and thank you so much for the insight and knowledge you've put into a neat, accessible package and provided so many.

***

Have you read FROM THE QUERY TO THE CALL?  If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments.  Haven't read it?  Feel free to ask any questions you might have.

Research Tip Tuesday

Hey everyone, if you'd like to see this feature continue, please send some tips in! I haven't been receiving enough to keep it going. I've got one more from Tara for you today, and I'll put up one of my own next week.

"Romance fiction writers or people who write Historical Fiction might benefit from tracing modern works back to their origins. The Online Etymology Dictionary
allows writers to type in a word, and then it returns the history for that word. If writers don't see a word they like in the history, they can enter one of the words from the search results, allowing a new set of results to display."

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

Thanks Tara! I use the Etymology Dictionary all the time when I'm trying to create words for my fantasy stories, so it can be really useful to all the fantasy writers out there as well.

I'm Back, YA News, and Question Box Revival

I'm back! And I have to say, it feels good knowing things should be back to normal this week. I'm looking forward to getting caught up and reading all the replies you left in various posts while I was gone, especially the blog party post.

First up, Happy Release Day to PJ Hoover whose second book, THE NAVEL OF THE WORLD, comes out today! If you haven't read book one, THE EMERALD TABLET, in PJ's THE FORGOTTEN WORLDS trilogy, you're missing out! And while you're busy reading book one or book two, you can look forward to my interview with PJ, which should go up in the next couple weeks.

Next, some agent news that came out while I was away...

Elaine English Literary Agency is now accepting young adult lit. You can read about the wide range of genres they're now accepting YA submissions for and some of Naomi's and Elaine's preferences on the agency blog.

ETA: Sara Crowe is back from her maternity leave and put up a call for submissions on the Crowe's Nest. In her post, she also talks about some of her YA authors and why she took them on.

In other YA news, Sourcebooks has added a new teen imprint called Sourcebooks Fire and will publish seven titles in its debut season. You can read all about it on Publisher's Weekly.

Any other news I missed while I was gone?

Finally I'd like to revive The Question Box and invite everyone to leave me some questions, if you have them. I think a healthy batch of questions would give us some great discussion material and it would let me know what kinds of posts you'd like to see here on Lit Rambles!

Try to have a great Monday!

Agent Spotlight: Beth Fleisher

According to a client, Ms. Fleisher retired in April 2014. Do not query.

So Tell Each Other: What Are You Blogging About This Week?

I'm married! The wedding went really great, and I'll share some pictures as soon as I have them.

In the meantime, we're taking off again this afternoon and I'll be staying relatively "unplugged" until Monday. I should be back full time about then.

For today, I'm using a fabulous suggestion sent in by Heather Lane and putting up the following question...

What are you blogging about this week? Please self-promote, share what you've posted and/or will post, and click around some new blogs. I think we all loved doing this a couple weeks ago. The response was amazing!

Have fun romping about the place while I'm gone (keep it clean!), enjoy the blog party, and I'll be back to check in with everyone fairly soon.

Agent Spotlight: Brenda Bowen

This week's Agent Spotlight features Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, Inc.

About: "Brenda represents many wonderful children’s book authors and artists, among them national bestsellers Rosemary Wells and Hilary Knight; National Book Award finalist Martine Leavitt; award-winning novelist Donna Jo Napoli; New York Times Best Illustrated winners Carin Berger, G. Brian Karas, and Stephen Savage; poet and novelist George Ella Lyon; and newcomers Michelle Cuevas, Annette Simon, and Naoko Stoop. She has recently taken on a handful of adult trade fiction and non-fiction writers, too, though children’s books are her specialty.

“Before joining Greenburger in the summer of 2009, Brenda held a variety of positions during her twenty five-plus years in children’s publishing. She has been editorial director of  Scholastic Press; Henry Holt & Company; Disney Book Group/Hyperion; and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Brenda has edited books that have been #1 New York Times bestsellers, and have won the National Book Award, the Newbery Medal, the Coretta Scott King Award, the Caldecott Honor, the Printz Honor, and the Eisner Award. She is a former member of the board of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art and a past chair of the Children’s Book Council. As an agent, Brenda continues to nurture creative careers and to work closely with clients on the editorial direction of their projects.

“Brenda writes under the name Margaret McNamara, and is herself represented by Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She prefers email submissions. More details can be found www.brendabowen.net.” (Link)

Status: Open to submissions.

What She's Looking For:

Specialties:

“Books for children and teens, as well as some fiction for adult trade.” (Link)

From the Website:

“What I like: a strong voice, wit, verve; room for illustrations (if it’s a picture book). I’ve always loved middle-grade fiction.” (Link)

From SCBWI Conference Notes (06/2010):

“I am very catholic in my tastes, but I can like anything from the trashy to the literary.   I am not a fan of paranormal books, and in general I am not hugely into young adult novels. I really like to focus on Picture Books through Middle Grade (including chap books and the educational market). What I like is hard to define. I also fear the ‘conference polish’ as Mary Kole mentioned earlier. So I always ask for the first three chapters in a submission. I want to work with people I love to be around! I want to be happy to see their name in my in-box. I would like to do more fiction, I already have a lot of picture books on my plate. I represent both picture book authors alone, as well as author/illustrators. I like boy oriented books that are funny. I want a story that I have never read before.” (Link)

From SCBWI Conference Notes (08/2009):

"A strong voice, assured confident writing, and creative use of language." (Link)

"She does like 'literary books' but she also has a fondness for funny books and asks that if you plan to submit a funny book, please indicate so!" (Link)

About the Agency:

“SJGA was founded in 1932 by Sanford J. Greenburger, who specialized in representing European writers and publishers in the U.S., as well as internationally. He pioneered the editorial scouting business, advising European publishers which American writers to translate and publish.

“The current era for SJGA began with the vision of Francis Greenburger, Sanford's son, when he assumed management of the agency after his father's death in 1971. The agency was converted into an agents' collaborative, which included SJGA agents and affiliated agents such as The Nicholas Ellison Agency, and the late Diane Cleaver.

“Large enough to be a full service agency, including international rights, but small enough to manage and service clients personally, SJGA works closely with authors to edit and fine-tune proposals, refine concepts and ensure that the best work reaches editors. The agents freely share information and expertise, creating a collaborative partnership unique to the industry. The combined result is reflected in the numerous successes of the agency's authors.” (Link)

Quotables:

"It's not good for us to make one sale and never sell your work again. You have to imagine a partnership, to trust that we're going to give our best to each other and that we'll be there for the long haul." (Link)

Referring to when she was an editor: "I was aware that some agents' names in the inbox meant that what was attached, although maybe not perfect for me, was going to be really good for someone in the house, and that it was ready to go. I'd like to be one of those agents..." (Link)

Editorial Agent?

Yes. SJGA prides itself on being a very hands on, developmental agency, and Ms. Bowen's bio states: "As an agent, Brenda continues to nurture creative careers and to work closely with clients on the editorial direction of their projects.."

Web Presence:

SJGA website.

BrendaBowen.net.

Bunny Eat Bunny - blog.

Facebook.

Twitter.

QueryTracker, AuthorAdvance.

Clients:

There is a list of clients available on Ms. Bowen’s website.  Clients include:

Carin Berger, Marisa Calin, Michelle Cuevas, Jessie Hartland, G. Brian Karas, Hilary Knight, Caroline Lawrence, Martine Leavitt, George Ella Lyon, Donna Jo Napoli, Vladimir Radunsky, Chris Raschka, Stephen Savage, Marilyn Singer, Naoko Stoop, Rosemary Wells, among many others.

Sales:

There are lists of 2010 and 2011 deals on Ms. Bowen’s website.

As of 03/2011, Ms. Bowen is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 25 deals in the last 12 months, 3 six-figure+ deals, and 46 overall. She’s a Top Dealmaker in the Children’s category for overall sales.  Recent deals include 14 picture books, 5 middle grade, 4 young adult, 1 paranormal, and 1 non-fic.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (strongly preferred).

Snail-Mail: Yes (but she’d rather you didn’t).

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

“Manuscript queries: Email a cover letter and attach (as a Word doc) three sample chapters of a novel; or a cover letter and the entire text of a picture book (as a Word doc).

“Art queries: Email a cover letter and sample illustrations as pdf’s or jpeg’s or a link to a site.

“SUBJECT LINE: Please include the title of your work in the subject line.”

See Ms. Bowen’s website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

“A catchy title can be reason alone for me to request a manuscript. For example: The Masterwork of a Painting Elephant. This shows me that the author is confident enough to name his/her book this. It shows me the book is not a trend, and the title has a lyrical sound to it.

“Please query me as Ms. Bowen and not Mrs. Bowen.

“I like non-classical queries that are whimsical and share a confident story.

“Have a query that shows your voice.” (Link)

Response Times:

Per the website, Ms. Bowen’s stated response time is minutes to 6-8 weeks. If you haven’t heard back in this time, she is passing on your work. Her reponse time on requested material seems to range days to six weeks or so.

What's the Buzz?

Ms. Bowen has nearly 30 years of experience in the publishing industry and has worked with some truly amazing companies and talents.  Her transition to agenting was met with great approval.  She’s quickly become a top dealmaker for children’s book authors and illustrators. 

According to PW, Ms. Bowen has plans to start a "children's packaging venture" with SJGA and to help, "...provide publishers material they might not have the time or resources to develop in-house." She's also interested in helping her authors band together to develop their promotional ideas, which is a great asset in an agent.

I recommend following her on Twitter @bbowen949, and subscribing to her blog, Bunny Eat Bunny.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Brenda Bowen interviews her new agenting self at Bunny Eat Bunny (05/2009).

Around the Web:

Her blog, Bunny Eat Bunny.

Her author bibliography on Amazon.

Sanford J. Greenburger Associates on P&EBrenda Bowen on P&E

Sanford J. Greenburger Associates thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Agent Day: Insight from Brenda Bowen, detailed conference notes at Ingrid’s Notes (06/2010).

Notes on Ms. Bowen from the SCBWI blog, and a few more here.

Contact:

Please see the SJGA website and Ms. Bowen’s website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 3/24/11

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes

Last Reviewed by Agent:  3/28/11

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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.