CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

MASK OF SHADOWS through September 30th
Danielle Burby Query Critique through October 7th
MARKED BEAUTY through October 21st
GRAY WOLF ISLAND through October 21st
Spooktacular Giveaway Hop through October 31st

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Molly O'Neill Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/23/17
Quressa Robinson Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/30/17

Happy New Year!

New_Year2011Hello! It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post just to… talk.  Weird, huh?  I mean, this is a blog right? My blog? *looks around* Yes. Yes it is.  Hm.

Well first, I’d like to welcome my new readers.  I used to post more than spotlights, tips, and guest posts (swearsies!) but life got a little crazy.  I’ve been juggling school, interning, writing, WriteOnCon, work, this blog, critique partners, two kids, and everything that comes along with each.  I made it through about half the year before things started falling apart and I had to take a hard look at all the places my time was sneaking off to.  Out of everything, Lit Rambles was, unfortunately, among the easiest of things to pull back on.

To my faithful followers who haven’t bored of me, hi!  I’m sorry I’ve been so quiet.  I hope you haven’t been concerned.  I kept thinking I just needed a break and I’d be back in full force but here it is the end of the year and things are still quiet.  It really has been because of business and mental blankness.  I’d want to post something outside of the usual features but my mind was just…mush.

And yeah, it’s still mush. 

I’ve had a pretty awesome year though, quick as its gone by.  I met my 2010 goals.  Agent Spotlight is still going strong.  WriteOnCon was born and rocked.  I went to my first SCBWI conference.  Friends of mine have gotten agents and book deals.  I’m still reading for a lit agent and love it.  And my recent biggie, I quit my job in November!  Let’s just say, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this peaceful.  As for writing, I’m revising.  Yes!  Not drafting, not rewriting, not staring at the screen (okay, maybe sometimes) but revising. 

So, naturally, my main my goal for 2011 is to finish this novel, revisions and all, and take the next step.  Aside from that, I’ll be focusing on school.  I’m graduating in June and really looking forward to having that time back as well.  I think it’s going to be a year of Big Accomplishments, even if that only extends as far as finishing my novel and graduating school.  Reasonable goals, yes?

Also, I put my feelers out about this on Twitter, but I should discuss it here as well.  I’m thinking about taking a two or three month break from Agent Spotlight to do major updates in 2011.  I’m just shy of 100 spotlights and can’t keep them all up-to-date any longer.  In fact, I might have to bring in a blog partner this year if I intend to keep profiling new agents.  I haven’t made any solid decisions yet except to take time off to update the oldest of the bunch.  I’d love your thoughts. 

I’m sure there’s a lot more I should reflect on or say about 2010 and 2011 but nothing more is coming to mind at the moment.  Thank you for your friendship and support.  I get so many great comments and e-mails about this blog and I so appreciate them.  I hope you all have a safe, happy New Year’s.  I’m wishing you the best in 2011.  

In close, here are some my favorite reads from 2010.  A few will be coming out in 2011.  Please click on the covers for more info.

The Miles Between 9780786838189 9780545054744 9781416912057 9780061726804  9780763645762 9780823422852 9781423121305 7862667 7656231 9780525421559 9781606840177 9781595143976 9780803734951 9780763619589 9780061827624 9780061431852 9780142415436 9780802786609 9780525423270

Tip Tuesday #69

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to share a tip, please do so. Today's tip is another fabulous one from author Laura Lascarso. I think you'll find it very helpful. Please visit Laura's website to check out her blog and 2012 YA debut!

Page 80 (aka Writer's Block)

Pages 1-79 are sheer bliss. I’m in love with my story, I’m in love with my writing, the characters are singing, the words are flowing and everything is as it should be.

Then I hit page 80.

At page 80, everything starts to unravel. I question the meaning of the story, the authenticity of my characters, my own abilities as a writer. Everything about the story is flawed, I’m not the writer I thought I was. I should quit this nonsense and go get a real job.

But if getting a real job doesn’t appeal to you, these are some strategies I’ve employed in the past.

1. Put it away. The longer the better. This is always hard for me because I tend to work obsessively on my projects and if I’m not actively shaping it, I feel as though I’ve abandoned it. But sometimes distance is necessary to be able to think critically and objectively.

2. Give it to a friend, someone who is a constructive and critical thinker. Maybe they can tell you where they think you think it’s going, or tell you why it’s not working.

3. Start over. I’ve had great results with this, sometimes switching from 3rd person to 1rst, or vice versa, or telling the story from someone else’s POV. You may have thought it was one person’s story, when really it was someone else’s. Characters are tricky that way and it’s fun way to experiment (and exercise) with voice.

4. Let it go. Sometimes if you move onto a new project, the story will come back to you.

5. Read. Reading good books is a great way to look critically at what’s wrong with your own. Study their page’s 80 and see how they got through it–did they introduce a new character? a new obstacle? a terminal disease?

6. Let go of expectations and/or set small goals for yourself. “Today I’m going to write one killer line, today I’m going to write one great description, ect.”

7. Just keep writing. You love to write like a fish loves to swim. So write poetry, short stories, emails, blog posts, or work on editing someone else’s work. Every little bit you do makes you a stronger writer.

Got any more suggestions? I’d love to hear them. Page 80′s come around again and again.

- Laura Lascarso

Guest Blogger Jenny Sanchez: Lit Rambles Success!

 

I love when writers find their agent one way or another through my blog. The lovely Jenny Torres Sanchez e-mailed me recently with those precious words "found my agent because of you" and I couldn't have been more thrilled. I always find success stories inspiring and know there are a lot of writers still looking and waiting for their future agent, so I asked her if she'd be willing to share her story here on Lit Rambles and she said YES. Enjoy!

The first time I learned about queries, I remember getting a sinking feeling. Why? Because all this time I thought the hard part to becoming an author was actually writing the novel. I had no idea that you could do all that work, write all those words, only to never even have your novel considered because you don’t have an agent. I understand the reason for queries but writing them is pretty darn hard—an art almost. And getting agents to pluck yours from the hundreds they get every week and then actually request your manuscript—well, let’s not go there. I almost, almost, succumbed to the odds but I didn’t. Because...well, I was almost finished with my YA novel and just couldn’t bear to give up at that point.

So, I hitched up my sleeves, and started researching agents and how to write queries. Once you start doing that, it’s very easy to get lost in the whole business side of things and forget about the most important thing—your manuscript. So, I made one rule for myself. Work on my manuscript (and ONLY my manuscript) in the morning while my kids where at school, and research queries, agents, the industry at night when they were in bed. And I stuck to it.

Luckily, very, very, very luckily I came across Casey’s Literary Rambles Blog. I thought I’d hit the jackpot! Here was everything—agent interviews, agent likes and dislikes, links to agency websites, links to authors they represent, what they prefer to see in queries, in short, the most in-depth information in one place. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait for each agent spotlight post. I kept notes of agents that represented YA contemporary literature and made a list so once I was ready to start querying, I’d know where to send my manuscript.

In this time, I also learned about marketing and trying to develop a following and blogging and a whole bunch of other things that give fiction writers the heebie-jeebies. And I thought, oh man, writing is sooooooo much more than, well, writing. I was hesitant to start blogging and tweeting because I wasn’t sure I’d be any good at it. I mean, I wasn’t even sure how Twitter worked. And as far as blogging goes, it took me forever to develop a good writing schedule that I could stick to so I wasn’t sure I had it in me to blog regularly. But again, I figured if I really wanted this, I had to be willing to tread unfamiliar ground and keep going. So I did. And honestly, Casey’s site was pretty inspiring. Every time I visited Lit Rambles, I was blown away by the amount of information Casey compiled, and she did it all just to help other writers, so I figured if she can do that and work on the gazillion other things she does, then surely I can post a blog entry every now and then.

I created a blog account, wrote a silly post about Tyra Banks getting a book deal (which then hit me like Snooki’s book deal hit us all later on), wrote another one about the day I met Jay Asher and Lisa McMann at a conference, and put Lit Rambles on my blogroll. And voila, just like that, I was officially a blogger (even if nobody was visiting my site, which was kind of a bummer). But then one day I got a comment, and it was from Casey thanking me for the blogroll link. And I thought, this girl rocks! Casey—I think you where the first visitor to my site and you gave me the hope that eventually, others would come!

Anyway, as a Lit Rambles follower, I eventually came across an agent spotlight on Victoria Skurnick from Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. I clicked onto the link to the agency website, read their submission requirements, and checked out the online submission form. The online form doesn’t give you the option to address a specific agent, but I read all the agent bios and saw that several represented YA so I filled out the form, attached the sample of my manuscript, and hoped (but didn’t quite expect) to hear back from someone.

I got an email informing me they received my query and would contact me if interested. By this point I’d already gotten rejections from other agents, so I didn’t hold my breath. I thought, yeah, yeah, and went about my life. But then one day I received an email from Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg requesting my full manuscript. I was cautiously thrilled. I sent along the full, figuring I’d soon get a thanks but no thanks. Instead, I got an email requesting a phone call. Okay, at that point I sort of kind of maybe had a mini heart attack. Because this was a PHONE CALL! A LEGITIMATE, REAL, PHONE CALL...FROM A LEGITIMATE, REAL AGENT! But I’d also read (in my tireless research) that a phone call did not necessarily mean an offer of representation. So I stifled that excitement, sat on pins and needles for four days, fantasized about being signed, would again remind myself of the dream-crushing but sensible warning that a phone call did not necessarily mean representation, and...waited. And as we all know, this profession will definitely teach you the art of waiting.

After what seemed like forever but was just four days, Kerry and I finally talked. The more we discussed the manuscript, the more I knew she and I would work really well together. She made great suggestions, made me consider things I hadn’t before but now totally made sense, understood the story and characters, and most importantly—was excited about my manuscript and believed in it.

So I signed with Levine Greenberg and the whole experience has been amazing and, truth be known, something I wasn’t sure would ever really, really happen. I feel incredibly lucky to now have such an insightful, patient, and talented agent like Kerry. And I am forever grateful to Casey and this blog since this is where I found the agency, inspiration, amazing and accurate information, and a supportive community of writers.

You can follow Jenny on Twitter (@jetchez) and at her blog, Read. Write. Suffer. Please do!

Today...


I'm wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Agent Spotlight: Jennifer Carlson

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jennifer Carlson of Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency.

Dunow, Carlson, Lerner About: “Jennifer Carlson has been agenting for thirteen years. Previously, she worked at Henry Dunow Literary Agency and Harold Ober Associates. She works with narrative nonfiction writers and journalists covering current events and ideas and cultural history, as well as literary and upmarket commercial novelists. On the children’s side, her clients are primarily young adult and middle grade fiction writers with a very select number of picture book projects. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she lives in Brooklyn, New York and is a member of the Literary Council of the Brooklyn Book Festival.” (Link)

Status: Accepting submissions.

What She's Looking For:

Interests:

Literary Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Women's Fiction, Young Adult, Children's; Narrative Non-Fiction (history, current affairs). (Link, Link)

From her Bio:

“She works with narrative nonfiction writers and journalists covering current events and ideas and cultural history, as well as literary and upmarket commercial novelists. On the children’s side, her clients are primarily young adult and middle grade fiction writers with a very select number of picture book projects.” (Link)

Per AgentQuery:

“She enjoys high-quality fiction with a modern edge.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Screenplays, poetry.

About the Agency:

“Henry Dunow, Jennifer Carlson, and Betsy Lerner formed Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency in 2005. The agency represents literary and commercial fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoir, popular culture and young adult fiction. In addition to representing publishing rights, the agency works with established networks of co-agents to represent translation rights in all foreign territories in addition to film, television, and audio rights.” (Link)

Dislikes (Don'ts):

Unknown.

Editorial Agent?

Unknown.

Web Presence:

Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner website.

AAR profile.

AgentyQuery, QueryTracker, AuthorAdvance.

Clients:

There is a list of Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner agency clients on the website.

Ms. Carlson’s clients include: Kevin Brockmeier, Paula Chase, Marisa de los Santos, Gwendolen Gross, Debbie Nathan, Robert Neuwirth, Maggie Pouncey, Jessica Powers, Jon Raymond, Paul Reyes, David Schickler, Mary Quattlebaum, and David Teague, among others.

Sales:

As of this posting, Ms. Carlson is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 1 deal in the last 12 months and 30 overall. Recent deals include 1 women’s/romance. Past children’s deals include 4 middle grade, 3 young adult, and 2 picture books.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.

Snail-Mail: Yes.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

E-mail: Send a query letter only. No attachments.

Snail-Mail: Send a query letter only. Include a SASE or return e-mail address.

Please see the Dunow, Carlson & Lerner website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Response Times:

While the agency tries to respond to all snail-mail queries, their e-query response policy is as follows:

“Due to the volume of inquiries the agency receives, we are unable to respond to all emailed queries. We apologize in advance for this inconvenience.” (Link)

Ms. Carlson’s response time on queries, when she responds, appears to be just days to a month or so. Response times on requested material are usually within one to two months.

What's the Buzz?

There isn’t a lot of Internet buzz out there on Ms. Carlson and information on her agenting style is limited, but the agency is extremely well-respected and established. She is a member of the AAR, has thirteen years of experience, a faithful client list, and sales with big houses. Her interest in children’s is mainly in MG and YA but includes a select number of picture books as well.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

If you have a subscription to Writer’s & Poets the Aug 2010 issue featured a Q&A with Jennifer Carlson. The page also says you can buy the back issue.

Around the Web:

Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Jennifer Carlson on P&E ($).

Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner on P&E ($).

Contact:

Please see the Dunow, Carlson & Lerner website for contact and query information.

***

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.

Guest Blogger S. Kyle Davis: J.K. Rowling and Plot Planning

 

Hey everyone! This fabulous guest post was written by S. Kyle Davis and I'm super excited about it. Why? Because I'm a Harry Potter nerd and this is great stuff. Please visit Kyle's blog and check out the Redline Friday feature he's been doing. If you're interested in having your 250 words critiqued, you can e-mail Kyle at kyle(at)skyledavis(dot)com.

J.K. Rowling and Plot Planning

NOTE: this post is a modified/expanded version of this post from Kyle’s blog.

If you're as much of a Harry Potter geek as I am (or if you've been following YA authors on twitter lately), then you may have already seen this:

http://bitcast-a.v1.dfw1.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/wp/wp-content/images/jkrowlingpage.jpg

Released originally as one of the Easter eggs on her website, this is a glimpse into J.K. Rowling's plot planning methodology. I found this a wonderful tip on how to plan your plot, whether during initial writing or during rewrites (depending on if you're a "planner" or a "pantser").

To save you time deciphering this page, here's what Rowling does:

In the far left column, we have the chapter #. This page is for chapters 13-24. Next to that, she has the time frame. Note that she doesn't go too overboard here with specific dates. She just has the month, which is about all she needs to remind her readers of what time of year it is (I need to get better myself at remembering to include a reference in each chapter). Next to that, we have her tentative titles for the chapters. After that, she has the overall plot of that chapter.

Now, for the really interesting part. After that, she has listed all of her main plots and subplots.

These include:

• The prophesy (the main plot of Voldemort being after the prophesy, Harry's glimpses into Voldy's mind, etc.)

• Cho/Ginny (the main romantic plot/love triangle)

• The DA (also includes Umbridge, etc.)

• Order of the Phoenix

• Snape/Harry & Father (includes both Occlumency lessons and Harry’s concern about whether his father was really a nice guy)

• Hagrid and Grawp

What I find interesting is that, especially for the more important subplots, she tries to work each one in to every chapter (except when the plot is finished or they're away from school, etc.). This not only helps her remember what all is happening in the book, but also reminds her that these subplots need nourishment.

So, how do we apply this to our writing?

1) List every subplot you can think of for your novel. This can actually be a telling exercise. It puts your entire novel into perspective. So how many subplots should you have? That’s a subjective question, but typically it ranges anywhere from 5 – 10. Less than that seems to be too few, and more can quickly make a novel unwieldy. The more subplots you have, the more you have to feed each one (making each one “thinner”). On the other hand, too few can make a novel feel thin, even if the subplots you have are very well developed. Finding the right mix of subplots is a delicate thing, and could be a whole blog post in itself.

2) Order your list according to precedence. Look at Rowling’s list. The prophesy is first, followed by the romantic subplot then the DA/Umbridge subplot. Other subplots go farther down the list. Do the same for your list of plots. First goes the main plot, then the other plots in order of importance. Typically, the romantic plot will be second or third (unless the novel is a straight-up romance where the actual “goal” is for one character to hook up with another, in which case it’s first). Farther down than that seems to result in a “What’s really the point?” sort of romance plot (but that’s just my opinion). The reasoning behind this step is that it forces you to choose between your plots. You can’t feed a hundred pages to every subplot, no matter how much you love them. Prioritizing them results in a clear, unified main plot (yes, you must have exactly ONE main plot!!!), with well-developed subplots.

3) Read each chapter and write out a short description of what happens. This will give you an idea of how your book really progresses. Again, whether you are a planner or a pantser, you need to go through this process during your revisions.

4) Start with the timeline. This is step is key, and one I often fail to do. You must know when everything is happening. If you’re a creative ADHD type like me, then this step will KILL you. I know that. You know that. However, we both know that sometimes you have to bite the bullet and just do it already. This is one of those times.

5) Next, identify what happens relating to your main plot in each chapter. What you may find is that occasionally NOTHING happens relating to your main plot. If that’s so, then ask yourself why. Every chapter should be advancing your main plot in some way. If it doesn’t, then change it or take it out.

6) Continue the process through the rest of your subplots. Go through each plot, identifying what’s happening with that subplot during that point of the novel. With some of the subplots, it’s fine if nothing new happens for the subplot. However, you should know WHAT is happening during that subplot.

7) Begin revisions. Address each plot, keeping the timeline in mind. Try to remind the readers about each subplot in some small way. Sometimes, it can be as simple as adding a single line about the subplot, which remind the readers, “Oh yeah, that’s going on too.” You may also want to add mention of the timeline as you go as well, which will ground the readers on what’s happening when.

8) Marvel at how much clearer your novel has become.

Awesome, right? Please leave a comment and don't forget to stop by S. Kyle's blog!

Tip Tuesday #68

Guys, I just hit 1000 followers. Thank you! I can't tell you how touched I am you've stuck around when I've been such a quiet blogger the last half of this year. There will be a post on that SOON (cause you know I can't resist an end-of-year post). In the meantime, I have a fabulous tip from Deren Hansen on research! Please visit his blog as thanks.

If we literally followed the advice to, "write what you know," we wouldn't have stories about boy wizards, ruby slippers, or epic wars sweeping across a galaxy. Of course, we might argue that the person who imagined those things does, in fact, know them. Writer's face a bigger challenge when they want to write about something, like a city or a profession, with which they have no experience but others know very well.

There are many ways to learn about something unfamiliar: books, travel, interviews, etc. Between its search engine, maps, and street view, Google makes it particularly easy to pick up a passing familiarity with a topic or take a virtual tour of a place.

But the particular problem for writers is that we generally don't have time to become experts on the topic. So how do you know when you've done enough research to use the unfamiliar thing in your story without giving the people who actually know the thing reason to throw your book across the room?

I use the following guidelines:
  • Your research isn't done until you've discovered something surprising about the topic.
  • Your research isn't done until you can explain how the conventional wisdom is right and wrong.
I have a longer discussion about research techniques when writing about the unfamiliar on my blog, The Laws of Making.

Deren Hansen

Guest Blogger Edward Stern: The Evolution of Children’s Books


Hi everyone! Today I have a guest post by Edward Stern from My Dog Ate My Blog on the evolution of children’s books.  Please give it a read and leave a comment.  I would love to know what you’ve observed in the evolution of kidlit, too!

The Evolution of Children's Books

MDAMB avatar Edward Stern is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on online schools and universities for Guide to Online Schools.
Growing up, my favorite books were classics like Curious George or any number of Dr. Seuss books. Children's books were simple but whimsical morality tales, teaching me and other readers to do right, with heartwarming illustrations that didn't require a lot of critical analysis.
My, how things have changed. Over the last 25 year children's books have become more elaborate and denser affairs, incorporating often tough themes that books of an older generation would not have touched, but treating them deftly and warmly. The simple illustrations of older classics have been replaced by elaborate, colorful displays, gorgeously hand-drawn, painted, or now, computer-generated with added complexities such as pop-up pages or other gimmicks.
Children's books have become more sophisticated, in plot, subject matter, and illustration/presentation, reflecting a need to keep children interested in an age of ever-present media. Getting children to read has always been difficult, but never more so than now. There is stiff competition from more instant gratification such as the internet, television, and video games. Children's books have to vie for the attention of their audiences against new mediums.
As a result, the books have become increasingly more complex. The pages are glossier, the plots more detailed, the illustrations more eye-catching. The information age has brought about a revolution in how authors and publishers think about a child's aptitude to comprehend. As video games have taught us, children grasp technology well. But their understanding of the underlying content is truly remarkable. Traditional children's stories have perhaps ignored a child's ability to critically analyze situations and problem-solve, focusing instead on naive, escapist, parent-approved tales.
Tradtional stories still certainly have a place, but there is also now room for books that tackle tougher subjects. Previously unheard of, many books now deal with the sentiments of loneliness, particularly resulting from busy or negligent parents. Others explore parents with alternative lifestyles, like the famous Jennifer Has Two Daddies and Heather Has Two Mommies. Children's books need not skirt life's truths. Instead, they should teach acceptance of all kinds of feelings and differences relevant to modern times, because children need not be shielded: they are sophisticated enough to handle it.
It would be wrong to write about any trend in children's lit without discussing the Harry Potter phenomenon. These books incorporate all the above-discussed to make one mega series: complex plot; hard themes including isolation, death, and loss; and exciting writing and action that bests anything on film or television (except maybe the Harry Potter films themselves). These are books that many parents would have considered too dark and intense in previous years, but are now the most popular ones the world has ever seen.
To be sure, Curious George still has a place in today's age. Sweetness and good storytelling will never go away, and it's something publishers of all eras should to keep under consideration. But to see the publishing houses of children's literature respect their audience's capacity to learn and grapple with complex and challenging topics is most encouraging, and perhaps represents the greatest change from yesteryear.

Tip Tuesday #67

Hey everyone! I have another great tip from Lisa Nowak today (she has so many great ones!). Please give this a read and then stop by her blog for a little Christmas cheer. You don't want to miss Lisa singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlecats. : ) Really, go be amused.
Backing up Emails

I'm too lazy to keep a journal, but I do have people I email regularly, sharing what I've been up to. With my writing friends, I often brainstorm book ideas in these emails. Several years ago I realized they were a valuable resource, so I started archiving them. Each month I save them to Word, creating a document with a name that makes it easy to find later. (ex: Aug 2010) I save the emails I receive in separate documents from the ones I send. By backing things up this way, it's easy to find things later by doing a word search. If I know, for example, that I discussed ideas for a particular character last summer, I open the appropriate document and do a search for that character's name.

While this is useful for archiving story ideas, it's also a nice substitute for a journal. Sometimes it's fun to take a trip down memory lane to see what was so important to you a year or two ago.
Great tip, Lisa! I archive a lot of the e-mails I receive but hadn't considered backing up the important ones I send. I bet it's really neat reading through those old thoughts and feelings.

Agent Spotlight: Steven Axelrod

This week's Agent Spotlight features Steven Axelrod of The Axelrod Agency, Inc.
StevenAxelrodAbout: “Steven Axelrod has been an agent for over 30 years and president of his own agency for more than 25 years. Prior to agenting, he was an editor at The Literary Guild, managing editor at Harcourt Brace and a reader for a number of paperback houses. His present clients include two-time Edgar Award-winning mystery author S.J. Rozan, as well as many top women’s fiction authors, including #1 New York Times bestsellers Christine Feehan, J.R. Ward and Julia Quinn, as well as multi-New York Times Bestsellers Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips , Suzanne Brockmann and Catherine Anderson."

Status: Accepting submissions.
What He's Looking For:
Chick Lit, Fantasy (paranormal), Mystery, Romance, Thrillers/Suspense, Women's Fiction, Young Adult. (Link, Link)
“In terms of fantasy, he is only interested in paranormal fantasy.” (Link)
What He Isn't Looking For:
Picture books, screenplays, high fantasy.
About the Agency:
Founded in 1983 (Link). 
In 1994 the agency joined with The Rowland Agency to form the Axelrod & Rowland Agency; however, they appear to have separated in recent years. (Link)
Pet-Peeves:
Unknown.
Editorial Agent?
Unknown.
Web Presence:
Website (under construction).
AAR.
Twitter.
LinkedIn.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker
Clients:
Catherine Anderson, Barbara Bretton, Suzanne Brockmann, Jayne Castle / Jayne Ann Krentz / Amanda Quick, Alyssa Day, Christine Feehan, Amanda Hocking, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julia Quinn, S.J. Rozan, J.R. Ward, among many others,
Sales:
As of this posting, Mr. Axelrod is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 8 deal in the last 12 months, 10 six-figure+ deals, and 19 overall.  Recent deals include 7 women’s/romance and 1 paranormal.
Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: Yes.  
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Send a query letter only.  Include a SASE if querying by snail-mail.
See Mr. Axelrod’s AAR page for contact information (including e-query address).
Response Times:
I saw his response time for queries listed as 2-3 months on an agent listing site.  Limited stats suggest of average of about 3 weeks with instances coming in sooner and later.  His response time on requested material appears to range from days to months but is usually within a month.
What's the Buzz?
Steven Axelrod is considered a top notch agent, well known for his award-winning, bestselling mystery and women’s fiction clients and years in the business.  He accepts young adult fiction according to all the databases, but I am not aware of any YA clients or sales at this time.  I couldn’t find any specifics on what he might be looking for in the YA realm, but I think he’s definitely worth a query. 
Worth Your Time:
Interviews:
None that I could find online.
Around the Web:
Why Publishing is Making You Crazy—and What You Can Do About It: The Tao of Publishing, article by Steven Axelrod and client Julie Ann Long (12/08).
Big Publishers Terrified of Kindle Mavericks, great article featuring Amanda Hocking’s success story and how Mr. Axelrod handled her originally self-published work (10/10).
Conference notes including Steven Axelrod from a ECWC Agent Panel at Musetracks (10/09).
The Axelrod Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.
Contact:
Please see Mr. Axelrod’s AAR page or one of the query databases above for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 3/14/17
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 natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

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

Sorry!

That was supposed to be an update to a post, not a re-post!

Tip Tuesday #66

Tip Tuesday time! Today I have a tip from author Laura Lascarso whose debut YA novel comes out from Antheum in 2012. Congrats Laura! Please visit her website to check out her blog and book! Here's her tip:

Finding the ly's

This is a quick post to share something that I did with my latest manuscript that I found really, really effective. On a friend's recommendation, I did a search for “ly” and brought up all my ugly adverbs. ugLY, My biggest offense was the word “really” which I had one on nearly every page, which I’ve used three times already. Who knew? I also came up with the word “family” a lot, which led me to believe that it was a big theme that I had overlooked before. Next I’m doing “okay” and “like.” Hopefully at the end of it, my manuscript will be cleaner, tighter and stronger for it.

Every little word counts. Really, it does, really, really.

Oh, and one more fun thing to do when you’re trying to procrastinate, check out the Gender Genie, http://bookblog.net/gender/genie.php Basically, you plug in a sampling of your text and the Gender Genie figures out how male or female your narrator is. For instance, I inserted this blog post into the Gender Genie and it gave me a score of 254 Female and 235 Male.

Just as I suspected, I’m a female.

- Laura Lascarso

Love this, Laura! Every word does count. I'm happy to report I (or my narrator, at least) seems to be female as well. : ) Looking forward to seeing your first book on my shelf!

Agent Spotlight: Adam Friedstein

This week's Agent Spotlight features Adam Friedstein of Anderson Literary Management, LLC.

NOTE: I've received a report that Mr. Friedstein is no longer with Anderson Literary. You may want to hold off on querying. Will post details when I have them - 2/14/12.

Adam Friedstein About: “Adam grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts and holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Bard College.

“He began his publishing career in 2005 at Writers House, later going on to the foreign rights department at Harold Ober Associates, and most recently Trident Media Group where he worked with agents Ellen Levine, Alex Glass, and Melissa Flashman and authors such as Christopher Andersen, Russell Banks, Stanley Fish, and Matt Bondurant.

“He’s looking for books that make statements, books with captivating characters and loud voices, books with unique perspectives on the familiarity of adolescence and adulthood, specifically debut literary fiction, literary thrillers, young adult fiction and narrative and serious nonfiction, including memoir, popular science, and pop-culture books.” (Link)

Status: Accepting submissions.

What He's Looking For:

From his bio:

“He’s looking for books that make statements, books with captivating characters and loud voices, books with unique perspectives on the familiarity of adolescence and adulthood, specifically debut literary fiction, literary thrillers, young adult fiction and narrative and serious nonfiction, including memoir, popular science, and pop-culture books.” (Link)

From Guide to Literary Agents on YA:

“I have never been a big sci-fi or fantasy guy. I do go for YA on the historical side. I like YA on the darker, older side as well—quirky stories that remind me of the pathos of adolescence in a creative way. (Link)

(See his interview with GLA for more info on the adult genres he reps.)

What He Isn't Looking For:

Plays, screenplays, science fiction, cookbooks, gardening, craft books, picture books. (Link)

He does NOT want supernatural YA (info via e-mail).

Quotables:

About the Agency:

"Anderson Literary Management is the culmination of Kathleen Anderson’s three decades of publishing experience, thirteen of those years as an agent, seventeen as an editor. In 1995, she made the unorthodox decision (at the time, which is commonplace now) to “jump the fence” and leave institutional publishing for the entrepreneurial world of agenting. The decision was prescient because, in fairly short order, her authors gained international reputations on the back of her established tenure as an editor. It was a liberating move, allowing her to become more closely aligned with the discovery of authors and manage their artistic development. Her literary acumen attracted writers of all stripes without the restrictions of working for a single imprint of a publishing house. Now ALM represents authors to the industry as a whole. This time, however, it’s on our own terms, with writers that reflect our many and varied passions in life.” (Link)

“We are committed, spunky, empathetic communicators, representing authors who are truth-tellers as well as story-tellers. We foster long-term relationships based on integrity, sound business practices, mutual respect, and companionship. We represent authors, not books – meaning, we manage and nurture the careers and ideas of writers over many books, not just on a book-by-book basis – and we remain active as partners throughout the publishing process. We orchestrate publishing and media deals worldwide involving factors both personal and professional, because matching writers with the right people to publish, film, and stage their work is our key to their success.” (Link)

Pet-Peeves:

Receiving submissions for genres he doesn’t rep, multiple book submissions, and form queries (info via e-mail).

Editorial Agent?

Yes, very much! He does a lot of editorial work with his clients and really enjoys that aspect of what he does. (info via e-mail).

Web Presence:

Anderson Literary website (his info is not up yet).

LinkedIn.

QueryTracker.

Clients:

There is a list of Anderson Literary Management clients on the website. Mr. Friedstein has a growing list he is actively submitting.

Sales:

As of this posting, Mr. Friedstein does not appear to be a member of Publisher’s Marketplace. He reports, via e-mail, that he does not have any sales yet (new agent!) but is actively submitting his clients.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.

Snail-Mail: Yes.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

For fiction, creative nonfiction, and memoir, send a query letter, a brief 1-3 page synopsis, and up to 50 pages of material. Include a SASE if sending via snail-mail.

For nonfiction, send a query letter, proposal, and up to three chapters. Include a SASE if sending via snail-mail.

See the Anderson Literary Management website for complete up-to-date submission guidelines. See this interview on the Guide to Literary Agents blog for info on submitting via e-mail.

Query Tips:

“I don't hate synopses, though I do prefer to experience a story for myself, especially if it's already piqued my interest with a well-written and creative pitch.” (Link)

Response Times:

The agency has a stated response time of minutes to six weeks on queries. Mr. Friedstein seems to honor this with most responses falling within days to a week. There are occasional instances up to the six-week mark, however. Requested material seems to get a response within a month or two.

What's the Buzz?

Adam Friedstein is a relatively new agent but has worked in the publishing industry since 2005. He does not have any sales yet but has a list of clients he is actively submitting. I’ve seen mention that the agency has a team philosophy, suggesting Mr. Friedstein has the knowledge and experience of his colleagues to offer on top of his own. Wishing him many sales in the coming year!

You can find him at the Writer’s Digest conference in January, The DFW Conference in February, and The Write Stuff Conference in March 2011.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Agent Advice Interview with Adam Friedstein at the Guide to Literary Agents Blog (08/2010).

Around the Web:

Adam Friedstein on P&E.

Anderson Literary Management on P&E.

Anderson Literary Management on AbsoluteWrite.

Contact:

Please see the Anderson Literary Management website and Mr. Friedstein’s interview on the Guide to Literary Agents blog for contact and query information.

***

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.

Tip Tuesday #65

I hope you had a fabulous holiday! I sure did, but it was a lazy week as far as writing goes. I have another Tuesday Tip from Lisa Nowak today. Please visit her blog, The Tao of Webfoot, when you're ready to leave!

Outlining by Subplot

If you're the outlining type, you might find that even if you can come up with ideas, it's difficult to figure out how to organize them. One thing that helps me is organizing by subplot. I give each one a name and move all the plot points for that subplot under that heading. I then resize my margins and make the document into two columns. After printing, I cut apart the individual ideas and glue them onto 3 x 5 cards. I use a different color for each subplot. Now I can spread them out on a table and see everything at once. It takes time to figure out where things should ultimately wind up, but it's easier to do this process with cards than by dragging and dropping bits of text on the computer. And with the different-colored cards it's very clear where you've neglected a subplot or concentrated on it too much. Once you've got your cards organized be sure to number them in case they get mixed up. You can now use them to order your plot points in your original document.

To see my whole outlining process step-by-step, you can visit the outlining page on my blog.


Love this tip, Lisa!! Very timely. I've been playing around with outlining this month and am always looking for new methods to try.

Agent Spotlight: Ann Behar

This week's Agent Spotlight features Ann Behar of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, Inc.
Ann BeharAbout: “It has always been books for me, even if I veered off my path at times. I majored in English and received my B.A. from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1981. I went on to receive an M.A. in English literature in 1982 from the University of Virginia and my J.D. from the University of San Diego Law School in 1985. Things happened quickly after that. My husband began practicing medicine (he is a neurologist) in 1986, and my first daughter was born that August. My second daughter was born 16 months later, and for the next 15 years or so I was a full-time mother and wife. What to do with my degrees stayed on a back burner.
“In 2002, with my high school-age daughters half-way out the door, I was ready to go back to work. I found one of the few businesses in the world - the literary agency business - where an English degree and a law degree are equally valuable.
“I joined SCG, learning the business from top to bottom, doing everything from reviewing and negotiating contracts to evaluating manuscripts, with heavy, constant contact with writers.
“After five years, Russell asked me to take over the firm's small but growing list of juvenile writers and grow it into something more substantial. I accepted the challenge, and have been searching for wonderful children's books, from picture books to YA, ever since.” (Link)
Status: Accepting submissions.



What She's Looking For:
Interests:  Children’s books, picture book to YA.
From her bio:
“I am looking for anything that is beautifully written, with a strong, distinct voice and characters that come alive on the page. Ideally, a book should grab my attention from the very beginning and hold it there, and leave me thinking about it for a few days after I am finished.” (Link)
From Twitter (03/2010):
“I personally love literary fiction but I'm open to commercial stuff too.” (Link)
“I am looking for absolutely anything that is beautifully written and original.” (Link)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Adult projects, screenplays.  I also don’t see anything that indicates she is interested in nonfiction. 
About the Agency:
“Founded (under the name Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency) in 1992 by three of the industry's most successful and experienced agents, the firm was renamed when our senior colleague Anna Ghosh became a partner.
“Works represented by the agency have appeared scores of times on national bestseller lists and been made into dozens of Hollywood movies and translated into more than 40 languages.
“Our list is eclectic and chaotic, rich and diverse, and there is no type of book that doesn't interest us if it is first-rate. We take on clients who interest us deeply as people and as writers, whatever their background and prior accomplishments. At any given moment we might be working on a first sale for an exciting new author or an eight-figure deal for a veteran of the New York Times bestseller list, or anything in between.” (Link)
Dislikes (Don'ts):  
Unknown.
Editorial Agent?
I’ve seen mention of client revisions, such as in this interview with Kate Milford.
Web Presence:
SGG website.
Twitter.
Facebook.
WeBook.
QueryTracker, AuthorAdvance.
Clients:
Ms. Behar handles SGG’s children’s list including: Sabrina Benulis, M.B. Brown, Frank L. Cole, Cory Doctorow, Ty Drago, Esther Friesner, Stephen Giles, Charles de Lint, Robert Jeschonek, Juliet Marillier, Kate Milford, William Sleator, Farhana Zia, among many others.
There is a select list of the agency’s juvenile titles on the website.
Sales:
As of this posting, Ms. Behar is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 4 deals in the last 12 months and 8 overall.  Recent deals include 3 young adult and 1 middle grade.
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):
No snail-mail - E-mail queries only (info via e-mail)!
Send a query letter only.  No attachments. A request for additional materials will be made if Ms. Behar is interested. 
See the SGG website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Query Tips:
“A good title can catch my eye, even if the query letter isn't particularly good, and make me request the manuscript where I might not otherwise have done so…Basically, if someone has come up with an interesting, original title, my suspicion is that s/he has something interesting to say.” (Link)
Response Times:
The agency has a no-response-means-no policy.  Ms. Behar seems to respond to queries within a week or two, if interested.  Her response time on requested material seems to range from days to a month.
What's the Buzz?
Ann Behar has been with SGG Literary Agency since 2002, representing the agency’s impressive juvenile list since 2005.  I see every reason to recommend her: top notch agency, specialization in children’s literature, great track record, high profile clients, no web-based complaints, etc!  Please let me know if the comments if you’ve had any experience with her. 
Worth Your Time:
Interviews:
None that I could find online.
Around the Web:
Ms. Behar and client Kate Milford participated in a #Scribechat session on Twitter March 2010.  The transcript seems to be down, but you can see her responses on her Twitter feed, at least.
There are several essays on publishing on the SGG website that may be of interest.
Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency on P&E (Highly Recommended).
Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.
Contact:
Please see the Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency website for contact and query information.

Last updated: 6/10/2017
***
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

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

Happy Thanksgiving!


I hope you all have a delightful and scrumptious Thanksgiving! It's an impossible task to list all the things I'm thankful for, but I'm certainly thankful this blog has brought each of you into my life, especially those of you I've become close friends with. Life has never been richer. <3

Tip Tuesday #64

I have another great tip from Deren Hansen of The Laws of Making, this one on that pesky ol' inner editor. Make sure you visit the post linked below for more suggestions on how to appease it!

Your inner editor is the writing equivalent of your conscience. Jeanette Ingold said, "Your internal editor is no-nonsense; wants to keep you out of trouble; and doesn't want you to make a fool of yourself."

In cognitive science terms, your inner editor is a left-brain entity that, like its kin, focuses on detail. So a common thread in all the particular techniques is to give your inner editor a detail-oriented task to keep it busy (the mental equivalent of giving a child a coloring book). This is why drives, or long showers are often settings for inspiration: the left-brain busies itself with the details of keeping the car on the road or registering the white noise of the shower, freeing the right-brain to make associations.

So what specifically can you do as writer to quiet your inner editor? I have a number of suggestions in a longer discussion on my blog, but here are two that I've found particularly helpful.

First, be somewhat systematic about your writing. If you work to a regular schedule it's easier for your left brain to believe it when you tell it that you'll come back and correct the details errors during a future writing session.

Second, enlist your inner editor with detail-oriented tasks that support your writing. Your inner editor loves to make calendars or time-lines of key events in your story, character bios, outlines, and any sort of list. All of these artifacts help address your inner editor's fear that you get key details wrong.

Of course, it's easy to fall into the trap of appeasing your inner editor so much that you don't get any actual writing done (e.g., what fantasy authors call, "world-building disease"). The key is to time-box your inner editor: I often start a writing session with ten or fifteen minutes of detail work to both quiet my inner editor and to warm up.

Agent Spotlight: Victoria Marini

This week's Agent Spotlight features Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, Inc.

Victoria Marini About: “Victoria Marini was born in Pennsylvania and moved to New York in 2003. She is the newest member of the Agency and came to Gelfman Schneider in July of 2008 as an Agency Assistant after graduating college in 2007. She has begun to build her own client list which includes commercial fiction, narrative non-fiction, and memoir. She is very interested in acquiring literary fiction, YA, and pop-culture and is looking for debut writers.” (Link)

Status: Accepting submissions, actively building her list.

What She's Looking For:

Fiction: Action/Adventure, Mystery, Women's Fiction, Young Adult/Juvenile.

Non-Fiction: Humor, Memoir, Narrative Non-fiction. (Link)

From her bio:

“She has begun to build her own client list which includes commercial fiction, narrative non- fiction, and memoir. She is very interested in acquiring literary fiction, YA, and pop-culture and is looking for debut writers.” (Link)

From an Interview (09/10):

“I’d love to see strong YA with genuine characters, an exciting story, and a fully realized world. I’m looking for edgy contemporary YA and for a fresh take on paranormal /supernatural. The only thing that is probably not for me is a coming of age story.

“As for my wish list…I’d love a so-suspenseful-I-can’t-put-it-down women’s mystery. I desperately want a spooky fantasy in the vein of Neil Gaiman. I want a gothic novel. I’d love a fresh take on the classic American noir mystery for the YA audience. I’m also interested in acquiring speculative fiction. That being said, my tastes are very eclectic and I’m drawn to anything full of heart and imagination.” (Link)

From Guide to Literary Agents:

“She is specifically looking for YA, commercial adult fiction, mysteries, creative nonfiction, memoir, pop culture, and humor. What she really wants is a book so engrossing she cannot put it down. While she loves edgy, paranormal, and suspenseful YA, she is not your best bet for traditional coming-of-age novels.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Screenplays, serious nonfiction, politics, math, religion, or other academic/reference books.  She is not the best bet for traditional coming-of-age novels. (Link)

About the Agency:

“Gelfman Schneider represents a wide range of authors including American Academy of Arts, Edgar Awards and Pushcart Prize winners as well as several New York Times bestselling authors. Among our diverse list of clients are playwrights, journalists, scientists, activists & humorists writing narrative non-fiction, memoir, political & current affairs, popular science and popular culture non-fiction, as well as novelists writing literary & commercial fiction, women’s fiction, and historical fiction. 

“We also exploit all the sub-rights to our clients work including Foreign Rights, Audio Rights, and Film & Television Rights and have been privileged to form working relationships with various co-agents. We are dedicated to veterans of the business & emerging voices which maintains our longstanding traditions while ensuring that we and our clients thrive in the future.” (Link)

Dislikes (Don'ts):  

“If an author is rude, trashes the book industry, trashes others’ books, tries to tell me why they don’t want to follow guidelines or why their novel will make a million dollars, I am usually not going past the first paragraph. I also can’t stress enough the importance of checking out agent guidelines and bios before you submit. You would be surprised by how many queries I get for popular reference books, which I don’t represent. It is a waste of postage to query an agent who does not represent the genre in which you are writing.” (Link)

Editorial Agent?

Yes.  “I’d say I am a very editorial agent. I think my style would probably be classified as collaborative. I believe in talking, asking questions, and brainstorming. I maintain a close relationship with my bosses and industry friends whose advice is precious to me. I have an open door policy and share as much information as possible with my clients and want to know what visions my clients have for their books and future with me. I want my clients to feel confident, informed and comfortable. I’m very friendly.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Gelfman Schneider Lit website.

WeBook.

Twitter.

Facebook.

QueryTracker.

Clients:

There is a list of agency clients on the website.  Ms. Marini’s clients include: Lisa Amowitz, Hannah Sternberg, among others.

Sales:

As of this posting, Ms. Marini does not appear to be a member of Publisher’s Marketplace.  I do not see mention of any sales on Google search, either.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.

Snail-Mail: No.  

Online-Form: WEbook.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query letter, synopsis, and sample (of no more than 40 pages) in the body of an e-mail, or submit through WEbook.

Please see the Gelfman Schenider Lit website and Ms. Marini’s WEbook profile for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines. 

Query Tips:

“The query letters I am drawn to the most are the ones that get right to the point and are written with the author’s unique voice. Be original, engaging and informative. Tell me about your book. I don’t need statistics, marketing ideas, generic letters, and overly formal introductions.” (Link)

Response Times:

The agency has a stated response time of four weeks.  Ms. Marini seems to respond within a week to a month.  Response times on requested material are limited but seem to fall within a month or two.

The Gelfman Schneider Lit website also states:

“If you followed all the submission instructions and have not heard back within 4 weeks, please write to us with subject line “query follow-up.” This is ONLY for instances where your submission has not been acknowledged by us within 4 weeks.” (Link)

What's the Buzz?

Victoria Marini is a relatively new agent with growing buzz.  She’s active on Twitter and her fun, friendly nature comes through there.  I definitely recommend following her.  Not only will you get occasional updates on queries and fulls, you’ll get a great peek at her personality and interests.  I’ve been nothing but impressed in my limited contact with her. 

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Agent Interview with Victoria Marini at Shiny (09/2010).

Around the Web:

Keep an eye on the About Us page on the website for recent deal news.

“The Last Book I Loved, The Testament of Gideon Mack,” guest post by Victoria Marini at The Rumpus (10/2009).

“Should Jackets Be Required?” an article by Victoria Marini at The Brooklyn Rail.

Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, Inc. on P&E (Recommended).

Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, Inc. thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Contact:

Please see the Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, Inc. website and Ms. Marini’s WEbook profile for contact and query information.

***

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

Tip Tuesday #63

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to share a tip, please do so. Today's tip was sent in by Rane Anderson who blogs at The Lit Express (love that blog title!). Here she is!


We've all heard that no matter what we say to someone, body language is what communicates most of our message. This should hold up in the stories we write. It's difficult because unlike real life interactions...or interactions in movies...we rely on communicating a message with words and no pictures. We use words to create the pictures. Our characters' body language and facial expressions are still important. Writers rely a great deal on dialogue to move the story along. But to add depth to what our characters say, it's important to tag dialogue with the appropriate body language and facial expressions.

"I'll give you the money," he said obligingly. <-- This is quick and easy, but it's lacking depth.

His nostrils flared a second before he smiled. "I'll give you the money." <-- This isn't as black & white as the the line above. The difference is the subtle suggestion of an emotion besides "obliging." This guy was trying to hide his resentment with a smile, but his involuntary microexpression gave him away to the reader and possibly the other characters.


Love this tip / mini lesson! Rane has a longer post micoexpressions and body language here. It's great! Please check it out and consider following The Lit Express.

Agent Spotlight: Kerry Sparks

This week's Agent Spotlight features Kerry Sparks of Levine Greenberg Literary Agency.

Kerry Sparks About: “Kerry Sparks grew up in a rainy, rural Oregon town. After spending her formative years building tree forts, swimming in the river, and navigating life as a middle child, she made the move to Southern California for some sunshine. During her six years in Los Angeles, Kerry produced a play, published a short story, graduated college with honors, worked in various facets of the film industry, and ate a lot of delicious food.

“In addition to her passion for words, Kerry has a love for film, road trips, running, and bubble tea. Although she enjoys the luxuries of gargantuan cities she has lived in, Kerry has yet to find a bookstore as impressive as Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon.” (Link)

Status: Accepting submissions, actively building her list.

What She's Looking For:

Interests: Children’s books (picture books through young adult), fiction and nonfiction, and select adult non-fiction projects (heath and lifestyle).

From her Website Bio:

“Kerry loves to be transported and surprised when reading both fiction and nonfiction. She is looking for great YA and middle-grade fiction, both commercial and literary, with a fresh voice and compelling story (although she tends to shy away from the paranormal) and enjoys the occasional picture book. In non-fiction, Kerry is most drawn to health and lifestyle books with a prescriptive focus.” (Link)

From her SCBWI Bio:

“Kerry Sparks is actively looking for YA fiction, middle grade fiction, and picture books, but is also interested in finding great non-fiction for a young audience. She enjoys working on stories that are often simple but have complex characters. She is particularly interested in picture books with a fresh voice, literary YA, narratives with a cinematic element, YA/Adult crossover, and slightly-edgy middle grade. She tends to shy away from paranormal, although if the story grabs her, she’s in!” (Link)

From Conference Notes (11/2010):

“Kerry represents PBs, MG, and YA and is particularly interested in finding romantic YA, school stories, quirky MG, and narratives with a cinematic element. She tends to shy away from werewolves and zombies, but will read anything with a strong voice and compelling characters.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Adult fiction, screenplays.

About the Agency:

"Founded in 1989 by author and academic entrepreneur James Levine, we have grown into a firm of thirteen people with offices in New York and San Francisco.  We work in every category of fiction and non-fiction.

"We represent people, not just individual projects; more than selling books, we work as our clients' creative and business partners throughout the entire publishing process. Our goal is to develop and guide talent to its fullest expression across a variety of media-books, film and television, audio, and electronic formats.

"Most of our titles are published by imprints of the major houses-Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin Group, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, etc-but we have also done business with almost fifty independent and/or university presses.

"Our strong foreign rights department works internationally with a respected network of co-agents to place our titles with leading foreign publishers, and we are regular participants at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the London Book Fair, and Book Expo America." (Link)

Dislikes (Don'ts):

Unknown.

Editorial Agent?

Yes, the entire agency is. "We offer service in four broad areas: editorial development, business representation, collaborating writers, and publicity & marketing strategy." (More info)

Web Presence:

Levine Greenberg Agency website.

SCBWI.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker.

Clients:

There is a page on the Levine Greenberg website featuring the agency’s client list and another with select MG & YA agency titles

Ms. Sparks clients include: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, Deena Limpoli, Jenny Lundquist, Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein, Malina Saval, Kristina Springer, among others.

Sales:

As of this posting, Ms. Sparks is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 2 deals in the last 12 months and 2 overall (with another 2 deals under her maiden name, Kerry Evans).  Recent deals include 2 young adult, 1 middle grade, and 1 picture book.

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):

Send a query to the agency e-mail addy addressing Ms. Sparks, attaching no more than 50 pages.  OR, fill out the online form addressing Ms. Sparks in the summary (and let her know you found her here!).

See the Levine Greenberg Lit website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines. 

Response Times:

The agency only responds if interested, usually within three seeks. Ms. Spark’s response time on requested material seems to be within a week to a month.

What's the Buzz?

Kerry Sparks is a relatively new agent who deserves some notice.  She’s been an agent with Levine Greenberg (recommended on P&E) since 2008, has already made a good handful of sales, and is actively looking for clients and building up the agency’s children’s list. Her clients seem very pleased so far.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

None that I could find online.

Around the Web:

Interview with Elizabeth Fisher, the Levin Greenberg rights manager at Divine Secrets of the Writing Sisterhood (12/2010).

Client Deena Limpoli’s re-agented (with Kerry Sparks!) story at Author 2 Author (10/2009).

See the “How We Work” page on the Levine Greenberg website for detailed agency info.

Levine Greenberg Literary Agency on PE (recommended).

Levine Greenberg Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Contact:

Please see the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency website for contact and query information.

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