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EXTRACTION through August 2nd

COPPER MAGIC through August 23rd

Public Critique: DREGO'S SWORD Query

 

Are you guys up for a query critique? It's been awhile! This one is for a YA high fantasy (fun!) and it's nice and short. Let's see what kind of feedback you have for Ashley who'd really love some outside input. If you're interested in having a query or excerpt posted for critique, please e-mail me for details.


Dear (Agent)

War is tearing apart the countries of Cyrah. Power-hungry Gordar has killed the previous king and has ascended to the throne. Using a kidnapped seer and a ruthless assassin, Gordar is bent on finding the three gems hidden throughout the land. A single gem holds an infinite amount of magic. Whoever possesses all three will have power unlimited.

But the first of the gems has already fallen into the hands of seventeen-year-old Drego, a talented young warrior from a small coastal village. He sets out to find the last two gems and defeat Gordar, a journey that will take him throughout Cyrah, into the arms of a headstrong young woman, and to a darker, more violent part of himself he hadn’t known existed.

Drego's Sword is an epic medieval fantasy that is 95, 000 words in length. It is the first book in a young adult series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Ashley

Thursday Spotlight Update

Hey guys! I just finished updating Regina Brooks's profile and sent her an e-mail for review. It has a lot of new info and links. Check it out!

I had hoped to update at least two profiles this week but things have been unusually insane. With any luck I'll be able to tackle a few next week.

I already have a couple requests for new agents to profile when I start up again. If you have one to add, feel free to e-mail me. It might take me a few days to respond but I will.

Hope you're having a fantabulous day!


Tip Tuesday #73

It's Tuesday and I have another great tip! This one was sent in by Christine Tyler, a.k.a. Martinelli Gold. Please visit Christine at her blog, The Writer-Coaster.

While writing rough drafts, I often get bogged down with my "literary voice." I'll want to say something, but I don't have the research done yet, or I am out of synch with the flow of my story. Instead of getting up and researching right then, or getting up and pretending I'm "thinking about it" while I have a bowl of cereal, I just write it the exact way I'm thinking about it. So instead of:

Lance ran toward the...*distraction*
or
Lance looked at the sky and said...*distraction*

It looks more like this:

Lance ran toward the big huge thing that kind of looks like a tank but isn't but I think they had them in WWI.
and
Lance looked at the sky and said, "dude, that's totally awesome."

I call these "place savers." The whole point is that instead of hitting a road block and allowing it to stop traffic for four hours (or days), you just drive around it. I underline my place savers so while I'm typing up my draft, or doing my research, I can easily change my notes into what I meant, and spend more time thinking of the perfect words, without slowing down my entire manuscript.

Hope this is useful!
Christine Tyler

Love this tip, Christine! Anyone who doesn't do this should definitely try it. Place savers are great for keeping momentum. Another idea is to put an asterisk next to them so you can ctrl+f and find them quickly when you need to.

So Tell Me: ?!

I've seen interrobangs in the form of "?!" used in a number of published YA books in the last year or two. I'm a fan, but I know others writers weep at the combination. One of my critique partners feels it's lazy writing. She argues it's telling, that one's writing should show the exclamation, and even says it's degrading to formal punctuation.

So Tell Me: How do you feel about "?!" in published books? Love it, hate it? Would you like to see it made into a standard punctuation mark and printed superimposed as invented in the 60s?

Live Chat with Pippin!

In case you missed the notice, we have a WriteOnCon Live Chat happening MONDAY with the amazing agents at Pippin Properties, Inc. I'm pasting the deets below. Also, we're looking for a VBulletin-savvy forum manager, if that sounds like you, check out this post.





Hello! Happy New Year from all of us here at WriteOnCon!

We hope you’re ready for WriteOnCon 2011 (come August) and a full year of live events–because we’ve been VERY busy behind the scenes, planning some new awesome. We thought we’d start the year off with a bang and announce our amazingly fabulous January Live event.

Are you ready for this? Got your shiny, new calenders out? Here are the details!

We’re SO excited to announce that we’re bringing in the amazing ladies at Pippin Properties, Inc for a special live chat/panel discussion!!!!!

Holly McGhee, Elena Mechlin, and Joan Slattery of Pippin Properties, Inc. will be joining WriteOnCon to discuss query writing do’s and dont’s and what they’re looking for!

When: Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 5:00 PM EST

In case you didn’t notice, the event is scheduled a little earlier than you might be used to, so make sure you make a note of the time and don’t miss out. We knew some people have had a harder time attending our later panels, so we thought we’d have a little variety.

The chat will go up about 15 minutes to 5:00 here on the homepage, and can also be found under the “live events / chat” tab above.

Make sure you come armed with plenty of your most pressing questions about query writing and what Pippin is looking for. We’ll be spending 30 minutes on each. And to help you better figure out what to ask, here’s a little more info about these lovely ladies:
About Holly:


Holly McGhee founded Pippin Properties in 1998, after seven years as an Executive Editor and Associate Publisher at HarperCollins, and four years in adult trade marketing. She still can hardly believe that she gets to work with books every day, and she firmly believes that you can learn just about everything you need to know in life from children’s books. She is honored to have spent more than a decade representing talented authors and artists such as Kate DiCamillo, William Steig, Harry Bliss, David Small, Doreen Cronin, Kathi Appelt, and her very own sister, Alison McGhee, as well as many other amazing people. In her personal life, Holly writes under the pen name Hallie Durand and she likes spending time with her three kids and husband, going bowling, grocery shopping, and taking care of her nineteen year old dinner-plate aurelia tree, the best plant on Earth!

About Elena:


After a few years of bopping around the publishing industry, Elena finally found the perfect position from which to pursue her love of all things children’s literature at Pippin Properties. At Pippin, she loves reading queries and loves the treasure hunt that ensues! A uniquely collaborative agency, Pippin represents publishing greats such as Kate DiCamillo, David Small, Peter H. Reynolds, Kathi Appelt, and Doreen Cronin, among many others. Elena loves funny picture books, is typically averse to rhyming texts, likes goofy middle grade, and is on the hunt for some hot YA! She spends much of her free time enjoying New York City on foot.

About Joan:


Joan Slattery joined Pippin Properties, Inc., as a literary agent in November 2010. Prior to that, she spent nearly twenty years editing fiction and picture books for Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House). As an editor, she had the pleasure of working with Philip Pullman, Jerry Spinelli, Jane Smiley, Cynthia Voigt, Adele Griffin, Shelley Pearsall, Jen Bryant, Laura McNeal, and Tom McNeal, among many others. She also holds great admiration for librarians (and their sway over the children’s book industry) and received her own Masters in Library Science while working as an editor. Joan lives with her husband and twin five-year-olds in a suburb of New York City.

You can learn more about Pippin and their fabulous clients at www.pippinproperties.com

We’d like to kick 2011 off with pizzazz so please spread the word.

We’ll see you Monday, January 24th!

Thursday Spotlight Update

Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown, Ltd.
Just a quick note to let you know I've updated Ginger Knowlton's profile, originally posted in 2009. I've e-mailed her with a request to review it and will add a line to the profile if she does, probably at the end under "Contact" (unless you think there's a better place?).

I started contacting each (newly) profiled agent in Feb of 2010 with a review request and have been leaving a note in the comments if they respond. I'm not sure everyone reads the comments though, so I think it's a good idea for me to add this information onto each profile with the date of review. It will take me awhile to go through them all, so please check the comments in the meantime.

I'll keep you updated!

ETA: Ms. Knowlton has reviewed her profile. This is what I added under "Contact" info:

Profile Details:

Last updated: 1/21/2011

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes – 1/21/2011

Reviewed By Agent? Yes – 1/22/2011

Comments: Positive response. No requested changes.


Look good? Thanks for the input, everyone!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Hello! How are things? You're looking chipper today. I've had a pretty great couple of weeks myself. The weather has been lovely, I started my last full term of school, and one of my uber-amazing critique partners debuted...


Heck yes, I'm excited!

I'm trusting you've read ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by now, but if you haven't, well, consider this my belated OMGYOUHAVETOREADTHISBOOKWHATAREYOUWAITINGFOR? Clearly, I'm biased, but I've also read hundreds of YA novels and know a good one when I experience it. PLUS, I wasn't one of her CPs when she wrote this. And Guys, if you're looking at the pink and purple-y romantic cover and the tagline, thinking, "yeah, this isn't for me" you might be surprised. The romance is surprisingly subtle. The story has a lot more to do with oppression, mystery, and murder. Really. But the sci-fi aspect isn't overwhelming, either. Trust me, I don't really do sci-fi and I love this book.

Here's the blurbage:

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

And here's Beth looking gorgeous and glowy, talking about AtU!



You can also find Beth at these places:

Website: http://www.bethrevis.com/
Blog: http://bethrevis.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bethrevis
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4018722.Beth_Revis
Penguin's AtU FB page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/acrosstheuniversebook

If you've already purchased AtU or if you do SOON, you can enter Beth's epic Launch Contest, open until January 25th. The details are HERE. ETA: Contest extended to Jan, 31st!

Here's the pic I just uploaded to the FB page (sorry about the reflection!):



In blog news, I ran out of Agent Spotlight requests last week so I'm going to go ahead with my plan to update old spotlights. I've given it some thought and I don't want to re-post, mostly because I don't want to create multiple links for each profile, but I WILL post and let you know which I've updated and keep you aprised of my progress.

So, have you read ACROSS THE UNIVERSE yet? What did you think?

Tip Tuesday #72

Happy Tuesday! I have another great tip from Lisa Nowak today. This might be a personal favorite. Please visit her blog, The Tao of Webfoot, on your way out.

Overcoming the "My Book is Crap" Syndrome

If you've written more than one book, you might have become aware of a pattern. Even if you don't see it yourself, your friends and family will surely notice. They'll hear you ranting how you latest book is pure crap, it's more difficult than any of the others you've written, and you'll never be able to sell it. They've probably given up on trying to reassure you, and that's just as well because you'll never believe them anyway. But here's the cold, hard truth. Those are just your writer's insecurities coming out, and you shouldn't take them seriously. But how can you possibly do that if you can't trust your own instincts?

Easy. Write yourself a letter. When those feelings begin to nag at you, sit down and start a document listing everything you remember about writing your last book. Jot down any worries you had and how things turned out in the end. Include details about how you're currently feeling. Now title the document "Read This Before Starting Your Next Book" and file it away. When you finish the project, be sure to go back and add an update about how your fears played out. Note when things got better and what seemed to help improve your attitude. It's common for writers to have doubts while muddling though a first draft, even if they use an outline. But those doubts usually don't amount to much in the grand scheme of things (unless you're one of those types who never finish a project. If so, never mind).

When you begin a new project and feel the stress welling up, open that document and take a look. Other people's words of reassurance are easy to blow off, but looking at your own experiences is a whole different thing.

- Lisa Nowak

Agent Spotlight: Joan Slattery


Profile removed.

It appears that Ms. Slattery is no longer with Pippin Properties.

Tip Tuesday #71

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where blog readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you have one you'd like to share, please get in touch! Today I have a tip from R. Mac Wheeler. Please visit his blog (where you will find cute dogs, book reviews, and writing advice!) after you've finished reading his tip on sentence flow below.

Every sentence must logically follow its preceding sentence, as every clause, paragraph, scene and chapter should logically flow from its preceding construct. Each should cascade like sparkling ice-melt down a crevasse, connected to the last shelf by an overhang.
Here are some guidelines I recommend for maintaining flow.

1. Every clause within a sentence must tightly couple—period.

2. One topic per sentence—period.

3. One topic per paragraph—period.

4. One topic per dialog—interrupt with direction if the character must wander.

5. Everything (topics, descriptions, actions, emotions, directions, tags…) must smoothly transition to the next, or you create a blind step for your reader to stumble over.

6. If a sentence hangs alone—it probably doesn't belong in the scene or passage, or you've understated/under explained, or told instead of showed.

7. If element A flows to B, then returns to A—RW, pushing B behind the last clause of A.

8. Description works best in longer sentences—back-to-back descriptive sentences gag the reader.

9. Action works best in shorter sentences—don't confuse rising tension with action.

10. Three staccato action sentences are platinum. Four is gold. Five is tarnished pewter.

11. Descriptives must couple with action—unless you're going for irony.

-R. Mac Wheeler

Leigh Bardugo: From Query To Book Deal in 37 Days

 

Good Monday, everyone! I'm in a super good mood because I get to share another amazing success story with you today. Please welcome Leigh Bardugo to the blog! Make sure you’re holding onto your computer chair (or couch cushion!) - Leigh has an incredible story and some GREAT tips to share.


WILD RIDE: FROM QUERY TO BOOK DEAL IN 37 DAYS

How does a first-time author go from query letter to three-book deal in just over a month? Luck, an amazing agent, and more luck.

After a a year of writing, research, revisions, and paralyzing bouts of self-doubt, I felt I had a manuscript that was ready for agents’ eyes. I wrote the best book that I could and did my best to query wisely. After that, the story belongs to the afore-mentioned amazing agent, Joanna Volpe of Nancy Coffey literary. Once she took over, I didn’t do much but keep my fingers crossed and avoid freaking out.

Here’s the tale of our wild ride, as well as a few tips that may have stacked the deck in my favor and that I hope will do the same for you.


LETTERS & LEGWORK

Tip #1: Query in small batches.

Querying is so stressful that it’s tempting to just go with a shotgun blast, but I recommend sniper fire. Why?

Quality control. When you mail/email in bulk, you’re more at risk for making silly mistakes like misspelling a name.

Adaptability. You only get one shot with most agents and agencies. If you’re not getting the response you want, you have a chance to tweak your query and your sample pages before you’ve blown your way through your whole list.

Keeping it personal and up to date. EVERYONE tells you to personalize queries but this can be tough, so use every advantage. Small batch querying means that you can keep up on changes to submission requirements, newly posted sales, and blog updates.

I first saw Joanna’s profile here on Casey’s blog. That led me to Nancy Coffey Literary and then to Confessions from Suite 500 where Joanna blogs with two other agents. Jo is a self-confessed fantasy nerd and she’d written a post in which she waxed ecstatic over LOTR, so I knew she was a true high fantasy fan.

I queried Joanna on October 27, 2010. She requested a full later that same day.

THE CALL

I was standing in line to return our Halloween costumes when I got Joanna’s email telling me that THE GRISHA had caused her to miss her subway stop and that this was the epic fantasy she’d been waiting for. I can only describe the sound I made as something between a sob and a yelp.

“Are you okay?” asked the clerk at Valentino’s.

I don’t think it helped ease his concern when I turned to him with tear-filled eyes and declared, “I am AWESOME.”

Joanna and I spoke that night and she officially offered me representation.

Tip #2: Choose... wisely.

I asked for a week to consider Jo’s offer and to give a heads up to the other agents who had requested fulls. This is professional courtesy. Even if you think you know which agent you want, if you’re lucky enough (see above) to have more than one agent interested in your work, then at least give the others a chance to make their pitch. They may surprise you.

When you choose an agent, you essentially put your future into his or her hands. Joanna sent me an editorial letter that made it clear that she really got my characters and my story. (She also called me out on what I knew might be weak elements in my MS.) But in the end, it was her enthusiasm for my work and, honestly, the full on geek-out of that LOTR post. I knew that Jo would pitch THE GRISHA with a fan’s passion.

GOING OUT

After I signed with Joanna, we went through a quick round of revisions. On November 12, we went out to editors.

Joanna warned me that we could have a wait ahead of us and I prepared myself. I would clean my office, start on my next project, bake a pie or twelve. But through some combination of timing, luck (see above), and Jo’s sparkle magic, editors started calling just a few days later. By the following week, we had our first offer.

Tip #3: Be prepared.

The calls I had with editors were great fun. I even chatted with one editor via gchat since she was traveling in France and Israel. (That was Noa Wheeler, the woman who would eventually become my editor.)

Mostly, we discussed writing, my career as a makeup artist and the inspiration for THE GRISHA. I got progressively better at these chats (relaxing, asking my own questions, not babbling about Russian folklore). Here are a few things to keep in mind when you get to this stage:

Be familiar with the imprint. Check out their online presence and their authors. Think about how your book might fit in with their other titles. This is also something you can ask about during your call.

Get used to talking about your book and yourself. If you’re a solitary sort like me, then you may not have had a chance to talk about your stories or your characters at length. I recommend practicing on your commute. One of my favorite things about the advent of cell phones is that no one looks at me like I’m crazy when I talk to myself anymore.

Take the chance to ask editors what elements of the manuscript might need work or if they have any major revisions in mind. This is not the time to debate plot points or character development, but you may get a better sense for how an editor relates to your work.

THE DEAL

THE GRISHA went to auction on December 1. For the next three days, I lived on New York time as Joanna updated me on bids and walked me through the language of a deal memo.

On Friday, December 3, 2010, THE GRISHA sold to Holt Children’s/ Macmillan. Just 37 days after I queried Joanna, I had a three-book deal.

My debut novel will be published in Fall 2012. Now, all I can do is keep writing, pray that readers embrace my work the way that Joanna and Noa have, and hope that my luck holds. Fingers crossed.

Leigh Bardugo lives in Los Angeles. Her debut novel will be published by Holt Children's/Macmillan in 2012. Follow her on twitter (http://twitter.com/Lbardugo) or visit her shiny new blog at http://leighbardugo.wordpress.com.

Love this story!!! Congratulations Leigh and Joanna! I'm thrilled for you both and cannot WAIT to read THE GRISHA.

Agent Spotlight: Scott Treimel

This week's Agent Spotlight features Scott Treimel of Scott Treimel NY.

Status: CLOSED to submissions except for conference attendees and referrals.

Treimel-Scott About:Scott Treimel has worked for a literary agency, a literary scout, two book publishers, a newspaper syndicate, a book club, and a movie studio, either buying, selling, packaging, editing or creating intellectual property—all for children. S©ott Treimel NY opened in 1995. His clients include teen thriller author Gail Giles, picture book author/illustrator Janie Bynum, Canadian Governor Award-winner and HarperCanada author Arthur Slade, picture book virtuoso Barbara Joosse with sales over 1.4 million, and legendary author/illustrator Cyndy Szekeres whose sales have topped 14 million.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“S©ott Treimel NY is a full-service "boutique" (small) agency representing the intellectual property rights in the work of authors and illustrators of books for children and teens, only. STNY's client list includes well-known talent and novice creators we believe can sustain long-term careers.  We are especially proud of the original talent we discovered and the careers we launched.

“We are members of the Association of Authors Representatives, the Authors Guild, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. We adhere to the principle that our clients' interest is always paramount. Our chief responsibility is to maximize the value of our clients' work and protect their fiduciary interests.  What we do is maneuver our clients' careers within the context of the quickly shifting book market.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Scott Treimel NY website.

Scott Treimel NY blog.

Publishers Marketplace page.

Twitter.

AAR.

LinkedIn.

AgentQuery.

QueryTracker.

What He's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

Children’s books, board books through young adult, fiction, non-fiction, and illustration (Link).

From an Interview (2007):

“Imaginative and well-crafted manuscripts! I want contemporary young chapter, middle grade, and teen novels.” (Link)

What He Isn't Looking For:

“We do not represent adult work, screenplays, or toy-only projects, and we do not answer such solicitation.” (Link)

STNY is not looking for picture book authors. (Link)

“…no fairies, rainbows, unicorns. Ever.” (Link)

“…please, no more stories about bullies, zombies, and yes, vampires!” (Link)

Pet-Peeves:

See this post, Pet (Writerly) Peeves, for some language peeves.

Editorial Agent?

Yes.  Mr. Treimel requests revisions as needed, edits manuscripts for submission, and likes to work with authors on developing their careers. 

Clients:

Kevan Atteberry, Sharon Biggs Waller, Janie Bynum, John Cusick, Ame Dyckman, Gail Giles, Barbara Haworth-Attard, Jeffry W. Johnston, Barbara Joosse, J. C. Phillipps, Janice Repka, Arthur Slade, Cyndy Szekeres, David Ward, Charlotte Zolotow, among many others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (if conference attendee or referral).

Snail-Mail: No.  

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

“After 20 years racing through or studying over 40,000 unsolicited submissions— to our delight, consternation, joy, bafflement, awe, horror, (and more!)— STNY's unsolicited submission chute is closing. In fact, it already is. No longer can we consider unsolicited submissions.

“STNY's list is heavy with clients whose work came over the transom (do people even know this term nowadays?), unpublished creators STNY is proud we discovered and developed (and continue to develop) and whose careers we continue building. (Notice we eschew 'to grow'.) STNY will of course continue to discover talent and add clients, only differently.

“Henceforth, we will accept submissions from attendees when we appear at conferences. And we will consider submissions recommended by our big passel of editor pals, author friends, and STNY clients. Lastly, we will read materials as particpants on awards committees, etc. So we are not going anywhere. We still want to discover talented creators.

“Look for STNY's participation at regional and national conferences and retreats and award shows and trade fairs and seminars and maybe a bookstore signing or two.” (Link)

Response Times:

The agency has a stated response time of 30 days.  Stats available on the web show Mr. Treimel responding within this time-frame with occasional instances outside of it.  His response time on requested material appears to be one to two months.

What's the Buzz?

Scott Treimel is a top-notch agent with a fabulous stable of clients and sales.  His clients seem thrilled with his representation and are happy to praise him.  The agency specializes in kidlit, is highly recommended by P&E, and adheres to the AAR Canon of Ethics.

Scott is currently CLOSED to unsolicited submissions. Follow him on Twitter and on the Scott Treimel NY blog for the latest.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Agent Interview with Scott Treimel at Alma Fullerton’s site (03/2007).

Around the Web:

Scott Treimel NY at P&E ($, AAR, Highly Recommended).

Scott Treimel NY thread at AbsoluteWrite

Agent Panel Discussion from the 2009 NJ SCBWI June Conference, including Scott Treimel, at Diary of Children’s Book Writer (06/2009).

Scott Treimel thread on Writers.net (2004).

Contact:

Please see the Scott Treimel NY website for additional contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last Updated: 1/27/14.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 2011.

***

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

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

Tip Tuesday #70

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where readers of the blog send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to share a tip, please do so. You can e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com. I happen to be out of tips in my queue, so today you get a tip from ME.

Edit some old writing.

Really! Pull up an old chapter, short story, article, blog post - whatever! - and edit it. The older the better. It will probably be utter drivel* but this exercise will allow you to see how you've improved since you wrote the piece while helping refine your current skill and style.

Try it and let me know what you discover!

*Editing old writing may lead to feelings of repulsion and a severe need for chocolately goodness. Before editing old writing, you should see that your mood meter is veering up and candy stash is well stocked.