Welcome to Literary Rambles! While you’re rambling around and exploring the site enter for a chance to win:

THE YOUNG ELITES through November 29th

Gratitude Giveaway Hop through November 30th

THE DISAPPEARING through December 8th.

Agent Spotlight: Miriam Kriss

This week's Agent Spotlight features Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Status: Open to submissions.

miriamAbout: “Miriam Kriss joined the Irene Goodman Literary Agency just as she was finishing her master's degree in Fine Arts at New York University in early 2004, and quickly became one of the hottest young agents in town. Going from Michelangelo to Nora Roberts was not as great a leap as it might seem, as Miriam had been obsessively reading commercial fiction since she found a copy of Judith McNaught's classic Whitney, My Love in a rented lakeside cabin when she was thirteen. A few pages in, not only were some gaps in her Catholic school education filled, but she was hooked. She reads fast: one hundred pages an hour, a novel a day, and well, that adds up to a lot of books a year. Miriam likes to say Irene knows the market because she's been doing this for over twenty-five years and is savvy as all get out, but Miriam herself knows the market because she is the market. And that knowledge has paid off for both her and her clients in a big way.

“Miriam's focus remains on commercial fiction and she represents everything from hardcover historical mysteries to all subgenres of romance, from young adult fiction to kick ass urban fantasies, and everything in between. If it's fun to read, she probably represents it. She doesn't look for specific stories, focusing instead on finding a voice she can fall in love with and champion. This strategy of taking on only clients she's passionate about has led to six-figure deals for first-time authors and numerous clients appearances on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists. During one memorable week, she had two authors appear on the Times list at the same time.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“We have been in business for over 30 years, and represent the best in commercial fiction, literary fiction, and non-fiction. Our authors have hundreds of appearances on the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Walden, and Bookscan bestseller lists.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Irene Goodman Agency website

Twitter.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

“Miriam is passionate about modern urban fantasy, young adult fiction, romance, and all other types of commercial fiction.” (Link)

From her Bio (above):

“Miriam's focus remains on commercial fiction and she represents everything from hardcover historical mysteries to all subgenres of romance, from young adult fiction to kick ass urban fantasies, and everything in between. If it's fun to read, she probably represents it. She doesn't look for specific stories, focusing instead on finding a voice she can fall in love with and champion.” (Link)

From AgentQuery:

“Her particular passions are YA paranormal romance and YA urban fantasy.”  (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Poetry, inspirational fiction, screenplays, or children’s picture books. (Link)

Editorial Agent?

Clients have praised her revision notes so I’m assuming yes, as needed.

Quotables:

“Write what you love. Write what you’d write whether anyone read a word, just because you need to write it. Write the book that only you can write. Then step back and look at the market. How can you make what you love something that a large number of people will want to read? If you can achieve that synergy, you can sell.” (Link)

Clients:

There is a page of agency authors on the website.

Ms. Kriss’s clients include: Toni Andrews, Keri Arthur, Jenna Black, Sarah Bromley, Rinda Elliot, Kelly Gay, Jen Hayley, Kelly Keaton, Jackie Morse Kessler, Karen Mahoney, Devon Monk, Jenna Petersen, Vicki Pettersson, Lilith Saintcrow, Brenda Scott Royce, Rachel Vincent, Gayle Ann Williams, among others.

Sales:

As of this posting, Ms. Kriss is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 1 deal in the last 12 months, 4 six-figure+deals, and 17 overall. Recent deals include one sci-fi/fantasy.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Email a query letter and the first ten pages, along with a synopsis (3-5 paragraphs) and bio, in the body of an email to the agency group e-mail. 

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

Query Tips:

“DO NOT email the agents at their personal email addresses, and do not submit to more than one of our agents.” (Link)

Response Times:

The agency only responds if interested, usually between 6-8 weeks.  They ask that you do not follow up or call.  Ms. Kriss’s response time on requested material seems to range from days to a few months, though she often responds within a month.

What's the Buzz?

Miriam Kriss is a highly respected agent at a fantastic agency. She’s known for her love of paranormal and urban fantasy and is looking for more YA authors in those genres.  Her clients seem really happy with her representation. 

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Visiting with Super Agent Miriam Kriss at Desert Dreams Writers’ Conference (02/2010).

Q&A with Miriam Kriss at Rachel Vincent’s site (07/2006).

Around the Web:

Read through all the pages on the agency website including “News” and “FAQ.”

Irene Goodman Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Irene Goodman literary Agency on P&E (AAR, $, Highly Recommended).

Miriam Kriss on P&E (AAR, $).

Successful Queries: Agent Miriam Kriss and “The Iron Witch” at Guide to Literary Agents (03/2011).

Agent Miriam Kriss On: What’s In A Name? (When Should You Use a Pseudonym?) at Guide to Literary Agents (03/2011).

Agent Miriam Kriss On: The Perfect Pitch at Guide to Literary Agents (11/2010).

Agent Appreciation Day post on Miriam Kriss by Karen Mahoney at her blog (12/2009).

Agent Miriam Kriss On: Is There Still Room in Urban Fantasy? at Guide to Literary Agents (07/2010).

Contact:

Please see the Irene Goodman Literary Agency website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 6/30/11.

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Last Reviewed By Agent? N/A

***

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

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

Tip Tuesday #94

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where blog readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Today I have a fantastic series of tips on beginnings by Laura Lascarso whose debut YA COUNTING BACKWARDS comes out from Atheneum August 2012. Hating that wait! For more info on Laura and her book, please visit her blog.

Once Upon a Time: Writing Chapter One

By Laura Lascarso

Beginnings are hard. The only thing harder is middles and ends. And because my mind tends to scattershot when faced with a blank page, I like to have rules. Chapter One rules, if you will. I’ve collected these guidelines from a variety of sources—books on writing, critique partners, conferences, blogs… Please don’t make me source them.

1. Start in the middle.

Drop me right into the action, no waking up, no looking in the mirror bemoaning life, looks and waning popularity, and absolutely no dreaming. I want to be there right before the anvil falls, so to speak. Something I’ve done in the past, is to write my entire opening scene, then erase the first half. Make it like a party, arrive late and in a tight red dress (or an ascot, feather boa, etc.)

2. Avoid talking heads.

Continuing with the party analogy, what happens when everyone introduces themselves to you at once? A. You forget their names almost immediately and B. You have no idea who’s who. Introduce characters in order of importance and keep your descriptions succinct and meaningful.

3. Make me care.

If the reader doesn’t care about the character, they don’t care about their problems. That said, don’t give the reader wet toast either. Wow em with character. Also, flaws are sexy.

4. Show don’t tell.

This is the writer’s mantra, but in addition, I will also say, save the info dump for chapter two. Give the reader a few pages to live your character’s life in the present before visiting the past. Pretend you are a playwright and you don’t have a scrim to flashback.

5. Reel me in.

You can’t catch a fish without a hook and your first chapter should have a few. Cultivate a mystique. Like a first date, you can hint at your OCD compulsion to scrub the bathroom grout with bleach and a toothbrush, but don’t go into too much detail. Let the reader draw their own conclusions about why your character acts the way she does. It’s okay to wonder.

6. Conflict.

You don’t have a story without conflict. Even if it’s not spelled out in your first chapter, at least hint at it. Internal conflict as well as external.

7. Go out with a bang.

Similar to the way you entered the party, exit Chapter One in the same fashion. Something explosive, intriguing, fantastical. Something that makes the reader want to turn the page and ask—what happens next?!

Is this asking a lot? YES! But a great first chapter will not only grab the attention of an agent or editor, it will give the reader confidence that you can pull this thing off. 300 pages is a big commitment for a reader to make. Let them know that you’re in the driver’s seat and you know where this ride is going.

Got some rules of your own? Or are you a rule breaker? Share em with the class.

HOW TO CARVE OUT TIME TO WRITE AND THANK YOU BOOK GIVEAWAY

First I’ll announce the winner of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW by Nathan Bransford. The winner is:

PHIL

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book.

We’ve just had our first week of summer break. And every year at the beginning of summer, I vow that next school year I’ll be less busy and have more time to write. This year here’s what I’m doing to make it happen:

1. I am retiring from volunteering for the PTO and school activities. Since my daughter started first grade, I’ve worked at any PTO event I’ve gone to, been brownie co-leader when no one else would, been restaurant night fundraiser, Academic Society reception host, etc. You get the idea. Her schools really needed the help so I’m glad I did it. But my daughter will be in a big high school next year with lots of other parents who can help out. I know I’ll have to work at some of the swim meets and other activities my daughter is involved in. But I’m retiring from major school volunteering.

2. Simplifying work at my house and in my yard. I love gardening and have a big yard. But I have been planting more perennials and grassing in weedy spots to save work so I can write more.

3. Accept help when it’s offered. For example, I’m carpooling with a friend to get my daughter to swim practice at 7:00 am weekdays. I take the early shift since I’m at work when they’re done. It cuts 40 minutes of my day, which means less writing time. She just offered to take them if I bring my daughter to her house. I’m so excited because it gives me 30 minutes extra at home alone when I can write. So I said “Thank You!” and “Yes!”

Even with this, I realize I’m going to have to claw out time to write. Because my daughter is on swim teams year round, it’s always busy going to meets and getting her to practice. But if I carve out 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes at lunch (when I take a lunch break, which hasn’t happened much lately) and a few 20-30 minute time slots on the weekends, I will get more done.

Sure, I’d love big blocks of time, but it just isn’t going to happen. And my years with my daughter will be ending in a few short years, so I want to enjoy them. But I can still get back into a consistent writing routine where I write some most days. If I do, I’ll finish my revisions and make progress on a new project. I started it this weekend. And the best part—it’s working!

What about you? How do you stay productive in your writing?

So now onto my book giveaway. I really want to thank everyone who helped spread the word for Elana Johnson’s debut of POSSESSION and for supporting me in general. As a new blogger, I so appreciate it.

Casey and I decided that I would join as her blog partner right at the time Borders filed for bankruptcy. I know to most of you, it is just another super bookstore. But I remember Borders when it was an Indie bookstore on State Street in Ann Arbor down the street from the University of Michigan campus. Then when we moved to the other side of Ann Arbor, Borders expanded there too. My daughter and I have many happy memories of going there when she was younger. Sadly, that store was closed.

So even though I knew I wasn’t getting any “super” deals, I stood in line for almost an hour to buy some books I wanted to read and give away to try to help them in my little way to survive. Here’s what I chose:

DELIRIUM by Lauren Oliver

Here’s the description from Goodreads:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

I haven’t read BEFORE I FALL, another Lauren Oliver book, yet. But I loved this first book in her dystopian series.

DESIRES OF THE DEAD by Kimberly Derting

From Goodreads:

Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.

As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

A friend lent me the first book in this series. I loved figuring out the mystery and learning about Violet’s special abilities. This book is a great continuation in the series.

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins

From Goodreads:

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

I won this book and was hesitant to read it because I don’t read much romance. But everyone, including Casey, raved about it. I confess that once I got to a part in it on a Saturday night I could not go to bed until I finished the book.

THE IRON QUEEN by Julie Kagawa

From Goodreads:

My name is Meghan Chase.
I thought it was over. That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who's sworn to stand by my side. Drag me into the core of conflict so powerful, I'm not sure anyone can survive it.
This time, there will be no turning back.

This is the third book in one of my favorite fantasy series. I love the world Julie created, the fey, and the love triangle. I bought an extra copy of this one to share with you.

To win a copy of one of these books, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on July 9th. Please list your first two choices in your comments. I can’t guarantee you’ll win one of them, but I’ll try. I’ll announce the winner on July 11th. International entries are welcome.

Next week I’ll be doing a short post because it’s July 4th. And on July 11th, I’ll be interviewing Andrea Cremer and giving away a copy of her book NIGHTSHADE.

Here’s something else you’ll want to mark on your calendar. On July 6th at 9:00 pm EST, WriteOnCon’s doing a live chat with Tessa Gratton, Maggie Stiefvater, and Brenna Yovanoff. Even though my in-laws will be here, I’m going. I’m so excited! You’ll definitely want to check the WriteOnCon site often because a lot is going to happen as a lead up to their FREE online conference August 16-18.

Hope to see you next week.

Agent Spotlight: Lucienne Diver

This week's Agent Spotlight features Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency.

Status: Open to submissions.

lucienne_diver About: “Lucienne Diver joined TKA in 2008, after spending fifteen years at New York City’s prestigious Spectrum Literary Agency. With her sharp eye and gift for spotting original new voices, Lucienne is one of the most well-respected agents in the industry. A lifelong book addict, she graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Potsdam with dual majors in English/writing and anthropology. She thus came well-equipped for her work as an agent.

“Over the course of her dynamic career she has sold over seven hundred titles to every major publisher, and has built a client list of more than forty authors spanning the commercial fiction genres, primarily in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery, suspense and erotica. Her authors have been honored with the RITA, National Readers' Choice Award, the Golden Heart, and the Romantic Times Reader’s Choice, and have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. A publishing veteran, Lucienne has superb industry knowledge, numerous editor relationships, and a keen understanding of the foreign rights market. She is a member of the Association of Authors Representatives, RWA, MWA and SFWA.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“Established in 1996, The Knight Agency has gained worldwide recognition for the success of our authors in the fiercely competitive publishing marketplace. Our philosophy is simple: what you give is what you get. As a company, we are dedicated to cultivating prosperous, long-term writing careers by giving clients unparalleled service. Thus, the agency designed a multifaceted approach to success, which includes maintaining high visibility in the marketplace, fostering the all-important author-agent relationship and operating full-service subsidiary rights and marketing and publicity departments. This conscientious approach anticipates the needs of clients at all stages of the publishing process. The stellar success enjoyed by our clients illustrates the merits of our methodology.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Knight Agency website.

Knight Agency blog.

Knight Agency Twitter.

Ms. Diver’s website.

Ms. Diver’s blog.

Ms. Diver’s Twitter.

Publisher’s Marketplace page.

Facebook.

AAR profile.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

Science Fiction, Mystery, Commercial Fiction, Fantasy, Women's Fiction, Romance, Young Adult, Thrillers/Suspense, Erotica. (Link)

From a Client Post (06/2012):

“I’ve got a pretty full list, though I can rarely resist taking on something truly unique and wonderful. I work with a lot of paranormal fiction, which I adore (fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, steampunk), but I’m also a big fan of suspense and forensics. I’d love to see something more mainstream along these lines, whether middle-grade, YA or adult. (For example, the last novel that I read was I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga.)” (Link)

From an Interview (08/2011):

“I’ve got a very full list at this time, so I’m not actively looking for any particular type of work. That said, I’m always happy to be blown away by something new. There’s nothing more exciting than selling someone’s first novel. I represent all kinds of commercial fiction: fantasy, science fiction, mystery, suspense, romance and young adult. I’m looking at middle-grade as well, since I’ve become a big fan of the genre via reading alongside my son.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

“Screen Plays, Short Story Collections, Poetry Collections, Essay Collections, Photography, Film Treatments, Picture Books (although graphic novels will be accepted), Children's Books (although young adult and middle grade titles will be accepted), Biographies, Non-fiction Historical Treatments.” (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“It varies on the needs of the author and the particular project. Some authors don’t need much editing at all, some need to be pushed to even greater heights. I don’t take on anything I’m not excited about, so we’re always starting with a base of tremendous talent. Really, it’s generally about anticipating any problems an editor might have with the work that would cause them to pass it over and trying to remedy them before the work ever goes out. I think there are two types of editors, really — those who impose their vision and those who help the authors achieve theirs. I work hard to be the latter.” (Link)

Quotables:

“There’s always going to be room for an exceptional manuscript in any field.  The book shelves seem filled to capacity with paranormals of all sorts these days, and yet they’re still selling like hotcakes.  I think the important thing is to be innovative with ideas in whatever genre you choose.  You can still do vampires, werewolves, shifters, etc., you just need to be unique in your approach and have a very strong voice.” (Link)

“I think that if anything, agents are more relevant than ever. There are so many things for writers to consider, so many directions and so much advice out there (good and bad) that in addition to being an author’s advocate, we’re important to guide an author’s career on the straightest path to success. Whether we’re talking about electronic, audio, film, foreign, serial or initial print publication rights, we’re talking about contracts, terms, definitions like ‘net’ sales, non-compete and reversion clauses…all kinds of things that it’s important to get right so that a writer doesn’t find him or herself boxed in down the line.” (Link)

Clients:

There is a list of agency clients on the website

Ms. Diver’s clients include: DD Barant, TJ Bennett, Carol Berg, Laurie Brown, Rachel Caine, J. Kathleen Cheney, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Molly Cochran, David B. Coe, Beth Cornelison, Donn Cortez (a.k.a Don DeBrandt), Keith R.A. DeCandido, Vicky Dreiling, Doranna Durgin, P.N. Elrod, Lynn Flewelling, Diana Pharaoh Francis, Roberta Gellis, Christie Golden, Steven Harper (a.k.a. Steven Piziks), Jasmine Haynes, Christina Henry, Faith Hunter, N.K. Jemisin, Tammy Kaehler, Susan Krinard, David Mack, Janet Mullany, Debra Mullins, Ramez Naam (for his fiction), Chloe Neill, Patti O’Shea, Amy Christine Parker, Steven Piziks (a.k.a. Steven Harper), Kalayna Price, Isabel Sharpe, Wm. Mark Simmons, Kira Sinclair, Susan Sizemore, Rob Thurman, Karen Whiddon.

Sales:

“Over the course of her dynamic career she has sold over seven hundred titles to every major publisher.” (Link)

As 11/12, Ms. Diver is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 19 deals in the last 12 months, 12 six-figure+ deals, and 153 overall. Recent deals include: 10 sci-fi/fantasy, 4 women’s/romance, 2 mystery/crime, 2 young adult, 1 international rights.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Send a query no longer than one page in the body of an e-mail.  No attachments. No additional material.

See The Knight Agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

“Writers should think of the query as they would a cover letter that goes along with a resume. You wouldn’t dash that off carelessly (or CC it to everyone in the field, another common mistake), so don’t do it with query letters.  Also, I see a ton of queries for material I don’t represent, like nonfiction. It’s important for writers to do their homework on agents so they don’t waste their own or the agent’s time.” (Link)

See “Writing a Solid Query Letter” on the agency website and Ms. Diver’s “Query Dos and Don’ts” post for more query advice.

Response Times:

The agency’s stated response time is 2-3 weeks for queries and 6-8 weeks for requested material. If you have not heard back by the end of the timeframe they ask that you resubmit via an alternative email address.

Stats on the web show Ms. Diver responds to most queries within a month, often two or three weeks.  Her response time on requested material ranges from days to several months.

What's the Buzz?

Lucienne Diver is a highly respected agent with over 18 years of experience.  She’s sold an incredible number of titles, and her clients seem very happy with her representation. Given her full list, she isn’t taking on many new authors, but she’s definitely worth a shot. You might just be the next writer to blow her away. 

Worth Your Time:

(Agent) Interviews:

Interview with...Lucienne Diver at The Writing Kraft (06/2012).

Crits for Water Interview: Author/Agent Lucienne Diver (04/2012).

Wednesday Interviews Literary Agent & Author Lucienne Diver on YouTube (04/2012).

7 Questions for Literary Agent Lucienne Diver at Middle Grade Ninja (08/2011).

Interview with Lucienne Diver at Mad Genius Club (03/2010).

Ask the Agent: Lucienne Diver, Q&A by Barbara Vey at PW (01/2010).

Agent Advice Interview with Lucienne Diver of the Knight Agency at the Guide to Literary Agents Blog (09/2009).

Meet Agent Lucienne Diver at Novelists, Inc (09/2009).

Interview with Agent Lucienne Diver at The Writer Brigade (07/2009).

Interview with Lucienne Diver, Author of VAMPED and Literary Agent Extraordinaire! by Jamie Blair at OPWFT (07/2009).

Interview with Lucienne Diver at Much Cheaper Than Therapy (06/2008).

2007 Q&A thread with Lucienne Diver at AbsoluteWrite.

Blog Stuff:

Ms. Diver posts frequently at her blog, Lucienne Diver’s Drivel.  Don’t just subscribe, make sure you peruse the labels and archives.

You can find her 2012 conference schedule posted here.

For quick links to past articles and guest posts Ms. Diver has done, go here.  Others can be found via Google Blog Search.

Ms. Diver also blogs monthly at Magical Words.  You can see the posts she’s authored here.

Around the Web:

The Knight Agency on P&E ($, Highly Recommended).

Lucienne Diver on P&E ($, AAR).

The Knight Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.

Read through the agency website pages including “News,” and “Recent Deals.”

You can sign up for the agency newsletter here.

Lucienne Diver Explains How to Get a Literary Agent, YouTube video (03/2011).

Contact:

Please see The Knight Agency website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 11/16/12.

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/18/11.

***

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

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

Busy, Busy

Just a quick note that I'm running behind this week and won't be able to post today's Spotlight until later this evening or tomorrow. So sorry!

Feel like sharing your latest blog posts with each other? Leave links in the comments!

Tip Tuesday #93

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where blog readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Today's fantastic tip was sent in by K.D. Lum who blogs at Writtled. Please give her a visit (and follow!) after you're done reading here. Here's K.D.:

One major writing tip that I have heard of and used is the notion of writing lists, either daily or weekly, in order for one to reach his or her writing goals. I love this as a tip. It allows you to set up attainable goals, and of course, its main power lies in the glorious ability to pen a wicked line through those things you’ve gotten done. My tip is to take the list power and amplify it by writing down what you have already done, instead of just what you planned on doing.

Instead of writing lists of what you want to do, at the end of each day, write a list of what you have done. You’ll still feel accomplished because you get to write down everything you managed in one day. (P.S. I keep my “log” in an unlined book dedicated for these lists).The trick to making this work for writing is to write how much you have written at the end of each day, either in words or pages. If you didn’t write anything, have yourself write down “I didn’t write anything today.” Or, you can what I do and really stick it to yourself by writing “NO WRITING DONE” for that day’s log. If you diligently keep a log every day (which is how it’ll be the most effective), eventually, that’ll wear your nerves, let me tell you.

You’ll want to be able to write down that you’ve written something, because writing down every day that you written a big huge amount of zippity doesn’t feel so dandy. So for all you list-ers out there, try the “end of the day” list and see if it’ll help you the same way it helped me!

- K.D. Lum


INTERVIEW AND BOOK GIVEAWAY MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY

First I want to thank everyone who participated in my celebration of Elana Johnson’s debut of her book POSSESSION. You all were so amazing in spreading the word. 105 people entered the contest. As a new blogger, it was more than awesome to see the response. Thank you all so much!

And the winners of POSSESSION are:

HEATHER KELLY

AND

CAROLINA VALDEZ MILLER

AND


MY LIFE WITH BOOKS

E-mail me your addresses so I can have your books sent out.

Today I’m so excited to be interviewing Nathan Bransford. He’s a former agent at Curtis Brown Ltd and a debut middle grade author. His book, JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, was released May 11, 2011. I loved it. It was fast paced and so funny.

Here’s a description of the book from Goodreads:

Jacob Wonderbar is used to detentions, but when a spaceship crashes near his house, he finds himself in a whole new level of trouble. After swapping a corn dog for the ship, he and his two best friends, Sarah Daisy and Dexter, take off on a madcap adventure. They accidentally cause an epic explosion, get kidnapped by a space pirate, and are marooned on planets like Numonia and Paisley, where the air smells like burp breath and revenge-hungry substitute teachers rule. And that's only the beginning . . . It turns out that there's an entire colony of space humans, and Jacob's long-lost father just might be one of them.

Hi Nathan. Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your book.

My book is JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, which is about three kids who trade a corndog for a spaceship, blast off into space, accidentally break the universe, and have to find their way back home. It’s the first in a series published by Dial Books at Penguin.

I’m a California native and former literary agent now working as a social media manager in the tech industry. In my spare time (that is, when I am not working or writing), I enjoy traveling, skiing, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

2. I can totally relate to the drinking coffee. It’s how I survive too. How did you come up with the idea of your book? Did you make a conscious decision to write middle grade versus YA or did your idea dictate this?

The idea started with an image I had of a kid trapped on a planet full of substitute teachers. I let that idea guide the rest of the process, and since it felt middle grade to me I decided to go with that genre.

3. I love your three main characters. Tell the truth now. Were you at all like Jacob, the smart aleck who always gets in trouble or Dexter, the more scared but maybe smarter guy who follows Jacob? How did you develop them as characters?

Ha, thanks! I was way more like Dexter than Jacob. I was too scared to get into trouble (though I always admired the kids who were brave like Jacob).

To develop the characters I started with a few basic defining characteristics, and then build around that. So Jacob is a goodhearted troublemaker, but it’s more complicated than that because he’s missing his dad. Dexter is timid, but then again he secretly wants to have fun, but then again he also has a pretty rigid sense of right and wrong. I just kept fleshing things out as the book went on.

4. I just love Sarah because she’s so independent and her role models are Betty Friedan and Susan B. Anthony. Did you pattern her after someone in your life? If not, what made you decide on her character?

I always seem to be surrounded by strong women in real life, so Sarah reflects that. I knew I wanted to have a strong, independent female character in the book, but Sarah also has to learn to balance her fierceness and not let it get the best of her.

5. You do a great job of showing that balance. You created a world that middle graders should totally enjoy—talking spaceships, a pirate and his ship, and a planet that smells like burp. Tell us a little about your world building process and how your intended audience shaped your decisions.

I tried as much as possible to remember the types of things I thought were funny at that age and to really channel my inner eleven-year-old. So burp breath, upside-down calculator jokes (which took my 4th grade class by storm), and snoring.

Beyond that, I just tried to really build a world where those initial ideas I had made sense. It needed to feel natural for there to be a planet of substitute teachers and for Jacob to accidentally break the universe. From there I just kept trying to build a galaxy that reflected that wacky spirit.

6. I’m always totally inspired when I see other authors who are able to write while working at a full-time job. It gives me hope that I can do it too. You have a demanding job and have a super popular blog. How do you juggle it all? What’s your writing process?

Basically I work for my day job during the week, get most of my blogging done on weeknights and write my books on the weekends. I’ll wake up on a Saturday morning, fire up the pot of coffee and just get right to it. It can get tiring, but I do it because I love it.

7. By the way guys, Nathan did a fabulous guest post on Janice Hardy’s blog (a great blog btw) where he describes how he writes in more detail. You can find it here. I recently learned that this wasn’t your first book. What was your road to publication like?

When I was in my mid-twenties I wrote an adult science fiction novel that didn’t work out. I tried to find agents and received some positive feedback, but ultimately reached the conclusion that it just wasn’t going to happen.

Around that time I had the idea for Wonderbar. I dashed off a few pages, it felt like it was working, and so I went with it. Six months later I was querying agents, Catherine Drayton at InkWell offered to represent me, and a few months after that I was deciding between publishers. I was really lucky.

8. That’s awesome, but shows that even agents have to query like the rest of us. Being a former agent at Curtis Brown Ltd, you have a lot of expertise in publishing that many debut authors don’t have. How are you marketing your book? Do you think marketing is different for middle grade authors than if their book was YA? Do you have any advice for us?

I’m mainly promoting via my blog, and just hoping that the people who know me through the blog and who have a sense of my writing style will pick up a copy and then mention it to their friends. I don’t know that I have a great deal of insight into marketing to middle grade readers specifically, but my general advice for authors is to just do what you’re best at. If you like to blog, do that. If you like to do appearances and school visits, do that. If you’re a great networker, do that. The best way to maximize your efforts is to do the activities you enjoy the most and are best at.

9. That’s great advice. And it should give us all hope that there is a way we can help market our books well. What are you working on now?

I’m starting the third book in the Wonderbar series, tentatively titled JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE INTERSTELLAR TIME WARP

And so everyone knows, Nathan’s second book is JACOB WONDERBAR FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE. I know it’s going to be great just from the title.

Good luck Nathan. You can find Nathan at his blog. You should definitely check it out. He always has such great advice .

I’m giving away a copy of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW. All you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on June 25th. I’ll announce the winner on June 27th. International entries are welcome.

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays was started by Shannon Whitney Messenger to spotlight middle grade authors. Check it out here.

And check out these other Marvelous Monday Middle Grade Reviewers:

Shannon O’Donnell
Joanne Fritz
Sherrie Petersen
Brooke Favero
Myrna Foster
Anita Laydon Miller
Barbara Watson
Just Deb
Kit Lit Frenzy
Michael Gettel-Gilmartin
Pam Torres

Next week I’m going to do a book giveaway of some books I’ve been saving for you to thank you for all the support you gave in the Elana Johnson contest.

Hope to see you next Monday.

CRACK the CODE Winner!

A loud click sounds within the door. Heart drumming, you pull on the handle and the monstrous round door swings open.

10 - 48 - 64

Congrats to Beck Nicholas who successfully CRACKED the CODE at The Bookshelf Muse, winning my 10 pg YA/MG critique. Please contact me at caseymccormickya(at)gmail(dot)com as soon as possible so I can get your prize to you! Thanks everyone for playing along & helping to celebrate a great writing community. :)

P.S. Happy Father's Day to all you great dad's out there!

Agent Spotlight: Mandy Hubbard

This week's Agent Spotlight features Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Literary Agency.

Status: Open to submissions.

M8-2 About: “Mandy Hubbard, also-known-as Amanda Grace, is the author of Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, But I Love Him, and three other to-be-published novels for teens. She is also a literary agent for D4EO Literary, where she represents authors of middle grade and teen fiction. She is currently living happily ever after with her husband and young daughter in Enumclaw, Washington.” (Link)

See the biography page on Ms. Hubbard’s website for an extended version.

About the Agency:

“D4EO Literary Agency, started in 1989, is a boutique four-agent literary agency that represents a very broad range of commercial fiction and non-fiction, which it works to place with publishers in the U.S. as well as around the world. Books represented by the agency have topped the The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Agency authors have received awards that include the Daphne de Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and the Nero Award, among others. The agency is responsible for launching debut authors' careers as well as seeking out qualified individuals for an array of non-fiction projects. We're a full-service literary agency based in Connecticut with agents spread out across the country.” (Link)

Web Presence:

D4EO PM page.

Ms. Hubbard’s PM page.

Ms. Hubbard’s website.

Blog.

Twitter.

Facebook.

QueryTracker, AgentQuery.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

Middle Grade, Young Adult.

From her Website:

“I  represent a broad range of books for Young Adult and Middle Grade audiences, whether they be contemporary or historical, fantasy/paranormal or realistic.

“I particularly love books with a heavy focus on romance, books that make me laugh out loud, and ‘issue books’ with a strong voice.” (Link)

Current Wishlist (as of 3/2012):

“Historical YA romance, a la THE SEASON or THE LUXE. Bring on the corsets, scandals, and love stories! 

“Genre-blending Sci-fi or fantasy.

“Magical realism MG

“Laugh-out-loud funny YA or MG.” (Link)

From a Blog Post (10/2010):

“Five things I'd LOOOOVE To find in the slush pile:

“1) Something really super fun and funny. Like a high school comedy movie, but you know, as a book. Like Robin Mellom's debut, DITCHED, which was pitched as The Hangover for teens.

“2) A historical with intrigue and romance, a la THE LUXE or THE SEASON or whatnot. Bonus points if it A) has any royalty or titled people in it, and B) is based on a real historical figure. I just read PRISONERS OF THE PALACE, and would love something like it. I also LOVED Alisa Libby's THE KING'S ROSE, based upon King Henry the VIII's fifth wife.

“3) A book dealing with Anorexia. Or on the flipside, obesity and a teen struggling to overcome it.

“4) A total tearjerker, aka, a "weepie." Think: BEFORE I DIE (Downham)  or SING ME TO SLEEP (Morrison).

“5) A suspense or mystery.

“5 1/2) (Yes I am cheating) A great middle grade set in the real world, but with some fun magical realism elements.

“Remember-- I only represent Middle Grade and Young adult, so all of the above would need to be for those audiences.” (Link)

From a Contest Interview (09/2010):

“I would love something that is hysterically funny-- YA or MG, I don't care. Make me laugh and I'm yours. Other wants: Something literary a la John Green or Sarah Dessen. A scandalous historical a la THE LUXE.” (Link)

From an Interview (08/2010):

“Contemporary/Realistic YA romance. Dying for a really well executed one! Would also love a great YA thriller/suspense. And some more great middle grade--adventure, humor, or just a cool girl friendship/coming of age MG (but with a hook!).” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

“Please, no chapter books (IE, books aimed at 8 year olds or younger), picture books, poetry, non-fiction, or books for the adult market.” (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“As an author, I just can't turn off the part of my brain that analyzes books and figures out how to make them better. There's just something thrilling about taking a diamond in the rough and working with someone to polish it. If I fall in love with your concept and voice, I'll help you on the rest.” (Link)

Clients:

Lee Bross, Cindy Callaghan, Sacha Whalen, Lynn Heitkamp, Jessica Martinez, Peter Stewart Vegas, Nancy Herman, Andrea McAfee, Emily Murdoch, Lindsey Scheibe, among others.

Sales:

As of 3/16/12 Ms. Hubbard is listed on Publisher’s Marketplace as having made 5 deals in the last 12 months and 6 overall. Recent deals include 4 young adult and 1 middle grade. See her public PM page for a brief summary of each title.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Query letter and the first five pages of your manuscript in the body of an e-mail (no attachments). Put “Query” in the subject line to avoid the spam filter.

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

Query Tips:

“I really prefer you to just dive right into the hook of the story, rather than using a couple of paragraphs to talk about yourself. The book is what matters. Put the bio at the end!” (Link)

“Make sure you give me insight into who your character is and what her stakes are. I should see a direct relationship between the type of character your protagonist is and the conflict. Read the back covers of your favorite books and emulate their style. And for the love of god, stop worrying about having writing credits! It's totally okay to have NO publishing history whatsoever.” (Link)

Response Times:

Ms. Hubbard’s policy is to respond to queries within 1-3 weeks (generally). Wait six weeks before following up and include your original query in your e-mail. She responds to most fulls in 2-6 weeks but asks for 8 before status-querying.  Stats on the web are fairly consistent with these timeframes with only the occasional outlier. (Link)

What's the Buzz?

Mandy Hubbard became an agent at D4E0 Literary Agency after interning for The Bent Agency.  D4EO is “recommended” by P&E and Ms. Hubbard’s career appears to be off to a great start. She is actively expanding her contacts and clientele, and is hungry for great new talent. If you’re writing MG or YA, give her a shot!

I recommend following her blog and Twitter for more insight into her personality and agenting style. 

Worth Your Time:

(Agent) Interviews:

Interview witH Mandy Hubbard by client Jessica Martinez (04/2011).

Interview with an Agent: Mandy Hubbard at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (08/2010).

Interview: Author/Agent Mandy Hubbard at Ramblings of a Drifting Mind (07/2010).

Interview with Author/Agent Mandy Hubbard at The Punching Bag Fights Back (06/2010).

Interview with Agent Mandy Hubbard at Day By Day Writer (03/2010).

Q&A with Author and Agent Mandy Hubbard by Paige Crutcher at Examiner (03/2010).

Agent Interview: Mandy Hubbard of D4EO Literary at Cynsations (02/2010).

Selected Blog Posts:

Ms. Hubbard has too many excellent blog posts to list.  Please peruse her labels and archives.

Gems include:

The Epic Post on Trends (YA & MG) (05/2011).

That Thing You Want to Know… (05/2011).

Five Things Friday: The Wishlist Edition (10/2010).

The Evolution of a Pitch (10/2010).

Big Announcement! (02/2010).

She also contributes to the group blog Let the Words Flow. You can see the posts she’s tagged in here.

Around the Web:

D4EO Literary thread on AbsoluteWrite.

D4EO Literary Partners on P&E (recommended). Mandy Hubbard on P&E.

See the sidebar on Ms. Hubbard’s blog for upcoming events.

See the submissions page on Ms. Hubbard’s website for favorite books.

Mystery Agent Revealed: Mandy Hubbard – see contest pitch winners chosen by Ms. Hubbard at Operation Awesome (09/2010).

Creating Memorable Characters by Mandy Hubbard at WriteOnCon (08/2010).

Query Series: Lee Bross and Mandy Hubbard at YA Highway (06/2010).

Meet Mandy the author (and her agent) who never gave up at Bent on Books – not agenting-related but very inspiring (12/2009).

Check out Ms. Hubbard’s books on her website here.

Contact:

Please see Ms. Hubbard’s website and PM page for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 3/16/12.

(Updated sales, wishlist, response times, added client.)

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 6/16/11.

***

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

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

YA Books in Libraries—What’s Popular? Guest Post by Karen McCoy

I've been anxiously waiting to share this awesome guest post by Karen McCoy with all of you. When I found out Karen is a librarian, I mentioned it would be super interesting to hear what's circulating in YA right now and Karen went above and beyond to answer. I can't wait to hear what you think! After you read her amazing guest post below, please leave a comment and then visit Karen at her website and blog, The Writer Librarian.

YA Books in Libraries—What’s Popular?

How do you know if the manuscript you’re pitching to a literary agent is marketable? How do you know if your idea hasn’t already been done?

Anyone can look at a bestseller list on Barnes and Noble or Amazon, but those cover recent books only. What about the books that end up long-lasting bestsellers? For this kind of comprehensive data, I consulted people in my own field: librarians.

I began by looking into library literature. When I couldn’t find anything concrete, I surveyed children’s and teen librarians myself. I also consulted a few colleagues of mine who worked in public libraries, where the popularity of books depends on how often they circulate (check-out).

A total of 34 librarians responded. I also gathered my own data, as I’m in charge of the YA collection in the academic library where I work, making a total of 35 respondents.

I was not only interested in what was checking out, but what librarians have recommended. Librarians are some of the highest consumers of books, and most selection policies are based on patron demand, so the titles they’re buying and recommending are likely to be popular.

Results:

35 Librarians

44 Series

94 Individual Titles

Titles and series were separated into two different categories: which were checking out the most, and which were the most recommended.

Both teen and children’s librarians responded, as well as some others, like me, who don’t fit into either category. Here’s a graph of the demographic surveyed:

Type

Others that didn’t fit into those categories were readers’ advisory librarians.

What are librarians recommending?

Many librarians were forthcoming about their favorite YA titles, but the vast majority said recommendations depended on a patron’s interests. Age group, income, individual preferences, and geographic areas were all listed as factors. Genres listed included some I hadn’t heard of (e.g. steampunk, which involves Victorian era time periods with advanced steam technology).

Below are the top series, titles, and genres that were recommended. Individual titles are separated from series, and ** denotes books that were (or will be) made into movies.

Series:

Popular Authors

Book Series

Genre

Librarians who Recommended Series

Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games**

Dystopian

16

Stephanie Meyer

Twilight**

Paranormal Romance

3

Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson**

Fantasy

3

Maggie Stiefvater

The Wolves of Mercy Falls

Paranormal Romance

2

J.K Rowling

Harry Potter**

Fantasy

2

James Dashner

Maze Runner

Science Fiction

2

Scott Westerfield

Uglies

Science Fiction

2

Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl

Fantasy

2

Brandon Mull

Fablehaven Series

Fantasy

2

Libba Bray

Gemma Doyle

Historical Fiction

2

Richelle Meade

Vampire Academy

Paranormal Romance

1

James Patterson

Maximum Ride

Science Fiction

1

Scott Westerfield

Leviathan Series

Steampunk

1

L.J. Smith

Vampire Diaries

Paranormal Romance

1

John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice

Fantasy

1

Maggie Stiefvater

Books of Faerie

Fantasy

1

Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider

Spy Fiction

1

Claudia Gray

Evernight

Paranormal Romance

1

D.J. Machale

Pendragon

Fantasy

1

Cherith Baldry

Eaglesmount

Fantasy

1

R.L. LaFevers

Lowthar's Blade

Supernatural

1

Dan Waters

Generation Dead

Supernatural

1

Michael Grant

Gone

Science Fiction

1

Titles:

Popular Authors

Book Titles

Genre

Librarians who Recommended Titles

Markus Zusak

Book Thief

Historical Fiction

3

Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall

Character-driven

3

Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss

Realistic/Chick Lit

3

L.A. Meyer

Bloody Jack

Historical Fiction

2

Neil Gaiman

Graveyard Book

Fantasy

2

Robert Cormier

I Am the Cheese

Spy Fiction

2

Robin McKinley

Chalice

Fantasy

2

Patrick Ness

Knife of Never Letting Go

Science Fiction

2

Jennifer Donnelly

A Northern Light

Historical Fiction

2

Jennifer Donnelly

Revolution

Historical Fiction

2

Paolo Bacigalupi

Ship Breaker

Dystopian

2

Kristin Cashore

Graceling

Fantasy

2

Kristin Cashore

Fire

Fantasy

2

Sarah Zarr

Story of a Girl

Realistic Fiction

2

Gayle Forman

If I Stay

Realistic Fiction

2

Ellen Hopkins

Burned

Coming of Age/ Realistic

1

Sara Dessen

Along for the Ride

Coming of Age/Realistic

1

John Green

Looking for Alaska

Coming of Age/Realistic

1

Walter Dean Myers

Monster

Realistic Fiction

1

Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen

The Compound

Psychological Suspense

1

S.E. Hinton

The Outsiders

Realistic Fiction

1

Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak

Realistic Fiction

1

Recommend

Which books are checking out the most?

Results here indicate that though vampires aren’t as popular, they and their supernatural counterparts still have a firm place in YA. One librarian said, “Supernatural romances with a twist are staying steady (love interests are werewolves, angels, undead).” However, dystopias, post-apocalyptic worlds, and steampunk settings are elbowing their way in. The best example of this is The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. A whopping 27 out of 35 librarians listed it as circulating the most. As above, ** denotes books that were (or will be) made into movies, and *** denotes newly published works.

Series:

Popular Authors

Book Series

Genre

# of Times Listed Among Most Checked Out Items

Suzanne Collins

Hunger Games**

Dystopian

27

Stephanie Meyer

Twilight**

Paranormal Romance

23

P.C. Cast

House of Night

Coming of Age

8

Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars

Realistic/Chick Lit

8

Cassandra Clare

Mortal Instruments

Urban Fantasy

8

Maggie Stiefvater

The Wolves of Mercy Falls

Paranormal Romance

7

Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson**

Fantasy

6

Rick Riordan

Kane Chronicles

Fantasy

6

J.K Rowling

Harry Potter**

Fantasy

6

Richelle Meade

Vampire Academy

Paranormal Romance

4

James Patterson

Maximum Ride

Science Fiction

3

Scott Westerfield

Leviathan

Steampunk

3

Alyson Noel

Immortals

Paranormal Romance

3

James Dashner

Maze Runner

Science Fiction

3

Cassandra Clare

Infernal Devices

Steampunk

3

Scott Westerfield

Uglies

Science Fiction

2

Lisi Harrison

Clique

Realistic/Chick Lit

2

L.J. Smith

Dark Visions

Supernatural/Gothic

2

L.J. Smith

Vampire Diaries

Paranormal Romance

2

Melissa De la Cruz

Blue Bloods

Supernatural

2

Michael Scott

Nicholas Flamel

Fantasy

1

Erin Hunter

Warriors

Fantasy

1

Eoin Colfer

Artemis Fowl

Fantasy

1

Christopher Paolini

Eragon

Fantasy

1

John Flanagan

Ranger's Apprentice

Fantasy

1

James Patterson

Daniel X

Science Fiction

1

James Patterson

Witch &Wizard

Fantasy/Wizards

1

Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider Series

Spy Fiction

1


Titles:


Popular Authors

Book Titles

Genre

# of Times Listed Among Most Checked Out Items

Lauren Kate

Fallen

Paranormal Romance

5

Ellen Hopkins

Burned

Coming of Age

3

Sara Dessen

Along for the Ride

Coming of Age/Realistic

3

Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why

Realistic Fiction

3

Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush

Fantasy

3

Ellen Hopkins

Crank

Coming of Age

2

Markus Zuzak

Book Thief

Historical Fiction

2

Sara Dessen

Lock and Key

Coming of Age/Realistic

2

John Green

Looking for Alaska

Coming of Age/Realistic

2

Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

Paranormal Romance

2

Pittacus Lore

I Am Number Four**

Science Fiction

2

Ellen Hopkins

Identical

Coming of Age

1

Ellen Hopkins

Fallout

Coming of Age

1

Allison Van Diepan

Snitch

Coming of Age

1

Walter Dean Myers

Monster

Realistic Fiction

1

Amy Efaw

After

Coming of Age

1

Bryan Lee O'Malley

Scott Pilgrim

Graphic Novel

1

Allyson Condie

Matched***

Dystopian

1

Lauren Conrad

L.A. Candy

Realistic Fiction

1

Christopher Pike

Thirst

Supernatural

1

Marlene Perez

Dead is Just a Rumor

Supernatural

1

What are the trends?

As was mentioned, trends are impacted by varying demographic factors. Still, many librarians felt that steampunk and dystopias will overtake the recent paranormal romance trends, while fantasy, sci-fi, and chick-lit will hold their own. Others believed a gothic feel to novels would remain, particularly regarding book covers. Graphic novels have also stayed strong. Another emerging trend is character-driven novels, such as Before I Fall.


Current Trends

Librarians Recommended

Librarians Noted as Being Popular

Supernatural/Gothic

3

13

Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic

2

10

Fantasy

9

5

Paranormal Romance

0

3

Graphic Novels/ Manga

2

3

Steampunk

0

3

Science Fiction

2

2

Realistic

6

2

Chick Lit

0

2

Character-driven

0

1

Coming of Age

1

0


The good news…

While other areas of publishing seem to be lagging, YA is still in very high demand. One librarian said, “I read everything, and have been on the Printz, Morris, state award committees (member and chair), and am currently on the Walden Award Committee for ALAN. I am surprised that publishing has kept up with the demand for teen literature--I thought that with the economic slump we would see a YA lit decline. Not so…”

Further study

I’d be interested in finding out if these trends and titles hold true for ebooks and audiobooks, as different formats gain prominence.

Places to find more info

A couple librarians recommended the YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) list of Top Ten Books for Young Adults. This is a good place to check titles, since YALSA books tend to explode in popularity soon after they’re listed (if they’re not popular already). Here are the YALSA books from 2010, categorized into genre:

Brennan, Sarah Rees. Demon's Lexicon. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Margaret K. McElderry. 2009. Fantasy

Griffin, Paul. The Orange Houses. Penguin/Dial Books. 2009. Realistic Fiction

Herlong, M.H. The Great Wide Sea. Penguin/Viking. 2008. Adventure

Jinks, Catherine. The Reformed Vampire Support Group. Harcourt/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2009. Supernatural, Mystery

Napoli, Donna Jo. Alligator Bayou. Random House / Knopf. 2009. Historical Fiction

Small, David. Stitches: A Memoir. W.W. Norton & Co. 2009. Graphic Novel

Stead, Rebecca. When You Reach Me. Random House / Wendy Lamb Books. 2009.
Science Fiction

Stork, Francisco X. Marcelo in the Real World. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books. 2009.
Realistic Fiction

Taylor, Laini. Lips Touch: Three Times. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine. 2009.
Paranormal Romance

Walker, Sally M. Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland. Lerner/Carolrhoda Books. 2009. Nonfiction


Another good resource to check out is WhatchYAreading? a blog full of YA recommendations from consumers.

Notes:

Genre information courtesy of Novelist, An Ebsco Database.

YALSA Award Books are listed on YALSA’s website at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/booklistsawards/bestbooksya/topten2010.cfm


Karen
is a librarian by day and writer by night. She is currently in the process of revising her first completed manuscript, and has drafts of three more books in the works. Her blog is The Writer Librarian, found at http://thewriterlibrarian.blogspot.com/. For more information, you can visit her website, www.karenlibrarian.com.