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

SURVIVAL COLONY 9 through October 4th

SALT AND STORM through October 4th

STRAY through October 11th

YA Scavenger Hunt

Just a fun contest tip before Natalie's fantastic interview goes up in the morning!

A YA Scavenger Hunt, coordinated by Colleen Houck (author of the Tiger series) will take place on Monday, August 1st. More than twenty YA authors will be providing bonus material from their current books or upcoming releases, but you won’t find it on their personal blogs, you’ll have to hop from one to another until you get to the stuff you’re looking for.

The authors participating include Josephine Angelini, Angela Corbett, Andrea Cremer, Kady Cross, Heather Davis, Bree Despain, Clare Dunkle, Marley Gibson, Abbi Glines, Colleen Houck, Tara Hudson, Elana Johnson, Alexandra Monir, Beth Revis, Gregg Olsen, Amy Plum, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Inara Scott, Sophie Jordan, Lani Woodland, Lisa Nowak, and more. Many will be offering prize packages, with a grand prize consisting of signed books from all the authors. The hunt only lasts one day, starting at 12:01 AM August 1st. After 24 hours the posts will be deleted, so be sure not to miss out.

To join the hunt simply select one of the above authors and start at their homepage, then follow the links provided.

Agent Spotlight: Jenny Bent

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency.

Status: Open to submissions. 

headshot banana dressAbout: “Jenny Bent represents literary and commercial adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction and nonfiction in the areas of memoir, humor and select narrative nonfiction.

“I was born in New York City but grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia in a house full of books where I spent many lazy afternoons reading in a sunny window seat. I went on to England to get a BA/MA with first class honors from Cambridge University, but I began my career in publishing as an undergraduate, with jobs at Rolling Stone and Ladies Home Journal. I then worked with prominent agent Raphael Sagalyn and with Michael Cader, the force behind the website Publishers Marketplace, before establishing a successful career at several boutique agencies. In 2003 I joined Trident Media Group, where I was promoted to Vice President before leaving to found the Bent Agency in 2009. I now live in Brooklyn in an apartment full of books and while there are not quite so many lazy reading afternoons, I manage to fit one in now and then.

“My list is varied and includes commercial fiction, literary fiction, memoir and humor. All of the books I represent speak to the heart in some way: they are linked by genuine emotion, inspiration and great writing and story telling. I love books that make me laugh, make me cry, or ideally do both.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“At The Bent Agency, we work with authors to map the publishing career of their dreams and work with them to make it a reality. We pay careful attention to every detail, from the terms of a first contract, editorial work and cover design, to the publisher's marketing and publicity plan, royalties and sales figures. We offer the kind of representation that can only be born of years of agent experience in the atmosphere of a smaller boutique firm where every client gets our combined and total focus.

“We pride ourselves on nurturing and discovering authors whom we can help propel to the top of their category. We have represented over 30 New York Times bestselling titles, with many more on USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and other regional lists.” (Link with more)

Web Presence:

The Bent Agency website.

Bent On Books (blog).

WeBook.

Twitter.

Facebook.

AAR profile.

What She's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

Middle grade, young adult, literary suspense, crime, romance, romantic suspense, women’s fiction, general fiction, literary fiction, humor, memoir and select nonfiction.

From a Blog Post (01/2014):

“In general, if you have written a book that is VERY funny, or VERY scary, or VERY sad, or VERY anything, really, send it to me!  I love extremes and I love stuff that really makes me feel something, that is emotionally powerful in some way.

“More specifically, here is what I'm looking for:

“1. Female driven or female authored suspense or crime.  Lori Roy's UNTIL SHE CAME HOME was just nominated for the Edgar for best novel (she also won the Edgar for Best First Book for BENT ROAD) and I'd love to find more authors like Lori, who write edge of your seat literary suspense.  I also would love more commercial writers of suspense like my authors Kate Brady and Rita Herron.  And of course, I have two YA suspense novels coming out in the next year, S.E. Green's KILLER INSTINCT and Lynn Weingarten's SUICIDE NOTES FROM BEAUTIFUL GIRLS.   I love really, really dark books in general, so if you've written one, please do send it along!

“2. High concept women's fiction.   This is like Lori Nelson Spielman's THE LIFE LIST or Victoria Van Tiem's LOVE LIKE THE MOVIES or Yangsze Choo's THE GHOST BRIDE.    Women's fiction with a hook, that I can pitch in a sentence or two.   Obviously it also needs to be an emotional, satisfying read.

“3. I love a good ghost story.  Sonja Condit's STARTER HOUSE just came out and I'm so excited about this one, along the lines of Joe Hill's HEART SHAPED BOX.

“4. Historical fiction, particularly with a tie-in to a real life person.   I'm very excited about the upcoming release of Jan Moran's A PROMISE OF ROSES next year.

“5. Great, funny, voice-driven contemporary YA with a more serious theme, like anything by John Green or Rainbow Rowell.

“6. Classic YA or MG fantasy with a good hook and epic feel, like SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Science Fiction, Poetry, Picture Books, Comix, Graphic Novels, Erotica, Gay/Lesbian Literature, Western, True Crime, Textbooks/Academic Books, Serious History or Biography, Political Science/Policy, Business, Reference, Investment, Professional, Sports, Puzzles, Games, Arts, Cinema, Photography, Crafts, Hobbies, DIY, Health, Diet, Mind, Body, Spirit, Music, Musicals, Nature, Ecology, Politics, Current affairs, Science, Technology, Technical, How-to, Travel, World Cultures, Dramatic Works. (Link, Link)

Editorial Agent?

“As much or as little as the client wants/needs.  If the client has a long-standing relationship with her editor, I’m not going to muddy the waters by offering my own feedback, unless I’ve been asked for advice by either party. If we are working on submission material, however, I often work quite closely with authors, and offer detailed editorial letters.  I often do the most editing when I’m submitting a first novel.” (Link)

Quotables:

“In a career spanning 15 years, I have made a practice of making bestsellers - either by spotting new talent or developing careers for multi-published authors. My list is varied and includes commercial fiction and nonfiction, literary fiction and memoir. All the books I represent speak to the heart in some way: they are linked by genuine emotion, inspiration and great writing and story-telling.” (Link)

“This sounds trite, but you cannot give up and you cannot stop believing in yourself. So many incredibly successful writers spent years and years trying to break into this business and you should take inspiration from how hard they worked and how they never stopped trying. That, and brush up on online promotion—increasingly it is essential for publishing success, both for published and unpublished authors.” (Link)

Clients:

There is a list of agency clients on the website.

Ms. Bent’s clients include: Jennifer Archer, Amanda Ashby, Kathryn Caskie, Tera Lynn Childs, Brent Crawford, Janelle Denison, Stephanie Hale, Sandra Hill, John Kasich, Kieran Kramer, Julia London, Laurie Notaro, Liz Rosenberg, Lynsay Sands, Mark Steensland, Lori Wilde, among many others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

“First, review our agents' bios and decide which of us you'd like to query. Please do not simultaneously query our agents; submit your work to only one of us. If she passes, feel free to contact another.

“Second, email your chosen agent and tell her briefly who you are, about your book, and why you're the one to write it. Include the title of your project in the subject line of your email. Then paste the first ten pages of your book in the body of your email (not as an attachment, please).”

See the Bent Agency website complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tip:

“We have an auto response which acknowledges receipt and then we also respond to each query after we read it. There are different letters that we use but they all, I hope, convey a real respect and appreciation that the author wrote to me in the first place.” (Link)

Response Times:

The agency has a stated response time (or goal, rather) of responding to queries within a month. If you do not receive a response within that time, resend your query and indicate you are resending. 

Stats on the web show the agency responding to most queries within hours to a month. Requested material ranges from days to quite a few months.

What's the Buzz?

Jenny Bent is a highly respected agent with an established list of successful clients, including many New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors.  Her clients seem very happy with her representation, and despite her full list Ms. Bent is always looking for brilliant new talent.

You can follow her on Twitter, where she’s very active, @jennybent, and at her fantastic blog, Bent on Books

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Query Questions with Jenny Bent at Michelle4Laughs (01/2014).

Interview with literary agent Jenny Bent of The Bent Agency at Amy M. Newman’s site (10/2013).

7 Questions for: Literary Agent Jenny Bent at Middle Grade Ninja (01/2013).

A Few Minutes With Jenny Bent at Where the Grey Matter Pours Out (10/2012).

LitChat Interview: Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency at LitStack (08/2012).

Interview with Jenny Bent at Literary Rejections.

An interview with Jenny Bent at Write Angles Blog (09/2011).

PitchFest Interview and Feedback at Pitch University (06/2011). The associated queries can be viewed here.

A BBCHAT with Jenny Bent at Writer, Writer, Pants on Fire (06/2011).

Q&A with Jenny Bent at Writer’s League of Texas (05/2011).

Interactive Interview with an Agent: Jenny Bent at Mother. Write. (Repeat.) (04/2011).

The Five-Question [Literary] Agent Interview with Jenny Bent at The Writer’s [Inner] Journey (09/2010).

Interview with Jenny Bent at Novelists, Inc. (04/2010).

Q&A with Jenny Bent at Pennwriters (04/2010).

Interview with Jenny Bent, Spring 2010, at College of Arts and Sciences.

Jenny Bent Tells Us What Agents Want at WOW (12/2009).

Interview: Jenny Bent at A View from the Top (12/2009).

Interview with Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency at Much Cheaper Than Fiction (04/2009)

Agent Advice Interview with Jenny Bent at the Guide to Literary Agents blog (02/2008).

An Interview with Jenny Bent at Algonkian Writers Conference.

Jenny Bent Guest Q&A at AbsoluteWrite (05/2006).

Interview with Literary Agent Jenny Bent at pcquill (03/2006).

Agent & Editor Q&A: Agent Four (Jenny Bent!) at POD-DY MOUTH (02/2006).

Interview with Literary Agent Jenny Bent at readersvoice.com (09/2003).

Around the Web:

The Bent Agency on P&E

Jenny Bent on P&E.

The Agent Recommends — Guest Post By Jenny Bent at She Reads (08/2012).

Successful Queries: Agent Jenny Bent and “Oh. My. Gods.” at Guide to Literary Agents (10/2011).

Pitching An Agent: The Bent Agency at MediaBistro (AvantGuild Membership required) (04/2011).

What to Expect When You Get Published by Jenny Bent at Backspace (02/2011).

Dance with the One What Brung Ya, guest post at Backspace (01/2011).

Agent Talk: Jenny Bent, conference notes at Muse (02/2010).

Spotlighting Agent: Jenny Bent at examiner.com (07/2009).

Agent Appreciation Day post by client Robin O’Bryant (12/2009).

Guest: Agent Jenny Bent, great post on contracts at Genreality (08/2009).

Tag! Jenny Bent is it!, pre-blog meme at Pub Rants (03/2006).

Contact:

Please see the Bent Agency website for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 1/17/14.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/28/11.

***

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.

HOW I GOT MY AGENT -or- ESCAPING THE TRAP OF NOT SUBMITTING

Today I'm excited to welcome Stasia Ward Kehoe who is giving us advice on how to avoid falling into the trap of not submitting. I so needed to hear her advice!

But before I share her post, I want to let you know about her debut novel, AUDITION, that's being released on October 13, 2011. I'll be interviewing Stasia in October and giving away an ARC of her book.

So you get excited like me, here's a blurb from Goodreads:

When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent.

Doesn't it sound awesome? So now I'm going to turn over today's post to Stasia.


My debut novel is called AUDITION. Though set in the world of dance, not publishing, “audition” defines a certain type of risk-taking shared by those in print and pointe shoes. You are putting your blood-sweat-and-tears effort out there in hopes that someone finds your work special enough to help you hone it, improve it and, ultimately, share it with the world. It’s an ulcer-inducing process.



In my years as a performer, I’d figured out how to handle winning or losing a stage role. Yet I wasn’t sure I had the emotional strength to subject my novels to similar scrutiny. So, for a long time, I was a writer-who-rarely-submitted. Are you? There are an astonishing number of us.



However, to make it from writer-of-manuscripts to agented author, you’ve gotta get out of this club. The stories of the myriad conferences I attended and MANY manuscripts I put in the drawer before I sent AUDITION out could make a novel in their own right. Now that I’ve gotten past my hurdles, I’d like to share a few tips that may help you make your escape.



1. Find beta readers. While classes or critique groups are terrific, having someone read your ms cover-to-cover provides a different kind of feedback and support to the timid submitter. For me, I really need a person to say “I read the whole thing and it doesn’t suck.”

2. Do your homework. Make a list of agents you ADORE. I used the information at Literary Rambles a lot. The “quotable” and “buzz” sections of Agent Spotlights gave me a sense of agents’ particular kinds of book passion, making me more confident that I was reaching out to the right people. The first time I read about my agent was at this site.

3. Set deadlines. There comes a point where honing that query letter is just a way to avoid the scary next step. So, write these: My query will be finished by Friday. ..My agent list will be finalized Sunday…I will query my top three agents on Tuesday—before lunch. A timeline keeps emotional obstacles out of the way.

4. Keep writing. It may be hard with those nervous fingers and (if you’re like me) the intense nausea, but do it. For non-submitters, writing is a comfort zone. Writing while on submission to agents and, later, to editors, is a way to remind yourself that the process is still there for you.

When I finally took the plunge, I received multiple offers of representation and spent an agonizing week making my choice and apologizing to all the other lovely, amazing agents whom, I realized, were as anxious as me about the whole thing. This also leads me to my final tip…



5. Dare to escape the trap of non-submitting. You will certainly learn from the experience. And you may end up very glad you sent your words out on their audition!



Good luck, buy Tums, and happy writing.



Stasia Ward Kehoe’s debut novel, AUDITION, will be published by Viking/Penguin on 10-13-11. Visit her online at her website. She’s currently in the process of revising her next novel and working up the courage to send it to her agent!

Tip Tuesday #98

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.

I'm out of tips this week, but I read a bit of writing instruction recently that struck me as very concrete and helpful so I do have something to share today! In Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne and Dave King (totally recommended), the authors cover two sentence constructions that are common with amateur and hack writers.

Those constructions are (using my own examples):

Tucking her hair behind her ear, she tried to explain.

As she tucked her hair behind her ear, she tried to explain.

Browne and King go on to explain that as and -ing constructions such as these are grammatically correct but weaken writing by taking what could be a direct action ("She tucked her hair behind her ear") and making it a dependent clause and therefore somewhat inconsequential.

They also note that as and -ing constructions usually create two simultaneous actions and can lead to "physical impossibilities." Such as, "Running into the house, she changed the baby's diaper." We mean the character is running into the house to quickly change the baby's diaper, but the sentence suggests she's doing both at the same time. And I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone quite that talented.

If you have Self-Editing for Fiction Writers or plan to buy it, this info is found in chapter 11, "Sophistication," on pages 193-194.

Happy Writing and Editing!

AMY HOLDER INTERVIEW AND BOOK GIVEAWAY

First I'm going to announce the winner of NIGHTSHADE. The winner is:

BARBARA WATSON!

Congrats! E-mail me your addresses so I can send you your book.Today I’m so excited to be interviewing Amy Holder. Her book, THE LIPSTICK LAWS,
was released April 4th.

Here's a description from Goodreads:

At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her. For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity. But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?

Hi Amy. Thanks so much for joining us.
Thanks so much for having me here!

1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a writer.

I’m a huge animal lover who also loves the creative arts, laughing, and chocolate. I’m originally from upstate New York (close to the setting of THE LIPSTICK LAWS), but I currently reside in the Philadelphia area with my verbally challenged sidekicks (pets).
I've always loved to write from the time I can remember, however I didn't decide to pursue it professionally until after working in a different field following college. I soon realized that I wanted a career that wouldn't feel like work because I love it so much. Although writing can be hard work at times, I adore every second of it and am thankful to be able call myself a writer.

2. How cool that you're getting to do what you love. You did a brilliant job of weaving your theme of The Lipstick Laws into your plot. I’m not kidding everyone, it’s perfectly tied in. How did you think of these laws and plot them into your story?


Thank you very much! I came up with the Lipstick Laws within the story by brainstorming every ridiculously shallow thing I could think of regarding superficial popularity climbing. I narrowed my list down to seven categories to create the laws that the girls follow. I should add that I would never be able to follow any of the laws I thought up...I'd be a Lipstick Lawbreaker in 2.5 seconds if so!

3. Did you always know that The Lipstick Laws was your title? And who came up with the pitch on your bookmarks—some laws are better off broken? They both fit your story so well.

I actually started off with a different working title because the whole plot wasn't fully formed as I began writing the story. The first part of the story that came to me was April's voice (the narrator and main character) and her many quirks. One of those quirks is her addiction to bra-stuffing... so my original working title was Confessions of a Bra-Stuffer. As I continued to write, brainstorm, and put April into what-if scenarios, the whole plot began to evolve more... and the actual "Lipstick Laws" came to life. I immediately changed the title at that point, as I knew the Lipstick Laws were going to be a main focus of the story.

As for the pitch on the bookmarks...*raises hand and points to self* I came up with that as well...mainly because I don't think anyone should ever follow these laws. They are definitely better off broken! Unless, of course, your dream is to become a superficial robot. In that case, these laws may come in handy.

4. I'm glad you switched the title because it's so perfect for your story. April’s problems—having no friends and getting the chance to be popular but at a cost—are issues many teens can relate to. I read that one of your struggles was creating April as a likeable person but realistically one who could make bad choices to be friends with Britney. How did you balance those two parts of her and what did you learn from that struggle?

Balancing April's likability and flaws was definitely the trickiest part of writing this book. It's something that my editor (Julia Richardson) and I focused on through the beginning stages of the editorial process. I knew April had to have some personality flaws in order to be susceptible to following Britney. However, I had to make her likable enough to entice the reader to root for her.

Thankfully, my editor was very helpful in pointing out the areas of the story that she felt I needed to tone down April's flaws and unfavorable behavior, or boost up her compassion and other likable qualities. This was very helpful, and it made me really appreciate her unbiased editorial eye. In turn, that was one thing I learned through the process: trust my editor and know that she has the best interest of me, my characters and the story in mind.


5. That's great advice to listen to your editor's advice. Okay, I read in a blog interview about your amazing road to publication and getting your agent Sarah Davies. Please tell us about it. It’s such a wonderful story.

Thank you! I'm still so grateful and a little shocked about how everything has fallen into place for me. My publishing route was a bit unconventional compared to many other published writers. I found my agent after already getting a publishing deal. Upon finishing the manuscript draft of THE LIPSTICK LAWS, I planned to query agents...but decided to delay the querying process to submit directly to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt after making a networking connection who was able to get my manuscript out of the slush pile. I crossed my fingers but didn't hold my breath because I never imagined anything would come from the submission. I was ecstatic several weeks later when I found out that HMH wanted to publish my book! Things moved so quickly after this, I didn't have time to query agents so I hired a literary attorney to help me with my book contract instead.

It wasn't until I received adaptation interest from a Hollywood producer a couple months before my publication date that I decided to query agents. I knew at this point that I was out of my league to be flying solo, and I needed to find an agent who knows the publishing business and could help guide my career. I researched angents extensively and was very impressed with Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary Agency. She’s been working in the publishing field for 20+ years, she has fabulous international connections, her clients speak very highly of her, and she’s a great person with a fantastic sense of humor (which is very important to me). I was thrilled to accept representation from her and my film agent Jerry Kalajian (whom she introduced me to).


6. Guys, isn't that an amazing story to publication? And wait, there's more. Tell us how your book came to be optioned for TV and what’s happening with that now? What role will you play if it gets developed into a TV series?

Several months before my book was published, I received an inquiry of interest through my publisher from a successful producer (Teri Weinberg). I had retained my film/TV rights when negotiating my book deal, so my publisher put me in direct touch with her assistant. I found out that Teri had come across my book info online and was interested in reviewing an advance copy. I sent an ARC to her immediately, trying to refrain from completely freaking out. Naturally, I was pretty excited about the possibility, but again, I didn't hold my breath for anything to happen from it. About a month before my book was released, she emailed me saying that she'd like to option my rights. I was beyond thrilled... especially because I'm a big fan of Teri's work (she's the exec producer of The Office, Ugly Betty, and The Tudors)!

There are many steps that would have to happen before a TV series based on my book would be produced, and many books that are optioned never make it that far. It's a long process with a lot of different variables. At this point, a pitch package is being put together to be able to pitch a possible series idea to networks. If (fingers crossed) it does get picked up by a network and make it to the production stage, I'm not sure how involved I'd be in the whole process or what role I'd play. Some producers like authors to be more involved than others. Either way, I'll just be extremely excited regardless of my level of involvement.

7. In preparing for your interview in mid-June, I searched for other interviews. You did over 15 since March. How were those set up and how effective were they as marketing tools? Are there any other successful marketing tools that you’d recommend?

Wow! 15? I think I lost count after five. I never realized just how large, friendly, interested and supportive the book blogging community is until I secured my book deal and started a blog of my own. Since then, I've been lucky to make connections with a bunch of awesome book bloggers and other writers. Many of my interviews were set up through those connections, and others have been initiated through people asking me out of the blue.

I think interviews are a wonderful way to reach a broad audience whom I may not have had the opportunity to talk to otherwise. The one drawback from doing so many interviews is that it takes away from creative writing time. I think a healthy balance is needed if a writer wants to stay sane...and write more books.

Other than creating marketing materials, having an online presence, doing in-person events, and accumulating a fan base by writing more books, I also think joining writing groups is a wonderful marketing (and networking) tool that I'd wholly recommend to any writer. Not only is it important for writers to have confidants who understand their trials and tribulations, having a set of writing friends to help get the word out about your book(s) helps increase marketability.


8. Yeah, balancing marketing and writing is hard. What are you working on now?

I've been working on another humorous YA manuscript...and I've also been brainstorming a sequel to THE LIPSTICK LAWS, so hopefully both will be published at some point.

Good luck Amy. You can find Amy at her website and her blog.
Thank you so much for your wonderful interview, Natalie! Good luck with your blog and writing!

I’m giving away one SIGNED copy of THE LIPSTICK LAWS. To enter the contest, 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 30th. I’ll announce the winner on August 1st.

On Wednesday, we have a special treat for you. Stasia Ward Kehoe, whose debut book AUDITION will be released on October 13, 2011, is doing a guest post on how to get out of the trap of not submitting. I already read her post and I know you'll love it.Next Monday I'll be interviewing Stephanie Burgess and giving away a copy of her book, KAT INCORRIBIBLE.

Hope to see you next Monday!

Agent Spotlight: Amanda Lewis

Profile Removed.

Ms. Lewis is no longer with the Doe Coover Literary Agency. She appears to have left the business.

Do not query.

Tip Tuesday #97

If you didn't see the news yesterday, WriteOnCon has teamed up with The Reading Room for an awesome contest. Enter the first 500 words of a MG or YA manuscript for a chance to win $1000 and an author page on TRR site. Details here.

For Tip Tuesday this week, Phil Siegel sent in a neat tip related to word count goals. Phil blogs at A Time to Phil. This is the first time I've featured him so definitely drop by his blog for a visit when you're done here. He has some great posts on writing and publishing. Enjoy!

Tip Tuesday – Writing by the Numbers

This is primarily for plotters and people who like math and measurable goals. Writing a book is a daunting task, so I like to break it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. Let’s say you’re writing a young adult novel, and your goal is 60,000 words.

-There are on average 250 words on a double-spaced Microsoft Word page with standard margins and 12-point font.

-Figure out how many chapters your book will have. I’ll use 30 in this scenario.

-Total words/chapters = Words per chapter. In this case, 60,000/30 = 2000 words per chapter.

-Words per chapter/words per page = Pages per chapter. 2000/250 = 8 pages per chapter.

When I sit down to write, I don’t look at my novel as one 60,000 word behemoth, but rather a string of 2,000 word, 8-paged segments.

-Phil

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.

ASK THE EXPERT SERIES INTERVIEW WITH AN UPCOMING 6TH GRADER

Today I'm excited to interview Malorie, an upcoming 6th grader. She's Dustin Hansen's daughter, one of our followers. And even more awesome, IT'S HER BIRTHDAY!

Happy Birthday Malorie. I hope you have a fun birthday and thanks for joining us.

1.Please tell us a little bit about yourself, your school, and what you like to read.

My name is Malorie Hansen and I love to read. I’m almost in the 6th grade and my hobbies are skating, reading, playing with pets (chickens, dog, cat, turkeys, ducks, goats) and acting in plays. As you can tell, I’m a farm girl.
My favorite thing to read is adventure and fantasy books like Percy Jackson, Farworld, Goose Girl and The Frog Princess. I love The Healing Wars by Janice Hardy –the girls in the books remind me of me and my sister. I also love Shel Silverstein.

2. We share a lot of the same tastes in books. I loved the Percy Jackson series, Goose Girl, and The Healing Wars too. How do you find out about the books you read? What about new books coming out?

Mostly from my friends and family. They usually say stuff like, “Hey Malorie, have you read this book?” and then if it looks good I read it.

3. What are you reading now? What books are you waiting to be released?

Frog Princess and a book by my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Jones called Buffalo Days. It’s pretty funny and he is a great reader so it makes it more fun.
I can’t wait for Farworld 3 and book 3 of The Healing Wars – Darkfall.

4. I can't wait for Darkfall either. FYI I'm interviewing Janice Hardy and giving away an ARC of DARKFALL on October 10th so have your dad enter my contest for you. Do you buy most of your book or get them at the library? How often do you go to a bookstore?

Both – evenly. We live far away from a bookstore now – GOSH DARNIT! But my parents let me buy them on my dad’s iPad. I love reading on the iPad but I can’t take it to school.
Also, I love looking through books on Amazon and downloading sample pages. Once I got a book that looked good but there were swear words in the sample so we didn’t buy it. I like that.

5. I'm jealous. I don't have an iPad. Do you read any teen book blogs, author blogs, or author or publisher websites? Become a fan of an author on Facebook? Why?

I don’t read any blogs. I really don’t even know what they are, but I do LIKE some books and authors I like on Facebook. Shannon Hale, Janice Hardy, J. Scott Savage and Shel Silverstein. It’s cool to see what the authors have to say, but J. Scott Savage won’t tell me when his book is coming out. It’s driving me crazy!

6. That's awesome that you follow authors on Facebook. Has your teacher recommended any blogs or websites to your class or to you?

Nope.

7. Are there things your favorite authors could do that would make you more likely to visit their website, their blog, or become a fan on Facebook?

Sneak peeks about their books or deleted chapters like the deleted scenes on DVD’s. I’ve been to a couple of writer websites, but they are mostly for other writers. None of them are for kids like me so I usually just check out Amazon on the iPad for writers.

8. Those are great tips.Have any authors visited your school? Who? Is there anything you’d recommend that an author do to make their presentation more interesting to you and other kids at your school?

Yes. Brandon Mull came and he was hilarious. He read from his book and then answered a lot of questions. He was funny and he really liked us. That makes a big difference. It would be great if the authors could do a drawing or something so that kids could get a chance to win a signed copy of the book.

Thanks so much Malorie for giving us all your great advice. Have a great birthday. I hope everyone will wish Malorie a happy birthday in the comments. What do you think of her suggestions for author websites? They sound like great ideas to me.

Don't forget to enter my contest here for one copy of NIGHTSHADE. To enter the contest, 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 23rd. I’ll announce the winner on July 25th.

Next week I’ll be interviewing Amy Holder and giving away a copy of THE LIPSTICK LAWS. She has an amazing story about her road to publication that you won’t want to miss.

And on August 1st I'll be interviewing Stephanie Burgis and giving away a copy of KAT INCORRIGIBLE.

And I just found out that WriteOnCon has an awesome contest where you could win $1000.00 and get a chance to have your work represented by Catherine Drayton. Check out the details here.

See you next Monday!

Also...

...Tahereh (did you see her gorgeous cover?) shared this on her blog earlier in the week and since I cry myself blind whenever I watch it, I thought it worth sharing. *Hugs* to all my fellow HP fans.

Words of Hope

tumblr_lnlzkyI2Y11qb8akyo1_500.png

(Ira Glass.  Found via Heather Petty’s tumblr.)

Agent Spotlight: Jennifer DeChiara

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

Status: Open to submissions. 

jencopyAbout: “Jennifer DeChiara is president and owner of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency, which she founded in 2001. Before forming the agency, she was a literary agent with two established New York agencies, worked in the editorial departments of Simon & Schuster and Random House, and was a writing consultant for several major corporations. A New York City-based writer, she is a frequent guest judge for the WRITER’S DIGEST, WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING, and THAT FIRST LINE writing contests, among others, and is a frequent guest lecturer on publishing and the art of writing at universities and writers conferences throughout the country, which have included New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute, the Penticton, Canada Writers Conference, the San Diego State University Writers Conference, Backspace, the International Women’s Writing Guild, and the Learning Annex. She represents both children’s and adult books, fiction and non-fiction, in a wide range of genres and represents many best-selling, award-winning authors, including Lambda Award-winning YA novelist Brent Hartinger, best-selling children’s book authors Chanda Bell and Carol Aebersold, and #1 New York Times best-selling author Sylvia Browne.” (Link)

About the Agency:

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

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

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

Web Presence:

JD Lit Website.

Agency Twitter.

AgentQuery, QueryTracker.

What She's Looking For:

Genres/Specialties:

Fiction: Literary Fiction, Commercial Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Humor/Satire, Gay/Lesbian, Thrillers/Suspense, Short Story Collections, Children’s, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Illustration.

Non-Fiction: Celebrity, Pop Culture, Music, Film/Entertainment, Humor, Current Affairs/Politics, How-To, Parenting, Health/Fitness, Psychology, Self-Help.

(Link, Link)

From the Website:

“Our doors are always open to new writers and illustrators. Currently we are looking for children’s books for every age – picture books, middle-grade, and young adult – and adult fiction and non-fiction in a wide range of genres. If in doubt, just query us.” (Link)

From an Interview:

“The agency represents children's literature in a variety of age ranges and genres, everything from picture books to middle-grade books to young adult books; we also represent adult fiction and nonfiction in almost every genre - literary fiction, commercial fiction, women's fiction, celebrity biographies, film and television, self-help, health, social issues and contemporary affairs, mysteries, thrillers - and much more. We also represent screenplays, TV projects, and stage plays.” (Link)

From an Interview:

“The agency represents all kinds of fiction, but we are most passionate about literary fiction, which I define as beautiful writing that is a pleasure to read.
A literary novel usually appeals to a more intellectual crowd; it either has a unique style or exquisite writing, or both. It's the kind of book where I find myself reading a sentence or a paragraph over and over because the language feels wonderful on my tongue; I will remember sentences that the writer has written many years later.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Romance, Sci-Fi, Westerns, Poetry. (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“I'm a very hands-on agent, and I regularly work with my authors to edit/rework their manuscripts to get them ready for submission. Sometimes a book will need a total restructuring, and sometimes it will need only minor line editing or proofreading. I love all of it!” (Link)

Quoteables:

“I love representing children's books because I love the idea of doing something that will possibly create a child's lifelong relationship with books. I can still remember the books I loved as a child, and there are books that I know influenced me to become the person I am now. It's thrilling to be a part of that. Children's books are challenging because you not only have to appeal to a child, but also to the parent buying the book. But they're also a lot of fun to work on. Most important for me is knowing that one of the books I've helped create and/or sell might put a smile on a child's face. I don't think there's anything nobler than that.” (Link)

“The secret to success in publishing is realizing that there are no secrets. Writers must be willing to work hard on their art and just as hard in learning about the business of publishing. They must be able to take constructive criticism and be willing to learn about and be responsible for their own book promotion. But, most important, they must hang on to their dreams and never give up.” (Link)

“I wish authors knew two things before they contact me: First, that it's good to dream, but you have to dream in the real world; a writer's road is often a rocky one, with a lot of potholes along the way. Second, dreams come true - every single day. DREAMS COME TRUE.” (Link)

Clients:

The agency represents over 200 clients, including a PEN Award-winner and a Newbery Honor Medal winner. Selected lists of clients can be found on the site; writers here, illustrators here

Sales:

As of this posting, the agency is listed on Publisher's Marketplace as having made 12 deals in the last 12 months, 1 six-figure+ deal, and 62 overall.  Recent deals include 4 young adult, 3 middle grade, 1 picture book, 1 general/other, 1 sci-fi/fantasy, 1 memoir, 1 pop culture.

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

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

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

See the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines. 

Query Tips:

“A good query letter should, above all, make me want to read the book. It should state the book's theme, or ‘hook,’ in one concise sentence in the
first paragraph. The author's credentials should be included in one brief
paragraph, along with his contact information. It should be well written,
simple, and straightforward. Thanking me for my time is always nice…” (Link)

See more great query tips in Ms. DeChiara’s interview with Fiction Factor and her guest post at Your Book Is Your Hook.

Response Times:

The agency’s stated response is 2 weeks for queries. Stats on the web show most queries responded to within hours to a week or so, though it seems they’ve been somewhat behind lately.  Response times for requested material range from days to quite a few months with some instances of no-response.

“Writers should understand that we get hundreds of queries every day, including weekends and holidays, which would make it a full-time job for us just to keep up with them.” (via e-mail)

What's the Buzz?

Jennifer DeChiara is a successful, well-established agent with a lot of great experience in the publishing industry.  She’s always looking for new talent and regularly attends conferences.  Follow her on Twitter @4writers for further insight and submission updates. 

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Interview with Jennifer DeChiara at Women on Writing (2007?)

Featured Agent Interview: Jennifer DeChiara - Agent, Owner and Founder of JD Literary Agency at A View From the Top (04/2007).

Interview with Jennifer DeChiara at The Writing Equation (12/2006).

Interview with Jennifer DeChiara at Fiction Factor (2003?).

Around the Web:

Ms. DeChiara’s upcoming appearances can be found on the website here.

Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency thread on AbsoluteWrite.

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

Your Book is Your Hook, talk radio with Jennifer DeChiara and author Julia Cameron at Women’s Radio (09/2010).

Writing YA: Advice from literary agent Jennifer DeChiara on Twitter at Peta Jinnath Andersen’s blog (06/2010).

Engaging A Literary Agent: Do’s and Don’ts, guest post by Ms. DeChiara at Your Book Is Your Hook (09/2010).

Why Conferences? (Or, How I Got My Editor and My Agent), client Marie Lamba’s agent/editor success story (10/2006).

Contact:

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

Profile Details:

Last updated: 7/14/11.

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 7/15/11.

***

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.

Tip Tuesday #96

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.

I have another great tip on writer's block this week. This one was sent in by Christine Tyler (author of past tips #73 and #79) who blogs at The Writer Coaster. Please give her a visit!

Tricking Yourself out of Writer's Block:

Ever have trouble getting past BICHOK (Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard)? A lot of people will tell you to "just jump in," but that sometimes seems easier said than done. Here is how I get my toes in the water first.

To start, think of where you are in your story. Whether it's "in a castle" or "at the beginning?"
Then, think of who is in the scene. "Joe" or "his frozen lizard friend" will do.
This is not an exact science. Write where you are and who is there up at the top of your page to remind you.

Then, write "what?"

Decide who is asking it and have another character answer. Or have them answer it themselves if they're alone.

Write down the answer, whatever it is.

Let it be stupid-sounding. Start with dialogue, and then jot down notes of anything you see in your head. Keep it to one or two words. Write questions down as they come to mind. Write the answers if you have them. If you don't, move on and think about it later. Personally, I like to keep a lot of white-space so things don't look too cluttered. I also feel more productive because it takes up space.

I find that when I do this, I involuntarily start writing snippets of my scene until I'm writing my manuscript with a full-blown muse.
Afterward, I just skim my "notes" off the top like cream off a pitcher of milk, and keep the good stuff.

It looks a bit like this:

Outside stupid hot-pocket factory that looks like a castle for some reason
Joe, Steve, George

"What?"
"The crystal. We have to get it."
"Why don't you get it?"
"Because you're the one with the frozen lizard carcass that we need to get into the hot-pocket factory."
No really why doesn't he get it? Frozen lizard carcass?

Lizard talks.
Not frozen. Surprise!
Pink tongue. Pet fly.
Name...George? Moffit?

How do they get in?
Throw George at door.
Mahogany. Metal strip things like olden-times.
George sneaks under door.
The door creaked like the backside of Joe's Grandma after The Great Bean Picnic. Flags featuring microwaveable goodies whapped in the breeze, but the turrets were empty. Guards usually went boating on the weekend, and the weather on this particular Saturday was exceptional. Joe and Steve crept after George, his tail making silent S's in the dust..
.(and I'm off!)

~Christine

ANDREA CREMER INTERVIEW AND BOOK GIVEAWAY

First I’m going to announce the winners of my big Thank You giveaway. The winners are:




KRISTEN LENZ



EMILY V




GIADA



EISEN

Congrats! E-mail me your addresses so I can send you your books.

Today I’m so excited to be interviewing Andrea Cremer. Her book, NIGHTSHADE, was released in 2010 and was on the New York Bestseller List. WOLFSBANE was just released July 26, 2011. I loved the world Andrea created in NIGHTSHADE and can’t wait to read WOLFSBANE.

Here’s a blurb of NIGHTSHADE from Goodreads:

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything- including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

And a blurb of WOLFSBANE from Goodreads:

This thrilling sequel to the much-talked-about Nightshade begins just where it ended-Calla Tor wakes up in the lair of the Searchers, her sworn enemy, and she's certain her days are numbered. But then the Searchers make her an offer-one that gives her the chance to destroy her former masters and save the pack-and the man-she left behind. Is Ren worth the price of her freedom? And will Shay stand by her side no matter what? Now in control of her own destiny, Calla must decide which battles are worth fighting and how many trials true love can endure and still survive.

Hi Andrea. Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m from a small town on the shores of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin. I grew up roaming forests and inventing worlds full of mystery and magic. In addition to writing I’m a history professor at Macalester College and I currently live in Minnesota.

2. Calla is such a strong female character being the alpha of her pack. Yet, she has to learn to be submissive to Ren, the alpha male she’ll mate with. Then she finds a totally vulnerable side of herself when she meets Shay. And Ren is a completely alpha male yet has a gentler side when it comes to Calla. How did you nail your characters? Are there parts of you in Calla?

You never want to say that you hear voices, but when it comes to my characters I definitely hear them. My characters are unique individuals who often surprise me along the way. Ren is a great example as I discovered he had a lot more layers than I realized. Each of my characters is like that in one way or another. Calla and I have the same favorite book – Watership Down – and we both love black coffee. Otherwise I’m much more like Calla’s younger brother, Ansel who is a romantic idealist.

3. Okay, we won’t tell anyone your secret about the voices. I found the hierarchy you created in WOLFSBANE of the keepers (witches) and the guardians (wolves) who protected the keepers but who were ruled by them fascinating. How did you develop this? Is it based on any myths or totally something you imagined?

The world of Nightshade is completely imagined based on my passion for real wolves and my interest in the history of witchcraft.

4. You’ve got an awesome imagination. I read that you’ve never been to Vale, the setting of your book. And that you don’t like caves, another important place in your book. How did you create such a realistic setting not having been to where you’re writing about?

Though I haven’t been to Vail I have been to Colorado several times. Based on those experiences and lots and lots of time on Google Earth I was able to construct the world of Nightshade. Regarding caves – I’m horribly claustrophobic and am therefore terrified of caves. I channel that tension into the narrative.

5. NIGHTSHADE had a lot of plot twists and you ended in a cliffhanger which is unusual for a first book. Then it looks like the fast pace picks up again with Calla and the searchers that you only tell us a bit about in book one. Was this all plotted out before you started or did it come to you as you went?

I’m horrible at plotting, the structure stifles my writing process. I don’t write my books in chronological order but instead write scenes as they inspire me. Then I put all the pieces together to create the overarching narrative.

6. Do you have any tips from your own writing experiences about writing a trilogy?

When I start a trilogy I know the big picture of the story but it’s the details, twists and subplots that come together through the process of writing the books. I’d say you have to be sure the scope of your story is large enough to cover three books – don’t keep stretching things out simply for the sake of another book. Some stories need one book, others need six. Know your characters and your plot well enough to grasp the length you should be aiming for.

7. That’s great advice to have a sense of how many books you’ll need to tell your story. Tell us about your road to publication.

My writing career started literally by accident. I’d always loved writing, but I never thought it was something I could do professionally. In the summer of 2008 I was in a horseback riding accident that left me with a broken foot and orders to stay off my feet for twelve weeks. With nothing to do but sit I decided to try writing a novel – a dream I’d always had but had never given myself permission to try. As soon as I began writing I fell completely in love with the process and knew I wanted to make fiction writing a full-time part of my professional life. I knew nothing about the publishing world so I did research and learned about querying and finding an agent. I signed with InkWell Management in the spring of 2009 and we sold Nightshade to Penguin that summer.

8. I fell in love with writing the same way you did. I know you work full-time as a college history professor. When you’re teaching, how do you juggle writing, teaching, and now marketing? I work full-time too and am dying to know you handle it all.

Honestly I’m still figuring it out. I love teaching and right now I’m able to maintain balance between my many lives. It probably helps that I have dogs rather than children ;)

9. Before I wrote out your interview questions, I googled you and found lots of book reviews and interviews on other blogs. How did you so successfully get the word out when you were a debut author? Are you planning to market any differently for WOLFSBANE?

My publisher, Penguin, has been hugely supportive and did an amazing job with getting word out about the book with bloggers, reviewers and through the amazing Shadow Days campaign they did featuring Shay’s life at Rowan Estate prior to his meeting Calla. I also really enjoy Twitter and blogging – to me they are just other types of writing. I love connecting with readers, it’s so much fun!

10. What are you working on now?

I have three projects going on at the moment. I’m revising a prequel to Nightshade about the origins of the Witches’ War in the Middle Ages. I’m also working on my collaborative novel THE INVISBILITY CURSE with David Levithan. And finally I’m writing a new steampunk trilogy that I’m absolutely in love with.

Good luck Andrea. You can find Andrea at her website and her blog.

I’m giving away one copy of NIGHTSHADE. To enter the contest, 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 23rd. I’ll announce the winner on July 25th. International entries are welcome.

Next week I’ll be interviewing an upcoming 6th grader who LOVES to read for my ASK THE EXPERT series. She’s Dustin Hansen’s daughter. He’s a follower and often shares tips for our Tuesday tips series. And it’s her BIRTHDAY next Monday. So be sure to stop by and wish her Happy Birthday.

On July 25th, I’ll be interviewing Amy Holder and giving away a copy of THE LIPSTICK LAWS. She has an amazing story about her road to publication that you won’t want to miss.

See you next Monday!

Agent Spotlight: Bree Ogden

This week's Agent Spotlight features Bree Ogden of D4EO Literary Agency.

Status: Open to submissions.

Bree About: “Bree Ogden is the newest addition to D4EO Literary Agency, after having been an associate literary agent at Martin Literary Management for nearly 2 years representing children’s, YA, and graphic novels.

Bree graduated with her BA in Philosophy from Southern Virginia University where she served as editor-in-chief of the University’s newsmagazine. She was awarded Most Valuable Player and Editor of the Year, as well as SVU’s Pioneer Award, an honor the University awards to two students each year. She then received her MA in Journalism with an emphasis in editing and expository writing at Northeastern University where she worked on both the New England Press Association Bulletin, and also served as the features editor of the premier campus music magazine, Tastemakers Magazine.

Bree has spent many years working as a freelance journalist and currently co-operates the macabre children’s magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree where she serves as Editorial Director.” (Link)

About the Agency:

“Bob Diforio launched D4EO Literary Agency in 1989 after a long career at New American Library. Today D4EO is a full-service, four-agent literary agency representing authors of a very broad range of commercial fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults. Books represented by the agency have topped the The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and agency authors have received awards that include the Daphne de Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and the Nero Award.

“With over 1,000 published books under contract, the agency has launched the writing careers of more than two hundred authors. The agency is based in Connecticut with associate agents in Seattle (Mandy Hubbard, Kristin Miller and Bree Ogden) and Destin, FL (Joyce Holland).” (Link)

Web Presence:

D4EO website.

D4EO PM page.

This Literary Life (blog).

Twitter.

Facebook.

Formspring.

AgentQuery.

What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

Middle grade, Young Adult, New Adult fiction (readership: ages 18-30), Graphic Novels, YA Nonfiction, and Art books. (Link)

From her Blog (11/9/11):

“Bree’s wish list: (don’t limit your queries to these!)

Young Adult:

  • Dark (not angst-ridden)
  • Realistic
  • Psychological horror (with no paranormal elements)
  • Hard sci fi. Meaning no fantasy, or magical realism at all
  • A Dexter-ish type YA black comedy
  • A Roaring Twenties historical for YA
  • A manuscript written in the era of Mad Men with panache and style
  • A unique and theme-driven art book” (Link)

From a Blog Post (11/2011):

“While watching my all time favorite movie for about the 700th time, all I could think was, “Man I wish someone would query me with an idea this great.”

“The movie? Drop Dead Gorgeous. The ultimate dark comedy.

“Irreverent wit, delicious irony, awesome stereotypes, catty girls, odd jobs, laughable idols, low-life expectations, dark, twisted, absurd, small town life. Absolute perfect storm. If you have anything like this…you know what to do.” (Link)

From an Interview (01/2011):

“She is especially interested in darker plots (think Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay) and loves dystopian, unique and fresh supernatural elements. Science fiction graphic novels and graphic novels that challenge the reader to think as well as have a great visual hook, stories that are very visual in nature, and books with a philosophical hook are equally of interest. “ (Link)

From an Interview (09/2010):

“I'm looking for quite a bit...all very different from what is out in the marketplace right now. I just finished reading a series of devilish books from the Harlequin Vintage series, i.e., Kiss Your Elbow, I'll Bury My Dead, You Never Know with Women, etc. I would love--with a capital L--a manuscript with that sort of vintage noir drama but set in a modern day. Think femme fatale, film noir, dark and mysterious. Which leads to my next desire...I would love something along the lines of Mad Men. And of course I love zombies, but those are very hard to write well.

“I've never been a huge sugary romance fan, so if you are submitting a romance to me, it has got to have grit, realistic conflict, and maybe not so much of a happy ending? I also think that a faux memoir, middle grade or young adult, if done well, could be amazing. I would love to see that in my inbox. And even more so, I would LOVE a real memoir told in graphic novel form.

“And of course, I love quirky boy-centric middle grade, always! I am always and forever looking for great middle grade. It is my favorite genre to represent.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Poetry, short stories, screenplays, paranormal, fantasy (including urban fantasy), romance (unless there is a superb dark, psychotic element), magical realism, world building. (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“It all depends on the writer. I’ve had a few clients that didn’t need anything from me other than to sell their book. I’ve had some clients that I’ve suggested significant changes to their manuscripts. I’ve had other clients that I have walked through the entire process from basic book description to book proposal to marketing plan to mock book covers. I don’t do much editing though. I would never take on a manuscript that needed significant editing. I talk to most of my clients several times a week, both phone and email. It is very important to me that my clients and I are always on the same page. I want my clients to succeed, so that means being there for them as much as they need me.” (Link)

Quotables:

“Do your research in all ways possible: read a lot, revise a lot, know what agents represent what and query the correct ones, blog, Twitter, Facebook, get yourself out there in the viral world and make a name for yourself before you even finish that manuscript. It will work wonders for you in the future. Show agents and editors that you are literary-minded and that you know how to promote yourself.” (Link)

“Career builder, no doubt. Once I sign a client I hope to have them for the long haul. I want to help them develop great relationships with editors and publishing houses. Not to mention I seriously fall in love with my clients and break-ups are hard to do. Ha ha. I think it is important for an author to have someone at his or her back. And when an author is continually changing agents, well, that relationship just doesn’t sustain for obvious reasons.” (Link)

Pet-Peeves:

“I'm not fond of being called ‘Sir.’ Haha. I've seen some pretty bad queries but I wouldn't file them under pet peeves. The pet peeves come when I can tell that the author hasn't done the research, i.e., they query me for an adult true crime, etc. Also, most agents are pretty specific that they don't want attachments in the email, so that is kind of a pet peeve. But really, I just want to know what the manuscript is about without having to put a huge amount of effort into figuring it out. It shouldn't be an Easter egg hunt for the plot line.” (Link)

Clients:

Michelle L. Brown, D.M. Cunningham, JoAnna Haugen, Bharti Kirchner, Tymothy Longoria, J. David McKenney, Gregg Olsen, Rebekah Joy Plett, Ron RutlerKetch Tavern, among others.

Sales:

As of this posting, Ms. Ogden does not have any deals listed with Publisher’s Marketplace. NOTE: PM is usually not a completely representation of sales.

She co-agented a YA two-book deal with Sterling Publishing for author Gregg Olsen (info via e-mail 07/2011).

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).

Snail-Mail: No.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

Paste a query and the first five pages of your MS in the body of an e-mail. No attachments.

For complete, up-to-date submission guidelines see the D4EO website.

Query Tips:

“I like a good creative query letter. I work with creative genres, so show me that you are creative through your letter…without trying too hard. That’s never good for anyone. I hate when the writer will tell me everything BUT the plot of the book. Sometimes they beat around that bush like it’s on fire…and I’m left wondering what the heck the premise is?” (Link)

You can find more tips at Ms. Ogden’s blog and in this guest post.

Response Times:

Unknown.

What's the Buzz?

Bree joined the D4E0 Literary Agency in November of 2011 after nearly two years at Martin Literary Management.  She has a growing list of clients who seem to adore her and is actively seeking new talent.

You can find Ms. Ogden on Twitter, at her blog, and at conferences throughout the year.

Worth Your Time:

Interviews:

Interview with Bree Ogden at SFC Blog (02/2011).

Interview: Agent Bree Ogden at Plotting and Scheming (09/2010).

Meet the Peas Interview Series: Bree Ogden at A Bit of Grace (08/2010).

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Bree Ogden at Middle Grade Ninja (08/2010).

Interview with YA uberagent, Bree Ogden at Dark Angel Blog (08/2010).

Literary Warrior & Agent - Bree Ogden at Literary Asylum (05/2010).

Interview with New Agent Bree Ogden at Day By Day Writer (04/2010).

Selected Blog Posts:

I’ll Just Throw This Out There… (11/2011).

Fantasy vs. Science Fiction (06/2011).

Operation Virtual Agent #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 (01-02/2011).

Be the Evel Knievel of Writing (11/2010).

Monthly NEWSLETTER (11/2010).

I want to be scared. I want zombies (07/2010).

Operation Query Critique: A Good Egg (07/2010).

Some Query Letter Tips (07/2010).

Visit and subscribe to Ms. Ogden’s blog, This Literary Life, for more great posts and tips.

Around the Web:

D4EO Literary thread on AbsoluteWrite.

D4EO Literary Partners on P&E (recommended). Bree Ogden at P&E.

Going up *Ding* with Guest Bree Ogden,” at Yatopia (06/2011).

Special Guest, Agent Bree Ogden, on “Query Tips to Help Get Your Foot in the Door” at Ketch Tavern (06/2011).

Proust Questionnaire – Fun tidbits on Ms. Ogden (09/2010).

Contact:

Please see the D4EO website or Ms. Ogden’s blog for contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last updated: 11/9/11.

Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 11/9/11.

***

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.

Tip Tuesday #95

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.

I hope you all had a fantastic, safe 4th of July! Today's tip on the infernal internal editor comes from Cate Morgan who blogs at Infinite Monkey. Cate's apocalyptic fantasy novella Brighid's Cross will be published by Samhain Ltd. in November 2011. Such great news! Please give her a visit and consider subscribing to her blog. Enjoy!

Tip Tuesday - In Which We Beat Writer's Block.

Or, Adventures In Distracting The Infernal Editor


I don’t know about you, but my writer’s block has a name. I call it the Infernal Editor, mainly because if I’m stuck at a road block and can’t see where I need to go it’s because he’s snatched the next bit of story and run off with it, laughing a diabolical laugh. Or because he’s blocked my view like a big ol' hiney in front of a TV. Every writer has that internal voice screaming “No, go that way!” or switching the road signs in the direction of an unexpected cliff. Even as I type this, he’s bouncing up and down, going “What did you write THAT for? That’s not helpful or witty or in any way good. Hey, is that a Starbucks?”

See how he tried to lure me off track like that? The Infernal Editor is indeed a worthy foe—crafty, malicious, and determined to make us doubt ourselves and our talent. It knows your weaknesses, and exploits them mercilessly. Sometimes he even appears in the guise of logic or Writer’s Little Helper. A tricksy trickster, that one.

Fortunately, there’s more than one way to skin a Cheshire Cat.

Chain Of Events

This is where I grab a notebook and pen and run off somewhere the Infernal Editor can’t find me. Then, beginning at my last key scene or plot point, I summarize the action in short lines of action, image, or dialogue up to the point where I got stuck. It's important to do this by memory, and to leave lots of white space for notes later. If I’ve gone wrong anywhere or missed something this is where I usually find it. Don’t sweat mechanics or grammar or anything remotely technical—this is about discovery, and the point is to get rid of the little bastard, not encourage him. He’s usually so stricken by the lack of paragraphs, sentence structure and punctuation he can’t form words.

Spinning Down The Page

By the time I reach the road block a solution usually crops up, and I can continue alternating action-image-dialogue, line by line, in any order that comes natural. Writing hot, breathing deep, leaving the Infernal Editor shaking his fists impotently in my rearview mirror, all the way until the next key scene or plot point, destination in clear view. Again, this isn't about planning, but discovery.

Getting It Down

Time to put it all into the computer. Using my notebook, I can now put it all into actual words. By now my brain is so into the groove things I never initially considered pop up like jack-in-the-boxes, waving their little hands, going “Pick me, pick ME!” This is where I come up with some of my best writing, because my brain is warmed up and purring nicely. And I go with it, because the Infernal Editor is still panting to catch up. And then it’s my turn to chortle an evil little laugh. Bwa-ha-ha-haaaa.

An evil laugh can be good for the writer’s soul, as long as it’s your own.

~Cate Morgan