CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests


Melanie Castillo Query Critique through November 7th

Measuring Up through November 7th

Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews and Guest Posts w/ Debut Authors & Query Critique Giveaways

Tori Sharp Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 11/18/20

Maria Vincente Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/7/20

Amy Brewer and Dana Swift Guest Post and Query Critique Giveaway on 1/18/21

Tricia Skinner Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 1/20/21

Agent Spotlight Updates

All agent spotlights and interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated again in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Melissa Sarver White

This week's Agent Spotlight features Melissa Sarver White of Folio Literary Management.
Status: Accepting submissions.
melissaAbout: “What I love most about being an agent is finding new voices that can express something in a fresh way or new subject matter that makes me view the world differently, whether it’s through fiction or non-fiction. One of the most thrilling aspects of my job is the constant exposure to a wide variety of topics; it’s truly thrilling to play a part ushering innovative projects into the world.
"In addition to representing authors, I am the Director of International Rights at Folio and attend all the major international book fairs, keeping my finger on the pulse of what's working in book markets worldwide.” (Link)
About the Agency:
"Folio Literary Management places both fiction and non-fiction with major publishers throughout the U.S. and around the world. We represent many first-time authors, some of whom have gone on to become bestsellers and major award-winners. We also represent many well-established authors, and work closely with them to take their careers to new heights." (Link)
“A division of Folio Literary Management, Folio Jr. is wholly committed to offering our clients impeccable, individually tailored care. We strive not only to discover and cultivate the most compelling new voices and the most original and memorable styles of illustration, but also to indefatigably and strategically support our established writers and illustrators as they thrive and develop their careers in the publishing industry.” (Link)Web Presence:
Folio Literary website.
Folio Jr. website.Folio Literary PM page.
Ms. Sarver White's PM page.
Folio Literary Twitter.
Ms. Sarver’s Twitter.
Pinterest.
AgentQuery
QueryTracker.
What She’s Looking For:
From Her Publisher's Marketplace page:
"YA: contemporary, fantasy, sci-fi, historical, magical realism, thrillers, issue books
I love quirky, humorous writing in contemporary YA, and always looking for something with a strong hook (whether it’s a sweeping sci-fi trilogy, or a contemporary story of friendship and first love). I will always get excited about strong sense of voice and writing that packs an emotional punch, like Sara Zarr’s STORY OF A GIRL. I also enjoy lighter fare like ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. My YA taste runs much lighter, fun and romancy than adult fiction.

MG and Chapter Books: mainly contemporary stories that have a classic, evergreen feel to them. I’m not the right agent for your animal-narrated or adventure MG.
ADULT: I represent very select adult fiction titles and live for dark, raw voices that make me see the world in a new way. I love to get lost in anything that teaches me about another place and time through the lens of the character. Some of my favorite non-client authors are Michael Chabon, Nicole Krauss, Graham Swift, Margaret Atwood, Barbara Kingsolver, Abraham Verghese, and Tana French.

NON-FICTION: I represent a wide variety of NF and looking for authors with a very strong platform along with a fresh idea and expertise in the area they propose to write a book. I’m actively looking for projects in the following areas:

*Cookbooks and food writing (including food history)
*Memoir (especially those that have a sociological, historical, anthropological or research-based component)
*Business
*Health/Diet/Wellness
*Parenting
*Narrative

The narrative NF and memoir I work on features strong voice and prose that reads like a novel, that aren’t just about the author’s personal story but one that uses that story as a springboard for a larger story about a place or an event that has deeper resonance."From a Blog Post (06/2012):
“She looks for contemporary/realistic fiction, both literary and commercial; mysteries; urban fantasy; magical realism, and issue-based stories. She’s drawn to dark tales with brilliant prose and strong voice as well as quirky stories with a fresh sense of humor, and heartbreaking romances. She especially enjoys multicultural stories and similarly emotional stories with dystopian themes. She also considers Middle Grade fiction and Picture Books.” (Link)
What She Isn’t Looking For:
Poetry, screenplays, stage plays, romance, fantasy, science, biography (Link) (Link)
Editorial Agent?
Yes
Clients:
There are lists of Folio clients on the website.
Ms. Sarver’s clients include: Todd Henry, Jessica Taylor, Kim Culbertson, Tessa Huff, Jessie Sholl, Jennifer Longo, Emily Bliss, among others
Query Methods:
E-mail: Yes.
Snail-Mail: No.  
Online-Form: No.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
Email a query with the first 10 pages pasted in the email. No attachments. (Link) For up-to-date  information on queries and tips on how to write one, see the “Submissions” tab on the website.
Response Times:
Ms. Sarver White only responds if she's interested. If you have not heard from her in six weeks, consider it a rejection.
What's the Buzz?
Melissa Sarver joined Folio in late 2012 after more than six years with the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency. She is a vice president and has a stable and growing list of authors who seem to love her and sales to such houses/imprints as Random House Children’s, Balzer & Bray, Razorbill, and Sourcebooks.
I recommend following her on Twitter @mjsarver for the latest and greatest.
Worth Your Time:
Interviews and Posts:
Agents Like Us: Melissa Sarver White at Valerie Cole Reads (01/2016)
Interview with Agent Melissa Sarver White at Amy Newman (12/2012)
Interview with Agent Melissa at Echoes of Wayward Mind (07/2012)
Contact:
Please see Folio Literary Management website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/27/2020.
Agent Contacted for Update?
Last Reviewed By Agent? 10/3/12.
***
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

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
















LISA NOWAK GUEST POST AND GIVEAWAY OF DEAD HEAT

Today I'm excited to share a guest post by Lisa Nowak on choosing your publishing path. She's got some great considerations for you to think about in weighing your options.

Here's a bio of Lisa:


In addition to being a YA author, Lisa is a retired amateur stock car racer, an accomplished cat whisperer, and a professional smartass. She writes coming-of-age books about kids in hard luck situations who learn to appreciate their own value after finding mentors who love them for who they are. You can find her book Driven on Amazon and other online retailers.


Lisa is the author of a recently published book , DRIVEN, and DEAD HEAT, which will be released in early October.

Here's a description of DRIVEN from Goodreads:


The last thing on 16-year-old Jess DeLand’s wish list is a boyfriend. She’d have to be crazy to think any guy would look twice at her. Besides, there are more important things to hope for, like a job working on cars and an end to her mom’s drinking. Foster care is a constant threat, and Jess is willing to sacrifice anything to stay out of the system. When luck hands her the chance to work on a race car, she finds herself rushing full throttle into a world of opportunities—including a boy who doesn’t mind the grease under her fingernails. The question is, can a girl who keeps herself locked up tighter than Richard Petty’s racing secrets open up enough to risk friendship and her first romance?







And here's a blurb from Lisa about DEAD HEAT:

Alex is a machine whisperer. All he has to do is touch a broken-down car or CD player to know what’s wrong with it. But that talent can’t save him from the brutal abuse of his meth-addict father. For the past two years, Alex has known kindness through Cole, the man who’s become his mentor. Now Cole’s dead, and the violence in Alex’s life is escalating.
Certain his friend is in great danger, Cole lingers in spirit form to protect him. But if Alex can’t find the courage to escape his father’s grip soon, a grim future awaits. And Cole may be earthbound forever.
 

Don't these sound  good?

Now here's Lisa to share her fabulous guest post.

How to Chose Your Publishing Path


Publishing models are changing. Power is shifting to the author, and New York is resisting that shift. Depending on your perspective, it’s either a frightening and fascinating time to be a writer. Several publishing options are available, and each has its pros and cons, which you must evaluate to determine the path that best suits your personality and goals.

Before you decide which publishing venue is best for you, you need to ask yourself several questions:

·         What do you want from your publishing career? Money? Fame? Validation? A publisher who will treat you as a person and listen to your requests? Creative control? Marketing control? Speed to press? Plenty of time to write?

·         What are your skills and talents? Do you only want to write, secluded in your office? Do you have a knack for computers? Are you comfortable doing social networking? Do you have the ability to think outside the box? Are you a self-starter? Can you use a spreadsheet? Download and manage files? Format documents in Word? Write sales copy?

·         What are you prepared to give up? You can have validation, but you’ll give up control. You can have independence, but you’ll give up the marketing power of a big publisher. You can have a rapid path to publication, but you’ll give up prestige. You can have the close-knit family feel of a small press, but you’ll give up securing an advance. It’s important to determine exactly what you want and exactly what you’re willing to sacrifice.

·         What is your content? Paranormal is hot in the indie market right now but a tough sell in New York. Series are going strong online, and though some traditional editors are looking for them, the fact remains that if the first book in a series flops, the second won’t be picked up. Some books are so specialized they’re hard to sell traditionally. Boy books for teens are always a hard sell. But what’s not popular in New York might be just what a small press is looking for.

Maybe you’d prefer to stick with the traditional model because you’d like to be eligible for contest and reviews or get your books into libraries. On the other hand, while you might want the validation of traditional publishing, you’d prefer the intimacy of a small press. These days there are a lot of new ones popping up, so your chances of getting accepted are improving. And then there’s indie publishing. It’s a model that’s becoming more glamorous every day, but is it right for you?

Because I’ve pursued this path, I want to delve into it a little more deeply so you’ll know what to expect. Not everyone has the temperament and skills to be a successful indie author. People who want prestige, or are uncomfortable with marketing, won’t be happy with this route. If you have a lot of other commitments, such as being a high school English teacher or parenting three toddlers, self-publishing is not a practical avenue for you.

What’s necessary to be happy and successful as an indie author? You need to have enough passion to carry you through all the hard work. You have to be skilled enough with computers to handle formatting and uploading your books, as well as tracking sales and engaging in social networking. You need to be a self-starter who is able to make cold-calls to set up school visits, book signings, and other public events. You have to be willing to approach reviewers, have the skills to write your own book descriptions, and have the organizational ability to deal with your tax information and create spreadsheets to track sales. If you’ve run a small business before, it’s not going to be a whole lot different. But if you’re the kind of person who’s quiet and shy, and would just like to sit at home and write, self-publishing probably isn’t for you.

There are some other options. If you want the control of being an indie author, but don’t have the time or skills, you can use businesses like Bookbaby or hire formatters, designers, and even social media management companies to help. There are also hybrid presses, where you share in the expenses, but get assistance with the mechanics of publishing and marketing. Or, if you’d like some creative control—such as having input into cover design—but don’t want to be responsible for editing, sales copy, and fact checking, a small press might be a good fit.

Regardless of what path you take, be prepared to deal with social networking and marketing. Just because you land a Random House contract doesn’t mean they’re going to do all the work. Besides, if your first book doesn’t sell, you could be dropped, so it’s important for you to learn how to use a blog, Twitter, and Facebook to promote yourself.

Whichever path you choose, do your research. Oregon authors Dean Wesley Smith and his wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch have become watchdogs for writers of all stripes. Their blogs are full of good advice. J.A. Konrath has a great deal of archived information about the indie publishing process. And The Passive Voice covers news about all aspects of publishing. 

Advice About Self-Publishing

  • Don’t expect to get rich quickly. Most authors don’t make a living at it, and some never sell a single book.
  • Self-publishing is like any other small business. Approach it with a professional attitude if you want to be successful.
  • Be sure you have a good story that is well-written.
  • Use critique groups and beta readers to vet your manuscript.
  • Hire a professional editor. This can be tough with no industry standards to determine who is or isn’t good. Do your research, get referrals, and ask for a sample edit of a chapter to see if the two of you are a good fit.
  • Have a cover professionally designed. Covers are one of the top selling points for books.
  • Format your book correctly. The Smashwords Style Guide is free and a good place to start.
  • Know your market going in.
  • Network with friends and other authors. Join Facebook writers groups. Follow writers on Twitter. Read blogs by other authors. (These are to form alliances for learning and cross-promotion, but be aware that it’s a waste of time to market to other indie authors. They’re too busy to read your book.)
  • Read Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author by Zoe Winters for an overview.

Advice About Traditional Publishing

  • Be careful. There’s a backlash from the indie author movement, and some publish houses are responding by tightening up their contracts. Make sure your agent knows how to read a contract, and if he or she doesn’t, get an IP attorney.
  • If you can possibly retain your ebook rights, do it. If you can’t, negotiate for the highest percentage of royalties you can get.
  • Be careful of options clauses and right of first refusal. These can keep you locked into a publisher and prevent you from releasing other projects on your own. Also, even if you’ve been in negotiations for weeks, be sure to carefully read the contract one last time before you sign it. Publishing companies have been known to send the final contract with the original language added back in.
  • Be aware that even if you do have a contract, your publisher may try to get out of honoring it. (Believe it or not, it has happened.)

Bear in mind that choosing one path now does not eliminate the others. While dabbling in self-publishing used to be the kiss of death for a writer who wanted to go traditional, that’s no longer the case. Many authors are finding success publishing by several different methods. Be open-minded about your options.

Thanks Lisa for sharing your great advice. You can find Lisa at:


Here's the link to purchase DRIVEN: AMAZON

Lisa is donating a e-book of DEAD HEAT for a giveaway. (You can sign up for her newsletter to be notified when it’s released.)
  Don't have an e-reader? Not a problem. I only recently was given one and have enjoyed reading books on my computer. To enter, 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 October 6th. I’ll announce the winner on October 8th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. 

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I'm so excited to help debut author Shannon Messenger (she's the founder of the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts and one of the founders of WriteOnCon) celebrate the release of her book, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES. I'll be interviewing her and giving away a copy of her book.

Next Tuesday I have a special Tuesday Tip by debut author Carrie Pearson to help celebrate her new picture book, A WARM WINTER TAIL

Thursday that week I'll be doing a guest post at Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing on what I've learned about reading.

The following Monday I'm helping Kiki Hamilton celebrate the release of THE TORN WING, the second book in her historical fantasy THE FAERIE RING series, with an interview and ARC giveaway.

Then on Tuesday that week I'll be participating in Mike Mullin's blog tour to celebrate the release of ASHEN WINTER, Book 2 in THE ASHFALL Trilogy with an interview and ARC giveaway.
 
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


 





Tip Tuesday #144

Tip Tuesday features writers' tips on craft, research, querying, blogging, marketing, inspiration, and more. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Kristin Lenz is a writer and social worker who blogs at YA Fusion. This week she shares a heartfelt post about reading for empathy and resilience, with a giveaway of a debut YA novel. Please stop by, but first, here's her tip:

This summer I had the opportunity to spend a lovely day with a writer friend and her mother-in-law who just happens to be Patricia Lee Gauch, author and longtime Editorial Director of Philomel Books for nearly 25 years. Our discussion never became highly technical, mostly we shared our passion for books and enjoyed the beautiful summer day.  But she had one piece of advice that's stuck with me.  She thinks the "show don't tell" rule has been harmful.  She is finding that writers are so focused on showing, they forget about introspection. 

What is the character thinking and feeling, and what does this tell us about her experience, personality, worldview, motivation?  As a reader, we need to be drawn into a character's thoughts, emotions, and reactions.  As a writer, how do you accomplish this within the balance of showing vs telling?  I asked Patricia to expand on this idea to help us better find this balance.

Yes, I think the "show don't tell" rule can cause real trouble. People, hearing that rule over and over, try to accomplish everything by "showing," that is,  allowing an action to actually take place through sensory detail.  E.B. White was a great advocate of using sensory detail to bring such moments alive.  But "showing" can't accomplish everything; some parts of a story must be told, yet it is the "telling" part that is most misunderstood.  Narrative summary is "telling,"  a character's introspection is "telling," summary that takes a story from one time to another, might be "telling." 

We can argue about the balance of "showing" to "telling" in any given book but imagine a story without narrative summary, without a character's introspection or narration that may span time and pull a story together.  Yes, I particularly worry that in an effort to write most of a story in the "show" mold, the writer forgets that introspection is often where the wisdom of the story is, where we see most clearly who and what a character is.  Think of the book Olive Kitteridge without Olive's introspection!  Think of Dung Beetle in Midwife's Apprentice without the narrative telling that contains exposition and the changes she begins to recognize in herself.

The truth is: there is a time to "tell" and a time to "show." The real warning, in my view, should be: "Don't tell when you should be showing" such as explaining or reporting a happening when it would do better as a fleshed out scene. Likewise don't show when you should be telling, such as trying to get back story into dialog, out of fear of  "telling", in this case telling as exposition.

I'm going to mull over Pat's advice, but it's already starting to click. What do you think?  If you'd like to delve into this further, here are a couple related links that touch on this topic:

1. Writer and editorial intern, Nicole Steinhaus wrote a great post about the abundance of "hearts hammering, breaths catching, stomachs roiling" that she repeatedly sees in manuscripts.  Read her suggestions for better ways to show emotion with perfect examples from John Green's novel, Looking For Alaska.: http://yastands.blogspot.com/2012/09/physical-telling-action-speaks-louder.html

2. Failing to include a character's internal thoughts is mistake #3 in this excellent article at Writer Unboxed. Read it here: http://writerunboxed.com/2012/09/13/the-biggest-mistake-writers-make-and-how-to-avoid-it/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+WriterUnboxed+%28Writer+Unboxed%29

Always learning,
Kristin Lenz

THE CROWN OF EMBERS REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY



Before I get to the awesome book I'm sharing with you today, I have some winners to announce. Yay! I always love that.

The winner of ENDLESSLY is CELINE!

The winner of ENTICE is JULIE RUPERT!

And the winners of  THE PECULIAR are  L.C.FROST and ALICIA MARIE!

Congrats! E-mail me your addresses so I can send you your books. You must e-mail them to me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

I was so excited—like jumping up in down with excitement—when Harper Collins sent me an ARC of THE CROWN OF EMBERS after I requested because I love this series. It's the second book in Rae Carson's fantastic series and was released September 18, 2012.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone's power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.
 
One of the things I love about THE CROWN OF EMBERS is Elisa, the seventeen-year old princess, who was forced to marry for political purposes in THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THRONES. She now finds herself the ruling queen in a country she’s never lived in. She’s such a sympathetic, realistic character. At the start of the series, she was overweight and not pretty. And although she lost some weight during her journeys in book 1, she still struggles a bit with a weight problem and hasn’t turned into a ravishing beauty, though she has an inner beauty and strength. We can relate to her because she’s normal, like us. 

I enjoyed watching Elisa struggle to be a good queen. And it was a struggle at first. She’s a bit weak and lets herself be too influenced by her council and her guardian, Ximena. But she draws on her inner strength and the powers of her Godstone as she faces danger against herself and those she loves.
The plot begins with a bang with multiple assassination attempts on Elisa’s life, castle intrigue, and back stabbing. Then there’s a discovery about Elisa’s Godstone and a mission Elisa and her friends must go on if Elisa hopes to save her country from the Invierno enemies. Rae Carson does an excellent job keeping the plot moving and making you want to keep turning the pages.

And she does a fantastic job with the romance. Hector, the commander of the royal guard and Elisa’s confidant, is her solid, calm protector. It was beautiful watching Elisa’s and his friendship and deepening relationship develop over time. Even though romance between them shouldn’t happen, I couldn’t stop reading hoping that it would. 

I loved that Mara and Belen return and we get to meet new characters, including Hector’s brother Felix, Tristan, and Storm, an Invierno who Elisa isn’t sure she can trust.

The ending is fantastic and a cliffhanger. It left me dying to read the next book in the series. Totally dying to find out what happens. 

So I'm giving away my ARC of THE CROWN OF EMBERS because I want you all to read it too. 


To enter, 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 October 6th. I’ll announce the winner on October 8th. If your e-mail is not on Blogger, please list it in your comment. International entries are welcome.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. 

Here's what's coming up:

On Wednesday Lisa Nowak will be sharing a fantastic guest post on publishing options and sharing about her new book DRIVEN, a contemporary romance about a girl who loves to work on cars. And there will be a giveaway.

Next Monday I'm so excited to help debut author Shannon Messenger (she's the founder of the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts and one of the founders of WriteOnCon) celebrate the release of her book, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES. I'll be interviewing her and giving away a copy of her book.

Next Tuesday I have a special Tuesday Tip by debut author Carrie Pearson to help celebrate her new picture book, A WARM WINTER TAIL

Thursday that week I'll be doing a guest post at Adventures in YA and Children's Publishing on what I've learned about reading.

The following Monday I'm helping Kiki Hamilton celebrate the release of THE TORN WING, the second book in her historical fantasy THE FAERIE RING series, with an interview and ARC giveaway.

Then on Tuesday that week I'll be participating in Mike Mullin's blog tour to celebrate the release of ASHEN WINTER, Book 2 in THE ASHFALL Trilogy with an interview and ARC giveaway.
 
And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!