Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024
  • Alex Brown Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/9/2024
  • Leslie Zampetti Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 10/7/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Happy Monday Everyone! I hope you all are staying warm in these incredibly bitter cold winter days. I was so happy when it got into the 20's yesterday. And I'm happy to have a fantastic post for you today with a query critique and book giveaway.


Medeia Shariff has a new YA contemporary book, 52 LIKES, recently released. Here's a blurb: After a
brutal rape and near-murder, Valerie will have to follow ghostly entities, past victims of her attacker, contacting her through a social media site—why do all of their eerie photos have 52 likes under them? Their messages are leading her to the mystery man, although he’ll put up a fight to remain hidden. 

And a few links:

Evernight Teen - http://evernightteen.com/
Today I'm thrilled to have debut YA author Susan Adrian and her agent Kate Testerman here to share about the author/agent relationship. And there will be a query critique by Kate and a book giveaway of TUNNEL VISION, Susan's new sci-fi thriller. Details of the giveaway will be at the end of the post.

Here's a blurb of TUNNEL VISION:

Jake Lukin has an incredible power he's been hiding his whole life...but one (big) mess-up later, and the U.S. government knows all about it. Suddenly he's juggling high school, tennis tryouts, flirting with Rachel Watkins, and work as a government asset, complete with 24-hour bodyguards. When his family is threatened, Jake has to make a terrible choice.

TUNNEL VISION is a young adult sff thriller with psychic spies, graveyard chases, Call of Duty, Buffy and Veronica Mars references, and a stubborn little sister you'll wish you had, even if you are an 18-year-old boy.

Doesn't it sound fantastic? It's definitely on my list to read this year.

Now here's Susan and Kate.

The Agent/Author Relationship: Working Together Successfully
(without driving each other crazy)

A conversation with Kate Schafer Testerman, kt literary, and her author Susan Adrian (TUNNEL VISION, January 20, 2015, St. Martin's Press)

Susan: The agent/author relationship has been described many ways: as like a marriage, a friendship, client/service provider…but honestly none of those quite hold up for me (especially the marriage one, unless you're married to 20-30 people at a time). I see it as a partnership. Each partner brings skills to the table that are required to not only sell a book to a good home, but manage the complex process and relationships after that sale. I bring the books, ideas, and a willingness to work hard, compromise, and promote myself. I am so glad to hand the rest of it over to Kate. Kate, what would you say are the main things you, and agents in general, bring to the table? And how do you typically view the author/agent relationship?

Kate: An agent – well, a GOOD agent – brings experience and contacts. In this internet age, anyone can call themselves an agent, hang out a shingle, and offer representation. A good agent has years of experience – if not in an agency, then in a publishing house, dealing with the other side of the business. They also need that time to build a reputable list of contacts, so that when a client comes to me with a new idea, whatever it is, I can respond with a list of editors looking for something just like that. And if there is nothing JUST like that, I can come up with editors who’ll groove on something totally new and different.

I absolutely view our relationship as a partnership. Neither one of us can be as successful alone! It’s also helpful to know that there can be ebbs and flows in our relationship, and that it doesn’t need to be entirely exclusive. (I mean, yes, you should only have one agent, but…) While you’re on submission, while I’m reading, or waiting on a contract, as you work with your editor on revisions, or I send the manuscript out to foreign publishers – there are times when either one of us may be less important to the other in the road to publication, and a good agent knows when to step aside, when to let someone be, and when to throw their muscle around.

Susan: I definitely think there is a balance between asking your agent questions, and for advice/support, and being too "needy". I try to be respectful of your time and not fire off an email every time I think of something, especially if it's just something that requires patience (ha!), but many times I just feel so much better when I do follow up, just so I know what's going on. Or asking when I don't understand something. I feel like a lot of authors are hesitant to bother their agents, which sometimes can cause unnecessary stress. Have you found that different authors need different levels of communication from you? How do you adapt to that?

Kate: Before I sign a new client, I try to have a conversation with them and figure out what their
comfort level is in terms of communication. Some authors want every rejection the moment I get them from an editor, and some only want to hear when a book is at the acquisition committee meeting. I try to be quickly reactive anytime one of my clients has a question or concern, but I will admit that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be even more communicative when there isn’t news, just so that they know even when I’m quiet, they’re on the top of my mind.

The one thing I must add, though, is if you have a question for your agent – ASK! Don’t be afraid of them. If you are, maybe they’re not the right partner for you. I never feel like I’m being bothered by an email or a call from a client – that’s what I’m here for. And if I can save you hours worth of stress over something I can answer in five minutes, that’s what I’m going to do.

Susan: One thing I do really enjoy about our relationship is that we have a lot in common, and can talk about kids/tv shows/other books etc. But I don't want authors to think that's necessary in an agent. What I value most is the work you do for me—for us—as an advocate for my books, and I know the business side is always more important than the personal side.

Kate: Again, this is where the experience side of things comes into play. But in truth, I do love all the rest of that stuff, too. I was speaking with a colleague earlier today, and stated that my business plan was to work with people I like. And I firmly believe that's true. Your manuscript may be the hottest thing on the planet, but if you come across as a pain in the butt from our first correspondence? Then you’re not someone I want to be in business with for the long term. And the agent/author relationship IS long term. The speed of publishing is glacial, and it may easily be two years from writing “The End” to publication day. You want someone you’re not going to get sick of in three months.

Susan: This interview comes at a pretty significant time for me: a week from the publication of my first book, TUNNEL VISION. We've been through a long road together with this book. It's the one you signed me for, and it wasn't an easy sale (a full year on sub!). I've greatly appreciated all you've done with me to get to this moment. How does it feel for you, when you see a debut author's first book come out and know you were a huge part in making that happen?

Kate: It’s one of the best feelings in the world. I trot out this story quite a bit, but I remember one of the first sales I ever made, at a previous job, and while the advance was tiny, the author was still thrilled. One of the other agents, used to six figure, multi-book deals for major bestsellers, scoffed at my tiny deal, and asked “Is this worth our time?” And I remember responding with a vigorous “Hell, yes! I just made someone’s dream come true.” Every day, every time it’s a book’s birthday, I still feel that way.

Susan: Since we're talking about TUNNEL VISION, I'm going to ask you a question about that. What was it about the book that made you want to sign me as a client? And bonus: other than Jake, the main character, who's your favorite?

Kate: The first thing that struck me was the male voice of the main character. Coldly, calculatingly, I wanted a balance to my YA list, which I saw was lacking a male voice. But Jake wooed me into caring with his love of computer gaming (how I met my husband), his persistence, and his complete love for his family, especially his sister.

And you set me up with this last question, because you know my answer: Myka. Hands down, Myka. I want Myka’s novel next, please!

Bio of Kate Testerman: After a dozen years working in publishing in New York City, Kate moved to Colorado and formed kt literary in early 2008, where she concentrates on middle grade and young adult fiction. Bringing to bear the experience of being part of a large agency, she enjoys all aspects of working with her authors, offering hands-on experience, personal service, and a surfeit of optimism.
Her clients include Maureen Johnson, Ellen Booraem, Stephanie Perkins, Susan Adrian, Carrie Harris, Trish Doller, and Matthew Cody, among other exciting and acclaimed authors. Kate is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s Honors Program, a former cast member of the New York Renaissance Faire, and an avid collector of shoes, bags, children, and dogs. Her interests cover a broad range including contemporary drama, urban fantasy and magical realism, adventure stories, and romantic comedies. She is an active member of the SCBWI and AAR.

Bio of Susan Adrian: Susan Adrian is a 4th-generation Californian who somehow stumbled into living in Montana. She danced in a ballet company and worked in the fields of exotic pet-sitting, clothes-schlepping, and bookstore management. She’s settled in, mostly, as a scientific editor. When she’s not with her family, she keeps busy researching spy stuff, traveling, and writing more books.
Susan is represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary (kate@ktliterary.com). For film/television rights she is represented by Jon Cassir of CAA. She is a member of SCBWI, SFWA, and ITW.

Order on:
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Susan has generously offered a copy of TUNNEL VISION for a giveaway. And Kate has very generously offered a query critique to one lucky winner. 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 through January 24th. If you want to me entered for the query critique as well as the book giveaway, you must let me know in the comments. I’ll announce the winner on January 26th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. The book giveaway is for US and Canada. The query critique is international.

Here's what's coming up:

On Wednesday I have a guest post by Robert Kent and a giveaway of his new middle grade book, BANNIKER BONES.

Next Monday I have a fantastic guest post by Dianne Salerni on writing a trilogy and an ARC giveaway of INQUISITOR'S MARK, the second book in her middle grade fantasy.

And the following Monday I have an interview with follower and blogger friend David Powers King and his co-author Michael Jensen and a giveaway of their fantastic YA fantasy WOVEN.

Friday that week I'll be participating in the Favorites Giveaway Hop. I'll have a lot of your and my favorite books to choose from and will also offer an Amazon Gift Card if you don't see a book you want.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Jessica Lawson said...

Loved reading this exchange! It's always interesting and informative to hear about the agent/author relationship. Congrats to Susan (and Kate!) on what sounds like a riveting read :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Fun premise. Congrats to Susan. Gonna go check this out.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I enjoyed reading both sides of the relationship. Although the agent is the one who picks the author, they are still the one being hired, and the author shouldn't be afraid of asking questions if he or she doesn't understand.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Congratulations on Tunnel Vision and on forging a successful client-agent relationship! (And it's good to hear about a book selling after a year or more on sub, because sometimes you think if it doesn't sell fast, it's not going to sell at all. I'm sure it was nerve-wracking for you, but the rest of us like to hear success stories like this!)

cleemckenzie said...

This was so interesting. Creating that relationship so that it works is essential and it seems Kate has a great approach from her end. So much better to establish who the author is before taking them on as clients.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, working with an annoying author would be a grind, Kate.

Bish Denham said...

Congratulations, Kate! I've wondered what it would be like to work with an agent. I don't think I'd be too needy, but I would probably have a lot of questions.

Angela Brown said...

I'm pretty used to Natalie doing the interviewing so this was different, a good kind of different, enjoying the back and forth banter between agent and author. Thanks so much.

And I would like to be considered for the query critique contest

Jenni said...

This was a great interview. I especially loved what they said about communication. So important!

Joanne R. Fritz said...

This book sounds fantastic. I really enjoyed this unusual interview. How wonderful that Kate Testerman knows that making someone's dream come true is more important than getting a six-figure deal. And I'd love to be entered for the query critique. Thanks!

Karen Lange said...

Nice to meet Susan and Kate! Good too, to learn about how they work together. A good author/agent relationship is priceless.

I'll pass on the giveaway. Have a great week! :)

Greg Pattridge said...

Great insights into the author/agent relationship. Kate has the perfect attitude and Susan's new book sound like a winner. Enter me in the critique giveaway. Thanks.

Jemi Fraser said...

Book sounds awesome! Definitely adding it to my wish list.
Thanks for sharing the interview - lots of great insights!

Cherie Reich said...

Congrats to Susan! Thank you for letting us in on the agent/author partnership.

mshatch said...

Congratulations Susan and great interview!

Anonymous said...

I would love to be entered in both the query critique and book giveaway. sharif(at)sharifwrites(dot)com

Great interview.

Andrea Mack said...

Thanks for an interesting interview! It sounds like you do have a great partnership!

I'd love to be entered in the query critique. Thanks for the opportunity!

Christine Rains said...

Fantastic interview. Congrats to Susan!

Natasha said...

Great interview!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

TYHatch said...

I really enjoyed the back and forth nature of this interview. I also totally appreciated hearing that an author/agent may not be the right one. As authors, we tend to idealize agents, placing them on a pedestal, when in reality they are someone you want to do business with. The relationship has to work for both parties. Great reminder!!

Thank you!

Tammy Theriault said...

oh wow! I'm loving the premise and I don't think I would want to know every rejection... *ouch*. great interview ladies!!

Anita Saxena said...

Loved reading the interview and seeing dynamic between Kate and Susan.
Please enter me in the give away for Tunnel Vision.
Prooductofanillusion at gmail dot com

Unknown said...

Thanks for the back-and-forth on the agent-author relationship. Always great to see the inside workings of this part of the author's work.
Please do enter me in the book giveaway as well as the query letter portion. I'm at tlcnine@gmail.com.

Stephanie Garber said...

Great interview! Thanks so much for sharing Kate and Susan. And congrats on the book! It sounds awesome, I can't wait to read it. :)

Carl Scott said...

Thanks for the chance to see both sides of an artistic collaboration. I'd love to win a copy of Tunnel Vision.
I do follow your blog by email: carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
+1 - I also tweeted a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/555050760069980160

Patchi said...

Great exchange, it's really clear how Susan and Kate get along. The book sounds wonderful, and I'd love to be entered to win the critique, too.

Susa Silvermarie said...

Book and agent both sound intriguing. Please enter me for the critique too. I follow from ssilvermarie@gmail.com

Michael G-G said...

Natalie, you've started the year off with a bang! (I'm also looking forward to Robert Kent's post as well as Dianne Salerni's) And being the greedy person I am, I would love to be entered in both the book giveaway and the query critique. (Off to Tweet now.) https://twitter.com/MGMafioso/status/555064344623341568

Anonymous said...

I'd love both the book and the critique. =) Thank you!

Heather Villa said...

Thank you, Natalie, Kate, and Susan! Yes, I'd love to be entered in the drawing. And I'll tweet this tool

Denise Covey said...

Happy New Year Natalie! So much here to read! 52 Likes caught my attention! Must get my hands on it. The interviews were intriguing too.
And yes, I'd like to be entered in the drawing...

Denise :-)

Rosi said...

Wonderful interview as usual. Thanks for the post. Please let someone else win, though. Buried in books over here!

JEN Garrett said...

Put me in the drawing for a critique - my middle grade query needs help. I'm off to spread the news about this on Twitter, and I'm going to let all my critique peeps know about it, too.

DMS said...

I would love to be entered in the giveaway. Tunnel Vision sounds fascinating and I enjoyed learning about Kate's reason for wanting it. I will let someone other lucky writer get the critique, as I am working with an agent and not currently querying. :)

It was fascinating to read about this author author/agent relationship. They sound like they work well together. It is so important to find a good fit! I also loved Kate's comment about making someone's dreams come true. Wise words! Wishing both Kate and Susan the best of luck.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Tunnel Vision sounds like something I would enjoy reading. It was interesting to read about author/agent relationship. Getting an agent who not only loves one's book but is also easily approachable is a dream come true for any writer.
I would love to be entered in the query critique.

Beth said...

Great interview, great giveaway. I'd love to be entered in the query critique, too!

Unknown said...

Congrats on the book and please sign me up for the giveaway and the critique! I'll forward the blast on twitter as well! Good luck with the launch.

Katie Bucklein said...

What a great interview! Kate seems like a fabulous agent--a cheerleader for her clients, and their biggest supporter. It's definitely wonderful to know such agents exist in this world!

I'd love to be entered in the query critique and book giveaway! And I'm not sure if my email is on my Google profile, so: ktbucklein (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks in advance!

Katie Bucklein said...

Also, I shared on Twitter: https://twitter.com/katebucklein/status/555437253397602304

Emily R. King said...

TUNNEL VISION sounds like an action-packed read! I'm eager to read more teen male POVs. I'd love to be entered in the book giveaway. Thanks!

Michelle Leonard said...

Great interview! The book sounds terrific and Kate is on my dream agent list. I'd love to be entered into both giveaways.

Danielle H. said...

This book sounds like a real page turner and one I would want to read as well as my daughters. Thanks for the giveaways! Please enter me in both the book and the critique. I tweeted: https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/556153627983622145

Unknown said...

I really enjoyed the interview... thanks for another great article. I'd love to be entered into the giveaway for the book and for the critique.


Carissa said...

Thanks for this great post! Love the insight into the author/agent partnership. And this book sounds full of awesome!!

Would love to be entered in both book and query contest!!!


bison61 said...

stubborn little sister - I had one of those

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Maisha said...

Great post! This book sounds awesome!! Thanks so much for the giveaway! :D

Liz said...

Really great post and love to see a new sci-fi come out. I would love a copy.

Anonymous said...

Sounds awesome! Definitely like to be included in the query critique, if possible. I follow'd and recommended.
Email is: ratchetkorthos(at)hotmail(dot)com

Suzi Guina said...

What a fun interview! I would love to try for the query critique. Kate seems like a great agent.

Robin said...

I'm interested in book the book and the query critique. Susan, congrats on your debut. I can't wait to get my hands on it. Also, this interview was eye opening on the relationship between an agent and her client. Thank you!

Lynn B McGovern said...

Nice, informative interview! I would love to be entered into both the book drawing and the query critique.

Beverley Baird said...

Wonderful post on the author/agent relationship. What great giveaways. Would love to be entered for both.