THE CRYSTAL RIBBON through February 18th
SIREN SISTERS through February 18th
FROSTBLOOD AND SUZIE TOWNSEND QUERY CRITIQUE through Febrary 25th
THE ETHAN I WAS BEFORE through March 4th
Linda Camacho Query Critique through March 11th
Upcoming Agent Spotlights With Query Critique Giveaways:
Kristy Hunter, Wednesday, March 22nd
AGENT MOE FERRARA INTERVIEW AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY
Today I’m thrilled to have agent Moe Ferrara here. Moe is a literary agent and subsidiary rights director at BookEnds, LLC . She’s building her middle grade and young adult author list – and also looking for a few adult projects as well.
Hi Moe! Thanks so much for joining us.
You’re welcome! I love giving interviews, and I’m thrilled to be hanging out on the blog today. :^]
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became an agent.
2. I can't believe how many lawyers get into the writing profession. Me too working for a web marketing firm writing legal articles. What are you looking for in YA submissions? Are there any genres you aren’t interested in?
I wouldn’t say there’s any genre specifically I’m not looking at because even though my love is SciFi and Fantasy… the first book I signed was a YA Contemporary! It’s going to all come down to voice and the right author showing me something that I didn’t even know I wanted. However, the one thing you will never convince me I want… are vampires. Sorry! Otherwise the only other thing I’m not a huge fan of are “sicklit” books. They’re not my cup of tea. Something I will always love and want more of – are retellings. Be they mythology, classic literature (JANE EYRE!), or fairy tales… I love them.
3. That's good to know what you really don't want. And for MG, what are you looking for? Anything you wouldn’t be interested in representing?
I’m very much looking for an Indiana Jones-esque adventure novel. I love things where the kids do something and totally screw up and OMG must fix before mom and dad get home! I’m very much looking for humor in my middle grade, with a voice that kids will love… and the parents will too! I’m not looking for the big issues book for middle grade, however. I like my MG to be light-hearted, action-packed, and full of kids trying to get themselves out of one big, giant mess!
4. Sounds like you like fun MG books. I love the last line of what you're looking for. Your profile says you are interested in science fiction and fantasy. Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in these genres?
Though it can be a harder sell, I still love my Fae – so someone with a unique twist on them will have my heart forever. I love getting romantic elements into my SciFi and Fantasy – think the FEVER series by Karen Marie Moning. For SciFi, I don’t like HARD SCIFI… more along the lines of Star Trek or Doctor Who or space operas. For Fantasy… pretty much anything goes. I’m a bit pickier when it comes to Epic Fantasy, but really, I’ll look at anything. And yes, I’m well aware that doesn’t narrow things down for any of you!
5. That's great how open you are in these genres. I read that you are an editorial agent. What is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?
After someone signs with me, we’ll do a couple rounds of edits, depending on what the book needs. The first round is usually me giving notes on the big, over-arching things I’ve seen that are problematic or need fixed. Things like plot elements that don’t work or where characters fall flat or what’s confusing for me world building-wise since I don’t have this world in my head… my author does! Once those revisions are completed, then I’ll go through the manuscript with comments throughout of where things do or don’t work. Then, if we’re both satisfied with the manuscript… it’s time to go out on submission.
6. Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you? And what’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?
A major dislike is when I can tell I’ve been BCC’d on a query that probably went out to about 50+ agents at the same time. When it comes to personalizing, I like it when people take the time to do just that… without it sounding stalker-ish. “I saw when you posted on twitter thirteen hours ago that…” My response time, right now, is a bit slower than I’d like… simply because I got inundated with more queries than I ever expected as a “new agent”. I’m working my way through as fast as I can, but I can promise that everyone who ever queries me will always get a response one way or another. I try to keep folks updated via twitter as to where I’m at in my query pile.
7. That would be annoying to get a query via a blind cc. Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?
I’m definitely open to authors who have self-pubbed or published with smaller presses, but I’d rather see you query me with something new as opposed to sending me what is already out there. As for advice? If you’ve self-pubbed, please make sure your work is polished and as high quality as it can be. Hire a cover artist (or look for folks who do stock cover art you can purchase) and make sure it’s professionally edited. People google, and you don’t want to have anything that’s sub-par out that could negatively impact you… both in an editor’s mind and future readers’ minds! For smaller presses, the most important thing is DO YOUR RESEARCH. Some presses are very scary and run by people who don’t know the industry and prey on authors who are hungry for that first publishing deal. So do your due diligence and make sure you know who you’re signing with.
8. It's really good to see you (and other agents) open to a self-published author's new projects. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?
Definitely – I think we’re now even more important for authors because we can help to see the big picture. What books would be better self-pub’d vs which should go out on submission. Which books must go to the publisher to make sure the author doesn’t violate an option clause. We’ve always been in charge of helping to craft an author’s career but with so many different options available to authors – now we’re here to make sure everyone is making the right and most informed choice about where your words appear!
9. That sounds like an exciting partnership. What new MG and YA books that were recently released or coming out soon are you especially excited about?
One of the books I was lucky enough to get an ARC of (and a hard cover one no less) is ILLUMINAE by Aime Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s an alternative storytelling book using emails and all sorts of graphic design elements. It’s gorgeous and engrossing and I couldn’t put it down. In the (sorta) recently pub’d category (March is still recent right?) is FLUNKED by Jen Calonita. I’m all about retellings and this one is about reforming the villains!
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Moe. You can find Moe at @inthesestones on Twitter!
Moe is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follower button if you're not a follower and leave a comment through October 3rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest. If you do not want to enter the contest, that's okay. Just let me know 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. This is an international giveaway.
Here's what's coming up:
On Monday I have a guest post by debut author Lee Mackenzi and her editor Laurel Symons at Harper Collins and a giveaway of her YA steampunk THIS MONSTROUS THING. FYI, I may be visiting your blog later in the day on Monday because I will be coming home from a trip and need to work first.
The following Monday I have a guest post by debut author Laurel Gale and a giveaway of her MG fantasy DEAD BOY.
Wednesday that week I have a guest post by J. Scott Savage and a giveaway of his MG steampunk fantasy FIRES OF INVENTION.
Hope to see you on Monday!