CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

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A DASH OF DRAGONS through July 22nd
ALMOST PARADISE through July 29th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Molly O'Neal Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/23/17

AGENT MOE FERRARA INTERVIEW AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

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.

It’s a very long and winding story, actually! But the short version is that I started life out as a music major who, due to a shoulder injury, couldn’t play in a pit orchestra like I wanted to. After a good friend of mine (who is a Federal judge) said I’d make a great lawyer so suggested I go to law school… I did just that. Being an attorney wasn’t in the cards for me as I wasn’t a fan of the law firm environment, so I looked into alternative legal careers. I fell in love with contracts and Intellectual Property law… then a class in my Entertainment law course showed me how I could combine those interests with a love of books and become a literary agent. After graduating from law school, I set out to do just that. I worked my way up through the ranks, starting at a scouting agency… and now here I am!

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!

49 comments:

  1. What a great interview. I can't wait to get my hands on Illuminae. And thank you for the giveaway! [Elliemorerton(at)gmail.(dot)com]

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  2. Wonderful interview. I'm always interested in what agents have to say, and I do agree that the role of agents is changing. There are so many options these days, it take a mind open to all those possibilities rather than just the straight traditional route. The Fever series is one of my favorites too!

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  3. Natalie, thanks for the intro to Moe! I appreciate too, the fact that some agents are open to self published authors' new work. There are some great ones out there. Will pass on the giveaway this time around. Enjoy the rest of the week!

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  4. Nice to meet Moe. It's always interesting learning exactly where people come from and how they get where they're at.

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  5. So classic retellings, huh? I love those too.

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  6. Love this. Nice to meet you! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

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  7. OK, that worked. Sorry. Having trouble leaving comments today for some reason. the internet plagues me once again.

    Good luck building your list! There are lots of great MG authors out there.

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  8. Thanks for this interview! I'm revising a YA fantasy right now, and Moe's taste in speculative fiction makes her sound like a great fit.

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  9. These agent interviews are always so interesting and helpful! Thank you!

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  10. Interesting way to get into agenting. I didn't know it attracted those who went to law school.
    She likes my type of science fiction! Too bad I don't write for a younger audience.

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  11. I've been reading this blog for years...don't know how I managed that without being a technical follower until just now? Anyway. Taken care of on that front. (Also shared on Twitter and Facebook.)

    I always love hearing from agents in my genre (YA and MG). Thanks for sharing, Moe, and thanks for being so open!

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  12. I love reading about authors that are new to me.
    Leighannecrisp at Yahoo dot Com

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  13. I love reading about authors that are new to me.
    Leighannecrisp at Yahoo dot Com

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  14. Love meeting new agents and getting to know thier likes and dislikes.

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  15. Good interview! I found it very helpful.

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  16. I already met Moe (by that I mean, I queried her and stalk her on Twitter).
    I have the perfect book for Moe "light-hearted, action-packed, and full of kids trying to get themselves out of one big, giant mess!" but as I have queried her for another book, I will have to patiently wait for her to wade through her queries and reply to me on my previous MS before I query her for another one. Moe is a friendly agent and anyone who signs up with her is going to be lucky.

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  17. A great post thank you.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  18. Great interview, thanks for sharing!
    janelleleonard523(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  19. Excellent interview and I would LOVE to win a query critique!
    marcy(at)tidewater(dot)com

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  20. Thank you for the wonderful introduction to Moe. Literary Rambles is the best!

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  21. I'm not surprised that Moe is getting a lot of interest. Her answers in this intriguing interview leads me to believe she'd be great partner for any up and coming author.

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  22. Another intriguing interview. Thanks to Moe and Natalie.

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  23. I sure enjoy your interviews. This is really helpful. Thanks.

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  24. Great interview. I love the MG ideas in there - must fix mess before the parents notice with comedy elements. Thank you for sharing your insights into how self-pubbers can appear more presentable to agents and publishers. I've been thinking of sending some of my work out there next year and because I've self-published some work, I wasn't sure if I had a chance.

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  25. Thanks so much for the interview and giveaway!! Good luck to everyone and much love to Literary Rambles for the support of the writer community.

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  26. My book's about a mental illness -- IDK if that counts as "sicklit." That's sort of a weird phrase to use anyway. But thanks for the giveaway!

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  27. Thank you for this interview! Moe has great taste and I think I have just the manuscript for her! I'd love to enter for the query critique: bonecabela(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  28. I love how, with almost every agent I've read about, it's so hard to narrow down the genres they enjoy. But I totally get that--I just think it's funny.

    Thanks for the critique giveaway!

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  29. Great interview. I love getting to know more about agents and their likes through your site. Thanks!

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  30. This was a great interview! So interesting to hear from Moe and learn how she came to her career. I also liked learning what she is looking for in a book and what authors shouldn't do. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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  31. Wonderful interview! I enjoyed learning more about Moe.

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  32. She sounds like a great agent, and her MG love is right up my street!
    Count me in for the possible query critique!

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. Light-hearted and big messes. Sounds like my kind of gal.... who loves MG!
    Thanks for the interview! jmcsween@san.org

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  35. Light-hearted and big messes. Sounds like my kind of gal.... who loves MG!
    Thanks for the interview! jmcsween@san.org

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  36. Great interview! I just passed a link on to someone I know who is working on his query for an MG magical realism book.

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  37. What a great interview with a lot of insight!! It's always helpful to hear an agent's thought process and what they are looking for. I would like to be considered for the query critique giveaway...(michaelmasciangelo@hotmail.com)

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  38. Great interview! I'd love to enter the query critique giveaway with Moe.

    --Leah Roberts
    jochlema@gmail.com

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  39. Oh, wow, what an exciting giveaway! I'll share it on FB now.
    tmilstein at gmail dot com

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  40. Thank you, Mo and Natalie! Great interview.

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  41. Great interview! Moe has a query of mine but I'd love a critique!

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  42. Interesting interview! Great to see an agent who takes sci-fi!

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  43. I came to see the results of the giveaway and noticed it was still open, so I tweeted about it at @emcushi.

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