Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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  • Kristin Ostby Agent Spotlight Interview & Query Critique Giveaway on 10/11/21
  • Agent Melissa Nasson/Author Alex Perry Guest Post + Query Critique & Book Giveaway on 10/18/21
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Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.


Happy Monday Everyone! Today I'm excited to have debut author Carol Riggs here to share about her dystopian, science fiction YA THE BODY INSTITUTE. It sounds fantastic!

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

Meet Morgan Dey, one of the top teen Reducers at The Body Institute.

Thanks to cutting-edge technology, Morgan can temporarily take over another girl’s body, get her in shape, and then return to her own body—leaving her client slimmer, more toned, and feeling great. Only there are a few catches…

For one, Morgan won’t remember what happens in her “Loaner” body. Once she’s done, she won’t recall walks with her new friend Matt, conversations with the super-cute Reducer she’s been text-flirting with, or the uneasy feeling she has that the director of The Body Institute is hiding something. Still, it’s all worth it in the name of science. Until the glitches start…

Suddenly, residual memories from her Loaner are cropping up in Morgan’s mind. She’s feeling less like herself and more like someone else. And when protests from an anti–Body Institute organization threaten her safety, she’ll have to decide if being a Reducer is worth the cost of her body and soul…

Now here's Carol!

Writing and being a writer is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for the thin-skinned. It’s not for those
who have trouble separating themselves from their creative projects. The good news is, we can learn to persevere, have thicker skin, and become more objective about our work.

Persevering, Persevering
My writing journey has been a long—and probably typical—one. I wrote 13 novels before my agent signed with me in 2011 for THE BODY INSTITUTE. I had submitted manuscripts for over 7 years. Little did I know, finding an agent was just the beginning of my long haul. I completed at least two major revisions for my agent, and three years later (along with more revisions), we finally signed with a publisher, Strange Chemistry of Angry Robot Books in the UK. Woo-hoo! I had it made, right?

Nope. Five months before the book’s release, Strange Chemistry sadly went out of business. I skidded back to square one, which was agonizing, to say the least. Deep breath…my agent and I forged onward. Luckily, within 2 months of submitting again, Entangled Teen picked up my book. They are a forward-thinking smaller press, and I’m delighted to be working with them. Stacy Abrams, my editor, is top-notch and previously worked for Bloomsbury/Walker. The novel released September 2015, four long years after I signed with my agent.

Toughen Up. Be Objective.
About all those revisions. My first ones were major. I rewrote the entire ending, and bulked up my
villain/antagonist. My agent also suggested I change the POV from third person to first—and I’d never written in first person before. Whoa. I completed another revision on spec for one editor, based on her suggestions to make the main character more likable and to streamline the worldbuilding, but that ended up as a rejection during acquisitions. I’m still happy I did it, because I ended up with a stronger manuscript. Over the course of a year, I changed so many things, I started thinking, man, is there anything these people LIKE about the novel? I could relate to the cartoon below.

But you can’t take the feedback personally. If you trust your agent and your editor, you realize they have your book’s best interest in mind and they know what’s marketable. So it’s easier to let go of your own vision on things that don’t matter so much. Even after Entangled Teen accepted the manuscript, I had to learn to be objective. One favorite scene, a entire character, and many “darlings” got axed in the process. Have your own private funeral, and move on. You’ll end up with a published book to share with the world!

Your Own Journey
Maybe your writing journey will be quick and easy. You may snag an agent in your first round of queries, shape up your manuscript with minimal revision, and sign a contract with a Big Name Publisher the following week. Hey, it happens. But for the rest of us…keep pressing onward, and NEVER GIVE UP!

Connect with Carol here: Website  |  Blog  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Purchase Links: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Powell’s Books  |  Indiebound

Carol generously offered a copy of THE BODY INSTITUTE for a giveaway. 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 October 24thIf your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

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 for U.S.

Here's what's coming up:

On Wednesday I'll be participating in the Spooktacular Book Giveaway Hop.

Next Monday I have a guest post by Gayle Rosengren and a giveaway of her middle grade historical COLD WAR ON MAPLEWOOD STREET. I may be a little late getting to your blog because I'll be coming home from a trip that day.

The following Monday I have a guest post by Christina Farley and a giveaway of her new YA BRAZEN and the other two books in her series.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


  1. Congrats to Carol! We've been periodic blogging friends for year. Love the premise of this book, I wish it was in audio.

  2. I don't live in the US, so I can't win, but Carol's book sounds amazing. I love the premise - and even though I know this book would show all the reasons why it's a bad idea, I kind of want someone to get my body in shape for me too ;)

  3. Congratulations to Carol! The book sounds fantastic, and thank you for the chance to win it. Excellent advice to never give up. Perseverance is key!

  4. What an arduous journey! Hats off to you, Carol, for persevering. I'm not sure I would have made it through. Your book has a very interesting premise.

  5. Congrats, Carol! I've been waiting to read this. It sounds so great!

  6. Hooray for Carol! It's no secret I loved this book!

  7. Having your publisher go belly up just before your launch has to be wrenching. So glad you didn't cave and that you kept going! Your book sounds wonderful. I"m adding it to that TBR list of mine.

  8. I know of some of Carol's writing journey from reading her blog. It was great reading more about it here. I loved Carol's book.

  9. I love what you said about have your own private funeral and move on! So true!!

  10. Thanks so much for featuring me here, Natalie, and thanks everyone for the great comments and congrats! :)

  11. I love Carol's story of perseverance and persistence. Those 'p's are a prerequisite for the writing life. I would love a chance to win THE BODY INSTITUTE.

  12. It is our own journey and each one is different.

  13. Thanks for this inspiring guest post, Carol and Natalie. Love the editorial cartoon too. "Never give up" has been my mantra for a while now. Glad you didn't give up.

  14. Congratulations to Carol. She's worked long and hard for this. Having to change a whole ms from third to first would be a big ask, but I know authors who've done this. All those revisions have paid off. The story sounds intriguing. :-)

  15. Sounds like a great read!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

  16. Congratulations to Carol. I love the cartoon! Thanks for the interesting post. I will pass on the giveaway, though, as my TBR list totters dangerously.

  17. Rewriting an entire ending! Yikes! Half you made it through!

    1. I meant glad. Not half. That's just ...weird. Hahaha!

  18. i LOVE to see new authors. Congratulations to Carol. I adore the book premise. I wish Morgan could come reduce my body.

  19. Wow, I hadn't heard of this book before. I sounds absolutely fascinating. My interest is certainly piqued.
    k3kdpv at gmail dot com

  20. Congratulations, Carol, I am sooo happy for you :)

  21. Wow! I've never heard of another book like this. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the chance to win! I tweeted: https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/653939916271804416

  22. Congrats Carol! The Body Institute sounds like an awesome premise! Just connected with you on facebook and twitter. I'm a follower and hoping to win a copy. emilygmoorewriter@yahoo.com

  23. What a great premise! I can totally relate to rewriting manuscripts, and sometimes I wonder if I'm changing things in circles and ending back where I started.

  24. I'm so excited ofr Carol! I can't believe I didn't get a copy of her book yesterday when I was at the bookstore. I could just slap myself! I got this creepy sad feeling while I was there, turned out my mother-in-law had a heart attack. I'm one of those weird people who believes if you are close to someone you can feel connected to them. I'd love to win a copy of Carol's book. I will tweet and facebook about the giveaway. Wishing you many many sales my friend!

  25. Congratulations, Carol! You're an inspiration.

  26. This book sounds wonderful. I'd love to see a before/after of the manuscript, just out of curiosity. The publishing process fascinates me. I always wonder how much of the original story remains, though I'm sure it varies from book to book and from one editor/publisher to the next. Thank you so much for sharing.

  27. Best of luck Carol. Your road to publishing was long but worth every mile. No need to enter me in the contest as my TBR pile for the Cybils Awards has me buried.

  28. It's great to see Carol here! Wishing her well with her first book. I agree, you can't take the feedback personally. When it's genuine, it only helps you improve.

    I'll pass on the giveaway. My TBR pile is through the roof. :) Have a great week!

  29. I look forward to reading this one!

  30. “Loaner” body - that does sound interesting, funny cartoon

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

  31. Sounds very exciting and Carol gives me some hope!

  32. Congrats to Carol!!! I've had to axe a few of my characters and plot pieces as well, and it's hard, but sometimes necessary for the sake of the story. Writing is definitely about perseverance.

  33. Great advice, Carol, and it's an awesome book!! I love it.

  34. Congrats to Carol! Your story is so inspiring! :)

  35. I can't wait to read The Body Institute! It sounds amazing. I also enjoyed learning more about Carol. I completely agree with her about working with your editor and agent and trusting them (and not taking changes personally). Thanks for the awesome giveaway. Best of luck to Carol!

  36. I would love to win this book, but I will read it either way.

  37. Oh my goodness, I think this might be the most interesting sounding book I've come across in a long time. I will definitely have to add this to my TBR. And wow, thirteen years is a long time, and it's really impressive that Carol stuck with it that long. I'm so glad her efforts finally paid off.

    Thanks for the giveaway! I tweeted about it: https://twitter.com/adelethelaptop/status/656161806629654529

  38. Thanks for the chance to win! I've had this book on my TBR/wish list for a while. Love Carol's advice, and note that it can carry over to all types of professions, not just writing! Always keep trying and persevere--that's exactly what I teach my son when something doesn't go as planned for him :)

    Email: hmbryan(at)alumni(dot)duke(dot)edu