Here are my current Giveaway Contests

When You and I Collide through July 24th

Sip Sip Hooray Giveaway Hop through July 31st

The Verdigris Pawn through July 31st

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

Sera Rivers Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/11/2021

Renae Moore Agent Spotlight Interview on 8/25/2021

Nicole Eisenbraun Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/15/2021

Agent Chloe Seager and Author Brianna Bourne Guest Post and Query Critique and You and Me at the End of the World Giveaway on 9/20/2021

Crystal Orazu Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 9/22/2021

Kristin Ostby Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 10/11/2021

Ginger Clark Agent Spotlight and Query Critique Giveaway on 10/25/2021

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.


Happy Monday Everyone! Today I'm excited to have debut author Andrew Brumbach here with his agent Danielle Chiotti from Upstart Crow Literary to share about the going on submission process. I found it fascinating. And Andrew's MG historical adventure THE EYE OF MIDNIGHT is set in the 1920's New York and has gotten rave reviews. It sounds like a keeper.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

On a stormy May day in 1929, William and Maxine arrive on the doorstep of Battersea Manor to spend the summer with a grandfather they barely remember. Whatever the cousins expected, Colonel Battersea isn’t it.

Soon after they settle in, Grandpa receives a cryptic telegram and promptly whisks the cousins off to New York City so that he can meet an unknown courier and collect a very important package. Before he can do so, however, Grandpa vanishes without a trace. 

When the cousins stumble upon Nura, a tenacious girl from Turkey, she promises to help them track down the parcel and rescue Colonel Battersea. But with cold-blooded gangsters and a secret society of assassins all clamoring for the same mysterious object, the children soon find themselves in a desperate struggle just to escape the city’s dark streets alive.

So here's Andrew and Danielle!

AB:  Thanks so much for giving us the chance to join the Literary Rambles conversation!  Danielle and I thought it might be interesting to talk a little bit about going out on sub—the part of the journey when you're finally ready to try and land a publisher.  Personally, I found the submission process more than a little nerve-wracking.  In a different way than the query process, though.  Querying is like groping your way through a dark cave… with a blindfold on… at midnight.  You send out a few queries and either hear “Sorry” or nothing at all, so you tweak the query a little and send out a few more.  Nothing… so maybe you tweak the manuscript this time, and change the query accordingly, and send out a few more, and hopefully you finally start to generate some interest.
Submission is different.  You’re still in the cave, blindfolded, but now at least you’re being led by the hand by your agent, and she’s wearing one of those plastic miners’ helmets with the big light on the front and she’s been in this cave before.  In fact, in the acknowledgements of my book I compared Danielle (obliquely) to Dante’s Beatrice, holding her lantern aloft and guiding me out of the nine infernal circles of hell.  Going through it together with her made all the difference.

DC:  Andy, it’s been an absolute joy going through the process with you—from the very beginning (a
sleepy Saturday morning, as I recall) when I discovered your manuscript and knew it was something special, to this exciting period right before release day.

And it’s certainly an interesting road getting here, the most exciting and harrowing of which (for an author) is submitting the novel to editors. Writers trying to get their book published face many unknowns, from waiting to hear back from publishers, to gauging how high the level of interest is at a house, to deciphering the language of a rejection letter to figure out what the editor really thought of the novel. And these things are absolute crazymaking for any author, but especially a debut author. Going out on submission with a novel is like learning to speak a whole new language, and your agent is the translator.

When I’m out on submission with a novel, I’m essentially doing two jobs at once: I’m managing the editors reading it,  and I’m managing my clients, who are trying to keep busy, but (I suspect) hitting refresh on their email more than usual.

AB:  The thing I always wondered during the submission process was—what are the odds that my book actually sells?  Getting an agent was the hard part, right?  You can look at the statistics on Query Tracker and see that agents sign about one query in a thousand.  There are ways to improve those odds, of course—sending out multiple queries, researching which agents are right for your book, hopefully having a query and manuscript than stand out from the rest of the slush—but if you manage to sign with an agent, what are the odds of a book selling once it goes on submission?  50%?  75%?

DC: Ah, the statistics of novel submission. It’s longer discussion than we have room for here, as it’s really not about the salability of only one book. It’s also about an author’s potential for growth beyond that one book. If I didn’t feel 100% certain that a manuscript would sell, I likely wouldn’t have signed that client in the first place, which is why I have to say “no” to so many authors who have immense talent (I suppose I’m looking for the one query in a thousand, as you mention above).
That being said, I have clients whose first novel—the novel I signed them on—did not sell, for whatever reason. That doesn’t mean it was the end of the road for us. While I was shopping their first novel, they were hard at work on their next novel, and improving and strengthening their craft.  And as a result, we were able to sell their next novel(s).

AB:  I do know that any statistical data feels immaterial when you’re watching the days peel off of one of those old-fashioned calendars in your mind and it’s just crickets from the publishers.  We were on submission with The Eye of Midnight for about three months, and I think we got close to a dozen “no thank-yous.”  Some of those were near-misses, which felt encouraging and also a little bit like a gut punch all at the same time.  I kept reminding myself that Danielle understood where my book fit in the publishing landscape and that she believed there was an editor out there that was right for it.[DC1]   Through it all, Danielle continually reassured me that The Eye of Midnight would sell, and her confidence was contagious.

DC: I have a very simple submissions motto: relentless optimism. I couldn’t do this job without it. Andy’s book was exemplary, and I knew it was only a matter of time until we found the perfect editor for it—and we did. Yes, rejections sting. But most of the time, it doesn’t do any good to dwell on them. My typical response to a rejection is “onward and upward.” There’s no sense dwelling on who didn’t publish the novel. My job is to find the editor who will.   

During the submissions process, I send weekly updates to my clients so they know where things stand, and they aren’t left alone with their very creative thoughts, wondering what’s happening with their book. Even if there is nothing new to report, I will let my clients know that. It’s reassuring for them, especially in the midst of a process over which they have very little control.

AB:  I remember where I was when I got the good news.  It was a Friday afternoon and I was actually out playing golf.  Danielle had warned me nothing ever happens on Friday in publishing, but in spite of that, the phone rang and we had an offer from Rebecca Weston at Delacorte Press (who has turned out to be such a wonderful editor and perfect fit for my book).  I let out some kind of primitive war cry, and I remember my golf partners all looked at me like I was certifiable.

DC:  Making that call is one of the very best parts of my job. It never gets less thrilling. It’s the
moment a book is born! And it always comes at the most surprising of times. There have been many times I’ve said to a client waiting on an offer: “We probably won’t hear anything today, so sit tight and I’ll be in touch.” And then—bam!  We get an offer that day. It’s my very favorite way to be proven wrong.

AB:  Looking back, I think I have more clarity and objectivity on the whole process.  It turns out Danielle’s reassurances weren’t just a placebo.  She really had a good sense for the situation and for our chances.  I think a good agent will give you an honest perspective on your book and will be able to evaluate if it will have a broad appeal and be an easy sell or if it will take more patience and require a special editor to connect with it.

DC:  I work in book publishing, so obviously I love a happy ending to any story, and the happiest ending of all is when a book finds its publishing home. But one of the most important things I’ve learned about being an agent is that I’m not doing any of my clients any favors by trying to sugar coat the information I give to them. If the news is bad, then it’s bad, and we’ll deal with it and overcome it. And if the news is good, then we celebrate. And no matter what, we look ahead to what’s next.  It takes awhile to build up that kind of trust between an agent and her client—many months, many revisions, many rejections until finally—victory!  It’s an absolute honor to work with a writer as talented as you, Andy, and what a thrill it is to see your gorgeous novel out in the world!

Danielle’s links:

Andy’s links:

Andrew has generously offered an ARC of THE EYE OF MIDNIGHT for a giveaway and Danielle is offering a  query critique. 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 March 26th. If you do not want to be included in the query critique giveaway, please let me know in the comments. If 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. The book giveaway is for U.S. and Canada and the query critique giveaway is international.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find the participating blogs on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Next following Monday I have a joint interview with debut author Kathryn Purdie and Margo Barbo, her editor at  Katherine Teagan, and a giveaway of Kathryn's YA fantasy BURNING GLASS.

The following Monday I have a guest post by debut author Kristy Acevedo and a giveaway of her YA science fiction CONSIDER.

The next Monday (can you believe it will be April?) I have an interview with debut author Elizabeth Briggs and a giveaway of her YA science fiction FUTURE SHOCK.

Wednesday that week I have an agent spotlight interview with Elana Roth Parker and a query critique giveaway. 

Hope to see you on Monday!


  1. Please just enter me for a copy of THE EYE OF MIDNIGHT. It sounds really good! Thank you!
    mittens0831 at aol dot com

  2. Your novel sounds great, Andrew - for me and my daughter. Congrats! It's interesting to read how different agents handle the submission process - I especially love that Danielle gives weekly updates to her clients - whether or not there's any news.

  3. I appreciate your enthusiasm for the process, Danielle! Although it's fun and exciting, it's also scary and tense. You sound supportive and upbeat, someone with whom authors would love to work. (julie.k.walters at gmail dot com)

  4. I've heard books on submission with agents have about a 10% chance. That's not very good odds, is it?

  5. Fascinating exchange for sure! Andrew's book looks very intriguing and I love the cover.Best of luck with this one. I can't wait to read.

  6. A lot of information here. Andrew, your book sounds like quite an adventure. The 1920s was such an interesting time. Congratulations!

  7. Sounds like a great novel. And the info about Andrew's submission process was very helpful. Thank you both for the giveaways.

  8. I would like to enter The Eye of Midnight giveaway only. Sounds like a great book! Here's my tweet: Thanks!

  9. Nice to read about Andrew's submission process. His novel sounds great!

  10. This was chock full of good stuff. Here's to a great team and the book which sounds exciting.

  11. Nothing like a spaz attack on a golf course. Congratulations, Andrew!

  12. Another great interview. I'd love to be entered! I also tweeted about the contest:

  13. Congrats to Andrew! I love this quote from Danielle: "relentless optimism." Nice to know that agents have this in abundance. Thanks, Natalie, for the great interview and for the chance at an arc or a query critique (I'd love a query critique from Danielle, since she's so enthusiastic!).

  14. I also tweeted:

  15. It was very interesting to hear about what happens after an agent is signed--and that my next book is important, too! Thank you for entering me for the query critique and the book. Please enter me again--I tweeted about this contest, too. Thank you!

  16. Congratulations, Andrew! Your book looks amazing. The late 1920s is a fascinating time period, too.

    Note: I also tweeted a link to this blog post/contest.

  17. It's nice to meet Andrew and Danielle. Sounds like a great book. It was interesting hearing about how the process worked for them.

    I'll pass on the giveaway this time. Like you, my TBR pile is sky high. I need to take some time off and read! lol

  18. This sounds like a really suspenseful book! I enjoyed hearing about the submissions process from the inside. Count me out of the giveaway, since I've won recently.

  19. Thanks for the interview! It's always great to see how the process works with other author/agent teams.

    This sounds like a great book, but like Jenni above, I've recently won a book here. (And I haven't found time to read it yet, eek!) So let someone else win this time.

  20. I love this book and really enjoyed the in depth interview. Corabel Shofner.

  21. I love to read the happy stories of great books being discovered! Great interview.

  22. Amazing success story and one more that highlights perseverance in writing, querying and getting published. Both the arc of the book and the critique are wonderful prizes. Waiting with bated breath ...

  23. Awesome to see an MG Historical Fic!

  24. Great post! I always knew that querying was difficult, but haven't thought about book sales after that. The statistics were very interesting and insightful. An MG Historical Fiction sounds quite intriguing!
    Please include me in the book giveaway only. Thanks for the chance!
    xinyi1467 at gmail

  25. Great interview! Andrew's book is brilliant, which only reinforces to me the absolute thick skin one requires going through this s process!

  26. Helpful information. Thank you for sharing and the giveaway. I Tweeted this post.

  27. The cover and synopsis are exciting (stunning colors too on the cover). Please enter me to win the book only. I posted on tumblr:

  28. I'd love to be entered in the giveaways...I'm in the dark midnight...

    1. Bumping into all the other people in there with you? ๐Ÿ˜„ Sorry in advance if I step on your foot. ๐Ÿ˜„

  29. I love interviews like this. :) It's so nice to get a new perspective into the agent-author relationship and what goes on during submissions. Thanks so much for doing this, and thanks for the giveaway! The Eye of Midnight sounds really interesting. :)

  30. Great interview! I love that Danielle gives regular updates and stays so positive. Best of luck, Andrew!

  31. Very interesting glimpse into the submission process! Thanks so much for the giveaway.

  32. Great to hear from an agent and debut author. I have tweeted a couple of great quotes from the interview. :-)

  33. Fascinating post. Thanks for this. No drawing for me, please. Packing still.

  34. Superb interview and so inspiring! Would love a chance at the ARC and the query opportunity!

  35. What a beautiful cover! Congrats, Andrew! It sounds like you have a great agent in Danielle. :)

  36. Congrats to Andrew and Danielle for getting this novel to the right editor and for the publication. You two sound like a great author and agent team, and from what I understand, that's very important in making a writing career last.

  37. Wonderful interview, conversation, and information! Thank you for sharing your journey as an author, Andrew, and your journey with Andrew, Danielle! The book sounds great.
    I wish I had something ready to query, but I don't at the moment, so please don't add me in for the prize.

  38. Relentless optimism is much-needed in this business. I've heard of agents not selling the first book, but selling subsequent books. It's great to have someone persistent and dedicated on the writer's side.

  39. must stay positive! uni-kitty
    publishing is like swimming through mud or quicksand... both tiring and discouraging! but we have to keep going to survive.

    love this series of interviewing author and agent! thanks for the insight and opportunity
    have a great weekend, all!

  40. It's fun to hear the submission process from another agent and her client. Relentless optimism is the key!

  41. It's fun to hear the submission process from another agent and her client. Relentless optimism is the key!

  42. I absolutely loved this interview! Danielle's optimism is contagious. She sounds like a dream agent to me. Wishing Andrew loads of luck with his awesome new book! Set in NYC in the 20s, I don't see how it could be less than a great success! :)

  43. What a fascinating interview. I agree that going through the submission part with an agent is definitely different than the querying process. :) Nice to know that you have someone in your corner guiding the way. Wishing Andrew the best of luck!

  44. Thanks for a great interview and insight into the submission process. Good luck with the book Andrew. (I tweeted:

  45. Congratulations, Kathryn, on your book! BURNING GLASS is a great title!

  46. I love that cave analogy, for the submission process both with and without an agent! Great interview, all around. :) I would love to enter to win a copy of The Eye of Midnight, but being agented will of course pass on the query critique.
    Best of luck to everyone!

  47. Congrats, Andrew. Thanks for a peek into the submission process.

  48. I too really like the cave visual; it takes someone brave (or maybe a tad bit deluded) to wander a dark cave without some help.

  49. Thanks for giving us a window into the submission process--it's so easy for writers to get so focused on the query process and to forget that there's anything after that. "The Eye of Midnight" sounds fun and interesting.