CURRENT GIVEAWAY CONTESTS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

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

GREGORY FUNARO GUEST POST AND ODDITORIUM SERIES GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I have a fantastic guest post by author Gregory Funaro and a giveaway of one of his books in his MG Odditorium series. Just reading his query letter made me want to read his book.

Followers News 

David Powers King released a new YA zombie book THE UNDEAD ROAD. Here's a blurb:

Jeremy Barnes would rather watch a zombie movie than shoot a real one, but he and his family has no choice if they are to survive the end of the world. And their survival may rest in the hands of a mysterious girl who might just turn on them at any moment. And here's a few links to find more information:

Here's a blurb of ALLISTAIR GRIM'S ODD AQUATICUM, Gregory's most recent book, from Goodreads:


When Grubb, an orphan and runaway chimney sweep, entered the wondrous world of the Odditorium, his life changed forever. Apprenticed to the mechanical marvel’s strange proprietor, Alistair Grim, Grubb unfortunately must settle into his new position on the lam, as the whole of London is convinced that Alistair Grim is a villain bent on mass destruction. Grim, however, has come up with a plan to expose the real villain: Prince Nightshade, a wicked necromancer who wants the Odditorium’s power source for himself.

With the evil prince hot on their trail, Grim, Grubb and the rest of the Odditorium's crew embark on a perilous adventure to find the legendary sword Excalibur: the only weapon capable of penetrating Nightshade's magical suit of armor. As expected, their quest turns out to be anything but ordinary. Not only can the Odditorium fly, but it can also swim! And so the crew battens down the hatches and sets off on an underwater voyage to the otherworldly realm of Avalon, home to Excalibur. Along the way, they must battle a banshee assassin, sea monsters, and a witch who seeks revenge on Alistair Grim for stealing her magical objects.

But that’s not all. Unbeknownst to Grubb and the others, their fate has been written in an ancient Avalonian prophecy—a prophecy that holds the key to a destiny not even Alistair Grim could have possibly imagined.

So here's Gregory!

Writing A Successful Query Letter.

One of the most frequent questions I get from aspiring writers is, “How did you get your agent?” to which I always respond, “I wrote a good book.” You can imagine the eye-rolls and exasperated sighs of, “Well, duh!” that follow, because what people are really asking is, “How did you get your agent’s attention?”

If you’ve stumbled onto this post, you probably already know a little bit about how the publishing biz works, how a literary agent can help you, and what a query letter is. If you don’t, I suggest you take advantage of this new-fangled inter-web machine and school yourself on the basics. If after that you decide you still want (and even need) an agent to represent your work, you might find my insights on writing a successful query letter helpful. If not, well hey, as Bogie says in Casablanca, “We’ll always have Paris.”

Let me say up front that I am no expert on this—not at all—and consider myself a decent but by no means great writer. I am, however, a perfectionist and extremely stubborn (my friends say “driven,” but who are we kidding?) and rewrote my query letter many, many times before I finally took a deep breath and hit the “send” button. Is this the ultimate, super-duper-secret query letter formula you’ve been searching for? Probably not. But I can tell you that it attracted the attention of eight out of the twelve agents I queried, five of whom offered me representation after reading all or just a portion of my book (I ended up signing with Superman, aka Bill Contardi of Brandt & Hochman). That tells me I did two things correctly: 1) I wrote a good book; and 2) I wrote a good query letter.

There are basically three sections to the standard query letter: 1) The introduction/hook; 2) The synopsis; and 3) The bio/closing. How you choose to tackle each section is up to you (there are plenty of sites that give advice on this) so keep in mind that I am telling you what worked for me. In fact, I asked the agents who offered me representation what (other than my story idea) made my query letter stand out, and a common theme quickly emerged: they appreciated how professional, clear and concise it was.

I recently read about an agent who receives an average of 50-100 queries per day. She’s a pretty big deal, but even if we take the lower number as a baseline, that’s roughly 7 queries to read per hour (less an hour for lunch during a standard workday) on top of all her other duties. So, common sense would dictate that one should err on the side of brevity.

For example, in my query letter (see below) for Alistair Grim’s Odditorium (Disney-Hyperion, 2015) Odditorium I chose not waste the agents’ time trying to dazzle them with my “hook,” but instead began my query with a simple, one sentence introduction telling them the title, genre, and setting. Next, I split the synopsis section into two paragraphs. In the first, I tried to make the plot summary as economical and appealing as possible (I literally read dozens of book jackets to see what worked best). I then followed with a “comp” paragraph, in which I gave the word count, briefly highlighted the underlying themes, and compared Odditorium  to other books from which I drew my inspiration. In the last section, the bio, I only mention facts relevant to my career as a writer (education, previously published works, etc.).
I chose not waste the agents’ time trying to dazzle them with my “hook,” but instead began my query with a simple, one sentence introduction telling them the title, genre, and setting. Next, I split the synopsis section into two paragraphs. In the first, I tried to make the plot summary as economical and appealing as possible (I literally read dozens of book jackets to see what worked best). I then followed with a “comp” paragraph, in which I gave the word count, briefly highlighted the underlying themes, and compared

Of course, there is no “one size fits all” query letter—and you might even think mine is kind of boring—but for some reason it worked well for me back in the summer of 2012. What follows is my original query letter to Bill—well, most of it. Even three and a half years later, I couldn’t resist tweaking a few things.

I told you I was a perfectionist.

Dear Mr. Contardi:
Allow me to introduce you to my first middle-grade novel, Alistair Grim’s Odditorium—a steampunk influenced, sci-fi fantasy set in Victorian London.
For twelve year-old Grubb, life as a chimney sweep in the English countryside has always been hard. Apprenticed to a brutal master sweep named Mr. Smears, Grubb wants nothing more than a life free from toil and abuse. After incurring the wrath of a local innkeeper, Grubb stows away in a trunk belonging to one of the inn’s guests. Soon, the boy finds himself at the Odditorium—a flying house of mechanical wonders filled with supernatural beings and powered by a mysterious blue energy called animus. The eccentric owner of the Odditorium, Alistair Grim, allows Grubb to stay on as his apprentice, but when Grubb accidentally allows some of the animus to escape, he attracts the attention of Prince Nightshade, an evil necromancer who wants the animus for himself. After an intense battle and a narrow escape from London, Grubb and his friends set off in the Odditorium to defeat Prince Nightshade, during which time Grubb discovers the real purpose of Alistair Grim’s animus—a purpose as strange and nefarious as the evil necromancer who seeks to control it.
At 75,000 words, and layered with historical detail and world mythology, Alistair Grim’s Odditorium employs common Victorian themes such as hidden identities, unrequited love, and upper-class destiny in a darkly-fantastical Dickensian milieu. In the combined traditions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Water Babies, and the fantasy works of Lloyd Alexander (The Chronicles of Prydain), Alistair Grim’s Odditorium is not only a tale of adventure and mystery, but also the story of one boy’s magical journey toward acceptance and self-discovery.
In addition to being a published author, I am currently a professor in the School of Theatre & Dance at East Carolina University. My adult thrillers, The Sculptor and The Impaler (Kensington/Pinnacle, 2010, 2011), have met with both commercial and critical success, and foreign language rights have been sold in nearly a half-dozen countries. I hold an AM from Brown University, and an MFA from Florida State.
After three years as a client of John Hawkins & Associates, my agent there, William Reiss, is retiring. Thus, I thought you might be interested in taking a look at Alistair Grim’s Odditorium. I’ve pasted the first two chapters in the body of this e-mail. I hope it piques your interest in reading more.
Thank you for your consideration, and I hope to hear back from you soon.

Sincerely,
Gregory Funaro

You can find Gregory at:


Gregory has generously offered one book of the winner's choice in his Odditorium series. 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 February 6thIf 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.

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays was started by Shannon Messenger. Find all the other participating bloggers on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

On Monday I have an interview with debut author Sarah Ahiers and a giveaway of her YA fantasy Assassin's Heart.

Next Wednesday I have my new and first agent spotlight interview with agent Beth Campbell and a query critique giveaway.

Friday that week I'm participating in the Favorites Book Giveaway Hop. 

The following Monday I have a guest post by debut YA author Heidi Heilig and a giveaway of her YA fantasy time travel THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE.

Hope to see you on Monday! 
 

LOIS SEPAHBAN INTERVIEW AND PAPER WISHES GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m thrilled to have Lois Sepahban here to share about her debut MG historical fiction PAPER WISHES that released on January 5th. It’s set in World War II in one of our Japanese internment camps. It sounds so good and timely that I’m hoping to read it.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads


A moving debut novel about a girl whose family is relocated to a Japanese internment camp during World War II--and the dog she has to leave behind.

Ten-year-old Manami did not realize how peaceful her family's life on Bainbridge Island was until the day it all changed. It's 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Manami and her family are Japanese American, which means that the government says they must leave their home by the sea and join other Japanese Americans at a prison camp in the desert. Manami is sad to go, but even worse is that they are going to have to give her dog, Yujiin, to a neighbor to take care of. Manami decides to sneak Yujiin under her coat, but she is caught and forced to abandon him. She is devastated but clings to the hope that somehow Yujiin will find his way to the camp and make her family whole again. It isn't until she finds a way to let go of her guilt that Manami can accept all that has happened to her family.

Hi Lois! Thanks so much for joining us.

1.  Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Hi, Natalie! Thank you for having me here.

I was an obsessive reader as a child, and by the time I was 9 or 10, I was writing stories. When I was an adult, it occurred to me that I could pursue a career as a writer. So then I started taking writing classes, where I learned about SCBWI and joined a critique group.

Because I am a teacher, it was a natural step for me to write nonfiction books. I’ve written several on a range of topics—history, science, biography, current events, and so on. I learned a lot about outlining and revision from writing nonfiction. These days, though, I focus primarily on fiction. I teach full time and have a family, so I try to save my writing time for my special, personal projects.

2. Yes, I can see how your reading as a child and being a teacher would have led you to write. Where did you get the idea for PAPER WISHES? And are you surprised at how timely your story is given what’s going on in the world now?

The idea for PAPER WISHES came from several places over a long period of time. I grew up in central California, so I knew about Manzanar and the internment camps of World War II as a child. For many years, I had wanted to write a story set there. The ideas that became Manami and Yujiin and Grandfather and Ron came from a variety of places while I was researching: old newspaper articles, photographs, interviews, and so on.

And you’re right—Manami’s story is particularly timely given what is happening in the world, specifically regarding the refugee crisis and the rhetoric of some politicians. The World War II internment camps imprisoned people based on their ancestry. Leading up to those camps, laws were passed that outlawed immigration to the U.S. based solely on race. But that was more than 70 years ago. I hope that, 70 years from now, we will view others through a lens of compassion instead of fear.

3. I hope so too. PAPER WISHES is set in Manzanar, an internment camp in Central California. Is this a real place or did you base it on a specific internment camp? What research did you do on your setting and Japanese Americans’ experiences in these camps?

Manzanar is a real place. It was an internment camp during World War II, and today it is a national
historic site. You can visit Manzanar’s museum and walk the grounds. Most of the old buildings have been torn down, but monuments and artifacts remain. There is also a wonderful online museum (http://www.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/manz/index.html) where you can learn more about the internment camps in general, and Manzanar specifically.

In addition to the Manzanar museum, I watched interviews with former internees on densho.org. That site has an archive with hundreds of interviews, in addition to other artifacts. It is free and available to the public (http://archive.densho.org/main.aspx).

The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community’s website (http://bijac.org) was a good resource as well. What I learned there was particularly important in the first chapter of PAPER WISHES which is set on Bainbridge Island.


4. Sounds like you did some extensive research. I read you had a dog growing up, and
Manami’s personal growth revolves around her guilt about her dog. Did you draw on your own experiences in developing this part of your story?

I had several dogs growing up, but PAPER WISHES is dedicated to one in particular—Strider, an Australian shepherd mix. He was such a good dog! He walked me and my brother to our bus stop every morning and was waiting there for us when the bus brought us home. The loss of Strider is still painful, decades later.

5. Sorry it's a painful memory. You’ve also written 10 nonfiction books. What made you decide to write a historical fiction story? Do you have a preference now on staying with fiction or nonfiction books?

I enjoy writing nonfiction because I love to geek out on history and science research. But I’ve always written fiction—and as a reader, I gravitate toward historical fiction. So I suppose it makes perfect sense that I would write historical fiction.

Because my writing time is limited, I tend to focus on fiction these days. But I’m always on the lookout for a nonfiction topic that I’m super excited to research.

6. Your agent is Kathleen Rushall. Share how she became your agent and your road to getting this book published and your nonfiction ones too.

When I queried Kathleen, I knew that she was an animal lover. After we spoke, I learned that she was also a big-hearted, loving person. Add to that how much she loved PAPER WISHES, and it’s no surprise that we were destined to work together. I’m sensitive to other people’s emotions, so it’s important that I am surrounded by kind people. Kathleen is one of the kindest.

I queried her, following her guidelines, on a Sunday night. Monday morning, she emailed me, requesting the rest of the manuscript. Later that day, she emailed again to say she read it, loved it, and wanted to talk. I had queried three other agents, so there was a bit of a waiting period before I signed with her. Kathleen asked me to change a couple of things in the manuscript, and then she sent it out on submission. It sold within a couple of months. So, all in all, it was a gentle, easy path.

7. That's so cool you knew you had a connection as animal lovers. How are planning to promote this book? Is your strategy different than your nonfiction books?

I’ll be honest, promotion is not my thing. I don’t do any promotion whatsoever for my nonfiction books—I leave it completely to the publishers.

With PAPER WISHES, I have done a bit more—including interviews like this one. :) I’ll also be doing book signings for the first time. I’m scheduled to be on a few panels at book festivals and conferences in 2016, too.

I don’t blog, but I’m on social media—Twitter and Facebook, although Facebook is mainly for my friends and family.

8. I wouldn't love the promotion either. What has surprised you about being a debut MG fiction writer?

I knew I was introverted and shy before becoming a debut author, but I didn’t realize HOW introverted and shy I am. Coming to terms with social anxiety has been a challenge for me, but I have help—a supportive partner, loving parents, and a therapist. I try to limit the time I spend away from my kids—being with them, hugging, holding hands, and so on, soothes me.

I’m blessed to be part of the generous kid lit community. My critique partners, my SCBWI Midsouth friends, fellow Sweet 16s and Class of 2K16 debut authors have welcomed me into their warm circle. The support of other writers is something I cherish.

9. What are you working on now?

I’m working on a couple of other MG novels with a similar setting as PAPER WISHES. They are a bit different, but share themes—loss and love and family.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Lois. You can find Lois at
Website: http://www.loissepahban.com


Lois  has generously offered an ARC of PAPER WISHES 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 January 30thIf 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 is for U.S. and Canada.

Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays was started by Shannon Messenger. Find all the other participating bloggers on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

On Monday I have a guest post by Gregory Funaro and a giveaway of  one book in his MG fantasy Alistair Grim’s Odditorium series. 

The following Monday I have an interview with debut author Sarah Ahiers and a giveaway of her YA fantasy Assassin's Heart.

Wednesday that week I have my new and first agent spotlight with agent Beth Campbell and a query critique giveaway.

Friday that week I'm participating in the Favorites Book Giveaway Hop. 

Hope to see you on Monday! 
 

DREAMING OF BOOKS GIVEAWAY HOP



Happy Friday Everyone! I’m thrilled to be part of the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop sponsored by Bookhounds. I’ve got lots of newly released YA books that I've read or want to read. There are SO many good ones right now. I'm reading one now and have a few on hold at the library And if you’re reading a different book in the series listed or want a different book by one of the authors listed, I’m glad to get you that book instead as long as it doesn't cost more than the book I've chosen.

Don’t see a book you like? You can win a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card instead. I hope you'll all enter to win a book or gift card for yourself or as a gift for someone.

So here are your choices. Click on the title to read a blurb from Goodreads.

 




 




 




 


FIREWALKER
MANNERS & MUTINY
QUEEN OF SHADOW
SIX OF CROWS
SOUNDLESS
SWORD AND VERSE
TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU
THE CONJURER'S RIDDLE
THE ROSE SOCIETY
THEIR FRACTURED LIGHT
WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER
WINTER

If you haven't found a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

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 28th telling me the book you want to win or if you want to win the Gift Card instead. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must 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. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome as long as  The Book Depository ships to you for free.

Here's what's coming up:

On Monday I have an interview with debut author Lois Sepahban and a giveaway of her MG historical fiction PAPER WISHES.

The following Monday I have a guest post by Gregory Funaro and a giveaway of  one book in his MG fantasy Alistair Grim’s Odditorium series. 

The Monday after that I have an interview with debut author Sarah Ahiers and a giveaway of her YA fantasy Assassin's Heart.

Hope to see you on Monday! 
 
And here's all the other blogs participating in this Giveaway Hop:
<!-- end LinkyTools script –>

AGENT DAVID DUNTON AND AUTHOR MONICA TESLER GUEST POST WITH QUERY CRITIQUE AND BOUNDERS GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you're having a fantastic start to the New Year! Today I have a fantastic guest post that's a conversation between debut author Monica Tesler and her agent David Dunton of Harvey Klinger, Inc. I learned so much from reading it and hope you do too. 

Monica's middle grade science fiction book BOUNDERS was released on January 5, 2016. There aren't many middle grade science fiction stories, and this sounds like a great one.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

In the tradition of Michael Vey and The Unwanteds, twelve-year-old Jasper and his friends are forced to go up against an alien society in this first book in a brand-new adventure series!

Thirteen years ago, Earth Force—a space-military agency—discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now they’ve brought together the first team of cadets, called Bounders, to be trained as high-level astronauts.

Twelve-year-old Jasper is part of this team being sent out into space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is thrilled to have something new and different to do with other kids who are more like him. While learning all about the new technologies and taking classes in mobility—otherwise known as flying with jetpacks—Jasper befriends the four other students in his pod and finally feels like he has found his place in the world.

But then Jasper and his new friends learn that they haven’t been told everything about Earth Force. They weren’t brought to space for astronaut training, but to learn a new, highly classified brain-sync technology that allows them to manipulate matter and quantum bound, or teleport. And it isn’t long before they find out this new technology was actually stolen from an alien society.

When Jasper and his friends discover the truth about why Earth Force needs them, they are faced with a choice: rebel against the academy that brought them together, or fulfill their duty and protect the planet at all costs.
 

Now here's Monica and David!

A Conversation about the Author-Agent Relationship with Author Monica Tesler and her Agent, David Dunton of Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Monica Tesler (MT): Thanks so much for having us on Literary Rambles. This blog was a go-to site for me when I was in the query trenches, so it’s fun to be here now as a published author.

In approaching this guest post, I thought back to the questions I had earlier in my publishing journey. The internet is filled with information about how to query literary agents. After a writer has piqued an agent’s interest, though, the advice dries up. While there are a few excellent posts by authors and agents out there, the author-agent relationship is still quite shrouded in mystery. I’m hoping this chat with my agent, David Dunton, can help demystify it.

The Call

MT: In querying writer speak, the first call between an agent and potential client is so epic that it’s
commonly referred to as the call without any need for elaboration. I remember the call vividly. True to my nature, I had a long list of business questions prepped. Within the first few minutes, though, David and I established a small world connection and really clicked. Although I’m sure I managed to get most of my questions answered, that moment of connection sealed the deal for me. I also wanted to make sure that David’s visions for the manuscript were consistent with mine, and fortunately they were. What about you, David? You’ve already connected with the manuscript—what are you looking for in a prospective client during the call?

David Dunton (DD): I’m looking to find out whether I like this person, whether I think he or she is a reasonable person. This can be an intense process, and if we’re going to work together (ideally, for a long period of time), it’d be good if we get along and understand each other, up front. You and I connected quickly, fortunately—that’s sort of how it has to go in that first call, since we’re unlikely to have a series of calls before you decide whether you want to hire me. (It was also nice that we were skiing in the same place and were able to meet, so early on in our relationship!)  I also want to make sure that the person’s vision for the process is in line with the likely reality—I’d rather, if need be, burst bubbles up front, so that there’s less disappointment and frustration down the road. Finally, I tend to want to find out whether the author has other ideas, for future books, since I want each relationship to be one for the long haul. Fortunately, Monica, you had a whole series you wanted to write!

Prep & Polish

MT: Thankfully you found a home for that series! I’ll be starting revisions on the second book in the Bounders world soon. Speaking of revisions, although not all agents are editorial, many authors and agents go through a round of revisions prior to submitting a manuscript to publishers. You gave me some editorial notes for Bounders, and I spent a short stretch revising prior to submission. In general, you made suggestions while giving me wide latitude in terms of how to implement changes. We had a few points we disagreed on, but after exchanging emails which resulted in some minor edits, we reached a place where we both felt confident about the manuscript. David, is that your typical process with new authors? Do you have any pointers for authors as to how best to communicate when they may not see eye-to-eye with their agent on a potential change?

DD: I’ve found it helpful, Monica, that you always speak your mind—you’re tactful, but you don’t hold back. I think it’s important for agents and authors to communicate as directly as possible—I need to know if something’s so important to you that you’re willing to argue the point. A lot of the time it’ll cause me to reconsider my initial objection. Remember, you’re not going to hurt my feelings if you don’t like my ideas—heck, it’s your book. I will, however, hope that I, in turn, don’t hurt your feelings if I tell you that including a particular aspect, to which I object, is likely to decrease the chance that your book will sell. I owe it to you to share my honest opinion, since I have a wealth of experiences from which I’m drawing after 27 years in book publishing. Besides, you and I have a shared objective: getting the book to sell, first to a publisher, and then to readers.

On Sub

MT: Speaking of that shared objective, another phrase authors throw around is being on sub. I’ve made the mistake of using that term with friends or colleagues outside of publishing, and they just raise their eyebrows in confusion. Being on sub is shorthand for the stretch when an agent has submitted an author’s manuscript to publishers but there’s not yet a deal. At least for me, being on sub was high-stress, even rivaling the query trenches. One thing you did that helped me enormously was clearly explain the process from the agent’s perspective. This allowed me to picture what was happening with my manuscript, even though the process was out of my hands. David, how do you like to communicate with authors who are on submission? Do you have any suggestions for authors as to how to keep their cool?

DD: Having a project out on submission is a terrible time for authors—it just is. I found you to be remarkably restrained during this trying time, and I know that couldn’t have been easy! Seriously, there’s nothing pleasant about waiting to hear whether you’ve passed muster with one or more publishers, and it’s made worse by the wait times. Publishers are hammered with submissions, and most take anywhere from one to four months to respond to a project they’ve received. I encourage writers to reach out to me any time they feel the need to check on the status of their book, but I also practice total transparency with them—whether good news or bad, I share the editors’ notes as soon as I receive them, unless the author has told me up front that he or she doesn’t need to see every rejection letter.

Big News

MT: I love telling the story of receiving David’s email letting me know I had a three-book offer from Simon & Schuster. I was alone in my kitchen, and when I read the message, I screamed and fell to the floor. After managing to recover, I thought how funny it was that no one witnessed my reaction, like a tree falling in the woods. Did it really even happen? So, of course, I had to reenact it for my kids later that day. David, how does it feel to deliver that news, particularly to a debut author? When a sale is imminent, an agent has to spring into action at the same moment an author is potentially realizing a life-long dream of publication, a very emotional experience. I remember what a nice touch you had on the phone with me before finalizing the deal, both celebratory but also bringing it back to business. How do you balance that?

DD: Well, it comes pretty naturally, the balance to which you refer—first, I’m so excited (and relieved) for my author, but then inevitably there are a bunch of details to review about the offer. I try to get the emotional part out of the way first, and then move on to business. And then swing back to the emotional. Because, really, it’s a deal! And then the real work begins.

After the Sale

MT: That’s so true. Once a manuscript sells, much of the day-to-day work shifts from author-agent to author-editor. With Bounders, I’m extremely lucky to be working with Michael Strother at Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. But the agent doesn’t fade completely into the background. You’ve helped me navigate some business issues and given me feedback with your expert industry perspective. Also, we’ve talked about my career beyond Bounders. David, how does the author-agent relationship typically change after a sale? Are there times you feel it’s important that an author involve his or her agent? Are expectations on agents to be more actively engaged with clients post-sale, such as involvement with marketing and publicity, on the rise? Is there anything else you’d like to add about the author-agent relationship at any stage?

DD: After a deal is made, the process varies by author. There are some writers with whom I am in constant communication, as they write or revise their manuscripts. Others will disappear for a long period of time, and then send me the draft so I can read it before it goes to the editor. After delivery, there’s a long period of drift, when the manuscript’s bouncing back and forth between the writer and the editor, and there’s less for me to do during that period. (I’m as involved in that part of the process as my writers want me to be, but ultimately, it comes down to a bunch of decisions about fine-tuning the manuscript, and I think that’s best left to the writer & editor.) As far as being involved on the marketing and publicity front, there’s not much for agents to do in most situations—calling the publisher and screaming (or even begging politely) for more marketing dollars or a stronger publicity effort is not going to produce results for almost any agent, I don’t care what anyone tells you. Instead, I try to help the writer manage his or her expectations, and I try to reinforce rule number one about this stuff: you are your own best advocate for your book, no matter the size of your deal or your publisher. They bought it, so they likely love it, but they also love most of the other projects they acquired and are publishing, so, you should always look out for yourself. You’re the one wanting to turn this into a career. Or at least, a seriously time-consuming hobby.

The End

MT: I can vouch for the time-consuming part! And I couldn’t agree more with your advice about
being your own best advocate. My experience leading up to the debut of Bounders has definitely confirmed that. Fortunately, I have the support of a great team at Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, and I’m extremely lucky to have you in my corner, David.

Thanks so much for having David and me on Literary Rambles. I hope our chat has pulled back the curtain on the Author-Agent relationship.

Thanks for all the fantastic advice, David and Monica. You can find Monica and David at:

Links to order BOUNDERS

Links to Monica Tesler’s website and fan pages:



Links to David Dunton’s Agency Website and twitter:



Monica has generously offered an ARC of BOUNDERS for a giveaway and David 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 January 23rdIf 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 Mondays was started by Shannon Messenger. Find all the other participating bloggers on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

On Friday I'll be participating in the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great books or an Amazon Gift Card for you to choose from.

Next Monday I have an interview with debut author Lois Sepahban and a giveaway of her MG historical fiction PAPER WISHES.

The Monday after that I have a guest post by Gregory Funaro and a giveaway of  one book in his MG fantasy Alistair Grim’s Odditorium series. 

Hope to see you on Friday!