CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

EVERY SHINY THING through May 19th
SWEET BLACK WAVES through May 19th
THE BIRD AND THE BLADE through May 26th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Natascha Morris Agent Spotlight Interview on 5/21/2018
Gabrielle Piraino Agent Spotlight Interview on 6/13/2018
Colleen Oefelein Agent Spotlight Interview on 6/27/2018
Larissa Helena Agent Spotlight Interview on 9/10/2018

AGENT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH JENNIFER MARCH SOLOWAY AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY


Today I’m thrilled to have agent Jennifer March Soloway here. She is an associate literary agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

Status: Open to submissions.

Hi­ Jennifer! Thanks so much for joining us.

Thanks! I’m thrilled to be here!

About Jennifer:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.



Before I joined ABLA, I worked in public relations and marketing in a number of industries, including banking, health care, and toys—and except for banking, there was always a focus on kids. When I worked for the toy company, in addition to managing public relations and producing the catalog, I was the toy inventor liaison, which meant several times a year I would travel around the country to meet with toy inventors, who would pitch their toy ideas to me. It was the coolest job!

Selling an invention to our company was tough. We had a very strong internal design team, and we almost never bought outside ideas, so it was difficult to place with us. But every once in a while, I would find an invention that was perfect for our new line. It was my job to then negotiate the terms and the contract with the inventor. 

Sounds a bit like agenting, doesn’t it?
Not long after, I decided to pursue my passion for literature and got an MFA in English and Creative Writing with an emphasis on young adult literature. I was first introduced to the Andrea Brown Literary Agency at the Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop, and later, I got the opportunity to be Executive Agent Laura Rennert’s assistant. I found the publishing industry fascinating. I enjoyed reviewing contracts and thinking strategically on behalf of the clients. I had fun writing pitches. I even liked reviewing royalty statements. Most of all, I loved editorial. I discovered it gives me great joy to help writers find their story. I love to champion others.

In mid-2016, I was promoted to Associate Agent. Laura has been an amazing mentor and teacher, and our entire agency is incredibly collaborative and supportive. I feel so fortunate and grateful to work with such a dynamic group of women.

Today, I represent a handful of clients—picture book author/illustrators and MG/YA novelists, as well as a few adult writers—and I’m actively looking for new clients to add to my list.

About the Agency:

2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.

The Andrea Brown Literary Agency is a mid-sized literary agency headquartered in Northern California with offices in Southern California, Chicago, and New York. Our is to make sure clients are not only published, but published well. Most recently, two of our clients were longlisted for the National Book Award: Mitali Perkins for YOU BRING THE DISTANT NEAR (FSG/Macmillan, 2017), and Meg Medina for BURN BABY BURN (Candlewick, 2016), and Neal Shusterman won the 2017 Michael L. Prinz Honor for SCYTHE (BFYR/S&S, 2016). Our agency invests a great deal of care and time into each project and client. We seek long-term relationships with our clients and work with clients at every stage of the writing process, from editorial to submission and beyond. We handle everything from domestic deals to foreign rights, plus film and TV, etc.

What She’s Looking For:

3. What age groups do you represent—picture books, MG, and/or YA? What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions for these genres?

I represent authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and young adult stories, as select adult fiction, both literary and commercial, particularly crime, suspense and horror projects. (I like to be scared!)

For picture books, I am drawn to a wide range of stories from silly to sweet, but I especially love funny, interactive read-aloud’s with some kind of surprise at the end. When it comes to middle grade, I like all kinds of genres, including adventures, mysteries, spooky-but-not-too-scary ghost stories, humor, realistic contemporary and fantasies grounded in reality.

Young adult is my sweet spot. I adore high-concept commercial page-turners of any genre, full of unexpected twists. I’m a huge fan of scary, psychological suspense that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. But as much as I love a good thriller, my favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction.

Regardless of genre, I am actively seeking fresh new voices and perspectives underrepresented in literature. I love literature that allows me to see the world in a way I would never experience on my own.

That’s my wish list, but an author might have something I have never considered before, and it might be absolutely perfect for me. I am open to any good story that is well written with a strong, authentic voice. Surprise me!

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?

I would love to find a magical MG fantasy with friendship and/or family themes; a spooky-but-not-too-scary MG ghost story; or a YA about good teens making bad decisions that lead to dire consequences. (Cheating? Check! Bad girlfriends or boyfriends? Check! Shipped off to summer reform camp? Yes!)

What She Isn’t Looking For:

5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?

I am not the right agent for chapter books or novels in verse. I like both, but neither area is my editorial strength. Also, as much as I love a good, gritty story (I will go very dark and violent), if it’s misogynist or gratuitously abusive against women and/or children, I’m out. I’ve passed on numerous projects for that reason.

Agent Philosophy:

6. What is your philosophy as an agent both in terms of the authors you want to work with and the books you want to represent?

First, I look to fall in love with a project. I want to represent stories and art that explore universal truths and evoke strong emotions: joy, sadness, fear, compassion, excitement, or better yet, all of the above. Then, I talk to the creator. Do my editorial suggestions for the project resonate with them? Is it easy for us to talk to one another? Are we aligned in our goals for the working relationship? If the answer is yes, yes, and yes, then I will offer representation, and if I’m lucky, they will accept.

Editorial Agent:

7. Are you an editorial agent? If so, what is your process like when you’re working with your authors before submitting to editors?

My goal is to help my clients revise and polish their manuscripts for publication and make their project the best it can be, so I spend a lot of time reading client manuscripts and providing editorial feedback. In other words, if you sign with me, I’m going to make you work, but only because I want to put our very best foot forward.

I believe giving good feedback is an art. I try to give editorial suggestions worded in such a way that the author not only understands the issue but also feels inspired and encouraged to revise. My style is detailed and encouraging; I don’t like to be harsh or blunt. If that’s the style you want, I am not the right agent for you.

Query Methods and Submission Guidelines: (Always verify before submitting)

8. How should authors query you and what do you want to see with the query letter?

I like to see the following in a query letter:
  • A simple salutation, and perhaps the reason why you think I’d be a good fit for your project;
  • A description of the project (category, genre, word-count, and comparable books in the market);
  • A 1-2 paragraph pitch (or a 1-2 sentence pitch for a picture book project); and
  • A brief bio, and contact information (email, Twitter handle, etc.)
Per our submission guidelines, authors can query me at soloway@andreabrownlit.com. Please put “Query” in the subject of the email and include the following in the body of the email text:

  • ​A query letter; and
  • The first 10 pages of the manuscript​ or the complete text of a picture book project copied into the body of the email text.
  • Please no attachments, except for illustrations (in jpeg format), or picture book dummy (either a PDF or a Dropbox link, etc. works well)
9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

I think the biggest mistake I see is authors submitting work too soon. I see potential in almost every submission, but most projects I receive are at too early a stage for me to offer representation. The drafts tend to be too raw and in need of more work. Often, I can tell the author is still writing to discover, or if they have discovered the end, they have yet to rework the beginning and middle.

I am looking for something with potential, something I think I can sell. I want to read the story and have a vision for how the work could be elevated and polished. A manuscript doesn’t have to be perfect, but at the same time, it has to be really good.

Response Time:

10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?

I am grateful for the opportunity to consider all submissions. I read every query carefully, and I wish I could respond to everyone personally. Unfortunately, as we state in our submissions guidelines, because of the high volume of material that we receive, we are no longer able to respond personally to every submission. If an author has not heard from me within six weeks, the author can assume that the material submitted is not right for our agency at this time.

If I request a manuscript, my goal is to read and respond to the author within 6-8 weeks, or sooner if possible. Sometimes, I am able to respond quickly, but unfortunately, I occasionally fall behind in my submissions. When I do, I try to reach out to the author to let them know I’m behind.

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:

11.  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 am open to authors who have self-published or have been published by smaller presses, as long as they are submitting new, unpublished projects for my consideration. My advice to previously published authors is to be honest about their past publication history. It’s helpful for me to know everything up front, so I can best support and strategize a client’s career moving forward.

12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?

It is really difficult to get published traditionally without an agent. Many houses do not accept unsolicited manuscripts, although there are exceptions like Chronicle Books, for example. A good agent will have strong working relationships with many editors at the various houses and will help devise a strategy to find the best editor/house in terms of fit.

It can be especially helpful to have an agent who knows and understands what terms to negotiate for an author, considering the stage of their career and future projects, etc., as well as the best terms such as advance, royalty percentages, rights, future options, etc. A good agent will also be thinking about a client’s career long-term and what kinds of projects will best support that client’s brand, etc.

Interviews and Guest Posts:

13. Please share the links to any interviews and guest posts you think would be helpful to writers interested in querying you.

Stories Unbound Podcast, Part 1: http://chrisoatley.com/su17/
Stories Unbound Podcast, Part 2: http://chrisoatley.com/su18/
Manuscript Wish List: Persevering Through the Process, by Jennifer March Soloway: http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/2017/10/persevering-through-the-process/

Links and Contact Info:

14. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.

Please query me at soloway@andreabrownlit.com
Andrea Brown Literary Agency: www.andreabrownlit.com
For my latest conference schedule, craft tips and more, follow me on Twitter at @marchsoloway.

Additional Advice:

16. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?

Please have a complete manuscript that you’ve revised extensively before you query. Revise and polish it as much as you can, then revise and polish one more time before you submit. Send queries in rounds; don’t hit everyone at once. Give yourself time to rethink and regroup after each round. If someone gives feedback, listen. If you don’t hear anything, take a look at your query letter and your opening pages. Look for ways to make both more enticing and engaging. Then send out another round of queries.

Most importantly, don’t give up. Keep writing. Keep revising. And as your preparing to submit, please keep me in mind. I love a good story, and I’d love to read yours.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jennifer.

You are so welcome. Thank you again for having me!

­Jennifer 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 May 5th. 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.

Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com
Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.



94 comments:

  1. Thank you for this generous giveaway!

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  2. Another interview with great insights!

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  3. Thank you for the chance to learn more about Jennifer. Have a great week, Natalie!

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  4. Great interview! Thanks for this chance!
    laura.rueckert (at) onlinehome .de

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  5. Love that you're excited about MG fantasy!

    mollybethwilder (at) gmail (dot) com

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  6. I love agents who like books that scare them! Thanks for the great interview. AGAIN!

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  7. I suppose going from toys to children's books isn't much of a leap. It's all about knowing what kids enjoy as entertainment.

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  8. Interesting path leading Jennifer toward her work as an agent. She picked up some great skills to use with authors. Thanks for the interview.

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  9. Great interview! I used to work in PR too, but my clients were mainly in real estate and construction. Toys would have been awesome!

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  11. Very interesting, thank you for this!

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  12. Thanks for sharing your background. Listening to toy inventors pitch their ideas sounds like a very cool job!

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  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  14. Excellent interview and great giveaway! k.starr.shaughnessy@gmail.com

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  15. I was getting ready to query you (MG space opera), when I saw this interview was happening. Love the serendipity!
    waughwright at gmail.com

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  16. A great opportunity. Thank you!

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  17. Informative interview! Look forward to your revision session for SCBWI in SF on Wed! Thx for the chance:
    tinajulian@yahoo.com
    Shared this on twitter too Christin_Julian

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  18. Thanks for this opportunity! Also mentioned on twitter, @HeyJali, jennali13@gmail.com

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  19. Shared on twitter @katealicesandry :)

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  20. And entered via tmordwriter@gmail.com

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  21. thank you for this wonderful opportunity! would love a critique.

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  22. How wonderful! anlyledo at gmail

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  23. And shared on twitter @allegore Thank you for the opportunity! anlyledo at gmail

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  24. What a lovely interview and generous critique offer! maryvanderplas98 at gmail dot com

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  25. Jennifer has come to two of our Northern Colorado Writers conferences and NCW members remember her fondly. She is a winning combination of both knowledgeable and approachable. Jennifer was the first agent I ever queried, and when she passed, her response was so kind that I’ve since written two more books. Her editorial style is appealing and she knows her stuff! lauramahalwrites@gmail.com

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  26. Great interview! Thank you for the information and the giveaway.

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  27. Read the interview which was filled with very good advice.
    Also, giveaway.

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  28. What a wonderful interview. The information is so helpful. Will remember it while I'm revising and revising and revising.

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  29. Thanks for this opportunity. I just added this to Twitter too.

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  30. Excellent interview! Thank you! Burch.stacy@gmail.com
    *also shared on Twitter*

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  31. Wonderful interview.Thank you for this opportunity. Name: CJ Penko
    Email: cjpenkobooks@gmail.com
    I've also mentioned on Twitter (@cjpenko)

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  32. She certainly seems sincere in her likes and dislikes. Thanks for the great interview!
    My email: meganew@frontier.com

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  33. The search for new toys sounds like a blast! Thank your for the interview. My email is: leslierose.author@gmail.com

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  34. Thanks for a great interview! I saw Jennifer speak at a conference and she is fantastic and so positive! kmeverington at gmail

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  35. I've heard great things about Jennifer. Thank you for the interview, Natalie! My email is sofia.dibble@gmail.com. Did a twitter share.

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  36. Great interview! Thanks so much! Angelecolline at yahoo dot com

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  37. Hi Natalie, Thanks for the great tips from Jennifer!

    Julie

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  38. Wow! Awesome giveaway. Jennifer is incredible!

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  39. Great interview! And thanks for the giveaway.
    teresatraver1@gmail.com

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  40. Thanks for such an in-depth interview! I shared on Twitter as well (@matokah).

    (Emailed is sassinsf AT gmail if it isn't properly logged in.)

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  41. Thank you for doing this interview. Lots of fantastic information!

    I also mentioned this on Twitter.

    cyaniblack@gmail.com

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  42. I love that your agenting journey including twists and turns along the way. Great interview!!

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  43. Great interview! Love seeing the tips Jennifer periodically posts on Twitter.

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  44. What a great opportunity! I had the chance to meet Jennifer at a SCBWI conference, she is amazing!

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  45. So interesting about your toy company experience and journey to becoming an agent. Thanks for your generous query critique offer.

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  46. Thank you for sharing this advice!

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  47. Wonderful interview with great advice. I do love stories that make me laugh too. :)

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  48. Great interview with Jennifer. I sent her a query a week ago, so not sure if I should enter the contest. However, I'd love to have her eyes on my work, so I am entering the contest. I am follower and my preferred email is infowoman@sbcglobal.net

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  49. I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer at a conference and having a story doctor session with her. She is so nice and really puts you at ease. Her enthusiasm for what she does really shows through.

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  50. Nice to meet you! Your job at the toy company does sound a lot like an agent. Glad you found your area of expertise. Put me in the contest.

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  51. Great interview!! I wouldn't look anywhere else but Literary Rambles for info on agents. Thank you for this generous giveaway!!!

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  52. Oh I love following Jennifer on Twitter and am getting ready to submit a story to her. Thank you for all of the helpful information and the giveaway! mimi.crisenberry @ gmail

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  53. Wonderful interview! Thanks for all the information and the giveaway!

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  54. Thank you for the great post!
    (tsebanc01@hamline.edu)

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  55. Great suggestions and wonderful interview. chartpalumbo@gmail.com

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  56. Thanks for a great interview and giveaway opportunity! anika.a.wolf@gmail.com

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  57. Thanks for this opportunity! Great interview! amanda@amandadavisart.com. I also shared on Twitter @amandadavisart :)

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  58. Wonderful interview! thank you for this chance! shared on Twitter @loiedunn
    Thank you

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  59. Delightful! Appreciate this opportunity.

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  60. Thank you! Great interview and a generous giveaway. For anyone interested, Jennifer's writing tips on Twitter are some of my favorites!

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  61. Really interesting interview with a lot of great information! And thanks very much for the critique opportunity! (katiehasbrouck03 at gmail.com)

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  62. Thank you for an insightful interview!

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  63. I'm going to have to comb those interviews, because I have a question that wasn't answered in this one: If you've been rejected, but discovered and revised (i.e. completely revamped and grown) a project over 6 months, do you mention the previous rejection or just query as a new project?

    I don't want to jade you from the get-go, but at the same time I don't want you to think, 'hey, haven't I seen this before?' or does that matter?

    (I feel like I'm running in a hamster wheel!)

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    1. Hi Jen, I've read that it is good to let the agent know about the prior rejection but also mention that you've done a major revision. Hope that helps.

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    2. Yes, it does! Thanks for answering! Also, thanks for the giveaway - my email is lexicalcreations@gmail.com (Not sure if it's connected to my Google or not)

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  64. Thanks for another great interview and opportunity to win a critique - Jennifer spoke at an SCBWI I recently attended, and she's amazing!

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  65. My fave comment is about falling in love with a project. I can't wait for that to happen to mine! Thank you for the generous and inspiring interview.

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  66. Thanks for the generous giveaway, Jennifer. I don't see any reference to science fiction. Do you enjoy YA sci-fi?
    branwenoshea@gmail.com

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  67. Thank you for the interview and for the giveaway. patriciamillerbooks@yahoo.com

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  68. She seems like a wonderful agent! Any writer would be lucky to work with her.

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  69. This was a great interview. So much information.

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  70. Great post! I follow Jennifer on twitter and she always has great tips. Jennifer thank you for taking the time to do this!

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  71. Thank you for sharing your insights and experience.

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  72. Thank you for the wonderful interview and giveaway! lafair [at] stanford [dot] edu

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  73. Thanks for this interview and awesome giveaway!

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  74. Great interview, great giveaway! Thank you!

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  75. Thank you - great interview and generous giveaway!
    nbroz51 at gmail.com

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  76. Wonderful interview. Jennifer sounds like an amazing agent.

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  77. Great interview. Loved hearing her tips about querying. So important to make sure the ms is revised and edited before sending it. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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  78. I enjoyed your interview, Natalie. Life is a journey — thanks for sharing yours, Jennifer!

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  79. I love these spotlights. So nice getting to know Jennifer. :)

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  80. Thanks for a great interview and giveaway. bpodwois@yahoo.com

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  81. So much great information in this interview. Jennifer sounds like a super agent and even makes the querying process seem a bit less painful...and that's saying something. I shared this on Twitter.

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  82. Longtime toy inventor, first time author. Thanks so much Jennifer, it helps to get a simplified chance, and an inside look, as I sit over way too much coffee each day and write. I will share on FB. I know, shameless attempt to get two slips in the hat. cheers!

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  83. I can't wait for it. dianasegev@gmail.com, twitter: @dianaaleksand13

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