CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

THE LAND OF YESTERDAY through August 4th
A TOUCH OF GOLD through August 18th

Upcoming Agent Spotlights and Query Critique Giveaways

Larissa Helena Agent Spotlight Interview on 9/10/2018
Wendi Gu Agent Spotlight Interview on 10/29/18

AGENT SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW WITH NATASCHA MORRIS AND QUERY CRITIQUE GIVEAWAY


Today I’m thrilled to have agent Natascha Morris here. She is a literary agent at BookEnds Literary Agency.

Status: Open to submissions.

Hi­ Natascha! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Natascha:

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

SO, I’ve been an agent for a little over a year now. After working at Simon & Schuster, I started to feel creatively stifled by the need to “buy on brand”. As an agent, I could just follow my passion and represent a range of books and creatives.

As to what I have been doing? What haven’t I been doing. As an agent, I have to wear many hats and keep a lot of plates spinning. From getting manuscripts out the door to editors, to helping my clients plan for the next book, to find the next client; there are just a lot of hats to be worn.

About the Agency:

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

Since opening its doors in 1999, BookEnds Literary Agency has never strayed from the original goal: Achieving dreams and doing what we love. Representing fiction and nonfiction for adults and children alike, BookEnds agents continue to live their dreams while helping authors achieve theirs.

As for working with me specifically, authors can expect to enter a community. I set the bar high, but I am very much in the trenches, working along side my authors so that we all can achieve success.

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 all areas of kid lit. The only area I am no longer looking for is sci-fi in MG and YA. But I love picture books and young adult novels the best.

Right now, I am looking for more historical fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romances. I am looking for diverse characters living their lives, and authors I can champion.

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

MERMAIDS!!! I am dying for a contemporary about professional mermaids or a creepy mermaid book that feels like Neil Gaiman.

I also love court intrigue in fantasy so that is a perennial love. Basically, check out my #MSWL to see what I am currently hoping to find.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Sci-fi is really not my thing. I am also very picky when it comes to novels in verse. And dark, graphic abuse books are never going to be right for me. 

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?

My philosophy is that literary should not be boring. To that end, a lot of my authors have “upmarket commercial” books, a literary style writing with a commercial hook.

When it comes to my authors, I want people who understand this is a business. They write with an awareness of the market, and when times are hard, don’t give up. After 6 months on sub and 40 rejections, that is when you need grit to keep going.

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?

I would say I am an editorial agent. Probably more editorial than I should be. 😊 When a manuscript first comes in, I start editing. Authors usually get a marked-up manuscript and an edit letter for their first round, and then I spot check. That is why it is so important authors have CPs. I’m the final gatekeeper before the editors see something, but at the end of the day, my job is not to do intensive editing. I only polish.

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?

BookEnds uses Query Manager and authors can query me at http://QueryMe.Online/1067. The form has all my requirements, but I will say this: don’t just phone in the letter. That is your sales pitch.

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?

I really hate the phrase “standalone with series potential”. Also if you are comping to Harry Potter, Twilight, or The Hunger Games, I can tell you are not current on your YA reading.

Response Time:

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

Ideally, I am for 4-6 on a query and 10-12 on a full manuscript. Sadly, I don’t always make that. But BookEnds policy is that you will always get a response so don’t assume no answer means no.

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’m fine with that. I will say I am not going to be looking at book 2 for the self pub series or the book that is published. It needs to be a brand-new thing. Self-publishing doesn’t change how I evaluate.

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?

I don’t see the role changing that much. Publishers uses agents because we are the first line of gatekeepers. I can say from experience that I was unprepared for the wave of manuscripts. With all that editors do, they need me. 😊 As for smaller presses and self-publishing, that is really a conversation that I have with my clients. Agents are author advocates, first and foremost. Just because an author wants to go to a small press, doesn’t mean they don’t need an insider who can fight for them.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

So a lot of my authors are debut, and some of my sales must remain SECRET for the time being. 😊 But here’s a few of the awesome people I was blessed to find:
Raissa Figueroa: http://rizzyfig.com/ Debut picture book: SOPHIE AND LITTLE STAR coming October 2018
Viviane Elbee: http://vivianeelbee.com/index.html Debut picture book: TEACH YOUR GIRAFFE TO SKI coming November 2018
Katrina Moore: https://www.katrinamoorebooks.com/books.html Debut picture book: ONE HUG coming December 2019
And many more to come!

Interviews and Guest Posts:

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


My Pinterest, for a better look at the time of books I am looking for:  https://www.pinterest.com/nataschamorris/

Links and Contact Info:

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


Additional Advice:

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

Keep learning and working on your craft. As the Gatorade commercial said: “If you want a revolution, the only solution: gotta evolve.”

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Natascha.

­Natascha 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 June 2nd.  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.

43 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the post very much Natilie. Most interesting.

    Yvonne.

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  2. Bummer all I know how to write is science fiction. But someone is going to take the mermaid idea and run with it. Or is that swim with it?
    Nice to meet you, Natascha.

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  3. Thanks for the insightful interview. I like her style of editing but I'll back away from the critique. Too many irons in the fire right now.

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  4. There needs to be more creepy mermaid YA in the world. I'd read that. XD

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  5. I would love to win a critique from Natascha. Good luck, me.

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  6. Query help would be very welcome! Mentioned on twitter @HeyJali. jennali13@gmail.com

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  7. Good to get to know you, Natascha . . .thanks for sharing with us!

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  9. Great interview! I can't wait to see Natascha at the Arkansas SCBWI next month! I would love to win the query. And I tweeted about this @hbsteadham!

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  10. Wonderful Interview! Thanks so much for sharing with us, Natascha!

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  11. Thank you for the great interview and information from Natascha! And an exciting query critique giveaway that would prove helpful to my manuscript. lynn@lynnrogalsky.com.

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  12. As a guy who spends a lot of time with history podcasts, I appreciate the appeal of court intrigue. That sort of skullduggery adds to stories of any type.

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  13. Great post, Natascha--glad to see there is interest in YA historical fiction out there. Tweeted @lynnlovegreen lynnlovegreen@gmail.com

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  14. Great to get to know Natascha. Would be fabulous to get query critique.
    noanimrodi@gmail.com

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  15. Another great interview and opportunity - would love to win the query critique. thanks

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  16. Great interview! I love the way Natascha gave specifics for queries and genres.

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  17. Enjoyable read. And I love that Natascha loves picture books!

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  18. Thanks for this interview. It is wonderful that Natasha is interested in representing picture books.

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  19. I really love your agent interviews. I always learn something. Thanks for the post.

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  20. Thanks for sharing Natascha and also thank you for one of the most thoughtful and encouraging query "passes" I've ever gotten!

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  21. Great interview. Natascha sounds very driven to help authors.

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  22. Thanks for the great interview.

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  23. Lovely interview! Thanks for sharing with us!

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  24. You're right. There aren't many stories with mermaids. That might be the new big thing.

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  25. Buy on brand? Ugh. I prefer originality as a reader, so I'd have the same feeling of boredom.

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  26. Great interview! Thank you for sharing.

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  27. Great interview. Thanks so much, Natalie. It's good to know Natascha's looking for diverse characters and fantasy since that's what I love to write about! I would love a critique from her.

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  28. Raissa Figueroa's illustrations are beautiful. Can't wait to see their book!

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  29. “This is an awesome interview and a great opportunity, especially since I have a mermaid book! I find that bit about “stand-alone with series potential” interesting because I’ve been around this industry for years and have always heard that should be said. It’d be cool to know why she hates that phrase. Entering comment for Dakota Byrd dakotasbyrd@gmail.com

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  30. Great interview! I would love the opportunity to learn from Natasha. Cindy(dot)Schrauben(at)Gmail.com Shared on FB and Twitter. Thanks!

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  31. Great interview! Great to get to know more agents.

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  32. As an occasional drop=in who enjoys this site, I have to note that most writers I've talked to recently have added hassle-intensive query filters to their life's-too-short red flag list. I know a lot of agencies like to accessorize with these things, but in the time it takes to negotiate one digital query filter, you can send out five regular e-queries. As one woman I know puts its it, "Sending a query anywhere is like going to a kid's party because your mom phoned you in-that part's accepted-but I'm not gonna fill out a form and questionnaire just for a cookie and a cup of punch!" I know Natascha's agency spent some bucks on their filter and are very proud of it, but these things don't exactly bring out the best and brightest, so you pardon us if we take a detour here...

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  33. I always appreciate the thorough interviews here. Great to learn about Natascha, her interests, and her editing style. Thank you.

    Just retweeted!

    tmilstein at gmail dot com

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  34. Wonderful interview. Interesting. I never thought of writing about mermaids. Historical fiction novels are some of my favorites. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  35. Love hearing about new agents who represent picture books!

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  36. Great interview, Natasha. Thank you for sharing. Crossing my fingers to be the lucky winner of your query critique for my picture book!

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  37. Thanks for sharing another great interview! Looking forward to meeting Natascha at the SCBWI MidSouth conference in September!

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  38. What a great interview! Thanks for featuring Natasha and her likes and dislikes as an agent.

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  39. Love, love, love these kind of interviews. Such a great peek into the minds of agents! Would love to win the query review too. :)

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  40. Darn, looks like I just missed the deadline to win the query critique. No matter, this was a really interesting and enjoyable interview. Thanks for posting!

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  41. Oh, darn. I missed the boat! I have family staying for an extended visit and have missed several of the posts.


    Natascha is one of the few agents on my agent wish list. Winning the query critique would have been great.
    Bummer! :-( Even so, I am so glad I came across the interview now. It provides helpful info for later when I am ready to submit. Thanks!

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