Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Today I’m thrilled to have agent Erin Clyburn here. She is an associate literary agent at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Update as of 4/5/2022. Erin is now an agent at Howland Literary. You can find out more about what she's looking for and her submission guidelines on the agency website.

Status: Update on 11/10/2023: Erin is currently closed to submissions. Please check the agency website to find out when she reopens to queries.

Hi­ Erin! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Erin:

1. Tell us how you became an agent, how long you’ve been one, and what you’ve been doing as an agent.
After getting my Master’s in Children’s Literature, I worked for five years as manager of Turtleback Books, a prebound book distribution company. I moved to be closer to home and was looking for an opportunity to get back into the book business. I applied for a remote internship with a New York City–based literary agency in 2018 and, after my internship, was promoted to apprentice in April 2019, when I began building my client list. In October 2019, I joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an Associate Agent. I’ve found that agenting is the perfect marriage of my interests in editing and sales, and I love the freedom it offers to work at my own pace on projects I’m passionate about.
About the Agency:
2. Share a bit about your agency and what it offers to its authors.
The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency is a New York City­–based full-service literary agency founded in 2001 and named one of the top 25 literary agencies in the country by Writer’s Digest. The agency represents children’s literature for all ages—picture books and middle-grade and young adult novels—but also represents high-quality adult fiction and nonfiction in a wide range of genres. JDLA is proud to represent illustrators as well as screenwriters for both television and film, including Emmy and Peabody Award-winning writers and illustrators. What sets JDLA apart from other agencies is our holistic approach to managing every aspect of an author’s career to make the most of their project's potential.
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 age groups: nonfiction picture books, high-concept chapter book series, most genres in middle grade and YA, and some adult. In middle grade, I’m looking for big-hearted contemporary stories, magic realism, light fantasy, horror, and speculative fiction. In YA, I like stories on the darker, weirder side: thriller, horror, mystery, and speculative fiction. In adult, I’m looking for darker and weirder as well; I’m also looking for literary fiction and high-interest nonfiction. And across the board, I’m looking for stories from diverse creators, whether that be race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, economic diversity, neurodiversity, authors with disabilities—I want to give those who have been marginalized a platform. As an Alabamian, I’m also particularly interested in hearing from Southern perspectives.
Update on 1/21/20203
"Erin represents middle grade fiction, YA fiction, and adult fiction and nonfiction. In MG and YA, she is looking for horror, mystery, thriller, big-hearted contemporary, and grounded stories with magical or speculative elements." (From the agency website)

4.  Is there anything you would be especially excited to seeing in the genres you are interested in?
I’m a sucker for puzzles in middle grade, like THE WESTING GAME, HOLES, and GREENGLASS HOUSE. In YA, I’d love to see some really atmospheric, eerie, literary horror. Across the board, I’m interested in characters with unique interests and out-of-the-box hobbies. I’d love to see neurodiverse characters in MG and YA. I love dry humor. And speculative fiction; if you could comp it to BLACK MIRROR, I’d like to see it. In adult, also, I’d love to see high-concept nonfiction related to science, medicine, and culture, like THE RADIUM GIRLS, FULL BODY BURDEN, and EDUCATED.
What She Isn’t Looking For:
5. What types of submissions are you not interested in?
I am not the right fit for high fantasy, second-world fantasy, hard sci-fi, any sci-fi set in space, or horror about aliens, vampires, or zombies. I’m not looking for fiction picture books at this time or standalone chapter books. Additionally, in adult, I’m not looking for political thrillers, military thrillers, detective novels, stories with a strong focus on religion, short stories, poetry, Westerns, or romance (or, really, any manuscript where romance is the driving plot element).
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?
I am primarily looking for standout voices telling stories that feel fresh and new. With each manuscript I’ve offered on, I knew within the first couple of pages I was going to offer on it. I have really wide-ranging interests, but every project I’ve signed has a sharp, clear, confident voice. It sounds kind of nebulous because you can’t define what makes a writer’s voice strong, but you know it when you see it. You can tell when an author believes in their own voice and the story they’re telling, and there’s no better feeling than being blindsided by a strong voice.
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?
Yes, I’m very much an editorial agent. I go through multiple rounds of edits with my clients, including developmental edits and line edits.
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?
You can visit my agency page at https://www.jdlit.com/erin-clyburn and submit to me through the QueryManager link there. For fiction, please include your query letter, synopsis, and first 10 pages of your manuscript. For nonfiction, please send your query, proposal, and the first 10 pages. For picture books, please send the whole text.

Update on 1/21/2023

"Please submit all queries via Erin's Query Manager link." (From the agency website)

9.  Do you have any specific dislikes in query letters or the first pages submitted to you?
I want to see that the author has made an effort to follow instructions and write a thorough query letter. I will reject a query outright if the query letter is only a line or two long or if the author doesn’t include a synopsis; it shows the author didn’t do the research or put the effort in. I also get a lot of queries for genres I don’t represent, so make sure that an agent reps what you write before querying them.
Response Time:
10. What’s your response time to queries and requests for more pages of a manuscript?
I receive 20-30 queries a day, so I try to respond to them quickly, within a few days, so they don’t pile up. If I request pages, it might take me a couple of months to read and respond to a submission.
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?
Yes, I’m open to it. One of my clients has self-published books apart from the ones we’re working on together. But I am not open to representing manuscripts that have already been self-published.
12. Who are some of the authors you represent?
I currently have four fantastic clients. Elizabeth Kilcoyne is a Kentucky-based author whose debut novel, WAKE THE BONES, a YA Southern Gothic, will be published by Wednesday Books in 2022. I have a UK-based client, Madeline Dyer, who writes twisty YA thrillers. Eva Jurczyk, who lives in Toronto, is currently working on an adult upmarket mystery set in a rare books library. And Taylor Tyng, my newest client, has written a zany and heartwarming middle-grade adventure about a round-the-world hot air balloon race.
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.
I keep my agency page updated with what I’m looking for, and you can also check out my MSWL page at https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/erin-clyburn/.

Update on 1/21/2023

Podcast with Madeline Dyer (07/2021)
Interview at Writing and Illustrating Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (07/2021)
Interview on NPR (06/2020)
Links and Contact Info:
14. Please share how writers should contact you to submit a query and your links on the Web.
I only accept queries through QueryManager; the link and instructions are on my JDLA page here: https://www.jdlit.com/erin-clyburn. Any queries sent through email, LinkedIn, Twitter DM, etc., will be deleted. You can also follow me on Twitter at @erin_clyburn.
Update on 1/21/2023
"Please submit all queries via Erin's Query Manager link." (From the agency website)

Additional Advice:
15. Is there any other advice you’d like to share with aspiring authors that we haven’t covered?
I know querying is such a daunting process, so I just want to let all the authors out there know that I am truly excited to read every single query I receive. As long as you follow an agent’s instructions and have made sure the agent reps the kind of book you’ve written, don’t stress about the minutiae. And at the end of the day, this is a subjective business, with so many factors in play, some of which are out of my control (what are editors looking for right now, for example). Lastly, to sign a client, I have to love the book so much I want to read it possibly five times before even sending it out to editors. A manuscript can be perfectly wonderful, but if I don’t love it enough to read it five times, I can’t sign it. If I don’t, though, it might be just what another agent is looking for.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Erin.
­Erin 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 6th. 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.

Last updated: 1/21/2023.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 5/20/2020

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.


Happy Monday Everyone! I’m excited to have Swati Teerdhala back on the blog to share about her new book, THE ARCHER AT DAWN. It’s the second book in her The Tiger at Midnight trilogy. You can read her interview with me in 2019 when her first book released.

Her new book has gotten good reviews as a fantastic second book in the series. After reading all the reviews and finally starting to read more fantasy books again, I’m really looking forward to reading this series.

Here’s a blurb of THE ARCHER AT DAWN from Goodreads

The Sun Mela is many things: a call for peace, a cause for celebration, and, above all, a deadly competition. For Kunal and Esha, finally working together as rebel spies, it provides the perfect guise to infiltrate King Vardaan’s vicious court.

Kunal will return to his role as dedicated Senap soldier, at the Sun Mela to provide extra security for the palace during the peace summit for the divided nations of Jansa and Dharka. Meanwhile, Esha will use her new role as adviser to Prince Harun to keep a pulse on shifting political parties and seek out allies for their rebel cause. A radical plan is underfoot to rescue Jansa’s long-lost Princess Reha—the key to the stolen throne.

But amid the Mela games and glittering festivities, much more dangerous forces lie in wait. With the rebel Blades’ entry into Vardaan’s court, a match has been lit, and long-held secrets will force Kunal and Esha to reconsider their loyalties—to their country and to each other. Getting into the palace was the easy task; coming out together will be a battle for their lives.

Hi Swati! Thanks so much for joining us again.

1. For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about yourself and your journey to publication.

I’ve been a writer since I was a child but it was always something I did on the side. I started to take my writing more seriously and pursue publication a few years after joining the workforce. I loved my job but I had always been actively creative since I was a kid (singing, dancing, writing, etc.) and I’d always had a little dream of being published. I started writing and querying but it wasn’t until I pitched THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT during #DVPit, a Twitter pitch competition, that I got my agent. After that, we went on submission and eventually sold THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT in a trilogy!

2. Writing a series can be scary because all the books have to work as a single book and as part of the series. How did you plot out yours and how much did you know about what would happen in books 2 and 3 when you wrote THE TIGER AT MIGNIGHT?

I had the broad sketches of the trilogy and I knew my ending after my 3rd draft of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT. I hoped to be able to sell it as a trilogy (and was able to!) because I had envisioned the rise and fall of the story in a very particular way. I plotted it out using a simple technique. I simply thought of the trilogy as if it was a 3 act story in itself, and the plot fell into place.

3. I think I'd need to know the whole rise and fall of my series like you did before I query it. I’ve read that you did a good job in continuing the character growth of Kunal and Esha and their relationship in your second book. Share a bit about how they are growing in book 2 and how to maintain character growth, which is important, in subsequent books in a series.

Kunal and Esha start out on opposite sides of a conflict, burrowed into their preconceived notions and prejudices. By the end of book 1, a lot of that has shifted, but there are still emotional scars that both of them have to face. That’s a lot of their character development in THE ARCHER AT DAWN. Now that they realize their previous beliefs were wrong and the world isn’t so black and white, they have to face what that means. I can’t give too much more away without spoilers, so I’ll stop there!

As for maintaining character growth, I think it’s really important to have a clear idea of where you want your characters to end up at the end of your series and you can take that and map it backward over each book.

4. Was your experience writing THE ARCHER AT DAWN and working with your editor different than when you wrote your first book? How so?

Yes, very much so. THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT was sent to my editor after it had already been through numerous rounds of edits and wholesale revision. Not so with ARCHER. My first draft of ARCHER was an unformed ball of clay and I had to work with my editor, and dig really deep into my own editing toolbox, to form it into something beautiful within a year.

5. Your book is being released on May 26th. I’m sure the coronavirus and stay at home orders has dramatically changed your approach to marketing your book. How are you planning to promote it? What advice do you have for other authors whose books are being released in these challenging times?

More than anything, books have been my solace in the past few weeks and I’m using that as my
inspiration. The book community is stronger than ever and I’m really focusing on engaging with readers and supporting other writers. While its always important to do so, it’s even more vital right now. Plus, it’s a way to have fun! I’m also planning on diving into social media and video chats!

My advice for other authors is to reach out to other writers and work together. So many people have been incredibly wonderful and supportive. Readers are promoting their favorite and new reads. Authors are boosting each other. This is a great time to promote the thing we all love–books-together as a community.

6. Yes, so true that we need to band together. Your agent is Kristin Nelson. Has it been different working with her on your second book in comparison to your first one?

Not really! Kristin has always been a great guide and partner. It’s my first time around writing and promoting a trilogy, but Kristin is a pro! Her wisdom has been so helpful.

7. It’s been a little over a year since your first book was released. Is there anything you would have done differently in terms of building your social media platform or promoting your debut book? If so, what?

You know, I’ve been thinking about this recently and I’d say I’d have focused more on doing the kind of marketing I loved rather than what everyone else is doing. Lean into your strengths, whether that’s vlogging, writing short fiction, giving speeches, making TikTok videos, whatever!

8. That's great advice to do the marketing you like, and I've heard other authors say that too. What advice do you have for aspiring authors who just signed their contract and are preparing for their release in the next 12 to 18 months?

Figure out what makes you you as a writer and build your brand unapologetically. And don’t ever be afraid to self-promote or advocate for your book!

9. What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on book 3 of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT trilogy and something else that’s a secret for now!
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Swati. You can find Swati at:

Swati and her publisher are generously offering a hardback of THE ARCHER AT DAWN for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower  of my blog and leave a comment by May 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is U.S.

Here's what's coming up:

Wednesday, May 20th I have an agent spot light interview with Erin Clyburn and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, June 3rd I have a guest post by debut author Chelsea Ichaso and her agent Kristy Hunter and a giveaway of Chelsea's YA psychological thriller LITTLE CREEPY THINGS and a query critique by Kristy

Monday, June 8th I have an interview with debut author Josh Roberts and a giveaway of her MG fantasy THE WITCHES OF WILLOW COVE

Monday, June 15th I have a guest post by MG and picture book author Elaine Kaye and a giveaway of three of her picture books

Wednesday, June 17th I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristina Perez and a query critique giveaway

Monday, June 22nd I have an interview with author Niki Lenz and a giveaway of her MG humorous contemporary THE STEPMOM SHAKEUP

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Happy Monday, Everyone! I hope you are all staying safe and healthy. Today I’m thrilled to have Erin Bowman back on the blog to share about her new MG fantasy THE GIRL AND THE WITCH’S GARDEN. I interviewed Erin in 2013 when her debut book TAKEN was released. I loved that series. Her new book is also a fast-paced story that immediately hooked me because of how Erin started her story. I also loved that there is a mystery that  Piper and her friends have to solve, the unique magical abilities of the characters, and the hard, personal issues that Piper has to confront.

I also want to shout out about Erin’s monthly newsletter. At WriteOnCon last year, two authors recommended signing up for it, and I’m so glad I did. She shares so much helpful information in these newsletters, including about the practical and financial aspects of being an author.

Before I get to Erin's interview, I have my IWSG post.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday is officially Insecure Writer's Support Group Day.

The co-hosts this month are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

I'm going to skip the optional question. My only update is that I'm getting back to updating the agent spotlights. I've done a few on and off over the years and then did some about a year ago and then stopped. I just started last week and have 24 revised. Some are so old that the agent has started a new agency or moved to another one so it's been time consuming. I have been emailing agents to review their spotlights and I'm grateful that quite a few have done that for me and made corrections. I'm hoping to chip away at  some every week. I have well over 100 to update, but if I do a few every week, they will get done. And I know they help a lot of writers, so this is something good I can do while we need to mostly stay at home.

Also, I want to shout out about the new IWSG anthology. I can't wait to read it!

Voyagers: The Third Ghost
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Journey into the past…Will the third ghost be found before fires take more lives? Can everyone be warned before Pompeii is

buried again? What happens if a blizzard traps a family in East Germany? Will the Firebird help Soviet sisters outwit evil during WWII? And sneaking off to see the first aeroplane – what could go wrong?
Ten authors explore the past, sending their young protagonists on harrowing adventures. Featuring the talents of 
Yvonne Ventresca, Katharina Gerlach, Roland Clarke, Sherry Ellis, Rebecca M. Douglass, Bish Denham, Charles Kowalski, Louise MacBeath Barbour, Beth Anderson Schuck, and L.T. Ward.
Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales 
will take readers on a voyage of wonder into history. Get ready for an exciting ride!
Release date – May 5, 2020
$13.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 168 pages
Print ISBN 9781939844729 / EBook ISBN 9781939844736
Juvenile fiction – historical/action & adventure/fantasy & magic
Links:Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472X/
Barnes & Noble - 
ITunes - 
Kobo - 
Goodreads - 

Interview With Erin Bowman

Here’s a blurb of THE GIRL AND THE WITCH’S GARDEN from Goodreads

credit: Carey Hough
Mallory Estate is the last place twelve-year-old Piper Peavey wants to spend her summer vacation. The grounds are always cold, the garden out back is dead, a mysterious group of children call the property home, and there’s a rumor that Melena M. Mallory—the owner of the estate and Piper’s wealthy grandmother—is a witch.

But when Piper’s father falls ill, Mallory Estate is exactly where she finds herself.

The grand house and its garden hold many secrets—some of which may even save her father—and Piper will need to believe in herself, her new friends, and magic if she wants to unlock them before it’s too late.

 Hi Erin! Thanks so much for joining us!

1. Share a bit about yourself and how you got into writing.

Thanks for having me! I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, but I didn’t start writing with the goal of publication until my mid-twenties. I’d just been laid off a job (during the height of the Great Recession), and as I searched for a new one, I started writing a novel and promised myself I would finish it. (Up until that point, I’d always written a few chapters and quit.) Well, I finished that first novel (which sits in a drawer and will likely never see the light of day), and it was life-changing. I now knew I could do it. I kept writing, and I eventually had a draft of Taken, which ended up getting me my agent and my first book deal. 

2. Where did you get the idea for THE GIRL AND THE WITCH’S GARDEN?

The very first teeny, tiny kernel of this story idea came to me as a teen. My family was on vacation in South Carolina, where we toured a beautiful garden and wildlife preserve called Brookgreen Gardens. The grounds were full of fountains and sculptures and gorgeous flower beds, and the paths twisted in such a way that if a bird were to fly overhead and look down, the walkways created a butterfly image.

The place was magical and it triggered what I like to call a “muse explosion.” Even as a teen, I knew there was a story lurking here. I wrote a few chapters about a wizard opening a portal to a parallel universe via a magical garden, then abandoned the project. I didn’t know what came next or what the story was actually about. Years later (almost twenty, to be honest), it all clicked. This wasn’t a story about wizards and parallel universes. It was a story about a lonely girl and her ailing father and an elixir, hidden within a magical garden, that just might be the key to saving him.

3. So cool how a family experience triggered an idea you had as a teen but in a different way.  I love the magical system you created for your story, which is more complicated because it involves more than one magical ability. How did you come up with the idea for the magic you use in your story?

Thank you! I’ve always liked the idea of drawing magic or power from everyday objects. I have a necklace I wear every time I’m away from my kids. It has a charm shaped like a bear that has the word “mama” etched into it. Mama Bear. It helps me feel near them even if we’re miles apart. That is a type of magic.

When developing the magic system in TGATWG, I kept this in mind. My characters have amplifiers that help them control and channel their powers. This amplifier can be an everyday object like a necklace or jacket or watch, because it’s less about the object being magical and more that they, the person, are. The person is the source of magic and the amplifier is simply the thing that reminds them of this; the thing that helps them pull that magic into the real world.

I had a lot of fun developing Piper’s and her friends’ abilities and deciding what amplifier they would each use to control their individual powers.
4. Piper is a really sympathetic character who is going through a lot of emotions due to her dad’s illness and many of the issues middle grade kids go through, like trying to fit in with a new group of friends. What was your process of developing her as a character and what tips on character development do you have for the rest of us?

My biggest piece of advice for character development is to make sure your character is wrong about
something at the start of the novel. Most satisfying character arcs begin with a hero who believes a lie, is then forced to question that lie over the course of the novel (via plot obstacles), and eventually rejects that lie during the climax.

Piper has a lot of baggage with her mother (who she’s sent to live with for the summer). She wants nothing more than for her father to get well. And she’s recently lost her best friend due to shifting dynamics at school. In many ways, Piper wants to disappear and not have to face her problems, and she’s of the mindset that it’s easier to not talk about emotions than risk opening up to someone. When she arrives at Mallory Estate, she’s confronted by situations that force her to reevaluate all of these mindsets.
5. Love that piece of advice! Your other books are YA and include a dystopian, western, and science fiction series. What were some of the challenges of switching to writing a middle grade novel?

For me, the biggest challenge is always executing a satisfying and well-paced character arc—and this is true regardless of what audience I’m writing for. I had to revise many times to get Piper’s arc to a place where I was proud of it.

It also took me a bit to figure out the voice. I’d been writing YA for so long that it was almost engrained in me. I had a lot of false starts with Piper’s story. But once the voice clicked, things moved along nicely.

6. How have you been able to successfully cross over into writing in different genres and age groups? What made you decide to do that?

I’m not sure it was ever a conscious decision. I write the way I read—widely and across many genres. I also get bored with what I’m writing very easily. When I was finishing up by debut (futuristic dystopia), I was so sick of that world that I wanted to write something based in history and fact. That brought me to my westerns. And after one book fact-checking and researching, I screamed, “Let me make up the world for myself.” Enter sci-fi/horror.

I like to move around and I’ve been fortunate that readers have been willing to follow me. I think there are staples to my work though, elements that readers can find in every book regardless of genre (such as Setting as a Character, or morally gray heroes). Perhaps that has helped me build a readership even though I keep jumping genres.
7. I mostly interview debut authors, and it would be interesting for my followers and me to learn more about what it’s like to continue on as an author over the years like you’ve done. Can you share a bit about how your career as an author has progressed?

Each book I’ve put into the world has helped me gain more perspective. A career as a writer is hard. It’s a long game, and much of staying in the game comes down to refusing to quit. Perhaps the hardest lesson I’ve learned is that I have very little control over my actual career. I can’t control how many copies I sell or how my story is received. I can’t control awards or tours or movie deals or best-seller lists or if I’ll sell again and for how much.

The only thing I can control is the words. Truly. That’s it.

That doesn’t mean I don’t fret about these things or get dragged into comparison games from time-to-time, but I’ve gotten better at focusing on making the book the best I can, and then moving on to a new story. Each book I publish builds my backlist. And that’s my main goal: an incredible backlist in which every story shines, so that no matter when a reader first discovers my work, they have tons of fantastic Erin Bowman books to turn to next.

(For more on my perspective as an author now vs debut, check out this recent interview.)
8. That's a great interview. One of the least favorite duties of authors is marketing their books. How do you market your books and what types of marketing have you learned isn’t worth your time?

Anything you hate doing isn’t worth your time. There are so many social media platforms, so many different ways to market your book… Do what you love, or you’ll be miserable.

I used to swear by preorder campaigns, but I actually don’t think they’re worth it anymore. They cost the author a ton of money (not to mention their own time!), and I’m not sure they move the dial enough to justify all that effort.

I really like instagram, so I focus most of my energy there. I share news about my book, post teaser quotes, host ARC giveaways, etc, but I also make sure to talk about writing and publishing generally, too. I give craft advice. I share behind-the-scenes info. If you’re marketing only your book 24/7, people will start to tune you out.
9. What is your marketing plan for this book? Is it different than your YA books?

My plans are different in part because what I used to do I can’t justify anymore. (Preorder campaigns, for instance. I just don’t have the budget this year.) But I’m also going to focus my energy on reaching teachers, librarians, and parents this time around. These adults are the middle grade gate-keepers, the people actually buying the book. They are the “customers” I have to reach. I also hope to do more school visits for this title.

10. What are you working on now?

I’m playing around with a YA standalone—a ghost story set at a summer camp in the Adirondacks. I’d also love to write another middle grade novel, but I haven’t found the right story idea yet.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Erin. You can find Erin at:

Website: embowman.com
Twitter: @erin_bowman
Instagram: @heyerin

Erin has generously offered a pre-order of THE GIRL AND THE WITCH'S GARDEN for a giveaway. FYI the release date has been moved to 6/23/20. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower  of my blog and leave a comment by May 23rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest. Please be sure I have your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog and/or follow me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is U.S.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (Wednesday for me this month) is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Monday, May 18th Monday, May 18th I have an interview with Swati Teerdhala and a giveaway of THE ARCHER AT DAWN 

Wednesday, May 20th I have an agent spot light interview with Erin Clyburn and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, June 3rd I have a guest post by debut author Chelsea Ichaso and her agent Kristy Hunter and a giveaway of Chelsea's YA psychological thriller LITTLE CREEPY THINGS and a query critique by Kristy

Hope to see you on Monday May 18th!