CURRENT GIVEAWAYS

Here are my current Giveaway Contests

The Mutant Mushroom Giveaway through November 28th



Tori Sharp Query Critique through December 8th

Reeni's Turn through December 8th

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

Maria Vincente Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/7/20

Amy Brewer and Dana Swift Guest Post and Query Critique Giveaway on 1/18/21

Tricia Skinner Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 1/20/21

Pam Gruber Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/17/2021

Allyson Hellegers and Sam Taylor Guest Post and Query Critique Giveaway on 2/22/2021

Caryn Wiseman and Merriam Sarcia Saunders Guest Post and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/15/2021

Jennifer Herrington Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 3/17/2021

Agent Spotlight Updates

All agent spotlights and interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated again in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Lauren Bieker Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Lauren Bieker here. She is a literary agent at FinePrint Literary Management.

 Hi­ Lauren! Thanks so much for joining us.

 About Lauren:

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


I became an agent in a fairly ‘roundabout’ way. I graduated from college with a business degree and an English degree and from there went to an accelerated program for merchandise marketing at FIDM in LA. Shortly after that I accepted a job as a buyer for an online retailer out of LA, all the while, I was an avid reader and writer. I was taking novel writing workshops and crafting stories is really what kept me sane. I knew the fashion world wasn’t for me, so after some solo travel where I spent time writing my own book, I knew that publishing was where I wanted to be. Shortly after, I was chatting with a family friend who happened to be a literary agent. After that conversation I found myself saying, “how have I not been doing this already!” I immediately sought out internships in the industry and was lucky enough to be able to move to NYC to pursue my dream further. I began working with FinePrint as an intern in 2016, I moved up to assistant and then became an agent, all while learning the ins and outs of the business from NYC.

 About the Agency:

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

FinePrint has been around for a long time. My boss, Peter Rubie, has been in publishing for over 30 years and he has worked as an editor and as an agent. He is also a published writer. Working with him and my other colleagues at FinePrint has taught me the value of hard work and commitment. FinePrint may not be the biggest firm out there, but I think that is part of what makes us special. I believe that we are down to earth and humble, while also knowing that as agents we will do whatever it takes to help our client’s stories get told.

 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 love representing YA! It’s been such a blast to read queries and submissions about young people that are honest and endearing. As much as I love MG and pitcture books, I find that they are a bit out of my wheelhouse; I have a harder time vetting their place in the market. So as far as what I rep, it’s YA and adult only.

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

Oh wow. Where to even start. First and foremost, I believe it’s my goal to work with #OWNvoices, LGBTQIA and #MeToo stories. I want to help authors who have thus far been underrepresented.

More specifically, I’m looking for hilarious romance/romantic comedies that have a feminist bend. I’d really love a creepy psychological thriller, both in YA and adult. I would also love to see more commercial women’s fiction that force their main characters to confront some tough questions about who they are and what they want.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I’m not interested in fiction and non-fiction that relate to military or religion as the main message of the story.

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 as an agent is like this: if we are out for a walk and someone were to walk up to my client and say, tell me about your story, I would not only encourage and empower my clients to do so, but to hold a microphone up to their lips so they could share it even louder.

I believe in honest communication and that is one thing that I concentrate on with my clients. We can’t have a great working relationship without honesty, and so I look for clients that will appreciate that within me and that know that trust in an agent /client relationship must go both ways. 

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 love providing editorial feedback. Writing a novel is no small feat and success in publishing does not happen in a bubble. For me, being an editorial agent allows me to connect with the story in a larger way; that way, when I’m pitching the book, I really do know the project backwards and forwards. When taking on a client, I use my editorial nature as a gauge to ask “is this author going to be open to feedback? And how will they respond to that feedback?” After all, even once you sell a project, the author will need to be open and communicative with their editor. So, I find that if someone isn’t able to accept editorial notes with me, even in early stages/before signing, then they likely won’t have a great working relationship with an editor. Thus, it is something that I like to bring to the forefront of any working interaction. 

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?

Authors should query me through my work email- they should also note when I’m closed to unsolicited queries. In a query letter, I take comp titles very seriously, so I encourage authors to start with those. I also really do believe in having a strong elevator pitch, if authors find themselves having a hard time drafting one, I say that it’s a sign that maybe you need to step back and really ask “what is the story I’m trying to tell”. I always think of a quote from Moira Rose in Schitt’s Creek, “Okay, Alexis, I’ll hear your elevator pitch. But keep in mind, I’m getting off at the next floor.” While it can be read as a little ‘harsh’, I prefer for it to be thought of as an experiment and challenge to the author to hone in on what they really want their story to be. Also, when it’s time for me to pitch the book, I often use versions of that very elevator pitch to then take to editors, so it really is an important addition. With strong comps and a strong elevator pitch, I will often skip the synopsis entirely and dive straight into the submitted pages.

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

Not necessarily, I guess my only reminder to authors is that, we are people, too. We aren’t sharks who are trying to eat you and steal your story. We only do well if our client’s do, so I encourage querying authors to embrace that concept when querying.

Response Time:

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

My response time is fairly consistent with the industry standard. I see every query that comes in and will scan it. If I’m hooked right away (and I have the time) I will dive straight in and could even request the full manuscript immediately. However, when I’m on other deadlines, I try to get back to queries within a few months. Obviously, life will sometimes get in the way. I try to remind querying authors, if you haven’t heard from me, be patient and only follow up after about four months.

 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 and been published by smaller presses. However, I wouldn’t recommend that we try to sell the slef-published book. I’m happy to know that authors are putting their story out there, and from there, I would want to work with them and develop something new that we could sell.

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 see it changing a little bit. I can see authors saying, “well I can do this without an agent, so why not just do it myself”. I see no problem with that. However, I do believe that agent’s offer a great deal; in editorial feedback, in contract reading and negotiations, in publicizing the work, etc. I’d like to think about it like this, “sure you may not need an agent, but wouldn’t you like one?”

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Many of my authors are working on debut works, so many of them are hard to search. However, I represent Celestine Martin, Abigail Drake, Sarah Madges, Jenna Satterthwaite, Nia Imara, Gail-Agnes Musikavanhu, The Salyers Twins (Brittany and Briana), Shelby Simpson, Zeina Collins, Dara Sussman, and more!

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.

N/A

Links and Contact Info:

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

Although I am currently closed to unsolicited queries, I won’t be forever! I'm hoping to reopen to submissions in January 2021. You can reach me at lauren@fineprintlit.com. I am also on Twitter @lauren_bieker

Additional Advice:

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

I think that’s it!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Lauren.

­Lauren is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through October 10th. 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 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.

 

 

Debut Author Interview: Laura Stegman and Summer of L.U.C.K Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have Laura Stegman here to share about her MG contemporary/ghost story Summer of L.U.C.K. It sounds like a fantastic story about a magical adventure, friendship, and finding your own voice. I’m looking forward to reading it and think many of you will too.

 Here’s a blurb from Goodreads: 

 


Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin's been silent since his dad died. Naz is struggling to learn English. But after they meet at summer camp, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate without words. When they sneak inside, the dark, empty space bursts into a magical carnival. They're greeted by the ghost of Leroy Usher, who asks for their help convincing his family to restore the carnival to its former glory. In return, he promises to teach the kids how to find their voices.


As Darby, Justin, and Naz are swept off on a series of midnight adventures via Mr. Usher's carnival rides, they discover they're capable of more than they ever imagined. With each challenge, their confidence in communicating – and in themselves – grows. Meanwhile, they scheme to persuade the Usher family to revive the carnival. But when Darby’s bunkmates trick her into starring in the camp talent show, her budding confidence falters. Can she risk being less than perfect by performing in the show and speaking up to Mr. Usher's resistant son? If not, she'll put the carnival in danger and sabotage her most important quest: to believe in herself, stutter and all.

Hi Laura! Thanks so much for joining us!

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

 

Hi Natalie! Thanks for featuring Summer of L.U.C.K. on Literary Rambles, which is one of my favorite sites.

When I was a kid, I planned to be an actress, but as an adult I veered into public relations, and I've owned my own arts publicity firm for many years. Business writing has always been a part of my career. That's where I developed my storytelling skills, which led to some free-lance non-fiction writing assignments for newspapers and magazines. And one day, inspired by my favorite childhood books, I began writing a middle grade fantasy, which eventually became Summer of L.U.C.K.

 2. That's great how your business writing has helped your fiction writing. Where did you get the idea for Summer of L.U.C.K?

My life's journey has involved a process of accepting myself as I am, and I've always been a fan of books, especially middle grade stories, with characters who learn to overcome self-doubt. So when I decided to try writing a novel, I knew right away it would be for middle graders, and I wanted it to be about kids learning to find their voices. I'm hoping Summer of L.U.C.K. will mean as much to readers today as my favorite middle grade books still mean to me. I believe kids should know that whatever they're struggling with, others kids struggle too, and they are not alone.

 3. What was your plotting process like for this story?


In the "pantser" vs "plotter" sweepstakes, I'm a big-time "pantser." Summer of L.U.C.K. began with an idea, but the actual story developed over more thank fifteen years (yes!). First I wrote, then I revised, and then I rewrote the whole thing many times over, so pieces of the plot changed, scenes and characters were eliminated or added, POVs were adjusted, and the ending changed substantially. Essentially, I learned to write fiction during the process, and that came when I started connecting with other writers about four years ago. I'm happy to say that my second book, Summer of L.U.C.K.'s sequel, is going much faster!

 4. It sounds like you were really dedicated to getting your story right. Darby, your main


character, stutters and never feels good enough for her mom. Share a bit about what you like best about her and how you were able to show her character growth while weaving it into the adventure she was on with her friends.

By way of background, Summer of L.U.C.K. is about three kids finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival. Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin's been silent since his dad died. Naz is struggling to learn English. But after they meet at summer camp, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate without words.

This music allows these three kids, despite their challenges, to communicate telepathically, which provides an unusual connection among them as they experience and learn though magical adventures that are laced throughout the story. At its heart, though, the lessons of Summer of L.U.C.K. -- friendship, courage, and perseverance – are grounded in reality.

More specifically to your question, there is a lot of me in Darby, and Darby in me, although I never had to deal with stuttering. But as a kid, I lived with what felt like constant criticism. It wasn't until I was a mature adult that I learned what Darby learns at age 11 on one of the story's adventures: that her mom is as critical of herself as she is of Darby. When I learned to see people as they are, rather than as perfect or as I would have liked them to be, it helped me a lot, as it does Darby.

 5. What was a challenge you faced in writing Summer of L.U.C.K and how did you overcome it?

 Learning to write fiction – as opposed to the business and non-fiction writing I knew – was my first substantial challenge, which took many years to work through (and I'm still learning!). But facing rejection was the biggest challenge of all. Querying produces so many highs and lows. Even when agents started asking for full manuscripts, and my hopes would rise, there always came an eventual "pass." I never fully got over taking those rejections personally, but I did learn to keep going. I never gave up believing in Summer of L.U.C.K. They say that all it takes is one "yes," and when I finally got that, it made all my hard work and effort worth it. Having this book published is truly a dream come true. 

6. Your publisher is INtense Publications. It looks like your book deal was announced in January 2020 and then your book was released on September 15, 2020. Share about your road to publication and how you got such a quick publication date.

I signed my contract with INtense Publications, my wonderful publisher, last fall, and it was officially announced in January. INtense, as a small press, issues its books much more quickly than larger presses. My journey to publication with INtense took me down many long and winding roads. When my manuscript was finally the best I could have made it, which took years, as I said, I set a goal of querying 100 agents in 2019. I got a high number of requests and much encouraging feedback, but no takers. Midway through the year, after I'd reached 100, I decided to start querying small publishers, which turned out very well for me. INtense not only loved Summer of L.U.C.K. but they signed me for two sequels as well.

 7. This is a three-book series. How much of the story was written or plotted out before you signed your book contract? How has the process of writing book 2 been going? Anything you wish you’d done differently?

 I always envisioned Summer of L.U.C.K. as a series, and I had one or two general ideas for Book 2. But it wasn't until I started writing Book 2 – even before I signed with INtense Publications – that I came up with a story arc. I wish I'd learned to work with other writers as critique partners and Beta readers much earlier on Summer of L.U.C.K.'s journey. The payoff now is that I am a better writer today. And writing Book 2 has been a joy, as the details of the story have unfolded before my very eyes. That's my favorite part of fiction writing!

 8. You also have an impressive career as a publicity consultant in Los Angeles. How has your experience in publicity helped you develop a plan to market your book? How are you planning to market it?

 


Thank you! Being a publicist has been a great help in getting the word out about Summer of L.U.C.K. My publicity clients are in the classical music and theater realms, so I'd never publicized a book, but I knew which tools I needed. First was an overall plan, which stared with a "to do" list. Then I developed a timeline covering what had to be done when. Next, I put together a press kit, which included my bio in varying lengths; head shots in varying resolutions (one for web use, another for print use); a high-resolution photo of the book cover; an "About" page with short, medium and long descriptions of Summer of L.U.C.K.'s story, endorsements/blurbs, etc.; a press release and a Sell Sheet. Then, I wrote a pitch letter to convince editors why I would make an interesting guest or interview subject. Finally, I began reaching out to media outlets and blogs that I'd targeted for stories and interviews. This doesn't even begin to cover everything, but it's a bit of insight. And publishers have publicists, of course. But with my publisher whose publicists focus mostly on social media, my publicity skills allowed me to get substantial press coverage I ordinarily might not have gotten. I will also add that there are many author resources for creating a promotion plan (and just about anything an author should know). One of the best for children's books, in my opinion, is Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' The Book: Essential Guide to Publishing for Children.

 9. That's all great marketing advice. Thanks! What advice do you have for debut authors for building their social network platform and their book promotion plan? How soon after they get a book deal should they start it?


I've learned social media by doing it, so I'm no expert, but whether you have a book deal or not, it's never too early to build networks on social platforms. There are huge book and writer communities on Twitter and Instagram, the two I'm most active on, and I've learned a great deal about resources and opportunities that way. When I was querying, I followed Twitter's #querytip hashtag, for example. Once I had a book deal, I joined a 2020 debut author group on Facebook. Proceed with caution, though. On Twitter especially, it's easy to fall into the social media morass, so be sure to follow @victoriastrauss and her Writer Beware web site: https://accrispin.blogspot.com/

 10. What are you working on now?


I expect to finish Book 2 in the Summer of L.U.C.K. series in the next few months, and I'm really happy with how it's turning out. It takes place the following summer when Justin struggles with a bully. He's convinced he'll find solutions with the help of a magical carnival, like last year. Turns out real life is much more complicated. I'm starting to get some ideas for Book 3, but nothing concrete. Yet. Check back with me in early 2021!

 Thanks for sharing all your advice, Laura. You can find Laura at INSERT YOUR LINKS


Web site: LauraStegman.com https://www.laurastegman.com/
Twitter: @LauraStegman https://twitter.com/LauraStegman
Instagram: @laura_stegman https://www.instagram.com/laura_stegman/
Facebook: LauraSegalStegmanAuthor https://www.facebook.com/LauraSegalStegmanAuthor/
Summer of L.U.C.K. on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54211718-summer-of-l-u-c-k

Giveaway Details

Laura has generously offered a paperback of Summer of L.U.C.K. with a bookmark and signed bookplate for a giveaway. o enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by October 3rd. 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. only.

 Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is hosted by Greg Pattridge. You can find the participating blogs on his blog.


Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Monday, September 28th I have an agent spotlight interview with Lauren Bieker and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, October 7th I have an interview with Jennifer Nielsen and a giveaway of The Captive Kingdom and my IWSG post

Monday, October 12th I have an interview with Sherry Ellis as part of her MG adventure Squirt's Mayan Adventure blog tour

Monday, October 19th I have a guest post by debut author G.Z. Schmidt and her agent Adria Goetz and a query critique giveaway by Adria and a giveaway of No Ordinary Thing by Adria

Wednesday, October 21st I have an agent spotlight interview with Melanie Castillo and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 26th I have an interview with debut author Lily LaMotte and a giveaway of her MG graphic novel Measuring Up

Hope to see you on Monday!

Agent Spotlight: Erin Casey Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Erin Casey here. She is an associate literary agent at the Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.

 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 two internships at another agency, my manager there heard that Marietta Zacker at Nancy Gallt Literary Agency was looking to hire an assistant. She put me in touch with Marietta, and the fit was wonderful! So I joined Gallt & Zacker (then Nancy Gallt Literary Agency) as an intern in 2015 and never left! I’ve been learning and moving forward since then, most recently getting promoted to associate agent in May of 2019. Since then I’ve been focused on building my list while assisting the office with international and audio rights.

About the Agency:

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

Established in 2000 by Nancy Gallt, and later joined by Marietta B. Zacker, we aim to bring to life stories and artwork that help young readers throughout the world become life-long book enthusiasts and to inspire and entertain readers of all ages. We represent authors and illustrators who share and, through their work, exemplify that vision. We are a small agency of 5 agents and one international rights director and we are committed to finding and advocating for authors who want to make the world a better, more thoughtful, more interesting place one book at a time.

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 ages in kid lit, so PB through YA, and I am open to all genres. I am particularly drawn to the “genre” genres, like fantasy, speculative, fabulism, and magical realism but I often prefer stories that are grounded in our world. I do not have a devoted picture book author on my list yet, so I would love to find someone who is doing something special in that space. I find myself particularly picky about picture books, and I really want them to have something to say about the world, without being didactic. I am also open to nonfiction in all these age categories and prefer stories that center on the story of a moment or movement or object/invention.

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

I’ve been an athlete all my life and would love to see more sports books that have a unique angle, particularly by non-white, non-cisgendered authors. I’d love more stories featuring less “mainstream” sports (I’m still waiting for my ultimate frisbee book!). I’ve also been hoping for a womxn-in-the-outdoors story for some time, about hiking or camping or survival. I also love learning about monsters and myths, so I’d welcome fantasy, speculative, or even horror from authors of non-white backgrounds writing about non-western mythologies.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

As a white, able-bodied, cis-gendered woman, I have always had access to stories that reflect my identity and experience. The world needs more books that reflect a greater range of experiences, identities, and cultures, so please no books founded on heterosexual white kid high school drama.

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?

Thanks to great mentorship, I often ask myself, “Why does the world need this book?” while I’m reviewing submissions. Sometimes the answer is as simple as “Because it’s so fun to read!” but I always want to have an answer for that question for all the books I represent. I want to know why this book should get picked up off the shelf instead of the one next to it. Why is it special? Why should a child read it? What does the world look like with this book in it? I want the books I represent to bring joy and understanding and truth and entertainment! But I also want them to “do no harm” (well, except maybe tearing the reader’s heart into a million pieces because it’s so good!).

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 would call myself an editorial agent. I was a creative writing major in college and I decided to pursue a career in publishing because I realized I enjoyed helping make other people’s stories better more than writing my own. I always make margin comments while reading a new client manuscript and then I’ll often read the manuscript again once I have the whole picture in mind so I can see how each scene fits. I will often send a summary email with “Big Thoughts” along with the annotated manuscript so my client can keep larger ideas/changes in mind while they review my notes. I only write edit letters when I really need to organize my thoughts or explain myself in a more linear fashion – otherwise it just feels like double work! I try to keep in mind that I cannot acquire the book (more good mentorship!), so while I may have subjective opinions that I can talk to the author about, I want to make suggestions that objectively make the book better (at least to 90% of people!) and will give it a better chance of being acquired by an editor. I will go through as many rounds of revision as it takes for the author and I to both feel confident that the story is the best we can make it objectively, while always keeping in mind that this is the author’s story and their vision is most important.

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?

Please follow our submission guidelines at www.galltzacker.com/submissions and submit to my query specific email. Note that I am currently closed to queries but will be reopening in October.

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

I will always read the sample as long as the querier did their best to follow our submissions guidelines! That being said, I find it slightly off-putting when the query is written from the perspective of the main character.

Response Time:

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

On our website, we say that if you haven’t heard back from us in 4 weeks you can feel free to query another agent at the agency or elsewhere. I will say that, since Covid-19, I have not caught back up to this 4 week timeline! That is why I am currently closed and hopefully I will be able to respond in that timeframe when I reopen in October. Regarding requested pages, I am currently responding to partials within 4 weeks and fulls within 4-6 weeks.

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 will say I have no experience with self-publishing, so I will not be able to help you self-publish your book. However, if you want to traditionally publish, I will do my best to help you achieve your goal no matter the size of the publisher and no matter your publishing history. My advice would be to be upfront with your publishing history (it’s helpful, not harmful) and if you are querying a previously self-published book, know that the route toward traditionally publishing the title may be difficult but it is possible, depending on how many copies you’ve sold. In general, having a self-published past should not negatively impact your ability to traditionally publish in the future!

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 see agents doing more to protect their clients and advocate for them when Publishers are required to put their company first (negotiating morality and confidentiality clauses, advocating for virtual event protections, etc.). I also see agents finding more and more ways to connect with potential clients, through Instagram or Tiktok for example. Agents are becoming more versatile and innovative, but their role as advocates for their clients is the same as always.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Derick Brooks – check out THE BRIGHT FAMILY on Epic!

Robin Yardi – author of THE MIDNIGHT WAR OF MATEO MARTINEZ, OWL’S OUTSTANDING DONUTS, and THEY JUST KNOW: ANIMAL INSTINCTS.

Laura Williams McCaffrey (co-represented with Nancy Gallt) – author of MARKED, WATER SHAPER, and ALIA WAKING.

And others whose work I hope you’ll be seeing soon!!

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.

For picture book writers/illustrators: https://www.pbspotlight.com/single-post/2020/01/28/Agent-Spotlight-Erin-Casey

https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/erin-casey/

Links and Contact Info:

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

Our submissions guidelines: https://www.galltzacker.com/submissions.html

My Twitter handle: @erin_michelle_C

Additional Advice:

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

Do your research! Particularly if you are a writer/illustrator from a marginalized background. There is an amazing push for work from diverse creators right now, but please make sure that the agents you are querying are good people who want to help you and your work and will protect and support you. There are people looking to take advantage of unsuspecting writers, and those who may not be making the effort to understand BIPOC, disabled, or queer clients in a way that will make them good representatives for your work. So look them up on every platform you can, ask friends, and ask the agent questions if you do have a phone call. As hard as I know it is to hear when you’re trying to achieve your dream, a bad agent is worse than no agent.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Erin.

Giveaway Details

­Erin is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through October 3rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest. Please be sure I have your email address. 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debut Author Interview: Rebecca Coffindaffer and Crownchasers Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Rebecca Coffindaffer here to share about her YA space opera Crownchasers. It sounds like it’s got fantastic space world building and a compelling plot with high stakes. I’m looking forward to reading it.

Follower News

Before I get to my interview with Rebecca, I have Follower News.

Patricia Josephine recently released Influenced, a romance and fantasy short story collection. Here's a


blurb: 
Influencers are the voices that whisper in our ears. Tiny Angels and Devils sitting on our shoulders and guiding our choices. They are sworn to thwart the other. It is their duty.

Or so they thought…

And here are a few links:

Interview With Rebecca Coffindaffer

Here’s a blurb of Crownchasers from Goodreads:


A deadly competition for the throne will determine more than just the fate of the empire in this riveting duology opener, perfect for fans of The Hunger GamesAurora Rising, and Three Dark Crowns.


Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?

But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.

Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.


Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I started writing when I was pretty young — about seven or eight years old — and it was always just something that I did. I have notebooks full of all kinds of stories going back years, things I scribbled away at during school and summers, and I’m not quite sure when but somewhere along the way it just became the goal. To get published. To be an author.

 2. That's great that you've written since you were a kid. Where did you get the idea for Crownchasers? 

I tend to either build out a story main character first or world building first. Crownchasers was definitely the former, and it kind of all spiraled out of the idea of the character of Alyssa Farshot. I needed the challenge of doing something voice-driven, something in first person, and came around to this concept of a fast-talking, gender-flipped Han Solo or space Indiana Jones. And then it was just a matter of sitting down and brainstorming what world is this character in, what’s her place in it, what are the big problems she’s facing and what are her conflicts about it. So it all kind of came from there.

3. I’ve read that your story includes awesome alien worlds and cool technology. What was your world building process like and what advice do you have for others who write science fiction?

 Most of my world building is a brainstorming process, a lot like my plotting. I usually start with a single idea or visual to give me a jumping off point and then I just start writing out questions for myself — and answering them — as I go along. So I’ll take a planet concept and start asking myself: who lives there? What does the landscape look like? How do they live? What are their customs? And so on and so on. I think it’s important to have fun with it. I think it’s also important — and something I’m definitely working on — to push it farther than what we know here on our world. Get weird with it. And then, get even weirder.

4. That's a great way to develop a world. You decided to write a duology instead of a trilogy. Had you always planned it this way? How do you think the fact that Crownchasers was the first of two instead of three books affected your plotting process?

I think, initially, I thought it had the potential to be a trilogy, but it sold as a duology, and I honestly think that was the best thing. Because there’s a lot to explore in this world and a lot of moving pieces, but plotting it as a duology meant that I had to keep a strong focus on what was important, what was at the core of these two books. There’s not as much space for side quests, as much as I love a good side quest, so I trim it down to just the questions I wanted to tackle and the adventures that needed to happen in this specific frame of time.

 5. Yes, I think the strong focus is a plus of a two-book series. Alyssa sounds like an adventurer who must make some really hard decisions about her life and her role in the kingdom. Did you understand all of her personal challenges when you started the book or did they develop as you wrote her story? And was it hard for you to weave in her internal character conflicts into a fast-paced story?

Once the idea of her being the niece of the emperor, of her coming from one of these imperial families


but not having ambition for the throne necessarily — once all that came about, I knew pretty early on I wanted to tackle this question of personal responsibility in a system of power. Because if she was just someone who didn’t want to be empress and didn’t care about imperial politics, then the choice is simple: she can just flunk herself out of the race and go about her life. I wanted her to be faced with this question of: what does someone in her position in the galaxy have a responsibility to do? What does she owe as part of this greater society she’s in? I think those are the questions of the whole duology, really.

It is definitely a fast-paced story, but luckily, space is big! So there are naturally occurring moments when she is traveling across multiple star systems where she’d have a moment to stop, to think, to process everything that’s happening and deal with these internal challenges to her old self.

6. Your agent is Lara Perkins. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

I signed with Lara in January 2016. I had a book I’d been querying to adult scifi and fantasy agents for several months, and I had an author friend — Tessa Gratton — read it for her input. She said, “You should try this as YA, and you should definitely send it to Lara Perkins.” And she gave me a recommendation because Lara was closed to queries at that time, and Lara and I just…hit it off. She has an incredible editorial eye and helped me make take that book to the next level. We didn’t end up selling it, but working with her has helped me hone my voice and pushed me to become an even better writer.

7. You were a Pitch Wars mentor in 2019. Share about your involvement in Pitch Wars and how it’s helped your own writing.

 I was actually a mentor in the very first PitchWars ever in 2012, and I was so excited to come back to it after years away and have a chance again to see all the amazing things being written right now. I paired up with Michelle Wong this year, who’s so freaking talented and imaginative, and I hope more people get to experience her stories very soon. I think mostly PitchWars has helped me in terms of building connections. Writing can be so lonely, and PitchWars, whether you’re a mentor or an applicant, is a chance to find a place in a larger community that can help you keep going when the grind of publishing gets you down.

 8. How are you marketing your book in light of the pandemic and stay at home orders? What advice do you have for other authors whose debut book is releasing in the next year?

 It is definitely a WEIRD year to try and carve out a debut platform. Honestly, I think it’s weird for every author to try and shout about an upcoming book when the world feels like such a hot mess. Back in the spring, I really scrambled to try to do EVERYTHING. Like, I was gonna launch a YouTube channel and a virtual bookfest and hustle to get involved with every possible thing ever in the world, and I quickly found out that that made me stressed and unhappy. So these days, I’m just doing the marketing stuff that makes me happy. Like this interview! J And I’m trash for swag, so I had a lot of fun putting together and launching a preorder campaign (LINK: https://rebeccacoffindaffer.com/crownchasers-preorder-campaign/). But beyond that, the best thing I can do both for my career and for my readers is to focus on making book two the best it can be and dreaming up whatever project is next for me after Crownchasers.

 9. I really like your attitude about marketing. I saw on your website that you are on Twitter and Instagram. Which is your favorite social media platform for connecting with other readers, librarians, and writers? Why?

 I think I’ve done most of my connecting on Twitter. Partly because I’ve just been on there for so much longer, and partly because I’m a little better at it! I can tweet all day, but I agonize over what/how to get a good post together on Instagram. But it’s such a great platform with amazing people — especially all the talented bookstagrammers — so I love to go on, to see all the incredible visuals. Basically, I’m an excellent Instagram lurker.

 10. What are you working on now?

 Right now the main focus is on revising and editing book 2 of the duology. It doesn’t have an official title yet, but it comes out in fall of 2021, so I’m working on perfecting it with my editors right now. I have some other project ideas on the backburner — more fast-paced science fantasy, more adventurous girls — but mostly I just want to make sure I get the ending of Alyssa’s story right.

 Thanks for sharing all your advice, Rebecca. You can find Rebecca at:


https://rebeccacoffindaffer.com/
https://twitter.com/callmebecks
https://www.instagram.com/beccacoffindaffer/
https://www.harpercollins.com/products/crownchasers-rebecca-coffindaffer

Giveaway Details

Rebecca has generously offered a hardback of Crownchasers for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by September 26th. 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 International to wherever Book Depository ships for free.


Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Wednesday, September 16th I have an agent spotlight interview with Erin Casey and a query critique giveaway

Monday, September 21st I have an interview with debut author Laura Stegman and a giveaway of her MG fantasy Summer of Luck

Monday, September 28th I have an agent spotlight interview with Lauren Bieker and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, October 7th I have an interview with Jennifer Nielsen and a giveaway of The Captive Kingdom and my IWSG post

Monday, October 12th I have an interview with Sherry Ellis as part of her MG adventure Squirt's Mayan Adventure blog tour

Monday, October 19 I have a guest post by debut author G.Z. Schmidt and her agent Adria Goetz and a query critique giveaway by Adria and a giveaway of No Ordinary Thing by Adria

Hope to see you on Monday!