Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Kristin Ostby Agent Spotlight Interview & Query Critique Giveaway on 10/11/21
  • Agent Melissa Nasson/Author Alex Perry Guest Post + Query Critique & Book Giveaway on 10/18/21
  • Ginger Clark Agent Spotlight Interview & Query Critique Giveaway on 10/25/21
  • Danielle Chiotti Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 11/15/21

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • All Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated as of 7/15/2020, and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for them to be fully updated in 2023.

Agent Spotlight: Allison Hellegers Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Allison Hellegers here. She is a literary agent at Stimola Literary Studio. Allison is temporarily closed to submissions but will reopen to queries in mid-September.

Hi­ Allison! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Allison:

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

I’ve worked in foreign rights for most of my publishing career—nearly 20 years—and have always loved collaborating with US and UK agents to bring their books around the globe. When I started to do the inverse and bring foreign books back to North American publishers, I got to know the market more intimately in the US, and my meetings with domestic editors confirmed my desire to expand and grow in that market. I loved the idea of building on what I already knew as a Rights Director to increase my authors potential for global success. I was hungry for collaborations with artists and writers of my own, but I didn’t know where my experience would best fit. But when Rosemary Stimola, an agent I have long admired, asked me to join the team—that was the moment, of course, I knew being an agent was the best way. I’ve been working with the Stimola Literary Studio for nearly two years, and it’s been such a wonderful place to provide foreign rights support, deep dive into the world of agenting and see how I, too, can spread my wings.

About the Agency:

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

We offer our authors the chance to work with one of our esteemed agents and be part of the Studio and everything it has to offer. We have remained a boutique agency in the sense that we never want to take on too many authors, but for the authors we do champion, we work with them on broader, collaborative efforts, including selling their books globally and on the big or little screen. I feel aligned with my team in that we take on what we love, what we believe we can sell, and authors whose careers we want to see flourish. During a time when many are re-examining their life and choices, it’s a liberating and creatively satisfying place to be in my career. 

What She’s Looking For:

I’m currently looking for young adult and middle-grade submissions only, but I will look at picture books and adult fiction and non-fiction that come with a referral. I would love to see voice-driven submissions that come with a strong, distinctive pitch. I’m looking for writers especially from all marginalized communities and love when I come across something that feels brave and boundary-pushing. I love unique formats, such as novels-in-verse, and books that are told in multiple points of view, or are multi-generational. I love traveling and novels from different countries and cultures, especially where the setting and/or place is a character in the story. Feminist and political themes, especially those in that can be read by both adults and young readers, will especially appeal to me. I might not be the best fit for straight fantasy, but I do love magical realism and fantastical elements that are grounded in reality.

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?

Graphic novel author/illustrators

MG contemporary, literary magical realism, fantasy grounded in reality, humor

YA contemporary, historical fiction, speculative

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

I love to be surprised, so this is always a tough question. I have a willingness to step out of the box if I see something out of my regular comfort zone that truly excites me. But, I’d love to see more diverse graphic novels written by diverse authors, a middle-grade literary ghost story, an humorous animal rescue or survival story, and a sex-positive/body-positive YA novel (any genre). I’m always on the lookout for a contemporary female protagonist with ADD/ADHD – for any age group. 

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Straight-up fantasy YA, holiday-themed submissions, picture book texts

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, like I mentioned above, is mostly about taking on projects that I love and signing authors for their career.  I also want to hear stories from marginalized communities - diverse voices are important not just for other diverse audiences, but for everyone, so characters in our books reflect more the society we live in. 

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?

Every project is different, so sometimes there is very little editorial work to do, and sometimes there can be a lot. I’d say I average around one or two editorial passes before I submit. I love offering my opinions and seeing if they help the authors spark new ideas or get unstuck. Because I always want to put my author’s best foot forward, I like to marry what I know about the industry with my author’s talents - and see if we can hit that sweet spot to provide something truly saleable and buzzworthy. 

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?

https://www.stimolaliterarystudio.com/submissions + 10 pages cut and pasted 

I’d like to see some personality in the letter, and it’s always a good idea to share why you wanted to send something to me in particular. 

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

I don’t tend to read queries where they are addressed to no-one. I also tend to skim over very long summaries and descriptions. I think your query should be 3-4 short paragraphs at most. A bio with personality is a plus. Pull me in, yes, but also, leave me hanging!  

Response Time:

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

It’s really varied this past year, as there has been so much inconsistency in schedules and difficulty knowing what each week is going to look like. It’s no longer possible to all respond to queries when I’m not interested. I was open for all of June and received over 600 queries that month (just to get a sense of what I’m up against), so I do need to prioritize the clients that I have already signed up before getting too caught up with new talent. That’s easier said than done, especially as I’m always on the lookout. 

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, and I would consider a brand-new book and only discuss new projects going forward in that case. But I strive to treat every author, published or not, the same.  

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?

Personally, I see the role of agents staying the same. How agents do that job is changing on a mechanical and administrative level, and everyday seems to bring a new challenge. But our role and purpose as representing the author’s best interests for the course of their career remains the standard. 

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Colby Cedar Smith’s CALL ME ATHENA, Nova Weetman’s IT ALL BEGINS WITH JELLY BEANS, Mickey Rowe’s FEARLESSLY DIFFERENT, Michelle Corpora’s THE DUST BOWL, Caroline Wrights’ LITTLE BAKERS board books, illustrated by Alison Oliver (author and illustrator are clients)

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.

https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/allison-hellegers-literary-agent-foreign-rights-director/

https://www.scbwi.org/scbwi-exclusive-with-allison-hellegers-agent-stimola-literary/

Links and Contact Info:

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

 https://www.stimolaliterarystudio.com/submissions

Additional Advice:

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

Be yourself. 

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Allison.

­Allison 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 August 7th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the 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.

 

I'm Being Interviewed at Operation Awesome Today

Happy Monday Everyone! I wanted to let you know that I'm being interviewed at Operation Awesome today about Literary Rambles. Operation Awesome is a fantastic blog by a group of published and unpublished writers. They share writing tips and host giveaways, such as QueryFriday and PassOnPages. I hope you'll stop by and stay hi.

And later today I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Allison Hellegers at Stimola Literary Studio. She represents PB through YA.

Have a great day!

Agent Spotlight: Mary Cummings Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Mary Cummings here. She recently left Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises to form her own agency, Great River Literary.

Hi­ Mary! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Mary:

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

I joined Betsy Amster as an agent in 2008 to bring expertise in children’s and teens book projects to her agency, having served as Education Director at the Loft Literary Center where I, among other things, curated an annual festival of children’s literature and chose judges for the McKnight Award from leading editors in the field. I’ve sold many books by authors and author/illustrators to such publishing houses as Knopf; Little, Brown; Abrams; Chronicle; Random House; Wiseman S & S; Philomel; Holiday House; Viking; WorthyKids; Henry Holt; Feiwel and Friends; FSG; HarperCollins; Balzer & Bray; Candlewick and many others.

About the Agency:

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

I’m an “editorial agent.” I work with writers and writer/illustrators to help them get their work revised and ready for submission. I have to love what I take on. It takes hard work, time and energy to get a project (manuscript) polished and into the hands of editors and I want to be sure it’s something I’m excited about and can share that spark with editors to get THEM excited. For every project I want to take on, there are literally hundreds that I turn down. But once I take it on, I use that excitement to propel me very quickly in getting it out to editors. (Some agents essentially keep projects “in a drawer” for months before taking any action on them).

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’m looking for the full age range, board books to YA. I’ve got quite a bit of detail on what I’m looking for on my website, greatriverliterary.com

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

How about a picture book about the Mississippi?! It is the Great River, after all. Or a novel where it figures in a significant way. Lots of other suggestions on my wishlist on greatriverliterary.com

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I tend not to like ironic or clever. I see too many monsters, superheroes, different-but-special stories, and love-themed board and picture books that are too parent-focused and not focused enough on the kid’s actions and wants. I generally don’t like zombies, vampires, et. al. For ya books, I don’t want a protagonist beyond high school age.

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?

Perhaps I can best answer that by saying that I love to see writers develop and I find real joy in nurturing them. And I want books that I can feel proud of having been a part of getting out and into the hands of kids. The authors I want to work with are dedicated, professional and talented.

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’ve talked a bit about this (number 2, above), but to expand: I see areas that could be improved in most manuscripts. Sometimes it’s a small tweak or two that I will suggest to the author, while other times it’s more extensive. Quite often there will be several back-and-forth exchanges. I never want the person to feel forced in making changes. At the same time, if they don’t resonate with my insights, we may not be a good match. Very occasionally I’ll receive a project needing just about no changes.

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 what I’ve listed under “CONTACT” on greatriverliterary.com

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

Yes. Sending attachments, when submission info specifically says not to (links are fine). Generic, “cattle-call” queries (“dear agent” or “hello”); typos and misspellings; teensy font; manuscript samples sent without a query; cutesy speaking in the voice of the protagonist (“Jimmy Jacks wants you to pay attention to his story”)

Response Time:

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

I’m usually fast. Generally within a few days or weeks, though could be longer depending upon what else is requiring my attention.

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 do not want to represent self-published work, but authors who have in the past self-published and have new work (not a continuation of a series) I’m happy to hear from. Ditto on small presses. As for advice, perhaps confer with critique groups and the broader kidlit community.

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?

In some agencies, yes, because of the factors you indicate.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I like having a mix of newcomers and career writers. George Shannon has over thirty picture books, including a number of award winners. Elizabeth Verdick is a career writer best known for her SMALL WALT series with Paula Wiseman Books/S & S. Angela Dalton is “hitting the gong” with three picture books coming out in rapid succession, from HarperCollins and Viking. Ditto for Maggie Rudd, with three forthcoming picture books and a middle-grade novel with FSG. Debut author-illustrator Ron Grady has an exciting picture book entitled, WHAT IS BROWN? coming out with Nancy Paulsen Books. Katherine Hocker’s debut picture book, I WAS, sold at auction to Candlewick. These are just a few of my wonderful clients!

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.

With my shift from Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises to my own agency, Great River Literary, I’m just starting to do new interviews.

Links and Contact Info:

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

See greatriverliterary.com

Additional Advice:

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

Get your work into the best shape possible before submitting. Live with it, pick away at revisions, then have others look at it and give you their insights for clarity and enhancement. Be open. Welcome other perspectives and take joy in playing with your story as you experiment with making changes. Research agents to see which may be a good fit for your work. In your query, mention why you are approaching them in particular: what have you seen on their website, in interviews, in the buzz of the kidlit community, etc. that prompts you to write.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Mary.

Giveaway Details

­Mary 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 August 7th.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the 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.

 

 

 

Debut Author Interview: Alysa Wishingrad and The Verdigris Pawn Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Alysa Wishingrad here to share about her MG fantasy The Verdigris Pawn. It sounds like a great adventure story with fantastic world building and characters. It’s just the kind of fantasy story that I like.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

A boy who underestimates his power . . .

A girl with a gift long thought lost . . .

A Land ready for revolution . . .

The heir to the Land should be strong. Fierce. Ruthless. At least, that’s what Beau’s father has been telling him his whole life, since Beau is the exact opposite of what the heir should be. With little control over his future, Beau is kept locked away, just another pawn in his father’s quest for ultimate power.

That is, until Beau meets a girl who shows him the secrets his father has kept hidden. For the first time, Beau begins to question everything he’s ever been told and sets off in search of a rebel who might hold the key to setting things right. 

Teaming up with a fiery runaway boy, their mission quickly turns into something far greater as sinister forces long lurking in the shadows prepare to make their final move—no matter what the cost. But it just might be Beau who wields the power he seeks . . . if he can go from pawn to player before the Land tears itself apart.

Follower News

Jacqui Murray has a new prehistoric fiction novel, Laws of Nature, releasing. Here’s a blurb and a few links:  In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa. Though they don’t know it, they will be the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can't stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy's unique group--which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack--but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn't trust.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.  

Links:
https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/
https://jacquimurray.net

And Ellen Jacobson is part of a romantic comedy collection, Love, Laughter & Happily Ever After.
Here’s a blurb and a few links:

Escape with 20 Sweet Romantic Comedies with all the feels!
This sweet romcom collection contains 20 original humorous novellas from best-selling authors that are heartwarming, feel-good, and laugh out loud funny.
Between the pages, you’ll find tropes such as enemies to lovers, second chance romance, high school sweethearts, opposites attract, friends to lovers, fake dating, and more.
Your pre-order purchase of this anthology will benefit Pets for the Elderly with 100% pre-order profits donated to this amazing cause, connecting shelter animals with seniors.
Don’t miss this limited edition box set, featuring some of your favorite authors, that will leave you reeling with laughter.

Links:
Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/brPaMw
Website

Interview With Alysa Wishingrad

Hi Alysa! Thanks so much for joining us!

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

Hi Natalie, thank you so much for having me!

I think I was always a writer. When I was a kid I would stay up late into the night, acting out tales and adventures with my stuffed animals until I just couldn’t fight sleep off any longer. And then in college I took my degree in playwrighting. I was incredibly lucky to be mentored by some of the greatest writers in the American theater, and I fully intended to making writing my lifelong career. But in all honesty, I don’t think I was ready to do the incredibly hard work to get there. And so I followed a different path in the entertainment industry for many years until I stepped off to have a family.

I found my way  back in by way of a cooking show for kids I was pitching with a friend. This is some years ago back when my kids were still quite young. But through the development of this show I began to read more and more middle grade literature – and of course, I was reading with my kids too. The richness of these stories brought me back to that time of my life when books were a lifeline and brought the world of ideas to me. I started writing a story inspired by that cooking show, and . . . I was hooked. I love writing for middle grade readers, they’re just the smartest and most in-tuned people around.

2. Where did you get the idea for The Verdigris Pawn?

The idea was born during a writing workshop I was taking. We were given a prompt – I think it was, “Tsk, tsk, poor little boy.” And as is the way with some prompts, my mind took hold and ran with this image of a boy being raised alone in a large manor house by an old man. The idea grew and developed from there as I began to explore what it means to be “the chosen one,” and how privilege and power shape and can re-shape society.

3. I don’t do well with prompts, but it’s awesome that it helpd you with th idea for your book. World building is important in a fantasy. What was your world building process like?

I knew from the beginning that this story had to take place in a pre-industrial time and place. What began as a vague idea began to bloom as I did more and more research. I love digging deep into the ephemera of daily life- what did people eat, what did the clothes feel like on, what did the first warm days of spring smell like? But it was also important to me that the Land feel both like a world we can recognize, and like a new unknown place.

Like a character, the world began to reveal more and more of itself to me as I wrote. I hope it feels that way to readers as well.

4. How did you plot out The Verdigris Pawn? What did you learn about what worked and what didn’t from your plotting process?

I am not a chart maker, nor do I consider Excel a friend of mine, although I stand in awe of authors who do.

What I do is tell myself the story of the story. The usually involves taking a brand new notebook, my favorite pencil and writing out what happens from beginning to end. I don’t worry about voice or dialogue I just want to know what happens. Where do we begin, and where do we end, and how did we get there? Consider it a poorly written synopsis.

But what it does is allow me the freedom to follow my characters and my imagination, to play without getting hung up on the sentence level. There’s something about writing on the computer that makes me feel like each sentence, paragraph, page and chapter has to be perfect (for that draft) before I can move on.

Once I know the story of the story then I can begin drafting.

Nine times out of ten I never go back to this outline again. Things will change, drafting will take the story in new directions, but this initial map lives in my head and acts as a north star of sorts.

5. I’m not an Excel or chart fan either. Beau, Cressi, and Nate sound like such memorable characters. Do you have a favorite? Why? Share one thing that you really like about each of them.

I love them all, and I admire them all.

I love Beau for his open and tender heart. His willingness to listen, to learn, to grow. And for his willingness to face down what his father expects him to be. It takes a depth of bravery to refuse the roles your family expects you to fulfill, to stand up and say this is who I am and who I intend to be regardless of your expectations, or assumptions.

Cressi knows what she knows deep in her bones and is willing to do whatever is necessary to fight for what’s right. She not fearless, she has fears, but she doesn’t let them rule her. She listens to them, parses out the real from the imagined, and then she acts. She’s brave and kind and oh so clever. She understands the power of power, and so she never takes it for granted or even thinks about using it for personal gain. She’s a leader who understands that leadership isn’t about being in charge, but rather about inspiring others to embrace both their strengths and perceived weaknesses.

Nate’s impetuous nature is what gets him in trouble, but it’s also the spark of brilliance in him. He’s driven by his heart and the real desire to make things right for everyone. He understands how interconnected we all are and he’s willing to put himself on the line in order to make sure that everyone is safe. He’s clever and hot-headed and loyal to a fault at times.

Like the three sides of a triangle, these three both need the others and make each other stronger.

6. You have a background in theater, TV, and film. How did this help you develop your craft of writing?

I actually began my writing life as a playwright, so the three act structure is baked into my bones, as is a love for dialogue and deep character development.

And while my career in casting seemed like a detour, it also served to deepen my understanding of story-telling. Reading a script then working to find the exact right actors to bring the story to life isn’t as dissimilar to writing as it appears. It’s all storytelling.

7. That’s awesome that your writing as a playwright and in film helped you with your writing. Victoria Marini is your agent. Share how she became your agent and what your road to publication was like.

My road to publication was pretty long, although in hindsight it was probably exactly what it needed to be.

I think I spent about four years writing and re-writing and re-writing this book. I was fortunate to work with some outstanding mentors along the way. I then began querying THE VERDIGRIS PAWN on November 3, 2016 – just a few days before the 2016 election. That timing proved to slow things down quite a bit, but I signed with Victoria in February of 2017. She’s amazing and perfect for me in all the best ways. She got such a keen editorial eye and great perspective. I am incredibly lucky to have her in my corner.

We wound up doing two revisions before we went on sub a year later. PAWN sold in July of 2018 and was loosely scheduled for a 2020 release. But after meeting with my brilliant editors and talking about some key revisions, I decided to white page the book—meaning, I started over from a clean white page.

The arc of the story remained the same, but how the story unwound changed. I am so grateful they gave me the time to do so. The book is so much stronger for it.  

8. What was something that surprised you about the publication process?

I’d always known that the MG book community was a warm and supportive place, but I’ve been so wonderfully surprised by the depth of kindness and connection in this community. That extends beyond writers out to teachers, librarians and bloggers as well.

9. I’m impressed with how supportive writers and book lovers are too. How are you planning to market your book? What advice do you have for other authors?

What’s most important to me is that the book find its way to readers, especially those who are ready to move on from younger MG, but are not ready, or don’t want to, move on to YA yet.

I’m looking forward to doing school visits and meeting with book clubs. I’m also looking forward to connecting with Chess Clubs. I think that FIST, the chess-like game at the heart of the book, will appeal to them. I’m also so excited to feature the rules for the game on my website!

I think the best piece of advice I can offer to any other author or writer is to not fear white paging. I know the idea of starting an entire book over from scratch strikes fear in the heart of so many writers, but there’s so much richness and depth to be found in the process! Of course it’s not always the right thing to do, but I think we know when it would serve the story best. In those cases, do not fear the white page!

10. What are you working on now?

I have two books I’m working on right now and I cannot wait until I can speak more openly about them.

Both books are upper-middle grade fantastical. Like THE VERDIGRIS PAWN they’re both set in quasi-historical time periods and have magical elements, but somehow feel grounded in a world we know and recognize.

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

www.alysawishingrad.com

I’m @agwishingrad on twitter, where you’ll find me chatting about books, MG readers and how to help create a fair and ethical society.

And I’m @alysawishingradwrites on Instagram, where it’s mostly books, the writing life, and the occasional food or dog pic.

Giveaway Details

Alysa has generously offered a hardback of The Verdigris Pawn 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 July 31st. 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. The giveaway is international.

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

Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Wednesday, July 21st I have an agent spotlight interview with Mary Cummings and a query critique giveaway

Monday, July 26th I have an agent spotlight interview with Allison Hellegers and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, August 1st I'm participating in the Apple a Day Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, August 4th I have an interview with debut author Laura Rueckert and a giveaway of her YA fantasy A Dragonbird in the Fern and my IWSG post

Monday, August 9th I have a guest post by debut author Rochelle Melander and a giveaway of her MG nonfiction Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing 

Wednesday, August 11th I have an agent spotlight interview with Sera Rivers and a query critique giveaway

Monday, August 16th I’m participating in the Old School Giveaway Hop and have an interview with debut author Christyne Morrell and a giveaway of MG fantasy Kingdom of Secrets

Monday August 23th I have an interview with debut author Jessica Lewis and a giveaway of her YA contemporary fantasy Bad Witch Burning

Monday, August 30th I have an agent spotlight interview with Renae Moore Tobias

Hope to see you on Wednesday!

 

 

 



Sip Sip Hooray Giveaway Hop

Happy Friday Everyone! Today I'm excited to participate in the Sip Sip Hooray Giveaway Hop hosted by MamatheFox. I hope you're enjoying your summer and are getting a lot of fun reading in. I'm reading a lot this summer and really enjoying it. My daughter and her boyfriend just bought their first house nearby, and it's been a lot of fun going through the process with them and seeing how happy they are. They're only 24, and I'm so glad they're doing so much better than I was at their age. I was working as a waitress saving for law school and didn't have a car of health insurance. Yesterday, my daughter and I went to the Ann Arbor Art Fair for my birthday. We started the tradition of going every year (except for last year of course) a few years ago.

I’m doing this giveaway like I did my second one last month. It seemed pretty popular. 

Book of Your Choice or Amazon Gift Card

I am offering a book of your choice that is $20 or less on Amazon or The Book Depository. I’m looking forward to seeing what books everyone is looking forward to reading. If you don’t have a book you want, you can win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

Giveaway Details

One lucky entrant selected by the entry form will receive a book of their choice for $20 or less at Amazon or The Book Depository or a $10 Amazon Gift Card. Open to entrants internationally as long The Book Depository ships to you for free, 13 years and older. Open for entry from 7/16 – 7/31/2021 at 11:59 pm EST. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. The selected winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification email to claim this prize or a new winner will be selected.

Please note that you must be a blog follower and leave a blog comment to enter the contest. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Upcoming Interviews and Giveaways

Monday, July 19th I have an interview with debut author Alysa Wishingrad and a giveaway of her MG fantasy The Verdigris Pawn

Wednesday, July 21st I have an agent spotlight interview with Mary Cummings and a query critique giveaway

Monday, July 26th I have an agent spotlight interview with Allison Hellegers and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, August 1st I'm participating in the Apple a Day Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, August 4th I have an interview with debut author Laura Rueckert and a giveaway of her YA fantasy A Dragonbird in the Fern and my IWSG post

Monday, August 9th I have a guest post by debut author Rochelle Melander and a giveaway of her MG nonfiction Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing 

Hope to see you on Monday!

You can see a complete list of all the blogs participating in this blog hop at MamatheFox.

MamatheFox and all participating blogs are not held responsible for sponsors who fail to fulfill their prize obligations.

Agent Spotlight: Analieze Cervantes Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Analieze Cervantes here. She is an associate literary agent at Harvey Klinger Literary Agency.

Hi Analieze! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Analieze: 

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

Great question—I knew I wanted to be a part of the publishing industry whether if it was to be an editor, literary agent or writer (which is a goal sometime in the future), but I didn’t know everything I know now. So when I attended a WD conference in NY for the first time after graduating from college, the idea of being part of the publishing industry solidified because it was just a magical place with people who shared the same passion. So the question was…how do I get there? After so many applications to different jobs and receiving nothing, I became an intern at a NYC Literary Agency. I was there for a year before joining The Harvey Klinger Literary Agency.

About the Agency:

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

The Harvey Klinger Literary Agency has been representing quality fiction and non fiction since 1977 from MG all the way to Adult. The agency has an eye for spotting talent, we pride ourselves on our strong editorial skills, unparalleled relations with all major publishers, and a unique collaborative work environment. We adopt a hands-on, personal approach with every author we take on, focusing not just on their books, but on their careers.

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 am looking to represent Picture Books, Graphic Novels (just recently opened), MG, YA, and Adult fiction. The genres include: Contemporary, Romance, Sci-fi, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller (I’m craving a great thriller and mystery book), Crime Fiction, and looking for illustrators too! I’m especially looking for BIPOC and LGBTQ voices.

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

Mystery and Thrillers! I haven’t been getting a lot of in those genres and would love to see more! The more, the merrier :)

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

           Fantasy

           Short story collections

           Inspirational works including religious overtones

           Erotica

           Non-Fiction

           Memoir

           Horror (please nothing with Zombies)

           Westerns

           Novellas

           Anything Political

           Poetry

           Screenplays

 

Agent Philosophy:

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

First and foremost, the books I’m looking to represent are books that connect with me on a deeper level. Am I still thinking about those books even after turning the last page? Characters that I remember and keep me glued to the pages since the very beginning. Time shouldn’t exist when I read a manuscript.

As far as authors, I am looking for clients who are professional on and off social media, their passion, knowing that they are writing other books and are learning the industry along side me. A collaborative partnership that will last for the years to come. I’m here to build my career alongside theirs.

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 am an editorial agent. I usually go through three rounds of edits, focusing on the character development, pacing, etc. and whether or not the overall story comes together prior to submitting a project. In some cases, the process takes longer just depending on the amount of 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?

They should query me through my QM link on the agency website. I want to see three things: the hook (pitch), the book (what it’s about), and the cook (about the author and not necessarily their publications unless they have some). I want to see why they are specifically querying me and the person they are.

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

One of the things, I dislike in letters is when the author doesn’t address me and tells me about why we would be a good fit, but not telling anything about the book. On occasion, I get authors who talk about multiple books in one submission which shows me that they didn’t follow the submission guidelines.

Response Time:

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

Queries are given a response time of a week. Partials are requested within a month/few weeks and are given a response time of a week from requesting. However, if I am still considering the project then it takes me a month or two to decide or request the full. As far as fulls, I do take about 2-3 months if not more to respond back.

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 am. However, sometimes they need to show us that they have sold a number of books if they’ve been published by a small press. My advice is to keep trying and never give up. Let the agent know that you want to go off into bigger and better things—that you’re ready.

I am not open to authors who are querying an already self-published book though.

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 think we will have a lot of avenues to help our clients. Our role is going to be a lot more challenging because we’d need to keep learning and make sure we are successful as agents.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Authors include: Dylan Wiseman, Kami Bratten, Jenna Grinstead, Jenissa Michelle, Clint Hanthorn, Sofia Pileggi, Kerisa Greene and Amanda Badillo/Jesse Chen (co-agenting with my colleague Jennifer Herrington).

Illustrators include: Amanda Morrow, Kerisa Greene, and Devika Oza.

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.

https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/analieze-cervantes/

https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2021/02/05/january-agent-of-the-month-analieze-cervantes/

https://analiezecervantes.com

Links and Contact Info:

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

https://www.harveyklinger.com

https://querymanager.com/query/AnaliezeCervantes

Additional Advice:

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

My advice to you: don't give up, ask questions, learn the industry, attend conferences, join support groups and really understand the business in the best way you can. There are so many people who are willing to help you.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Analieze.

Analieze 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 July 31st.  If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the 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.