Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Kelly Dyksterhouse Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/12/2022
  • Savannah Brooks Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 12/19/2022

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.

Tips on Using Social Media as an Author by George Jreije and Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author George Jreije here to share about his MG contemporary fantasy Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria. I’m definitely hoping to read it because it is a contemporary fantasy and has alchemists.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Twelve-year-old Shad Hadid is an aspiring baker whose life is uprooted when he discovers he’s descended from a long line of alchemists and sent to the mysterious Alexandria Academy. Only, his arrival at the school awakens a nefarious force long lurking in the shadows, and he’ll soon learn he holds the key to either stopping—or unleashing—their evil plot.

 Now here’s George!

Sometimes, when I’m sitting at the edge of the water a sandy beach, I like to imagine corny analogies I can make to the rise and fall of the tides. Here’s one. All social media platforms are like a tide, rising to prominence for a time and then retreating into obscurity once the next platform comes to take over.

If you’re done cringing, I’d love to talk a bit about where that leaves us as we scramble to keep up with bookish social media and what we can do to stay ahead, whether that means finding the largest audience to market ourselves or simply keeping up with trends. There are three bits of advice I’m going to offer that can be summed up with one phrase that extend the analogy from before…

 Ride the waves.

What do I mean by this? Simply put, us in the literary community must be open minded, attentive, and most of all, purposeful.

Beginning with being open minded, we need to allow ourselves to embrace new platforms as they come along. I shied away from joining TikTok for the longest time, even when I knew it was going to be big. And not just big, but the largest platform by far, coming to rival giants like Google and Amazon in terms of traffic. Joining just months earlier could have had a major impact on my followership. I wasn’t open minded. Luckily, I swallowed my pride and made an account, and while I’m not the biggest TikToker (or Booktoker, as they call us in the bookish community there), however, I do have a nice following. Moreover, I’ve met influencers on that site who are promoting my work, which is huge!

Being attentive means not only noticing what new social media platforms are surging in popularity, but which ones are dying. If we remain in our echo chambers and don’t heed what is happening around us, we’ll fail to notice things like TikTok becoming so big that there’s a table dedicated to titles recommended on the platform in every Barnes & Noble. Even some independent bookstores are following suit now! We’ll also fail to notice that Clubhouse wasn’t the big new thing that we all thought it would be a year ago. Not that there is something dire about missing the news, but it can lead to investing hundreds of hours in a site no one else is on. That is why we need to be present, not worrying about the future so much that we create whole strategies around one site that end of useless. Nor can we dwell on the past and find ourselves left behind. Things can quickly, and so you must be ready to respond in kind.

Finally, be purposeful in which platforms you stick to and what you do on them. This is the most critical tip for me. Social media is not meant to be something, like Netflix, where you watch a show before bed. No, there are teams working behind the scenes to make sure you’re checking your account on a phone or computer all the time. They want you hooked. For that reason, be very honest with yourself about why you’re on a particular social media platform and use them accordingly. Remembering to be one using them and not the other way around will help make sure you’re nimble and able to adapt long term. Otherwise, they can and will suck up all your time.

I hope these three bits of advice are as useful to you as they have been for me. Know that, if anything, I’m thankful for social media bringing us together. Swing by one of my pages and say hello, though be sure to also take breaks and do other things…like reading! And if you’re looking for your next book, check out SHAD HADID AND THE ALCHEMISTS OF ALEXANDRIA. I promise you won’t regret it.

Bio: George is the Lebanese American author of Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria, a children's fantasy novel with HarperCollins. He has also written short stories published in collaboration with UNICEF. When not writing, George enjoys trying tasty Arabic pastries, messing with new yoga poses, and mentoring other writers.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ByGeorgeJreije

Instagram: https://instagram.com/ByGeorgeJreije

TikTok: https://tiktok.com/@ByGeorgeJreije

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/george.jreije.9

Email: ByGeorgeJreije@gmail.com

Giveaway Details

George’s publisher is generously offering an ARC of Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria 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 November 5th. 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 or George on his social media sites, 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 ARC giveaway is U.S.

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

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Wednesday, November 2 I have an agent/author guest post by Marlo Berliner and Charity Alyse and a giveaway of Charity’s YA contemporary Other Side of the Tracks and a critique query by Marlo

Monday, November 7 I have an interview with debut author Elaine Kachala and a giveaway of her MG nonfiction book Superpower? The Wearable-Tech Revolution

Tuesday, November 8 I’m participating in the  Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 14 I have an agent spotlight interview with Adria Goetz and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, November 16 I’m participating in the In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 23 I have a guest post by author Jessica Vitalis and a giveaway of her MG fantasy The Rabbit’s Gift

Hope to see you on Wednesday, November 2!

 

 

Literary Agent Interview: Eve Adler Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Eve Adler here. She is a literary agent at Red Fox Literary.

NOTE: Eve is closed to queries but has created a special submission form on Query Tracker for Literary Rambles followers that will be open until March 2023. You can find the link in this interview. 

Hi­ Eve! Thanks so much for joining us.

 

About Eve:

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 been an agent for just about six months! Before that, I was an editor for over sixteen years. It was wonderful—I had the privilege of working with incredible authors and illustrators, and I learned a lot in my time at various publishing houses. Agenting had always been in the back of my mind, because I loved the idea of working more directly with authors and illustrators, developing ideas with them, finding the right publisher for each project, and helping clients build their careers. After many years of considering going over to the other side, I finally made the jump this year, and it’s been so fun! The creative opportunities feel limitless, and I’ve been so inspired by my clients and the submissions I’ve been getting. So far, I’ve signed on just a few clients (I’m being very selective!). I’ve also been doing a lot of workshops and critiques with various organizations, which I’m enjoying tremendously.

 

About the Agency:

 

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

Red Fox Literary is a boutique agency that specializes in children’s books, representing both authors and illustrators. We currently have eight agents spread out all over the U.S., and we work with Rights People for foreign rights. The agency was founded by Karen Grencik and Abigail Samoun in 2011, and since then has steadily built a stellar reputation as a welcoming, collaborative agency with friendly and knowledgeable agents. I was an admirer of the agency for years as an editor, and was delighted to join their ranks as an agent!

 

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 books for ages 0-12: board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, early graphic novels, and young middle grade, fiction or nonfiction. For board books, I enjoy concept books or story-based books that feel fresh and exciting. For picture books, I’m interested in biographies, humor, cultural themes, social-emotional topics, Jewish-themed books, and nonfiction that’s approached in a relatable, kid-friendly way. For early readers and chapter books, I’m looking for simple, short stories aimed at ages 5-8, and longer, and more involved stories aimed at ages 7-10. I’d love to see graphic novels for this age range, too! Some genres/themes I'm interested in are funny/silly; adventure; mystery: friendship; and series based on one character. For middle grade, I love historical fiction, and powerful family/friendship stories. I also enjoy working with illustrators, and am always looking for artists looking to break through into children’s books!


For more details, my full wish list is here: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/eve-adler/

 

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

In any genre and for any age group, I’m always looking for a strong voice. I have a workshop on voice that I love doing, because voice is such a mysterious—yet essential—part of writing. It’s fun to analyze it with authors! I’m also looking for originality—I want projects that are going to stand out in the marketplace, and that bring a new perspective or take on the subject matter. Ultimately, I’m looking for projects that make me feel something deeply. When I finish a manuscript or dummy and get chills or teary-eyed, I know it’s worth pursuing. 

 

What She Isn’t Looking For:

 

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

YA, adult books, horror, fantasy

 

Agent Philosophy:

 

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

I’m most interested in authors and illustrators who are eager to develop their craft, are continuously learning and exploring, and are receptive to feedback. Most importantly, they should understand that having an agent is being in a partnership based on trust and transparency. As for the books I’d like to represent, I’d love to find projects that open kids’ minds to new worlds and experiences, make them feel seen, heard, and understood, and also make them laugh (not all in the same book, necessarily!).

  

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?

Having been an editor for so long, I would definitely describe myself as an editorial agent. Depending on what a project needs, I’m always happy to provide editorial notes. After chatting with an author or illustrator and making sure we’re a good fit, we might go through a few revisions—usually big picture edits, followed by more specific line edits—before I feel something is ready to submit. Our goal is to get it in the best possible shape for an editor to see its potential; the editorial journey will continue with the editor, of course! I always do a lot of comp research, too, as that’s important in knowing how to pitch a project to editors.

 

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

 

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

I usually only consider submissions through industry referrals or conferences at which I present. That said, if you feel you have a manuscript, illustrator dummy, and/or portfolio that fits my wish list exactly, you can query me via QueryManager  (no emails please!). In a query letter, I expect a short summary of the project, some comps (so that I can see if authors have done their research and have a basic understanding of the marketplace), and a short bio, especially as it pertains to the project. I prefer to see a manuscript (full manuscript for picture books and 10 pages for a novel) or a dummy attached to the query.

 

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

Typos, of course, though they won’t necessarily make me stop reading—they just make it feel like authors and illustrators didn’t take quite enough time to look over their work. And not saying anything about yourself—I don’t need your resume, but a few lines about who you are and why your project is important to you is helpful to include.

 

Response Time:

 

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

I say three months, but I try to respond to queries sooner.

  

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 certainly open to that, as long as it’s a new, unpublished project. I evaluate each project based on how I feel about it and what I know of the marketplace; an author’s previously published titles don’t come into play for me until after I’ve evaluated the project.

 

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 agents’ jobs are always evolving to adapt to the changing landscape (like any job, really!). It’s important for agents to keep up with the latest news and be aware of any new potential opportunities for their clients, but overall, the role of being an advocate for their clients, helping them develop the best projects, securing the best deals, and being a guide/resource throughout the publishing process remains the same.

 

Clients:

 

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Melissa Trempe and Kathryn Hagen, who both have really exciting projects that I’ll be submitting to editors soon!

 

Interviews and Guest Posts:

 

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

Links and Contact Info:

Red Fox Literary’s website

My Manuscript Wish List

My Instagram

An interview I did when I was an editor

 

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

I use QueryManager for queries.


Eva is currently closed to queries, but you can query her until March 2023 by using this link:

QueryManager.com/2518/Literary_Rambles_interview

 

Additional Advice:

 

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

Follow your passions, do your research, find a writing group, and have fun! It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the ever-changing trends and latest ‘it’ topics in publishing. As artists, I think it’s important to realize that publishing is a subjective industry, so write what you’re passionate about, believe in the value of your work, surround yourself with other writers and mentors who can help you hone your craft, and above all, enjoy the process!

  

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Eve.


Thank you so much for having me!

 

­Eve 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 29th. 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.

 

 


Mama the Fox Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Happy Sunday Everyone! Today I'm excited to participate in Mama the Fox's Pumpkin Giveaway Hop hosted by MamatheFox

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 10/16 – 10/31/2022 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 Guest Posts

Monday, October 17th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Eve Adler and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 24th, I have a guest post by debut author George Jreije and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria 

Wednesday, November 2 I have an agent/author guest post by Marlo Berliner and Charity Alyse and a giveaway of Charity’s YA contemporary Other Side of the Tracks and a critique query by Marlo

Monday, November 7 I have an interview with debut author Elaine Kachala and a giveaway of her MG nonfiction book Superpower? The Wearable-Tech Revolution

Tuesday, November 8 I’m participating in the  Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 14 I have an agent spotlight interview with Adria Goetz and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, November 16 I’m participating in the In All Things Give Thanks Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 23 I have a guest post by author Jessica Vitalis and a giveaway of her MG fantasy The Rabbit’s Gift

Hope to see you on Monday!

And here are all the other blogs participating in this blog hop:


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

Literary Agent Interview: Sarah Stephens Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Sarah Stephens here. She is a literary agent at Red Fox Literary.

NOTE: Sarah is closed to queries but has created a special submission form on Query Tracker for Literary Rambles followers that will be open until March 2023. You can find the link in this interview. 

Hi­ Sarah! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Sarah:

1.     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 Red Fox in May of 2021, I was looking for way to work more collaboratively in the children’s book world that I adore, and a good friend told me I should talk to Abigail Samoun about agenting. The timing was perfect because Abi and Karen Grencik, the other principal at Red Fox, were in need of assistance and generously offered me the chance to help out and do some shadowing—to try on the fox ears, if you will. Turns out they were a great fit!

I have signed nine clients, four single-title projects, and negotiated twelve contracts in a year and a half—though a few of those contracts were in the works before I stepped onto the scene. I have amazing clients and the work of making connections is truly satisfying!

 

 About the Agency:

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

Red Fox is a boutique children’s literary agency with eight amazing agents. Though we all have strengths—industry knowledge, editorial prowess, negotiating know-how, straight-up magic—to varying degrees, we support one another to get the best for our clients. I think relationships are paramount for all of us and we work hard to provide every client what they need. For that reason the services tend to be as personal and unique as the individuals. I knew I was in the right place when Karen told me that the most important things to her are honesty and kindness. (Which together equal integrity, right?) That’s when I knew I was in the right den!

What She’s Looking For:

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

I represent all age groups, board books to YA. I would say my sweet spot is picture books, but I’d love to work with a feisty beginning reader or chapter book creator or see a character driven series for this age group. I like innovative and entertaining nonfiction picture books. In all ages I am looking for untold stories, strong voice, and diverse creators.

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

N/A

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I do not like books with overt lessons, or jokes that wink over the heads of children. I don’t generally go for sentimental or issue books and I’m not a good agent for sci-fi or fantasy unless it’s a really fun fuzzy mash-up like Catstronauts.

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?

In order for me to be the best champion for a person or a project I need to feel a connection and I think that should go both ways. Trust and honesty are essential (again, both ways). I think we are all looking for the right match. It may be clichĂ©, but when I am looking at queries I need the goosebumps, the excitement, the can’t-stop-thinking-about-it feeling. This all sounds like bad relationship metaphors! But agenting is a commitment so it’s best to be in love with the stories.

Editorial Agent:

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

I do consider myself an editorial agent—largely because of my experience writing co-writing and editing, and the fact that I love the creative process and being collaborative! I give feedback from general to detailed line edits depending on what a project needs. This feedback can come in the form of letters, emails, or phone calls depending. I make suggestions and I am always cognizant of the facts that my client is the creator and has control of their work and I am not the ultimate editor. My goal is to help my client get their work to a point that an editor can see its potential.

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?

In a query letter; tell me briefly about why you are passionate about the story you’re submitting, what makes you uniquely suited to tell it, and also (of course) a brief idea of what the story is.

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

I like queries to be brief because I want to get to the story!

Response Time:

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

I do my best not to keep anyone waiting longer than three months. Most of the time it’s 3-4 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 am open to that. I encourage writers to pursue traditional publishing because there are SO many aspects to bookmaking beyond writing. Publishing with a small press is a great avenue. I submit to small presses for my clients because they are often able to give creators more attention.

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 haven’t been wearing my agent hat for very long so it’s hard for me to speak to how that role has and is changing. But I have been working in the industry for 26 years and can tell you the only constant is change. We are all adapting constantly. The good news is that great books continue to get published.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Monica Clark-Robinson, Vicki Conroy, Moni Ritchie-Hadley, Rebecca Hirsch, author/illustrator Emmeline Forrestal, and illustrator Melodie Stacey, to name a few.

Interviews and Guest Posts:

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

Links and Contact Info:

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

QueryManager.com/Sarah_Stephens/Spotlight

I am not currently open, but I created an event submission form on Query Tracker that will be open until March.

http://www.redfoxliterary.com/index.html

Find me on Instagram at quick.redfox

Additional Advice:

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

You may have heard this advice before, because it is some of the best, but read, read, read! Knowing your craft, working hard, and persevering are the key ingredients.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Sarah.

­Sarah 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 22nd. 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: Kim Bartosch and Ask the Girl Giveaway and IWSG Post

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Kim Bartosch here to share about her YA ghost story/mystery Ask the Girl. She’s my wonderful critique partner, and it’s awesome to help her celebrate the release of her debut book. I know you’re going to enjoy hearing about her unique path to publication. I read an early version of Ask the Girl and loved that it was a ghost story/mystery with strong main characters that I really cared about.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

Nobody believes sixteen-year-old Lila Sadler, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Nobody believes that Lila’s sister Rose is possessed by the ghost of Katy Watkins. As Rose’s health worsens each day, the only way to save her is to uncover the awful truth of Katy's death so many years ago. And nobody knows what happened to Katy on October 31, 1925. Not even Katy. Unaware that she was murdered, Katy has wandered for a hundred years in complete ignorance, until the day she meets Rose and Lila. Together Lila, Rose, and Katy must confront their demons to escape this hell. But will they be able to escape? Can they forgive the unforgivable?

 


Before I get to my interview with Kim, I have my IWSG Post.

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

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

The awesome co-hosts this month are Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox!

Optional Question: What do you consider the best aspects of your favorite genres?

I love fantasies and mysteries. For fantasies, I love the magic, magical beings, and world-building. For mysteries, the plot has to keep me guessing till the end. For both genres, I need the plot to be fast-paced. I can’t slog through plots that drag anymore.

What do you consider the best aspects of your favorite genre?

Interview With Kim Bartosch

Hi Kim! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing ever since I could read and write. I loved playing pretend and creating worlds and adventures for me and my friends. Soon these stories were kept secret in a locked chest when I got older. But like most dreams, I put writing on hold to do life stuff, such as get a job, get married, and having children. I always dreamed of being a writer but never actually attempted the process until my oldest was born. While on maternity leave, I got restless and began to write a YA novel. That story is in a file cabinet somewhere, and one day may come back out but it was the beginning of many more stories and my pursuit of becoming a published author.

2. Where did you get the idea for Ask the Girl?

Ask the Girl started out as a contemporary story about a girl who has a sister with bipolar disorder. It was inspired by my experience with my sister and my mother with her sister. I struggled with the story and soon got bored of it until I added my ghost, Kate Watkins. Then the story came to life and soon developed into the book today. Which I like to add, write what you know AND write what you love. I love mysteries, ghost stories, and the paranormal so I like to combine this genre with experiences I know.

Your Writing Process

3. That’s great that adding Katie made your story come to life. How long did it take you to write and edit Ask the Girl?

Oh boy, it took me five years. That’s because I was juggling a job, babies, and eventually a diagnosis with breast cancer. In between, all of these life events I squeezed in writing, and editing. Now that I’m cancer free and my kids are older I do have more time and hope my next book won’t take as long.

4. I have to juggle a lot and need to squeeze my writing in too. Were you a plotter or punster when you wrote this manuscript? Has this changed since you wrote Ask the Girl?

Ask the Girl was a panster book. I just sat down and began to write. But since then, I’ve discovered creating an outline of my story works better and saves time on the editing process. Out of the five years of writing Ask the Girl, I would say the majority of that time was spent editing. Now that I do outlines, I feel I’m better organized, the plot flows better, and I’m less likely to have writer’s block.

5. I wish I could create a complete outline, but I haven’t been able to yet. Was it hard to write from Lila’s and Rose’s points of view? What are your tips for getting multiple main characters’ voices right?

Rose was easy because that was basically me. Lila too was simple because that character was based on my sister. The difficult POV was Kate, because she was from a different time and I had to get her voice to sound different from Rose and Lila. That took a lot of research of 1920’s slang and a lot of editing. My big tip for finding your character’s voice is to do an imageboard of your character before you begin writing. Paste and tape photos of what your character may look like, the clothes they may wear, their favorite music, makeup, hobbies, food, house, bike, or any like or dislike on a poster board. Then hang it up in your office or wherever you write. When you're stuck look at your imageboard. Also, music is useful for helping me find my character’s voice. I will listen to songs my character likes.

6. What was a challenge you faced in writing Ask the Girl? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was the middle few chapters. I don’t know why but I struggled getting those middle chapters completed. At one point, I got frustrated and wrote my final three chapters hoping it would inspire me to finish. Instead, it left a gap in my book. So I forced myself to sit my butt down at one point and finish it. It was a few late nights and five or six tubs of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream before I got it done. 

Your Road to Publication

7. Your road to publication is different from the way many authors get their first book deal. Share about how you got your book deal.

So, I won a Facebook sweepstake to a writer’s retreat called When Words Count in Vermont. It was a fabulous getaway and I met some awesome authors and writers. During this visit, I learned of a competition they have twice a year called Pitch Week. After much debate, I entered the competition and became one of the five finalists. So for this competition, I had to create a cover page, marketing plan, and presentation of the author behind the book. Long story short, I won and the prize was a publishing deal with Woodhall Press, a small independent publisher.

8. Your publisher is Woodhall Press. What was it like working with a small press? Do you have any advice that would be helpful for an author working with a smaller press?

A small press is like a small privately owned business. Everyone wears many different hats. Therefore, my editor, who helped me with Ask the Girl, also was the CEO, accountant, and more. So everyone is doing many things, often at the same time. Because of this I found that I had more control over the cover art, and layout of my book, where many authors with larger imprints don’t. But, I also found many errors within the book  and on the cover. I would highly recommend always looking over your book once you receive your final ARC with a small press. Overall, I liked working with Woodhall Press. They’re very friendly and with a small press, they celebrate with you on each accomplishment.

Marketing

9. You were assigned a publicist. How did working with a publicist help you develop your marketing plan?

I didn’t have a publicist. The first place prize included a publicist but the one the organization used resigned so I did not get any help when originally. But I did develop a marketing plan through the competition and I pretty much kept with that plan.

10. That’s too bad you didn’t get the help of a publicist like you were supposed to. Your book was released on 9/6/2022. How have you been marketing your book? Do you have any advice on promoting a book for authors planning to debut?

So, marketing is a mystery to me. I read every book and searched every site on how to develop a good marketing plan for a book. I learned a few things but most of my help came from Natalie’s suggestions, one was to use a blog tour company. The two I used were Rockstar Book Tours and Bewitching Book Tours. Both were excellent and offered some wonderful bloggers and instagrammers to promote my book. I also use Bookfunnel to promote my book with newsletter swaps, giveaways, and promos with other authors and Netgalley for reviews. I highly recommend Bookfunnel, it has great promotions, for example I found one with Bookmojo called The Sound of Stories. This audiobook promo provided so many subscribers to my website and sales of my audiobook, which was awesome!  One thing I didn’t do was a giveaway with Goodreads because it was too expensive and I didn’t see how it would help, particularly trying to compete with the big 6 publishers pushing their books on the site. Finally, SCBWI.org has helped out so much with the promotion of my book by including it on their blog and offering bookselling events at local festivals. I highly, highly recommend joining SCBWI or a writer’s organization as another source for marketing and sales.

11. Glad my advice helped. These are great tips. What are you working on now?

Currently, I’m working on a young adult fantasy romance about vikings and a psychological thriller of twin sisters. I also have a fun chapter book called Maggie Muddle, who is too honest, direct for her own good.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kim. You can find Kim at kimbartosch.com, Facebook, or @kimbartosch on Twitter or Instagram. You can buy Ask the Girl on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Bookshop.org. Ask the Girl is also available on Audible and Chirp.

Giveaway Details

Kim is generously offering a signed paperback of Ask the Girl 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 October 22nd. 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 or Kim on her social media sites, 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 book giveaway is U.S.

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, October 16th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Sarah Stephens and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, October 16th, I’m participating in the Cheeky Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 17th, I have an agent spotlight interview with Eve Adler and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 24th, I have a guest post by debut author George Jreije and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Shad Hadid and the Alchemists of Alexandria 

Hope to see you on Monday!