Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

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

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

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

What to Expect After Landing an Agent by Agent/Author Marlo Berliner and Charity Alyse and Other Side of the Tracks and Query Critique Giveaway and IWSG Post

Happy Wednesday Everyone! I’m excited to have debut author Charity Alyse and her agent Marlo Berliner here to share about what to expect after landing an agent to celebrate the release of Charity’s YA contemporary Other Side of the Tracks. From reading the blurb, I know I’m going to like this book. Can’t wait to read it.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

This lilting and riveting young adult debut novel about three teens entangled by secret love, open hatred, and the invisible societal constraints wrapped around people both Black and white is perfect for readers of All American Boys and The Hate U Give.

There is an unspoken agreement between the racially divided towns of Bayside and Hamilton: no one steps over the train tracks that divide them. Or else.

Not until Zach Whitman anyway, a white boy who moves in from Philly and who dreams of music. When he follows his dream across the tracks to meet his idol, the famous jazz musician who owns The Sunlight Record Shop in Hamilton, he’s flung into Capri Collins’s path.

Capri has big plans: she wants to follow her late mother’s famous footsteps, dancing her way onto Broadway, and leaving this town for good, just like her older brother, Justin, is planning to do when he goes off to college next year. As sparks fly, Zach and Capri realize that they can help each other turn hope into a reality, even if it means crossing the tracks to do it.

But one tragic night changes everything. When Justin’s friend, the star of Hamilton’s football team, is murdered by a white Bayside police officer, the long-standing feud between Bayside and Hamilton becomes an all-out war. And Capri, Justin, and Zach are right in the middle of it.


Before I get to Charity and Marlo’s guest post, 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 Diedre Knight, Douglas Thomas Greening, Nick Wilford, and Diane Burton!

Optional Question: November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

I’m going to keep my answer short because I have something else to share. No, I’ve never participated because I’m too busy with work and other obligations. However, these last few years I’ve been trying to spend more time writing in November, and I’m planning to do the same thing this month.

I could use your help in promoting a play I’m producing for PTD Productions, a community theater group in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I’m producing The Sweet Delilah Swim Club, by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, a comic and poignant story of five Southern women who became friends on a college swim team. You get to meet them over four different weekends while they are in their 40's 50's and 70's. It is being directed by Karrie Waarala, who is also the Director of the Saline District Library. You can find out more information about the play at PTD Productions’ website and Facebook page.

If you live in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti or Metro Detroit areas, I’m inviting you to come to see the show. And please share about the play on your social media sites. Thanks so much!  

Now here’s Charity and Marlo!

What to Expect after Landing an Agent:


My journey to publication was far from glamorous. From the very beginning, it’s been themed with rejection. 

I was in kindergarten the first time I heard that my dream of being an author would never come to pass. My teacher said it with a grimace, releasing the first of many rejections that I’d experienced. 

I put away my paper and pen after that—for a long time. Until I finished my first novel, “The Life and Times of Darby Brown,” which was loosely based on my own experience with bullying. As if thirteen-year-old Charity had lived a life soaked in so much time, it still makes me laugh to this day. Still, I knew this needed to be in the hands of little girls everywhere. After a ton of internet research, I discovered how my favorite published authors got their books on the shelves of bookstores and into my hand. It took a fairy godmother of sorts, someone willing to take their paperback dreams and turn them into reality. Next to Jesus, they to me were the key to making my greatest want a reality. 

“A literary agent.” Just the job title sent my heart fluttering. 

I queried by book to one agent and never got a response. Again, my little heart was crushed. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that I jumped into the pool of querying again. I’d completed a ten-page story for my creative writing class. My professor suggested I’d turn it into a novel for publication. Nine months later, I finished and she helped me create a query letter. I was positive that this time it would be easier than before. I had what I believed to be a great story. Surely I’d get a yes right away? Right? Wrong. 234 rejections passed before I received the “yes” we all look for! Finally, I thought. I’d gotten my own Literary Fairy Godmother: Marlo Berliner.

I thought after landing an agent, I assumed things would be easy. Life after signing with Marlo wasn’t all glitter, magical pumpkin carriages, and glass heels. Perhaps you’re at the stage where I resided for so long. Maybe you’ve finished your novel and you’re looking for representation. Maybe you are drowning in rejection or just started querying. Maybe you’ve gotten invited to speak on the phone with an agent (or multiple agents) and you’re curious about how life will look after the clock strikes midnight and you sign that contract. 

Fear not! Marlo and I have partnered together to present you with some things to expect after landing an agent. Here are three myths that I believed and the truths that set me free:

 1.  “I got an agent! Time to go on submission!”

Charity: When Marlo officially became my agent, I thought we’d immediately go on submission because she loved it so much. I was so very wrong. Even before partnering with Marlo, I’d had an editorial interest in Other Side of the Tracks because of a mutual connection. I thought we’d immediately submit and get the book deal but Marlo wanted to make sure that the manuscript was the best that it could be, even with the interest from an editor. She read through Other Side of the Tracks so quickly and we went through a few rounds of edits. I’m not a very patient person, but the agent and author partnership really taught me the importance of patience. Every step of the process to publication is about to drive, determination, and most importantly—patience. After signing with your dream agent, you most likely won’t go on submission right away. Your agent will probably have some suggestions that will strengthen your manuscript. Don’t despise this! Revisiting your manuscript a few times before going on submission is really important and heightens your chance of getting that deal! Think about it, you’re going to want your book to be in top shape. There are so many other polished books on the same editor’s desk you submitted to. Trust the process. I promise it will pay off. 

How do I know? The polished manuscript was sent to auction about two months after submission!

Marlo: Let me first start out by saying that Other Side of the Tracks blew me away! The emotionally gripping story and Charity’s lyrical prose had me hooked from page one and kept me spellbound all the way through to the very last page. I read it in nearly one sitting and knew immediately that I had a special book on my hands. But even though that was the case, I never send a manuscript out without doing a ‘big picture’ edit, and then putting a final polish on it with a line edit. When all is said and done, I go through multiple edits with my clients to be sure each book is the best it can be before it goes out on submission. At times it can be tough to be patient, when both author and agent are itching to get a book out on submission, but in the end, it is worth the wait!

2.     “After I sign my book deal, I don’t need my agent anymore!”

Charity: This is a common myth, but far from the truth. Your agent will be the person who advocates for you through the entire publication process. With a wave of their magic wand (emails and phone calls), they’ll magically transform your stress into peace so that you can focus on your writing. It’s not just the agent's job to get you the deal, they also speak with your editor about the things you might be too uncomfortable talking about. Not feeling your cover draft? Let your agent know. Also, if you retained your foreign, audio, or film rights your agency will be in charge of shopping them around. Keep your agent close! They will be with you every step of the way!

Marlo: Charity is spot on! Your agent’s job continues long after we negotiate that great deal for you. Along with your publisher, we help shepherd your book through to publication and beyond. We answer any questions you have along the way. As Charity mentioned, we shop whatever rights weren’t snapped up by your publisher. We’re the liaison between you and your editor and publisher, stepping in if you need an advocate. We make sure you get paid by your publisher according to your contract, and explain those complicated royalty statements to you. We advise you on what to write next and then help you sell your next book. Throughout your author career, we help motivate, support, and guide you.

3.     Remember, to say, “thank you!”

Charity: Agents work really hard. They do a lot of behind-the-scenes work for a very little percentage of your advance and book sales. They’re also working with a lot of other clients at the same time. Not to mention the fact that publishing can be stressful and ever-changing. Remember to appreciate your agent verbally. Tell them thank you and mean it. I included a big thank you on the acknowledgment page for Other Side of the Tracks! So much stuff (and tears) go on behind the scenes and Marlo has been there for it all. She’s super encouraging and always there to calm my ever-floundering worries. 

An agent-author relationship is so powerful. It involves mutual cooperation, understanding, and communication. It also involves so much fun. Being on submission is a wild ride and it doesn’t just stop at the book deal. Cherish every step of the way.

Marlo: Agents and authors both work very hard! Which is why the agent-author relationship is a partnership. I agree whole-heartedly that mutual cooperation, understanding, and communication are so important! As is a solid foundation of respect, trust, and patience between the agent and client. Your agent is your number one fan and your biggest supporter, so we’re truly grateful when our clients realize that. It’s been an honor to work with Charity and I cherish our partnership!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Charity and Marlo. You can find them at:



Instagram: @charity_alyse 

Twitter: @charity_alyse



Twitter: @MarloBerliner

Giveaway Details

Charity has generously offered a signed hardback of Other Side of the Tracks and Marlo has offered a query critique 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 22nd. If you do not want to be included in the critique giveaway, please let me know in the comments. 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 Charity or Marlo on their 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. and Canada and the query critique giveaways is International.

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

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

Tuesday, December 6 I’m participating in the Winter Is Coming Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, December 7 I have a guest post by debut author Deeba Zargarpur and a giveaway of her YA contemporary House of Yesterday and my IWSG post

Monday, December 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kelly Dyksterhouse and a query critique giveaway

Friday, December 16 I’m participating in the Dashing December Giveaway Hop

Monday, December 19 I have an agent spotlight interview with Savannah Brooks and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Monday!





Carrie_Karnes_Fannin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carrie_Karnes_Fannin said...

Thank you for this great dual interview, Charity and Marlo! It's always fascinating to get a behind-the-scenes look at the agent/author relationship and process.

(My email for the newsletter is caisue1@gmail.com)

Leigh Caron said...

What a great interview. I loved reading both women's comments and the reality of what happens on the path to publication. And wow, 234 rejections. And I thought 100 was a lot. Also, I'll be only 40 miles away in a week or so for Thanksgiving, and will definitely check out the play if I can squeeze it into.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

The play sounds awesome! I studied Theatre in university, but I haven't seen or taken part in it regularly in a looong time. I'm a BIT far to come by to check this one out, but I wish you all the best of luck!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wish I was closer so I could see your play. Hope it's a big success!

Pat Garcia said...

Good luck with your play!
All the best.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Jennifer Hawes said...

You're producing a play?? How exciting! I wish I was in the area. My husband is from Michigan:) Take some pics and post if you can.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's wonderful about your play.

Most writers need to realize signing with an agent is just a step. The book still needs to sell to a publisher.

Lisa said...

How cool about your play! If I lived near I would come, good luck!!! Also, great interviews. Thanks for sharing.

Bish Denham said...

I'm happy for you and your play!!

Other Side of the Tracks sounds like a timely novel. Congratulations! Great interview with a nice bit of information.

Debs Carey said...

You are one very busy lady Natalie, I don't see how you could squeeze any more in. So, unless it feels like it would serve you, I can totally understand that you'd choose not to participate.

Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats on the play - that's awesome!!

Congrats to Charity on the book as well. Sounds like a powerful story with strong characters!

J.Q. Rose said...

Interesting dual interview. I'm from West Michigan, but not there this winter, so I can't come to the play. I love love love community theater. The one play I actually "acted" in for our community group, I played a maid and a Hooverville bum. Loved kicking up my heels in the chorus line. Break a leg!

emaginette said...

The play sounds amazing. I'm sorry I'm not in the area to enjoy it.

Break a leg, everyone. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

Rachna Chhabria said...

I too have never taken part in NaNo, too many things take my time so NaNo always gets the miss. Happy Thanksgiving Natalie.

Loni Townsend said...

That's awesome about the play! I live clear over in Idaho, so I won't be able to come see, but woot! Grats for the opportunity!

Sonia dogra said...

I love the idea of the play. Sounds very interesting. Thank you for this interesting interview.

Danielle H. said...

I enjoyed this honest look into the author/agent relationship. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. This book sounds amazing and I have it on my TBR. I shared this post on tumblr, follow Natalie on Twitter, and follow both Charity and Marlo on Instagram. Please do not enter my name in the critique giveaway.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

That's a great interview--I liked seeing a bit more behind the scenes, and Charity's story of being repeatedly crushed I'm sure resonates with a lot of people.

Just as a note, I see that this year NaNo allows you to set your own goal, so maybe it can be made to fit your efforts to write more in November?

Sandra Cox said...

Great interviews, ladies. Wishing Charity much success.

Hannah said...

Really interesting interview- thanks :)

(email for competition: bookslifeotheroddities@gmail.com)

Kate Larkindale said...

Sounds like a great book! Bet of luck with it Charity!

Melissa said...

Sounds like a neat production. Good luck!

diedre Knight said...

Hi Natalie!
You are, as usual, the busiest bee in our ever-buzzing network ;-) Don’t know how you do it.

Big hugs and best wishes to Charity on her new release! “Other Side of the Tracks” sounds like an awesome read – and I love the cover ;-)

Happy November!

Tonja Drecker said...

Wow, you're busy! Here's wishing you the best and tons of success and whatever else you'll need or desire.

ET Charles said...

Congratulations on the play.

Nice interview on expectations after landing an agent. Thank you Charity Alyse and Marlo Berliner.

Please exempt me from the wonderful giveaways.

Samantha Bryant said...

Neat dual interview! @samanthabwriter from
Balancing Act

cleemckenzie said...

Loved reading both sides. Huge congrats to Charity Alyse on her book.

Liz A. said...

Some great advice. It looks like a good book.

Olga Godim said...

Interesting dynamics between an author and an agent. Thanks for your sincerity, girls. Congrats on your book release.

Jennifer Lane said...

I made wonderful friends on my college swim team! Sounds like a fun play.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Natalie! As always, chock full of agent/author info. Thanks.

Carol Baldwin said...

This book sounds amazing and I loved hearing the path to publication story. I will share this on twitter and just followed Marlo and Charity. Count me in for both giveaways and thanks!

BoogieBackLindy said...

Thank you Marlo and Charity for sharing your experiences! And congratulations on your published book.

Unknown said...

This blog is always so useful! Thanks!

J.S. Puller said...

Long-time follower, first time poster. Thanks for sharing this story!

Jean Davis said...

I hope your play goes well! It sounds like it will be a a great show.

Lauri Meyers said...

Sounds like you two developed a great working relationship that can carry on for many books to come! Best of luck with the play you are producing Natalie- very cool! (I follow Natalie, Marlo and Charity on twitter)

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Natalie! Congratulations and good luck with your play. I've written and directed a number of plays over the years, and I know how exciting it is to see your play come to life in a production. You featured a wonderful interview with Charity and Marlow. The story sounds wonderful! I'd like to be entered in the drawing. All the best to you all in November!

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the post today, would love to get a copy of the book!

Nick Wilford said...

Great interview! Best of luck with the play.

Yangmama said...

I love reading interviews like this when you learn from both the writer and the agent/editor. Ladies, thank you both for taking the time out to chat with us! Wishing you both much success with this very intriguing book!

Jay Linden said...

So heartening to read about a successful and respectful agent author relationship. The book sounds amazing and I've long had Marlo on my agents to query. Authors definitely want agents who are their number one fans and we also need to do the work to make all the agents efforts worthwhile. Yes to being in for the critique giveaway. Thanks Natalie and good luck with the play - a huge adventure in itself and you are still posting! Awesome :-)

Leela said...

I'm an email subscriber.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I wish I lived close enough to attend the play. I'd be happy to spread the word, though I'm not sure how many people I know in that area...

Donna K. Weaver said...

Fortunately, there are other times of the year now you can have a NaNo experience. It's called Camp NaNo, and I think it's in April and July. I found it a useful endeavor even on the years I haven't won.

Kerry Hansen (she/her) said...

Thanks, as always, Natalie, for such a great interview and the opportunity to win a critique and copy of that amazing book. Can't wait to read it! I also posted to Twitter.

Sherry Ellis said...

I hear you about being busy! I wish I was in Ann Arbor to see your play. Sounds like you've done a lot of work on it. Hope it goes well!

I received Don't Let In the Cold from your giveaway. It's a great book! Thanks again for selecting me as the winner!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Great interview. Other Side of the Tracks sounds wonderful too.

And yeah, November is a busy month for intense writing that NaNo encourages. It's great you're setting aside time to write more.

Janet Frenck Sheets said...

Thanks for all your author and agent interviews. I always learn something new. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, too.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Congratulations on the play! I hope you get full audiences.

It's really helpful to a conversation/interview involving an agent and a client.

Jessica Haster said...

I can identify with putting your dreams aside to pursue more "attainable" goals. I'm glad you kept writing!

polly said...

Email subscriber

Nina Snyder said...

That's encouraging! I definitely have at least 100 rejections so far LOL. My email is nina.t.snyder @ gmail.com

Elizabeth Botsford said...

Hello - Thank you for your very interesting blog. I have followed you and now I'm leaving a comment. Please let me know how to enter into the competitions for the query reviews. Thank you so much.
Elizabeth Botsford

Natalie Aguirre said...

Hi Elizabeth, glad you found Literary Rambles. You just have to leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the query critique in author/agent guest posts and my agent spotlight interviews.

Emily said...

Thanks so much for the insights!


Unknown said...

I always love to read about someone who succeeded in what we're all trying to do. You go, girl!
This is my first comment on your blog Natalie, I've been lurking around the corners for the past two or three months and I cannot state how much you've helped me. I'm currently trying to land an agent so I would love to enter the query giveaway if it's still open!

Unknown said...

The comment above this one should be mine... I guess I was a bit too eager to enter the competition.
My email address is djivo2000@gmail.com