Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024

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.

Agent Scam Alert: How to Protect Yourself From People Pretending to Be Agents

 

Happy Monday Everyone! One of my projects this year is to update the agent spotlights. One thing I have noticed is that there is a warning on many agency websites informing writers that people are impersonating agents at their literary agency. Then Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates Literary Agency mentioned that she and another agent at her agency had been impersonated when she reviewed her agent spotlight for me. She recommended that I warn my followers about this scam. Here’s what you should know not to be scammed.

Warning Signs That You Are the Victim of an Agent Scam

Writers seeking an agent and self-published authors are often the targets of individuals pretending to be a real literary agent. Another scam is pretending to be a literary agent at a fake agency. Here are some warning signs to watch for: 

·       Charging you fees. Some fake literary agents offer to help you obtain a publishing contract but will charge you reading, editing, or other fees before they get you a contract. A legitimate agent will not charge these fees and will only charge a commission, which is paid only if you sign a publishing contract.

·       Contacting you out of the blue. Individuals impersonating agents will contact you out of the blue. The reality is that legitimate literary agents do not have the time or need to search for clients because they are overwhelmed by queries from writers. One way to know the person contacting you is a fake is to check their email address to see if it is a personal rather than an agency email address or research the agency they claim to be from.

·       Claiming a publisher is interested. Some fake agents claim that a publisher is interested in your manuscript and that they will negotiate your contract for an upfront fee.

·       Marketing your book. Scam agents may also promise to get your book into bookstores, get you a spot on a radio or television show, or launch a press release campaign for an expensive fee. Many of their marketing methods may not be effective and are overpriced. In addition, these scammers don’t fulfill their promises.

·       Offering to get you reviews. Another scam that fake agents are promoting is to promise an author that they can get them reviews of their book—for a few hundred dollars each. Legitimate agents would never charge this type of fee.

·       Making unrealistic promises. If an agent’s promises seem too good to be true, they probably are, and it’s a red flag that the person is a scammer.

Five Ways to Protect Yourself From Scammers

You can protect yourself from a fake agent and other publishing scams. Here are five tips you should follow: 

1.     Educate yourself on how the publishing industry works and how literary agents are paid.

2.     Be very skeptical if you are contacted by an agent out of the blue unless an author you know has referred you to an agent.

3.     Do not pay any upfront fees to obtain representation or other services from an agent.

4.     If you are unsure of the identity of the person contacting you, research them thoroughly. Also, do not click on any links in their email.

5.     Keep up-to-date about potential scams by reading Victoria Strauss’ Writer Beware blog and other trusted blogs or other publishing industry publications.

Additional Resources on Agent Scams

Here are the links to articles I read when writing this post and some helpful-looking podcasts on this issue:

https://annerallen.com/2022/08/bogus-agents-scam-warnings-for-writers/

https://writerbeware.blog/2022/07/29/metamorphosis-and-impersonation-a-new-front-for-an-old-scam/

https://writerunboxed.com/2022/02/25/out-of-the-blue-too-good-to-be-true-beware-soliciation-scams/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvQEwEmoCdw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDg0Kt1xIzc

Have been contacted by someone pretending to be an agent? Do you have other tips on how to avoid being scammed? Share your advice in the comments.

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Saturday, April 1 I’m participating in the Honey Bunny Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, April 5 I have an interview with debut author Lauren Thoman with a giveaway of her YA mystery I’ll Stop the World and my IWSG post

Thursday, April 6 I’m participating in the Dancing in the Rain Giveaway Hop

Monday, April 10 I have an interview with debut author Meg Eden Kuyatt and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Good Different

Wednesday, April 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Roma Panganiban and a query critique giveaway

Monday, April 17 I have a guest post by debut author Justine Pucella Winans and a giveaway of her YA thriller Bianca Torre Is Afraid of Everything

Monday, April 24 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jennifer Chen Tran and a query critique giveaway

Hope to see you on Saturday!

 


Literary Agent Interview: Kristen Terrette Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Kristen Terrette here. She is a literary manager at Martin Literary Management.

Hi­ Kristen! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Kristen:

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

A few years ago, I started joking with friends that agenting would be my dream job—getting to work with authors and books all day sounded amazing! Eventually, the thought settled and took root. I started asking, “How can I make that happen?”

And I’m still asking myself how it did, how I got so lucky being hired last fall by Martin Literary and Media Management. I truly believe my Writers House Intern Program (summer of 2022) moved me up amongst the applicants, then my background, once pieced together from all my different publishing jobs and career opportunities paved the way for an interview with Sharlene Martin.

The array of things I’ve done—teaching, children’s ministry, writing (fiction, nonfiction, articles/blogs), editing, social media and blog managing—gave me the skills needed. Sharlene is wonderful and confident in her ability to train and take on new and eager managers, and she wanted to fill some gaps in the genres her company represented.

I was able to fill the faith-based submissions gap for her. Combined with women-focused crime thrillers, taking on kid lit submissions (which there are a lot of), and my other wishlist genres, the timing was just right! I hit the ground running and have taken on twelve clients, and a few I’m hopeful to sign soon. J I’ve gotten quite a few submissions out already and hope to make some big announcements soon!

About the Agency:

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

Martin Literary & Media Management just hit their twenty year anniversary!

 

Here’s the lowdown on us: We’re a full service literary and media management agency. We focus on representing authors of adult nonfiction, fiction, and books for children and young adults. Our clients’ titles have appeared on the New York Times bestseller and other national bestseller lists, earned strong reviews, received many awards, and garnered national media attention. Many of our clients’ works have been optioned and developed for film and television projects and have helped promote speaking engagements.

 

We pride ourselves on providing thoughtful and considerate management of our clients. We also pride ourselves on being a modern literary agency capable of developing the many potential ancillary opportunities that exist outside of the book world.

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 Kidlit in all age ranges and for both fiction and nonfiction. I will say my PB lists feels tight right now, and Middle Grade is getting there, but as long as I find projects fundamentally different from what a client’s already bring to the table, I’m game to look at it with excitement. And a great book is a great book! I haven’t signed any MG or YA Fantasy novels yet, so I’d love to fill that gap. I’m not the best for HIGH fantasy, and it MUST stand out from my other submissions, but send it! Also, note, I’m not drawn to weak female protagonists. I’d also love more supernatural or scary stories in MG and YA. As well as genre mashups. J

I am also really looking for some Christian Women’s fiction, Suspense, or Romance. Please send me some of this! And also in the Christian lane, I’d love devotionals for all ages. (Note, this needs to some from an author with a platform to leverage.)

In the adult fiction genre, I want women’s crime thrillers, suspense, supernatural, horror, speculative… I don’t read true science fiction, so I’m not the best for those submissions.

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

Scary, ominous stories! I’m not into lots of gore, but I wish had more creepy manuscripts in my inbox.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Science Fiction. Self-published books where the author is now trying to find representation for that book (it’s too late). Political Agenda Plots. Extremely foul-mouthed characters. Books over 100,000 words.

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 is to work with authors who represent a wide array of genres/subgenres and ways of life with books that speak to this. No matter the genre, I want my client’s book to remain on a reader’s shelf forever, because it’s unthinkable that they could part with it, unthinkable they wouldn’t read again or for the tenth time because it has impacted them so greatly. The shelves at my house have limited space, so I’ve had to donate many books over the years, but those ones that remain are ones I could never let go of. This is what I want to be a part of.

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’m 100% an editorial agent. I feel my own writing career—being in the query trenches, having critique partners, going through edits with my own editors—have only enhanced my ability to serve my clients in this way. All my clients have gone through an edit with me. Some have been quick, some longer. I feel like as their agent, it’s my job to take their manuscript as far as I can take it, so it’s polished and, hopefully, an editor can grab onto a vision of where they can take it next.

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 take queries via Query Manager (https://querymanager.com/query/KristenTerrette). And please fill in all the blanks. They are there for a reason. Sometimes I scroll right to the pitch (should be short and grabbing). If I like the pitch, I’ll go to the query letter, then proceed to the sample pages. If I like the sample pages, I’ll go to the bio and see if there are links to the author’s Twitter account or website, etc.

It’s a process for me, and if boxes aren’t filled out it makes me wonder if they’re serious writers or… lazy. I know (I’ve submitted many queries myself!) that it's annoying to fill in all the boxes, but they’re there for a reason. J

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

I’d say to be sure of your genre (and subgenres) and that your word count is within industry standards. This can be a quick red flag that your manuscript isn’t ready yet. I also will add heavy block text says you may not organize your thoughts well (this applies to the query and the first pages).

In the ten pages, don’t send me your Prologue. I’ll skip it and go right to the first line of the first chapter. That’s the most important one, and it better grab me.

Response Time:

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

Most of the time, I’m able to respond to queries within six weeks. If I’ve requested material, it’s been quite a bit longer. I’d love to say, three months, but in truth, it’s likely more like six months. I do ask that anyone who receives an offer of representation to inform me immediately and give me a deadline to respond. Their material will move to the top of my reading list.

Self-Published and Small Press Authors:

11.  Are you open to representing authors who have self-published or been published by smaller presses? What advice do you have for them if they want to try to find an agent to represent them?

I am, especially those published with smaller presses. It is harder for self-published authors. Did they put a book on the market before it was ready? (Sadly, this is almost always the case.) Did it have low sales numbers?

If you have a dream of being traditionally published, my standard advice is not to self-publish. Just work hard at your craft and be patient. Publishing is a long and slow journey. It takes tenacity and tough skin, which means self-publishing can be seen as the easy way out.

However, if you are a fantastic writer and businessman, then go for it. Show me your amazing sales record and lots of five-star reviews. Then, this could become a selling point for you in getting a traditional publishing contract. 

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 don’t, only because editors count on us to vet and stand by the submissions we send their way. I think this buffer will always have a place in this field, and I’ve found many authors simply want to write. They love that they have someone committed to their success and not only routing for them but guiding them through the sales and contractual process which can be overwhelming.

I pray constantly for my clients and my ability to lead them to the right editors for their manuscripts. I also pray for the editors that will be opening my submissions. I think agents will always be a key component linking these two creatives.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

No one you’d likely know YET! But many coming. J I do keep my client page up-to-date on my website. https://kristenterrette.com/clients/

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.

I can’t think of any right now, but always pay attention to Publisher’s Marketplace for trends, news, and sales.

Links and Contact Info:

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

Query Me via Query Manager: https://querymanager.com/query/KristenTerrette

My website: www.kristenterrette.com

Agency website: www.martinlit.com

My #MSWL listing: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/Kristen-Terrette/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KTerrette

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kterrette/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kristen.terrette/

Additional Advice:

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

If you are pursuing a career in writing, view it as an on-going learning process with continuing education courses. Go to conferences, join writing groups, get critique partners, follow and interact with writers (published and unpublished), agents, editors, and imprints online via Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Make friends and connections everywhere.

I’ve learned everyone in this business is incredibly kind and generous, and a lot of us are book nerd, introverts at heart, so step out of your bubble and meet people. They will be happy to engage! These relationships will challenge you and your writing will show that you’ve invested in your craft. I see submissions all day, and it’s obvious who has done these things because they shine. J

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kristen.

­Kristen 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 April 1. If your email 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 follow me on Twitter or 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.

 

 

 

Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop: $10 Amazon Gift Card


Happy Thursday Everyone! Today I'm thrilled to be participating in the Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop hosted by MamatheFox. I hope you're having a good March and are looking forward to warmer weather in Spring like me. It has been a mild winter and more sunny than usual here in Michigan. I've been enjoying taking Ellie Mae, my dog, for walks. 

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

I'm offering a $10 gift card to Amazon for this giveaway. 

Giveaway Details

One lucky entrant selected by the entry form will receive a $15 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 3/16 – 3/31/2023 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, March 20 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristen Terrette and a query critique giveaway

Monday, March 27 I’m doing a post about a scam authors need to watch out for

Saturday, April 1 I’m participating in the Honey Bunny Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, April 5 I have an interview with debut author Lauren Thoman with a giveaway of her YA mystery I’ll Stop the World and my IWSG post

Thursday, April 6 I’m participating in the Dancing in the Rain Giveaway Hop

Monday, April 10 I have an interview with debut author Meg Eden Kuyatt and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Good Different

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.

Debut Author Jitters and Agent Support by Debut Author Maria José Fitzgerald and Turtles of the Midnight Moon and Sara Crowe Query Critique Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Maria José Fitzgerald here to share about her MG contemporary mystery Turtles of the Midnight Moon and her agent Sara Crowe. I’m super excited to read Maria’s book because I’m really into reading mysteries these days, and this one is set in Honduras.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

TURTLES OF THE MIDNIGHT MOON, by Honduran American debut author Maria Jose Fitzgerald, is a middle-grade eco-mystery with magical elements set in Honduras. The story follows Barana and Abby, who reluctantly come together to solve a sea turtle egg poaching mystery plaguing Barana's coastal village, and learn the true meaning of friendship, courage, and community along the way. Publication is set for the Spring of 2023 by Knopf Books for Young Readers.

When poachers threaten the island they love, two girls team up to save the turtles—and each other. An eco-mystery with an unforgettable friendship story at its heart from a fresh new voice in middle grade.

Twelve-year-old Barana lives in a coastal village in Honduras, where she spends every spare minute visiting the sea turtles that nest on the beach.

Abby is feeling adrift in sixth grade, trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs after her best friend moved away from New Jersey.

Follower News

Before I get to Maria’s guest post, I have Follower News to share.

Sandra Cox recently released Return to Silverhills. Here’s a blurb: The Wade saga continues with: A trail boss with a fast gun. A damaged woman. A cattle drive fraught with danger. And a combustible attraction.

Available for pre-order at: https://www.amazon.com/Return-Silverhills-Sandra-Cox-ebook/dp/B0BS77JXFV


Shannon Lawrence has a new release, Happy Ghouidays II. Here's a blurb: The holidays elicit a mixture of emotions, from joy and revelry to despair and rage. In these stories, we examine the dark side of the holidays with a twisted Easter egg hunt, a desperate St. Patrick's Day curse, a monster that's only visible in the light of fireworks, a mother's guilt on Halloween, and more in this follow up to Happy Ghoulidays that embraces the underlying shadows of our favorite holidays.

And here are a few buy links: Available for pre-order on Kindle, Nook, Apple, Scribd, and Smashwords. E-book pre-order link (universal): https://books2read.com/u/bzKnrq

Dancing Lemur Press recently published an awesome book, Tales From the Valley by WATCH Youth

Here's a blurb: The Ohio Valley’s rich stories and fables…join us on our travels! WATCH Youth Writers is a creative writing group open to all youth in the Ohio Valley. And here are some links: 

iTunes - https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id6445685444

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BTV1MJ1J

Barnes & Nobel - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940166012302

And here's a resource for writers that you might find helpful by Dr. Diana Stout. Here's a description: Interested in top-notch, how-to advice from experts in the field? Whether your writing long or short, fiction or nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting, need information about the business of writing, academic writing, writing for contests and more, check out  Sharpened Pencils Productions' Recommended Reading page. A relatively new page to the website, resources are added by writer and former professor of writing, Dr. Diana Stout as she makes new discoveries or is posting old favorites, most of which are still available.

Agent-Author Spotlight: Maria José Fitzgerald and Sara Crowe

Thank you, Natalie, for spotlighting me and my wonderful agent, Sara Crowe. Let’s start with a little bit about Sara: Sara is a Senior Agent at Pippin Properties, where she represents books for children and adults. She began her career at The Wylie Agency, where she worked in foreign rights for 8 years. Her clients include debut authors like me, Newbery and Printz winners, and New York Times Bestselling authors. I can say from my lived experience with Sara that she champions debut authors and is a master at nurturing and developing careers. She is warm, approachable, and has a keen eye for stories and characters that will win your heart. She’s also smart and knows the industry well.

My path to signing with Sara was somewhat unusual. While I’d been querying agents the traditional way for about six months, it wasn’t until I was selected for Pitch Wars (class of 2020) that things started to seem hopeful for me and my novel. For readers who are not familiar with Pitch Wars, it was a long-standing, volunteer-run mentorship program for aspiring authors. After a rigorous application process, Pitch Wars mentors selected one writer to work with. I was selected by a dynamic duo mentorship team: Jessica Vitalis and Julie Artz. I worked with them for several months rewriting and polishing up my manuscript. Pitch Wars culminated with an “Agent Showcase,” where agents were able to read our pitches and the first page of our novel “live” on the Pitch Wars website. From there, agents requested full or partial manuscripts from authors whose books they were interested in, so rather than authors going to agents, the agents came to the authors via the showcase.

 

It turns out, I had already heard about Sara from my mentor, Jessica, who is also one of Sara’s clients. After the showcase was live, Jessica and I weren’t sure if Sara was going to request my manuscript, but we were hopeful! When she did request it, I think both Jessica and I did a little happy dance! The rest, is, of course, history. Sara read my full manuscript, and we had the much anticipated “call.” Sara made me feel instantly supported and comfortable as a debut author. I wanted someone with experience in the industry who also “got” my voice, my story, and my career goals. Sara is kind and fierce, sweet, and professional. Whenever there has been an urgent matter, she’s quick to call me, text, or email. She’s my advocate and voice in an industry that can be very challenging, especially for underrepresented voices. 


As a debut author in 2023, jitters, imposter syndrome, deadlines, and a whole bunch of other stressors can sometimes get the best of you. Having Sara in my corner has been a constant reminder that I am in good hands. She’s helped me navigate publishing questions, book 2 concerns, and rejections; through it all, she’s been a light in my author-ring corner. The publishing industry is definitely not for the faint of heart. Things can move slowly, and our creativity can sometimes lose its spark because of the externals we have no control over. I have learned, with Sara’s help, to let go, trust the process, and go inward. I’m excited to keep working with Sara on my second novel, and beyond!

 

How to connect with Sara:

https://www.saracrowe.com/

https://www.instagram.com/saraagent/

https://twitter.com/saraagent

 

More about Maria and how to connect:

Maria José is a writer of children’s books. Her favorite stories usually include animals, friendships, family, and magic. She grew up snorkeling and hiking in her homeland of Honduras, where nature and culture nourished her soul. Her debut novel, Turtles of the Midnight Moon, will be published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on March 14th, 2023. When she’s not writing, you can find Maria reading, walking her dogs, teaching, or maybe out on a bike ride with her husband and two daughters.


You can visit Maria’s website and socials at:

www.mariajosefitzgerald.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mariajosewrites/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MariaJoseFitzg2

Giveaway Details

Maria is generously offering a hardback of Turtles of the Midnight Moon and Sara is generously offering 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 March 25th. If you do not want to be included in the critique giveaway, please let me know in the comments.  If your email 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 Maria 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. This book giveaway is U.S. and Canada.

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

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Thursday, March 16, I’m participating in the Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop

Monday, March 20 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristen Terrette and a query critique giveaway

Monday, March 27 I’m doing a post about a scam authors need to watch out for

Saturday, April 1 I’m participating in the Honey Bunny Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, April 5 I have an interview with debut author Lauren Thoman with a giveaway of her YA mystery I’ll Stop the World and my IWSG post

Thursday, April 6 I’m participating in the Dancing in the Rain Giveaway Hop

Monday, April 10 I have an interview with debut author Meg Eden Kuyatt and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Good Different

Hope to see you on Monday!

 

 

 

Creating a Writing Community: We Can’t Do This Alone by Agent/Author Lizz Nagle and J.A. Nielsen and The Claiming and Query Critique Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author J. A. (Jen) Nielsen and her agent Lizz Nagle here to celebrate the release of Jen’s YA fantasy The Claiming. I love fantasies with magical systems that include spells so I’m looking forward to reading this book.

Here’s a blurb:

Spense is the unfortunate younger son of Lord Ferrous, with a growing talent for the magical arts and a larger talent for finding trouble, most often in the form of botched spells. Dewy is a Fae princess who tends to disappoint her aunt, the Summer Queen, through her—ahem—carefree life choices.

A chance encounter—and another failed spell—leaves Spense bonded to Dewy and able to control her will. But it's a violation of magic. Not to mention devastating to Human-Fae relations.

To free Dewy and save Spense’s kingdom, they must journey through faerie territories—facing feral magic, treacherous wilderness, and their own distractible hearts.

 

Now here’s Jen and Lizz!

 Creating a Writing Community: We Can’t do This Alone

             There is this crazy myth that writers are solitary creatures, holed up in dark attics pounding away at their keyboards or scribbling away in journals. And that somehow, mystically, magical manuscripts appear whole and complete in front of agents and editors. And yes, there is quite a bit of time where the work just has to get done, the words have to get written. But making those words come alive so that they impact readers, honing and shaping, and revising—this is the work of community; The joy of collaboration.

Because we can’t do it alone. And when we do, we miss out on the voices and perspectives and support that a community of writers, agents, and editors can bring to each other and to the work.

Victress Literary is a boutique literary agency committed to creating a writing community, where agents and writers support each other and collaborate and work together and push each other to create their very best works. It was founded with the idea that the writers represented by its agents would also share community with each other, with dedicated time for readings and critiques, and the use of internal communication channels where writers can help other writers in a safe space.

The following are some questions and answers from our Senior Agent, Lizz Nagle, and one of our authors, J.A. Nielsen, talking about how we go about creating this writing community and the impact it’s had on our publishing life. 

Questions for Jen: 

What inspired you to write the Fractured Kingdom series? When did you first see Dewy and Spense?

I think I’ve always been impacted by my environment and community. I’ve loved fantasy and science fiction and fairy tales forever. And I was living in Germany—surrounded by castles and dense forests, wandering rivers, and craggy mountains—when Spense and Dewy first showed up in my head. It was hard not to be inspired.

How do you find critique partners and beta readers?

I discovered SCBWI in Germany, and then every military move that followed led me to a new regional chapter with a community of writers and artists. My sister-in-law introduced me to the Glen Workshop. From there, the Madeleine L’Engle Writers conferences and retreats. Both have been not just supportive and inspiring communities, but a balm, reminding me why I write. I’ve grown quite attached to PNWA as well since I’ve been back in the Puget Sound area. I’ve also been incredibly fortunate that Wild Rose Press is so supportive of their authors.

And of course, Victress. Once I was part of that community, everything leveled up. Regular check-ins. Virtual morning writing sessions. Open Mic Nights on Zoom. Other writers doing their best work—all taking themselves seriously—and committed to helping each other, too.

What has been the best part of the publishing experience?

I have made so many writer friends all over the world. At first, it was just nice to know that I wasn’t the only person with characters in my head. But in all of these communities, I have learned so much, received incredible feedback and advice, and truly, just found my tribe.

And now I am meeting readers, too–who want to talk about my characters as if they are real people–which is how I see them. One of my students actually objected rather loudly in the middle of the library when a character made a choice she didn’t approve of. It was fantastic to see her so engaged.

What has been the worst part of the publishing experience?

I mean…rejection isn’t awesome. But it is a reality of publishing. And again, that’s why community is so important. Learning which rejections have valuable critique and using them as points to grow from is essential. I have absolutely leaned on my writing friends and, of course, agent, for that.

Questions for Lizz:

What drew you to publishing?

I’ve always loved stories—I used to read books while walking to school as a kid. And when my best friend needed an intern at her literary agency a few years ago, it felt like life calling me home to that dusty old English degree sitting on my bookshelf. Championing other people’s stories and coaching their writing felt like something I should have always been doing.

What do you enjoy most about working with your authors?

The fun we have and friendships we cultivate while getting down to business and making the magic happen. There are days I laugh so hard with my clients I forget I’m even working. I also enjoy watching them grow as writers and develop their craft, watching them rock out their revisions is such a thrill and witnessing their support of each other is such a joy. I love walking into my office every day because I get to read their work.

 Are you an editorial agent and what does that mean for your relationship with any of your authors’ work?

Yes I am. This means I work with my authors to get the book in the best shape it can be for submission to editors at publishing houses. Authors get feedback and critique from myself and my editorial assistant as well as their agency siblings and other beta readers and critique partners. You can’t critique your own work and stories don’t revise themselves. It also takes as long as it takes. Some need one round, some five. I also won’t force my authors to make any changes that don’t feel authentic to their characters or true to their plot. At the end of the day, it’s their book. Not mine. I give them the final say.

What are the biggest challenges of the submission process for you?

The timing of launching everything. Lists. Keeping track of the lists. Patience. Holding space for rejection for my entire roster. It’s hard to stay positive for everyone. But I truly believe in every single one of these books with all of my heart. That’s what keeps me sending things out and moving forward in a positive mindset: manifesting those books on the bookshelves they deserve.

Describe your ideal client.

Someone who listens to critique, applies feedback and takes their time with revisions. Someone who continually works on their craft. Someone with a collaborative spirit. Someone who understands sometimes it’s all about the timing.

What’s on the horizon at Victress Literary?

Well, THE WINTER HEIR, book two of The Fractured Kingdom series by J.A. Nielsen was just announced this month. Erin Newman and Jennifer Della’Zanna have books dropping this Spring. Things have worked out so well with my Editorial Assistant, Alisha, that we’ve hired a student intern who started this month. Victress is expanding. I’ll be at the Washington Writers Conference and PNWA Conference this year.

Questions for both:

What can you be found doing if you aren’t reading or writing a manuscript?

Lizz: I love hobbies. I write my own poetry. I also paint and always have a puzzle going on my table. I have my own roller skates and go skating for some cardio as often as possible. I’ve been learning to play acoustic guitar for the past year. I love to hike. And I am also very passionate about concerts.

Jen: I’m a middle school librarian. It may be the coolest job in the world–other than writing. I’m drawn to all manner of arts, visual, performing, and textile. And I really like to play outside. In the mountains and forest and on the water.

Thanks for all your advice, Jen and Lizz! You can find them at:

Jen's website: https://janielsenauthor.com

Victress website: https://www.victressliterary.com

Giveaway Details

Jen is generously offering a hardback of The Claiming and Lizz is generously offering 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 March 18th. If you do not want to be included in the critique giveaway, please let me know in the comments.  If your email 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 Jen 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. This book giveaway is U.S. and Canada, and the query critique giveaway is International.

Upcoming Interviews and Guest Posts

Monday, March 13, I have an agent/author guest post by Sara Crow and Maria Jose Fitzgerald and a giveaway of Maria’s MG contemporary mystery Turtles of the Midnight Moon and a query critique giveaway by Sara

Thursday, March 16, I’m participating in the Chasing Rainbows Giveaway Hop

Monday, March 20 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristen Terrette and a query critique giveaway

Monday, March 27 I’m doing a post about a scam authors need to watch out for

Saturday, April 1 I’m participating in the Dancing in the Rain Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, April 5 I have an interview with debut author Lauren Thoman with a giveaway of her YA mystery I’ll Stop the World and my IWSG post

Thursday, April 6 I’m participating in the Dancing in the Rain Giveaway Hop

Monday, April 10 I have an interview with debut author Meg Eden Kuyatt and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Good Different

Hope to see you on Monday!