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.

Literary Agent Interview: Natasha Mihell Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Natasha Mihell here. She is an associate literary agent at The Rights Factory.

Status: Open to queries during the month of January each year only

Hi­ Natasha! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Natasha:

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

Thank you for inviting me to take part in this, Natalie!

I came to agenting through writing. I’ve played a lot of different roles in the literary industry and outside of it, and one of the things I’ve learned about myself is that I deeply value the opportunity to empower artists: to uplift the voices of storytellers so their stories can make an impact on our world. I love this work because it gives me the opportunity to support people in following their dreams, and that is immensely fulfilling.

I’ve been an agent for nearly a year and a half now. I’d actually wanted to start my own agency during the pandemic, but through networking, ended up having conversations with the brilliant Karmen Wells at TRF as well as our CEO, Sam Hiyate. Sam generously offered me the chance to join an environment that was welcoming, mentorship-focused, and author-centric. Still having so much to learn about contracts, editor-agent relationships, etc., I took the leap.

 I started as an Editorial Assistant with TRF in 2021 and was promoted to Assistant Agent in 2022. In January of this year, I became an Associate Agent, based upon my two two-book deals in the year previous. As for what I’ve been doing: a lot of editing, pitching, career guidance, meetings, and learning. It has been a great adventure!

About the Agency:

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

The Rights Factory was founded by Sam Hiyate in 2004. It has transformed much over its nearly twenty years, and now hosts editorial agents based around the world. We are driven by the relationships we maintain with our authors and the editors and publishers we work with. We also provide internship opportunities to those interested in getting involved in the literary industry.

As I mentioned, we do have a mentorship focus. We converse about our different experiences, our successes, and challenges, and support each other as needed through the submission process. This mentorship extends to our clients, as well. We support our clients editorially and provide the best professional advice we can. Authors can (and should always!) expect to work with partners who are passionate about their work and their creative journeys.

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?

When I am open to queries, I look for all age groups, including PB, MG, and YA. I primarily represent adult fiction currently. Where kidlit is concerned, I only represent PBs at this point.

I’m looking for…

 

PB: Enthralling magic, vivid colour, and beautiful musicality. Lots and lots of heart, whether in fiction or nonfiction.

 

MG: Compelling fantasies with human or animal or other (!) protagonist(s). Mermaids. Smartly told historical allegories. Select genres not typically seen in MG, such as horror and cyberpunk.

 

YA: Bold, break-the-mould, change-the-world sci-fi. Fantasy with dark queens, powerful witches, and redemption arcs. Historical fiction with richly developed settings and characters or plots that empower us to remember and do better.

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

Witches and mermaids and queens, please! And for PBs, anything classical music or musical theatre related would be wonderful.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I am not interested in stories that are too didactic or, obviously, those that are racist, misogynistic, or fueled by any other sort of hate. Otherwise, I am open to considering most stories, depending upon how they are told—which is to say, every choice that is made, no matter how hard a sell it may be, should be integral to the story and motivations of the characters.

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?

Honesty, open communication, and fun are all essential. I believe in building meaningful and long-lasting relationships with those I represent, because their creative journeys are as much personal as they are professional. Every step matters. I do my utmost to support their career and empower them creatively.

As for the books I represent, I generally like depth, mastery of mood, and a good understanding of the emotional palette one is painting with. My tastes vary widely, but all in all, I go for books with heart.

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 am an editorial agent, and work with each client depending upon their project’s needs. We work on a project until each of is 100% certain it is where it needs to be (this might involve several rounds of substantive, line, and copy edits), and then I build a list of editors to approach, carefully curated to the project. Throughout this process, my clients and I meet or speak regularly to ensure we are both on the same page and, once again, 100% happy with where we’re at. When we’re ready, we submit.

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 through QueryManager and referral only and am open to queries one month of the year, from January 1st through January 31st. I do this because I value giving personalized feedback as often as possible—and as I look for science fiction and fantasy, among other genres, I receive many hundreds of queries in that month! It takes me some time to read and respond to each query individually.

The query letter itself should, generally, be concise and capture the intrigue of your book. Show me the irony. Make me fall in love with what could happen. Show me that you are confident in what you’ve written.

N.B. There’s no need to tell me what an amazing writer you are, or that I’ve never seen anything like your project before. I understand where this inclination comes from, but I need to find out just how amazing and distinctive your work is for myself, through your writing.

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

I have no dislikes, but I do have some advice. Submitting a query letter is a writer’s first opportunity to build a relationship with their agent. As such, how you write your query, and answer an agent’s questions, matters. Your query informs your prospective agent whether you are prepared to move on to the next step in your writing career.

Response Time:

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

As I remain open for one month of the year, those who query me will hear back from me within three weeks of their query—likely much sooner. I do try to be prompt. If I request a partial or full, I ask for three months from the date of request.

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, though I only represent previously unpublished work. When querying an agent as a self-published author, be 100% confident in why you are now choosing traditional publishing.

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?

Yes, absolutely. The editorial side of agenting has become far more valuable in recent years in part because of this. Projects need to be at their very best for a publisher to wish to take it on.

Technology plays a role, too. I believe that the biggest lesson of AI right now, for this industry (and perhaps for art, in general), is that it’s the journey that counts and not the destination. That’s part of why I love doing what I do—I get to go on that journey with my authors and support them as they enjoy being freely creative.

Things will change, always, for all literary professionals… However you choose to get your story out there, let it be how you want to do it. And if you do go the traditional route, ensure you are working with someone who wholly believes in you and your work. It can be such an awesome adventure!

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

The whimsical Sylvie Cathrall and the whip-smart Nicholas Pullen both have books coming out with Orbit UK/US in 2024! Keep an eye out for those. I also represent six more fab creatives: Joe Frye, C.C. Graystone, Taryn Herlich, Ana Toumine, Vani Varshney, and Fatemeh Zarei.

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.

This is my first interview! I do have a growing list of resources on my website re: craft and being a storyteller. I highly recommend STORY by Robert McKee and, for some hearty meat and potatoes reading, SAVE THE CAT… though in all things, read critically!

Links and Contact Info:

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

My website is natashamihell.com. When I am open to queries, I have an #MSWL on there for those #amquerying. All queries should be submitted through QueryManager or referral; if not, I unfortunately will not see them.

If you’d like to connect, you can also follow me on Instagram @natashamihell, though again, I do not respond to queries anywhere but QM.

Additional Advice:

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

As a writer, I have received hundreds of rejections—a few personalized, many more form. As an agent, I have also rejected hundreds of authors, many of whom were great storytellers, but whose work was not editorially ready for an agent, or did not pull me enough, for any number of reasons. A rejection is NOT a sign you should stop writing. It simply means that we are not a fit for each other at the time of querying or submission.

If it is your dream to be an author, then keep the faith in your work and in yourself. Keep working, keep studying your craft, and keep enjoying what you do! Remember that if it was easy, everyone would do it. Even if we are not a fit for each other, I believe in ambitious artists and disciplined dreamers, and, as I mention in most rejection letters, I truly hope you find the right representative for you and your work!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Natasha.

­Natasha 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 June 3rd. 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 email 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.


 

 

Literary Agent Interview: Kristina Perez Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Kristina Perez here. She recently started her own literary agency, Perez Literary & Entertainment.

Hi­ Kristina! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Kristina:

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

My path into agenting grew organically out of being an author. I became really engrossed with the business side of publishing and realized I love championing other people’s stories as much as I do telling my own. Being a nerd at heart, I enjoy getting into the nitty gritty of contracts and everything else that goes along with shepherding a project to fruition. I’ve been an agent for over three years but in publishing about a decade altogether. I cover a wide range of genres and categories from Middle Grade to serious adult non-fiction.

 About the Agency:

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

Pérez Literary & Entertainment is based in London but since I’m a native New Yorker, it is a truly transatlantic agency with an international perspective. We are a full-service agency handling translation, dramatic and digital rights both directly and through an extensive network of co-agents throughout the world. We see our clients as business partners and build long-term relationships, guiding our clients through the different stages of their publishing careers. As an author myself, I encourage my clients to think of themselves as small businesses and we therefore provide annual earnings reports to empower our clients in making the best decisions for their careers.

What She’s Looking For:

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

While I do represent some Middle Grade, I am mostly on the hunt for YA. Being a lifelong fantasy fan, I am looking for original world building with protagonists from non-traditionally represented backgrounds in the Upper YA/crossover space. I have a lot of brilliant horror on my list, and I adore horror, but that means I’m quite picky––so surprise me! I am also intrigued by non-linear storytelling and stories that play with narrative form.

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

I would love to see a time slip narrative that feels fresh. I’m also excited by body-hopping that’s pulled off well. Having been raised in a trilingual household, I’m always looking for books that use more than one language on the page and reflect the way multilingual families interact.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I do not currently represent picture books, but I keep an open mind about everything else!

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 truly believe in the power of words to change people’s lives and I want to work with authors who have something important to say, something necessary to say. Getting to represent authors and their stories every day is the best job in the world.

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?

It really depends on the project but, in general, I’m a fairly editorial agent. With newer authors, especially debut authors, there is generally a round of structural edits, line edits and perhaps some copy edits, like you would get with a publisher. I want to give each and every submission the best possible chance of making it through an acquisitions meeting.

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 only accept queries through QueryManager and I like to see the first chapter with the query.

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

The query letter is really its own beast and it’s important to spend some time looking at the many templates available online. Agents have very limited time with which to read queries in addition to our client work, so the query should be no more than two paragraphs about the book and a one paragraph bio. I recommend starting with a “Jaws in Space”-style elevator pitch right at the top to grab the agent’s attention.

Response Time:

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

Due to the volume of submissions, unfortunately, at PLE we just can’t guarantee a response to queries unless we want to read more. On requested manuscripts, we try to read within two months, but this may be slower around the book fairs.

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 already do represent authors who have previously self-published or been published by smaller presses, so that is certainly no barrier to entry. It’s perhaps more of a marketing calculation when going on submission, depending on whether the author wants to continue writing in the same genre and/or under the same name. There are also a lot of subsidiary rights that an agent can handle (such as foreign or audio) that a self-published author might not be able to do themselves. For authors looking to make a switch, it’s about evaluating your publishing goals and determining the right path to accomplish them.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

In the YA space, among my clients are Pura Belpré Award winner Vincent Tirado, Khadijah VanBrakle and Alexia Casale. I also represent authors who write fantasy and horror for adults that has what I call “crossunder” appeal such as Top 10 Sunday Times bestselling author Sharon Emmerichs.

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.

Manuscript Wish List: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/kristina-perez/

https://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/things-didnt-know-about-author-kk-perez-1189756.html

http://www.breakingtheglassslipper.com/2018/08/30/five-questions-with-kristina-perez/

https://www.shewrites.com/blog/view/2856318/“the-lady-of-shalott”-and-the-writer-vs-the-author

Links and Contact Info:

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

Please query using QueryManager: http://QueryManager.com/KristinaPerez

Website: www.perezliterary.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/perez_literary

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

Additional Advice:

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

A bad agent is worse than no agent. Don’t settle. Find the agent who’s right for you!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Kristina.

­Kristina 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 June 3rd. 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 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.

 

 

 

Giveaway Contest -$10 Amazon Gift Card


Happy Tuesday Everyone! Today there's no giveaway hop to participate in so I'm doing one on my own. I'm going to try this and hope that those of you who visit when I do a giveaway hop with stop by for my own contests. If they remain popular, I will continue to do two a month even if there is no giveaway hop to join. So please spread the word about these giveaway contests and enter them so I know that you want me to keep doing them.

I hope you're enjoying the start of spring. The weather has finally gotten beautiful in Michigan, and I've just started my vegetable garden. It was too cold until this weekend to plant. I'll wait to be sure there's not another frost to plant my annual flowers. I can't wait. 

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 5/16 – 5/31/2023 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, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Tomorrow I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristina Perez and a query critique giveaway

Monday, May 22 I have an agent spotlight interview with Natasha Mihell and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, June 7 I have an interview with debut author K. X. Song and a giveaway of her contemporary An Echo in the City

Thursday, June 8 I’m participating in the Come Out & Play Giveaway Hop

Monday, June 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Karly Dizon and a query critique giveaway

Thursday, June 15 I'm participating in the Dad-o-mite Giveaway Hop

Monday, June 19 I have an interview with debut author Caroline Huntoon and a giveaway of their MG contemporary Skating on Mars

Hope to see you tomorrow!

 

 

 


Debut Author Interview: Jen St. Jude and If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Jen St. Jude here to share about her YA contemporary speculative If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come. It sounds like a beautifully written, emotional story that keeps you thinking long after you finish the book. I’m excited to read it.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

We Are Okay meets They Both Die at the End in this YA debut about queer first love and mental health at the end of the world-and the importance of saving yourself, no matter what tomorrow may hold.

Avery Byrne has secrets. She's queer; she's in love with her best friend, Cass; and she's suffering from undiagnosed clinical depression. But on the morning Avery plans to jump into the river near her college campus, the world discovers there are only nine days left to live: an asteroid is headed for Earth, and no one can stop it.

Trying to spare her family and Cass additional pain, Avery does her best to make it through just nine more days. As time runs out and secrets slowly come to light, Avery would do anything to save the ones she loves. But most importantly, she learns to save herself. Speak her truth. Seek the support she needs. Find hope again in the tomorrows she has left.

If Tomorrow Doesn't Come is a celebration of queer love, a gripping speculative narrative, and an urgent, conversation-starting book about depression, mental health, and shame.

Hi Jen! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

Even as a kid, I loved writing. In my elementary school they helped us put together these mini books with those plastic spiral bindings, and I was so thrilled and proud every time. I also played with dolls constantly, and what is that really except creating characters and storylines? I loved pretending to be other people, creating new worlds. I didn’t really know I was talented in writing until high school, though, and I didn’t take it seriously until college. One professor in particular, Jenny Boylan, really encouraged me to write outside of my classes and I took that encouragement to heart.

2. That’s great that your professor encouraged you to write. Where did you get the idea for If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come?

It was a few things converging all at once—working through my own mental illness, losing someone close to me to suicide, feeling unmoored as my final year at college came to a close. I wrote a one-act play about a young family trying to create one perfect day before the world ended, and the next semester I returned to it as a graphic novel. I was really fixated on this idea of living life with mortality in mind—how do we treat each other? Our time is always finite, but if we knew the exact span of it all, what choices would we make differently? For someone with severe depression, would it change anything at all?

About Your Writing Process

3. Your story is in part a love story between Avery and Cass. How did you plot out or let their relationship grow throughout the story? What tips do you have about creating a compelling romance in a story that involves more than one genre like yours?

I once went to a Brit Bennett reading at Harvard Book Store, and she said something like, “You can bring any two people together as characters if you understand what they’re missing in their own life and find in one another.” I really tried to think about what Cass finds in Avery that she can’t find anywhere else, and what Avery finds in Cass. Zooming in on that puzzle piece in each of them was key, and I played around with different scenes that might show the home and adventure their friendship provides. In any genre, I’d try to remember that what matters most is how characters make you feel. I revisited some of my favorite memories from my life and studied what made them so special to me—it was often the small details, inside jokes, late nights, and feelings under the surface, waiting to bloom.

4. I sometimes learn things about the craft of writing from a statement authors make that really resonates with me. Reviewers have said that your story is a beautiful emotional story that they thought about long after they finished it. What techniques did you use to pull at readers’ heartstrings? 

To be honest, I wish I knew so I could recreate it in future stories. I’m always very moved when people say novel is emotional and resonant, and a little surprised when they mentioned they cried so much while reading it. My best guess is that I said things out loud that people think they should hide from the world, their depression, insecurities, shame. Or that I created a world that asks you to think about your own life and time and what you stand to lose. What would you do to protect it? What will you do to honor the time you have left, in the next nine days or beyond?

5. What was a challenge you faced in writing If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come? How did you overcome it?

It took me ten years to write, and I think it’s because for the longest time I didn’t know how to create a story arc around depression. It’s such a flat experience, and it rarely ever reaches a clean resolution. My brain also doesn’t move chronologically. The scenes set in the past were the first to come to me, and in most drafts they were in a completely different order. I was also unsure where the novel fit in publishing. Was it YA? New adult? Adult? Was it sci-fic, or speculative fiction, or contemporary? I had to write many drafts to find out how everything fit together, and where I wanted it to fit in the world.

Your Road to Publication

6. Erin Harris is your agent. Share about how she became your agent and what your road to publication was like.

I queried for two years with no luck, and was very seriously starting to think about self-publishing the novel. In a last ditch effort at pursuing traditional publishing, I applied to the (now-defunct) Pitch Wars mentorship program and was lucky enough to find Erin through their showcase event after revising extensively with my mentors, Kelly Quindlen and Adrienne Tooley. After signing with Erin, we spent a year revising together before sending the book out on submission. Just between Pitch Wars and working with my agent, I think there were seven drafts of this book.

7. What was it like being on submission? What advice do you have for writers going on submission?

The stakes feel so high. We went out to a first round of editors and had some bites; if I remember correctly it went to acquisitions twice, but editors had a hard time getting their whole team on board. I was both encouraged and crushed. So close! And yet so far. Before our second round, Erin and I had a call where we talked through the feedback from round one, but it was a mixed bag. The only thing that felt consistent was that maybe the pacing was off. I used Save the Cat to revise beat by beat, scene by scene. There were spreadsheets, charts, and maps involved, but it did make the book stronger. In the second round we went out to a list that included Camille Kellogg, who wasn’t included in the first round only because she was fairly new at Bloomsbury. I’d read her manuscript wish list a year before and had privately thought she’d be a good fit for me and my work. I was thrilled to be right; she loved the book and even better, her whole team did too. I can genuinely say I’m so glad I took the path I did—rejections and disappointments and all—because it led me to the right team. My advice, then, is to trust the process, find people you can (privately!) vent to who believe in you and your work, and know that you’re doing a brave, remarkable thing.

Promoting Your Book

8. Your book released on May 9, 2023. How have you been promoting your book? What are some things that you’ve done that you’d recommend other authors do to prepare for their book release?

I have a full time job and a young baby at home so I knew my capacity would be limited. I have also just really wanted to enjoy this experience and not put pressure on myself to do more than is healthy for me. I’ve tried to focus on things that feel natural for me. I post on Twitter and Instagram, connect with bloggers and readers when possible, and support Bloomsbury in all the work they’re doing to market the book. It’s felt like a good balance so far. I recommend new authors really take the time to figure out what feels important to them and what they’re comfortable with, because we can only move the needle so much.

9. I have another job too, and your advice on marketing is reassuring. Tell us three things you did during the year leading up to your book’s release that helped you be ready for your book’s release?

1. Find a group of other debut authors you can confide in and really trust to share your wins and disappointments with. 2. Do something fun to commemorate publication! Even if it’s not a party, make a scrapbook of small moments, commission art, find a ritual that works for you. 3. Remember that you did your best with the time, skills, and experiences you had. After all of it, it still may not be perfect. It won’t be for everyone. But it’s yours, and now other people’s too if they want to share that with you.

10. What are you working on now?

My second novel is about three friends and soccer teammates determined to win the state championship during their senior year. When their high school is wiped off the map by a hurricane, they’re separated and their dream is devastated. Even worse? They have to play against each other—and only one of them can take it all. It’s about climate change and friendship, platonic love and dreaming in a crumbling world. Readers of If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come might be happy to know it center mental health and queer love as well.

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

Jenstjude.com

Twitter.com/jenstjude

Instagram.com/jenstjude

Giveaway Details

Jen’s publisher is generously offering a hardback of If Tomorrow Doesn’t Come 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 May 27th. 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.

Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Tomorrow, May 16 I’m participating in the Mom’s Rock Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, May 17 I have an agent spotlight interview with Kristina Perez and a query critique giveaway

Monday, May 22 I have an agent spotlight interview with Natasha Mihell and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, June 7 I have an interview with debut author K. X. Song and a giveaway of her contemporary An Echo in the City

Thursday, June 8 I’m participating in the Come Out & Play Giveaway Hop

Monday, June 12 I have an agent spotlight interview with Karly Dizon and a query critique giveaway

Monday, June 19 I have an interview with debut author  Caroline Huntoon and a giveaway of their MG contemporary Skating on Mars

Hope to see you tomorrow!

 

 

 

Literary Agent Interview: Ellen Goff Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Ellen Goff here. She is an associate literary agent at HG Literary.

Hi­ Ellen! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Ellen:

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

I always knew I was interested in moving to New York to work in publishing. After college, I interned with two different literary agencies, including a scouting agency. I knew then that I enjoyed the agency side rather than the publishing house/editorial track because of how closely we work with writers and the freedom we have to choose our areas of focus. One of the internships was with HG Literary, where I work now. I loved my time with the team and two of their senior agents needed an assistant. One worked in children’s literature and the other adult fiction, so I dove in and began working and reading in both worlds in 2017. I started in our foreign rights department as well in 2018, and then in late 2019-2020 began selling my own clients’ projects. Now in 2023, I assist partner & CFO Carrie Hannigan on our agency’s finance/bookkeeping team, I’m a foreign rights associate in our rights department, and the rest of time I devote to my own growing list of clients and their projects 


About the Agency:

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

We’re a boutique full service literary agency, so we offer the benefits of a small personal team where teamwork and collaboration with each other is paramount, while also offering all of the services of a larger agency: royalty statement auditing, editorial focus on manuscript development, and we also have a full foreign rights department where we sell our titles in translation abroad. We have physical offices in Manhattan, and typically all go in about 3 days a week at least for each other’s company and brainstorming facetime.

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 ranges, and have picture book clients, middle grade clients, and YA clients – and I love the clients that hop around between those three! In terms of on the page content, I enjoy about any genre (speculative, contemporary, fantasy) and format (novel, graphic novel, novel in verse). I really appreciate projects that have a layer of humor in them even if the overall tone is more serious or melancholy. Can’t say no to a good love story, too. Lastly, I’m definitely a sucker for a happy ending, and if not happy, then at least hopeful.

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

I’m always on the lookout for a good ghost story. Can’t get enough. Books on food, as well, or with food as a focus. I love learning about a new time period we weren’t exposed to in middle grade US history, so historical fiction that highlights new, overlooked stories and characters is of particular interest to me. And it may be the foreign rights associate in me, but I’ll perk up at any stories that take us on an international journey, through space or time.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Personally, I am not the best fit for books about cancer, or stories with gratuitous violence toward girls and women.

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?

New and underrepresented voices (often with girl power at the center) are incredibly important to me. I’m also someone who tries to keep learning new things in my own free time, new skills, languages, talents, etc. Books that teach me something, but are also entertaining and approachable, are food for my rain.

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 am definitely an editorial agent, and I would say most of the HG Literary team is, too. For me, I take my clients through at least two-three revisions before we go on submission to editors. First, I’ll do a big picture revision with a writer that looks at plot, characters, structure, pacing, any gaping holes or unresolved narrative arcs. Next, I’ll do a more line-edit focused revision where we hammer out the smaller details and nuances of voice, etc. We might do a third revision if necessary. I tend to start big and broad and get narrower as we go along.

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?

A query and the first five pages pasted into the email are great. I don’t need a synopsis just yet, I like to be surprised when I read for the first time, but if I like the manuscript and keep reading a requested full, I’ll often ask for a synopsis. The first five pages will have to grab me. Voice, the problem, the risks, a unique set up or environment or atmosphere can do the trick, too. I always read pages before I request, you can count on that! A good query letter won’t save pages that don’t hook me.

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

A smidge of personalization goes a long way. No “Dear Agent.” If I only have a few minutes to review queries and respond, I’ll start with the ones that reference my wish list items or my clients’ existing books. I see a lot of folks trying to fit too much into their queries. We don’t need paragraphs – save extra background info or deep plot info for a follow up conversation with an agent if they’re interested in your work.

Response Time:

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

Agents’ reading time is often slow since we all wear a lot of different hats and have to prioritize existing clients. If I have a less busy week or am on vacation, I might be able to read a requested manuscript in a week. Other times, reading a full manuscript can take months. But typically, if I like the query and the first five pages, I’ll request to read more within a couple weeks, if not that day, if it really catches me. If a writer hasn’t received any response from me or a request to read more in 12 weeks, they should consider that a pass. However, always feel free to send a nudge after 8-12 weeks, just in case Spam took the query. 

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 indeed open to authors who have been published before; publishing history with independent presses can be a real benefit, especially since there are so many independent smaller presses doing some interesting and creative work. While I’m open to writers who have been published before, I will say it is easier to represent those writers on new projects going forward. It is tricker for agents to help writers try and re-publish projects that have been published before, especially projects that have been self-published. It’s often easier to start with a new fresh project if the writer is stepping into the world of traditional trade publishing for the first time.

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?

Certainly. Agents are becoming more editorial, for a start. Editors at any kind of publisher (small or large) are becoming increasingly busy, which means they don’t often have the bandwidth to take on promising projects that might just need a lot of editorial heavy lifting. Agents help in that area and shoulder some of the initial editorial work to give projects the best chance we can at landing a home during submission. Agents are also becoming more invested in the research process to find the best homes and avenues for success for our clients’ work. If a manuscript isn’t selling in a traditional way as a novel to a large publisher, we’re knocking on all sorts of new creative doors to see where the story might have life: podcasts, film and tv, illustrated work rather than only prose, greeting cards, speaking engagements, interactive guides, articles, audiobooks, stage rights, merchandise. We are trying more than ever to imagine the different lives a project can have that go beyond just the bookshelf.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

A selection:

Leslie Vedder (YA – The Bone Spindle, Razorbill)

Keith F. Miller, Jr. (YA – Pritty, HarperCollins)

Anna Lapera (MG – Mani Semilla Finds Her Quetzal Voice, Levine Querido)

Adria Qui ñones (Picture Book – Mi Tierra, Reycraft)

Bunmi Emenanjo (Picture Book – I’ll See You In Ijebu, Barefoot Books)

Kealani Netane (Picture Book – Tala Learns to Siva, Scholastic)

Vivienne Chang (Picture Book – This Is Not My Home, Little, Brown)

Eugenia Yoh (Illustrator – This Is Not My Home, Little, Brown)

Emi Gennis (Graphic Novelist – What to Pack for Certain Death, Random House Graphic)

Bon Orthwick (Illustrator)

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.

N/A

Links and Contact Info:

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

Query me at

ellen@hgliterary.com

or find me at

www.hgliterary.com

Additional Advice:

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

Read widely in your area! We can’t stress it enough. If you’re querying a YA novel, you should be reading tons of YA currently out on the shelves before you even started writing. Reading in your genre and age range will help make you a better writer, and give you comps. Comps aren’t always necessary, but I can tell a lot about your manuscript from your comps and how well versed you are in the current market space for your book. Also, popular comps that don’t actually fit your tone or narrative in your manuscript will also raise flags for me when I read, so go without comps rather that forcing comps into your query that might be popular but overall might not be great fits.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Ellen.

­Ellen 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 May 20th. 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 email 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.