Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • 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.

Michigan SCBWI Critique Carousel Opportunity: Get a Critique of Your First Six Pages

 


Happy Thursday Everyone! The Michigan SCBWI Critique Carousel is happening. If you are a SCBWI member anywhere, you are eligible to participate. If you sign up, you can get a critique of the first six pages of a novel or graphic novel, 800-1,200 words of a picture book, and illustrations if you're an illustrator. The cost is approximately $65. The deadline to register is midnight on October 2, 2023. It's first come, first serve, so hurry to register if you're interested.

Here are agents and other professionals who have spots available:

Jane Chun [Middle grade (fiction only), YA (fiction only), Graphic novels (fiction and nonfiction)]
 
Taj McCoy [Picture books (fiction and NF), Middle grade (fiction and NF), Young Adult (fiction and NF); PB dummy (if complete and ready), portfolio reviews]
 
Daniele Hunter [Picture books (fiction and nonfiction), Picture Book and art sample, Middle grade (fiction only), YA (fiction only), Novel-in-verse]


Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Sunday, October 1 I'm participating in the Scaredy Cat Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, October 4 I have an interview with debut author Kellie Parker and a giveaway of her YA thriller Thin Air

Thursday, October 5 I’m participating in the Howl-O-Ween Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 9 I have an interview with debut author Sean O’Brien and a giveaway of his MG historical White House Clubhouse

Wednesday, October 11 I have an agent spotlight interview with Lane Clarke and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 16 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jane Chun and a query critique giveaway and the Silly Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 23 I have an interview with debut author Elisa Stone Leahy and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars

Hope to see you on Sunday!


Literary Agent Interview: Jen Newens Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Jen Newens here. She is a senior literary manager at Martin Literary & Media Management.

NOTE: Jen is temporarily closed to queries. Check the agency website to find out when she reopens. Literary Rambles' followers can query her through 10/7/2023 at jen@martinlit.com or hello@jennewens.com 

Hi­ Jen! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Jen:

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

I was the publishing director at West Margin Press for 7 years when the parent company sold the press in October 2022. When I was winding down my job and contemplating what to do next, I had a lot of people say, “Have you ever thought about being a literary agent? You’d be really good at it.” That planted a seed. In early 2023 I saw a job posting on LinkedIn by Sharlene Martin, head of Martin Literary Management and we had a conversation and just clicked. I started at the agency in April 2023.

About the Agency:

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

Martin Literary Management has been around for 20 years. It offers authors a comprehensive suite of literary agenting services and works with publishers big and small. It also offers foreign rights representation and our founder has strong relationships with entertainment brands. When I was a publisher, I loved working with Martin Lit agents because they were so professional and delightful to work with—it’s part of the reason I wanted to join the team.

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 kidlit age groups from board books through YA. All genres are fair game for me, but I’m not as keen on sci fi or fantasy. That hasn’t stopped me from signing them, however, when the story is good. I have a soft spot for underdog stories and historically excluded groups.

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

Something laugh-out-loud funny. Something I don’t want to put down. Something with a premise I’ve never seen before. Something that makes me cry.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Horror, scifi, high fantasy. I’m a little tired of retellings of fairy tales, but I can see a place for them in certain circumstances.

Agent Philosophy:

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

I’m pretty open as to who I want to represent. I love debut authors who have done their homework about how traditional publishing works and are keen to work with the system and not against it. (I’m aware that publishing has its challenges, but working with a client who wants to “disrupt” traditional publishing would be exhausting.)

I’m drawn to ideas that are unique, not derivative (which makes it hard to find comps, but I accept the challenge!)

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, but I’m looking at edits through the lens of what is going to help my authors get the best book deal. I leave it to the editors at the publishing houses to further edit the stories for the marketplace.

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?

First and foremost, they should get my name right. After that, I’d like to see the following:

·       One paragraph pitch

·       Story synopsis

·       Author bio

·       Word count

·       List of previous published books (if applicable)

·       Note if author has been previously represented by a literary agent 

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

I prefer that authors do not send manuscripts with query letters; please wait until I specifically ask for them. I prefer to work on one story at a time, so please do not send multiple submissions (series submissions are fine).

Response Time:

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

My response time varies with the volume of queries I receive, the number of active clients on my roster, and the time of year. I wish I could be clearer on this question, but it really varies.

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?

Absolutely. I used to run a small press and I am a big champion of them. Self-publishing and hybrid can be fantastic for some types of books. Traditional publishing can be a good choice for other types of books. I think there is a time and place for all modes of publishing, and I believe authors can choose any of them depending on which ever mode best suits their book or their needs at the 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?

I haven’t seen this yet, but I’ll keep watching.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Rob Broder

Tenisha Bernal  

Anne Broyles

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.

https://www.pbspotlight.com/single-post/agent-spotlight-jen-newens

Links and Contact Info:

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

https://www.martinlit.com/jennewens

https://www.jennewens.com/

Additional Advice:

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

Don’t give up! I know it sounds cliché, but if you keep following your dreams, they can come true. One of my clients, a debut picture book author at age 50, had been trying to find an agent and get a story published for years. One day, she posted on Twitter that all she wanted for her birthday was to find an agent. I responded, “I’m an agent, let’s chat.” Three months later I got her a two book, five-figure deal with an option for a third book from a big-name publisher. You just never know when things are going to happen for you!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jen.

Giveaway Details

­Jen is generously offering a query critique to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment through October 7th. 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.

 Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Wednesday, October 4 I have an interview with debut author Kellie Parker and a giveaway of her YA thriller Thin Air

Thursday, October 5 I’m participating in the Howl-O-Ween Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 9 I have an interview with debut author Sean O’Brien and a giveaway of his MG historical White House Clubhouse

Wednesday, October 11 I have an agent spotlight interview with Lane Clarke and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 16 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jane Chun and a query critique giveaway and am participating in the Silly Pumpkin Giveaway Hop 

Monday, October 23 I have an interview with debut author Elisa Stone Leahy and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars

Hope to see you on Wednesday!

 

 

Author Interview: Neal Shusterman and The Herren Project

Happy Tuesday Everyone! Today I’m thrilled to have author Neal Shusterman here to share advice on the craft of writing and his support of The Herren Project, a nonprofit organization providing resources, support, and treatment for individuals suffering from substance abuse disorder. Neal is a New York Times bestselling author of 30 books for children, teens, and adults and won the National Book Award for Challenger Deep in 2015. His next book is a graphic novel, Courage to Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust, which will be released on October 31st. I’m a huge fan of Neal’s and am so excited to host him today.

Here's a blurb of Courage to Dream from Goodreads:


National Book Award winner Neal Shusterman presents a graphic novel exploring the Holocaust through surreal visions and a textured canvas of heroism and hope.

Courage to Dream plunges readers into the darkest time of human history—the Holocaust. This graphic novel explores one of the greatest atrocities in modern memory, delving into the core of what it means to face the extinction of everything and everyone you hold dear. This gripping, multifaceted tapestry is woven from Jewish folklore and cultural history. Five interlocking narratives explore one common story – the tradition of resistance and uplift. Internationally renowned author Neal Shusterman and illustrator Andrés Vera Martínez have created a masterwork that encourages the compassionate, bold reaching for a dream.

 

Hi Neal! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about how you became a writer and then became a published author.

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. It was during college that I spent my summers as a counselor at summer camp. I would make up stories for the kids--and they all said they'd love to see them as books--so during the school year I would write them as books and bring them the manuscripts the next summer. I knew at that point that I wanted to be a writer, and I was trying all kinds of writing: articles, novels for an adult audience, those kids’ books that I was working on, stage plays, and screenplays. It just so happened that, a few months out of college, I got my first book deal the same month that I got my first screenwriting deal. That first book wasn't one of my novels. (My first two novels were never published--and for good reason--they're terrible.) But a publisher liked them enough to hire me to write a hygiene book for adolescent boys and that's what got my career started. It was my third novel, The Shadow Club, that sold and became my first published novel. Those first two will never see the light of day, but they weren't failures; they were steppingstones that I needed to take on my way to being published

About the Herren Project

2. You’re currently supporting the Herren Project’s charity event, which is on September 23rd. Share about this organization and how you are helping them. How can my followers participate in your fundraising efforts?

For people who would like to attend the event in person, you can buy a $75 ticket. You'll get to meet me, Jonas Raider (the artist), and Chris Herron (the founder of the Heron project) as well as get to bid on some of Jonas 's amazing works of art. The art includes copies of Roxy that he painted, and I’ll sign for those who can't attend in person. There are plenty of opportunities--$25 will get you a raffle ticket to win a lunch with me. I will actually fly to your location and have lunch with you. Also, you can purchase a raffle ticket to get your work as a writer critiqued by me. There's also an educator sponsorship, but you don't need to be an educator to do it. For $200, you'll get a painted copy of Roxy and a mystery box of stuff handpicked by me which will include autographed books, swag, like bookmarks and T-shirts, and even handwritten pages of original drafts of my books. Here’s the link: https://theherrenproject.networkforgood.com/events/61978-help-neal-shusterman-make-a-difference

About Your Writing Process

3. You’re the author of over 30 books. Where do you get your ideas and how do you decide which one to work on?

Ideas come from everywhere—usually something going on in the world or my life that I can't stop thinking about—and I have to figure out a way to put it into a story. Many times, a metaphor or allegory really excites me. Sometimes it’s stories that I've never seen told before—or at least never told the away that I'm thinking of telling them

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Share about your process of developing your story ideas and why this process works for you.

Like so many things in life, it's never just one or the other but a mixture of both. I plot out my stories and details so I can see them playing like a movie in my mind, and, when I think I'm ready to go, I basically throw out the outline and see where it takes me. I see the outline as basically just a scaffold to help me structure and build the story that may or may not follow the outline I started with.

5. For those of us who are still aspiring writers, the thought of writing a book on contract can be scary. How did you make the leap to being able to write on a deadline? How long does it take you to write a first draft and revise it?

Deadlines! Deadlines are the bane of my existence, but I think it’s the bane of every writer's existence. Very rarely do I actually make a deadline, but, if I miss a deadline, I better be pretty damn sure that what I'm turning in is so good that it makes my editor not care how late it is. So that's a lot of pressure. I don't write continually from beginning to end of a book because I’ll burn out. Instead, I'll usually work for about a month on a project before switching to another one, and then another one, and then switch back. But, if you take all that time and put it together, it's usually about 6 to 8 months to get to a first draft.

6. Many of us dream of being able to quit a day job and become an author full-time. How have you made writing a career and what advice do you have for the rest of us?

I’ve really only had one “real job” and that was working as a receptionist at a talent agency for my first six months out of college. They say you have to be in the right place at the right time. I had no control over the right time, but I figured by being in a talent agency—even if I'm just answering phones—I'm in the right place. It turned out I was right because one of those agents saw my writing and asked if they could represent me, so that's what got me started. So, my best advice would be to put yourself in the right place. Go to conferences. Go to events where you can meet people in the publishing industry. In terms of writing—originality counts for quite a lot. You might look at the trends of what's out there but understand that editors are seeing hundreds upon hundreds of nearly identical manuscripts that are following the trends. Your manuscript has to stand out of that somehow. Personally, I never try to follow the trends. In fact, I intentionally try to do the opposite because I'm sort of contrary that way.

7. Do you ever go through periods of writer’s block? What are your tips for getting through these rough times?

Writer’s block is a misnomer because what most people call “writer’s block” is just writing. When writing is going smoothly, you feel as if that's where the writing is, but then you get stuck. That feeling of being stuck? THAT is what writing is. You have to be willing to work through the difficult part of writing as well as the times that it's going smoothly. If you call it a block, that's an excuse not to work your way through the hard part. My tips for getting through the hard part of writing? I change gears. I work on a different project, take long walks, and create playlists to help me get inspired. I also complain at my friends, and I try to put myself in new and interesting environments. I find it very difficult to sit in an office and write. I feel most creative when I am out in the world in someplace new and interesting.

8. Your next book is a graphic novel. What made you decide to branch out into writing a graphic novel? Share a bit about your writing process in creating Courage to Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust.

Courage to Dream was a labor of love from the beginning. I was initially inspired by the artwork of artist Jeffrey Schrier and the way he approached Jewish art.  For the longest time, I wanted to write a Jewish-themed book, and, when Andrea Pinkney approached me with the idea of doing a graphic novel, I jumped at it.  The question was, what could I write that would be additive? As one of my favorite movies is Pan’s Labyrinth, I thought using fantasy and surrealism could be a powerful and poignant way to approach a subject as difficult as the Holocaust.  I saw it as a challenge, and I love challenges. Having done a lot of screenwriting, my initial manuscript was formatted similarly to a screenplay but with suggestions of how the frames might be organized.  After the first draft of the text was done, it took a while for Scholastic to find the right artist—but when I saw Andrés Vera Martinez's work, I knew he was the one!  He has the ability to capture both wonder and darkness, hope and heartbreak in his work.  Every time I look at his illustrations, I still get chills.  From beginning to end, Courage to Dream took over 10 years to create, and it was worth every minute spent on it!

 

Thanks so much for all your advice, Neal. You can find Neal at

Herren Project Link: https://theherrenproject.networkforgood.com/events/61978-help-neal-shusterman-make-a-difference

Social Medias:

https://www.instagram.com/nealshusterman/

https://www.facebook.com/nealshusterman

https://twitter.com/NealShusterman

https://www.goodreads.com/nealshusterman

https://www.youtube.com/@nealshusterman7304

https://nealshustermanreal.tumblr.com/

 Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Monday, September 25 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jen Newens and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, October 4 I have an interview with debut author Kellie Parker and a giveaway of her YA thriller Thin Air

Thursday, October 5 I’m participating in the Howl-O-Ween Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 9 I have an interview with debut author Sean O’Brien and a giveaway of his MG historical White House Clubhouse

Wednesday, October 11 I have an agent spotlight interview with Lane Clarke and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 16 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jane Chun and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 23 I have an interview with debut author Elisa Stone Leahy and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars

Hope to see you on Monday!

 

 

Debut Author Interview: Emi Pinto and Bee Bakshi and the Gingerbread Sisters Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Emi Pinto here to share about her MG contemporary fairytale retelling Bee Bakshi and the Gingerbread Sisters. I really like that it’s set in contemporary times and is spooky. I’m excited to read it.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Inspired by Hansel and Gretel, this spooky ghost story and touching debut investigates the gingerbread houses that we trap ourselves in when we don’t learn to love ourselves as we are, perfect for fans of Ghost Squad and The Girl and the Ghost . Bee wanted to spend the summer reading Betsy Chillers books and exploring the new spooky theme park with her best friend. Instead, she’s spending the summer trapped at Storm Lake with her too loud, too thrifty, and too Indian family. Luckily, Bee finds a place to escape her embarrassment—a magical house across the lake that transforms her into the cool girl she always wanted to be. Maybe cottage life isn’t so bad after all! But strange dreams are haunting Bee, and there’s a chill in her bones she just can’t shake. Bee follows her hunch—and the scent of gingerbread—to Lucas, the dorky boy next door. He thinks there are ghosts in the forest, but new friend Alina tells her what Bee has feared all There’s a witch at Storm Lake. And she’s coming for Bee.

Follower News

Before we get to Emi’s interview, I have Follower News to share.

L. Diane Wolfe has a new release, In Darkness: The Werewolf. Here’s a blurb:
On her own in England, Vicki trains at a prestigious fencing school. Face marred by a birthmark, she’s suspicious of Nicholas’ attention. A dinner date reveals his genuine interest and they begin to connect. Nicholas is attractive and she wonders why he’s so shy and reclusive. Then one evening she happens upon him changing into a lycan. Every werewolf legend is shattered by the gentle, fearful creature before her. Vickie accepts his secret, but Nicholas knows he’s an unpredictable beast. Can they trust love enough to overcome their physical challenges? And here’s a few links: http://www.spunkonastick.net/ - Spunk On A Stick Amazon -  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BRR4VLN7/
iTunes - 
https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id6445310855
Barnes & Noble - 
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940165994548


Ree Augustine has a debut middle grade release, Hangabout: Far From Home. Here's blurb: Hangabout, a puppy whose body has just grown into his long teardrop ears, searches for his keeper, who, unbeknownst to Hangabout, has abandoned him. A story of homelessness, a friendship tried, and growing into oneself unfolds in this timeless journey. And here are a few links: 
ebook Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hangabout-Far-Home-Ree-Augustine-ebook/dp/B0CG7L1B35/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1693289119&sr=8-1
print Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hangabout-Far-Home-Ree-Augustine/dp/1949935566/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1693289119&sr=8-1
signed copy OBP: https://www.orangeblossombooks.com/store/p57/Hangabout%3A_Far_From_Home_%2ASigned_Copy%2A.html
Ree's website: http://www.reeaugustine.com/

Interview with Emi Pinto

Hi Emi! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I’m not sure. I was that kid in school who always had a book on the top left corner of my desk, and anytime the teacher paused, I would whip it out and continue reading. Writing kind of came out of that naturally. I started writing here and there in high school, and then picked it up again in my twenties. And haven’t stopped since.

2. I always had a book with me too. Where did you get the idea for Bee Bakshi and the Gingerbread Sisters?

I was actually inspired by an actual trip to a cottage with my family – being surrounded by pine trees and watching bugs skid over the lake – it was just an inspiring place. And that’s where Bee was born. Of course, there was no witch after me or a haunted house across the lake, but I will say that some of the ghosts may have been real;)

About Your Writing Process

3. Your story is inspired by Hansel and Gretel. What are your tips on writing a story based on a fairytale but making the story unique?

I actually didn’t set out to write a fairytale retelling (as you’ll see in the next question, I don’t usually set out with a plan of any kind!). About halfway through writing the first draft of this ghost story I realized that it kind of sort of had a Hansel and Gretel vibe to it. After that I went back and added fun elements from the original fairytale (like the mention of breadcrumbs), and then in the later drafts I began to tie things together even more.

4. That’s cool that the fairytale retelling happened while you were writing and that you changed your story a bit once you realized how your story was emerging. Were you a punster, a plotter, or a combination of both when writing this manuscript? Has your plotting process changed and if so, why?

I am definitely a pantser – I did not have any outline when I started this story, just a location and a vague image of Bee and Alina. With having deadlines now, I certainly try and do some plotting in hopes of streamlining my process and saving some time, but often I just end up back into pantsing and discovery writing. Luckily it’s worked out so far.

5. Readers have said that your story is a page-turner with mysteries and spookiness that left them guessing to the end. What techniques did you use to keep the pace going and make readers want to turn the page?

This is where my incredible editor’s advice came in handy – tension always needs to be building. From the very start, I try to build in spookiness and questions. (That loon’s call sounds so eerie, jeez it gives me the creeps.) Then, with each chapter, I raise the spooky stakes, adding a little bit more scary (Okay so the loons are definitely after me, what’s going on? Gasp, wait, are they following orders?). Until finally it reaches heart of the mystery. (Aaahhh! You get the idea)

Your Road to Publication

6. Your agent is Emily Forney. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

It took a long time for me to start querying. By the time I did, I had written five books, and I think - for me - this played a part in why I was fortunate enough to only have to dip my toes into the query trenches. Emily was the first agent to extend an offer of representation, I felt instantly that I could trust her, and the rest is history.

7. Share about your experience going on submission. What tips do you have for authors going on submission for the first time?

Believe it or not, the first book that went on submission did not work out. It was a very draining process – there is nothing to do but wait really, and wish upon a wishing star if you can find one, and draw angel cards, and eat copious amounts of delicious ice cream, and most importantly write the next book. We did get some bites, but after about six months, we decided to pull it. And then my new book went on sub. Two months later I was chatting with editors trying to see who would be the best fit. When the right story lands in the right person's hands, it's magic. 

Promoting Your Book

8. Yum! I like your idea of eating lots of ice cream. How are you marketing your book and developing your online platform? Is there any part of the process that you wished you’d started earlier?

Ah marketing. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’m very good at it. I try to put my energy into a few things – my website, and my two main social media platforms. I also lean on my publishing debut group a lot for marketing tips and insights – finding a support group/community I think is key. Other than that, my publisher does a lot of work getting reviews, giveaways, etc. One thing I’m looking forward to is school visits, but that won’t come until the book is out.

9. Joining a debut group sounds like a really helpful resource. How are you balancing out the promotion of this book with the need to work on your next manuscript?

Terribly. But like I mentioned, my publisher does a lot of the marketing, and anything I can add to that is just a bonus. I usually get some good writing/editing in during my lunch break or in the evenings. But I’m also balancing a full-time job, and I have a wonderful loving adorable baby that I gladly give all of my time to, so sometimes balance means taking a break from writing and promo 😀.

10. What are you working on now?

It’s a secret. But there will be ghosts

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

https://www.emipinto.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/71492840-bee-bakshi-and-the-gingerbread-sisters

https://twitter.com/EmiDPinto

https://www.instagram.com/emidpinto/

Giveaway Details

Emi is generously offering a hardback of Bee Bakshi and the Gingerbread Sisters 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 September 30th. 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 Emi 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, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Monday, September 25 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jen Newens and a query critique giveaway

Sunday, October 1st I'm participating in the Scaredy Cat Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, October 4 I have an interview with debut author Kellie Parker and a giveaway of her YA thriller Thin Air

Thursday, October 5 I’m participating in the Howl-O-Ween Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 9 I have an interview with debut author Sean O’Brien and a giveaway of his MG historical White House Clubhouse

Wednesday, October 11 I have an agent spotlight interview with Lane Clarke and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 16 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jane Chun and a query critique giveaway and am participating in the Silly Pumpkin Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 23 I have an interview with debut author Elisa Stone Leahy and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars

Hope to see you on Monday!

Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop

 


Happy Saturday Everyone! I hope you're having a great start to your fall. Today I'm excited to participate in the Falling Into Leaves Giveaway Hop hosted by MamatheFox.

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

 


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

Giveaway Details

I'm making this giveaway simple. 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 September 30th telling me how you plan to use the gift card and your email address. Be sure to include your email address.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media sites and/or follow me on Twitter, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry for each. You must be 13 years old or older to enter. This giveaway is International.

Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Monday, September 18 I have an interview with Emi Pinot and a giveaway of her MG modern fairytale retelling Bee Bakshi and the Gingerbread Sisters

Monday, September 25 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jen Newens and a query critique giveaway 

Wednesday, October 4 I have an interview with debut author Kellie Parker and a giveaway of her YA thriller Thin Air

Thursday, October 5 I’m participating in the Howl-O-Ween Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 9 I have an interview with debut author Sean O’Brien and a giveaway of his MG historical White House Clubhouse

Wednesday, October 11 I have an agent spotlight interview with Lane Clarke and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 16 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jane Chun and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 23 I have an interview with debut author Elisa Stone Leahy and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars

Hope to see you on Monday!

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


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

Literary Agent Interview: Heather Cashman Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Heather Cashman here. She is a literary agent at Storm Literary Agency.

Update on 11/9/2023: Heather is currently closed to submissions. Please check the agency website to find out when she reopens to queries.

Hi­ Heather! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Heather:

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

What seems like a lifetime ago, I was an agent intern at The Bent Agency and working as an editor while also helping the amazing Brenda Drake run Pitch Wars. About five or six years ago, I was at a conference giving a presentation about pitching when I met Victoria Selvaggio, owner of Storm Literary Agency. She said she was expanding into middle grade and young adult fiction and was looking at bringing on another agent. I told her at dinner that I would love to be considered, and in January of 2019 I became an agent.

About the Agency:

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

Storm is a boutique agency that has grown from primarily picture books to now representing all age categories and genres, both in fiction and nonfiction. We have a client-only facebook group with the wealth of accomplished authors helping one another. We have foreign rights and film agents we work with, as well as a marketing specialist who guides our authors to find strategies that are right for them. We’re very collaborative and family oriented, and work to create a positive environment that will be nurturing and conducive to creativity, including offering free workshops to our clients.

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’ve been described by my colleagues as a literary omnivore because I represent all age categories and all genres, in both fiction and nonfiction. I’ve considered everything you can imagine. While I do have commercial taste in premise, I love literary-leaning line writing, unique twists, and timeless themes. I look for the things that are different, that should be out there and aren’t. And I love learning about new people and places and perspectives.

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

Anything that fills a hole in published works. Anything that brings a new and fresh perspective. I love to find new formats and writers who are pushing against norms in form.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

Generally, I’m not a good fit for talking animals, circuses, non-humanish creatures, and sad elephants. Yes, those might sell, but I generally can’t get through them (or can’t get through them the seven or ten times it takes to get a book published—I’ll just bury my head in the sand).

Please, nothing misogynistic or prejudiced.

I’m usually not a good fit for memoir, military SF, or books where animals are killed.

Also, I don’t appreciate gore or anything gruesome on the page, anything gratuitous, or slasher-esque. I also don’t like graphic sex on the page, and I’m starting to shy away from issue books. I don’t mean to say that you can’t have problems, and I believe that’s a true part of any character. However, the books I lean toward balance this with levity and other emotions rather than just darkness.

I’m also not interested in seeing a book that’s been subbed to me multiple times or withdrawn multiple times because you want to sub and then do edits and then sub and do more edits.

Agent Philosophy:

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

In one word: uplifting.

My general philosophy is that I want books that uplift us as individuals, as a society, as a nation, as citizens of the world.

As for my clients, I try to lift them up in every way: elevate their writing, elevate their creative mood, elevate their careers. I want to support their hopes and dreams.

And I want them to always be reaching as well. I love it when my clients take continuing education workshops or get edits from experts to elevate their work. I love it when they look for opportunities, when they search out awards, when they work to market themselves, when they are actively studying the market and finding a way to break into it with their own unique ideas and perspectives to share.

The agent/author relationship is a creative team, and it only works when both are giving their all.

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 very editorial. I generally do the traditional three-step edits. Developmental—any big-picture issues with theme, character, world-building, and plot. Consistency—anything having to do with being consistent such as character behavior and arc, rolling plot on a more action/decision oriented scale, and world rules. Line—word choice, sentence order, paragraph and chapter issues.

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 Query Manager (link on Storm submission page). I prefer my queries with a ‘Hi Heather,’ opening, personalized title paragraph with comps and logline, the pitch, and a biography paragraph about the author’s writing credits and anything that would influence the project being submitted, and a full-name signature.

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

I don’t appreciate arrogance or condescension. Big surprise, but I see it too often. Your pitch and premise should speak for themselves. In other words, I should need convincing.

Response Time:

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

Here is where I have to apologize. I am very slow!

Because I love so much, it’s very difficult to decide what I should take on. I give a lot of thought to every query, and when I get 200+ per week, it takes a long time to process them and give each one individual attention.

So unfortunately, it takes me three to four months for a query, and then another three to six months for a full read. I know—it’s terrible. But during the day I have a fairly full schedule with current clients, and so I have to do queries on nights and weekends, and that’s also when I edit client manuscripts. I love looking through my query submissions, but it’s hard to find time as well.

All this said, I know that queries are the life-blood of the publishing industry. This is where I find the unique, the wonderfully creative, and amazing books that I want to champion!

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?

Absolutely.

They need to know their numbers, meaning the number of sales, the price points of those sales, and the timeframe of those sales. Because that’s what an editor I’m submitting to will want to see. They are not really a debut author and so, might not be billed as such. Of course, there are a lot of exceptions and considerations for this that can’t be covered here. But previous sales will be something that’s discussed.

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. I think as authors need to adapt to keep their careers healthy, agents also need to be flexible and willing to discuss options. For instance, a hybrid author needs an agent to sell their traditional books, but they might also be able to sell audio, film, foreign rights, etc. to their client’s self-published works. There are opportunities everywhere if authors and agents are willing to work together.

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Mariely Lares, author of the gender-swapped Zorro retelling Sun of Blood and Ruin (HarperVoyager, Feb 2024) and it’s sequel (2025)

Matthew Broberg-Moffit, author of the food-aversion cookbook Color, Taste, Texture (Penguin Avery, Aug 2023)

Nathalie Alonso, author of Call Me Roberto (Calkins Creek, 2024) and

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 Wishlist Post & Podcast Link (at the bottom)

https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/heather-cashman/

Storm Literary Agency About Us Page

https://www.stormliteraryagency.com/aboutus

Publisher’s Marketplace Page

https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/HeatherCashman/

Links and Contact Info:

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

Query Manager

http://QueryMe.Online/HeatherCashman

Personal Website

http://heathercashman.com/home/

Storm Literary Agency | Way-Word Writer | Twitter

LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook | Publisher's Marketplace

Additional Advice:

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

There is so much advice I could give, but my condensed version would be to decide what you want to do with writing and publishing, then stick with it as long as it’s worth it to you. There are different paths now, and I think people should do what makes them happy. I’ve had wonderful writer friends who loved writing and then went on to decide they were happier doing weaving or theater. And we should all give ourselves permission to do whatever we love.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Heather.

­Heather 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 September 23rd. 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.

Upcoming Interviews, Guest Posts, and Blog Hops

Monday, September 18 I have an interview with Emi Pinot and a giveaway of her MG modern fairytale retelling Bee Bakshi and the Gingerbread Sisters

Monday, September 25 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jen Newens and a query critique giveaway

Wednesday, October 4 I have an interview with debut author Kellie Parker and a giveaway of her YA thriller Thin Air

Thursday, October 5 I’m participating in the Howl-O-Ween Giveaway Hop

Monday, October 9 I have an interview with debut author Sean O’Brien and a giveaway of his MG historical White House Clubhouse

Wednesday, October 11 I have an agent spotlight interview with Lane Clarke and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 16 I have an agent spotlight interview with Jane Chun and a query critique giveaway

Monday, October 23 I have an interview with debut author Elisa Stone Leahy and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars

Hope to see you on Monday!