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.

Author Interview: Elisa Stone Leahy and Tethered to Other Stars Giveaway

Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Elisa Stone Leahy here to share about her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars. It sounds like a powerful story about a middle grade girl dealing with immigration worries while navigating middle grade issues. I’m looking forward to reading it this fall.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

 

Perfect for fans of Efrén Divided and A Good Kind of Trouble, this luminous middle grade debut follows a tween girl navigating the devastating impact of ICE's looming presence on her family and community.

Seventh grader Wendy Toledo knows that black holes and immigration police have one thing in common: they can both make things disappear without a trace. When her family moves to a new all-American neighborhood, Wendy knows the plan: keep her head down, build a telescope that will win the science fair, and stay on her family's safe orbit.

But that's easier said than done when there's a woman hiding out from ICE agents in the church across the alley--and making Wendy's parents very nervous.

As bullying at school threatens Wendy's friendships and her hopes for the science fair, and her family's secrets start to unravel, Wendy finds herself caught in the middle of far too many gravitational pulls. When someone she loves is detained by ICE, Wendy must find the courage to set her own orbit--and maybe shift the paths of everyone around her.

Follower News

Before I get to Elisa's interview, I have Follower News to share. My nephew, Joshua Corder, has just 
released his debut MG contemporary, Joshua's dream stories. Here's a blurb: Enter the imaginative mind of author Joshua Corder, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at age 3.  Joshua is pleased to have you join him as he explores 16 whimsical stories that began as his childhood dreams. Joshua has always wanted to be a published author and share his stories with everyone. And here is a purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/Joshuas-Dream-Stories-Joshua-Corder/dp/B0CKM3G2PN/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1OPD1UCYIWVNR&keywords=joshua%27s+dream+stories&qid=1697475097&sprefix=Joshua%27s+D%2Caps%2C143&sr=8-1

Interview With Elisa Stone Leahy

Hi Elisa! Thanks so much for joining us.

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

I have always been drawn to stories. Growing up Peruvian-American meant continuously examining how my two cultures intersect. There are gaps between how different people see the world, and I’ve always been fascinated by that space of disconnect and how stories work to bridge the gap. I learned to tell stories early on as a way to bring those two parts of my world closer together. As I grew older, I saw the value of stories in shifting perceptions and garnering a deeper understanding of others. Storytelling is such an integral part of who I am that I became a documentary filmmaker and eventually found work at the library. I firmly believe stories are the best tool we have to build a more empathetic future and I want to be a part of that, whether it’s handing a kid a library book or writing the book itself!

2. Where did you get the idea for Tethered to Other Stars?

This book is shaped by the experiences of many, many friends who I have had the privilege of walking alongside. I fought alongside Edith Espinal who lived in sanctuary for over 3 years in a church to avoid a deportation order. She took her fight to the news, to the presidential candidates and to the front page of the New York Times. I traveled with her team to DC to lobby for her and others in sanctuary. We led letter-writing campaigns and petition signings. Edith became the face of the sanctuary movement. One day she wondered out loud why the immigrant community didn’t show greater support for her case. This book began as an attempt to answer that question in an accessible way. I wanted the experience of sanctuary and all it’s complicated, messy truth to make sense for any kid (or adult), regardless of how much they know or understand about immigration.

About Your Writing Process

3. You’re also a documentary filmmaker. How has this helped you in plotting out your story and keeping the plot moving? Share two or three tips on plotting a contemporary middle-grade manuscript.

I’m happy to give tips, with the caveat that different methods work for different writers! Here’s what I’ve learned about myself and what I need in my writing:

  1. Know your limits. Documentary storytelling has many more limits than fiction, so when I first started writing, I felt like I could do anything. The freedom went to my head. It was like a shopping spree– “More characters! Pile on the subplots! I’ll take all the world-building!” My shopping cart ended up overstuffed with an unfinished, epic, multi-POV fantasy set in an alternate South American inspired magical world. I’m from Peru, so there were elements of “write what you know” in that book, but as a writer I did not have the chops to pull it off. I finally realized that if I wanted to become a professional author, I had to start with something manageable. I chose to write a contemporary middle grade book, set in the place where I live, about a topic I was familiar with. I had to impose the limits I needed on my writing. That book became Tethered to Other Stars, my debut!
  1. Know your ending! The gift of fiction is the ability to decide the ending for yourself, unlike in documentary filmmaking. I’ve written many stories that went nowhere, because I hadn’t figured out the ending. But I knew from the beginning how I wanted this one to end and that gave me a finish line to write towards. 
  1. Know the market. It is important to write what you love. But it is also important to figure out where that intersects with what your audience loves. Working at the library has been such a gift to me, because I have a constant stream of information about what is being published and what is getting checked out. If you have any kids in your life who fit the audience you are writing to, get to know them and their friends and follow their interests. If you don’t have kids in your life, pay attention to those who do. There are plenty of book-loving teachers, librarians and authors out there who love nothing more than talking about what kids are reading. Listen to podcasts, follow blogs, get on your librarian’s email lists, sign up for newsletters, etc. If you want your book out on the shelves one day, you need to know what’s already there and where your book will fit. 

4. Those are great tips. Reviewers have said that this is a very powerful, heart-warming story that also did a good job balancing Wendy’s worries about her family’s immigration status with her struggles navigating typical middle grade issues, like friends and crushes. How did you balance all this as you wrote Wendy’s story?

I wanted this book to be something that any kid could pick up and understand, regardless of how much they knew or understood about immigration policy. I also wanted to clearly show Wendy as a typical seventh grader, dealing with all the usual stuff that a new school and new friends might bring. My own kids were about the same age as Wendy when I started writing, so I was already thinking about those issues and questions that middle schoolers face. There is a scene in the book that takes place at a school skate party, which I actually drafted on my laptop while at my own kids’ school skate party! Being connected to the age group you are writing for definitely helps. It also helps to stay connected to your own internal kid. I love astronomy, and I would have loved a book that connected to that dreamy side of me, but also pulled in those big life questions about right and wrong. Although I never would have built a winning telescope in seventh grade–Wendy is way smarter than me!

5. How long did it take you to write and revise Tethered to Other Stars? What did you learn from the process that will help you write your next manuscript that will most likely be written under contract with a deadline to complete it?

I wrote this book little by little, during lunch breaks and my kids’ sports practices, so it took a LONG time. The first draft took me 3 years and I finished it in early 2020. I spent the Covid lockdown editing, polishing and figuring out what to do with it next. I did some version of an “I wrote a book, now what?” google search and discovered I needed an agent and had to do something called “querying”–all brand new information for me! After I got my agent and a book deal, I still had another year of revisions before this book was done. In total it took about 5 years to write from start to finish. But I must have learned a lot because my second book only took 1 month! NaNoWriMo is an event where writers challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November, and I decided to participate. I started writing book 2 on November 1st. On November 3rd, my agent called me with a two book offer from Quill Tree/HarperCollins, for Tethered to Other Stars and for the untitled book I had started writing just two days before! I still feel like I stumbled into some kind of lucky fairy dust! Having a two book offer on the table was a powerful motivation to complete that NaNoWriMo! By the end of November, I had a very rough draft of my second book (coming Fall of 2024). And anyone can participate in challenges like NaNoWriMo, so if that kind of structure is what you need, I encourage you to try it! NaNoWriMo pushed me to get that messy draft done much faster than the first book I wrote. I did it the next year as well and hit my goal even without a book deal to motivate me!

Your Road to Publication

6. I’d love to be able to write a book in a

month. Brent Taylor is your agent. How did he become your agent and how long did you query before you received his offer of representation?

I had been querying for about 5 months when I attended the SCBWI Summer conference and heard Brent Taylor speak on a panel. Agents are typically open to queries from writers who hear them speak on panels, which was one of the reasons I attended the conference (this was 2021, and the conference was all virtual). I queried him the next day. It was surreal how quickly everything happened after that! He requested the full almost immediately and read it over the weekend. That Monday, I got an email saying he wanted to talk. The first thing he said when we spoke on the phone was that he was calling to offer representation. It was a great conversation and he was so authentic and professional. I did have 8 other agents with the full, so I asked them to get back to me in the next 2 weeks. I ended up with 4 offers of representation and only one other who I seriously considered. In the end, I went with Brent and I am so glad! He is fantastic at what he does and I know I’m in great hands.

7. What a great road to getting an agent story. Share what it was like to go on submission. What tips do you have for other writers going on submission?

It’s similar to querying in that there is a lot of waiting! My agent put together a list of editors who he thought would be interested in my book and sent it out to them. He asked me if I wanted to hear every time someone responded or if I’d rather wait until there was good news. I wanted to know everything, so he shared it all! There were a few rejections and two interested editors. Having calls with interested editors was so exciting and nerve-wracking! I was incredibly grateful to have Brent walk me through what to expect. Again, it all happened so fast! I was only on submission for about 2 months. But the waiting always feels long. So my biggest advice is to keep busy! While I was on submission, I got my idea for the second book and decided to do NaNoWriMo, largely because I needed to keep my mind on something else. And I’m so glad I did, because I now have a second book coming out next Fall!

Promoting Your Book

8. Tell us about the events you have planned to celebrate the release of your book and how you decided to organize these events.

The main event is a book launch hosted by my local children’s bookstore at the public library. In addition to that, I contacted all my favorite local bookstores to ask if I could come in and sign stock. I’ve tried to keep my expectations low as far as numbers. I think I’ll have a decent turn out at the big launch event, but the bookstore signings will probably just be me, sitting at a table, signing stock copies. And I’m fine with that! I think if I had high expectations it would be different, but I’m actually excited to just go and sign some books and hang out in local bookstores. I’m so thrilled to see my book on the shelf, that is really all I need! For the actual day that my book releases, I’ve tried to plan low stress, fun ways to celebrate, like meeting a friend for brunch and signing books at a bookstore. Although I took off work, I’m probably going to stop in at my library (where I work) to see my books on the library shelves. And then I have a private launch party planned with friends after all those events are over. My introvert author friends would probably shudder at all the people interaction but I think I’ve planned a good balance for myself!

9. What else have you done to promote your book? What are you planning for the future?

There are some articles coming out around the launch in local newspapers and magazines, and I specifically reached out to those who have covered immigration and the sanctuary movement. I’ve done a handful of online interviews (Literary Rambles, Middle Grade-Minded, Smack Dab in the Middle, the Middle Grade Matters podcast) and I have a panel on Utopia State of Mind YouTube channel coming up. My main goal is to connect my book with middle grade teachers, so I’m working on an educator packet and I’ve begun setting up school/library visits. I’ll be speaking on a panel at a conference for Ohio school librarians just a few days after the book comes out and I’ll be at Books on the Banks, a festival in Cincinnati, next month. I’m trying to stay on top of all the application deadlines for book festivals and conferences that will help get my book out there. It is a lot! I have a spreadsheet to manage all the folks I’ve reached out to and where we are in the process.

10. What are you working on now?

If you loved Wendy and her friends, then I have some great news! The second book, which follows one of Wendy’s new friends from school, comes out next Fall. The title reveal and description are coming soon! It takes place just a few weeks after Tethered to Other Stars. I can’t give too much away, but there will be: A secret Sci-Fi webcomic, library shenanigans, a drag queen story time, a cute new enby kid, chaos twin brothers, an exorbitant amount of people-pleasing and a glitter cat.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Elisa. You can find Elisa at www.elisastoneleahy.com and @elisastoneleahy on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

Giveaway Details

Elisa is generously offering a hardback of Tethered to Other Stars for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by November 4th. 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 Elisa 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.

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

Wednesday, November 1st I have a guest post by debut author Mackenzie Reed and a giveaway of her YA mystery The Rosewood Hunt and my IWSG post

Monday, November 6th I have an agent spotlight interview with Morgan Hughes and a query critique giveaway

Thursday, November 9th I’m participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 13th I have an interview with debut author DaVaun Sanders and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Keynan Masters and the Peerless Magic Crew

Hope to see you on Wednesday, November 1st!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silly Pumpkins Giveaway Hop

 


Happy Monday Everyone! Today I'm excited to participate in the Silly Pumpkins Giveaway Hop hosted by MamatheFox. FYI, I'm getting back from a trip to Dallas to visit my late husband's family today. It's always great to see everyone, and we had a luncheon celebrate my daughter's wedding.

Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

 


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

Giveaway Details

To enter, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog (via the follower gadget, email, or bloglovin’ on the right sidebar) and leave a comment by October 31st 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, October 23 I have an interview with debut author Elisa Stone Leahy and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars

Wednesday, November 1st I have a guest post by debut author Mackenzie Reed and a giveaway of her YA mystery The Rosewood Hunt and my IWSG post

Monday, November 6th I have an agent spotlight interview with Morgan Hughes and a query critique giveaway

Thursday, November 9th I’m participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 13th I have an interview with debut author DaVaun Sanders and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Keynan Masters and the Peerless Magic Crew

Hope to see you on Monday!

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

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

Literary Agent Interview: Jane Chun Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Jane Chun here. She is a literary agent at Transatlantic Agency.

Hi­ Jane! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Jane:

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

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be an agent, editor, or book-to-film scout when I initially considered jumping into publishing, but the hands-on experience I got through my internships at Writers House and Maximum Films & Management and my freelance work for HG Literary solidified my desire to pursue agenting. I had my heart set on agenting to the point that I was only looking at jobs at agencies when the wiser decision would have been to be flexible and consider any position that would get me in the door—I certainly would have gotten a job faster that way!

I know what I want, though, and eventually I ended up joining Janklow & Nesbit in 2019 as an assistant. I stayed there for four years, learning from some of the best agents in the business and engaging with both well-renowned names and exciting debut authors alike, before landing at Transatlantic in July as a literary agent.

It’s exhilarating getting to focus solely on agenting, and I’ve been busy searching for and signing clients in adult and MG/YA, participating in events and conferences, and preparing submissions to send out to editors.

About the Agency:

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

Transatlantic Agency offers the full spectrum of representation to authors, which means that we not only look after a book through its lifetime, but we also grow an author’s career in the book, screenwriting, and speakership spaces. Our team of 20 agents is based in cities across North America, and our combined experience, specialties, and long-term relationships with publishers, co-agents, and studios/production companies have equipped us in handling everything from selling books to securing foreign/translation, audio, and film/TV/stage deals for the past 30 years. We also have great colleagues in contracts and royalties, so while all of us agents keep on top of both and are involved in the contract negotiation and drafting process, knowing that we have that backend support allows us to concentrate on developing and polishing our authors’ works and figuring out strategies to set up our clients for success.

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 middle grade, YA, and adult as well as graphic novels/nonfiction. In both fiction and nonfiction, I’m passionate about championing stories that center marginalized communities and I gravitate towards compelling, fresh voices and characters with emotional depth. I consider myself versatile in that I’m open to literary, upmarket, and commercial fiction and I read anything from realistic contemporary fiction to fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, speculative fiction, and some horror. I have a very thorough manuscript wish list here if anyone wants a more detailed rundown on what I’m seeking!

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

If you have a narrator who can speak to me intimately like I’m an old friend or acquaintance, you’ll reel me in immediately. I’m a huge film and TV person (there’s a reason I considered being a book-to-film scout once!), so I love cinematic, sensory writing where I feel like I’m right in the thick of it, navigating the world with the protagonist as them or right by their side. As I mentioned before, supporting marginalized writers and getting more stories featuring marginalized communities out there is a fundamental part of what I do. I want to see variety with that as well, where we get everything from joyous, uplifting, lighthearted stories to darker and/or more serious fare, particularly if it’s an angle we haven’t seen before. I will say, though, that if you’re dealing with challenging topics, it’s important to me that the writing avoids being didactic or exploitative. 

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I’m not the right person for picture books (I’m only open to referrals at the moment), prescriptive nonfiction, self-help, religion/spirituality books, romance, commercial thrillers, hard sci-fi, poetry, and essay and short story collections. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy some of these genres, but I don’t plan on including them as part of my list.

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 always tell writers that there needs to be trust on both sides. The author needs to feel confident about my expertise and believe that everything I’m doing is with them in mind; this is particularly important when we’re in choppy waters and struggling with another draft or going through another round of submissions. We’re a team and I want you to succeed! On my end, I need to trust that you can respond to feedback positively, and we can work in tandem to make your book not only a reality but the best version of itself that it can be as well.

I’d love to work with authors who aren’t afraid to try new things and to expand the scope of their writing, even if they’re aware of where their strengths and weaknesses lie, in terms of what they’re able to do with characters, themes, etc.

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 like rolling up my sleeves and digging into the project, and I want to make sure that both the writer and I are happy with the final draft and confident that what they wanted to say comes through before we send it off to editors. I go from a big picture approach first and then once the foundational issues have been addressed and the structural integrity of the “house” is sound, then we can go through the manuscript with a fine comb and deal with the details.

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?

 

Please send the following through Query Manager. If you have difficulty using Query Manager, you can email queryjane@transatlanticagency.com. Please do not submit your query through both methods; the duplicate query will not be answered.

Fiction: a brief introduction, a synopsis, and the first ten pages. For email queries, include all text in the body of the email

Nonfiction: a brief introduction, a full outline, and the first ten pages of the proposal. For email queries, include all text in the body of the email

Graphic novels/nonfiction: a brief introduction, a synopsis/outline, and at least five illustrated pages with text. If you don’t have five pages, you can send ten script pages and some sample art instead. For email queries, please attach the sample pages/art as a PDF

For email queries, include the book title, category/genre, word count (or estimated page count for graphic novels/nonfiction), and your author bio.

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

I don’t have specific dislikes, but I recommend sticking with a basic query letter format as you want the content to stand out instead of the structure or visuals. Keep to about 250–450 words. For the actual content itself, specificity is key. Don’t be too in the weeds or too vague that your query could be about any other book. I should get a clear sense of the character’s journey and the conflict—what do they want and what’s preventing them from achieving that?—as well as how this book stands out from other stories. For nonfiction, the letter should address “Why this book? Why now? Why you (the author)?”

As for first pages, I wouldn’t worry so much on making them stand out. Often, I find that writers workshop the first pages a lot and then the rest of the pages don’t feel as tight. As long as I feel like I’m immersed in the character’s head or their world and the writing itself is compelling, I’ll keep reading and hopefully ask for more pages once I’m done.

Response Time:

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

It depends on my schedule and the volume of queries, but I try to respond within eight weeks, if not faster. I go through queries in chronological order to be fair to everyone.

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! That said, I don’t typically represent books that already have been self-published, and for authors who have been published by smaller presses, I consider the trajectory of their career. For instance, does it seem like they have built on that experience or know how to? Do I have a new strategy to bring to the table that will help the author with the next chapter of their career? If you’re trying to find an agent and you’ve been previously published, whether through traditional publishing or self-publishing, you must be transparent about that in your query letter. It’s helpful if you can demonstrate that you’ve learned from publishing your previous books through the concept and writing of the book you’re querying.

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?

The basic tenets still hold. Agents are there to advocate for their clients. How that advocacy happens has evolved and will continue to evolve as the publishing landscape itself goes through changes.  

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

I’m currently building my list, and I recently signed Jeanne Panfely and Kelly Bull. Jeanne is working on her finishing touches to her lyrical, atmospheric middle grade mystery/fantasy novel and Kelly is tinkering with a vibrant, energetic graphic novel proposal that speaks to the times we live in and will be returning to her delightfully entertaining high fantasy adventure webcomic, VAINGLORIOUS, soon.

Interviews and Guest Posts:

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

Jericho Writers Spotlight Feature Interview: https://jerichowriters.com/townhouse/articles/spotlight-feature-jane-chun-from-transatlantic-agency/

My manuscript wish list: https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/jane-chun/

Update on 11/24/2023

Interview at Writing and Illustrating Part 1

Links and Contact Info:

Transatlantic Agency bio/submissions guidelines: https://www.transatlanticagency.com/about-us/agents/jane-chun/

Query Manager: https://querymanager.com/query/janechun

Twitter: janechunlit

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

Writers can submit their queries through Query Manager. If you have trouble submitting through Query Manager, you can email me.

Additional Advice:

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

Writing and querying are lonely processes, so it helps to find a community whether online or in person. Try to set yourself up for success as best you can by researching agents, so you find the right fit for you at an agency and the right agency too. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear from agents for weeks if not months; that’s normal and it doesn’t say anything about your query! Many of us receive dozens if not hundreds of queries per month, and it takes time to sift through them all and give each one the careful consideration it deserves on top of the other non-query-related work we juggle. If you are receiving rejections, then take them in stride. Think of it this way: that just means that you’re one step closer to meeting your agent. If you see agents are saying the same things in their feedback, however, it’s worth reevaluating and potentially even reworking your manuscript/proposal. In the meantime? Keep writing! Sometimes it’s book #2 or #3 that will land you representation. It’ll keep your mind off things, and you want to make sure that your love for writing doesn’t fade or sour (and make sure to take breaks to enjoy life too).

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Jane.

Giveaway Details

­Jane 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 28th. 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, October 23 I have an interview with debut author Elisa Stone Leahy and a giveaway of her MG contemporary Tethered to Other Stars

Wednesday, November 1st I have a guest post by debut author Mackenzie Reed and a giveaway of her YA mystery The Rosewood Hunt and my IWSG post

Monday, November 6th I have an agent spotlight interview with Morgan Hughes and a query critique giveaway

Thursday, November 9th I’m participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 13th I have an interview with debut author DaVaun Sanders and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Keynan Masters and the Peerless Magic Crew

Hope to see you on Monday!

Literary Agent Interview: Lane Clarke Interview and Query Critique Giveaway

 

Today I’m thrilled to have agent Lane Clarke here. She is an associate literary agent at ArtHouse Literary Agency.

Update on 3/26/2024. Lane Clarke has moved to Ultra Literary and is currently open to submissions. Check the agency website to learn how to query her.

Hi­ Lane! Thanks so much for joining us.

About Lane:

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

I spent a year as an editorial intern and another year as an agent mentee by the time I reached out to one of the ArtHouse founders about possibly joining their team and the rest is history. That was in May 2022, so for about a year and some change I’ve been signing great clients and pitching their fantastic work to editors.

About the Agency:

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

ArtHouse is a small Black-owned agency whose main goal is to uplift marginalized voices. We offer editorial assistance in addition to representation, and are open minds always looking for new ways to get our clients work and recognition.

 What She’s Looking For:

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

I represent all age groups, picture books through adult. I’m a bit eclectic when it comes to genres I represent, so I look for contemporary, speculative, funny, serious, etc. I read A LOT so I’m always looking for something that I haven’t seen before, whether it be a completely fresh perspective or a common trope really turned on its head. 

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

I’m really keen on finding contemporary stories set in the real world with just a hint of something speculative. I’d also really love some horror that gives me goosebumps, whether that be because there’s something deliciously gross about it or because it addresses an issue that just makes me feel big emotions.

What She Isn’t Looking For:

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

I don’t find myself leaning towards fantasy about fae or related topics, not to say that I never could be so I hate to say I’m not interested in something because I really never know what may blow me away. I do think my bandwidth has made me not as interested in longer books over 100,000 words. I’m also really not into submissions about a marginalized character or group from a writer who is not a part of that group—we should be giving those creatures space in publishing, not telling their stories for them.

Agent Philosophy:

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

My goal is publishing, the reason I became an agent really, is to always push publishing towards being more diverse, so my list represents authors from all backgrounds. It’s really important for me in my career to do my part in getting those voices heard and to the forefront.

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, some of my clients might even call me nitpicky lol but I try to get my clients’ work as “perfect” as we can so editors can have a clear vision and have fewer reasons to hopefully say no. That can mean multiple rounds of developmental edits or hefty line edits to make the book really sing.

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?

Authors should use the QueryManager link on ArtHouse’s website’s contact page. We have a shared inbox so every ArtHouse agent sees every query. In addition to your query letter, we also ask for a synopsis and the first three chapters of your manuscript.

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

No, not really. I don’t mind typos or small mistakes, even if it’s my name. As long as the query letter is clear what your book is about and gives me an idea on whether or not I want to read it, then it’s well done.

Response Time:

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

Now that I’m finally all caught up with queries and requested materials, my response time is about 2 months to respond to your query and *fingers crossed* one-two months to read the manuscript.

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’m definitely open to hybrid authors and authors already published by a small press. My advice is the same as it would be for any author—query with your best (unpublished) work and be ready to talk about your other projects both published and unpublished. If you’re self-published, make sure you have an idea of your sales record because agents may ask.

12. With all the changes in publishing—self-publishing, hybrid authors, more small publishers—do you see the role of agents changing at all? Why?

I think the role of agents is everchanging because books tend to reflect the world and the world is everchanging. For me personally, I try not to focus too much on the hottest trends because the market is moving so quickly right now, editors are moving in and around and out of publishing houses so figuring out how to maintain those relationships is taking a new flexibility for sure. I think since we’re seeing so many popular self-published books get picked up by traditional publishing, agents becoming more agile and connected in the international market feels like it’s becoming more necessary. (**caveat that I’m still fairly new and maybe these are things agents have always been doing, but that in my time I’ve learned I need to pay more attention to than I knew coming in.)

Clients:

13. Who are some of the authors you represent?

Clients who have had deals announced include Jenny Alvarado, Jasmine Smith, Melissa Kendall, and Leigh Anne Carter.

Interviews, Guest Posts, and Podcasts:

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.

Writers can query me at the QueryManager form on ArtHouse’s website’s contact page. You can address the query to the agency as a whole since we share an inbox or you can address it to me specifically.

Additional Advice:

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

Publishing is moving slow, I mean really slow, right now. So the best advice I can give is to be patient. I’ve seen authors CNR a query that was only out for 4-6 weeks, which, unless that’s what an agent’s guidelines state, just feels like way too short a time. I completely understand that wait times are just horrendous right now, but most of us are truly reading as fast as we can while managing our existing list, so hang in there!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Lane.

Giveaway Details

­Lane 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 31st. 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, 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

Wednesday, November 1st I have a guest post by debut author Mackenzie Reed and a giveaway of her YA mystery The Rosewood Hunt and my IWSG post

Monday, November 6th I have an agent spotlight interview with Morgan Hughes and a query critique giveaway

Thursday, November 9th I’m participating in the Super Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Hop

Monday, November 13th I have an interview with debut author DaVaun Sanders and a giveaway of his MG fantasy Keynan Masters and the Peerless Magic Crew

Hope to see you on Monday!