….from Priscilla Burris and all the artists of the CATugeau Artist Agency!
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….from Priscilla Burris and all the artists of the CATugeau Artist Agency!
PW review in Sept 16th 2013 edition, page 59!! that’s my son and artist Jeremy and his model GEORGE, a grandson!
A boy introduces the idea of spirituality in this upbeat, rhyming board book. Though his outward appearance—“two eyes, two ears,/ one mouth, one nose”—is what the boy sees in the mirror, he embraces the belief that “something else,” even more important, grows inside him. He describes his heart, mind, strength, and soul as “all these parts of me that you can’t hold or hear or touch or see,” and offers examples of how they play a part in his life. In one of several inaugural titles for young children from Grant (including Mud Puddle Hunting Day and a pair of board books in the Knowing My God series), the brief text is inspired by Mark 12:30 and serves as a jumping off point for exploration of an often difficult-to-grasp concept. Tugeau’s sunny scenes of common family and childhood activities provide a sense of realistic accessibility for readers. Ages 3–6. (Oct.)
Reviewed on 09/13/2013 | Release date: 10/01/2013 | Details & Permalink
About Lisa Rodgers: Lisa grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from California State University, Sacramento, in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a minor in German literature-in-translation, history, and culture (sadly, she doesn’t speak German, although it’s on her bucket list).
She moved to New York City in 2012 to attend NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute and joined the JABberwocky team a few months later. She’s previously worked at San Francisco/Sacramento Book Reviews and Barnes & Noble, interned at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, and read submissions for Lightspeed Magazine.
She is seeking: science fiction, fantasy, YA and middle grade of all genres, and romance.
Below are a few (but by no means all!) of her favorite books by non-client authors, in no particular order:
BLACK SUN RISING (C.S. Friedman), SPIN STATE (Chris Moriarty), THE COMPANY (K.J. Parker), MAGIC’S PAWN (Mercedes Lackey), INNOCENT TRAITOR (Allison Weir), THE BLACK PRISM (Brent Weeks), THE WHITE DRAGON (Anne McCaffrey), THE DUKE AND I (Julia Quinn), THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS (Rae Carson), LOST GIRLS (Ann Kelly), ASSASSIN’S APPRENTICE (Robin Hobb), HAMMERED (Elizabeth Bear), HEX HALL (Rachel Hawkins), WINTERGIRLS (Laurie Halse Anderson), THE GIVER (Lois Lowry), PERSUASION (Jane Austen), and FOREIGNER (C.J. Cherryh)
How to submit: e-mail her at querylisa [at] awfulagent [dot] com. In the body of the email, please include your query letter and the first 25 pages of your manuscript. A synopsis is also helpful, but by no means required. Please paste everything into the body of the e-mail; attachments won’t be opened.
About Gemma Cooper: She is a new agent at The Bent Agency, run by Jenny Bent. Find Gemma on Twitter. In her own words: “Although I’m in London now, I lived in NYC for three years and regularly visit, so I’m going to be representing authors from the UK and the US. I look forward to reading your work and really appreciate you sharing it with me. I’m lucky to represent Mo O’Hara, author of MY BIG FAT ZOMBIE GOLDFISH (Macmillan UK/Feiwel and Friends 2013) and I’d love to find other fantastic chapter books (7+ fiction) with an obvious hook and a laugh on every page. One of my all time favourite books is WHEN YOU REACH Me by Rebecca Stead. I love that it blend genres, has an amazing voice and literary feel to the writing. Anything similar would make me sit up and take notice.”
She is seeking: See below…
How to submit: Query cooperqueries (at) thebentagency.com.
Had to let you know about great agent, great author, and all around nice guy, John Cusick’s new book – CHERRY MONEY BABY.
John has agreed to let me offer a signed copy of his book as give-a-way.
Anyone that leaves a comment will get their name put in the hat one time. If you would like to collect more entries into the hat you can do the following:
1 entry everything you tweet this link (One a day).
1 entry for putting this link on facebook
1 entry for putting up this post on your blog.
2 entries if you reblog this post.
5 entries if you talk about the book on your facebook page or blog.
Please come back and leave an update on what you did by September 28th in the comment section, so I know how many times to put your name in the hat for the drawing. I will announce the winner on Sunday September 29th. Good Luck!
Here is John’s bio:
John joined The Greenhouse Literary Agency in January 2013 after several years with at The Scott Treimel NY agency, where he began as an assistant and rose to be an agent with a fast-developing client list. As well as being a YA author in his own right, John is a sought-after speaker on writing, both at writers’ conferences and via webinars. You can read his blog here: http://johnmcusick.wordpress.com/
What John is seeking: Fiction by North American authors, from Picturebooks and Middle Grade through Young Adult. Particularly keen to see MG (and maybe YA) for boys. Fast-paced/thrilling/heart-breaking stories. Contemporary realism, historicals, speculative fiction, sci-fi and fresh fantasy, villains with vulnerabillity, bad decisions with best intentions, boldly imagined worlds, striking imagery, characters with histories, stories about siblings and about middle America.
Below is the interview I had with John:
Before we get into talking about your new book; how did your first year at Greenhouse Literary go? Anything exciting you can share with us?
It’s been absolutely amazing. Since starting with Greenhouse I’ve sold six titles and signed seven new clients, including my very first picture book author/illustrators— and the year isn’t over yet! Greenhouse provides a nurturing atmosphere for authors, very hands on, and its international reach allows us to place projects all over the world. It’s wonderful to be a part of that. I’m especially looking forward to our agency retreat in February; it’ll be a blast to spend time with clients, as well as with Sarah Davies (head of Greenhouse) and our phenomenal U.K. agent Polly Nolan. I’m told there will also be a talent show. With ukuleles.
I started writing CHERRY MONEY BABY on index cards, in Fort Green Park in Brooklyn, in August of 2010. The project changed radically from draft to draft. I started with a big baggy monster of a novel, and carved away the useless stuff until I got down to its heart: the relationship between Cherry and Ardelia. Really, this is a story about a complicated friendship. It just took me a few years to figure that out.
What was the spark that started this book?
My agent, Scott Treimel, suggested I consider a story about teen pregnancy, which set my gears turning. In the end, CHERRY isn’t about teen pregnancy really, but that was the seminal brainstorm. Then I saw A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC by Stephen Sondheim when I was in London for the London Book Fair. I was transfixed by the interweaving relationships in that show, the class interplay, and also the big move to the country halfway through. Part of CHERRY’s particular flavor owes a lot to NIGHT MUSIC.
How many revisions did you do before you were ready to submit your book?
I did three major revisions with Scott before sending the manuscript to Deb Wayshack, my fabulous editor at Candlewick with whom I worked on GIRL PARTS. Deb helped me really hone the story and find its soul. I learned so much during the editing process— about character, plot, and language— that just as we were drawing close to copyedits, I asked Deb if she’d let me try rewriting the manuscript from word one. Candlewick agreed, and ninety days later I had a new version of CHERRY that was radically different, and infinitely superior. Doing a complete rewrite was really liberating, and the result was a much stronger, deeper novel.
Did you agent Scott Treimel negotiate the contract?
He did. At the time I was an agent with Scott Treimel NY, Scott’s agency, which meant I had a unique inside glimpse into the negotiation process—which is always fascinating, but especially when it’s your book being discussed.
Do you plan on writing a sequel for this book?
I don’t think so. Cherry and Ardelia’s story feels complete to me. I don’t like to end books too neatly; I like to leave room for my characters to go on living and breathing and changing. I don’t envision a sequel to CHERRY MONEY BABY, though I do like to imagine Cherry and Ardelia getting up to…Oop, I should stop there or risk spoilers!
Have you started writing the sequel to Girl Parts?
I wrote a sequel to GIRL PARTS, actually, which is hiding somewhere on my hard drive. It’s not quite ready for public consumption yet, but maybe someday soon. I wrote it in a single month after watching an episode of DOCTOR WHO penned by Neil Gaiman. It’s a bit more sci-fi, and involves Rose’s journey back to Massachusetts. But again…spoilers…
Do you have other books in the works?
I do! I’m working on something now I’m very excited about. I won’t go into too much detail, except to say it’s BIG and, in my opinion, the best thing I’ve ever written. At least, so far.
Do you try to spend a certain amount of time writing?
I do. I try to write for at least ninety-minutes to two-hours a day, five days a week. That schedule has slackened somewhat since I first started writing in college, when it was three hours a day, every day. Real Life has a tendency to intervene, but I try to keep that writing time sacred.
Any plans to write, middle grade novels, new adult, or adult books?
I’d likely go middle grade before I wrote for adults; my brain is pretty hardwired into the m.g. and y.a. universe at the moment. In addition to writing novels, though, I do work on other literary projects. I’m in the midst of writing a comedic web series about video game developers, and also a musical or two. Lord knows when any of that will see the light of day, but I do like to experiment in different mediums.
Oh, and then there’s the super top-secret animated series idea I’ve been developing with my buddy Evan: BEAR SUB.
Do you have any tips for writers on improving their writing?
Read your stuff aloud, that’s a biggie. You’ll notice wonky sentences, run-ons, and boring bits. Reading your stuff aloud to others works even better.
Read Stephen King’s ON WRITING, read Donald Maass’s WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL. Read poetry. Write poetry! Avoid the internet.
When sitting down to write a scene, consider these things in this order:
1) What does your character want?
2) What is the most horrible thing that can happen to your character, preventing her from getting what she wants?
3) What is the most interesting way to convey the horrible thing and your character’s response? If you don’t have 1 and 2 down first, it doesn’t matter how good you are at 3: the scene will fall flat.
Any words of wisdom on finding an agent?
Send your best, most compelling, most unique work. Follow submission guidelines. Don’t labor for decades revising, perfecting, submitting one project. Move on. Write new books. Come back to the same agents with something better, something fresher. Keep at it.
What direction do you see the market going in? More or less hard covers? More or less ebooks? More or less fantasy? Paranormal? Dystopian? Horror? Humor?
I think genre fiction (with sci-fi, fantastical, or paranormal elements) will always be strong, and I think these different genres will continue to blend and recombine. The industry is less trendy than it was three years ago, so trying to be “the next” HUNGER GAMES / TWILIGHT / PERCY JACKSON won’t serve you (not that it ever did). Now is a great time for contemporary realism, stories about real characters in real situations, with terrific emotional depth.
Before you go can you tell us your likes and dislikes in novels?
A pet peeve of mine is passive or reactive protagonists. In contemporary realism, these tend to be long-suffering narrators who have endured unimaginable sorrows, and we’re meant to engage with them based purely on pity, apparently. In genre fiction, this tends to be the Reluctant Hero, who just wants to blend in, or live a normal life, but is tasked with saving the kingdom. No thanks. I love proactive heroes, take-charge, take-no-prisoners, tough protagonists. I want heroes who really want something, and who go out and get it. Flawed or virtuous, give me some fire in the belly. Those are the characters (and people) I admire most and want to read about.
Don’t miss out on reading John’s new book. I can’t wait to read it, since his last book is one of my favorites. I expect no less with this one. Thanks John for sharing your time with us.
About Roz: Roz Foster is an associate agent, rights assistant, and talent scout for the Dijkstra Agency. She has a B.A. in English Literature from UC San Diego, studied philosophy for a year at the University of Sheffield, U.K., and earned her M.A. in English, with an emphasis in composition & rhetoric and creative writing, from Portland State University. At PSU, she taught writing in exchange for tuition. She’s been learning French since 2009. Roz spent over five years as a qualitative researcher in high-tech consumer products marketing. In 2008, she co-founded a web design company for which she provided non-profit organizations with audience-focused market research, project planning, and digital design. She joined SDLA in 2013.
She is seeking: Roz is interested in literary and commercial fiction, women’s fiction, literary sci-fi, and literary YA. She loves novels that make her feel like the author is tuned into a rising revolution — cultural, political, literary, or whatnot — that’s about to burst on the scene. She looks for a resonant, lively voice; rich, irresistible language; complex characters with compelling development arcs; and a mastery of dramatic structure. Roz is also interested in non-fiction in the areas of current affairs, design, business, cultural anthropology/social science, politics, psychology and memoir. Here, she looks for driven, narrative storytelling and sharp concepts that have the potential to transcend their primary audience.
Please note that Roz is specifically not interested in: sports, cookbooks, screenplays, poetry, romance, and children’s middle-grade/picture books.
How to contact: E-query roz [at] dijkstraagency.com. “We read all query letters. However, because of the high volume of unsolicited submissions we receive, we are only able to respond to those queries in which we are interested. If you have not heard back from us six weeks after sending your letter, you may assume that we have passed.” Please send a query letter, a 1-page synopsis, a brief bio (including a description of your publishing history), and the first 10-15 pages of your manuscript. Please send all items in the body of the email, not as an attachment.
Literary Counsel is a boutique agency located in New York City.
Frances Black – looking for:
Jennifer Mishler looking for:
•Young Adult Romance
•Young Adult Contemporary
•Young Adult Literary
•Young Adult Historical
Jennifer is seeking Young Adult Fantasy, Young Adult Contemporary, Young Adult Literary, and Young Adult Historical.
Visit her here: about.me/jennmishler
They only accept queries on the 1st and 2nd of each month.
• Genres and Specialties: Romance—contemporary and historical, prior to 1930—Mystery/Crime, YA (Young Adult Novels) and New Adult. No vampires, no werewolves and no erotica.
• Please send us an EMAIL to Literarycounsel@gmail.com (this is our submission address) with a summary of your manuscript, a short biography introducing yourself, a way to contact you and ATTACH the first three chapters of your manuscript and a SYNOPSIS as a Word doc.
• Your subject line should tell us what genre your manuscript is. (Example: A Young Adult Contemporary, A Historical Romance, A Mystery)
• Please do not paste the chapters in the body of your email (it’s difficult for us to read submissions this way!)
• In your attachment, please have your title, your name and contact info in your first three chapters. Also, make sure your manuscript has page numbers.
• Please include the following information: What genre you feel your work is most like, any similar titles and who your audience is.
• Make sure everything you submit to Literary Counsel has your name included, email address and also please have page numbers.
• If you submit outside the submission deadlines, your manuscript WILL NOT BE READ.
• Your manuscript needs to be double spaced.
• Be professional and courteous in your approach to us. We form an impression based on your e-query, and you want it to be a good impression. Do not write your query in a rush. Take the time to write it well. Make sure your query and manuscripts are polished and error free.
• It could take up to a month to respond to your initial query letter and if we want to read more of your manuscript, we will ask for it.
•The process of reading an entire manuscript can be long. We try to read as much as we can. Please be patient.
….I was happily driving into NYC from CT for a number of looked-forward-to appointments with publishers that day Sept. 11th, 2001 - several off Hudson. The day was brilliant and clear. I remember thinking I was having a ‘good hair day’ and had plenty of cash in my wallet, gas in my car for the drive and just felt like signing aloud. So I turned on the radio about 8:45….. and the world changed forever.
I kept driving toward the city in tears….finally being stopped just as they closed the bridge leading over to Manhattan from its north eastern tip. The sound of all the alarms and ER vehicles still bring a chill to me remembering. Odd how in times of great fear and disbelief we still tend to move forward….even toward danger. Human nature to keep going, one foot in front of the other, trying to make sense, trying to help, trying to survive.
We honor all those lost this day 12 years ago and the even more who’s lives were forever changed …which includes practically all of us. God bless this great country….we WILL continue to move forward trying to make sense, trying to help, trying to survive…with dignity and hope.
Louise Fury has left L.Perkins Agency to join The Bent Agency this past week. A select group of advanced and published writers will be getting full critiques with Louise at the end of this month. I will give you feedback on that in October.
Literary Middle Grade
Commercial fiction, especially all sub-genres of romance
Louise Fury represents young adult, middle grade, new adult, commercial fiction including romance, and select nonfiction.
A native South African, I now live in New York City and travel to Cape Town every year, where I spend time educating South African writers, meeting with international publishers and distributing books. Before agenting, I worked in marketing and advertising for both the consumer markets and publishing. Prior to joining The Bent Agency, I worked as a literary agent at the L. Perkins Agency. I represent numerous New York Times and USA Today best-selling authors. I encourage my authors to have one foot in traditional print publishing and the other in the digital-first arena and am a huge advocate of utilizing secondary rights—I have sold film/TV, audio and foreign rights for my clients. I believe in staying ahead of the pack by embracing change, not just adapting to it.
I’m looking for writers with a unique voice and an unforgettable story. I’m particularly drawn to stories with a strong protagonist. In young adult, I look for manuscripts that are written with an unforgettable voice—this can be deep, dark and gritty or literary, lyrical and emotional. I’d love to find a young adult novel that has a bone-deep sense of danger that haunts me from page 1 and doesn’t let go of me for days. I want delicious adult romances with creative plots, sexy liaisons and unique characters who sweep me up in their love story. I want to feel something unforgettable when I read your pages. I want manuscripts that I can’t stop thinking about.
I’d like to thank Anna Olswanger from Liza Dawson Associates for sharing her time and expertise with us this month. Your first page is the first thing anyone sees of your story, so the more we can hone the beginning, the better off we will be in writing a successful book. I know we can all learn from these sessions. Even if it is not your first page, you can make note of the thoughts of an editor or agent after they have critiqued the page.
Here are the four first pages picked this month and Anna’s thoughts:
Hope Grietzer The Carousel Keeper Middle Grade Novel
A parade of green swells rose and sank in the murky water beneath the boat. The deck of the ferry dipped again, and for a moment Sadie felt weightless.
“Just ten more minutes,” she thought, gripping the rail as the ferry climbed the crest of the next swell. A gusty wind tugged at her baseball cap like a passing pickpocket, and Sadie’s hand flew up to protect her cap. She squeezed her eyes shut.
“Bit choppy today,” a voice said.
The steward approached, the ends of his white jacket flapping in the breeze like seagull
wings. Red hair hugged his head, and his ears stuck out like pot handles.
“Anything I can do for you, Miss?”
“Can you send me back to Ohio?” Sadie forced a small grin.
“I would, except I promised your uncle I’d deliver you to the island safe and sound.” He
glanced around the crowded ferry. “Follow me.”
Sadie eased away from the rail. The mischievous deck sank before her sneaker could reach it, and then rose so that her foot smacked it hard.
“Feels like I’m walking on the moon,” she thought, hobbling after the steward.
The man paused and gestured toward a vacant seat. “The ride should be smoother here.”
A mother with a squirmy toddler shifted to make room as Sadie sank onto the bench. Across the aisle, a wiry man in a brown suit coat gave Sadie and the child a nervous glance and tugged his briefcase closer. Sadie gave him her best smile but he scowled back, his thick eyebrows drawing together like a blackbird’s wings.
Sadie wished her brother Jamie was here. He had a knack for making friends. But Sadie
traveled alone, sailing toward Summer Island while her parents flew to Brazil. They broke the
news to her last week.
The Carousel Keeper
I would keep reading beyond the first page to find out what life will be like for Sadie on Summer Island. (Will she find a friend? Will she see the steward again? What is her uncle like?)
I do think some minor details are distracting: the image of red hair hugging the steward’s head, for example. What is the point of that detail, or of the detail of his ears sticking out? It feels as though the author may be trying to fill up space. The deck being “mischievous” feels like overwriting, and what is it like to walk on the moon? The reader has been experiencing the choppiness of the ride, so would walking on the moon be “choppy?”
Is there a significance to the bird imagery? The stewards’s white jacket flaps like seagull wings. The man in the brown suit has eyebrows that draw together like a blackbird’s wings. Make it clear if an image is part of a theme. Otherwise, the details seem arbitrary.
The hint of Jamie at the end is nice.
Annina Luck Wildermuth
Ned Bunting, Ghost Spotter & the Ghost with the Hooded Cloak Middle Grade (ages 8 – 12)
Ned was two hours into his watch, crouched behind the old elm at Walnut Hollow graveyard, when he spotted his first ghost of the night. Of course, he’d seen all kinds of ghosts the week before when he was still in training with his older brother Tom, but this was different. He was alone now.
As his luck would have it though, he could already see that this one was a poor excuse for a ghost. All its potentially distinguishing marks were obscured by a voluminous hooded cloak.
The horse it rode was equally undistinguished, poking its way among the graves, slow as molasses.
How am I supposed to identify this ghost? wondered Ned, starting to worry. As Walnut Hollow’s new ghost spotter, he was supposed to identify and log in all the ghosts who came through the town and make sure that they were obeying the local haunting laws.
He fumbled now to produce Ghosts of the Thirteen Colonies & Their Classification from inside his vest. Satisfied that the horse and rider were making slow progress at best, he thumbed the book’s worn pages, his lantern flickering beside him. Ghosts were portrayed in great detail with identifiable characteristics. There was General Whitelsby, the angry, old red-coat in his unmistakable British uniform and Abigail, the Quaker in her fancy white neck ruff. The mad horseman from Sleepy Hollow always carried his head under his arm. Ned’s eyes darted to the graveyard, and he groaned inwardly. Nothing.
And then the wind whipped up, blowing through the tree’s branches and whistling its way between the gravestones. It twirled around the ghost and lifted its cloak into the air to reveal a small, cross girl in the frilliest dress Ned had ever seen. She looked straight at him and wailed: “How am I ever going to accomplish my mission, now that I’ve been so rudely unmasked?”
Ned Bunting, Ghost Spotter
This first page ends on a nice note of suspense, so I would want to read further, but the first sentence is too long and clunky. Try to clean it up, since that is an editor’s first impression of your manuscript.
It’s not clear why you have the detail that this ghost was a poor excuse. Tom is logging in ghosts and making sure they obey the local haunting laws, so his luck is not that this ghost is a poor excuse, but that it has no distinguishing marks.
The use of a book implies that this is a contemporary story. Is that what you intend, or is the story set in the past? If it’s set in the past, then shouldn’t the book be manuscript pages with handwritten notes?
When Ned’s eyes dart to the graveyard, he groans. If he’s groaning because he still can’t identity this ghost, then make it clear that he is looking at the ghost, not at the graveyard (in general) to eliminate any confusion.
The last paragraph is perfect.
Liliana Erasmus - Song Of The Sentinel - paranormal middle-grade.
What is father doing here? I told him to stay out of it. This isn’t his battle to fight. His glorious days of vigilance are over. Gone. It’s my turn now. Why doesn’t he get it? He is dead. I am not. And he knows I’m here, I can feel his light shifting closer. His presence. My lantern blows out.
“Go. Away,” I urge him in silence.
I don’t even turn around to look into his empty eyes, or at that ridiculous horse that carries him around, for what? To attract all the hungry creatures in the neighborhood and make my life more miserable than it already is? I have to keep position and here he comes, shimmering behind me like a lighthouse signaling, Look here! You see ‘m? Now suck his life out!
They’re coming. I’m not sure how many this time. Three? Four?
“Father, for God’s sake, leave! Let it be.”
Once again, he backs off, his light dimming and I know he’s further away, but never for long, never too far from danger… from me.
The September wind has fallen, the trees stand breathless, moonlit tombs lie in repose and I still get that paralyzing chill down my spine. The buzzing in my ears is getting louder, it’s growing until it becomes a constant whistle in my head, ticking me off. If I jump now, they’ll know what to do with me. I’m on my own. They are with one, five… eleven, damn! I have to wait for them to stick their tongues into the earth before making any sound. One of them is not sniffing the graves. It’s holding back for some reason, tilting its snout in the air, tail high and stiff, while that foul smell of decay reaches my nose, making me gag. I swallow the sourness without blinking. The furry carcass is staring right at me.
Song of the Sentinel
I would probably keep reading this manuscript, but this page is confusing. Here are my concerns:
The narrator speaks in both vernacular and formal language: “stay out of it” and “doesn’t he get it” don’t work with “His glorious days of vigilance are over.”
It also doesn’t make sense for the narrator to say, “he knows I’m here” when it’s the narrator who can feel the father’s presence.
The phrase “my life more miserable than it already is” is vague. The reader needs a hint of what has been going on. Miserable in what way?
Who says “Look here! You see ‘m? Now suck his life out!’ The reader can’t tell.
Who says “They’re coming. I’m not sure how many this time. Three? Four?” Again, the reader can’t tell who is speaking.
What does it mean for tombs to “lie in repose?” It sounds as though the author is trying too hard here to be literary.
What does it mean that the narrator “still” gets that paralyzing chill down his or her spine? Has this happened in the past?
“Ticking me off” sounds too slangy, and too trite.
What does it means to swallow the sourness “without blinking?” What does sight have to do with taste in this instance?
I like the images in the last paragraph, and I especially like the suspenseful last sentence. I would continue reading, but the author should clear up all the confusion on this first page so that an editor will feel that the author is in control of her craft.
Meg Eastman Thompson, THE TRUTH ABOUT JUSTICE. MG/YA novel
Restless as a yellow-jacket at a barbecue, I bounded down the sidewalk to fetch the bread and milk for supper as Mother had ordered, heading for the Piggly Wiggly. I was lonely, missing Effie more than ever. Wondering where she and her family had hidden. Not wanting to believe they’d never come back.
When Missy and I had promised Effie we’d stand by each other no matter what, we’d taken our vows seriously. It hadn’t mattered back then that Effie was colored. We three were true friends. As I passed Liberty High and turned left toward the grocery store, there was not a friend in sight. Most everybody had been sent away, what with the coloreds asking to come to our school.
My next-door neighbor and sometime friend, Missy Pridemoor, and nearly everyone else, was having fun at church camp. I had begged to go, but Daddy insisted I was too old to be a camper. When I’d protested, he made it clear that, three years away from college, I was too young to make my own decisions. As usual Mother stuck by him.
When I was little, she’d always say, “Amelia Justice Queen, your Daddy knows what’s best for you.” But it was 1963 now and I was changing, along with everything else in our country. Even Mother was starting to speak up. When she told Daddy that camp was nothing but a non-stop revival meeting, it got me thinking. I didn’t need to be saved. Nor did I want to waste the end of my summer vacation listening to some preacher baying like an auctioneer. I stopped complaining. At fifteen, going on sixteen, I was smart enough to pick my battles.
Besides, I wanted to enjoy my last days of freedom. I skipped along. Released from their impossible overprotectiveness, which had only grown worse since stopping integration was once again on the school board agenda, I was determined to make the best of my trip to the store.
The Piggly Wiggly’s deep freeze was heavenly. I lingered by the ice cream treats.
The Truth About Justice
Although I think this manuscript has potential because of the voice and content, I found the first page so full of exposition (and some of it confusing), that I don’t think I’d continue reading. Look at the first sentence and how long it is—the first page feels a bit like this (stuffed with information).
I don’t understand who the narrator is and what she wants: In the first paragraph, she is lonely for Effie; in the second paragraph, she seems to be missing her friends in general; in the third paragraph, she wants to go to camp; in the fourth paragraph, she decides she doesn’t want to go camp; and in the fifth paragraph, she seems just to want to enjoy her freedom. All of these motivations feel like too much for one page. The narrator has to have one overriding motivation that will take her (and the reader) through that first page—and on through the book.
It’s also confusing that in the third paragraph, the mother sticks by the father, but in the next paragraph she tells the father that the camp is nothing but a non-stop revival meeting.
And, finally, a fifteen-year-old protagonist is a bit too old for a novel that has the feel, at least in this opening page, of a middle grade novel (the narrator skips). If the author could lower the age and focus the narrator’s motivation, she should have a first page that an agent or editor would want to keep reading.
Thank you everyone for participating. Happy revising.
This fun June illustration was sent in by Dow Phumiruk is a pediatrician who has found her passion in children’s book illustration. Most of her work is digital, and she enjoys using a bright, colorful palette. She joined SCBWI in 2011 and is looking forward to her first national conference in LA this summer. Here is a link to see more of her art: www.artbydow.blogspot.com.
Looking for an agent critique? You might be interested in this critique auction:
Literary agent Anna Olswanger has donated a critique for an online auction by The Born Free Foundation (an international wildlife charity that works throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering).
You can submit up to 10 pages of a manuscript for a 10-minute phone consultation. It’s a great chance to get feedback from a professional.
For those of you who don’t know Anna, she has been an agent with Liza Dawson Associates in New York for eight years and has sold to Bloomsbury, Chronicle, HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster, among other publishers. She is also this month’s Guest Critiquer for Free Fall Friday. Stop back tomorrow and see what Anna has to say about the first pages that were chosen this month.
Please visit www.biddingforgood.com/auction/item/Item.action?id=198872671 and consider making a bid before the auction closes this Saturday, June 29th.
Do you have a book coming out and would like to have it reviewed. Here is an opportunity for you:
In the July issue of Parenting: School Years, Carol Bower Cohen reviewed nine children’s books for summer 2013. She says, “The experience was both exhausting and exhilarating. Although exhausting, it is something I’d like to do again, so if any NJSCBWI writers have a book coming out that they would like it reviewed, they can contact me at my new blog, www.bookgirlblogger.blogspot.com.
Even if I am not working on a freelance review for a print magazine at the time an author contacts me, I can review it on my blog. A link to my blog was placed in my author bio that ran with the review, so my blog is getting more exposure.” You can read about it here.
Would you like to win an new book to read? I have won a few books by entering similar contests.
Chance to win FAKING NORMAL by Courtney C. Stevens! Published by Harper Teen. http://kristintubb.blogspot.com/
Chance to win A ROYAL PAIN by Megan Mulry http://www.lauragerold.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-royal-pain-baby-name-game-and-giveaway.html Winner picked on July 1st. Another give-a-way Coming July 2nd – If the Shoe Fits by Megan Mulry.
Do any of the following to enter. Do more and increase your chances of winning a basket of Jen Bryant’s autographed books and more:
Are you an illustrator and use Photoshop and a Wacom Tablet? If so, You might be interested in this:
It’s quite a challenge bringing your creativity to reality. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, especially when using Photoshop and a Wacom tablet to expand the creative possibilities of your work.
Here’s your chance to share one of your incredible makeovers for an opportunity to win some cool prizes, as well as see your work featured in an upcoming issue of Photoshop User magazine.
Simply submit a before and after image of your greatest hit and tell us how Photoshop and a Wacom tablet helped you transform your creative vision into a real-life masterpiece.
Contest Open: June 15, 2012
Contest Deadline: July 31, 2012 Public Voting:
June 15 – August 3, 2012 Winners Revealed: August 10, 2012
Click here to see all of our Incredible Makeover Contest winners.
While a panel of NAPP and Wacom officials will decide the grand prize winner, the contest will include the bestowing of a special People’s Choice Award. The general public will have a chance to view and rate all entries. Once all votes are calculated, the image with the most votes and highest rating will be crowned the People’s Choice Award winner.
$5,000 Grand Prize Award!
People’s Choice Award
Honorable Mention Award
It’s easy to spread the word and get votes. Simply share your art with others and collect as many votes as you can.
Email it. Your email address book should be the first place you go to find your closest friends and family. Shoot them an email with a link to the voting page and ask them to rate your artwork and help spread the word.
Facebook it. Create an event on Facebook about your contest entry and invite all your friends. Keep the event open for anyone to attend so your friends can invite more friends to vote. And don’t forget to click the Facebook icon within the Share tab so you can remind your friends to vote from your Live News Feed.
Tweet it. Tweet a link to your entry in our contest every single day. It will remind those who are following you on Twitter to vote for your entry. You can add a link to your entry by clicking on the Twitter icon within the Share tab.
Blog it. Do you have your own blog? If so, be sure to post about your entry to let others know what it’s all about and what your motivations are. Share the link to make sure all your readers help you rack up the votes.
I was talking with Agent Stephen Barbara at Foundry Literary + Media (Agent of New York Times and international bestseller Lauren Oliver – Before I Fall, Delirium, etc.). If you attended the NJSCBWI Conference, you met both of them. Anyway, he told me about Children’s Agent and Foreign Right’s Director, Rachel Hecht, at his company who is looking to build her client list. I thought I would share her information with all of you.
As a domestic agent, Rachel is seeking children’s projects of all stripes, from picture books through to young adult fiction, as well as select fiction and non-fiction projects for adults that are wonderfully written and completely absorbing. Drawing on her experience at the forefront of children’s scouting, she loves the thrill of the hunt for new talent and enjoys working closely with authors to develop and refine their projects for submission.
“In terms of adult fiction, the strength of the voice and quality of the writing is what is most important to me. I am seeking literary as well as upmarket/commercial projects, and would love to see projects with crossover potential as well as those that blur the boundaries between genres – especially in the thriller, fantasy, and historical categories (but a polite no thank you to straight genre writing). For nonfiction, I’m interested in memoirs, pop culture, and narrative nonfiction projects with a great hook – stories that I am unable to put down about topics I had no idea I was interested in.”
Before joining Foundry in 2011, Rachel served as the children’s book scout for Mary Anne Thompson Associates, where she provided exclusive insight into the US publishing world for a diverse roster of foreign publishers. A graduate of Kenyon College with a degree in English, she began her career in New York at Condé Nast before moving into book publishing.
Rachel Hecht accepts paper and email submissions. Please send all digital queries for Rachel firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on submitting your project, please see the Foundry Submissions page.
It started innocently enough. When Scholastic editor Nick Eliolpos spoke at a local conference, he talked about his love of Spiderman. So, I dubbed him the Peter Parker of children’s literature. And now, it’s a tradition that speakers at our conference must be tagged with a popular super-hero or super-character.
Read about these figures in the children’s publishing world:
We had writing exercises with provoking questions: what character has traditionally been left out of children’s books and can you find a way to add that character to your WIP?
We had group Pitch sessions: “From the great state of Arkansas, we have Darcy Pattison to regale us with a pitch specially crafted by her group.” It was a take-off on a Pitch session that Jones regularly holds at venues in NYC. Only there, the GPPutnam Editor in Chief gives the winner his business card! The funniest pitch was when Robin Burrows walked on-stage and accidentally tripped and lost a shoe–then pitched a modern version of Cinderella. Yeah, right, Robin! That wasn’t an accident!Karl Jones has been with GP Putnam for three years and is now starting to acquire. They do everything from picture books through middle grade (no YAs), with many licensed properties that are done as work-for-hire. He’s interested in middle grade novels, in particular.
One of the topics that came up was gender and how it is treated in novels today. He recommended P.K. Pinkerton and the Deadly Desperados as a recent novel that walks a fine line on this issue. Jones said he didn’t know if the main character was male or female until the very end.In that vein, he talked about He-Man, Master of the Universe and She-Ra, Princess of Power. He noted the irony that He-Man called power from his castle, “By the Power of Gray Skull?” However, She-Ra didn’t get power from her own castle, but had to refer to He-Man’s castle, “For the honor of Gray Skull.” And for that reason, we’ll dub him the He-Man of children’s literature.
Thanks to Phyllis Heman, Regional Advisor for the AR-SCBWI, for a great conference.Add a Comment
Emily Gref is an Agent at Lowenstein Associates, as well as our contracts and royalties manager. She also handles foreign and subrights. Her interests are wide and varied. In Young Adult and Middle Grade she is looking for all genres, but has a weak spot for fairy tale, folklore, and mythology retellings. Emily is also interested in fantasy and science fiction, as well as literary and commercial women’s fiction.
In non-fiction she is looking for strong narratives and books by recognized experts with a wide-reaching platform, especially books that lend themselves well to digital mediums. Subjects of interest include popular science, linguistics, anthropology, and history. She is not looking for memoirs or biographies at this time.
For fiction, please send us a one-page query letter, along with the first ten pages pasted in the body of the message by email to email@example.com. If nonfiction, please send a one-page query letter, a table of contents, and, if available, a proposal pasted into the body of the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please put the word QUERY and the title of your project in the subject field of your email and address it to the agent of your choice. Please do not send an attachment as the message will be deleted without being read and no reply will be sent. We reply to all queries and generally send a response within 4-6 weeks.
For Fiction: Mail a query letter, short synopsis, first chapter and a S.A.S.E (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).
For Nonfiction: Mail a query letter, table of contents and, if available, a proposal (if not, please send a project overview) and a S.A.S.E (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).
121 West 27th Street Suite 501
New York, NY 10001
Please note, if you do not include a S.A.S.E., we will not be able to respond to your submission. Please allow 4-6 weeks for our response.
Chuck Sambuchino over at Writer’s Digest reported last week that agent Emma Patterson was looking to build her client list at Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents.
1501 Broadway New York, New York 10036
Phone: (212) 840-5760
Emma grew up in New Jersey, the daughter of a literary agent, so she has been around books, manuscripts, and query letters, all her life. After graduating from Kenyon College with a degree in history, she joined The Wendy Weil Agency as an assistant, later became a rights associate, and eventually an agent. After Wendy’s sudden and tragic death last fall, Emma and her colleague Emily Forland joined Brandt & Hochman in the beginning of 2013. She sold her first manuscript in March. She now lives in Brooklyn.
She is seeking: “I am on the lookout for literary and commercial fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, historical fiction, narrative nonfiction, pop culture, memoir, food writing, and YA and MG fiction and nonfiction. I’m open to mostly any project with strong writing, an original premise, and a story that immediately grabs me – and I still think about weeks after I’ve finished reading it. I’m especially drawn to stories that make me cry, laugh, or transport me to a world that’s new to me. So long as the writing is strong, I don’t shy away from dark or quiet stories. I don’t tend to like category or genre fiction.”
How to submit: “The best way to contact me is via email at epatterson [at] bromasite.com with a basic query letter (a bit about the project, the author, and the author’s past publishing or writing history). A few pages of the work can also be pasted into the body of the email, but I won’t open attachments unless I’ve specially asked for one. Due to the high volume of emails I receive, I generally only respond to queries that sound up my alley.”
I could not find a website for this agency, but they have reported 15 signed contract in the last twelve months.
Anna Olswanger has agreed to be our Guest Critiquer for June’s First Page. Deadline will be June 18th, so I wanted to give you an early heads up. For those who like the picture prompt, you will find it at the bottom of this post.
Anna Olswanger is a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates in New York. Anna has been a literary agent since 2005 and has sold to Boyds Mills Press, Marshall Cavendish, Dutton, HarperCollins, McElderry, Pomegranate, and Random House Children’s Books, among other publishers. Specializing in: middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction, some adult fiction and nonfiction, children’s illustrated books, and Judaica.
Anna is particularly interested in working with author-illustrators.Anna enjoys discovering new authors and illustrators. She is looking for “voice,” the sound and rhythm of an author that could be no one else’s, and has a special interest in children’s picture books (author-illustrators only), adult nonfiction, Judaica, animal stories, and ghost stories. Contact her at queryanna@LizaDawsonAssociates.com.
Ms. Olswanger has a background in editing and has worked with the author Mary Ann Schaffer on the adult novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, which became an international bestseller.
She represents Jim Carroll’s THE BOY AND THE MOON (Sleeping Bear Press), Nell Dickerson’s GONE (BelleBooks), Luli Gray’s ANT & GRASSHOPPER (McElderry), Michael Hall’s MY HEART IS LIKE A ZOO and PERFECT SQUARE (Greenwillow), Zack Miller’s TRADESTREAM YOUR WAY TO PROFITS: Building a Killer Portfolio in the Age of Social Media (Wiley), Margaret Peot’s INKBLOT (Boyds Mills Press) and THE SUCCESSFUL ARTIST’S CAREER GUIDE (North Light Books/F+W) Barry Rothstein’s EYE-POPPING 3-D BUGS (Chronicle), Jennifer Sattler’s SYLVIE (Random House Children’s Books), CHICK ‘N’ PUG and PIG KAHUNA (Bloomsbury Children’s Books), and upcoming books by Allida Black (Penguin Classics), Cathy Fishman (Cavendish), Brett Hartman (Cinco Puntos), Michelle Markel (Balzer & Bray, Eerdmans, and Chronicle), Patricia Hruby Powell (Chronicle), Alan Rabinowitz (Houghton Mifflin), Vince Vawter (Delacorte) and composer Marvin Hamlisch (Dial).
In addition to being an agent, she is the author of the picture book Shlemiel Crooks, a Sydney Taylor Honor Book and a Koret International Jewish Book Award Finalist.
You may have attended some of her workshops, like Why Was My Manuscript Rejected? 3 Agents, 3 Opinions, with two other agents (see www.3LiteraryAgents.com). Writers in the Northeast may also know Anna, because she coorinated the Jewish Children’s Book Writers’ Conference at the 92nd Street Y for many years. In addition, she founded the website http://www.Host-a-Jewish-Book-Author.com
Anna’s own website is www.olswanger.com.
Anna Olswanger, Literary Agent
Liza Dawson Associates 350 Seventh Avenue, Ste. 2003 New York, NY 10001 Direct tel.: +1-201-791-4699
Submission Guidelines for Anna Olswanger:
I only accept email queries (no snail mail queries, please.)
Please insert (cut and paste) the first five pages of your manuscript into the body of your email. (I’m leery of opening attachments from addresses I don’t know.)
Queries to: queryanna@LizaDawsonAssociates.com
Lisa Dawson Associates says:
Liza Dawson Associates
350 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2003
New York, NY 10001
June’s Picture Prompt illustration was created by Shawna JC Tenney. She was recently featured on Illustrators Saturday. http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2013/04/20/illustrator-saturday-shawna-jc-tenney/
I personally do not know Dede Cummings, but I thought you would want to informed when a new agency opens. Here is a little bit about Dede, her background, and what she brings to the table.
Dede Cummings started her literary career as a book designer at Little Brown & Company. Prior to working at Little Brown, she worked at David R. Godine in Boston as a designer and production editor. Design is something she loves to do, and she still designs covers and interiors of books; most notably, she is a six-time winner of the New England Book Award for a number of authors’ works, including Slow Learner by Thomas Pynchon, Voices From The Moon by Andre Dubus, a reissue of Borstal Boy by Brendan Behan, four books of poetry by Mary Oliver, and others.
She is also a publicist and literary agent for emerging writers. She’s been coined as one of the most accessible and yet well-connected agents starting out in the business. Because she is an author herself, she understands both sides of the publishing process. Dede is a 2010 graduate of the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Continuing Education course “Publishing Books, Memoirs and Other Creative Non-Fiction,” under the direction of Julie Silver, M.D. Her first book, Living With Crohn’s & Colitis: A Comprehensive Naturopathic Guide for Complete Digestive Wellness, was published in 2010 by Hatherleigh Press and distributed by Random House. She has another cookbook (Cooking Well:IBS) under the same imprint, and her third book—Questions for the Dalai Lama—is due out in 2014.
Dede holds a BA from Middlebury College in Literature where she was also a poetry contributor at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and was the recipient of the Mary Dunning Thwing Award. In 1991, she received an award to study with Hayden Carruth at the Bennington Writers’ Workshop. Dede has had her poetry published in Mademoiselle magazine and she was a Discovery/The Nation poetry semi-finalist, and she was most recently published by ConnotationPress for her poetry.
Dede has attended the National Publicity Summit in NYC where she made media contacts at this premier event. She is excited to work with writers — from Children’s picture books, YA fiction and non-fiction, to adult trade books, and she will help you think about all aspects of publishing from pitch to publicity, and even self-publishing. In its first year, the Dede Cummings Literary Agency has sold a number of books to the trade, most notably, “Wonder Woman Isn’t Bulletproof,” by Shannon Galpin, to Daniela Rapp at St. Martin’s Press.
Dede is interested in literary fiction, both adult and YA, Children’s illustrated books, self-help memoir, health and wellness. Submissions can be emailed to her at email@example.com and usually take 6-10 weeks for review. Self- or co-publishing writers may also contact Dede at this email.
Please note: The names below are of the agents who had the most children’s book deals report to Publishers Marketplace by a publisher, agent, or author. It is just a snapshot in time. When I ran the numbers in the beginning of the year, the names and numbers were different. Also you should know for various reasons not all deals are reported to Publishers Marketplace.
Many agents represent children’s books and adult books. Only children’s book deals were used. This is the type of information you can access if you sign up for the paid subscription to Publishers Marketplace. I consider this important information and part of the cost of doing your homework.
1. Jennifer Laughran (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
has had 27 deals in the this category during the last 12 months - 4 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 9, 2013 – 11 PB – 11 MG – 8 YA
2. Ammi-Joan Paquette (Erin Murphy Literary Agency)
has had 26 deals in this category during the last 12 months - 3 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 3, 2013 - 9 PB – 7 MG – 12 YA
3. Erin Murphy (Erin Murphy Literary Agency)
has had 24 deals in this category during the last 12 months – 1 six-figure+ deal Most recent deal in this category: April 4, 2013 – 19 PB – 9 MG – 2 YA
4. Sara Crowe (Harvey Klinger)has had 21 deals in this category in the last 12 months – 12 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 10, 2013 – 11 MG - 14 YA
5. Holly McGhee (Pippin Properties) had 19 deals in this category in the last 12 months – 14 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 5, 2013 – 16 PB – 5 MG
6. Kelly Sonnack (Andrea Brown Literary Agency) has had 17 deals in this category in the last 12 months - 2 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: February 26, 2013 – 14 PB – 3 MG - 1 YA
7. Tina Wexler (ICM) has had 15 deals during this category in the last 12 months Most recent deal in this category: March 20, 2013 – 2 PB - 8 MG – 7 YA
8. Rosemary Stimola (Stimola Literary Studio)has had 14 deals in this category during the last 12 months – 16 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 2, 2013 – 3 PB - 8 MG – 2 YA
9. Sarah Davies (Greenhouse Literary Agency)has had14 deals in this category in the last 12 months – 20 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: March 27, 2013 – 3 MG – 13YA
10.Paul Rodeen (Rodeen Literary Management) has had 14 deals in this category in the last 12 months – 2 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 10, 2013 – 13 PB – 1 MG
11. Brenda Bowen (Sanford J. Greenburger Associates) has had 13 deals in this category during the last 12 months - 7 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: February 15, 2013 – 10 PB – 3 MG – 2 YA
12. Teresa Kietlinski (Prospect Agency) 13 deals in this category during the last 12 months. Most recent deal in this category: March 26, 2013 – 12 PB – 4 MG
13. Joanna Volpe (New Leaf Literary & Media) 12 deals in this category in the last 12 months - 6 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: March 22, 2013 – 1 PB – 7 MG – 4 YA
14. Laura Rennert (Andrea Brown Literary Agency) 11 deals in this category during the last 12 months – 21 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: March 27, 2013 – 4 PB – 2 MG – 5 YA
15. Jill Corcoran (The Herman Agency)11 deals in this category during the last 12 months – 1 six-figure+ deal Most recent deal in this category: January 17, 2013 - 4 PB – 5 MG – 5 YA
16.Jamie Weiss Chilton (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)11 deals in this category during the last 12 months – 1 six-figure+ deal Most recent deal in this category: March 13, 2013 – 9 PB – 3 YA
17. Suzie Townsend (New Leaf Literary & Media) 11 deals in this category during the last 12 months – 5 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 12, 2013 - 1 PB – 5 MG - 5 YA
18. Elena Mechlin (Pippin Properties) 11 deals in this category in the last 12 months - 2 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: March 28, 2013 – 9 PB – 3 MG
19. Isabel Atherton (Creative Authors) 11 deals in this category during the last 12 months. Most recent deal in this category: March 4, 2013 – 9 PB – 2 YA
20. Steven Chudney (The Chudney Agency) 10 deals in this category in the last 12 months - 2 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 2, 2013 – 3 PB – 4 MG -4 YA
21. Emily van Beek (Folio Literary Management) 10 deals in this category during the last 12 months 12 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 9, 2013 – 8 PB – 2 MG – 3 YA
22. Karen Grencik (Red Fox Literary) 10 deals in this category during the last 12 months. Most recent deal in this category: April 3, 2013 – 10 PB – 2 MG
23. Edward Necarsulmer IV (McIntosh & Otis) 9 deals in this category during the last 12 months – 2 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: December 14, 2012 – 5 PB – 2 MG – 2 YA
24. Jim McCarthy (Dystel & Goderich Literary Management) 9 deals in this category in the last 12 months – 1 six-figure+ deal Most recent deal in this category: February 26, 2013 – 10 YA
25. Steven Malk (Writers House) 8 deals in this category during the last 12 months – 11 six-figure+ deals Most recent deal in this category: April 5, 2013 – 5 PB – 2 MG – 1 YA
Hope you like getting this type of information.
Jessica Regel has been with JVNLA since 2002. She maintains her own list of talented writers while also handling Film, Audio, and UK rights for the agency. Originally from Iowa, she was working at her local library when she was offered an internship at JVNLA and she promptly moved to New York City. After receiving her B.A. in English Literature from Hunter College, she became a full agent at JVNLA, representing both children’s and adult writers. With energy and persistence, Jessica works closely with her writers to develop and sell their work to publishing houses.
She is seeking: strong commercial fiction, literary fiction, edgy/hip fiction, young adult, and middle grade novels, children’s non-fiction, and narrative nonfiction. She doesn’t handle practical nonfiction, inspirational/religion, genre science fiction or fantasy, or political thrillers.
Jessica says, “I want to be fully immersed in the story from page one. If it’s funny, I want to laugh. If it’s dramatic, I want to feel connected to the characters. It’s a similar feeling any reader has when they go to the bookstore and read the first few pages of a new book. What makes you buy that book? The line, ‘But it really gets going in chapter 10′ is lost on me. No agent, editor or consumer will get to chapter 10 if they’re not interested in chapters 1-9.”
Jessica is part of the faculty at the New Jersey SCBWI June Conference and she is looking to build her list of clients. Deadline to register is April 30th.
Tracy Campbell sent in this April showers illustrations. She is a writer and an artist, living my dream. When she is not busy with her interior decorating business, she taps away on her laptop and writes for children, tweens, and teens. She also sharpens pencils, flips open paint lids, and yank off marker caps to draw and paint whimsical works of artfrom her second-floor studio in my 1841 farmhouse nestled high on a hill…assuming she doesn’t get distracted by howling coyotes marching up the gangway or by ribbon-streaked sunsets that take her breath away. She has a whimsical shop where she sell greeting cards, inspired by all things warm and fuzzy. To view my Premier Collection, pop on over to www.tracycampbell.net/shop.html.
At Bloomsbury, Rachel Mannheimer has been promoted to editor.
Tracy Sherrod will join Amistad as editorial director on April 22. Previously she was the founder and proprietor of Tracy Sherrod Literary Services, representing Karine Steffans, Katori Hall, Kalisha Buckannon, and others (and prior to that she was an editor at Simon & Schuster).
Amistad is a division of HarperCollins, who publishes works by and about people of African descent, on subjects and themes that have significant influence on the intellectual, cultural, and historical perspectives of a world audience.
At Simon & Schuster, Nick Greene has been promoted to associate editor and Jonathan Cox moves up to assistant editor.
At Workman Publishing, Raquel Jaramillo, who has been acting creative director for two years, will return full time to her position as director of children’s publishing.
Following on Avon Impulse and Harper Teen Impulse in the US, Harper UK will launch a digital first women’s fiction and romance imprint in May. Harper Impulse, an imprint of their Harper Fiction division, aims “to find, publish and break new talent from debut authors, and import the hottest trends from the US.” Harper Fiction publishing director Kimberley Young will run the line , joined by content developer Charlotte Ledger, who worked previously at Chawton House Library as well as Mills & Boon.
They invite unrepresented submissions and are looking for everything from “short reads to epic sagas.” The company says they have received hundreds of manuscripts over the past month and have three acquisitions in the works. and has already received nearly 500 manuscripts in less than a month and has three acquisition deals in the works. Their editorial team will offer writing workshops and events “to give authors a diverse publishing experience.”
Publishers Marketplace reports: After Skyhorse and Start Publishing’s intended joint acquisition of Night Shade Books’ assets ignited public controversy over the original terms of sale (and now, after a revision, the sale “is in a holding pattern right now waiting for all the authors’ feedback”, a Skyhorse spokesperson told us) the two publishers have bought a different science fiction & fantasy publisher, Underland Press, for an undisclosed sum. The deal for the six-year-old press, according to a joint release, is part of Skyhorse and Start Publishing’s plans “to deepen their relationship to the genre community.”
Skyhorse publisher Tony Lyons said in a statement: “We are thrilled at the acquisition of Underland. We look forward to publishing 10–20 new books a year.
Just in time for a fresh Spring renewing! When I was in NYC last, on the second day of Spring, I met with editorial director Jeannette Larson of HMH trade, among others. She uttered a phrase that has just stayed with me ever since and I had to share it with you all here: the look being sought for is generally “spare and fresh!” And I totally got that concept! I’ve noticed this with almost all my visits with clients…especially for the very young, and picture books. Not only do they need strong characters, and a layered story that will be revisited many times, but they want a clean, new, approachable look in the style of art. Less saturation of color often, less texture (though that can play an interesting part in even a’ spare’ approach.) Negative space (or “white space”) plays an important role…and must be respected. Buyers want to see energy and a more spontaneous line generally…but not messy or careless. Control is there, but comfortably and with sense of movement that fits the story illustrated.
There is much interest now again in the non fiction market due to the Standard Core for schools moving in this direction for all ages. Realistic, historic artists may again see more work possible….but also more unique, FUN styles, and those with humor, might see increased interest as the non-fiction is approached in a more …… (continue below Patrice Barton’s spring ‘Spare and Fresh’ visual……) …..accessible manner. But again the “spare and fresh” approach is a good montra….it allow the viewer to get ‘into’ the art, gleam much from it, and bring their own understanding and interpretation into the work viewed. Less busy, but with all the important details…clear and understandable. Rather like Spring itself….a fresh look at a world we thought we knew!
Louise Fury is attending the NJSCBWI June Conference and doing critiques. She is with the L. Perkins Agency that was founded in 1987 by Lori Perkins, a former newspaper publisher and editor. They specializes in many different genres. Currently there are five agents representing approximately 200 authors to the publishing industry.
The Agency has agents in 11 foreign countries and works with an established film agency. The L. Perkins agency works hard to stay ahead of the curve and makes it a priority to help their authors stay ahead of the pack. In 2010 they broke new ground by being the first (and currently ONLY) agency to hire a literary agent who works exclusively in the digital marketplace.
Louise Fury is a senior agent at the L. Perkins Agency and specializes in romance, all kids and young adult material and pop culture nonfiction. She has sold books to both traditional and electronic publishers including Random House, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Samhain and others. Louise encourages authors to have one foot in traditional publishing and the other in the digital-first arena. Actually Louise has reported 26 deal to Publishers Marketplace during the last 12 months, which is extremely good.
Here is Louise’s Wish List.
I am looking for writers with a unique voice and an unforgettable story. I’m particularly drawn to stories with a strong protagonist.
I want delicious adult romances with creative plots, sexy liaisons and unique characters that sweep me up in their love story and leave me smiling and sighing and longing for the romance to last forever.
In Young Adult, I look for manuscripts that are written with an unforgettable voice – this can be deep, dark and gritty or literary, lyrical and emotional. Every sentence should be there for a reason, every word should matter.
The YA sci-fi, thriller and realistic/gothic horror should have a bone-deep sense of danger that haunts me from page 1 and doesn’t let go of me for days.
And I like to cry. Or laugh. I want to feel something unforgettable when I read your pages. I want manuscripts that I can’t stop thinking about.
I believe in the power of marketing and I look for authors who know how to promote themselves. I only work with people that are pleasant online, on the telephone and in person. I want an author who knows that this is a business and is a professional, who understands the value of an agent in all mediums of publishing.
To break it down further:
Louise also answered some interview questions I had. Here they are:
1. Your bio states that you specialize in romance, all kids and young adult material and pop culture nonfiction. Could you tell us a little bit about what really grabs your attention in these areas?
Strong characters who take risks, push boundaries and fight for what they believe in, whether it is in a quiet dignified way that sneaks up on the reader or a stronger more obvious build that keeps our hearts pounding. I like to be emotionally shocked. Have a character break my heart and you are half way there.
2. I assume you are also interested in picture books when you say, “all kids.”
Yes. I have sold a picture book to Random House and have not found one to match its success since. But I am always looking.
3. Is there any genre that you are not drawn to, such as: fantasy, paranormal, gothic, horror, suspense, magical realism, and humor.
I am drawn to literary, moving and thought-provoking middle grade and picture book manuscripts, not light or humorous. But I am open to most things – whenever I say that I don’t want a certain genre, I am always shocked when a manuscript changes my mind. I love that!
4. Is there a common mistake that you see in the submitted stories you see?
When I get unsolicited queries, they are often for genres I do not represent. The biggest mistake is not doing enough research.
5. How often do you take on a new client?
There are times when I go for months without signing an author, but since being closed to submissions, I now only find authors through conferences, competitions and referrals. I have been very lucky to meet some amazing authors who are dedicated to honing their craft by attending conferences and learning from other writers and industry professionals.
Since 11/25/12 I have signed seven new/unpublished authors and two published authors. I am currently talking to three others.
6. Do you work with your clients to improve the story before sending to an editor?
I do a round or two of light edits, but the all these amazing authors on my list have set the bar pretty high, so new manuscripts need to very polished.
7. Are you willing to represent unpublished authors?
Absolutely. I actually seek out not-yet-published authors. I love unique, strong debut manuscripts. There is nothing better than finding that new author with a special manuscript.
8. Do you have any advice for writers who submit to you?
Follow submission guidelines. Be polite and professional at all times.
Louise believes in staying ahead of the pack by embracing change, not just adapting to it and is a huge advocate for exploring secondary rights. She’s sold audio, film and foreign rights for her clients, including a recent deal with the cable channel, STARZ. Louise, a native South African, lives in NYC, but travels to Cape Town every year, where she spends time educating South African writers, meeting with international publishers and distributing books for women and children in need.
Thank you Louise for taking the time to answer my questions and help people get to know you a little better. I am looking forward to meeting you in June.
Louise still has spots left for critiques at the NJSCBWI June Conference. If you would like to jump on this opportunity to get a critique with a highly successful agent (26 deals in the last 12 months) you only have until April 30th to register.
This is the last day to register for the New Jersey SCBWI June Conference. Over the last few months, I have posted information about many of the editors, agents, authors, and illustrators who are on the faculty. I didn’t get to all of them, so I am briefly going to mention some additional people. There are still pitch spots, one-on-one critiques with the editors/agents, one-on-one critiques with authors, and portfolio reviews for the illustrators available.
For the illustrators and author/illustrators:
Portfolio reviews are conducted one-on-one with an available editor, agent or art director (see list for choices) who is happy to offer feedback about your work.
It does not guarantee you will be published. BONUS! Kelly Light will be reviewing portfolios and offering feedback on character development, and Peter Brown will also be reviewing portfolios this year.
Have to share Kelly Light’s special box that was delivered to her today.
You can still get a portfolio Review from:
Agent Christina Tugeau,
Illustrator Peter Brown
Illustrator Kelly Light: Here is a little about Kelly.
Kelly Light has had a career that began in animation that led to a decade of drawing many of the most famous cartoon characters in the world of cartoon licensing. She has illustrated two middle grade chapter books out this Spring, The Quirks from Bloomsbury and Elvis and the Underdogs from Balzer and Bray. Her picture book debut as author/illustrator, Louise loves Art comes out Fall 2014 followed by another picture book series, Lola Knows A Lot! all with Balzer and Bray. www.kellylight.com
She is also doing a workshop during the conference about drawing characters. Here is a little bit from Kelly:
To be able to draw a well known character over and over again you have to focus on the construction, the shapes that make up that character and exactly where the details and features will go. Then that character has to be drawn doing all sorts of things. That character has to show emotions, action and inhabit the world created for it. Doesn’t that sound just like what we need to do with our characters in our books?
The workshop that I am giving will go thru gesture, construction, turn around, expression, acting and give attendees a chance to ask about their own character design questions. It’s all about drawing and having fun, so I hope you all come ready with pencils and paper and a smile. I will also be giving critiques that weekend. My portfolio critiques will have the same focus – character design. You can even bring some sketches and I will help you break the construction down right there for you.
Every year I always had published authors do critiques and attendees could get more than one editor or agent critique if their second critique was with an author and this year is the same. Why did I do that? Because I know how much work and effort authors put into giving a writer a great critique to help you get closer to your goal of getting published. Authors are going to dig down deep and share all of their knowledge. Don’t get me wrong. I always want an agent or editor critique, but authors bring a different set of skills to a critique. It is something you will find very valuable.
Here are the authors you can sign up for:
Tami Charles (nonfiction only)
Ame Dyckman (picture book only)
Anita Nolan (mg/ya only)
If you have already registered and have a critique with an editor or agent, you can add an author critique, and then jump on a second editor/agent critique.
Hope I’ll see you there. www.regonline.com/njscbwi2013conference
The Publisher’s Marketplace tracks sales of manuscripts in different categories–one of the many advantages of their paid services. These sales are self-reported, which may or may not skew the results. These are the top literary agents for picture books for the last year. I have provided links to the agency’s websites when available. Please consult each agency’s policies on submission and follow them carefully.
To see details of the sales, you must be a member of Publisher’s Marketplace.
Hunger Mountain’s Annual Manuscript Critique Auction is happening NOW on ebay. Don’t miss out. It ends on May 12th. I have listed below the agents involved in children’s books and YA novels. Here is the link to bid: http://stores.ebay.com/The-Hunger-Mountain-Store
ALEXANDRA PENFOLD has been working in publishing for nearly a decade. Formerly an Editor at Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, she’s now an agent with Upstart Crow Literary and specializes in young picture books and middle grade and young adult fiction. She is the co-author of New York a la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple’s Best Food Trucks.
ALYSSA EISNER HENKIN began her career in children’s publishing as an editorial assistant in 1999. Now, as a successful literary agent at Trident Media Group, Alyssa considers herself privileged to be able to work with such talented authors and illustrators who create the books readers cannot put down.
AMMI-JOAN PAQUETTE is associate agent with the Erin Murphy Literary Agency, where she represents all forms of children’s and young adult projects. She’s especially passionate about connecting with and launching the careers of debut authors and is most excited by a strong lyrical voice, tight plotting with surprising twists and turns, and stories told with heart and resonance. She is the author of a picture book, The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies, and a middle grade novel, Nowhere Girl.
ELENA MECHLIN began as a literary agent at Pippin Properties, Inc. in June of 2009. She notes that she “is thrilled to be pursuing her love of children’s literature and the industry from her seat at Pippin and especially enjoys the treasure hunt that is sorting through the daily query emails.” Pippin Properties, Inc., an agency devoted primarily to picture books, middle-grade, and young adult novels, has represented such literary luminaries as Katherine Applegate, Kate DiCamillo, Kathi Appelt and illustrator Harry Bliss.
EMILY VAN BEEK is a literary agent at Folio Literary Management. She spent six years as agent and rights director at Pippin Properties, Inc, where she represented such titles as Kathi Appelt’s Newbery Honor-winning The Underneath , Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere, and Jenny Han’s New York Times bestselling Summer series. Since joining Folio in May of 2010, Emily has represented established writers of YA and Middle Grade fiction, debut voices in children’s lit, and a select group of illustrators, including the Caldecott Medal winning creators of A Sick Day for Amos McGee, Philip C. Stead and Erin E. Stead.
HOLLY MCGHEE founded Pippin Properties, Inc., an agency devoted to the management and representation of the finest authors and artists at work today. Her fascination with making books began in 1991, and now her agency is devoted primarily to picture books, middle-grade, and young adult novels, and has represented such literary luminaries as Katherine Applegate, Kate DiCamillo, Kathi Appelt and illustrator Harry Bliss.
TRICIA LAWRENCE worked for 17 years as a developmental and production-based editor (from kids book to college textbooks, but mostly college textbooks) before she joined the Erin Murphy Literary Agency team in March 2011. As associate agent, Tricia represents picture books/chapter books, and middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. She also writes a blog about social media for authors and the publishing industry at large.
Hunger Mountain is both a print and online journal of the arts. They publish fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, visual art, young adult and children’s writing, writing for stage and screen, interviews, reviews, and craft essays.
Good Luck! and Happy Bidding.