Sunday, October 25, 2015

Halloween News

Happy Halloween!  Ken Smith, Co-Host of the Mancow Muller Show for 97.9 The Loop in Chicago, is going to be interviewing my author Jeff at 7:00am (CENTRAL TIME) on Thursday, the 29th, for a Halloween special!  Tune into hear about Jeff's book GHOSTLY ENCOUNTERS, and enter the Goodreads giveaway, starting this Friday, to win a free copy!  Also, please check out this great review--it made me so happy!

As for me...

Spongebob - Back next week... With a surprise!

Also, if you can't tell, I've discovered  And don't forget to post any questions you want me to answer in the comments section with the hashtag #IHAVEAQUESTION!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Query Critique

It's query critique time!  For everyone who enters (and those who don't) spread the word so that even if you don't submit a query, you encourage others to read and comment.  Thanks :)

If you're not familiar with how to enter, take a look at my previous post to read the rules.  Good luck!  And don't forget to post any questions you want me to answer in the comments section with the hashtag #IHAVEAQUESTION!

Monday, October 12, 2015


Happy Columbus Day!  I was thinking about what I wanted to write about this week, and realized that I wanted to talk about one of the roles of being an agent: pep talker extraordinaire.  Given the amount of exclamation points I use, it's probably not hard to think of me as a great cheerleader, and I've been doing a lot of that lately.  In a lot of ways, writing is such an insular activity and when you throw your manuscript out into the world and have to deal with editor feedback, rejection, horrible covers, promotion woes, or just anxiety about having strangers read your work, it can be hard to stay positive.  That's where I come in!  

The key thing I have my authors keep in mind when they get overwhelmed or frustrated is that publishing is a journey (sometimes a long and winding one), that I am here to help them, and that everything is a stepping stone to the end goal.  If you get passes from editors, their feedback is the stepping stone to revising your manuscript and getting into better shape.  If your editor sends you a horrible cover, it opens up a conversation about the elements you don't like so that we can get the cover to be something you're happy with. If you're not getting the publicity you were hoping for from your publisher, you at least know what they will be doing for you and you can plan how you are going to fill in the holes and supplement their work.

Being an agent means, in part, that you help your author see the big picture.  Having worked with hundreds of manuscripts and been a part of many deals, I know what is normal and what is a disaster.  For instance, I recently had an author freak out that everyone in her first submission round passed on her project, but when I told her I've had authors who have gone through dozens of submissions rounds, it helped her put things in perspective and stay positive.  I use the stepping stone speech a lot, and find that it really helps authors calm down and think about the bigger picture.    

Also, for #IHAVEAQUESTION, thanks, Diane, for being the first to ask!  She wanted to know, "How do you approach a publisher about a book? Is this a casual lunch or a bustling happy hour?"  

Despicable Me Minion - You have a question? I have an answer!

There are a myriad of ways to approach publishers about books!  You (and by you, I mean agents) can do it while networking at events or when out to lunch or drinks.  For me, though, the most common way I talk to editors about books is via email.  I write a pitch similar to what authors write when submitting to agents, and tell them about the project or, if I know them really well, write a quick note about the book and say that I think they would love it.  The editors I email are people I already have a relationship with 80% of the time, although it is not unusual for agents to research an editor's interest and email them out of the blue!

Monday, October 5, 2015


Gahhhh, thanks, September, for that parting kick in the teeth! I had jury duty for the first time ever last week (which wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be but still was not fun), and am continuing to deal with the horrendous situation in my bathroom.  Apparently having my bathroom be a construction zone for almost a month doesn't qualify me for any special consideration from my landlord or from the fates.

Half of my brain was focused on those not-fun things, and the other half was trying to do all the work I normally do, of which promo was a big part.  I had a lot of authors deals with publicity/marketing for their books, either with their publishers, on their own, or putting things together in the planning stage.  And it made me think of something I want to do for this blog to turn September's slap into October's (and forever's) boon!

I love hosting my query critique contest and also want to have an opportunity for authors to ask me any writing, marketing, or publishing questions they may have.  So from now on, if you want to ask me a question, type it in the comments section of the current week's post with the hashtag #IHAVEAQUESTION (you don't have to the do the purple part, I just did that for fun).  If there are any questions, I will pick one and answer it in the next week's post!