Monday, December 19, 2016

Wrapping Up the Year

This is going to be my last real blog post of the year, so I wanted to take the time to reflect on 2016 in my favorite way...with lists!!

  

This has been a pretty awesome agenting year for me.  Each year has been stronger than the last, and I am THRILLED to say that this year was the best yet, with deals for:
:
·         Kristin Lenz for THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO (Elephant Rock Press) and the audio book (Audible)
·         Erin Peabody for Books 1-6 of her nonfiction Creatures of Legend series (Little Bee)
·         Meghan Masterson for THE WARDROBE MISTRESS (St Martins)
·         Suzanne Kamata for THE MERMAIDS OF LAKE MICHIGAN (Wyatt-MacKenzie)
·         Alana Delacroix for her Shifting Love series (Kensington Lyrical)
·         Dorcas Cheng-Tozun for START, LOVE, REPEAT (Hachette Center Street)
·         Charles Maynard for his MG adaptation of I AM A SECRET SERVICE AGENT (St Martins)
·         Rie Neal for her IP project about a group of elementary-school-aged girls who start a band (Little Bee)
·         Lauren Smith for audio books for the next two books in her Wicked Rivals series, as well as the first two novellas in her The Seduction Series (Tantor)
·         Lauren Smith again for her three book dragon shifter series (St Martins)

Way to go, Team Carrie!!! 

We also saw lots of releases in 2016: 

·         THE ART OF HOLDING ONAND LETTING GO by Kristin Lenz
·         VENGEANCE by Shana Figueroa
·         CHARACTERS ON THECOUCH by Dean Haycock
·         The audio book ofMURDEROUS MINDS by Dean Haycock
·         THE CLEARING by Dan Newman
·         THE LINGERING GRACE by Jessica Arnold
·         THE WRECKING CREW by Taylor Zajonc
·         A WEIRD AND WILD BEAUTY by Erin Peabody
·         THE SECRET TO LETTING GO by Katherine Fleet
·         FANTASTIC FUGITIVES by Brianna DuMont
·         The Italian version of GOOD CHINESE WIFE by Susan Blumberg Kason

So many wonderful books, reviews, and other great things happened this year.  Can't wait to see what 2017 will bring!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Query Critique Winner

Hi guys!  The query critique winner this time around is Mariah Rose Cota.  Congrats, Mariah!  Here is her original pitch:


Dear Ms. Pestritto,

I am seeking representation for my novel, NIGHTMARE BEAUTY. It is YA Paranormal Romance. It is complete at 82,000 words.

Teenager Rachel Summers wants to sleep peacefully. But the nightmares are growing stronger. Suddenly, she finds love with an extraordinary boy. If Rachel is unable to defeat the nightmares, they will hunt for more victims.

Rachel Summers was only five years old when the nightmares chose her. After being reassured by her parents that nightmares aren’t real. They soon realized how wrong they are. As the nightmares have now tormented Rachel for years. The nightmares have stolen a vast amount sleep from Rachel. And she begins to struggle with functioning from day to day life. The schools were always concerned about what was happening at home. Years later, the Summers family seek outside help from Dr. Jefferson’s Mind Management Laboratory. As an elderly witch visits Rachel. She can’t help but sense that witch and her warnings are real. Despite her constant secret keeping in an effort to protect her friends. Rachel relies on her loved ones for a sense of normalcy. As the nightmares slowly begin to appear in public in the daytime. She learns she is not the only one that can see them.

Rachel discovers an extraordinary connection when she meets fellow teenager Aaron Winters. Suddenly, Aaron surprises Rachel as a tremendous shift in their relationship occurs. Now, they must work together to uncover the truth behind the nightmares. But, they will soon realize that the nightmares are not their only adversary.

I am a student at Allan Hancock College and I am currently working toward my Associate degree in English.

Sincerely,

Mariah Rose Cota

And here is my critique!



Dear Ms. Pestritto,

I am seeking representation for my novel, NIGHTMARE BEAUTY. It is YA Paranormal Romance. It is complete at 82,000 words.

Teenager Rachel Summers wants to sleep peacefully. But the nightmares are growing stronger. Suddenly, she finds love with an extraordinary boy. If Rachel is unable to defeat the nightmares, they will hunt for more victims. [I would suggest cutting this paragraph, otherwise the following information seems redundant.]

Rachel Summers was only five years old when the nightmares chose her
After being reassured by her parents that nightmares aren’t real. They soon realized how wrong they are. As the nightmares have now tormented Rachel for years. The nightmares have stolen a vast amount sleep from Rachel. And she begins to struggle with functioning from day to day life. The schools were always concerned about what was happening at home. [The information in this section is good, but the writing is very choppy and you're misusing punctuation your periods, which break up the sentences incorrectly.]  At first, her parents insisted they were nothing more than bad dreams, but after years of being unable to sleep and a steady decrease in her ability to function normally, everyone is concerned.  Rachel does her best, though, to keep the scariest aspect of the nightmares a secret:  the things she dreams seem like warnings of horrible things to come and that they are specific premonitions meant for her.  [I'm not sure if the part about premonitions are true or not, but either way, you need to give us more information here about the nightmares and also make the paranormal elements of the story stronger/clearer.] Years later, the Summers family seek outside help from Dr. Jefferson’s Mind Management Laboratory. As an elderly witch visits Rachel. She can’t help but sense that witch and her warnings are real. [The casual mention of a witch here confuses me.  Are magical people accepted and normal members of society, or is the fact that she is a witch a surprise?  Also, who is this witch?  Does she work at the lab?  How does she know to approach Rachel and what knowledge does she have about Rachel's nightmares?  Expand on this.] Despite her constant secret keeping in an effort to protect her friends. Rachel relies on her loved ones for a sense of normalcy. As the nightmares slowly begin to appear in public in the daytime. She learns she is not the only one that can see them.  Although she continues to shield her loved ones from the more disturbing elements of her dreams, it becomes clear that she won't be able to keep her secret much longer.  Her nightmares start acting themselves out in reality during the day and Rachel discovers she is not the only one who can see what is happening.

Rachel discovers an extraordinary connection when she meets fellow teenager Aaron Winters. Suddenly, Aaron surprises Rachel as a tremendous shift in their relationship occurs. Aaron Winters has also been plagued by nightmares and once he and Rachel meet they realized Now, they must work together to uncover the truth behind the nightmares and who is causing them while also fighting their growing attraction to one anotherBut, they will soon realize that the nightmares are not their only adversary.

I am a student at Allan Hancock College and I am currently working toward my Associate degree in English.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Mariah Rose Cota

This query has a good start on its hook--drawing people in with the question of what these nightmares mean--but the execution still needs some finessing.  As I mention above, thought, the language is very choppy and there are a lot of gray areas that need to be filled in.  Mariah, I hope you find my edits and comments helpful in revising those things.

Everyone else, chime in with your comments below!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Energy!

I am feeling so energized!!  It's very welcome after a few weeks of just wanting to hit snooze over and over, so to celebrate I've started my annual strategy sessions with my authors, phone calls I do every year to talk about plans, goals, etc. for the year ahead!  

I normally wait to start them after the holidays, but I wanted to take advantage of my alertness and also now that I'm balancing two full-time gigs, I wanted to get a head start since I have a feeling it's going to take longer to get them done than it has in the past.

Thanks to all the Excel training I've been getting at Cambridge, I was able to pump things up this year with a fancy Google Excel calendar to book everything.  Look at it!  Isn't it so cool?



On top of that, I got all my shopping done during Black Friday, so I am finishing 2016 with a extra-productive bang!  Now I just need to finish up all my contest reading and I can head into the unknown that is turning 30 years old with a light heart.