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Michelle4Laughs: It's in the Details



  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 24 October 2016 · 77 views

Author: Natasha Farrant
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: The Chicken House
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

A fresh, funny, and spirited reimagining of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet brings the voice of the wildest Bennet sister to life.
Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet girls. She's stubborn, never listens, and can't seem to keep her mouth shut -- not that she would want to anyway. She wishes her older sisters would pay her attention, or that something would happen in her boring country life.
Luckily, that something is right around the corner, and it's the handsome Wickham, who arrives at Longbourn to sweep her off her feet. Lydia's not going to let him know THAT, of course, especially since he only seems to be interested in friendship. But when they both decide to summer in the fasionable seaside town of Brighton, their paths inevitably become entangled again.
At the seaside, Lydia also finds exciting new ways of life and a pair of friends who offer her a future she would have never dreamed possible. Lydia finally understands what she really wants. But can she get it?

About Martina:
I am one of those rarities, a Londoner born and bred.  And like most true Londoners, I’m not completely English, but three-quarters French with a little bit Dutch thrown in.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else, though I would like a horse, a big old house with a secret passage or two, a fig tree, a walnut tree, lots of dogs and a vista of rolling hills on one side and the sea on the other.  All of which are sadly incompatible with both life in the city and my income.

I write partly because in my stories I can live the lives I’m not…

I have two teenage daughters, Justine and Lily, who provide endless inspiration for my books.  I am pleased to say inspiration works both ways. One of them has dyed her hair pink, and the other has taken to hanging out on the roof in the middle of the night.

The “person” I talk to most is my tortoiseshell cat, Amber.  This is because as a writer you spend a lot of time alone, which makes you go slightly mad.  Amber repays me for my conversation by trashing my house.  Soon we are goig to buy a dachshund puppy called Blue, and presumably he will be equally destructive.

I get very grumpy if I don’t have a good book to read, if I’m not writing, if I’m hungry, tired or don’t get enough exercise.  Otherwise I am a generally cheerful person.

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about my life as a writer.

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The 2016 Minions of Nightmare on Query Street

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 20 October 2016 · 39 views

Taking on the slush pile is a daunting task. It's such a hard task to limit ourselves to thirteen with so much wonderful available. I know the last word anyone wants to hear is 'subjective', but that's truly the best word to describe how we have to approach slush with so many contenders.

Happily, we have a surprise this year. Your hosts decided thirteen picks was an unlucky number and we boosted it up to fifteen! We each took fifteen entries! 

With that happy news, it's time to reveal the Minions of Nightmare on Query Street 2015!

In category order:

Boy of the Bayou
Hiding in Plain View
Detours and Other Dangers
Aimei and the Poem of Chen Suwen
Miles to Go
The Donor
Six Means Fortune
We Burn Too Bright
A Knight's Ransom
Nia Gray and the Quest of the Callis
Angel in an Iron Ring
Dancing in the Dark

We are off to rough up the competition and get all the requests!

Thank you everyone and be sure to check Michael's Blog and Laura's blog for their picks.

Keep an eye on your inbox. Mentors will be contacting you through the email you used to enter the contest. If that's not your actual email because a friend mailed yours in, you'd better let us know. Each entry will get one mentor assigned to them. 

Please return your revised entry using the same format to the contest email by noon ET on October 26th. We need that time to swat down unruly formatting and create the posts before the agent round. Please do not be late. We will go live without you.

And a final surprise! The agent round will start a day early on October 28th! 

Come back on October 28th to see the agents Shriek, Scream and Shiver! 



Release Day Excerpt for USELESS BAY

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 17 October 2016 · 20 views

Author: M.J. Beaufrand
Pub. Date: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 240
Formats: Hardcover, eBook

A gritty, psychological thriller about a mythic set of sixteen-year-old quintuplets searching for a young boy.

On Whidbey Island, the Gray quintuplets are the stuff of legend. Pixie and her brothers have always been bigger and blonder than their neighbors, as if they were birthed from the island itself. Together, they serve as an unofficial search-and-rescue team for the island, saving tourists and locals alike from the forces of wind and sea. But, when a young boy goes missing, the mysteries start to pile up. While searching for him, they find his mother’s dead body instead—and realize that something sinister is in their midst. Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand has crafted another atmospheric thriller with a touch of magical realism that fans of mystery and true crime will devour. 

Chapter 1
Our dog learned obedience from a murdered man.
Before he was murdered, of course. I suppose it could’ve been after, which would explain why the training didn’t take. Crystal ball, dark room, round table, woman with a turban . . . Hal Liston, if you’re with us, thump twice if you think Patience is a bad, bad dog.
But the facts are weird enough without dragging mediums into it. As it happened, he taught her while he was still breathing.
Hal Liston was a dog whisperer to Seattle stars. He trained the pit bulls of Mariners, the Rottweilers and German shepherds of coffee magnates, and even a Great Dane owned by that retired movie star who always played Reluctant Stoner Hero of the Seventies.
Not that we knew any of this before we sent Patience to Liston Kennels. All we knew was that, on the sly, my brother Sammy had sent $1,600 to a breeder in Alabama and bought a bloodhound, sight unseen. It cleared out his college savings. He was only ten years old at the time (we all were), so you have to give him tactical points for scamming the banks on his own. The idea that he could hide the dog from Mom, who frequently said, “No pets. I have a hard enough time dealing with five children.”
Not so smart.
He said he ordered the dog because he had the wacky idea that he wanted to be involved in search-and-rescue, even though he couldn’t ski or rock-climb or operate a helicopter. Kind of a romantic, our Sammy. Not a big thinker-througher.
When the dog arrived in a crate, deposited on our doorstep by the FedEx guy, Mom threw a hissy fit. “Tell me you got this beast from the pound,” she said.
“Yes,” Sammy said. “Yes, I did. I still have a savings account.”
Which, of course, meant that he didn’t. The rest of us knew a storm was brewing, so we got the hell out of the house. My other three brothers—Dean and Lawford and Frank—and I hopped on our bikes and pedaled off toward Langley, which was four miles away.
We were halfway there when I considered the quivering ball of fur still cowering in a crate on our front porch.
I said, “What are we going to do about that stupid mutt?”
There were five of us, all born two minutes apart. Even at ten years old, our personalities were set. Dean, the oldest, was our leader. Captain on and off the basketball court. Lawford, the second oldest, was the enforcer. When Dean issued a command, Lawford was at his right shoulder, spoiling for a takedown. He practiced on us all the time. Third in the lineup was Sammy, the prankster and believer in improbable causes like overbred puppies. He was the kid you always see riding his bicycle off the roof into a pile of grass clippings. And when the schemes invariably led to bloodshed and broken bones, Frank, the fourth of us, was always there to sew him up and set him straight. Don’t get me wrong—we were all graduates of Red Cross Senior Lifesaving, but Frank was the one who thought open head wounds were “neat.” He got plenty of practice on Sammy.

I was the youngest. I was just the Girl. My only talent, as far as I knew, was keeping up with my four brothers, and on that day, remembering lost causes. 

About M.J:
Mary Jane grew up in Gresham, Oregon. She’s a graduate of Wellesley College and has an MFA from the Bennington Writing Program. Currently she lives in Seattle with her husband, two children, and dogs. In the eighties she had a bad perm.

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of USELESS BAY. US Only.

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A Most Happy List of Books!

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 16 October 2016 · 27 views

I call this a most happy list because it's a list of books that came through contests I helped host and got agents or just went straight to getting publishing deals! So for your inspiration for today, I wanted to show this list again and say, "Look! This stuff happens!"

Perhaps someday you'll have a book on this list! 

And here is the list I've called from Contest to Contract.  It has sixteen books and growing! So please do let me know if you've been in a contest and now have a book on Goodreads that I can add to the list.

In related happiness, I also created a list to showcase the books of our mentors. Some of them came from the contests, though the vast majority came from querying. Please take a look at this list also of Writers who Help Writers. If you see something that looks fun to read, you'll also be support a writer who supports you! 



Nightmare on Query Street Submission Time!

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 14 October 2016 · 16 views

The submission window is closed!

The submission window opens at 4:00 pm (EST) on October 14th. Don't send too soon or your entry will be deleted. You may resend when the window opens. There will be email confirmation. After the window opens, please don't resend an entry unless you check with us. Sometimes the confirmation process gets overwhelmed. The window will close when we receive 250 entries or in two hours, whichever is first.

Michelle and Mike and Laura will make thirteen picks each, and those picks will go up on our blogs
from October 29th through the 30th. Before this, there will be a mentor round to whip that entry into shape. We've already got amazing mentors lined up, so know that your entries will be polished for the agents.

We are accepting all age categories and genres, excluding picture books and erotica. The story does not have to be scary. But be sure to check our list of agents when it goes live to see if they represent your book's genre.

If you plan on participating in the contest, you have to be following all our blogs (Michelle, Mike, Laura). If you can't get the blog follow to work, just follow on twitter. You'll want to be on twitter for the party anyway.

You are not eligible if you've been in an agent round in the last six months, such as for Pitchslam and Query Kombat. This doesn't not include twitter only events like PitchMad. You may enter if you have a different manuscript to send.


It's pretty simple, actually.

But there's a catch.

Along with your query and 250, you must write a SHORT paragraph (no more than 100 words) about your main character. This is the question you must answer:

What is your main character's most stressful relationship? Who really makes them sweat?

The Format:

Send all your submission to nightmareonquerystreet (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per email address AND person is allowed.

Here's how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded and everything!). Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed.

Subject Line: NoQS: TITLE, Age Category + Genre
(example: NoQS: GRUDGING, Adult Epic Fantasy)


Name: Michelle Hauck
Twitter Handle: @Michelle4Laughs (optional)
Title: GRUDGING (yes, caps!)
Genre: Adult Epic Fantasy (Age category and genre. YA/MG is not a genre.)
Word Count: XX,XXX

My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:

My MC's most stressful relationship is with the potato supplier. With prices skyrocketing, the mc can't stop eating those suckers--fried, mashed, frenched--gotta have them. But everyone is trying to undercut our mc's purchase potential. (Please, spend some time on this! We will be looking at this to make up for gaps in the query and 250. It gives us a chance to know your characters better. It doesn't have to be horror-scary. It can be more subtle. Remember 100 words or less.)


Here is my fantastic query! DO NOT INCLUDE BIO OR COMPS PARAGRAPH. Try to stay in the 250-300 word range. Please put spaces between paragraphs and don't indent.

Please remember this is a query letter and NOT a pitch. Don't send pitches.  
First 250 words:

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence, even if I hit 255 words. Do not abuse and send 256. Keep it fair for all. Use Open Office/Word to determine your official word count.

Entries will be disqualified at our discretion for rule violation.

And that's it! Send in that email during the submission window and you're ready to go. There will be a confirmation email.

***We also want to remind you that Jason Huebinger is having a twitter pitch event called #PitDark on October 20th. That is something you might want to investigate.
Topics for the twitter party are as follows:

October 14: All day, shout out the genre and age category you're sending. After 4:00 shout out if you got in.

October 15: Share a scary line from your manuscript. It can be from any chapter.

October 16: What costume would your MC character wear for Halloween?

October 17: What's the most fearsome thing about querying?

October 18: What's your MC's favorite candy and what kind would they throw at their antagonist just to get rid of? 

October 19: What's your favorite scary, or not so scary, Halloween movie?

October 20: Picks released. Tell us how you deal with stress as a writer. What helps while you wait on query letters?

Best of luck to everyone submitting today. Competition will be fierce.



Spotlight Post for Faithful

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 11 October 2016 · 31 views

Hi everyone!

I need to ask a favor. The second volume of my Birth of Saints series releases on November 15th and I could use your help to get out the word.

Following Grudging--and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall--religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints series!

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.

November 15th 2016 by Harper Voyager Impulse

Please fill out this really simple form to host a spotlight post about Faithful for me on your blog that day or even anytime that week. The more the merrier! No blog is too big or too small. It's all about numbers. 

I'll collect your email address and send an easy copy-and-paste html version of the post and also a regular version of the post a few days ahead of time. 

I will not keep or share any email address or use them for any other purpose.

Thank you so much for your support!   



Nightmare on Query Street Agents 2016

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 10 October 2016 · 76 views

We have 25 agents and counting joining us this year. Some are new. Some are established. All are looking to make requests. To everyone entering this year, best of luck! The Slush Pile is going to be SUPER competitive.

If you need a refresher on the submission guidelines, click here.

Andrea Brown Literary

Kathleen Rushall
Kathleen comes to the Andrea Brown Literary Agency after agenting for nearly five years with the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She represents writers and illustrators for picture books (both fiction and non-fiction), middle grade, and young adult literature.

When it comes to picture books, Kathleen loves to laugh and have her heartstrings pulled, and likes quirky character driven stories with heart. Kathleen is also actively building her list of nonfiction picture books. She would love to find more biographies and what some call “ficinformational” picture books (books with a fictional story that ties into the Common Core).

Kathleen is actively looking for fresh middle grade across all genres. She has a soft spot for heartfelt stories, as well as humorous contemporary with a relatable voice. She particularly enjoys middle grade with strong friendship themes. She would be happy to find a middle grade fantasy, adventure, historical, or a high stakes story with a twist of magic. For YA novels, Kathleen loves voice-driven contemporary (and is especially fond of magical realism), compelling fantasy with unforgettable characters, historical fiction, and romance with lots of chemistry. Additionally, she is always on the lookout for something smart and edgy that pushes the envelope.

Read more about Kathleen here.

Jennifer Soloway
Jennifer works closely with Executive Agent Laura Rennert. She enjoys all genres and categories, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult.

Jennifer is a suspense junkie. She adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries, full of unexpected twists. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! She’s a sucker for conspiracy plots where anyone might be a double agent, even the kid next door. She is a huge fan of psychological horror that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. In such stories, she is particularly drawn to a close, confiding first-person narrative.

Prior to joining ABLA, Jennifer worked in marketing and public relations in a variety of industries, including financial services, health care, and toys. She has an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College, and was a fellow at the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto in 2012. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, their two sons, and an English bulldog.

Read more about the agency here.

Bookends Literary

Tracy Marchini
After four years as a Literary Agents Assistant at Curtis Brown, Tracy Marchini left to pursue her own editorial business and to earn her MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. Her editorial clients have gone on to secure representation, sell books to traditional publishers, win awards and become bestsellers in the UK. She’s looking forward to being able to work with her BookEnds clients throughout their careers and to (hopefully!) see them grow as authors in the same way.

Growing up, Tracy made it a personal goal to read every Nancy Drew Case Files in her school’s library and still has a soft spot for a good girl detective story. As an adult, she loves the sense of possibility in children’s and young adult literature – and can still empathize with the soul-crushing feeling that is mandatory gym class.

Tracy is looking for picture book, middle grade and young adult manuscripts across most genres, including contemporary, mysteries, thrillers, magical realism, historical fiction, and non-fiction.

She is not a good fit for YA horror, true crime, hard sci-fi, or high fantasy. At this time, she is not looking for board books or early chapter books.

Read more about Bookends Literary here.

Donaghy Agency

Stacey Donaghy
Stacey has always been a voracious reader and a fan of all things writing. She loves discovering new voices and working with her clients to build long term writing careers.

Her journey began with Corvisiero Literary Agency in New York, where she wore many hats from team manager and trainer, to intern, to agent. While at CLA she sold her first two six figure deals.

This coupled with her experience and formal education and training in the areas of Management, Social Services and Adult Education, Stacey brings a wealth of technical and professional experience to the literary world. As a manager in the field of Education & Training, her roles have included people management, curriculum development, academic editing, marketing, creative design, publishing, proposal writing, contract negotiations and public speaking. Her training also includes Principled Negotiation Techniques as it applies to relationships and contracts.

Donaghy Literary Group opened in 2013 and to date Stacey has sold a total of 9 six figure deals, as well as many other sales in a number of genre areas. Her client projects have been sold to a variety of Publishing Houses such as: Harpercollins, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group USA, Sourcebooks, Kensington, Entangled and others.

Read more about Stacey and her agency here.

Emerald City Literary

Lindsay Mealing
Lindsay has been writing stories since she could first hold a pencil. It wasn’t until she sat down to edit a manuscript for the first time she realized her true love was not on the writing side of the publishing industry, but the business side. She began interning for Mandy in early 2015 and quickly realized agenting was what she wanted to do forever more.

Lindsay is a self-proclaimed nerd, loving everything science fiction and fantasy – from epic tomes to gaming. She fell head over heels with the SFF genre when she read KUSHIEL’S DART by Jacqueline Carey (she even has Phedre’s marque tattooed on her back).

You can find Lindsay on Twitter @lindsaymealing or check out what she’s currently reading on Goodreads.

Lindsay represents Science Fiction, Fantasy and YA. She does not rep middle grade, non-fiction,
short fiction or adult fiction outside the science fiction and fantasy genres.

Read more about Emerald City Literary here.

Fuse Literary

Michelle Richter
Michelle Richter joined Fuse Literary after eight years at St. Martin’s Press. While there, she edited nonfiction including MELISSA EXPLAINS IT ALL by Melissa Joan Hart and RENEWABLE by Jeremy Shere, and worked on women’s fiction, memoir/ biography, pop culture, cookbooks, and diet/health books. She has an M.S. in Publishing from Pace University (where she is an adjunct faculty member), and a B.A. in Economics with a minor in Russian from UMass Boston.

Michelle is primarily seeking fiction, especially book club reads, women’s fiction, contemporary romance, literary fiction, magical realism, and mystery/suspense/thrillers. Her favorite authors include Erin Morgenstern, Ann Patchett, Emma Straub, Laura Lippman, Tana French, Sara Blaedel, and Gillian Flynn. She’s also open to YA fiction, particularly contemporary YA and YA mystery/thriller. For nonfiction, she’s interested in fashion, pop culture, science/medicine, sociology/social trends, and economics.

You can follow Michelle on Twitter at @michrichter1.

Read more about Fuse Literary here.

Inklings Literary Agency

Alex Barba
Alex Barba is an agent and the foreign rights contact at Inklings Literary Agency. She came to Inklings after a stint as a literary consultant in New York City, having scouted the U.S. book market for film and TV clients and foreign publishers. Prior to that, she spent time in Los Angeles as an editor at a digital magazine and in story development with a literary management company.

She represents YA and MG fiction, and is primarily looking for contemporary YA, but will also welcome queries of contemporary YA with light fantasy or sci-fi elements. A clever retelling/re-spin of an old classic is always thrilling (think Ella Enchanted, her favorite book). She's particularly seeking issue-driven YA, empowered girl protagonists, compelling teen romance, positive (not too angsty) stories with nerdy girl or boy characters, stories about that awkward tween phase (ages 9-13), slightly dark/subversive story lines for upper YA, strong female friendships, and historical fiction (think the original American Girl series).

Read more about Inklings Literary here.

JABberwocky Literary

Sam Morgan
Sam is the Right Hand of Darkness at JABberwocky. He is a native of Shelby, North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Communications – Media Studies and Production. Before joining Jabberwocky in late 2012, Sam worked throughout New York City as a television critic, pizza guy, and several other glamorous positions. He’s an active nerd across all media from British television (Doctor Who and Black Mirror), to videogames (Injustice and Nintendo), to SF and fantasy novels (Prattchett, Adams, Gaiman), to college basketball (Go Heels, Go America). Sam is also active in the New York comedy scene at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater and making his own little rinky-dink videos in his spare time. He is ridiculously handsome, gut-busting witty, and prone to hyperbole.

For the time being, he is open for queries. You can email him (see instructions below) at querysam [at] awfulagent [dot] com.

If you need to reach him for some other reason, you can do so at sam [at] awfulagent [dot] com. If you query him at this address, it will be deleted unread.

You can also follow him on the ole twitter @samroebuck.

Also, he has a beard now. He feels this is important to know.

Read more about the JABberwocky team here.

Jane Rotrosen Agency

Rebecca Scherer
When Rebecca Scherer first walked into the JRA townhouse, she thought the parlor looked like something out of her favorite Edith Wharton novels and couldn’t believe how lucky she was. She dove in whole-heartedly and had the good fortune to apprentice with the some of the best agents in the industry. Having worked her way through each department of the agency, Rebecca enjoys all aspects of the business and has a comprehensive perspective on the type of career management that JRA is known for. Now an Associate Agent, Rebecca works closely with Meg Ruley and Andrea Cirillo on their client lists while actively building her own. A lifelong New Yorker, Rebecca holds a BA in English Literature, Political Science, and German from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College. She is particularly interested in works of women’s fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, and upmarket/literary-leaning fiction.

Rebecca can be reached at rscherer@janerotrosen.com.

Read more about Jane Rotrosen Agency here

Kimberley Cameron & Associates

Lisa Abellera
Lisa Abellera joined Kimberley Cameron and Associates in 2013 with a background in management, marketing, and finance. She has studied creative writing, design and business, earning her B.A. in Strategic Management from Dominican University of CA and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of San Francisco.

Lisa had a successful career in the corporate world before joining the world of publishing. After editorial internships with an independent press and Kimberley Cameron & Associates, she now follows her true passion for books and writing. She leverages her business and marketing expertise to help authors navigate the complexities of publishing. She is excited to develop talented authors and help advance their careers. She is looking to form long-term, collaborative relationships with writers who are committed to putting forth their best work.

Lisa responds to well-crafted prose with strong hooks and high personal stakes, to idiosyncratic, sympathetic characters, to a tangible sense of place, to multicultural aspects and international settings, to page-turning twists, and to emotionally immersive fiction that explores the human condition, especially within family and close relationships.

She is seeking to represent upmarket fiction, women's fiction, historical fiction, mystery/suspense/thrillers (especially if it has a dose of science or the supernatural), science fiction, fantasy, most speculative fiction except for paranormal fantasy (no demons, angels, vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.), romance if it's an element or part of another genre, NA, YA and middle grade.

Dorian Maffei graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Creative Writing, and began at Kimberley Cameron & Associates as an intern in 2013. She has since become a junior agent as she is now looking to build a client list of her own. She is interested in magical realism, fabulism, reimagined fairy tales, speculative fiction, unique voices, and innovative storytelling that sometimes veers on the weird.

Read more about Kimberley Cameron here.

The Knight Agency

Kristy Hunter
Kristy Hunter joined The Knight Agency in April 2014. With a degree in Women & Gender Studies and English Literature from Vanderbilt University, Kristy moved to New York City immediately after graduation to try her hand at publishing. She completed the Columbia Publishing Course and worked in the city for several years—first at Grove/Atlantic and then at Random House Children’s Books—before deciding it was time to make the move back down south. She now takes advantage of her new surroundings by being outside as much as possible with her French bulldog, Gummi.

Kristy is currently accepting submissions from a wide variety of genres, including women’s fiction, mystery, historical romance, romance, young adult, and middle grade. Having spent significant time in the south and New York City, she particularly likes books set in these regions. She also enjoys books that feature horses, boarding schools, sisters, and sororities—to name just a few. Her favorite books include THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett, RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles, THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger, THE HUSBAND’S SECRET by Liane Moriarty, I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins, and WONDER by R.J. Palacio

Read more about The Knight Agency here.

KT Literary

Renee Nyen
Several years in the editorial department at Random House’s Colorado division provided Renee with the opportunity to work with bestselling and debut authors alike. After leaving Random House, she came to KT Literary in early 2013. She loves digging into manuscripts and helping the author shape the best story possible. Though this is great for her profession, it tends to frustrate people watching movies with her. With a penchant for depressing hipster music and an abiding love for a good adventure story, Renee is always looking for book recommendations. Even if that means creeping on people reading in public. Which she does frequently. She makes her home in Arizona with her husband, and their two children.

Read more about KT Literary here.

L. Perkins Agency

Leon Husock
Before he joined the L. Perkins Agency, Leon was an associate agent at Anderson Literary Management. He graduated from Bard College with a BA in Literature and from there went on to attend the well-known Columbia Publishing Course, where he decided he wanted to be an agent.

He has a particular interest in science-fiction and fantasy, especially fantasy with non-Western European inspired settings and cultures (e.g. Leigh Bardugo’s Russian-inspired fantasy). He also loves young adult and upper middle-grade of all stripes, as well as genre mashups (e.g. fantasy westerns, noir + almost anything else, etc). Strong characters are, of course, a must.

Leon is actively building his list, and is currently open to queries.

Leon does not represent picture books, women’s fiction, novellas, or non-fiction.

Read more about L. Perkins Agency here.

LKG Agency

Lauren Galit
Agent: such a loaded job description. It’s the word you scream into the phone when you get stuck in an airline or cable company’s automated loop. AGENT! Or it might call to mind images of a classic real estate or Hollywood agent with slicked-back hair and too-sharp clothes. But that’s not who I am. My client, Clinton Kelly, once wrote in the acknowledgments of Freakin’ Fabulous: “Lauren Keller Galit, a totally chill agent who’s not even a jerk.”

Being a literary agent is my dream job (but then again, I was a literary geek at Harvard): I get to work with writers all day long, helping them craft their book ideas and editing their proposals. And then, once the proposal is complete, I get to connect with editors to sell them on something I have passionately committed myself to for the past few months. And I get to chat — a lot (but hopefully not too much). With writers, with editors, with Caitlen. All good.

I also get to be a world-class dilettante. For each new project that comes along, I delve deep into that writer’s world and expertise, learning all I can, so that I can speak knowledgeably about the subject. What could be bad about exploring a new angle on parenting or fitness or style every few months? My closet is certainly the better for it; hopefully my kids, too.

I started my agenting career in 2002 at John Boswell Associates, a literary agency and book packager that’s most noted for creating 365 Ways To Cook Chicken, as well as countless other best sellers. Because Boswell was a packager as well as an agent, he taught me how to do more than just craft a proposal and sell it; he showed me how to create a book from scratch, working with designers and production people along the way. It is that attention to detail that I bring to my current projects, even if we aren’t packaging them. I help my authors envision what their books could be.

Before becoming an agent, I was a magazine editor for 10 years, starting at GQ (Gentleman’s Quarterly) and ending at GH (Good Housekeeping). That’s where I learned to edit and copy edit, to read and reread until an article or caption or pull quote was just so. It is a skill I bring to every proposal I work on with a writer. It won’t go out until it is just so, because the proposal should beautifully and accurately represent the idea an author is dying to bring to the world.

Read more able LKG here.

Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
I joined the LKG Agency in 2008, thereby disproving the theory that no English major ever does anything with their degree. Before that I worked at another literary agency, Don Congdon Associates, where I had the behind-the-scenes thrill of seeing Kathryn Stockett’s The Help first come in (and getting one of the first reads). And before that I was getting my Masters in English and Publishing from Rosemont College. I have enjoyed my apprenticeship under Lauren very much, and I am now actively looking to build my own list, which includes (after a surprisingly minimal amount of begging and pleading on my part), securing Lauren’s agreement to open the agency to considering middle grade and young adult fiction.

In my spare time, I am an author in my own right (or is that write?). My first book, Lady Vernon and Her Daughter, which I co-wrote with my mother, was released by Crown in 2009. We also contributed to Jane Austen Made Me Do It, published by Ballantine in 2011. My first middle grade novel, Ordinary Magic, was published by Bloomsbury Children’s in 2012.

Read more about LKG here.

Martin Literary

Clelia Gore
It was when Clelia first read Charlotte’s Web in the first grade that she got hooked by the magic of books. Her love of children’s books carried through adulthood and she is delighted to dedicate her life to bringing quality books and stories to young (and whimsical adult!) readers.

Clelia is originally from the suburbs of New York City. She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Boston College. She received her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and practiced law as a corporate litigator in New York City.

In 2011, she decided to dedicate her career to books and reentered graduate school at Emerson College, where she received a master’s degree in Publishing and Writing. While she was studying publishing and taking creative writing courses at Emerson, Clelia gained firsthand experience in the publishing industry working in the children’s book division at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and in academic books at Oxford University Press. She also taught academic writing and research courses to freshman students as a graduate student faculty member at Emerson College.

Clelia attends writing and publishing conferences. She also sits on the board of directors for Poetry Northwest magazine.

Clelia acquires picture book, middle grade and young adult books. She is particularly interested in developing her nonfiction clientele. With apologies, Clelia is no longer accepting new adult fiction queries at this time.

Read more about Clelia Gore here and her agency here.

McIntosh & Otis

Shannon Powers
Shannon Powers is a graduate of New York University. She began her career in publishing at McIntosh and Otis as an intern in 2011, and then went on to intern at The Book Report Network and W.W. Norton & Company. She has also worked as a bookseller. She returned to M&O in 2014, where she assists Shira Hoffman and Christa Heschke and is also looking to build her own list as a junior agent.

Shannon is interested in representing a range of both adult and children's genres. Above all, she looks for projects with a strong hook, smart plotting, memorable characters, and an addictive voice. She is open to both lighter projects and projects with a darker edge. For adult, her reading interests include literary fiction, mystery, horror, popular history, and romance. In YA and middle grade, she is searching for mysteries and thrillers with high emotional stakes, projects with romantic elements (whether fun or angsty), horror, light sci-fi or fantasy, and contemporary with a unique premise.

Read more about McIntosh & Otis here.

The Seymour Agency

Jennifer Wills
Jen, a lifelong devourer of books, always dreamed of becoming an agent and helping authors bring their books to the world. That, or becoming a veterinarian. Or an astronaut.

She holds a BA in English, with a focus in creative writing, from The Ohio State University. She has five years’ experience in publishing, as an assistant to Claire Roberts at Trident Media Group and to Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House. She loved helping develop fledgling writers into NYT bestselling authors. She currently assists Nicole Resciniti at The Seymour Agency.

She took a brief hiatus from publishing to explore her other interest - veterinary medicine – but finally realized that she much preferred authors to creatures whose bite is worse than their bark. Digging through the slush pile is a lot less dangerous, and a lot more fun, than working with puppies.

(Note: Jen is NOT considering a career in aerospace.)

Read more about Jennifer Wills here.

The Rights Factory

Lydia Moëd
Lydia Moëd came to Canada from the UK, where she worked for several years as a foreign rights executive in children’s publishing. She has also worked as a freelance literary translator and editor, and as a bookseller at Foyles in London. In addition to handling foreign rights for The Rights Factory’s children’s and YA list, she is building her own list of clients for representation.

For fiction, she is most interested in acquiring science fiction and fantasy, though she also enjoys magic realism, historical fiction and stories inspired by folklore from around the world. She is only looking for manuscripts that pass the Bechdel Test. For non-fiction, she is interested in narrative non-fiction on a wide variety of topics, including history, popular science, biography and travel. Until September 1st she is only accepting queries from authors from marginalised groups, because somebody dared her on Twitter.

Her non-book-related interests include hula-hooping, watching ice hockey, and exploring unlikely regions of her new country. She likes swashbuckling SFF TV series and quiet Japanese films in which nothing really happens.

Read more about Lydia here.

TriadaUS Literary

Lauren Spieller
Literary Agent Assistant Lauren Spieller comes to TriadaUS with a background in literary scouting and editorial consulting. She has a sharp editorial eye, and is passionate about author advocacy. Lauren is seeking Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, as well as commercial Adult fiction and non-fiction. Whatever the age category or genre, Lauren is passionate about finding diverse voices.

In MG, she’s drawn to heartfelt contemporaries, exciting adventures, contemporary fantasy and magical realism, as well as light sci-fi. She loves books that make her laugh and cry in equal measure, books that make her think, and books that surprise her. Some of her favorite recent Middle Grade novels include Rules for Stealing Stars, George, My Seventh-Grade Life In Tights, The Seventh Wish, and Rooftoppers. In YA, she’d love to find authentic teen voices in any and all genres. She is especially fond of fantasy and sci-fi, as well as high concept contemporaries. Her recent favorites include Dumplin’, Scorpio Races, Since You’ve Been Gone, Feed, An Ember in the Ashes, Six of Crows, and Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.

In Adult, Lauren is seeking commercial fiction, particularly twisted psychological thrillers in the vein of Lauren Beukes and Gillian Flynn, and immersive literary fantasies, such as The Night Circus, The Miniaturist, The Rook, The Miniaturist, and A Darker Shade of Magic. She is also interested in upmarket Women’s Fiction (especially if it's funny or has a touch of magical realism!) and unique non-fiction with an existing platform. She's particularly hungry for counter culture books, cocktail books with a twist/theme, or narrative nonfiction with a unique hook.

Uwe Stender
Dr. Uwe Stender, is a Full Member of the AAR (Association of Authors' Representatives).

Our best known clients are actress Melody Thomas Scott, CNN HLN and TruTV's In Session News Anchor Christi Paul, Eric Deggans,former CNN anchor Daryn Kagan, 4 time Grammy Award winning composer Lalo Schifrin ("Mission Impossible"), Elizabeth LaBan, Stacy Tornio, and legendary NBA referee Bob Delaney.

Uwe was a guest speaker at several major conferences including the SCWC in San Diego, the Crimebake (Mystery Writers of America New England Chapter), CAPA-U in Hartford, Connecticut, the Writers' League of Texas in Austin, Penn Writers, and he spoke on a panel at the Book Expo America in New York City.

Mallory Brown
Literary Agent Assistant Mallory C. Brown is seeking young adult, women’s fiction, adult, and non-fiction. She is especially drawn to pieces with strong character-driven plots and witty humor. She loves contemporary fiction, low fantasy (think realistic world with a fantastical twist), and romance. Mallory also appreciates a well-placed comma and hopes you do, too.

Some of Mallory’s favorites at the moment are: A Study in Charlotte, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Outlander, and Bringing up Bébé.

Read about TriadaUS here.

Trident Media Group

Mark Gottlieb
Mark Gottlieb’s focus on publishing began at Emerson College, where he was a founding member of the Publishing Club, later its President, overseeing its first publication and establishing the Wilde Press.

After graduating with a degree in writing, literature and publishing, Mark began his career with the Vice President of Berkley Books (Penguin), working with leading editors.

His first position at the Trident Media Group literary agency was in foreign rights, selling the books of clients around the world. Mark later worked as Executive Assistant to Robert Gottlieb, Chairman of Trident, with responsibility for organizing/managing diverse authors and their complex business transactions. He next assumed the position of audio rights agent. Since Mark has managed the audio rights business, the annual sales volume has more than doubled. Mark showed great initiative and insight in identifying talented writers.

In passing the Audio Department's torch, Mark is building his own client list of writers. He is excited to work directly with authors, helping to manage and grow their careers with all of the unique resources that are available to Trident. Since that time he has ranked as high as #1 in Agents on publishersmarketplace.com in Overall Deals and other individual categories.

Read more about Trident here.

Writers House

Alec Shane
I began my career at Writers House as an intern in September of 2008 and simply refused to leave, so I was given the wonderful job of Assistant to Jodi Reamer. I am now also in the process of actively building my own list and currently represent a fairly eclectic mix of Children's and Adult fiction and nonfiction. I'm eagerly looking for both.

On the fiction side, I love mysteries, thrillers (although I'm experiencing a bit of terrorist fatigue at the moment), bad-ass protagonists with a chip on their shoulders, beautifully told historical fiction (The Vietnam War, the Maccabees, and The American Revolution fascinate me in particular),well-researched adventure stories, and great horror - I haven't been scared to turn off the light in far too long and something needs to be done about it. In terms of children's books, getting boys to read again is especially important to me, and thus I'm particularly on the lookout for a fun middle-grade adventure series, ghost story, or anything else geared toward younger male readers.

On the nonfiction side, I'm attracted to odd, quirky histories, military history, biographies of people I didn't even know existed (but definitely should have), "guy" reads, humor, narrative nonfiction that sheds light on under-the-radar events and lifestyles, and all things sports. I'm also currently up in the air as to whether or not I believe in ghosts, hauntings, and the supernatural, so if you have something that can convince me one way or the other, I'd love to see it.

Read more about Writers House here.



Mentors for Nightmare on Query Street 2016

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 07 October 2016 · 19 views

I know you'll want to get to know the mentors who will be helping the finalists perfect their query letter and first 250 words. But first a few dates for Nightmare on Query Street:

Submission Window Opens: October 14th 4:00 pm EST
Final Picks are Announced: October 20th
Mentors Go to Work: October 21th - 26th
Revised Entries Due Back: October 26th at noon EST
Agent round: October 29th - 30th

A third of the list of amazing mentors is here. To see the other parts of the list, visit Mike's blog and Laura's blog. Mike has had a personal emergency and all the mentors are now listed on my blog or Laura's blog. Some of the mentors have been helping our contests for ages and some are brand new. Please give all of them a big welcome!

Jessica Kapp went to her first Writers’ Group meeting with her grandmother when she was eleven but didn’t take her love of writing seriously until she graduated from college.

With a degree in Broadcast Communication, Jessica started her storytelling career through the lens of a camera. From television news, she transitioned to print journalism and eventually succumbed to her true passion: fiction.

Jessica writes YA Contemporary and Speculative Fiction, and her debut novel, BODY PARTS, comes out Fall 2017. 

She is represented by Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary Agency. Find her on twitter at @JessKnapp.

Gail Nall lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her family and more cats than necessary. She once drove a Zamboni, has camped in the snow in June, and almost got trampled in Paris. Gail is the author of the Aladdin/S&S middle grade novels BREAKING THE ICE, the YOU'RE INVITED series (co-authored with Jen Malone), and the upcoming OUT OF TUNE (11/8/16) and BEST.NIGHT.EVER. (co-authored, 8/15/17). She is also the author of the young adult novel, EXIT STAGE LEFT (Epic Reads Impulse/HarperCollins).

Buy links for all books: http://www.gailnall.com/my-books.html
Website: http://www.gailnall.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gailecn
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GailNallWrites/
Newsletter sign-up: http://www.gailnall.com/newsletter.html

Annie Sullivan has worked at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company since 2007 in acquisitions, editorial, content marketing, and publicity roles. In addition, she writes young adult fantasy and is represented by Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis Literary. She received her MFA in creative writing from Butler University, and her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnel’s. Her novel won the Luminis Books Award at the 2013 Midwest Writers Workshop.

She lives in Indianapolis but has traveled to over 50 countries, and she now offers free setting advice to anyone looking to set a story in a country they’ve never been to. When she’s not off on a new adventure, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and playing with her dog. She’s an expert four-leaf clover finder and loves everything Jane Austen.

Twitter: @annsulliva

When C. B. Catalano realized she spent more time daydreaming than living in the real world she decided to write them down to share with others. Now she's ready to bring those daydreams to life. C. B. writes MG and YA, and is represented by Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media. She can be found wandering around the Pacific Northwest with her 3 kids, husband, and new puppy. After moving 21 times over the span of 7 states and 18 years she thinks she may have finally found a place to call home (for now) and aims to explore all that Washington has to offer.


Erika David is a Toronto-area writer of middle grade and young adult fiction, and is represented by Eric Myers at Dystel & Goderich. She credits a lifelong appreciation of sci-fi and fantasy to the discovery of John Christopher’s The Tripod novels, and classic TV shows like Space 1999 andBattlestar Galactica. She also loves a good thriller, but can only read them with the lights on, or watch them through the buttonhole of her sweater. When not reading, writing, or eating too much dark chocolate, she enjoys going out to movies and indie concerts, as well as keeping up with her husband, three kids and a munsterlander named Martha.

J.B. Rockwell is a New Englander, which is important to note because it means she's (a) hard headed, (b) frequently stubborn, and (c) prone to fits of snarky sarcasticness. As a kid she subsisted on a steady diet of fairy tales, folklore, mythology augmented by generous helpings of science fiction and fantasy. As a quasi-adult she dreamed of being the next Indian Jones and even pursued (and earned!) a degree in anthropology. Unfortunately, those dreams of being an

archaeologist didn't quite work out. Through a series of twists and turns (involving cats, a marriage, and a SCUBA certification, amongst other things) she ended up working in IT for the U.S. Coast Guard and now writes the types of books she used to read. Not a bad ending for an Indiana Jones wannabe.

J.B.’s debut sci-fi novel, SERENGETI (a NoQS 2015 entry) was recently published by Severed Press. Find out more about J.B., SERENGETI, and J.B.’s other writing projects at www.jenniferbrockwell.com 

ELIZABETH RODERICK is the author of the LGBT romantic suspense novel, Love or Money, and the magical realism The Other Place Series, which includes The Hustle, The Other Place, Love and War (release date 3/7/17), and Synchronicity, (release date 5/2/17). She has written ten other novels in a wide range of genres, which are in various stages of revision and pitching.

Elizabeth’s stories are about love, death, gang warfare, and madness. Her characters tend to be of the type that society generally shuns: addicts, convicts, and the neurodiverse. She herself is a neurodiverse person, and has struggled with addiction and other issues.

Elizabeth believes if people get to know people who live on the fringes of society, both in stories and in real life, they'll find them more likeable than they originally thought.

Wren hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But a cowboy swept her off her feet and carried her below the Mason-Dixon line to Texas, where she promptly lost all tolerance for cold and snow. Fueled by coffee, dreams, and men in kilts, Wren promises to bring you laughter, sexy fun time, and action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The easiest way to her heart is anything to do with the Green Bay Packers, Doctor Who, or Joss Whedon. 

Represented by Margaret Bail of Inklings Literary Agency.

Nicole Tone is a novelist, essayist, and editor. She's the Publishing Director and an editor at REUTS Publications. She is getting her MA in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, is an intern for a literary agency, and freelance writes and edits. Check out her website, follow her on Twitter, or you can like her Facebook page.

Shari Schwarz lives in Colorado with her husband and their four boys. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE is her debut middle grade novel which reflects her love for a good survival adventure story. When she’s not reading or writing, Shari can be found freelance editing, weight-lifting, gardening or watching her boys play various sports. She frequently daydreams of exploring Oregon Coast beaches and enjoys reading manuscripts as a literary intern. 

You can visit Shari on her website: http://sharischwarz.com
Twitter: @sharischwarz

Born and raised in the sunny land of Portugal, Diana lives in Lisbon, where she works as a game developer and writer. In her free time, she can be found writing (obviously), painting, and devouring extraordinary quantities of books and video games—especially anything on the fantasy spectrum. Keeping her company are two awesome kitties, Sushi and Jubas, and her bearded dragon Norbert!

Her work is represented by Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Lit.

Twitter - https://twitter.com/Pinguicha

Peggy Rothschild grew up in Los Angeles. Always a mystery-lover, she embraced the tales of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys before graduating to the adult section of the library. An English major in high school, she switched to art – her other passion – in college. Peggy has authored two adult mysteries, CLEMENTINE’S SHADOW and ERASING RAMONA. PUNISHMENT SUMMER is her first young adult book.

Peggy is represented by Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency. She lives in the beach community of Ventura with her husband and their cats. In her spare time she focuses on transforming their yard into a drought-tolerant garden.

Kate is a freelance editor, MG Pitch Wars mentor, and the editorial director at Lakewater Press. She's also an award-winning middle grade author. Although originally from the UK, she now lives on the Gold Coast in Australia with her family.



Nightmare on Query Street 2016 Free Pass

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 03 October 2016 · 12 views

Contests are subjective. I like to take some of that out of the equation with an equalizer like a free pass! It lets someone who might not make the finals go before agents and get help from mentors. This is one of my favorite parts about any contest I help host. 

So let's talk about this opportunity.

All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and use the rafflecopter to be entered. Everyone gets a free entry. There will be other extra entry options that you can skip or use for bonus chances.

Something a little harder this year. I want you to describe your favorite Halloween decoration you put out every year or maybe one you had as a child. Give me that description below in a comment, then use the rafflecopter to record that you entered. It can be scary or not. No extra bonus points but extra fun if you want to send me a picture of the decoration on twitter (@Michelle4Laughs) under #NoQS. I'll RT and share them.

I know some people don't decorate, so you can take a picture of an item at your local store next time you're shopping. (Note: I'm not asking you to buy anything, just get ideas there.) I won't be rating you on your ability with words, so relax and have fun with it.

Here's the little doodad I got at the our Blueberry Festival. I'm not sure what it is, but it looks to be a mix between a creepy egg boy and a sad zombie. I needed a decoration that wasn't a pumpkin because I sadly lack variety. :-) 

It's been brought to my attention that some countries don't celebrate Halloween. I offer my condolences at missing all the free candy. But we want to hear from you, too! Instead, please comment with a description of a popular holiday unique to your country. Let us know what we are missing. 

This will run from today until October 10th when the rafflecopter will pick one winner. The Free Pass winner will bypass the slush and become one of Michelle's Minions for Nightmare on Query Street. They will work with a mentor to polish and then be entered in the agent round, where 25 agents will read their work.

Don't forget to use the rafflecopter if you comment or your entry will not be processed.

And that's it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Query Questions with Jennifer Wills

  Posted by Michelle4Laughs , 30 September 2016 · 28 views



Writers have copious amounts of imagination. It's what makes their stories so fantastic. But there's a darker side to so much out of the box thinking. When a writer is in the query trenches, their worries go into overdrive. They start pulling out their hair and imagine every possible disaster.

Here to relieve some of that endless worrying is a series called Query Questions. I'll ask the questions which prey on every writer's mind, and hopefully take some of the pain out of querying. These are questions that I've seen tossed around on twitter and writing sites like Agent Query Connect. They are the type of questions that you need answers from the real expert--agents!

Query Questions is back with a fresh set of questions and more agents. The people have spoken and let me know which questions should stay and which could go. We've got a few brand new situations that writers would like clarified.

I'm happy to share an interview with another new agent that may not be on your radar yet. Jennifer Wills joined the Seymour Agency in April 2016 and is now an associate agent.

Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong?
I always read all my queries, including the sample.  You can tell so much from the sample – whether the author has an instinct for where to begin their story, whether the voice is appealing, if they know how to keep the writer’s interest.  A strong sample can overcome a weak query but a weak sample always cancels out a strong query for me.  If I’m lukewarm about five pages, there’s no point reading the rest, right?  However, if you end your sample or your partial on a little mini-cliffhanger, I know I’m in good hands and I’ll be happy to read more.

How open are you to writers who have never been published?
I’m open to unpublished authors, but it’s definitely helpful to have at least an article or a published short story under your belt.  If you haven’t been published, it’s even more important to have a following on social media.  Potential publishers will be considering your platform, not just your manuscript.

How important are comp titles? Is it something you want to see in a query? Are movie/tv reference okay as comp titles?
Comp titles are great, if they make sense and are timely, accurate, and original.  I’m still getting Harry Potter and Hunger Games as comps in queries….  The worst is when someone tells you their book is THIS meets THAT, and when you read there are no traces of either title and you start to wonder if they sent you the wrong manuscript.  My first job was as a projectionist at a movie theater, so I love movies almost as much as I love books.  Comps that contain both are a win-win for me.  I especially love it when an author tells me which aspect of their comp titles resemble their book--“the voice of THIS but with the suspense of THAT.”

Do you prefer a little personalized chit-chat in a query letter or would you rather hear about the manuscript?
“All of that chit-chat’s gonna getcha hurt.” --Jared Leto as the Joker

Just joking!  A little personalization to show that the query is targeting me is helpful.  I’ve had some queries where the first line of the query is intriguing, and then they include something personalized later on.  That works, too.  When I offer representation, I’m not offering just for the manuscript.  I’m looking for authors who are in it for the long haul, so I like to get a sense of their personality to see if we would work well together.

When a writer nudges with an offer, what length of time is helpful to give you enough time to consider? A week? Two weeks?
At least a week is helpful, especially if I’m sharing a manuscript with my fellow agents for a second read.  Two weeks would be ideal.

Many agents say they don't care if writers are active online. Could a twitter account or blog presence by a writer tip the scales in getting a request or offer? And do you require writers you sign to start one?
I like to see authors who already have the foundation of their online presence in place because it can take time to get that ball rolling.  If I love the work and believe in the author, I’ll still offer representation even if their social media platform is nonexistent.  (BUT, if there is an existing platform that is problematic, ie unprofessional, hurtful, overly controversial to the point of damaging the author’s brand, I might decide not to offer representation.  So be careful what you post out there!)

If a writer makes changes to their manuscript due to feedback should they resend the query or only if material was requested? Does it make a difference if the changes are from an R&R with another agent?
If I’ve requested pages, I always try to offer at least one constructive comment even if the manuscript isn’t working for me.  If the manuscript was otherwise a good fit, I’ll absolutely invite the author to make changes and resubmit.  If I don’t specifically say I’d like to see the revisions, then it’ll probably still be a pass although I will occasionally take another look if the author asks nicely.  

Do you look at trends or editor wishlists when deciding to sign a manuscript?
If I think a manuscript will appeal to a particular editor or two or five, I’m probably thinking about representation before I’ve even finished the manuscript.  Trends can fluctuate, so I’m more interested in what my editorial contacts have specifically told me they want to see. 

Do you consider yourself a hands-on, editorial type of agent? Does a manuscript have to be sub-ready or will you sign stories that need work?
I love to edit! It is so gratifying to help an author take their great manuscript one step closer to perfection.  I’m in the early stages of building my list so I’m probably a bit more willing to spend time polishing my authors’ work before submission than agents with a full list.  

What is your biggest query pet peeve? Is there anything that automatically sinks a query for you?
Clichéd but true – “Dear Agent” or seeing a billion other agents’ email addresses in the CC line of the email.  It just doesn’t make for a good first impression, and it shows a lack of attention to detail.  If an author can’t take the time to figure out a prospective agent’s name, or send an individual query, it shows they haven’t taken the time to do their homework. It doesn’t bode well for the quality of the query, or the manuscript itself.  I don’t mind as much when people misspell my name; I get a lot of Willis instead of Wills because that second i just wants to creep in there, and an occasional Mr. instead of Ms./Mrs.
I love fantasy/sci-fi queries but it seems like authors tend to cram every detail about their world-building into the query.  You just need to give enough in the query/synopsis/sample so I understand the premise as it relates to the character’s struggle, so try not to throw around a million unfamiliar terms or hard-to-pronounce names all at once.  I will revel in your glorious details while reading the partial or full, don’t worry!  The query’s job is to get me excited about reading more – it doesn’t need to be a reference manual for the fantastic, elaborate world you’ve created.

What three things are at the top of your submission wish list?
High concept non-rhyming picture books. YA/MG with sci fi/fantasy, horror/suspense or contemporary bent. Upmarket women’s fiction with a sense of humor.

What are some of your favorite movies or books to give us an idea of your tastes? 
Since the tender age of too-young-to-be-reading-him, my favorite author was Stephen King, particularly THE STAND and the Dark Tower books.  My favorite movie was the Wizard of Oz.  And to this day, those favorites still hold true.  Others, in no particular order: Justin Cronin’s THE PASSAGE trilogy is up there with The Dark Tower. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy by Beth Revis.  Also THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins, GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn, IF I STAY by Gayle Forman, Harry Potter ofcourse, The Earth’s Children series by Jean Auel, I also love Neil Gaiman, Maggie Stiefvater, Alexandra Bracken, John Green, Emily Giffin, Sarah Dessen,  Jennifer Weiner, Laurie Notaro, and I still have a soft spot for RL Stine, Christopher Pike, Roald Dahl, Ann M. Martin.

Movies/TV: The Walking Dead, LOST, Lucky Number Slevin, Boondock Saints, How to Train Your Dragon, Edge of Tomorrow, District 8, Mission Impossible franchise, all the Marvel films, Christopher Nolan’s everything, anything Pixar, romantic comedies and plain ol’ comedies.

I am probably one of eight people on the planet who wasn’t crazy about Stranger Things.

Jennifer has five years’ experience in some of the publishing industry’s leading literary agencies.  She worked with publishers around the world as an assistant in Trident Media Group’s huge foreign rights department, and with domestic publishers as an assistant at Writers House (where, incidentally, she began her career as an intern).  She joined the Seymour Agency in April 2016, where she has quickly moved up the ranks to associate agent.  Jennifer has always loved helping fledgling authors become NYT bestsellers and she’s ready to be a relentless champion for her own clients’ work.  You can find her @WillsWork4Books on Twitter. 


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