Query. Sign. Submit. with Hillary Homzie

Hillary is a chapter book and middle grade author. Her latest middle grade book, Apple Pie Promises, is now available from Sky Pony, and her new Ellie May chapter book series is now available from Charlesbridge. Hillary is represented by Victoria Wells Arms in association with Hannigan Salky Getzler (HSG).

Connect with Hillary …
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the books …
Apple Pie Promises Amazon * Apple Pie Promises Indie Bound

Ellie May on Presidents’ Day Amazon * Ellie May on Presidents’ Day Indie Bound * Ellie May on April Fools’ Day Amazon * Ellie May on April Fools’ Day Indie Bound


What advice would you give to querying writers?
My advice is to not to query too many agents as once. Do it in small batches. When I was querying, sometimes I would get a “no, but I really like your writing” sort of response and the agent would include a nugget of wisdom that helped me to strengthen the manuscript. After I implemented the advice, when I re-queried, the story was in better shape.


How did you know your agent was the right one for you?
I really loved the books that my agent, Victoria Wells Arms, had worked on as an editor at Bloomsbury, and since I was seeking an editorial agent, I felt certain that she would be a great fit for me.
When I sent Victoria a query, she jumped on it and we were speaking on the phone almost immediately. There were a couple of other agents I was considering, but nobody was as responsive as Victoria. I just love her enthusiasm. She’s responsive, kind and an editorial agent. I feel so grateful that we’re working together.


What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?
After your initial obsession—all of the excitement of creating the submission list—that you utterly forget that you even wrote the manuscript. In another words, amnesia is very helpful. How do you do that? Well, get to work on something else. Obsess over your new WIP instead of angst-ing about the baby that’s off in the world. Oh, gosh, that sounds harsh. It’s like telling a mom don’t think about your kid once they’ve left the nest and are on job interviews during their senior year of college. But seriously, once the manuscript is out there, spending energy wondering about it will only make time slow down. If you’re not ready to dive into a new project, read a friend’s WIP or go on an intense reading binge and take notes. Oh, and review whatever books you consume on GoodReads. The authors will totally appreciate it; plus, you get to keep a reading record, and it’s less time worrying about your baby.

Thank you, Hillary!

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Query. Sign. Submit. with Kristina Springer

KristinaSpringerAuthorPhotoKristina Springer is a middle grade and young adult author. Her latest release, Cotton Candy Wishes, is now available from Skyhorse Publishing. Kristina is represented by Andrea Somberg of the Harvey Klinger Literary Agency.

Connect with Kristina …CottonCandyWishesCover

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the book …


QSS intro


What resources and websites did you use when querying?

I used agentquery.com and targeted young adult fiction agents specifically.

How did you keep track of your queries?

I kept an excel spread sheet with notes on if the agent requested a partial or full and when I sent it.

What was your method for querying?

I queried 5-10 agents at a time. With my first book, I queried a hundred agents! I didn’t end up selling that book. I landed my first agent with the second book I wrote and that was in the first 10-20 queries.


Are there any specific questions you’d suggest writers ask an offering agent during “The Call”?

Yes! Ask them what they liked about your book (it helps to see where you two gel on things) and ask them about their contacts and where they can see placing your book. I also asked my first agent to look at another book I’d written and she ended up loving that one even more.

How did you know your agent was the right one for you?

I had offers from two agents and I went with the one I clicked with the most. I also liked her vision for the book and the publishers she saw as a perfect match for me.

At what point do you share new story ideas with your agent?

It depends. Sometimes I’ll send her just a pitch for a book and get feedback on the idea. Other times I’ll do a pitch and a chapter or two and then ask for her thoughts.


What is a typical first round like once a writer goes on submission?

It can vary. I’ve had one book go to auction with four different publishers bidding on it within ten days of submission. I’ve also had a book go out on sub for six months to a year and never sell.

What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?

Work on the next book. It will distract you!

Can you check in with your agent if there hasn’t been any news in a while?

Of course! I e-mail my agent whenever I have a question about anything in the publishing process.

Thank you, Kristina!

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Behind The BookOne of the most enjoyable – and nerve-wracking – experiences for an author is the first time you see your cover. With The Last Boy at St. Edith'smy first novel, THE LAST BOY AT ST. EDITH’S, I was blown away instantly by the cover. I loved the colors, the characters, and in particular the drawing of the school, which somehow looked exactly the way I pictured it in my head.

For my second novel, CAMP SHADY CROOK, I have to admit I was a little nervous. This book has some similar themes to the first – friendship and finding yourself – but it has two main characters who share the story, and a very different plot and tone.

The truth is, I loved my first cover so much I really wondered if lightening could strike twice. I knew the cover needed to be different. I just didn’t know what that would mean.

The process was different, too, for this book. Unlike with my first book, my debut, I was more involved in the cover conversations from an earlier stage. I saw a ton of sketches, and watched as the art director went through several concepts, all very different in style and tone.

As a writer, I’m very used to the creative process for writing a book, but getting a front row seat to the process of creating a cover was a new experience for me. Just like with preparing the text of a book for publication, the cover is a collaborative process as well, with the artist Andy Smith, the art director Laura Lyn DiSiena, my editor, Alyson Heller—and even me, the author -- sharing thoughts and ideas on each draft.

The end result is a cover that captures CAMP SHADY CROOK in a way that I couldn’t have imagined, but one I got to see take shape thanks to a great publishing team.

Camp Shady Crook

Preorder the book …

Amazon ~ B&N ~ IndieBound

About the book …

It’s Ocean’s Eleven set in a summer camp as two kids try to one-up each other in a con competition at a camp that isn’t quite what it seems…

For Archie, the start of summer means another stint at Camp Shady Brook, where there is a lot more to the camp than meets the eye—just like Archie and his now blended family. But thanks to a con Archie developed last year, he’s finally somebody…and he’s not going to lose that status to the new girl, Vivian.

For Vivian, thanks to an incident That Shall Not Be Named or Spoken Of, her summer of exotic travels with Mom and Dad has turned into traveling to a dump of a summer camp in the middle of nowhere.

But thanks to perfect timing, Vivian soon finds herself in a ring of kids trying to out-con each other—and discovers Camp Shady Brook is more like Camp Shady Crook. And when one final, massive con could cost Vivian the first friends she’s had in a while, can she and Archie figure out a way to make things right?

About the author:

LeeLee Gjertsen Malone is a journalist, editor, and author who lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband, daughter, and a rotating cast of pets.

Visit Lee’s website at www.leegjertsenmalone.com.

A Book Vending Machine!

Book vending machineAs a local author, I was invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony for a brand-new book vending machine at Buffalo Public School 61. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend, but a writer friend who did go sent me this photo. (Photo credit Elizabeth Coburn.) Wow, right? Coolest idea ever.

So in an effort to get local author friends to donate a few books, I posted the picture on Twitter. That was the extent of my involvement in the project.

The real credit goes to Dr. Robinson, assistant principal at Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction, who had seen the machine at another school and wanted to get one in Buffalo. Our local news did a great job reporting it, so check out these links for more info, photos, and videos.

The Buffalo News -- WBFO -- WGRZ --  WIVB

tweetThe tweet got likes, retweets, and comments all day long. (And it’s still being shared!) People have been tagging their librarians, principals, and teacher friends. And everyone has been asking, “How can I get one of these for my school?!” So here we are, because I wanted to get an answer to that question.

Want a book vending machine in your school?

Here are the steps you can take to get your own (in whatever order works for you), along with how PS 61 made it happen.

1. Talk with your school.

School 61 Principal, Mrs. Parette U. Walker, and Assistant Principal, Dr. Unseld Robinson, led the charge to install this book vending machine in the school library, helping students gain access to free books while discovering the joy of reading in and out of school.

2. Contact Global Vending.

Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, worked with a local vending machine company to figure out which books would work in the machine. From there, a title list was created for the school to select books of the right size to fit. For larger picture books, cardboard covers are placed in the machine and students can take these replicas to the office to get the actual book. Contact Global Vending Group for more information.


3. Plan where to get the funding.

The vending machine was purchased by the school’s after-school partner, Community Action Organization of WNY, using NYS education grant funds. John Mika, founder of The Teacher's Desk donated books and will keep the machine stocked. Scholastic also donated books.

It’s pretty amazing to see it all come together!

Have questions? Contact jay@globalvendinggroup.com. You can also contact your local Scholastic Education sales representative here. Or leave a comment and we’ll try to get them answered.

If you do get your own book vending machine, tell us about it! Comment here or tag it with #bookvendingmachine on social media.

If you’re an author or publisher who would like to donate books, leave a comment with an email address to contact you. If schools are looking for donations, they can contact you.

And please share this post as we’re not able to answer all the comments on Twitter. Smile

Happy reading!

#WeConnect: Connecting Readers With Writers

imageThe #WeConnect program began at Arrowhead Elementary School in Virginia Beach, Virginia in October of 2018. It began as an effort by Library Media Specialist Kellee Kraft to motivate students in the areas of reading and writing. A simple Twitter request turned a small idea into a huge program that continues to grow every day. The tweet asked for authors willing to commit to responding to students with a personal imageletter when students read their book and wrote a letter to them. In just 2 days, over 100 authors had responded that they are interested, and many even sent autographed copies of their book. Authors and books even came from as far as Canada, England, Australia, and New Zealand.

imageHow Does It Work? The books are displayed in a special place in the library and labeled with #WeConnect stickers. Students read the book and then write the letter. They return the letter and book to the library where they receive an envelope, and it is addressed imageand mailed by LMS Kellee Kraft. When the students receive their letter back from the author, they find the city of the author on the U.S. map or World map and mark it with a ribbon and picture of the book cover. Of course, all of this is also shared on Twitter.

imageHow can you participate? It’s easy! Just send us an email, tweet, or phone call to let us know you are interested and give us the address to send the letters to. (Don’t worry, this address is kept confidential…even the kids don’t see it unless you share it on your return letter.) Because of our limitedimage budget, it is extremely helpful and appreciated if you want to donate a copy of your book(s), but this is not a requirement. After that, the only responsibility you have is to respond as promptly as possible to any letters you receive.


Need more information? Contact me at any of the following:

Mrs. Kellee Kraft (757)648-2059

Email: kdkraft@vbschools.com

Twitter: Arrowhead_Lib

Query.Sign.Submit. with Lisa Ann Scott

lisa portraits 001med

Lisa Ann Scott writes books for children—picture books, chapter books, and middle grade. Her latest release in the Wish Fairy series is now available. Lisa is represented by Jennifer Unter of The Unter Agency.

CTHE WISH FAIRY #1 coveronnect with Lisa …

Website * Facebook * Twitter

Get the books …

Amazon author page

QSS intro


What resources and websites did you use when querying?

Just AgentQuery.com

Had you queried other books before the one that got you your agent?

Yes. I first started writing Women’s Fiction and widely queried a novel that got 7 partial requests but no full requests. (So that means I had a pretty good query, but the book fell short.) I can see now that book was flawed, because it was about things that happened to the MC to move the plot forward instead of the MC making decisions to drive the plot forward. So I moved on to middle grade! I wrote my first MG novel from three different POVs in first person present, and just sent that out to a few agents, and set it aside after realizing there were problems I didn’t know how to fix. (No way! A 3 person POV first person present book had some problems?) My agent, Jennifer Unter, signed me on with my second middle grade novel, School of Charm.

If querying was a long time ago for you, what do you remember most?

I had a few full requests on School of Charm, and one of the most promising came right after I was let go from my TV news anchor job. I was ecstatic. I was certain this was the new door opening for me. And then I got the rejection. I was devastated. And I stopped writing….for a while. And of course switched genres again! This time, self-publishing romance (as Lisa Scott. Thus, the use of my middle name for my kids stuff.) And I was all set to self-publish School of Charm when a friend urged me to query again. And I did. To one agent. Jennifer Unter. So yes, sometimes it takes just one more try. Don’t give up!


At what point do you share new story ideas with your agent?

Whenever. She’s always willing to take a look and add something to her TBR pile. I come up with lots of ideas, so I have to pace myself. J

Do you send sample chapters to your agent or do you wait until the next manuscript is finished?

I talk about ideas with her first before completing an entire manuscript, (unless it’s a picture book.) So I’ll either pitch the idea or write up a few chapters to send along.


What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Continue going to writing groups, workshops, reading books on craft etc.

How much contact do you have with your agent when you are out on submission?

She forwards each rejection we get, so I can read the editor feedback. When I get the “FYI” email from her, my shoulders slump a bit, because I know it’s not great news.

Did you know there was interest in the book before you got an offer or was it a surprise?

The first book was a surprise. The first Scholastic series, I knew about the interest because they wanted to see if I would do a few minor revisions. I’d say it changes from book to book.

How does it work when you’re writing a series? Are the books sold together or does it depend on the success of the first?

With Scholastic, the series have been sold as four-book deals. If they do well enough, then we’ll discuss additional books. But they’re written so that the four-book arc has a satisfying conclusion, but also leaves the door open for other stories to be told.

Thanks, Lisa!

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Query. Sign. Submit. with Agent & Author Eric Smith!

meEric Smith is an agent with P.S. Literary Agency. He represents a little bit of everything. “On the adult side of things, I love accessible sci-fi and fantasy, as well as accessible literary fiction. Accessible is something I stress a lot, because I like books anyone can read. If the world building is too exhausting or the novel is impossible to understand… hard pass. I also work on Young Adult books across all genres and non-fiction (cookbooks, memoir, pop-culture).”

He only responds to the projects he’s interested in. Consider it a pass after 6 weeks.

Eric is also a young adult author and The Girl & the Grove,  is now available from Flux! He is represented by Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary.

Connect with Eric …grove

Twitter (@ericsmithrocks) * website (which features his books as well as his authors’ - www.ericsmithrocks.com)

Get the book …

The Girl & the Grove (Available now!) * Reclaim the Sun (2020)

QSS intro

From an agent perspective …


What advice would you give to querying writers?

To do your research, and to be patient. And when it comes to that research, make sure you’re reading where that research is coming from. Are you reading something from someone in the industry? A published author? Someone with an agent? It always shocks me to hear writers echoing back really terrible advice they’ve read on some misc. blog. Doing research is great. Making sure that research is legit? Even better.

Is there anything you see way too much of in the queries you receive?

I sometimes get the occasional query letter where the writer is trying to be funny, and it tanks. Humor is great. Being lighthearted, also great. But like, tread carefully. If I get a query that’s full of jokes and snark, I’ll assume the writing style is like that. And if you’re not making me laugh… we’re kinda done.

Is it okay for a writer to nudge concerning queries or partial/full requests?

Absolutely. You should never be afraid of doing that.

What does it take for you to offer representation?

Honestly, I just have to love the story and the writer. That’s it. There’s no magical equation to it all. Book has to be awesome, and the author has to be someone I’d want to work with for a long time. That’s all I need. Good book, good person.


Are there any specific questions you’d recommend that a writer ask when talking with offering agents?

I think it’s always a good idea to talk about where they potentially see your book. Now, this isn’t you asking, “where are you going to sell my book.” Because that’s not an answerable question. This is just getting a feel for where they feel your book could potentially be. You want an agent who knows the marketplace and has a good sense of where they’d go with your project.

Also, maybe see if you can chat with the agent’s current clients. If they say no, my goodness, is that a red flag of the highest order. You should be able to drop a client a line and ask what their experience is like. But, just be respectful of the client’s time. If you send an email that’s a novel full of questions, you might not get an answer back, if they are on deadline or just, you know, living their life.

“But they don’t have any clients!” You scream. That’s okay. If they are a shiny new agent, ask them how their agency is going to support them. Do they have the ties needed to pitch your book around? Get a sense of their passion, if they lack the experience. Every agent was a new agent at some point.

How long do you prefer an author take to get back to you once you’ve offered?

I don’t really care. I’d love to hear back soon, but I don’t give deadlines. The publishing industry is too small to burn bridges and not take your time. Get back to me in a few months if you have to. It’s fine.

This does not mean if an agent gives you a deadline, that that’s a bad sign. Plenty of agents do give a deadline. That’s just a personal preference of mine.

What is it like waiting to hear back from a writer you’ve offered representation?

I get pretty antsy. I don’t think writers realize that agents get just as worked up as they do, waiting to hear back if we’re going to work together. And then, once you’re signed by an agent, it gets kicked up a level, and when an editor offers… then it’s THEIR turn to get worked up waiting to hear back.

Publishing is just a business full of anxiety. I don’t know why we do it.

How do you get to know editors and what they’re looking for?

It’s funny, I get asked this question a lot because I’m an agent based in the Midwest. The closest publisher to me is Sourcebooks, and they’re a solid three hours away in Chicago. I don’t get to do the fancy New York City lunches with editors, so writers tend to wonder how I’m able to get to know folks.

Hi, have you met the Internet?

I spend a lot of time emailing editors, introducing myself, talking to them on Twitter, hopping on the phone… all of that helps in a huge way, and keeps me in the loop. I do fly out to events like ALA or BEA, which is certainly a great networking opt. But with the joys of the Internet, it’s just a quick email, and sometimes, a pick-your-brain phone call.

Is it okay for a client to check in if there hasn’t been any news in a while?

Of course! An author should never be afraid of their agent. You need to have an open dialogue with them. Communication is SO important.

As an agent who is also an author …


How is the process of querying and signing with an agent different for a writer who is also an agent?

This question is so funny, because I feel like I get asked if the process is easier because I’m an agent and like, know editors.

It’s not. It’s probably worse.

Because while my book is on submission, I’m actively pitching and talking to these editors and publishing houses, and some of them have my book. And it’s just terrifying. So that anxiety authors feel while on sub? Imagine your book is on submission to all these people… and you still have to talk to them every day.

How is the process of going on submission different for a writer who is also an agent?

It’s not. Though I do ask my agent to avoid pitching editors I’m actively working on things with. I’d like to keep things not weird. But that becomes impossible anyway, because I’m not going to micromanage my agent and have her run every editor by me. I’m not a monster.

How do you balance the work of both an agent and an author?

I don’t. I wrote my latest book, Reclaim the Sun, two years ago. Once it comes out, I anticipate I’ll just do a lot of crying in the shower when it’s time to write something new.

Thanks so much, Eric!

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* Posted September 2018 – Always check for current info and guidelines.

Query. Sign. Submit. Debut! with Annie Sullivan

Annie Sullivan Headhsot FINALAnnie Sullivan is a young adult author and her debut, A Touch of Gold,  is now available from Blink/HarperCollins! She is represented by Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis.

Touch of Gold Final Cover ImageConnect with
Annie …

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the book …

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Indiebound

Query into


What advice would you give to querying writers?

Do not give up. Every writer’s career timeline is different. Some writer friends who got agents after me got published before me. Others who started at the same time as me (who are AMAZING writers) are still looking for agents. So much is out of your control—market conditions, agent moods, agent clients who may have written something similar to your work. There’s no shortage of reasons why an agent will reject you. But if you stay with it and keep writing, I really think you can make it.

What are some important things for querying writers to consider when researching agents?

Really narrow down your list based on what you want. Is having an agent in New York important to you? Do you want an agent/agency that handles movie rights? If you want to write outside your genre, will that agent represent that (or will another agent in the agency)? Is the agent editorial? Do you share the same vision for your career? Having no agent is better than wasting time with a bad agent. Look into their sales records. However, don’t dismiss newer agents outright (assuming they are with a reputable agency) because they may have more room on their client list and may be being mentored by other big name agents in their agency.

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

I loved http://www.literaryrambles.com/. It had so many great interviews with agents, and even if that particular agent didn’t represent what I wrote, I could research the agency and see if anyone there might be interested.

How did you keep track of your queries?

I had a massive color-coded spreadsheet that kept track of every agent I sent to, when I heard back from them, and what their response was. This was instrumental in making sure I didn’t query someone twice—and when my first book didn’t get me an agent, I had all the info on hand to know about when I’d hear back from agents on my second book based on their previous response time.

I treated looking for an agent like a job, and it really helped. I highly recommend this approach.


Are there any specific questions you’d suggest writers ask an offering agent during “The Call”?

While an agent probably won’t tell you everything they’d like to see revised before you go out on submission, I think it’s good to ask for general ideas of what they think you might need to revise. This way, you can see if your visions match up. It’s not going to be a good fit if they want drastic changes that you aren’t going to want to make.

What was the week surrounding your offer(s) of representation like for you?

It was crazy. I had gotten two offers and was trying to decide between agents. I was researching like mad and reaching out to clients to see what their experience was with the agents.

How editorial is your agent? Is it what you expected?

My agent is very editorial, which I like. I’m great with plot, and she’s amazing with making sure my characters really shine—so we make a great pair. Having an editorial agent makes me feel like I’m presenting my best work to editors when I go out on submission.

It is to some extent what I expected. But overall, I just love that my agent never mandates I make a certain change. She’s always open to collaborating and discussing the direction.

Do you send sample chapters to your agent or do you wait until the manuscript is finished?

I pretty much just send her a draft when I’m done with it. Sometimes she asks me what I’m working on, but for the most part, I decide what I want to do next because I know if I’m not in the mood to write a certain story, then it won’t turn out well. I go where my imagination tells me to!


What do you suggest a writer does while out on submission?

Always, always, always be working on the next book (unless it’s a sequel). There’s so much pressure to have a great follow up book that many writers freeze when it comes time to write their sophomore book. But, if you have something virtually ready to go by the time book 1 gets a deal, there’s a lot less pressure.

How much contact do you have with your agent when you are out on submission?

I like to know anytime we get news. My agent emails if I get a rejection and calls if I get an offer. Let’s just say I learned to hate the sound of emails coming through on my phone for a little bit there ;)

Is there anything you learned while being on submission that you didn’t know before?

Hearing back from editors can seem like it takes forever. I refreshed my email so often in the days after we went on submission only to learn that it could take months to hear back from editors.

Did you know there was interest in the book before you got an offer or was it a surprise?

I knew there was interest, so it wasn’t a surprise. But I felt oddly at peace as I advanced through the process because I felt like this was finally really going to happen.


What have you learned about being a debut author?

While it’s so exciting to have a book coming out, it doesn’t change your life as drastically as you might think it will. One day you don’t have a book on shelves and the next day you do. So the best thing to do is write book 2 and keep working hard!

Is there a lot of support among debut authors?

There is so much support from fellow debuts. We all tweet about each other’s books and give each other advice. I love the community aspect of it so much because you don’t feel like you’re competing with anyone. You just feel like you’re all on this journey together.

Have you done any conferences, book festivals, or events as an author? What was it like?

I went to BookExpo and BookCon this year, and I had the time of my life!!! Since I’m a reader at heart, I was right there in line with everyone else fangirling over Rick Riordan and Marissa Meyer and so many other famous authors. Gail Carson Levine even asked me to come sit with her. I was over the moon and didn’t want to leave. Also, did I mention free books? I felt like a kid in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!

What was it like to see your cover?

I nearly cried when I saw it! I love the gold coming down from the top, and the gold hand holding the rose really just highlights the story well.

Thank you, Annie!

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Query. Sign. Submit. Debut! with Dana Davis

Dana DavisDana L. Davis is a young adult author and her debut, Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now,  is now available from Harlequin TEEN! She is represented by Uwe Stender at Triada US.

Connect with Dana . . .

Website * Twitter * Goodreads

Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now

Get the book . . .

Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Query into


What advice would you give to querying writers?

I’d say to make sure your work is polished and as perfect as you can make it before you start submitting to agents. This means possibly hiring a copy editor. Getting sensitivity readers and beta readers. Definitely do your homework. This is your shot… your chance to shine. You don’t want to blow it because “your” should’ve been “you’re” or an agent can’t get passed all of your grammatical errors. It might seem tedious but it’s worth it in the long run!

What are some important things for querying writers to consider when researching agents?

This is such a great question! Happy to offer my thoughts on this. To me… an agent’s accessibility is key. You want an agent who has time for you. So many writers long for the big, prestigious agencies but if an agent is representing J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and John Green…do you really think they’d have time to help you hone your craft? Don’t necessarily think big. Think practically. What agent fits your style and/or personality? Follow them on Twitter or Instagram. Maybe get to know them and see if they’d be a good fit for you. I get so sad when writer friends of mine tell me their agent won’t return their calls or emails. You want an agent who respects writers and has a passion and respect for them.

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

To be honest this was quite some time ago, so I don’t remember the name of the book. But it definitely was a lit agency book that I picked up at my local Barnes and Noble. I remember my friend and I sat on the floor together and excitedly researched agents. It was the best purchase of my life.

What was your method for querying?

I don’t believe in sending out mass e-mailings. I say start with 3-10 and see what the response is. You might get feedback that your manuscript needs work. But hey, if you feel you have a perfect product and are anticipating a fight to acquire your manuscript…then by all means…send to however many you can! But if you’re still trying to figure things out and aren’t quite sure… I say stick with smaller batches for querying.


How did you know your agent was the right one for you?

His honesty. Uwe was so complimentary and genuine. I remember I was driving and had to pull over and just got this amazing feeling that he was the real deal. He also wasn’t afraid to tell me the manuscript needed work. I trusted him completely.

Once a writer has signed with an agent, what’s the next step?

The next step should be revisions. An agent’s job is to sell your manuscript, sure. But his/her most important job is to give you the feedback you need to make your manuscript shine. It’s those edits that will make it stand out and sell. If an agent can’t guide you properly they’re not a good agent.

What is the revision process like between you and your agent?

It can be tough. Especially if you’re the type of person who is set in their ways. I once had my agent tell me the entire last 100 pages of a manuscript I was working on was tough to read. “Unreadable” I think is what he said. LOL. I can laugh now, but at the time I was pretty frustrated that all that work was going to be deleted. Like I said before, you really need to trust your agent so that when you get notes that are contrary to what you want, you’re on board to make changes. If you think your agent doesn’t have a clue what he or she is talking about…might not be the right choice and could mean it’s time to find a better fit.

At what point do you share new story ideas with your agent?

Immediately. I never start drafting if I don’t run an idea by my agent first. Because my agent reads so much, he can tell me if my idea is already out there. I once pitched to Uwe at Triada this “amazing” idea I had. I was so geeked out about it. It involved a magic mirror and another dimension. He listened and didn’t say a word. And then when I got done he listed about TEN books with the exact same plot! So he told me if I was going to write it, I should try hard to be very different than what’s already been done. It was great info to get because instead of writing that book, I wrote Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now.


What is a typical first round like once a writer goes on submission?

Think Slow. Then think slower. Then even slower than that. Now that you’re asleep. Wait two months and you’ll get your first reply.

Do you see the feedback from editors?

I always asked for editor feedback! I want to grow as a writer. And many of these editors know a thing or two about writing. So their feedback is invaluable. And sometimes it’s nice to see why they’re passing. I had one editor pass on a manuscript of mine because they had one almost identical to it coming out soon. Totally helps you to not take things so personal. Plus they may pass for whatever reason but love your writing. So it’s encouraging!

What is the next step if an editor shows interest?

Believe it or not it’s a slow process too! They need to show it around to the other editors at the pub house. And if everyone is on the same page…it’s time for acquisitions. Which is basically a presentation to the sales and marketing team about why they think this book would fit their particular imprint. It can takes weeks or even months after an editor says they want to make an offer on your novel. Publishing is so slow!

Did you ever have a Revise & Resubmit? What should a writer consider when deciding whether or not to take one on?

I had a few revise and resubmits on TSLHN when we first started sending the manuscript out. First of all, a “revise and resubmit” is HUGE. No agent or editor is going to want to be bothered with having to read your manuscript a second time if they don’t really love it. They’re so busy and on average get 200 emails a day. So if they actually have taken the time to give you notes and want to read your manuscript again…take advantage. This is what ultimately led to me selling my debut novel. We sent TSLNH out to about 3 editors and all three said “please revise and resubmit.” So we took the book off submission and I rewrote the entire novel. It was the best decision!


What is the best thing about being a debut author?

The free books! Lol. Kidding. I’d say the interviews. I really love chatting with people about my experiences as a writer or a parent or what inspired me to write TSLHN. It’s been so lovely getting to know other debut authors as well! I’m a part of a group of debut authors and we keep in touch daily and even have get-togethers. I have made so many wonderful friends over the past two years leading up to publication.

What else are you working on along with all the promotion?

I do a lot of animation. I’m a voice over artist. That’s currently my day job. I’m also working on my third novel! It’s a fantasy and I’m outlining as we speak. I can’t wait for this story to be out in the world. I love writing so much. When I envision my retirement, I see me at my laptop still. I will always be writing.

Thank you, Dana!

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