What you might have missed (Part 1) . . .

Unfortunately, Blogger wasn’t sending emails to subscribers for a few months, but it looks like it’s now under control. *knocks on wood* Yay!

Here are some great posts you might have missed during the email hiatus . . .

 

Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Melissa Gorzelanczyk DSC01472

Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Kali Wallace

 

 

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Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Brittany Cavallaro

Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Ava Jae

 

 

 

Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Monica Tesler

Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Sarah Ahiers

 

 

 

Kathy MacMillan author photo color 4x4300dpiQuery.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Kathy MacMillanK1250141-2

Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Jenn Bishop

authorphotoJenn is a middle grade author and her debut, THE DISTANCE TO HOME, will The Distance To Homerelease on June 28, 2016 from Alfred A. Knopf / Random House. She is represented by Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates.

Connect with Jenn . . .

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the book . . .

Amazon * Books-a-million * Barnes & Noble * Indiebound * Powell’s

Query into

QUERY

What advice would you give to querying writers?

You can read all of the agent interviews in the world, but at the end of the day, the agent who connects with your project may very well be someone with a lower social media profile. (They do exist!) I would advise writers to not get too hung up on a dream agent. Reading tastes are so personal, and even if someone seems like they should love your book based on X, Y, and Z, that you’ve read online, at the end of the day, it’s so subjective.

How did you keep track of your queries?

There’s nothing I love so much as data, and so my query process was carefully documented with an Excel sheet. I tracked when I sent what to whom, any follow-up, and their responses. I queried in batches of ten, and what always felt heartening was how many agents kept popping up on my radar (I read a LOT of industry blogs when I was querying) and getting added to the list. Unlike when you go on submission to publishers, there are just so many baskets to put your eggs in. Being able to see that every time I opened up my Excel sheet to record a pass gave me so much hope.

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

Prior to finding an agent with The Distance To Home, I queried two different projects. Interestingly, both of them were YA. The first one was the first book I ever wrote – basically the type of loosely autobiographical novel that should never see the light of day. Despite that fact, I had a decent amount of full requests and felt encouraged. The second project I queried was the first 100% fictional piece I’d ever written, and while I didn’t get an agent with it either, I felt like I learned a ton about what was and what was not working with my writing. I kept getting “so close, but—” responses, which ultimately led me to Vermont College of Fine Art’s MFA program, which I see as the difference maker in my journey as a writer.

SIGN

Did you sign as a client of a career agent or on a book-by-book basis?

My agent, Katie Grimm, is very much a career agent. She’s at Don Congdon Associates, and if you aren’t familiar with Don Congdon, you should know that he was Ray Bradbury’s lifelong literary agent -- practically Ray Bradbury’s book husband.

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

Katie is very hands-on and editorial, which I really appreciate. Her philosophy is that it’s best to go on submission with the strongest work possible—who could argue with that? We went through two big rounds of revisions with The Distance To Home, and it’s so much stronger for it.

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

So maybe this speaks more to me than to Katie, but I tend to hold back from sharing my ideas until I’ve spent some time figuring out where I’m going in a story. Because I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, my ideas evolve quite a bit as I’m writing. I sometimes struggle to articulate the story’s aboutness until I’m deep into it, and I’d hate to share before I’m ready. That said, my agent is very available to talk about projects at all stages, and I’m sure would love an earlier peek!

SUBMIT

Do you see the feedback from editors?

I did! My agent forwarded passes directly to me, in real time, which was sometimes a little overwhelming. (To be fair, I did say I wanted them that way!) That said, editors are so kind. All of the passes were very cordial and made me encouraged about including them for future books. You never know what the future may hold.

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

Obsessively search for anything about any of the editors who have your book? Haha, don’t do that. (Though if you are human, you probably will.) I think the best thing you can do is to stay off your email/phone as much as possible. Dive into a new project. Tackle your TBR pile. Clean your house! Hang out with friends. Basically, don’t obsess. At the end of the day, you don’t know how long you will be on submission for, so it’s best to use this time productively.

How did you celebrate when you got the news about your book deal?

I went to France! (Well, to be fair, that trip was already in the works.) But truthfully, I think because my agent knew I was about to leave the country and be out of phone touch, things may have moved a little faster than normal. There’s nothing like getting exciting news and then being able to celebrate with good friends in the land of champagne!

DEBUT

What other 2016 debut books have you gotten to read? Did you get to read them early?

The question could just as well be, what 2016 debuts haven’t you read? I’ve read so many amazing middle grade and YA books coming out this year from debut authors. As a member of The Sweet Sixteens, I’ve read almost 50 ARCs by other members and they’ve all been fantastic. One thing nobody told me about my debut year was how much I would spend on postage! Every cent’s been worth it, though. Readers are in for a treat this year.

What was it like to see your cover?

Gosh, I feel like I totally lucked out with my gorgeous cover, illustrated by Erin McGuire. I got a sneak peek at it during the design process when they wanted to make sure that Quinnen was positioned right for throwing a baseball, but there was nothing quite like that day when the actual cover came through. All of the feels!

What do you wish you had known about being a debut author?

One thing that’s great about being part of a group like The Sweet Sixteens is not having to go through everything alone! There’s so much I’ve learned from other authors’ experiences. That said, I think it’s super important not to imprint someone else’s timeline on your own. Because we’re all debuting at different times of the year, it’s easy to feel like you haven’t done enough at a given time. Every publisher is different, and also each journey is unique. I’ve been surprised by how much my perspective has changed now that my book’s about to come out. Everything I was anxious and waiting for did turn out okay or happen. For authors debuting in future years, my advice: Deep breaths!! Enjoy the ride.

Thank you, Jenn!

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
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Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Ami Allen-Vath & Victoria Lowes

Ami Allen-Vath author pic

Ami is a young adult author and her debut, LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US, is now available from Sky Pony Press! She is represented by Victoria Lowes of the Bent Agency.

Connect with Ami . . .

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Instagramliars-and-losers-like-us_cover

Get the book . . .

Signed/personalized copies of Liars and Losers Like Us can be purchased and shipped from Little Shop of Stories. 404-373-6300

IndieBound * B&N * Amazon

Victoria_LowesVictoria represents Historical Fiction, YA Literary Fiction, Romance, Thrillers/Suspense, Mystery, and Women’s Fiction

To connect with and learn more about Victoria . . .

Website

 

 

Query into

QUERY

Ami:

What advice would you give to querying writers?

The biggest advice I have is to make sure your manuscript is ready. If you’ve only done a few rounds of skimpy revisions and edits, it isn’t ready. If you haven’t had a critique partner or beta reader read through your ms, you are probably not ready. Also, a CP or beta should be another well-read writer within your category and preferably in your genre as well. Having more than one CP (but not too many) is a huge plus! As excited as you are about your work and the feedback you’re hoping to receive, my strong advice is DO NOT send it out until it’s been read by someone other than yourself and your biased friend or family member.

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

I think it’s important to find an agent that knows what they’re doing. If your agent doesn’t have a strong client list with sales under her belt, make sure she has the experience and guidance. In my opinion, it would be a big gamble to go with a new agent who is also working at a new agency. My agent, Victoria Lowes, was pretty new to agenting when I signed with her. However, she’d interned with another agency, assisted Jenny Bent with her clients and deals, and was still working with her. I also knew that when Victoria started sending out my submissions, even if she didn’t have a strong, working relationship with the editors, they would already know of The Bent Agency and the reputation it has.

How did you keep track of your queries?

The website QueryTracker was amazing. I was absolutely obsessed with keeping track of what I sent out and the responses I received. It was incredibly instrumental in researching agents as well. I highly recommend it and although it’s free, the upgraded service is well worth it.

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

I remember how exciting it was. I also remember the painful punches to the gut whenever a rejection would come in. The plus to all this is that it prepares you SO MUCH for hearing no and getting critiques later on.

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

I feel very lucky to have signed with my agent on my first novel.

What helped you get though the query trenches?

Posts like the ones you do are awesome. (Also see Amy Trueblood’s blog and Michelle Hauck’s blogs) I read getting my agent/pub deal posts like crazy. It was almost an addiction. They were so inspiring and made me feel like OMG IT HAPPENED TO HER---A REAL LIVE PERSON SO YES, IT COULD HAPPEN TO ME TOO! But the best thing for the query trenches, in my opinion, is writer friends. Writer friends are the best. They know the struggle, they know your pain. They will be there to commiserate and lift your spirits during the crappy times and they will be there to throw confetti and celebrate with you for the successes.

Are there any conferences you attended that really helped you move forward as a writer during this stage?

Conferences sound amazing but I have yet to attend one, so don’t feel bad if you can’t make it happen. I would’ve loved to go and make personal connections in the industry prior to getting my agent and deal, but it just wasn’t doable. But if you have the time, money, and or childcare to make it happen, definitely go!

Victoria:

What was it about Ami’s manuscript that drew you in?

The voice. I loved the concept and thought all of the elements were there but the voice was just so authentic and funny and just perfect—that’s what pushed it over the edge for me.

What does it take for you to offer representation?

Well first I need to feel confident that I know where the project fits in the marketplace and that I can successfully place it with a publisher. But I also need to fall in the love with the project as a reader—that subjective, just know-it-in-my-gut kind of love. There’s both the practical and the impractical.

SIGN

Ami:

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

I think it’s very important to know what the offering agent thinks your book should look like when they start sending it out on submission to editors/publishers. What kind of work is ahead of you as far as revising and editing goes? Do they see the book the same way you do or would they want to change things that you wouldn’t be comfortable with? It’s better to know now than to be blindsided later.

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

It was a craaaaazy week. Knowing that someone loves your book is one thing but then to wait to hear who else might love it or who else is going to reject it, is stressful. And yet, still so exciting!

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

I was so excited for the offer and felt like it was meant to be but there’s never a real way to know until you’re actually working together. Since signing, there have been so many little things to assure me that Victoria is the best agent for my career, my books and me.

Did you sign as a client of a career agent or on a book-by-book basis?

Career. I can’t imagine finding an agent for each book. I’m very glad (and relieved!) that Victoria was interested in repping future works as well as Liars and Losers Like Us, the book we signed on.

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

For me, it meant doing two revisions to get my book nice and shiny! I believe it took about three months but I’ve known of others who’ve taken a couple weeks and others who have been close to a year. That’s probably why it’s good to know what sort of work your agent thinks the book will need before sending it off. ; )

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

It’s pretty back and forth until it’s ready to go. I write it, she sends it back with notes, I do my best to revise according to the notes and then I send it back and hope I got it right! Right now I am working on my third revision for the book I’d like to go on sub next. I’m taking my time because I don’t want to rush but I can’t lie, I’m dying to have it done and polished so she can finally say “Yay! It’s ready! Let’s try to sell this thing!”

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

I’ve done both. Victoria is pretty editorial, on point, and always asks the good questions so whether I’m sending her the first few chapters or the whole book, there’s going to be work to do.

Victoria:

What is the revision process like when you’re working with a client?

I usually do two phases of revisions. The first focuses on developmental editing—on the big picture stuff like character arcs and development, pacing and plot structure. The second phase is the line edits. How many rounds we do of each varies from project to project.

SUBMIT

Ami:

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

I remember thinking “Oh my god. My agent believes in me and my book enough to be sending it to these amazing editors/publishers.” For me, it was exhilarating. And then you don’t hear anything for a while and then it’s pretty OMGWHATISHAPPENING?!

Do you see the feedback from editors?

Yes, because I wanted it. I’m the kind of person that wants to know the good—of course—and also the bad. I don’t know why, but I do!

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

I know everyone says to write the next book and while I agree, I also say take a break if you want/need it. You’ve worked your butt off to get to this point. Enjoy a little celebratory free-time.

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

Absolutely. Victoria is awesome like this. She is very responsive and never makes me feel like I’m bugging her. I’m definitely not the kind of writer that is demanding or checking in every other day, though!

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

I had no idea how excruciating and highly emotional the waiting could be. Being on sub is a lot like querying but the stakes are higher. If you get a no on your book from an agent, there’s always the hope that the next one might like it. There are SOoooooOO many great agents out there and so many more to research and look into. But with submission, there are only so many your agent is going to have on her list. There are WAY more agents than publishers out there. So when I got a no from an editor/publisher, it felt a lot more heavy. There are only so many “Nos” you can get before you’d have to shelf your book.

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

It was a total surprise. And honestly, I’m glad it was. My book did go to acquisitions during the submission phase with another publisher as well, and let me tell you, the waiting was AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL. Note to self/Note to Victoria: I like to know all the good and the bad. However, next time around, I think I’ll pass on knowing if my book is about to go to acquisitions. I would rather know at the end, when it’s a YES or a NO than to wait like that. I don’t want to experience that kind of slow death again.

How did you celebrate when you got the news about your book deal?

It was my son’s thirteenth birthday! My family was living in New Jersey and we all hung out at the boardwalk, shopped and then had a great dinner and cake. Yes, the day belonged my son, and yes, him becoming a teenager was a big deal, but OH MANNNN, what a high I was on. I can’t even explain it. It was this crazy beautiful mixture of shock and awe. I hope I never forget that feeling.

Victoria:

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

Definitely keep busy! I usually tell my clients to either focus on the other aspects of their life that were put on the back-burner while we were working on the project or even start working on their next manuscript.

What is it like to tell a client there’s an offer on the book?

It’s just the best. I LOVE being able to deliver such amazing, life-changing news.

DEBUT

What is the best thing about being a debut author?

There are so many incredible things and feelings that happen from the time you get the offer to the day your book releases but honestly? I can’t lie; the very best thing is knowing that one of my dreams came true. It actually, actually happened. I didn’t truly realize this until after my book released but when I did, I was a sobbing mess!

What have you learned about being a debut author?

I’ve learned that SO MUCH more goes into being an author (debut author) than just writing the book!

What’s involved in promoting a book?

It can be as little or as much as you want, but obviously, you really should be doing what you can to spread the word about your book. For me, I’ve done a lot of interviews and guest posts. I’ve kept up with my social media sites and have done my best to reach out or respond to anyone that’s expressed interest in my book. I also was very lucky to participate in the NYC Teen Author Fest the week before my book released, and then had an amazing launch party at Addendum Books in St. Paul, MN. I’ve also asked my publicist to pitch me for certain events. In working with her, I’ll be signing copies of my book at B&N in Marietta GA for B-Fest and will also be participating in the Decatur Book Festival in GA this September.

What special things do you get to be a part of as a 2016 debut author?

Along with a few other debut groups, I’m part of the awesome group The Sweet Sixteens. If you’re about to be a debut author I STRONGLY encourage you to get involved with a debut group. There are so many different things to deal with in debuting (the highs the lows the awesomeness the stresses the small and large details!) that you really need a group of peers and friends to navigate this experience with.

What other 2016 debut books have you gotten to read? Did you get to read them early?

A huge perk in debuting with a debut group like The Sweet Sixteens, is getting to read ARCs of books! Some of my favorite reads this year from other 16ers have been AMERICAN GIRLS by Alison Umminger, SUFFER LOVE by Ashley Herring Blake, GIRL IN PIECES by Kathleen Glasgow, and UNSCRIPTED JOSS BYRD by Lygia Penaflor.

Is there a lot of support among debut authors?

So, so much support. I really don’t know how I could’ve made it through the past year (and then some) without these amazing authors and friends by my side and cheering me on.

What was it like to see your cover?

It was very surreal. I couldn’t believe that work was being done behind the scenes for something I wrote!

What was it like to receive your ARCs?

Still VERY surreal. Like, “Is this happening?” “What????!!” “This is MY book?” I did my best to hold back tears.

What was release day like?

It was my moving day so it was bananas. Yes, moving! We were leaving NJ to move to GA, however, we were going to MN first for my launch party that would happen a few days after. It was such a busy and exciting and stressful time. It was definitely not planned to happen at once, but it did. Honestly, I’m glad it’s over and it all worked out so well that I would not have it any other way. Release day was a day of every single emotion! And SO much wonderful support from readers, bloggers, writer friends and family.

What do you wish you had known about being a debut author?

I really wish that I would’ve known how much advance planning and scheduling I should’ve done. I really should have done better with pacing out and scheduling guest posts and interviews. I really love doing them but it got a little (A LOT) overwhelming when I had about 20 posts due in a 6-8 week time frame!

What advice would you give to writers who are working hard to get to their own debut year?

Please, please, please remember that you are not alone! If you only have writer friends who are already published or already agented or already finished with their firsts drafts or whatever, find another writer friend or a few that are in the same place you are. I just debuted, and if I look around on social media, it looks/feels/seems like everyone else already has another book coming out in 2017 or just secured a book deal. I am not one of those authors. I’m still working on revisions with my agent for the next book that will go on submission. And guess what? Behind the scenes I know SO MANY other authors who are in the same place as I am. Just knowing that I’m not alone helps to take a lot of the pressure off. Not all, but a good chunk of it. Keep working, keep learning, keep writing, support your writer friends, keep the ones that support you close, and YOU WILL GET THERE!

Thank you, Ami & Victoria!

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Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Laura Shovan

Laura ShovanLaura is a middle grade author and her debut, THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY, is now available from Wendy Lamb Books/Random House. She is represented by Stephen Barbara of InkWell Management.Last Fifth Grade cover (2)

Connect with Laura . . .

Website and blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Abigail Halpin’s website

Get the book . . .

Amazon * Powell’s * BAM * B&N * Signed copies by request from Ivy Bookshop

 

Query into

QUERY

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

Querying was a very long time ago for me. I attended my first kid lit conference in 2003 and began querying – too soon! -- not long after that. I remember feeling more comfortable querying the editors and agents I’d gotten to know at conferences than I did when I sent out a cold query. I met my agent, Stephen Barbara, at a local SCBWI conference in 2008 and we had a great conversation about our favorite novels in verse. I don’t think I would have queried Stephen (four years later) with my verse novel if we hadn’t met in person. And without that personal connection, I probably would have given up instead of convincing Stephen, over several months, that he was the right person to represent THE LAST FIFTH GRADE.

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

Before I started working on THE LAST FIFTH GRADE, I was querying another contemporary middle grade. ARCHIEOLOGY is about a boy who thinks the pile of rocks in his back yard hides a buried secret. In hindsight, it was my practice book. It’s going to stay hidden in my desk drawer, where it belongs.

Are there any conferences you attended that really helped you move forward as a writer during this stage?

In my final six months of querying, I did two events that really helped me. One was Eastern PA SCBWI’s Pitchfest. Each attendee had a ten-minute session with one agent, one editor, and one author, in addition to an all-day roundtable critique with other attendees. I was very lucky to be paired with Kelly Bingham, who wrote the SHARK GIRL verse novels. Right after that conference, I participated in Pitch Wars. Combining Kelly’s feedback with guidance from my Pitch wars mentor, Joy McCullough-Carranza, helped me polish my manuscript. When I signed with Stephen a few months later, THE LAST FIFTH GRADE went right out on submission.

SIGN

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

When Stephen emailed me about setting up a phone call, I was looking at colleges with my son – the classic spring break of junior year road trip. Because I was traveling, we couldn’t set up our call for a couple of weeks. That gave me a chance to prepare. I did a lot of meditation, which helps keep me grounded. I needed it! The book sold quickly – it was a crazy few weeks.

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

It depends on the project. I have a speculative YA short story that I shared with Stephen after about three drafts. I wanted his opinion on whether to develop the idea into a full novel. Right now, I’m working on another contemporary middle grade for Wendy Lamb Books. Because I don’t write novels in a linear way, it takes me several drafts to have a readable manuscript.

SUBMIT

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

I heard from Stephen every three or four days when THE LAST FIFTH GRADE first went out on submission. He gave me a list of the editors and houses he was pitching the book to, and would send updates by email when there was a pass or a request to read the manuscript. When the process heated up, we talked or emailed every day. I had a chance to speak with interested editors on the phone at one point. I’m so grateful that Stephen took the time to give me a pep talk, including dos and don’ts, before those editor calls.

What is the next step if an editor shows interest?

Having the opportunity to chat with editors was important to me. I wanted to hear their ideas about what parts of the book were working and what they hoped to develop during the revision process. But -- going back to the importance of a personal connection – I also wanted to get a feel for who might be the best fit for me.

DEBUT

What is the best thing about being a debut author?

My favorite moment was at the book launch, which was at Baltimore’s Ivy Bookshop. Right after the bookseller introduced me, my sixteen-year-old daughter surprised everyone by making a speech. She talked about watching all of the hard work and perseverance that went into writing, querying, and selling THE LAST FIFTH GRADE. Everyone cried. Knowing that my kids are proud of me is the best thing.

Is there a lot of support among debut authors?

I’m a member of the Sweet Sixteens debut author group. Their support has been amazing. We’ve done mini book-tours together, invited each other to bookstore events, and had meet ups at large conferences like ALA Midwinter. Although I’ve published as a poet in small presses, this is my first experience with a large publisher. Being able to share the highs and lows with other debut authors made the whole process feel less overwhelming.

What was it like to see your cover?

AMAZING! Abigail Halpin illustrated the cover. Her designs for the characters are perfect. Not only are the members of Ms. Hill’s fifth grade class adorable, but I’m so happy that the cover represents how diverse the schools are in Maryland, where I live and teach.

Thank you, Laura!

See other Query. Sign. Submit. interviews
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Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Julie Hammerle

IMG_1021

Julie is a young adult author and her debut, THE SOUND OF US, is now THE SOUND OF US 500x700available from Entangled TEEN! She is represented by Beth Phelan of The Bent Agency.

Connect with Julie . . .

Website * Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the book . . .

Amazon * B&N * IndieBound

 

Query into

QUERY

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

I went about querying like it was an equation I was trying to solve. I used all the resources! I consulted all the websites! My favorites were Query Shark for drafting and QueryTracker for keeping tabs on the queries I’d already sent out. Twitter is also a great tool. I made a secret, private list of all the agents I was thinking about querying. This was a great way to get a sense of what they were really looking for, book-wise. And they I had no idea I was watching them… Smile

What was your method for querying? Small batches? Query widely? Wait for feedback?

I did small batches. If the query got some quick, positive responses, I sent a few more.

What helped you get though the query trenches?

Writing is always the answer for me. Querying can feel a lot like internet dating, so it’s easy to become all-consumed by the process—checking email, dissecting tweets, analyzing QueryTracker. Distractions are a must. Oftentimes the best, most productive distraction is starting a new book.

SIGN

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

Beth (Phelan, of The Bent Agency) is very editorial. When I first spoke with her, she was upfront about the changes we’d need to make before sending the manuscript out on submission. I suppose the “dream” is that your agent reads your book and says, “It’s perfect! I’m sending it to editors five minutes ago!” but that’s not always the reality, and I did go in assuming I’d have some revising to do.

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

I wait until the manuscript is finished. My first drafts tend to be messy, and sometimes I’m not sure where I’m going, story-wise, until I get there. Though that’s not a hard and fast rule. If I were feeling stuck or if I were feeling really excited about something, I might send her a few chapters just to show her what I’m working on. And I’ve pitched her a few stories just on concept and/or synopsis.

SUBMIT

Do you see the feedback from editors?

I do. I asked Beth to send me everything, even rejections, unless she thought they were really harsh. I like to be in the know, and I like to think I have pretty thick skin when it comes to my writing.

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

Again, more writing. Or at least do something to keep your mind off of it. The editorial submission process moves way slower than the query process, and editors are way less interesting on Twitter. You need to distract yourself in some way—write a new book, paint a room, organize your entire house, lather, rinse, repeat until book deal.

DEBUT

What other 2016 debut books have you gotten to read? Did you get to read them early?

This has been one of the best things about being a debut author. I love getting to read the other debuts—many of them early, thanks to the Sweet 16s’ ARC tours. So far I’ve read GIRLS IN THE MOON by Janet McNally, TREASURE AT LURE LAKE by Shari L. Schwarz, LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US by Ami Allen-Vath, FRANKIE AND TRU by Karen Hattrup, SUFFER LOVE by Ashley Herring Blake, THE BFF BUCKET LIST by Dee Romito, FIRSTS by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, SOUTH OF SUNSHINE by Dana Elmendorf, LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA by Katie Kennedy, and MY KIND OF CRAZY by Robin Reul.

I feel like I’m in great company with the Sweet 16s. There is so much amazing talent in this group.

What do you wish you had known about being a debut author?

I didn’t realize it would be such a roller coaster of emotions. Sometimes you’re up; sometimes you’re down. Sometimes you feel like you’re a talented writer, deserving of the honor of being published; sometimes you feel like a pathetic hack.

What advice would you give to writers who are working hard to get to their own debut year?

Just keep going. Keep learning, keep adjusting, keep reading, and, most of all, keep writing.

Thanks, Julie!

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Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Amy Allgeyer

cook_amy_bwsqAmy is a young adult author and her debut, DIG TOO DEEP, is now available from Albert Whitman & Co. She is represented by Danielle Chiotti, Upstart Crow Literary.

DigTooDeep_CVR

Connect with Amy . . .

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the book . . .

Amazon * Book Depository

 

Query into

QUERY

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

I used Querytracker, and found it to be incredibly helpful in keeping track of who I queried, when, and what their responses were. I also used the SCBWI Market Guide to select which agents would be a good fit for my writing.

What was your method for querying? Small batches? Query widely? Wait for feedback?

I made a global list of all the agents I wanted to query, and subbed to about ten at a time. Sending out queries is time-consuming, and that kept the time invested to a manageable chunk. It also allowed me to tweak my query letter with each batch. If I didn’t get any full or partial requests the first time, I knew my letter wasn’t strong enough, and I had the chance to fix it before sending out the next batch.

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

I’ve had a couple requests for R&R’s over the years. I think the most important thing to keep in mind before deciding whether to work with an agent or editor is whether their vision for your book is something you’re excited about. I had an R&R request from an amazing editor on DIG TOO DEEP, but the direction she saw for my manuscript was really different than the story I wanted to tell. In the end, I decided to pass.

SIGN

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

Yes! So many! Are they editorial agents that can help with revisions prior to submittal? Are they willing to represent all your work, or just this one book? If you write several genres, make sure they represent all of them (or realize that you’ll need a different agent for those other works.) Do they have revision ideas for the book they’re offering on, and what are they? Make sure their vision matches your vision. How accessible are they, and how do they prefer to be contacted? You want to make sure you communicate well with your agent. If you don’t, working together may make you both unhappy. Also, talk to a couple of their existing clients to see what they have to say.

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

Crazy! I had seven other subs out (on two different books) when I received my first agent offer. I gave the other agents a two-week deadline to finish reading and get back to me. Two weeks later, I had three offers on the table for DIG TOO DEEP, and two days to make a decision. It was a really exciting, happy, crazy time!

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

Danielle is incredibly easy to talk to, and I felt like she and I really connected. Her vision for my book felt like “my-book-but-better” instead of a massive rewrite. She’s extremely hands-on, editorially. Plus, all her clients raved about her. (And now, so do I!)

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

Early, just to get a feel from her whether the idea feels fresh, or if she’s seen thirteen similar manuscripts in the past month. Then, she checks in regularly to see where the book is going, how it’s going, if I need any input or brainstorming sessions. Truly, Danielle is awesome!

SUBMIT

Do you see the feedback from editors?

Yes, Danielle forwards any emails she receives (as a once-a-week packet, unless there’s solid interest.) And if she’s had verbal discussions with any editors, she passes that info along as well.

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

WRITE THE NEXT BOOK. (Which is not what I did, and I regret it.) It’s so much better to have something you’re excited about to focus on as the inevitable rejections start coming in.

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

I can check with Danielle anytime at all, though I try not to bug her too much. She’s so good about updating once a week, that I usually feel like I’m in the loop.

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

I knew there was some interest from a publisher and that they’d be taking the book to acquisitions the following week. They ended up making an offer then. After that, another publisher expressed an interest, and it took them thirty-five days to get their offer together. That was a long, stressful month!

DEBUT

What have you learned about being a debut author?

That you will spend nearly all of your advance on postage. Mailing ARCs, books, swag, postcards, etc. It’s crazy how much stuff there is to mail. For a while, I was at the post office every freaking day.

What other 2016 debut books have you gotten to read? Did you get to read them early?

I got to read so many of the Sweet Sixteen’s ARCs. It was great to see books I loved start getting hype and wonderful reviews as they released!

Is there a lot of support among debut authors?

Tons! I feel like I have 200 new friends!

What was release day like?

Release day was nuts. By the time it came around, I was pretty burnt out and so ready for it to be over. I think it was a good lesson for me. I have a full time job, a family, other commitments, and it’ll be important for me to remember, going forward, that I’m not going to be able to devote the same about of time to promotion that some other authors are. I’ll need to pick the strategies that give me the most bang for the time I can spend.

Thank you, Amy!

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Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Everly Frost

AUTHOR PHOTO EVERLY FROST

Everly is a young adult author and her debut, Fear My Mortality, is now available from Month9Books!

FINAL FMM Frost with blurbConnect with Everly . . .

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the book . . .

Barnes and Noble * Amazon * Indiebound * The Book Depository

 

Query into

QUERY

What advice would you give to querying writers?

My querying journey was a bit unusual. My first agent became a bestselling author (and stopped agenting) and my second agent moved agencies. I still count them both as friends. In the end, I submitted my manuscript without an agent. So my advice to querying writers is this: keep an open mind and be prepared for the unexpected. Nobody’s querying path is the same.

What was your method for querying?

I queried in small batches and treated any feedback like gold. Getting requests told me I was on the right track with my query – while hearing crickets told me I needed to make changes. It takes a lot of patience, but if an agent took the time to give feedback (even a single line), I gave it serious consideration.

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

I had a revise and resubmit request for a previous manuscript. When deciding whether to take it on, I considered whether the feedback made sense to me and to my view of the story. My advice is to take the time to get it right, really think about what they’re asking, and whether you can make it happen, before sending the revision back.

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

What I remember the most is the waiting. Sure, you hear cases of writers who land an agent within a couple of weeks, but I think they’re the rare ones. My experience of querying was that it took time. A lot of time. Months. I signed with my first agent after about five months of querying. My second was quicker at three months.

SIGN

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

It’s actually a really hard decision to make. It would be nice to have some magical guidance that tells you what you should do, but the thing is that you can’t see the future. All you can base a decision on is the information that you have at the time. But there are things that can help you make the decision, such as: do their suggested revisions make sense to you? Are they easy to talk with? Do they have a track record of sales? And most importantly: are they over the moon about your book?

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

For me, it was revisions both times. No manuscript is perfect and I think at least one round of revisions before going on submission can be expected.

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

Both of my agents were editorial and their suggestions were really helpful. They both made it clear what revisions they wanted when they offered, so I was fully informed.

SUBMIT

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

This is where my story deviates from the norm, because I submitted to my publisher unagented. But I think my suggestion is the same either way: Write your next book. Keep busy. Try not to think about it (well, too much).

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

Definitely a surprise. I’d submitted a query as a first step and was delighted when the full was requested, but by that stage I’d learned not to get my hopes up. It was a thrill to read the offer email.

How did you celebrate when you got the news about your book deal?

I waited for my lunch break, rang my husband in the quiet hallway at work, and tried not to burst into happy tears. J

DEBUT

What is the best thing about being a debut author?

The best thing about being a debut author is meeting other debut authors. We’re all learning, trying our best, and supporting each other.

What have you learned about being a debut author?

That I still have a lot to learn!

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

I’m working on the final book in the series. I’m excited to tie up loose ends, but I’ll be really sad to write the last word of Ava and Michael’s story.

Thank you, Everly!

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Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Janet Sumner Johnson

JanetJohnson.AuthorPic

Janet is a middle grade author and her debut, The Last Great Adventure of the PB&J Society, is now available from Capstone Young Readers. She is represented by Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners.

Final Cover.PBJSocietyConnect with Janet . . .

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads

Get the book . . .

Amazon * B&N * Indiebound

 

 

Query into

QUERY

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

There are so many resources out there for querying authors! When I first started querying, I got a hard copy of Writer's Market to learn about agents and publishing houses just to figure out the lay of the land. Once I knew I wanted an agent, I relied heavily on the blog Literary Rambles. They put in so much work to research agents, and compile all the interviews and information about each agent. It was wonderfully helpful! I learned so much!

Querytracker.net was another great resource. Not only can you use this amazing site to track the queries that you send, but they have compiled lists of agents that are searchable by genres they represent. SO helpful! They also include up-to-date information about what each agent wants in a query. And of course the forums and chats on each agent's page made the waiting that much easier because we could both commiserate and celebrate together. I highly recommend this site!

What was your method for querying?

I queried in small batches. I would query 10 at a time, and as I got responses, I would send more out so I always had 10 out at a time. In between sending out queries, I would research more agents so I was ready to send as requests/rejections came in.

If I wasn't getting any requests with a batch, I would revisit my query and make adjustments. I used forums like the blue boards (SCBWI), querytracker, and writeoncon to get feedback and refine my query letter.

What helped you get though the query trenches?

Writing friends who were also querying definitely helped me the most getting through those trenches. It's really hard to get rejection after rejection and still move forward with a positive attitude. I read tons of inspirational posts about how long it took others who then later had success, and that helped, too. But having someone to commiserate with . . . someone who really understood . . . by the end, all the rejections felt like a badge of honor. Like, I'd paid my dues. I worked hard to get published, and it was all the more satisfying to have reached that point with friends. In other words, you don't have to be an island!

It took me a while to follow the "write another book" advice, and I wish I'd done that sooner. That was definitely the best way to get my mind off of my pending query letters. And this is even more important now for when I go on submission!

SIGN

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

This question totally made me laugh! It was all random screams and grinning for no reason. It was a bustle of sending e-mails to agents who still had partials and fulls, or even my query. It was a great shrug of indifference when more rejections came in, because they no longer mattered. Emotion. Lots of it. And mostly the happy kind.

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

The very first indication that my agent was right for me, was her email response asking to set up a phone call. She referenced a humorous spot in my book that I particularly loved. She said, "You had me at 'We don't traffic in body parts in this household, young lady!'" If she got my sense of humor, I knew we'd be okay.

And speaking with her on the phone sealed it. At the time, I'd had a lot of writing friends who were breaking up with their agent because their agent didn't like their second book. So we talked about this and how she dealt with this as an agent. Also, we talked revisions, and everything she recommended was something I agreed with. We had the same vision. That was super important for me.

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

I'm sure this varies depending on your agent, but for me it was revision. About a week after I signed I got an email of notes about changes she thought should be made. It all went along with what we talked about on the phone, so none of it was a surprise to me. I revised for about a month, and then she sent me my submission list and boom! We were off!

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

So we went on submission in November, and I sent the next book to my agent in January. That's when I was ready. I actually sent an email to my agent asking about how this process should work, and she basically said, send me stuff when you have it. No rush. My agent prefers to see the finished work, but when I'm about to start a new book, I usually send her several ideas and get her input on what sounds most interesting to her and what would be most marketable in her opinion. This really helps me focus on a project that has the most potential to sell. That said, I only send ideas for books that I really want to write.

SUBMIT

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

My agent sends me the submission list, which I love. Then I can do my stalkingresearch to find out more about them. Then I pretty much sit back and wait. (Actually, I work on the next book). My agent forwards all responses to me, so I can see exactly what they had to say . . . why they chose not to make an offer on my book, or that they're interested and what needs to happen next.

With PB&J Society, I actually went to acquisitions a total of five times. I always imagined "acquisitions" as some big important meeting, and sometimes it was, but I learned that other times it just meant that the editor sought approval from specific individuals within the company. It was pretty interesting to see the process for so many different publishers. A couple asked for alternate titles. Another two asked if I'd be willing to make it into a series. One editor even asked for a resumé. Fascinating process!

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

Forget that you are on submission!! Seriously. This is one of the really great parts about having an agent. Once my manuscript goes on submission, I can move on. I don't have to worry about follow-up, I don't have to do anything except write the next book. Enjoy it.

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

I can check in with my agent whenever I want, but I try to limit myself because I know my agent has many other clients and is very busy. So if I'm on submission and a month has passed and I haven't heard anything, I usually send a quick email to ask about it. Also, I often have questions about other things, and I can always piggyback a submission question with that. I think the key is respect along with open communication.

DEBUT

What is the best thing about being a debut author?

Everything is new and exciting. There are all these benchmarks that you get to experience, and they are all exciting and special. The first edit letter. The first time you see your cover. The first time someone asks to interview you. The first time you see your book mentioned out in the wild by someone you don't know. The first Skype visit. The first classroom visit. The first time you sign a book for someone! So many firsts! And even though my debut year was full of crazy (2 moves!), I enjoyed every second of it. I seriously felt like Cinderella at the ball.

What’s involved in promoting a book?

SO. MUCH. This is probably the thing that surprised me the most about getting published. I had no idea how much time promotion would take. And with social media being what it is, there are a lot of things an author CAN do. Honestly, getting to the basics of it all, promoting a book is about being outgoing and friendly. But instead of being that way in your own small group of friends, you have to learn to step out of your box and be that way in extended groups.

It's about reaching out to people. Reaching out to other authors. Reaching out to schools. Reaching out to media. Reaching out to book stores. This has been a huge area of growth for me, and thankfully I've been involved in a group of other amazing debut authors who have coached me, answered my questions, shared their knowledge, and encouraged me. And my take away is that promotion is always more fun with other people.

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

In March, I was able to go on a book tour with three other debut authors, Ava Jae (Beyond the Red), Kathy MacMillan (Sword and Verse), and Laura Shovan (The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary). We did library panels, book store signings. We participated as faculty at the MD/DE/WV SCBWI conference, and we did Skype/school visits. It was a whirlwind of activity, and it was amazing! SO. FUN.

I was nervous going in because it was my first book tour, but being with the other three was absolutely awesome. We took turns moderating the panels, and we used questions we'd prepared in advance. The fun part was getting to know the other authors. By the time we presented our final events, we were pretty hilarious together. In short, it was a real joy to talk about books and answer questions that people had about the publishing process. I very highly recommend group events, especially for starting out!

What advice would you give to writers who are working hard to get to their own debut year?

Keep working! It feels like it will never come, but if you keep working and don't give up, you will get there. For real. And when it comes, it will zip by. You will blink, and suddenly your book will be out in the world. Don't wish away all the excitement leading up to publication. All the sweat, blood, and tears you are putting in now will only make the experience that much sweeter. I am super proud of every single one of my rejections. Because each one is a reminder that I'm stronger than that. You are stronger than any rejection, too!

Thank you, Janet!

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Query.Sign.Submit.Debut! with Jennifer Mason-Black

Abrams photo--J. Mason-Black-2

Jennifer is a young adult author and her debut, DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD, releases from Amulet Books (Abrams) on May 17, 2016! She is represented by Alice Speilburg of Speilburg Literary Agency. Final Cover

Connect with Jennifer . . .

Website * Twitter

Preorder the book . .  .

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * IndieBound

 

Query into

QUERY

What resources and websites did you use when querying?

I’m an omnivore when it comes to information collection. If there were places to look, I looked at them. Literary Rambles often compiles great stuff on agents, so it became one of my starting points. Query Tracker is wonderful, especially for a data hound like me. And I used Absolute Write to double check on everyone I queried.

I queried two books, neither of which were my debut, and those experiences took place over a period of three, maybe four, years. I didn’t have a Twitter account with the first book I queried, but I peeked at agent accounts from time to time. By the time I’d written the second book, I already had a sense of which agents I was interested in, and while Twitter was clearly a good way to research agents, I more or less skipped it.

How did you keep track of your queries?

Query Tracker, all the way. I’m more of a small-scraps-of-paper-everywhere kind of person when it comes to managing files on my own.

What helped you get though the query trenches? Inspirational posts? Writer friends? Writing another book?

Friends definitely helped. To be honest, and this is one of those tricks that you’re never supposed to admit, the biggest help was that my husband read all my query responses for me. I have chronic depression, and it makes me a champion at beating myself up. For the querying period, when I had no sense of how my writing would be received and was really struggling with confidence, I made the choice to do something to ease the journey.

I was really lucky because a) I had a partner, b) an incredibly supportive partner, and c) I had other people in my life who also supported my writing. It’s funny to me how shameful it still is to admit cutting that corner. Really, that’s exactly why I am admitting it. I think there’s a lot of insistence about what things writers must do in order to be real writers. The best answer is that you do the things that work for you. Note that this isn’t the same as refusing all editorial guidance or attacking agents online for rejecting your work. It’s about taking breaks from querying if you need them, and being okay with the fact that your process may not look like everyone else’s.

SIGN

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

Some of it was gut level. We connected really well in our phone call, and I felt comfortable asking her all sorts of questions. That was important for me, that she let me drive the conversation. I like collaborative relationships, and it was clear she did too.

And she gave the right kinds of answers to my questions. Things like sticking with writers beyond one book if the first didn’t sell. I didn’t think what I wrote were the kinds of books that would sell fast. I wanted to know that I wouldn’t be dropped if we didn’t have a six figure deal after three weeks. She also understood what I was trying to do with the manuscript in hand. She wasn’t looking, for example, to hang onto my voice but reshape the story into a Stephen King knockoff. The suggestions she made resonated as right ones to reach farther into the world I’d made.

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

The reason that I wanted to know I was comfortable asking her questions in our initial call was because I struggle with challenging people. And part of having a good relationship with an agent who edits your manuscript is being able to disagree. The agreement part, that’s easy. The points where you know in your heart that what you’re hearing isn’t the right solution? That’s so much harder.

With the first novel that we worked on together, the initial edits were light. After a round of submissions, we did another, which involved deepening some motivations. We talked things over, and then she left me to handle the changes in a way that felt organic to the story. I wrote some new scenes, which I ended up loving. She tends to suggest what’s not working for her, but not to give me specific fixes. I work better that way. It ends up feeling like solving puzzles instead of failing exams.

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

We talk about new ideas when I’m thinking about what to do next. Generally those conversations involve strategy, which is one of the great things about having an agent. I’m good at coming up with ideas, and much of the time I’m good at following through on them. What I’m not always good at is thinking of the world outside of my head. Having someone who can discuss whether or not a story about a sentient motorcycle fits well with my particular set of writing skills and/or readership is pretty handy. I do not, however, share new work with her as I’m writing. Having too many cooks in the kitchen makes for a really bland soup, at least in my case.

SUBMIT

Do you see the feedback from editors?

Yes, always. Unlike with querying, which felt like a terribly lonely experience, submissions to editors with an agent feels very much like a team effort. If a pass makes me blue, I’m pretty sure it makes my agent blue as well, because I know she’s invested in my book. She shares the comments with me, and we sometimes talk about them. If I’m certain that one response means the book is terrible and will never sell, she gently sets me straight. It’s a good system.

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

Anything that works. Seriously, trying to sell a first novel often means having no clue if editors will like anything about your work, whether you’ll succeed in a week or give up after a year. It simply didn’t work for me to be writing another novel at the same time. I knew that I could sell short stories, so I focused on those, because I needed the confidence (and I love writing short stories). I also spent a lot of time with my kids, and worked on crosswords, and shoveled snow. I tried not to let the waiting eat up my life.

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

It was moderately surprising. Since I’d had another book that didn’t sell, I’d really stepped away from the whole submission process. My agent had mentioned at several different points that there was an editor staying in touch with her, but I didn’t ask for details. The first time it really filtered through all my defenses was when I was raking snow off my parents’ roof. My agent had emailed and mentioned that there was an editor waiting to hear how other people felt and that she (my agent) would be in touch soon. Suddenly, out there in the snow, I started thinking that maybe her cautious comments meant a lot more than I’d thought.

(The complete story of what happened when I got the call can be found here.)

How did you celebrate when you got the news about your book deal?

The usual fun things. Dinner, cake, you know, party stuff. The very best thing was that my friend Christine sent me flowers and chocolates. I live in a rural area, and no one ever just drops by, and I was trying to play things cool because I had a call with the offering editor scheduled later in the week and I didn’t want to say anything to people until I had a contract. But Christine had been there through the whole journey, so I told her immediately. My daughter had a friend over, and there was a knock at the door, and here was this elderly florist delivering flowers and chocolate, and I was pretending that this was something that happened all the time at my house. When I looked at the card—remember, small town, elderly florist—it said, well, things I can’t repeat here without making you second-guess having invited me to answer these questions.

Anyway, my flowers and chocolates and profanity-laced card was a definite a highlight.

DEBUT

What’s involved in promoting a book?

So much writing! I think I’ve accepted all the blog invites that have come my way, and have been very grateful for them. Seriously, bloggers are superstars when it comes to helping debuts find their audiences. So, lots of interviews, some guest posts, lots of tweeting. I suspect life is suddenly going to feel very quiet in another month, after pub date has come and gone.

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

I went to ALA Midwinter in January to do an ARC signing and a luncheon held by my publisher. It was fun, in a wow-people-are-so-nice-and-this-space-is-SO-HUGE-and-full-of-books kind of way. I was incredibly grateful for the giant badges everyone wore, as it made it very easy to spell names correctly! My sole piece of signing advice for authors is either don’t have a long name, or to come up with a shorter version in advance. Also, remembering how to spell it is a plus.

Since then I’ve participated in a panel with three other 2016 debut authors. That was also fun, and in a library, which is where I’d like to be nine times out of ten. I’m an introvert of the highest degree, but these events are not half as scary as they seem beforehand.

What was it like to see your cover?

Pure unadulterated awesome! There’s something a bit terrifying about getting an email containing your first glimpse of your cover. After all, authors, particularly debut authors, don’t have a lot of pull when it comes to what their books look like. I knew Abrams, Amulet’s parent company, had a great design team, and I knew my editor understood my book, but I still opened the file with a certain amount of fear. Fear that vanished as soon as I saw the guitar. Cover art and book design can be such a tremendous gift to an author. It’s like a visit from the book fairy godmother.

Thank you, Jennifer!

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Release Day for THE BFF BUCKET LIST!

I started this blog at the very beginning of my writing journey, and as I learned about publishing, I kept little collections here—agent contests, stories of writers getting their agents, tips--and eventually I started the Query.Sign.Submit. interview series. And as it grew, I realized it wasn’t just me using all the info and inspiration anymore, it was all of you too. It was everyone who was on their own writing adventure. People started sending other writers here, listing it on their own blogs, and tweeting to come here for the info others needed. It still makes me happy whenever someone tells me that my blog helped them so much when they were going through all of their own challenges on the writing path.

And now today, after all that researching, collecting, querying, subbing, writing, and revising, my very own debut is out in the world. I cannot thank you enough for joining me for the ride and I hope that you’ll join Ella and Skyler on their adventures. Maybe even make your own bucket list, which my talented hubby makes easy for you with The Bucket List Builder over at TheBFFBucketList.com.

Happy book birthday to THE BFF BUCKET LIST and happy dreaming and bucket-listing to all the writers and readers out there!

Where you can find it . . .

Simon & Schuster * Amazon * Barnes & Noble * IndieBound * Your local bookstore!

BFF Bucket List [9109319] - high res

About the book . . .

Ella and Skylar have been best friends since kindergarten—so close that people smoosh their names together like they’re the same person: EllaandSkyler. SkylerandElla.

But Ella notices the little ways she and Skyler have been slowly drifting apart. And she’s determined to fix things with a fun project she’s sure will bring them closer together—The BFF Bucket List. Skyler is totally on board.

The girls must complete each task on the list together: things like facing their fears, hosting a fancy dinner party, and the biggest of them all—speaking actual words to their respective crushes before the end of summer. But as new friends, epic opportunities, and super-cute boys enter the picture, the challenges on the list aren’t the only ones they face.

And with each girl hiding a big secret that could threaten their entire friendship, will the list--and their BFF status--go bust?

Dee Romito - author photoAbout the author . . .

Dee Romito lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York, where she and her family are steadily checking items off their own bucket list of adventures. You’re likely to find her at the local ice cream shop, writing at a cafĂ©, or curled up on the couch with her cats. And while she does her best to be a grown-up most of the time, giggling with her BFFs is still one of her all-time favorite things. You can visit her website at DeeRomito.com.

To join the fun and create your own bucket list, visit TheBFFBucketList.com!

Connect with Dee . . .

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads