#NestPitch WRITING CONTEST TO FIND LITERARY AGENT

Yay! Another contest where authors can possibly win a chance to find their dream agent! NestPitch submission window is Wednesday, April 1, 2015.

Nestpitch

There are some awesome participating agents. Check out the Agency websites by clicking links below:

Valerie Noble: Associate Agent at Donaghy Literary Group

Saba Sulamain: Junior Agent at Talcott Notch Literary Services

Uwe Stender: President at TriadaUS Literary Agency

Jordy Albert: Agent at The Booker Albert Literary Agency

Paticia Nelson: Agent at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Cate Hart: Junior Agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency

Dawn Michelle Frederick: Literary Agent & Owner, Red Sofa Literary

Mollie Glick: Agent at Foundry Literary + Media

Maria Vicente: Associate Agent at P.S. Literary Agency

Camilla Wray: Agent at The Darley Anderson Literary

Christina Heschke: Agent at McIntosh & Otis, Inc

Jessica Schmeidler: Agent/Founder at Golden Wheat Literary

And don’t forget, this is for finished manuscripts only! Scroll the Nestpitch website to see submission guidelines and the teams that will be mentoring the winners. As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

Joanna Swainson, Literary Agent (Plus First Page Critique)

Joanna Swainson has worked for a number of different London based literary agencies, including Darley Anderson Literary, Film and TV Agency, and Christopher Little Literary Agency, where she met Caroline Hardman. They set up Hardman & Swainson in June 2012, with eighteen authors. In September 2014 they were joined by agent Hannah Ferguson. Hardman & Swainson now represent 60 authors across a range of genres of fiction and non-fiction. More info at www.hardmanswainson.com

joanna

1. Does the rumor that agents get extremely excited over plucking a gem from the slush really exist?

It’s very exciting to find a gem in our submission. The excitement comes in different shades: there’s a quiet excitement when you read something and can’t stop and feel you’ve got something special. That excitement strengthens as you begin to think about editors that would like to read it too. Once you know it’s something you want to represent there’s the thrill of signing the author. Then there’s nervous excitement when you come to submit to publishers. I think the funnt gif shows the out and out happy excitement of when an offer comes in from a publisher. But that’s strictly between the four walls of the office! Generally speaking, finding a gem in submissions leads to much excitement in many different guises.

Excited GIF

2. Are you a hands-on agent with your authors, editing-wise?

Working editorially with authors and helping to knock a manuscript into shape is one of the most interesting and rewarding parts of this job. Working out what works and why, where a manuscript falls short, which aspects need strengthening etc – it’s endlessly fascinating. The job of editing can take many forms from a few simple suggestions to quite a full on rewrite. It depends on the state of the manuscript. It’s not my job to edit it to death, but to take it to the point where I feel it’s ready for submission – hopefully an editor will then have a vision for it and want to buy it!

3. You keep an open mind about the types of submissions you’d like to receive because you never know what will excite you—which is totally awesome! But, is there something that you’d like to see in your inbox that you haven’t seen yet?

I feel like I’ve seen everything! But our submissions inbox never fails to amaze me. It’s incredible how many people are writing works of fiction and non-fiction, and what they come up with. The key thing is whether what we see is good enough. As you say, I’m open to most things, but it has to be a real sparkler, brilliant of its kind. It’s a very tough market so we have to feel confident about what we’re taking on.

4. The agency website suggests that authors in the US might be better served with an agent in the US, unless there’s a compelling reason for a UK agent. So, would you say that you aren’t totally against receiving submissions from a US author, but they should include a reason as to why they believe they need a UK agent to represent them?

We’ve put this note on our agency website because we were getting a lot of submissions where it simply didn’t make sense to have a UK-based agent. So if, for example, the novel is about baseball – which isn’t a big thing in the UK – or has a particularly American theme, it doesn’t make sense for us to take on this novel unless we’re confident it will straddle the two markets (often very difficult to predict). Our aim is always to sell in the UK and, where appropriate, in the US (and indeed worldwide) but we’re usually thinking about our own market in the first instance. But never say never – we just think US authors should think carefully why their novel or piece of non-fiction would work better, or equally well, with a UK agent. If the author can articulate that, I suppose this also wards off the idea that sometimes creeps into the back of your mind as you’re reading – that all US agents have been exhausted, so that’s why they’ve submitted in the UK.

5. Personalization in a query is often debated. Do you prefer someone to tell you upfront why they are querying you, or get straight to the story their submitting? Has personalization ever made you feel an author was stalking you?

It depends what you mean by personalisation. I think with query letters it’s just good to keep it fairly short and sweet, professional and to the point. Obviously if I met you at a writers conference or some other do, then absolutely jog my memory. I’ll likely be thrilled to hear from you. The only time I’ve ever felt stalked is when we were left some creepy packages on the doorstep over a period of a few weeks. I think it was meant to build up excitement to the arrival of the manuscript in the final package, but all it did was have me double locking the door and quaking with fear.

6. There are authors who spit a MS out based on what’s trending, and others that simply write what they want to read. Any advice/feelings on either route chosen?

Don’t follow trends. What makes most sense to me is write what you’d like to read. Publishing isn’t exactly known for its speed so if you follow a trend, by the time it gets to the agents / editors, the chances are it’ll be done and dusted by that point and everyone will be sick of seeing the same old, same old.

Thank you, Joanna, for taking time to answer my questions. Joanna has been kind to offer a first page critique, even with her busy schedule! (Yay!) This is open to everyone (English written) and Joanna reserves the right to ask for more material if she’s interested in your project. The contest will be open for one week, ending at midnight on March 30, 2015. The winner will be announced on an update to this post. Good luck!

SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW CLOSED!

Congratulations to CATHERINE MILLER, winner of the First Page Critique!

And don’t forget to check Joanna out at Hardman & Swainson or follow her on Twitter for bookish tweets. There is also an official Hardman & Swainson Twitter here. Have a fantastic day!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

#PitMad TWITTER PITCH PARTY 3/11/15

Tomorrow is another fantastic pitch event hosted by Brenda Drake for your completed and polished manuscript. You will need a 140 character pitch that includes the #PitMad hashtag. But create several varied pitches so Twitter doesn’t think you’re spam. Also, if you can squeeze in the category and age group, it will be a plus. Such as:

  • #YA=Young adult
  • #MG=Middle Grade
  • #A=Adult (I don’t suggest spelling adult out unless you want a bunch of porn spam!)
  • #NA=New Adult
  • #F=Fantasy
  • #PR=Paranormal Romance
  • #R=Romance
  • #SF=Sci-Fi

If you work during #Pitmad, you can always use TweetDeck or Hootesuite to schedule your tweets so you won’t miss out on the opportunity. Of course, you will go bonkers trying to find a moment to peak at the twitter feed, but you’re on your own with that one.

There are more hints you can find on Brenda’s website. And don’t forget, although there are legitimate agents that have committed to stopping by, any one can troll the feed. So, DO YOUR RESEARCH before sending your manuscript or signing a contract.

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

REVIEW: ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD by Kendare Blake

Oh my goodness, YES! This was my reaction when I first saw the cover of ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD. (Covers are extremely important people, to evoke emotions and desire to pick the book up off the shelf!) And the blurb didn’t disappoint. I read that the main character, Cas Lowood, killed the dead. Then I wondered how he could kill someone that was, well, already dead. Which was exactly why I had to read the book!

ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD

Cas travels around the country with his “kitchen-witch mother” while killing misbehaving ghosts. His weapon of choice is a wicked anthame he inherited from his father—who was murdered by a ghost he’d attempted to kill. Cas explains he doesn’t completely understand the power of his anthame, but he believes it will only work for him. He strikes his targets down with an artistic slashing confidence as ghosts disappear so that they will never murder another living victim.

Then Cas gets a tip about Anna Korlov, a ghost murdered at the age of sixteen. She’d been on her way to a dance when someone nearly cut her head off, causing her beautiful white dress to be drenched in blood. She had been murdering anyone that stepped foot in her home since 1958. But when Cas finds himself lying helpless on her living room floor after a jerk acquaintance bashed his head with a broken board, Anna spares Cas and murders the jerk by splitting him in two gruesome parts.

For once, Cas has trouble using his anthame on a ghost, although he knows he should. He knows she’ll keep killing others, even if she won’t kill him. But let me assure you, his fascination about why she spared him does not lead to a typical love story with mushy-mushy crap. No. He still attempts to do his inherited duty and kill her, and strangely, she wants him to kill her. So, you see, I had to keep reading!

The author does a great job of describing how Cas understands he has to have a life of solitude and that he feels out of place with the living. So when he winds up with a couple of unexpected friends who help him along his journey, I was surprised. Kendare describes Cas’ life and the ghosts surrounding him with exquisite creepiness. But I won’t tell you if he murders Anna, nor will I tell you if he crosses paths with his father’s murderer. (What, you weren’t wondering about that? Riiiight.)

I recommend this book to all those who love spooky and won’t be disappointed if there’s not a lot of kissy junk. You can buy this awesome book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Have fun reading!
P.D. Pabst

 

 

GIVEAWAY: THE ART OF FICTION BY JOHN GARDNER

I’m fortunate that I have a wonderful friend who had a sister that once thought about writing. This sister handed over her enormous “How To Write” book collection to my friend (since years ago she became a lawyer instead). Now guess who got all those wonderful books? That’s right, Me! Among these books are some duplicates and I thought that I’d share them with a few lucky winners over the next few months. First up is THE ART OF FICTION: NOTES ON CRAFT FOR YOUNG WRITERS by John Gardner, author of GRENDEL.

The Art of Fiction

The book is a Vintage Books Edition, June 1991, a division of Random House. On the cover: “A necessary handbook, a stern judge, and encouraging friend.” –John L’Heureux, The New York Times Book Review. The window for entries will be open until March 6th when the winner will be announced in an update on this blog page.

Since WordPress won’t allow Rafflecopter on free sites, I’ve had to create an author page on Facebook with a tab for GIVEAWAYS. There, I was able to download the Rafflecopter for everyone to enter. Just click here to access the entry form. Pass the word along, and retweet so your writerly friends will have a chance to win. Good luck!

Update: Thanks to everyone who retweeted or posted on Facebook. However, no winner will be announced because there weren’t any entrants. Thanks to everyone who let me know the entry form wasn’t working or the link wasn’t functioning. This was my first time using Rafflecopter, so I will work on getting the kinks out for the next giveaway. Keep an eye out for the upcoming query critique offered by Literary Agent Joanna Swainson!

PITCH MADNESS: SORRY EDITION 2015

Don’t forget that tomorrow (February 20th) is PITCH MADNESS hosted by the fabulous contest guru Brenda Drake. This fabulous contest is for writers, of course, and the submission window will be open for 72 hours.

PitchMadnessSorryEdition

You need to have a completed and polished manuscript to enter (MG, YA, NA, & A fiction, there won’t be any non-fiction this year). The required elements are a 35 word pitch and the first 250 words of your manuscript. A team of readers will choose 60 top entries for agents to play a game of Sorry to try and win their favorites. The agent round will be March 3-4, 2015. If you want to see the list of participating agents, go here.

As always, good luck and happy writing!

P.D.Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

#PubTalkTV Tonight

If you don’t already know, PubTalkTV is a new place to get questions answered by literary agents. Authors Summer Heacock and Kelsey Macke serve as moderators while they read and ask your questions to the participating agents Monica Odom (Liza Dawson Associates), Jessica Sinsheimer (Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency), and Roseanne Wells (The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency).

PubTalkTV

So how do get in on the action? It’ll be tonight at 8:00PM EST (if they haven’t changed the time) on their website (link above). As for asking questions, form them on twitter using the #PubTalkTV hashtag during the live session and Summer and Kelsey might select yours to ask the agents.

See you there!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

LIBRARIES PAY AUTHORS?

This seems too good to be true. But it’s not, at least, not for the United Kingdom and Ireland! Authors receive money under the PUBLIC LENDING RIGHT (PLR)  (the right for authors to receive payment for the loans of their books by public libraries). Until I read Joanne Phillip’s post on her first check from the PLR, I had no idea this existed.

According to PLR, here is how it works:

Under the PLR system in the UK, payment is made from government funds to authors, illustrators and other contributors whose books are borrowed from public libraries.  Payments are made annually on the basis of loans data collected from a sample of public libraries in the UK … To qualify for payment, applicants must apply to register their books.

Over 22,000 writers, illustrators, photographers, translators and editors who have contributed to books lent out by public libraries in the UK receive PLR payments each year.

And this is how they say data is collected:

For UK PLR, a representative sample of book loans, consisting of all issues from selected public libraries in the UK, is recorded. This is then multiplied in proportion to total library lending to produce for each book an estimate of its total annual loans throughout the country.

This seems pretty amazing, even if the payment is minimal. And I see a bigger picture with this program. It proves your book(s) are being lent to those less fortunate to buy the book themselves. So, how cool is that?

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

#AdPit TWITTER PITCH PARTY TODAY!

I don’t write adult fiction (yet), but want to make sure any readers that do are reminded of the #AdPit Twitter party today. It’s for Adult Fiction, Adult Non-fiction, and New Adult manuscripts only. You must have a 140 character pitch that includes the #AdPit hashtag. And remember, although there are legitimate agents that have committed to dropping by, any one can troll the feed. SO DO YOUR RESEARCH before sending your manuscript or signing any contracts! Heidi Norrod is the event organizer and you can find her at @HRNorrod if you have any questions.

As always, good luck!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction

Review (sort of): Suffer the Children by John Saul

Confession: I had never read a John Saul novel until a co-worker named Kendall offered to swap books. He gave me SUFFER THE CHILDREN, which apparently was John’s debut novel as his writerly-self. (He had published approximately ten other books under a pen name of S. Steinberg prior to the 1977 debut.)

Suffer the ChildrenAfter reading the prologue, I almost stopped reading the story completely. It was hard to swallow reading about a young girl being molested and murdered by her father. I seriously wondered what the hell Kendall had given me! I like creepy stuff (ghosts, vampires, weird creatures, and whatnot)but not morbid things like this. Yet, I pushed myself to read. Kendall had listened to me rant about the things I like and the things I write, so I should trust his judgment. Right?

So as I kept reading and learned indeed there was a ghost, and boy was that ghost evil! But I had hope for those that came in contact with the creepy ghoul that possessed another child, but the end of the novel was shattering. (I won’t spoil.) The end was a bit gruesome and I’m more of a suggestive kind of gal than detailed with killings in my writings. And that’s how I prefer to read too.

Now, as a writer, I often hear my peers and beta’s say to stay in the main character’s voice. And this story…oh my gosh! After I had counted ELEVEN point of view’s from different characters, I stopped counting. It made my head hurt. Seriously! But was the story told well? Yes, yes it still was. I kept turning the page to find out what happened next. I had a clear sense of place, as though I was along side the characters. I wanted to shout out and say, “No, don’t listen to her!” John Saul pulled me into his story regardless of my frustrations, and I suppose this is why he is a New York Times Best Seller.

I look forward to reading a more recent John Saul novel to see if his style is the same. And thanks Kendall for sharing your read with me!

P.D. Pabst
Writer and blogger of MG/YA fiction