Monday, January 23, 2017

Submission Day for Sun versus Snow!

Hooray! Hooray! The submission window for Sun versus Snow opens today at 4:00 pm EST!

Act fast. We will only be taking the first 200 entries. Please do not enter early or your entry will be deleted. You can resend at the proper time if this happens accidentally. Confirmation emails will be sent. If you don’t receive one, don’t resend. We don’t want duplicate entries. Please check with us on Twitter first to confirm your entry did or did not arrive, then you may resend. There is only ONE, yes that’s right, ONE entry per person allowed. Any attempt to cheat will result in entries being thrown out. This contest is only for finished and polished stories.

Important note: The story can’t have been in the agent round of any other contest in the last three months. This doesn't mean twitter pitch events with hashtags, but multiple agent blog contests. 

Also, Michelle and I have decided not to accept picture books for this contest. Though we love picture books, Michelle holds special contests just for them. We do accept all MG, YA, NA and Adult genres, excluding erotica. To enter you must be followers of our blogs. Click the “follow” button on my blog. You can find Amy's blog here. If following our blogs doesn't work, follow us on twitter or sign up for our newsletters instead. 

The Format:

Send submission to Sunversussnow (at) yahoo (dot) com. Only one submission per person is allowed. It doesn’t matter if you write under different names or are submitting different manuscripts. You are still one person and get one entry.

Here’s how it should be formatted (yes, include the bolded!) Please use Times New Roman (or equivalent), 12 pt font, and put spaces between paragraphs. No indents or tabs are needed. No worries if your gmail doesn’t have Times New Roman. No worries if the email messes up your format. Yes, we will still read it! :-)  

(Here’s a trick to keep your paragraph spacing: copy and paste your entry into your email and then put in the line spaces. They seem to get lost when you copy and paste. It may look right but sending scrambles the spacing.)

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

In The Email:

Title: MY FANTASTIC BOOK (yes, caps!)
Genre: YA dystopian Ownvoices (Age category and genre. New this year! Add "Ownvoices" here if it applies)
Word Count: XX,XXX (round to the nearest thousand)
Twitter Handle: (Optional so we can contact you. Will not be public.)

Is Your Main Character hot or cold: 

Describe whether your character is hot or cold. Personalities differ. Is your character a person of volatile emotions or are they calm under pressure?

(Can be in your MC’s POV, but doesn’t have to be. 100 words or less.)


Query goes here! Include greeting and main paragraphs. Please leave out bio, closing, and word count + genre sentence. You may include comps if you’d like. There is no word count limit on the query but please aim for 250 – 300 words.

New this year! You may include if your story is OwnVoices up in the genre line. We really want diverse and talented writers and striping out the bios sometimes leaves us in the dark. Ownvoices means the author is from the same marginalized group as the mc in the story. 

Remember a query has several paragraphs. Don't send us a pitch.  

First 250 words:

Here are the first 250 words of my manuscript, and I will not end in the middle of a sentence. But I will not go over 257 words. Be reasonable and don’t make us count. Don’t forget to space between paragraphs! No indents!

And now that the rules are out of the way, how about the fun stuff!


Here are the suggested daily topics. But if you want to make up your own fun games on the hashtag #SunvsSnow then go right ahead! Just keep it clean and inclusive for all.

Jan 23rd- Submission day! What genre and age category will you/did you enter? Show us a sun or snow picture from your neighborhood.

Jan 24th- It’s very important to read new books in your genre to get a sense of pacing and timing as well as style. What book in your genre have you read recently?

Jan 25th- Do you get more writing done when there’s sun (summer) or snow (winter)? When are you most productive?

Jan 26th- Do you have a writing goal for each day? How do you carve out time to write?

Jan 27th- Pantser or plotter or somewhere in between?

Jan 28th- Shout out a favorite line from the ms you entered.

Jan 29th- If you had to choose one goal for your writing career this year, what would it be?

Jan 30th- Beta readers and Critique Partners are important in the writing world. Where did you meet yours so others can check out those places?

Jan 31st- Final advice as before picks are announced on how you manage nerves during contests/querying?

Have fun! Mix and mingle! Make friends! Be active!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Getting the Call with Hannah Holt and Agent Laura Biagi

Okay. This is a most unusual call story! Not only is it for a picture book (WAHOO!), but Hannah's agent, Laura Biagi, joins the fun to give her side of the process! Enjoy!

Read all the way to the end for some bonus news.

Diamond|Man: a PbParty Success Story

Hannah Holt: In March 2015, I heard about Michelle’s PbParty contest through a writer’s group on Facebook. I researched the participating agents and—wow! It looked like a great opportunity.

On the day of the deadline, my finger hovered over the send key. Then, BLOOP. My computer crashed. I logged in again as soon I could, but the contest was already full. I could only cheer from the sidelines.

Meanwhile, I kept researching and querying—researching and querying. A few nibbles surfaced over the next few months but nothing substantial came along. When Michelle announced the next PbParty, I jumped at the chance.

This time I came prepared with better technology AND more story knowledge. In the months between the first PbParty and the second, I had queried my original story pretty widely. After weighing the responses, I decided it was time to try something new. My new lead manuscript, Diamond|Man, was a picture book biography of my inventor grandfather, Tracy Hall.

As for technology, I set up an account with and scheduled my email in advance. That way no computer glitches, work issues, or kids calling would make me miss the deadline.

It worked! My entry arrived before the contest filled. Next, I waited to see if my manuscript would make the top twenty. 

When the day of the announcement came, I scanned the list anxiously, like a kid waiting for the parts in the school musical to be announced and…

Wahoo! I made it into PbParty the Musical! Okay, not a musical but still. My critique partners and I celebrated over email.

Then came the next round of waiting. Would I get any requests? I hadn’t queried Diamond|Man very widely, so I wasn’t sure what reaction it would get. My story had an unusual format. Would it be too strange?

Laura Biagi, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency: As an agent, I love online contests because there are so many intriguing projects all in one place. I was particularly looking forward to PbParty because of its focus on picture books. As I perused the entries, there were a lot of great projects that impressed me, but I remember opening Hannah's and just thinking, Wow, this is different and unique and could be really, really cool. I requested it immediately and couldn't wait to read the full picture book manuscript!

HH: Miracle of miracles, I ended up with four fabulous requests: three agents and one publisher.

I only submitted to the agents because I knew I wanted an agent before approaching publishers. Contract negotiations were/are definitely not in my wheelhouse.

Five days after I sent off my manuscript, I received a request for more material. Four weeks later came a phone call and an offer of representation. WOOHOO! At that point I nudged all the remaining agents, and shortly afterwards I received an additional offer from Laura Biagi.

LB: When I opened up Hannah's manuscript, I flew through it and got more and more excited each time I returned to it. It completely lived up to the snippet I'd read on PbParty, and more! I hadn't seen anything quite like this dual biography, on the one hand telling the story of how a diamond is formed in the earth, and on the other telling the story of Tracy Hall who invented a revolutionary diamond-making machine. And tucked into the Author's Note was the revelation that Tracy Hall was actually Hannah's grandfather—what an incredible connection!

There were a number of editors who I knew would love this book and who were looking for nonfiction and biography picture books. The manuscript engagingly and beautifully got at Common Core and STEM concepts that I knew the market was hungry for. Plus, this was so well told, bold, and fresh that I was certain it was a book that kids as well as parents, librarians, teachers, and booksellers would all get excited about and want to read again and again, lingering over the words.

So I called Hannah up one evening, told her everything I loved about the book, and offered representation!

HH: Now I had a choice. The first agent thought my manuscript was ready to send as it was. Laura wanted a revision. I asked both agents for a few weeks to think things over.

As time went on, I found myself revisiting Laura’s comments over and over again. Her feedback really resonated with me. So even though it required additional work, I knew it was the better path. I went with Laura.

LB: Hannah had done an incredible job with Diamond|Man, but I thought the manuscript would be even stronger with a bit more emotional connection brought into the Tracy Hall half. Editors usually want to feel an emotional connection to a submission right off the bat, and they are so used to seeing polished manuscripts that, if a project can benefit from it, an extra bit of tweaking can go a long way.

Hannah was stellar at revision. We went back and forth a couple of times before settling on something I was thrilled to get into editors' hands. I called up the editors I felt were perfect for it, pitched it with all my enthusiasm, and people started reading!

HH: The revising was worth it! Diamond|Man received a lot of initial interest from publishers once it went on submission. It seemed like a book offer could be coming in at any moment!!! But I still had normal chores to do, like fixing meals, cleaning toilets, and teaching piano lessons. Life continued rotating like a Jack-in-the Box handle until...

One day, Laura called to say she was setting up phone calls with the interested editors so they could share their artistic vision of the story with me. Note, this was still before any official offers.

And I was like, “Um, yes. That sounds like a smart thing to do. Um, hold on while I check my calendar.” And then I hung up and had a panic attack.

One of my critique partners calmed me down and convinced me that talking to an editor wouldn’t kill me and would probably be the healthy, grown-up writer thing to do.

LB: It definitely won't kill you! When editors want to speak with an author about a book, it's a very good sign. These editors wanted to know more about the unique formatting of Hannah's book and talk about their vision. When there's serious editor interest, it can be very helpful for authors to talk with the interested editors to get a sense of their plans for the book and what it would be like to work with them. 

HH: So I came up with a list of questions for the phone calls. I ran my questions by Laura, and she assured me she would stay on the phone during the calls. Agents are helpful in oh-so-many ways. In my opinion, every writer needs a great agent and a few good critique partners.

And guess what? The calls went great! It turns out editors are normal, wonderful book-loving people!

One of the editors, Kristin Daly Rens, had a clever idea for how to handle my book’s unusual format, and I liked her bold artistic vision for the illustrations. When her house, Balzer+Bray, swooped in with a pre-empt, it was a joy to accept.

Diamond|Man, the story of my grandfather and his revolutionary diamond-making machine, is tentatively scheduled for their Fall 2018 list!

LB: Kristin and the Balzer+Bray team have been amazing and have found an awesome illustrator for Diamond|Man, Jay Fleck, who is working away! We cannot wait to see how he marries Hannah's text with his art. It's going to be such a phenomenal book!

HH: In retrospect, it was good I failed at the first PbParty. It gave me extra time to switch the story I was submitting. I’m pretty sure Laura wouldn’t have requested my original story...because we’re still working on it. :)

I’m so glad my publishing path led to Laura. Even before our first book deal I thought, this is a person I would be happy working with for a long time. And really, working with great people to make beautiful books—is there anything better?!

LB: I feel so lucky that Hannah and I were brought together too! She is a dream client and I adore working with her.

HH: My parting advice is this: don’t let failures ground you—let them grow you.

LB: I second that! I would also add to keep pushing yourself to learn from every experience.

HH: Thanks again Michelle for having me (us), and thanks Michelle and Sharon for keeping the PbParty going! Happy writing trails everyone and good luck!

LB: Thank you, too, Michelle and Sharon—and best of luck to all the writers out there!

Hannah Holt participated in the September 2015 Picture Book Party (#PbParty). Her debut picture book Diamond/Man is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray. Hannah's engineering background and love of science inspire many of her books, including her SCBWI WIP Award winning picture book text: A Father's Love about the animal kingdom's best dads. You can find Hannah chatting on Twitter and occasionally posting on her ill kept blog.

Laura Biagi joined JVNLA in 2009. She is actively building her client list, seeking adult literary fiction, young readers' books, and nonfiction. She also handles the sale of UK and Australian/New Zealand rights, as well as audio rights. In the past, she has worked closely with Jean Naggar and Jennifer Weltz on their titles, as well as the submission of JVNLA's titles internationally.

Laura's writing background has honed her editorial eye and has driven her enthusiasm for discovering and developing literary talent. She studied creative writing and anthropology at Northwestern University. As a writer, she has participated in workshops at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute. She is the recipient of a Kentucky Emerging Artist Award for fiction writing.

Laura grew up in a small town in Kentucky and maintains a fondness for Southern biscuits and unobstructed views of the stars.

As of now, no promises mind, but as of now, I hope to have another Picture Book Party in March! Sharon and I should both have the sort of schedules in the spring to allow us to arrange the agents and the rest of the organizing. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Cover reveal for V.E. Lemp

I'm always happy to open up the blog to other writers, especially when they are friends and mentors and give so much back to the writing community. Welcome to V.E. Lemp on her cover reveal!

Artist Karen Foster draws while dreaming. Scientists label her a valuable commodity. Aliens call her their perfect messenger.

Seeking money for art supplies, Karen is thrilled when charming researcher Alex Wythe recruits her for a dream study called the Morpheus Project. But the Morpheus Project is not what it seems, and neither are the detailed technical illustrations Karen draws in her sleep.

Warned off by government agent Mark Hallam, Karen refuses to leave the project, even after her fellow subjects suffer breakdowns. Like the sun, her love for Alex blinds her.

Karen believes their love is forever, until a tragic accident blasts both their lives.

Aided by Mark—as well as a UFO investigator, his psychic daughter, and the dark-eyed strangers who haunt her dreams—Karen must fight to uncover the truth.

A truth that includes humans trading lives for profits—and a powerful cabal that will kill to keep such secrets from the world.

A truth that unveils the ultimate, terrifying, reality –

We have never been alone.


Older than our recorded history, and far superior in knowledge and technology, the Oneiroi are too alien to ever step foot on Earth.
Yet, aided by powerful human collaborators, they invaded Karen's dreams, stole her art, and shattered her life.
Now Karen must prevent them from destroying her planet.
The Oneiroi, extraterrestrials who’ve studied Earth for centuries, consider humans their lab rats. But a contingent of this ancient race—seeking to halt all experimentation—has launched a rebellion. Their mission, while just, is poised to ignite a battle that could blast Earth to a cinder.
With the planet tossed like a ball between fearsome forces, hope lies with a small band of humans and sympathetic aliens. Pursued by ruthless collaborators happy to sacrifice millions to silence the truth, Karen and her allies discover that only evidence bought with blood can expose those trading Earth’s autonomy for wealth and power.
It's time the world knew --
We are not alone.


If there’s one word to describe Vicki it’s “eclectic.” Equally enchanted by classical music and current chart-toppers, and appreciative of pop culture as well as high art, Vicki loves good writing in all genres. A lifelong fan of fantasy and science fiction, Vicki also enjoys a twisty mystery or mind-expanding literary fiction. Although her focus is on novel-length works, a few of Vicki’s short stories and poems have appeared in print and online literary magazines.
Coffee, cats, and chocolate are basic essentials in Vicki’s life. A library director for a performing and visual arts university, Vicki loves foreign films, but will defend the merit of television shows like BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, FRINGE, and TWELVE MONKEYS against all naysayers. She’d be happy to travel the world, if someone would just provide the ticket.
Vicki is represented by Frances Black at Literary Counsel, NY, NY. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and some very spoiled cats.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sun versus Snow Chat

We will be having a chat with the mentors on Thursday, January 19th at 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm EST. This is your chance to visit the twitter hashtag #SVSChat and talk to writers a little further along in their journey about writing, querying, what it's like to have an agent, how publishing works, or whatever is on your mind.

Hope to see you there!   

Monday, January 16, 2017

Getting the Call with Valerie Bodden

There's no better way to start the week then a success story that lifts your heart. Even better when the call story comes from one of our contests! A big thanks to everyone who makes those contests a success. Now here's Valerie:

You know how there are always things you want to do someday? For me, that was writing a novel. I got my start in publishing in 2006 when I landed my dream job as an editor for a school and library publisher. The next year, my first child was born, and I transitioned to a freelance role as an author for the school and library market. For the past decade or so, my day job (ha! try the job I squeeze in during naptime, bedtime, sports practice time) has been as an author of children’s nonfiction.

And though I love nonfiction, I knew something was missing. I’d started out writing stories in fourth grade (for the record, my first book was called “Enemies Are Friends,” and I still have it—thanks, mom, for keeping everything!), and I wanted to get back to that. But between raising four children and writing 200+ books, I was a little short on time.

I figured I’d get back to fiction someday—someday when I had more time (still waiting for that one), someday when my youngest was in school full time (she isn’t yet), someday when the stars aligned and the words came pouring out of me with no effort (that’s how it’s supposed to happen, isn’t it?). Fortunately, someday came out of nowhere and smacked me on the head.

I don’t even know how or why it happened, really, but one day in 2013, when my youngest was only a year old, the stories in my head and in my heart couldn’t wait a moment longer. So I started writing them down. I didn’t really think much about it at first, just opened a file and started throwing words onto the page. Though my first story ultimately stalled out and so did the next couple, they were a start, and I couldn’t go back to waiting for someday.

So when in 2014, I heard of this little thing called NaNoWriMo, I thought, I can do that. 50,000 words in a month is totally doable. No sweat. I may have been slightly delusional. Turns out it was a lot of sweat, but I did it. And when the month ended, I kept working on that story and revising it until in early 2016, I felt ready to query. I sent out a small batch of queries and then promptly got swallowed by nonfiction deadlines. By the time I emerged in the summer of 2016, I realized the novel needed another revision, so I set to it.

In the fall, I was ready to query again. I entered a few contests with agent rounds but didn’t get chosen. I debated entering Nightmare on Query Street because I felt a little contested-out, but I decided I didn’t have anything to lose by going for it. If I wasn’t chosen, I could still cold query, and if I was, I’d have the best of both worlds: a chance to be mentored by an experienced author and a chance to get in front of agents.

So I sent in my entry and didn’t forget about it, exactly, but the mentees were announced on my son’s birthday, so by the time I got done wishing him happy birthday and shipping the kids off to school, the results had already been up for a couple of hours. After going through the first two lists, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I hadn’t made it into the contest. Then I flipped to the list for Mike’s Monsters. I had to read it three times—but every time, my manuscript, DROWNING IN AIR, appeared there. There was no one home to celebrate with. Except the dog. Fortunately, she’s a party animal.

I was paired with C.B. Catalano as my mentor. Guys, she was awesome. She really pushed me to laser-focus the stakes in my query and to end my 250 in a way that would make agents cry for more. Finally, we were both happy with my entry, and I submitted it, then settled in to wait for the agent round. This time, I didn’t forget. There may have been a lot of refreshing of my browser involved. Ultimately, I ended up with one NoQS request. But I also knew I had ended up with a much stronger query and a team of cheerleaders behind me. With Cassandra’s encouragement, I began to send out more cold queries. Then things got real.

My NoQS-perfected query led to several full requests. One that came in very quickly was from Jane Dystel of Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret. I sent the full manuscript off and settled in for the long wait. But within a few days, I received another email—Jane’s partner had loved it, and Jane was reading it. When I received an email from Jane two days later, I thought, That can’t be a good sign. She must have given up on it. But it turns out she had flown through the manuscript and wanted to call to discuss representation.

We spoke on the phone the next day, and she was so enthusiastic about representing the book and my career. The next few days were a flurry of emailing agents who still had queries and fielding more full requests and agent responses. A week later, I called Jane to accept her offer. It still hardly seems real, and I can’t wait for the next stages.

So, I guess the moral of the story is, if you’re passionate about writing (or any other pursuit), don’t wait until someday. Make today your someday.

Oh, and moral number two: the writing community is the best place in the world to be. Do you know how many people out there are pulling for you? Writers like NoQS hosts Michelle Hauck, Laura Heffernan, and Michael Anthony, along with C.B. and all the mentors, have their own lives and their own deadlines, but they freely give their time because they want to see other writers succeed—that means you. So my huge thanks to them, and my encouragement to you: if you’re considering entering a contest like this, do it!

Valerie Bodden is a YA writer and the author of more than 200 children’s nonfiction books. Her books have received critical acclaim from Booklist, Children’s Literature, Foreword Magazine, Horn Book Guide, VOYA, and School Library Journal. Valerie lives in Wisconsin with her husband, four children, one dog, two cats, a growing collection of fish, and miscellaneous bugs that her children have “rescued” from the outdoors. She spends most of her time writing or wrangling children and animals. Valerie is represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret.

Find her online:
Twitter: @ValBodden (enter to win a query and 10-page critique)

Instagram: @ValBoddenBooks

Saturday, January 14, 2017

I Didn't Get the Call ... and I Feel Better Than Fine!

I'm glad to have Leslie Miller here to share that sometimes a success story leads to a branch in your path because there are many types of success.

Some of you might remember The Ivory Needle as the Query Kombat YA winner from 2015. The idea for the book came from an article I stumbled across online, which explained that before the use of metal, sewing needles were made of bone or ivory. It went on to say that a 30,000-year-old ivory needle had been found in an archaeological dig somewhere in Russia.

The Ivory Needle—what a great name for a novel, I thought. What could it be about? Immediately, I had my answer. What if a teen finds a 30,000-year-old ivory needle, and is somehow connected to the spirit of the elephant who was murdered for its tusks? What could that elephant spirit possibly want after all those millennia?

I broke out in goosebumps and knew this idea was something I had to pursue.

Within moments, ideas started gushing in. At one point, I had the eerie feeling that different parts of the story were adrift in the ethers all around me, just out of my reach, waiting for me to pull them into reality and set them down on the page.

I’ve never had an experience quite like that one before or since.

Having only written one previous novel, this new story seemed almost too large for me to tackle. I was terrified I could never do it justice or execute it the way I imagined it. Plus which, as the story developed, I realized it had to be set in Africa. But how could I possibly write a story about a place I hadn’t been? (Actually, I did spend two weeks in Zimbabwe many years ago, but that was hardly enough to give me a foundation for writing about Africa.)

Library books and DVDs about Africa cluttered my coffee table. Endless YouTube videos and documentaries about elephants and the problem of poaching took over my evenings. A year of constant research and writing later, the book was finished. I found a volunteer in the local Kenyan community who agreed to beta-read it and make sure I hadn’t written anything embarrassingly inaccurate, culturally insensitive, or completely offensive. Getting the green light, I started on a search for an agent.

After months of searching, endless query revisions, and even paying two query experts for their help, I entered Query Kombat and finally landed a highly enthusiastic agent.

(I want to thank Michelle once again for all her support and the unending hard work she and the other hosts put in with these incredible competitions!)

I settled in to make the insightful revisions my agent suggested. I wound up writing a new beginning, a new ending, and adding 12,000 words to the book. Confident the story was even better than before, I watched and waited with great excitement as it went out on submission. I was delighted with the list of publishers my agent submitted it to, and spent way too many hours imagining it would be immediately snatched up by Scholastic—leaving me in the rarefied company of J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins. Hmm, seeing that we had the same publisher, maybe one of them might even write me an endorsement!

Meanwhile, back at the computer, I wrote my next novel, The Nectar, while the rejections slowly trickled in. This might sound ridiculous or naïve or maybe even arrogant *shudders*, but I couldn’t understand why Big 5 editors weren’t jumping at the chance to pick up the book. After all, my beta readers LOVED it. My agent and her intern LOVED it. Why didn’t editors see the same things that we did? Didn’t they realize that regular readers would also LOVE it?

Sometimes months went by and we heard from no one. It was all so slooooooowwwwww. I joked that I’d be dead before I ever saw the novel in print. But the worst part was that little by little, rejection by rejection, I lost all faith in the book.

What a horrid, awful feeling.

I really started chomping at the bit by the time my new novel was finished. I’d started its sequel and was even making notes for another idea I was jazzed about. Even if The Ivory Needle got picked up, how many years would it be before my other novels got published?

I began to wonder if traditional publishing and I might not be a good fit after all.

A year after sending the book out on sub—and many disheartening rejections later—my agent and I took stock of the situation. She suggested changes to the story that I just didn’t want to make, after thinking long and hard about them. We agreed to end our partnership.

I spent a few minutes bemoaning two lost years, then leapt into action. By the end of that same day, I’d decided on a date for The Ivory Needle’s publication. I went through the book one last time, putting back my original beginning, tweaking and tightening, enjoying it all over again, and restoring my confidence that the story was as magical and engaging as I’d hoped.

What a great feeling to be proud of your work, whether traditional publishers “get it” or not!

I hired a proofreader and chatted with a marketing consultant. At one point, my publishing to-do list was daunting, but with each item ticked off, I got more and more excited. I loved researching and implementing the book launch plan, designing the cover (oh yes I did), doing the ebook formatting.

Who knew?

I feel completely energized to be able to publish on my schedule, doing things the way I feel is right for me. I plan to launch three novels in 2017. I don’t know what will happen with any of them, but I’m truly enjoying the whole creative/entrepreneurial process, the feeling of forward motion, and yes, the control you have as an indie author.

The Ivory Needle is a contemporary YA adventure with a hefty dose of magic, laughs, and tears. It hit Amazon on New Year’s Day. If you’d like, you can pick up a copy for free from now until January 17th.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Sun versus Snow Agents 2017

Contests just wouldn't be the same without the agents! Sure we could mentor and polish entries, but immediate results from the true experts and the success stories that result is what it is all about.

So a huge thanks to the 20 21 agents who agreed to help us out!

Remember that submission is on January 23rd at 4:00 pm EST. Go here to see the rules and how to format and here to see the mentors. And check out my Free Pass to Team Snow here

Part of the list of agents is on my blog. But listing all of them would be a huge post. So go to my co-host Amy's blog to see the rest

Jennifer Soloway of Andrea Brown Literary

Jennifer Soloway works closely with Executive Agent Laura Rennert. She enjoys all genres and categories, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult.
Jennifer is a suspense junkie. She adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries, full of unexpected twists. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! She’s a sucker for conspiracy plots where anyone might be a double agent, even the kid next door. She is a huge fan of psychological horror that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. In such stories, she is particularly drawn to a close, confiding first-person narrative.

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

Mallory Brown of TriadaUS

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

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

Alec Shane of Writers House

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

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

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

Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary

Whitley Abell is an editorial agent, supporting her authors through all stages of the writing and publication process. Her publishing career began as an intern with Carol Mann Agency and P.S. Literary Agency, and she also interned at Inklings Literary Agency before working her way up to agent. She holds a BA in English Literature, and a MAT in Secondary English Education, which means she can tell you everything there is to know about feminist literary theory and the Common Core Standards. When she’s not agenting or daylighting as a content manager, she can typically be found slipping down rabbit holes of the literary and fandom varieties.

Whitley is currently building her client list and is actively seeking young adult, middle grade, and select commercial fiction. Strong female voices are near and dear to her heart, and she is particularly drawn to fresh retellings, diverse voices, flawed but (usually) well-meaning characters, and parts of the world she’ll likely never see.

In commercial fiction, she is drawn to female-centric stories, whether contemporary or historical. She’s looking for psychological thrillers à la Megan Abbott; upmarket women fiction à la Maria Semple and Emma Straub; lyrical historicals à la Kate Morton and Hannah Kent; and commercial chick-lit à la Sophie Kinsella, Rainbow Rowell, and Taylor Jenkins Reid. She is also looking for immersive magical fantasies on par with The Magicians and A Darker Shade of Magic.

In young adult and middle grade, her interests are quite broad. She welcomes queries for speculative/sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, romance, historical, thrillers, and horror, and is particularly interested in light-hearted and high-concept contemporary, magical realism that borders on psychological thriller, and dark historical fantasies set at the dawn of the modern age. Number one on her wish list is a best friend break-up story—specifically, a contemporary YA told in the style of The Last 5 Years, or a humorous, heart-filled MG spin on Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She has a soft spot for trips abroad, mischief, boy humor, and the goofy guys and devout fangirls of the world. 

She is not interested in angels, zombies, werewolves, vampires, dystopian societies, or steampunk.

Please NO picture books, poetry, screenplays, non-fiction, or genre romance, crime, mysteries, sci-fi, or epic fantasy for the adult market.

Shannon Powers of McIntosh and Otis

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

Shannon is interested in representing middle grade, YA, and select adult titles. Above all, she looks for projects with a strong hook, smart plotting, and an addictive voice. She loves projects with a darker edge but is also open to lighter projects. For adult, her reading interests include literary fiction, mystery/thriller, and nonfiction (pop history, DIY, pop culture). In YA and MG, she is searching for mysteries, projects with romantic elements (whether fun or angsty), horror, light sci-fi or fantasy, and contemporary and historical with a unique premise.

Kristy Hunter of The Knight Agency

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

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

Caitlen Rubino-Bradway of LKG Agency

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

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

Nicole Payne of Golden Wheat Literary

Nicole Payne is a new literary agent at Golden Wheat Literary. She has a B.S. in Biology and a M.S. in Forensic Genetics. Maybe that’s why she now uses her background to investigate for new books. It must be in her DNA. 

She’s particularly interested in YA, NA, and Adult in Speculative Fiction, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Mysteries, Contemporary, Suspense, and Thriller. However, if the writing and story are amazing, she’s quick to snatch up exceptions, so if you think you’re a good fit, send her a query and see if you can convince her likewise.

Danielle Burby of Nelson Literary Agency

Danielle became an agent at NLA in January 2017. Previously, she was an agent at HSG Agency and interned at top literary agencies and publishers such as Writer's House and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, among others.  She graduated from Hamilton College with a dual degree in creative writing and women's studies. 

She represents YA and MG along with select mystery and women's fiction. She particularly enjoys complex female characters, quirky adventures, narratives that ask the reader to think deeply, girls with swords, and seaside novels. Danielle also looks for a strong narrative voice and characters she wants to spend time with. For more information about her wishlist, check out NLA's Submission Guidelines page. You can find details about her recent sales on Publishers Marketplace.

Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger
A literary agent for over fifteen years, Andrea Somberg represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including projects for adult, young adult and middle grade audiences. Previously an agent at the Donald Maass Agency and Vigliano Associates, she joined Harvey Klinger Inc. in the spring of 2005. Her clients' books have been NYTimes and USABestsellers, as well as nominated for The Governor General's Award, the Lambda Award, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award and the VCU Campbell First Novelist Award. Andrea also teaches courses for MediaBistro and Writers Digest on topics such as nonfiction, memoir, mystery and thrillers, fantasy and sf. Her client list is quite full, however she is always actively looking to take on new authors who write in the following categories: Fiction: literary, commercial, book club fiction, romance, thrillers, mystery, paranormal, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, new adult, middle grade. Nonfiction: memoir, narrative, popular science, pop-culture, humor, how-to, parenting, self-help, lifestyle, travel, interior design, crafts, cookbooks, business, sports, diet, health & fitness.

Harvey Klinger Inc. began as a one-man, one office literary agency in October, 1977. Over the years, it has grown and expanded, and is widely recognized among the top boutique literary agencies in the publishing industry today. It actively markets film/tv international, and other subsidiary rights, working with a vast network of co-agents in L.A. and around the globe.

Dr. Uwe Stender of TriadaUS

Literary Agent Dr. Uwe Stender is a Full Member of the AAR (Association of Authors' Representatives). He is interested in all kinds of commercial fiction, especially Young Adult, Middle Grade, Mysteries, and Women's Fiction. He is also interested in all kinds of non-fiction projects. But surprise him, his tastes are eclectic, and he may just love what you wrote!

His favorite five novels right now are: Eleanor And Park, How It Went Down, Code Name Verity, High Fidelity, and The Big Sleep.