Thursday, October 18, 2018

Fall Fiction Fest Agents 2018

Time to rake in the agents! We have 15 agents joining us for this improvised contest. Some are new. Some are established. All are looking to make requests. To everyone entering this year, best of luck! The Slush Pile is going to be SUPER competitive.




Only a third of the agent list is here. You can find the rest of the agents listed on Marty and Amy's blogs. 

Mentors will be revealed next week and they will be followed by instructions to enter.  This is not a twitter pitch event but an online contest where you will email your entry. For the announcement post, go here. Remember that submission starts on October 31st! 




Clelia Gore, Martin Literary Management


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

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

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

Clelia attends writing and publishing conferences. She also sits on the board of directors for Poetry Northwestmagazine. In 2017, she was named one of Publisher’s Weekly Star Watch honorees.

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

To find out more about Clelia, check out her blog at www.cleliagore.com. She also tweets tips, news and musings related to writing and publishing at @MadmoiselleClel.





Jennifer March Soloway, Andrea Brown Literary Agency


Jennifer represents authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and YA stories, and is actively building her list. Although she specializes in children’s literature, she also represents adult fiction, both literary and commercial, particularly crime, suspense, and horror projects.

For picture books, she is drawn to a wide range of stories from silly to sweet, but she always appreciates a strong dose of humor and some kind of surprise at the end. When it comes to middle grade, she likes all kinds of genres, including adventures, mysteries, spooky-but-not-too-scary ghost stories, humor, realistic contemporary, and fantasy.

YA is Jennifer’s sweet spot. She is a suspense junkie. She adores action-packed thrillers 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. Regardless of genre, she is actively seeking fresh new voices and perspectives underrepresented in literature.
 
That’s her wish list, but the truth is an author might have something she has never considered before, and it might be absolutely perfect for her. She is open to any good story that is well written with a strong, authentic voice. Surprise her!
 
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.
 
Jennifer regularly presents at writing conferences all over the country, including the San Francisco Writers Conference, the Northern Colorado Writers Conference, and regional SCBWI conferences.
 
For her latest conference schedule, craft tips and more, follow Jennifer on Twitter (@marchsoloway).





Lisa Abellera, Kimberly Cameron & Associates


Lisa Abellera joined Kimberley Cameron and Associates in 2013 with a background in management, marketing, and finance. She has studied creative writing, design and business, earning her B.A. in Strategic Management from Dominican University of CA and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of San Francisco.
Lisa responds to well-crafted prose with strong hooks and high personal stakes, idiosyncratic and sympathetic characters, a tangible sense of place and lush world-building, multicultural aspects and international settings, page-turning twists, and emotionally-immersive fiction that explores the human condition, especially within family and close relationships.
She is seeking to represent upmarket and literary fiction, women's fiction, historical fiction, mystery, suspense, thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, literary horror, most speculative fiction except paranormal fantasy (no demons, angels, vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.), romance if an element or part of another genre, and all YA and middle grade fiction genres. She is especially looking for stories by #ownvoices authors and writers from marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds.
Lisa does not represent nonfiction (this includes memoir), novellas, short story or poetry collections, picture books, early readers, chapter books, screenplays or other works of drama, nor does she represent self-published or previously published books. Twitter @LisaAbellera. 


Christa Heschke, McIntosh and Otis
CHRISTA HESCHKE graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children's Literature Department since 2009 where she is a
ctively acquiring for all age groups in children’s.
For YA, she is especially interested in contemporary, thriller/mystery, fantasy and horror. She looks for a compelling voice and a strong hook that will set a YA novel apart in the flooded market. She is open to all types of middle grade and especially enjoys adventure, mystery, and magical realism. For both YA and MG, she is interested in unique settings and cultural influences, interesting structure, complicated romances, diverse characters, sister or friendship-centric stories, and stories that feature artists of any kind. In picture books she is drawn to cute, funny stories (as opposed to sweet and quiet) that will grab kids as well as the occasional nonfiction biography on a subject whose story has yet to be told.
Christa is not looking for any Adult fiction or non-fiction, paranormal or dystopian at this time.Twitter @ChristaHeschke



Laura Crockett, Triada US 


In YA, she is interested in contemporary realistic fiction (such as study abroad experiences, strong female friendships, falling in love, mental health, diversity, LGBTQ) and fantasy (particularly with excellent world-building, authentic characterization, fantasy inspired by fairytales and other cultures' mythology, and historical fantasy). Some favorite titles include FangirlThe Lie Tree, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, All the Bright Places, Shadowfell, When We Collided, Anna and the French Kiss, A Shadow Bright and Burning,The Star-Touched Queenand The Winner's Curse.

In adult fiction, she is interested in contemporary women's fiction (heartfelt, juicy moral dilemmas, historical bends with parallel narratives), humorous chick-lit (especially if it's millennial-driven), and fantasy (excellent world-building, authentic characterization, fantasy inspired by fairytales and other cultures' mythology, and historical fantasy). Some favorite titles include The Night Circus, Outlander, The Queen of Blood, Daughter of the Forest, The Winter Witch, The Hating Game, and authors like Jodi Picoult, Kate Morton, Gayle Forman, and Sophie Kinsella. Twitter @LECrockett


Monday, October 8, 2018

Cat Shifters of Aaidar





Can an alien shifter and a human find a way to be together on a planet torn apart by war?

Guns, fangs and claws for hire, Herc's the alpha of a big cat shifter mercenary team, fighting for the Regime. When nurse Maya tends his wounds, her touch on his near-naked body triggers the first phase of an impossible bondmate.

There's no way in all seven hells Herc will bond with a puny human--despite her alluring curves and feisty attitude. He's not going to kiss her, so bond two, the meshing of their hearts, will never happen. And sex is totally off the table - or the bed, or any other damned place. So bond three, the irrevocable joining of their souls, isn't a concern...as long as he never sees her again.

A Resistance fighter, Maya infiltrated the Regime to save her captured sister. Her slash-and-burn plan doesn't include bonding with a sexy mercenary shifter who's hunting her people into extinction. But when her secret identity's revealed, she flees into the desert with Regime soldiers--and a determined Herc--hot on her heels.

If he catches Maya, Herc faces a lifetime on the run from the Regime. But giving in to her heart's desire will bond Maya to her enemy.


CAT SHIFTERS OF AAIDAR: ESCAPE is book one in a four-book series. Look for book 2, ENGAGE, coming October 12, ENSNARE in December, and ENDINGS, in January 2020.





Laney Kaye & Christina Wilder co-write steamy shifter romance featuring alpha men and kick-ass women who find their happily-ever-after on distant, alien worlds. 

Look for upcoming titles released individually, including:

MY BIG FAT GREEK ROMANCE, Legally Blonde meets Gladiator in a humorous time travel romance set in ancient Pompeii, November, 2018, by Christina Wilder

THE LURE OF THE MER, by Laney Kaye, coming Spring '19 from The Wild Rose Press


Friday, October 5, 2018

Announcing Fall Fiction Fest

Who is ready for something new this fall? This year because of the many changes in the contest world, we have had to rethink Nightmare On Query Street and Sun versus Snow. As we didn't want to let these amazing contests (who have many years of success) go, Michelle Hauck, Marty Mayberry, and Amy Trueblood have come with a brand new fall contest called, FALL FICTION FEST!





Like past contests, this will be a query plus first 250 words event. We will open a contest window for twenty-four hours and accept entries that meet the contest requirements and guidelines. Once all entries have been received, Michelle, Marty, and Amy will review the entries and make ten selections each. After these thirty selections are announced, the writers will be paired with seasoned mentors who will help them polish their materials for the agent round. Currently there are ten agents on board with hopefully more committing soon!

The agent round will be open for a full three days and will allow the participating agents to travel between our three blogs and make requests based on what they represent. To keep a bit of fun (and tradition) in the contest, we will continue having the agents request in a fall-flavored way. Like "Add an extra marshmallow to my hot cocoa and send me the full!" 

As always once the agent request period is over, we will direct the participants on how to send in their requested materials.

Now for the guidelines and rules…

1) Entries can be Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, or Middle Grade. All genres (excluding erotica)
2) Entries must be for a completed and polished manuscript (please check word count guidelines to make sure your entry qualifies!)

Some great online posts to check out:




3) The entry cannot have been part of an agent round in a contest for the last three months. This does not include twitter pitch events. 

Important dates:

October 31: Submission window opens (will be open for 24 hours)
November 19: Selected 30 entries announced
November 20- 25: Mentors work with entries
November 26-28: Agent round

As we get closer to the submission window on October 31, we will post full details on submission guidelines and entry rules. Follow along at #FallFest. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Query Questions with Lynnette Novak



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

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

Welcome to Lynnette Novak of the Seymour Agency. I got to know Lynnette first as a Pitchwars mentor, and now as an agent she helps support contests for writers. Make sure to follow her on twitter where she shares some very insightful tips about writing and querying. @Lynnette_Novak

Is there a better or worse time of year to query?
No. I’m pretty much open all year, but during holidays, my reply time might increase slightly.

Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong?
Having a strong query definitely helps, but as long as I’m interested in the premise, I’ll take a look at the pages.

How open are you to writers who have never been published? 
I’m equally open to unpublished and published authors. It’s the writing that has to hook me, not the bio.

The dreaded rhetorical question in a query. Are they as taboo as the rumors say?
Using rhetorical questions in a query isn’t necessarily taboo, but I’d say it’s risky. I won’t stop reading if I come across a rhetorical question, but there are definitely better ways to present a query. This is a very competitive industry. Write the strongest query possible to give your writing the best chance at hooking an agent or editor.

How important are comp titles? Is it something you want to see in a query? Are movie/tv reference okay as comp titles? Comp titles can be tricky. If you can’t find good comps, don’t fake it. I’d rather you didn’t use a comp at all than to use something that isn’t relevant. If you do use comps, make sure they’re well known and fairly recent (unless it’s something timeless like Stephen King’s IT or HARRY POTTER.) I’m totally fine with movie and TV comps, but I’m also okay with not using comps at all.

Do you prefer a little personalized chit-chat in a query letter or would you rather hear about the manuscript? I don’t mind chitchat, especially if we’ve met or you’ve done some research about me and want to let me know we share similar interests (like animals). There’s no need to say you queried me because I represent your genre. That’s kind of a given. I hope! But, if you would rather add something like that to “break the ice,” that’s fine too. I’m not too picky about this kind of thing, UNLESS the personalized message is clearly something that was supposed to be for another agent. For example, I had an author tell me that we met at such-an-such a conference. Interesting, because I’d never been to that conference. Sometimes, writers will quote something I wrote on Twitter or on the #MSWL. That’s okay, as long as it’s actually what I wrote. I’ve had authors quote other agents and say it was my quote. Ah, no. I would remember that. LOL I don’t think these authors are trying to pull one over on me. I think they just weren’t careful enough when copying and pasting their query to ensure they changed the personalized bits from the previous query. Is that a game-changer? No, but it doesn’t impress me either. So, if I’m on the fence about a project, the fact that the author didn’t pay attention to details might push me to reject.

How many queries do you receive in a week? How many requests might you make out of those?
My queries are all over the place. I might get 10-20 a day and then I’ll post something on Twitter, on the #MSWL, or I’ll participate in a Twitter pitch party, and all of a sudden, I’ll get 50 or more in one day. I haven’t kept track of how many requests I make from my slush pile, but I can say that during #SavvyWriterCon, I received 336 pitches and I requested 35, so about 10%.

How do you feel about writers nudging on full/partial requests? At what point is it appropriate?  
Our agency guidelines are that if a writer doesn’t hear back on a query after three weeks, it’s a pass on that project. The author can then query someone else in the agency or query the same agent with another project. Please don’t nudge on queries. I periodically post updates on Twitter to let everyone know where I am with my slush and reading piles, so keep an eye on my feed. With partials and fulls, if you don’t hear back from me within nine weeks (unless otherwise stated when I received your project), it’s okay to send a gentle nudge. However, a nudge won’t make me read any faster and won’t move your story to the top of my pile, UNLESS you have an offer of representation or an offer of publication. At that point, I want to know ASAP so I can have enough time to read and consider the project before your deadline.

When a writer nudges with an offer, what length of time is helpful to give you enough time to consider? A week? Two weeks? It depends on the time of year. If it’s around a holiday, two weeks is nice. One week is the minimum, though. If an agent makes you give a shorter deadline, he/she isn’t doing you a favor. Many agents won’t be able to drop everything and read in a few days, so they’ll simply pass. Most of the time, a week is fair, though.

Many agents say they don't care if writers are active online. Could a twitter account or blog presence by a writer tip the scales in getting a request or offer? And do you require writers you sign to start one? You don’t need to be active online to get me to offer, but I will hesitate to offer if you aren’t open to starting a social media presence ASAP. Publishers look at an author’s social media presence, so an author who isn’t online is putting him/herself at a disadvantage.

If a writer makes changes to their manuscript due to feedback should they resend the query or only if material was requested? Does it make a difference if the changes are from an R&R with another agent? Good question. If you sent me your query and first five pages and didn’t hear back from me, it means I rejected that project. If you then revise the query and the first five pages, to the point that I will barely recognize it as the same project, I’ll take another look. But, it really has to be a dramatic change or it’ll be another rejection. If I rejected your partial or full, and you SUBSTANTIALLY reworked the MS, query me again, and I’ll decide if I want to take another look. Let me know that you’ve done MAJOR revisions. I’m not talking about copyediting. I’d look for changes in the plot, pacing, and characterization. If I only read the partial, and your changes come after that, my answer would be the same, so I wouldn’t recommend querying me again with that project. I need to see that huge changes were made. If that’s not the case, try me with a different project instead.

What themes are you sick of seeing? Nothing, really. It’s all about execution, voice, and how you make the theme feel unique.

Do you look at trends or editor wishlists when deciding to sign a manuscript? I’m aware of the market and editor wish lists, and that will help me when I take the project out on sub, but I don’t use that when deciding which project I want to represent. I follow my heart for that. J

Do you consider yourself a hands-on, editorial type of agent? Does a manuscript have to be sub-ready or will you sign stories that need work? I’m very editorial. With my background, how can I not be editorial, right? Of course, I’d prefer a clean, polished manuscript that’s ready to go, but I won’t shy away from something that needs work. However, I wouldn’t recommend sending me a first draft or something that hasn’t been critiqued by other writers, not just family and friends. An agent, even an editorial agent, should never replace a critique group. Our number one job is to sell your book, not edit it. That’s a bonus. J

What is your biggest query pet peeve? Is there anything that automatically sinks a query for you? Queries that talk more about the author aren’t helpful. Queries without sample pages make it difficult for me to know what your writing is like. Queries that don’t tell me enough about the story, queries that reveal too much, and queries that have too many world or character details probably won’t hook me. It’s also a turn off if you come across as pessimistic, disrespectful, entitled, bossy, or knowing it all.

What three things are at the top of your submission wish list? Three? Why only three??? *cries* I recently opened to MG projects, so I’d love pretty much anything in MG. I love diversity (authors and characters) and #ownvoices. I’m also looking for quite a bit in YA and adult fiction. See my pinned Twitter post for deets.

What are some of your favorite movies or books to give us an idea of your tastes? 
This is TOUGH… In no particular order… (And I know I’m forgetting a BUNCH…)

Adult:
PRINCE OF THORNS – Mark Lawrence
THE COURT OF BROKEN KNIVES – Anna Smith Spark
TIME’S UP – Jamey Mack
DARK MATTER – Blake Crouch
STILLHOUSE LAKE – Rachel Caine
THE WIDOW – Fiona Barton
DARK LOVER – J.D. Ward

YA:
THRONE OF GLASS – Sarah J. Maas
THE YOUNG ELITES – Marie Lu
CINDER – Marissa Meyer
DOROTHY MUST DIE – Danielle Paige
CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE – Tomi Adeymi
RED QUEEN – Victoria Aveyard
ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD – Kendare Blake
GONE TOO FAR – Natalie D. Richards

MG:
THE THICKETY – J. A. White
EMILY WINDSNAP – Liz Kessler
KINGDOM KEEPERS – Ridley Pearson
SUDDENLY SUPERNATURAL – Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
UPSIDE DOWN MAGIC – Mlynowski, Myracle, and Jenkins
HARRY POTTER – J.K. Rowling


Thanks for having me, Michelle. I had a blast!!!


Prior to joining The Seymour Agency, Lynnette spent seventeen years freelance editing. She worked with new writers, advanced writers, as well as New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Lynnette earned a bachelor of education degree from the University of Manitoba, where she specialized in English and French. She excelled in Advanced Creative Writing in university and studied writing for children and teens through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2015 and 2016. Both her mentees acquired an agent.
Although Lynnette was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada, she now lives in Minnesota with her husband, twin girls, and many pets. Her personal interests include reading, writing, exercising at the gym (okay, that’s a love/hate relationship), working on an assortment of crafts, all things having to do with animals (if she could own a farm, zoo, and animal shelter, she would), and enjoying time with family and friends.

In adult fiction, Lynnette is interested in acquiring: thrillers, psychological suspense, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary romance, romantic comedy, and mysteries (traditional, amateur sleuth, and cozy). In young adult fiction, she is looking for: thrillers, psychological suspense, horror, mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, historical, and contemporary.  In middle grade fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, action/adventure, mystery, contemporary, horror, and humor.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Query Questions with Ali Herring



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

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

Today we hear from Ali Herring of Spencerhill Associates.

Is there a better or worse time of year to query?

I slow down a bit during the summer, so the calendar school year is the absolute best time to query me from the perspective of a faster response time. That being said, you can and should query me any time of the year since I read queries in order of those received first, so it’s best to get in line!

Also, just a note here: Please DO NOT query me via the submission@spencerhill... email address. Only query via Query Manager here: https://querymanager.com/query/1032/. If you’ve queried via the email, go back and submit on the query manager site! Thanks!


Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong?

I almost always read a portion of the sample, even if the query isn’t strong so I don’t punish someone who isn’t good at pitching themselves. And a lot of times, I’ll read the sample first. I will not read the sample, however, if the word count is incredibly high for the genre or the query doesn’t have a strong hook or stakes.



How open are you to writers who have never been published?

Very open! I love working with and discovering new talent! In fact, my fantastic client Kurt Kirchmeier is a debut author who came to me in my query inbox. He had responded to a #MSWL of mine, and not long after that we had a deal with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for his middle grade novel, THE ABSENCE OF SPARROWS. It’s out May 7, 2019 and we just did the cover reveal.
Check it out, pretty huh?



Kurt’s posted links on his website to pre-order at www.kurtkirchmeier.net. So run check it out for me ok! This will give you an idea of what I’m after with Middle Grade too.



The dreaded rhetorical question in a query. Are they as taboo as the rumors say?

Good question. For me, no. Hook me anyway you can. However, if you give me a “high-concept” two- or three-sentence pitch right after “Dear Ali…” with the stakes right there front and center instead, you’re doing yourself a favor.



How important are comp titles? Is it something you want to see in a query? Are movie/tv reference okay as comp titles?

Yes, I want to see comp titles in the query. They are incredibly important, because they tell me you know where your book should be shelved and that there’s an audience for your work. I’ve been confused by a plot summary before in a query, but chose to read the sample just because the querying author gave stellar comps that made me curious. Movie/TV comps are great too. However, I would prefer XXX movie/tv show meets XXX book, so you can show me a book comp that’s already on the shelf too.



Do you prefer a little personalized chit-chat in a query letter or would you rather hear about the manuscript?

Yes, if it’s authentic. If you came to me via a #MSWL or we chat on Twitter a lot (yes, I’m chatty), or you have something in common we share, etc, then by all means, yes. Otherwise, just tell me about the manuscript.



How many queries do you receive in a week? How many requests might you make out of those?

This fluctuates but about 50-75 a week in general.

Considering Spencerhill asks for three chapters up front and the synopsis, I probably tend to make less requests than an agent whose firm asks for a 10-page sample only. So out of those 100 queries, I’ll probably only make one request. Sometimes two, but it’s rare.



How do you feel about writers nudging on full/partial requests? At what point is it appropriate?

I don’t mind a nudge after 2 months.



When a writer nudges with an offer, what length of time is helpful to give you enough time to consider? A week? Two weeks?

Two weeks would be awesome, but I find writers tend to give only one. It’s hard for them to wait that long—I totally get it. But it could be to an author’s advantage to do so. For instance, I’ve had two authors this week let me know they have offers of rep but asked me to still consider their work. I’m going to a conference Thursday so that makes things incredibly tight for me to read and make decisions on two books by Friday! If I had two weeks, I’d be golden.



Many agents say they don't care if writers are active online. Could a twitter account or blog presence by a writer tip the scales in getting a request or offer? And do you require writers you sign to start one?

A lack of social media presence will never not stop me from offering rep. That being said, it certainly doesn’t hurt. And I love when I can look at an author’s Twitter feed and get to know them a little bit first. I don’t require writers to join social media when I sign them, but it’s my advice they should. Building community and growing a potential marketing platform for when books sell is just good planning.



If a writer makes changes to their manuscript due to feedback should they resend the query or only if material was requested? Does it make a difference if the changes are from an R&R with another agent? What themes are you sick of seeing?

Only if it’s requested should they resubmit it. But you can and should always query with NEW work. I’ve signed writers whose second project I connected with, but not their first.  

If the changes came from an R&R with another agent, it’s probably best to only send new work to me at that point still.

In romantic suspense, I’d like to see stories that aren’t all centered on law enforcement officers, etc. Give me a new angle there.



Do you look at trends or editor wishlists when deciding to sign a manuscript?

No, but if I know an editor is looking for something and I connect with a piece that fits it, that’s a good sign.



Do you consider yourself a hands-on, editorial type of agent?

Yes! Very much so.



Does a manuscript have to be sub-ready or will you sign stories that need work?

I will sign authors who need a little work, but it needs to be almost there or easily fixable. Sometimes in this case, I’ll do an R&R if it’s not-quite “almost there.”



What is your biggest query pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is people lying on queries, saying some editor I’ve never met before told them at so-and-so conference I didn’t attend that they should query me. I’m also not a fan of people pitching more than one book. I delete those queries.



Is there anything that automatically sinks a query for you?

If you don’t give me the stakes of the novel, I won’t request.



What three things are at the top of your submission wish list?
  1. Upper Middle grade fiction that is high-concept but with literary writing – especially dark or scary fantasy right now, or something with incredible world building.
  2. Category romance – both inspirational and secular. Would really love some romantic suspense.
  3. I’d like a utopian YA novel with a dark, dangerous undertone.

What are some of your favorite movies or books to give us an idea of your tastes?

BOOKS: Across the Universe by Beth Revis, The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker, Tau Zero by Poul Anderson, Consider (The Holo Series) by Kristy Acevedo, The Box Car Children, The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau, Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, Wonder by R. J. Palacio, The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. TV: Netflix's Travelers Series, Big Bang Theory, Castle 




Ali joined Spencerhill in 2017 after moving back to Georgia from Connecticut, where she interned for a literary agency in the greater NYC metro area. A former magazine associate editor, Ali has a diverse background in communications and editing. She graduated valedictorian of her class at Berry College in 2001, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She is seeking middle grade and young adult fiction in all genres, science fiction and fantasy, romance, southern women’s fiction, and inspirational fiction, especially romance. She particularly likes high-concept commercial fiction with a literary flair. If you'd like a better idea of her interests, you can find her on Twitter, @HerringAli, where she regularly posts #MSWL's.