Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 2016 Check In

Hello, hello! 

This month is almost over and I'm finally sitting down for a check in. Personally, I'm thankful for this impending snowstorm of doom that is about to rain down on us. There's been so much to do this month and I'm ready for a weekend of eating soup and binge watching Grey's Anatomy.

What have I been up to, you ask?

1) Well, Project Blue--my newest manuscript. My seventh, to be exact. And, there's something I've learned from working on multiple projects: each one will feel different. Like, really different. There's some that have taken everything in me to write. Two manuscripts ago, I had to set up any type of reward system I could just to get one word down on the page at a time. It made me wonder if I even liked writing sometimes. But Project Blue isn't like that. It makes me giddy and excited. I love everything about it--even the hard parts. 
I've been doing a lot of writing and researching and re-writing, and am hoping to have a killer first draft soon. I'm so excited to share it and have my peeps read it (and of course poke holes in it so it resembles Swiss cheese). 

2) I also decided to scale back on giving myself so many expectations this year. One big one was how many books was I going to read. I read a lot, and I participated in GoodReads' Reading Challenge like it was my own Olympics. I can't manage to track how many calories I eat daily, but I can log every single page I've ever read in my GoodReads app. This year I decided to bail out. I'm going to read, but not be so focused on that number. And, also DNF books if I want or just read the parts I want. You know, read like an un-obsessed person might.
What am I reading now? The History of Love--a book that was recommended to me six years ago and has been at the top of my TBR list since!

3) Also, puppies. We lost our sweet Nelly girl last month, right before Christmas and I have to be honest, my heart is still broken. The other day I was out running errands and I found myself Google Mapping the nearest puppy shop and drove straight there. I got my fill of puppy kisses, but realized just how much work going from an extremely chill senior dog to an over-active brand new puppy is going to be. Not that I'm not up for the task, but Shannon and I still need some time to prepare and get ready. Meanwhile, I can't promise not to be that crazy lady who shows up in Pet Shops just to pick up puppies and talk about my heartbreak.

Until next month, friends. Bunker down from the snow and godspeed!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Agents Like Us - Melissa Sarver White

Today's a double agent interview day! Melissa Sarver White from Folio Literary Management stops by to chat agenting secrets, clients, and life with us.

She is looking for YA and MG of all kinds and a wide range of adult Non-Fiction (narrative, memoir, business, health & wellness, cookbooks and food writing). You can learn more about Melissa's tastes and guidelines here and follow her on Twitter @mjsarver. Her answers are below in bold.

Melissa on Agenting
  • When writers query me, I really wish they didn’t assume I want to read their work and instead write something dynamic that makes me stop everything and want to dive in. Also, be professional! This is a business – we are not friends. And please follow my submission guidelines and do a bit of research to make sure I represent the genre you are writing.
  • My favorite part about being an agent is sharing good news with authors, whether it be an offer for their project, a great review, that they’ve landed on a bestseller list, anything! This business tends to kick people around so I relish the times I can deliver happy news.
  • Rules and trends aside, what I really look for in a story is unique voice that I haven’t heard before, interesting setting, clever conceit, well-formed relationships, tightly paced story with payoff. I really hate when I get into a story with good writing and characters but feel like it’s not really going anywhere. I’m left with that “so what?” feeling. 
  • Whenever I make a book deal, I ... I don’t have a ritual to celebrate each book deal – some are big and some are small. But closing a deal is always very gratifying.
  • I really wish I saw more tightly paced stories, high concept YA, literary MG, mysteries in YA and MG in the slush.

Melissa On Clients
  • My ideal client would be someone who is always open to revision. That, in my opinion, is the difference between getting a book deal and not. And someone who trusts that I am always looking out for his/her best interest.
  • What I love most about my current clientele is I’ve been working with many of my authors for many years and it’s exciting to see them grow and change as writers and expand their audiences with each book. 
  • What I want most for any client is well, beyond their book getting the attention it deserves and finding an audience, I want them to be able to build a career as a writer. That won’t mean for most of them to be able to live solely off of their book money; but to be able to write and continue to see their books published and their audience grow over time, that’s the goal.

Melissa On Life
  • If I weren't an agent, I'd probably be ... if you asked my 25-year-old self, I would probably say journalist! But now I enjoy working with and representing journalists much more than the idea of being one. I’d probably do something like college admissions if I weren’t an agent. 
  • My favorite (non-client) book is a recent pick would be SALVAGE THE BONES; so raw and beautiful. It wrecked me in the best of ways and stayed with me long after I finished reading. All time favorites include A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN and THE HANDMAID’S TALE.
  • Secretly, I'm terrified of drowning. I can swim and I enjoy water, but the idea of drowning is terrifying.
  • My secret boyfriend is a tie between Idris Elba and U2’s The Edge.
  • I have a total girlcrush on Ruth Wilson (have you seen The Affair? Love, love it, and her…)
  • Sometimes, when no one is around, I do dance routines to music like I would have done when I was younger. They aren’t pretty but I just can’t help myself after 20+ years of dance classes.
  • My favorite drink is beer. Usually a Hefeweizen.

    Want to see more Agent Interviews? Check them all out here.

    Agents Like Us - Heather Flaherty

    This week Heather Flaherty from The Bent Agency stops by to chat agenting secrets, clients, and life with us.

    She is looking for young adult (contemporary and horror), middle grade (contemporary and historical), adult (thrillers and commercial women's fiction), as well as nonfiction. You can learn more about Heather here, find her submission guidelines there, and follow her on Twitter @HeddaFlaherty. Her answers are below in bold.

    Heather on Agenting

    • My favorite part about being an agent is ... everything. It’s a fantastic job. You get to bridge both the creative side with the market side of publishing. You get to push out books that should get out there, whether it’s because they are wanted, or teach the right lessons, or offer new perspective, or are just truly gorgeous. And my clients’ amaze me everyday with their work. Helping their words get to readers is beyond exciting.
    • Rules and trends aside, what I really look for in a story is voice, voice, and more voice. Full, real characters immediately pull me into any story, whether it’s a quiet story or a loud one.
    • I really wish I saw more variety, quirkiness, innovation… (I know, so helpful.)  in the slush.

    Heather On Clients
    • My ideal client would be all of my current clients. Hard-workers who are willing to try, writers I can be VERY honest with, and people who enjoy a chuckle.
    • What I love most about my current clientele is all of the above! Though some do more chuckling than others…
    • What I want most for any client is the right home for their future as an author.

    Heather On Life
    • If I weren't an agent, I'd probably be a large animal vet. (I know right? Weird.)
    • Secretly, I'm terrified of not doing everything I want to do ever.
    • I have a total girlcrush on Allie Bosch, Amy Schumer, and Angelina Jolie. 
    • Sometimes, when no one is around, I wear extremely ripped jeans. (And not just sometimes. All the time)
    • My favorite drink is rye.

      Want to see more Agent Interviews? Check them all out here.
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