Agenting

Agenting advice

Congrats to Megan and Jorge Lacera on Their Debut Deal!

A huge congrats to the phenomenally talented husband-and-wife team Megan and Jorge Lacera!

From Publishers Weekly:

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 11.18.29 AM.pngJessica Echeverria at Lee & Low has bought world rights in a two-book deal to Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies, the debut picture book by husband-and-wife team Megan and Jorge Lacera. The story follows Mo Romero, a young zombie who convinces his zombie parents to try (and love!) vegetables. Publication is scheduled for fall 2018; John M. Cusick at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management negotiated the deal.

Guys this book is hilarious and sweet and delightful, whether or not you are pro-vegetable (and who isn’t pro-zombies?) Check out more from the Lacera family at http://www.studiolacera.com/

9 Great Young Adult Novels For Politically Engaged Readers

9 Great Young Adult Novels For Politically Engaged Readers

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Really exciting to see S.K. Ali’s SAINTS AND MISFITS in the Huffington Post (and in such great company). When people ask “what’s changing in YA?” I point to lists like this.

Things aren’t changing fast enough, but we’re moving in the right direction.

 

Congrats to Marina Cohen on her new deal!

A huge congrats to INN BETWEEN and THE DOLL’S EYE author Marina Cohen on her latest deal with Roaring Brook Press!

From Publishers Weekly:

MarinaCohen_picEmily Feinberg at Roaring Brook Press has bought world rights to Marina Cohen’s middle-grade fantasy Box of Bones. When 12-year-old Kallie opens a mysterious puzzle box, her life begins to entangle with another world, where Liah, a young bone carver, journeys with her master to sell wares to a Wicked Queen. Publication is scheduled for winter 2019; John M. Cusick of Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management brokered the deal.

Check out Marina Cohen online and on twitter.

Welcome Ashok Banker!

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Speeding through my inbox a few weeks ago I read a proposal that stopped me in my tracks– a y.a. fantasy so thoroughly original and unlike anything I’d read in a long time. A temple heist, demons that rise out of manmade surfaces, flying police wagons, a mid-air chase over the rooftops of a lavish city…
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It should have been no surprise that this idea sprung from the brain of Ashok Banker, author of bestselling retellings of Indian mythological epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata series. I cannot  WAIT for you all to read his new y.a. trilogy, RISE AS ONE. It’s like Six of Crows meets Ember in the Ashes, meets some other, wild, psychedelic thing you’ve never seen before.

And it doesn’t hurt that he is just the nicest guy you’ll ever meet 🙂

Welcome Ashok!

SAITS AND MISFITS Cover Reveal

In case you missed YA Highway’s cover reveal yesterday, check out the groundbreaking SAINTS AND MISFITS!

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Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.

How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?

Pre-order SAINTS AND MISFITS on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound, and check it out on Goodreads.

You can follow S.K. Ali at @sajidahwrites, and check out her piece on her quest to find an agent.

Ten Cliches That Make Agents Roll Their Eyes

f3fc3c45fd59bc3cb7fe8ad224519132Great books break these rules all the time. I’ll say it again: great books break these rules ALL THE TIME.

But here are ten cliches agents see so often in queries and samples, they make us go “ugh, not again.”

 

  1. Characters running hands through their hair. This move almost certainly springs from the era of Jonathan Taylor Thomas hair.

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  2. Dead parents. It needs to be said, even though everyone does it, including me. But remember, grief is not a shortcut to character development.

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  3. Redheaded best friends. Poor redheads, always relegated to the position of bestie. Also, why are best friends so often the fun one, while the hero is a stick in the mud? Yes, shyness is relatable, but it’s okay for your main character to be a firecracker, too.

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  4. Alcoholic moms, especially ones that drink boxed wine. Like ‘Busy Dad’, ‘Drunk Mom’ has become a shorthand for suburban ennui and inattentive, embarrassing parenting. Unless your story is truly about substance abuse, try and find a fresh way to signal mom is less-than-perfect.

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  5. Car accidents! If you’re a parent in YA, you’re probably drunk or dead. If you’re a boyfriend, you’re probably two pages away from a horrible car accident. If Kaydan has to go, why not have him get hit by a falling tree, or skateboard into a meat grinder? Get creative!

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  6. Stories that open with characters moving to a new town. I’m not sure why this is such a common set-up, especially in YA and MG, but rather than kickstart the plot, this device can leave agents feeling like they’ve covering the same old territory. (Oops, slipped into “listicle” voice there. Sorry.)

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  7.  / being forced to spend the summer with grandparents / relatives / country bumpkins of any stripe. I think this one originated in romantic comedies, where the too-busy, too-snobby hero is brought down to earth by the love of a simple man. (There are actually quite a few great books that follow this trajectory, but again, agents see it too often.)

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  8. Amnesia. In chapter one. A great story can explore a hero’s rediscovery of her past, and this plot device isn’t an instant turn-off to agents, but if you’re setting out on your first draft, this may not be the best place to start.

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  9. “I bet you’re wondering how I got myself in this situation.” Direct-address to the reader pulls us out of the story and reminds us we’re being narrated to. I think this is something we’ve picked up from movies and t.v., but in novels we’re ALREADY being narrated to, and don’t need reminding. We want to be immersed in your story and identify with your hero, not hear her monologue.

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  10. Heterochromia. This is one of many writer shortcuts for ‘there’s something different / special about her.’ For some reason it’s usually attributed to girls rather than guys, and sometimes suggest the supernatural. Speaking of which, this picture is creepy.

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If you’ve already queried a sample with one or more of these elements, don’t panic. Agents look past this stuff to see what’s truly original about your work. BUT, while there’s nothing wrong with the above in an artistic sense, the best and most enticing writing feels fresh, so in the future, kill these darlings!

Are there any I missed? Add them in the comments!

Congrats to Ann Dee Ellis on her new deal with Dial Books!

From Publishers Weekly:

ann-dee-ellis_picNamrata Tripathi at Dial has bought world English rights to Ann Dee Ellis‘s second middle grade novel, The Wild Place. The story follows 12-year-old Cass, who after reconnecting with her maternal grandmother discovers she is a descendant of Etta Place, mistress of the Sundance Kid, and finds herself on a journey to unearth long-lost outlaw treasure. Publication is set for spring 2019; John M. Cusick of Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management brokered the deal.

Welcome New Client Virginia Boecker

VIrginia-Boecker-Headshot-1.jpgI’m so excited to announce that the brilliant and wonderful Virginia Boecker is joining the Folio Jr. family! I’ve been a rabid fan of her work for years now, starting with the smart, funny, and action-packed WITCH HUNTER and KING SLAYER (Little, Brown). I’m so excited to be working with Virginia, and I can’t wait to tell you all about her next project. Stay tuned— and welcome Virginia!

 

the-witchhunter-revised-2-198x300-1You can find Virginia online at http://www.virginiaboecker.com/, and twitter.com/virgboecker. Check out WITCH HUNTER and KING SLAYER on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.

Congratulations Sajidah Kutty on her debut deal!

From Publishers Weekly:

9vEV8jr1Zareen Jaffery at S&S’s Salaam Reads has preempted world rights to Saints, Misfits, Monster and Mayhem, the debut YA novel by teacher and artist Sajidah Kutty. The novel follows 15-year-old Janna Yusuf, daughter of the only divorced mother at the mosque, as she examines her faith and relationships in the wake of an assault. The book will be Salaam’s first YA novel. Publication is slated for summer 2017; John M. Cusick of Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management negotiated the deal.

I’m so excited that Sajidah’s beautiful novel will be Salaam Reads’s first young adult publication. This is such an important book, and it found its perfect home.

You can follow Sajidah at @sajidahwrites, and check out Sajidah’s piece on her quest to find an agent.