Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TBA Monthly Wishlist -- June 2015

It's time again for the Monthly Wishlist!  Here's the ONE project that the TBA agents would love to see in their submission inbox. If you have something that fits with the below, please check out our submission guidelines and send it over. We can't wait to read!

High concept women’s fiction with lots of plot, emotion and heart, like THE LIFE LIST by Lori Nelson Spielman. – Jenny Bent

MG fantasy with an intelligent, contemporary feel, please! – Molly Ker Hawn

Be it YA, MG or Picture Book; contemporary, speculative or historical (I’m open to most genres), I want unique, smart, character-driven projects.  If you’re taking risks with your writing, I want to see it.  Surprise me!  – Susan Hawk

Would love to see a YA contemporary that follows a group of friends in a city during a sudden blackout. Something that happens over a very short period of time (like starting that evening and into the next morning). No contact with family or anyone and no idea what caused it or when it will end. Looking for something funny but poignant, where these kids have their own adventure for the night, and of course, their lives change.  – Beth Phelan

I would love to work on a speculative novel or thriller with supernatural elements, either YA or adult. Think THE ROOK by Daniel O'Malley, THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman, or HALF-RESURRECTION BLUES by Daniel Jose Older. I want to believe in (and be terrified by) magic! – Brooks Sherman

Historical fiction set during a momentous time or centered around the secret love affair of a historical figure. – Louise Fury

A domestic suspense novel with a really strong sense of place like MO Walsh's MY SUNSHINE AWAY. – Victoria Lowes

I’d love to see YA contemporary, with high-stakes romance. – Heather Flaherty

Gemma Cooper is currently closed to queries; she’ll reopen this August.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Meet TBA Authors at ALA!

Going to the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco this week? Be sure to meet the TBA authors who'll be there too:

Saturday, June 27, 9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.  
Exhibit Hall, booth 1022
Sheila Grau, author of the popular middlegrade DR. CRITCHLORE'S SCHOOL FOR MINIONS series, is signing books at the Abrams booth and chatting about training minions for evil overlords. Need one? Ask Sheila.


Saturday, June 27, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.    

Exhibit Hall, booth 3001
Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock will be at the Random House booth, signing ARCs of her powerful YA debut set in 1970s Alaska, THE SMELL OF OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES

Saturday, June 27, 3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Moscone Center, room 3009 (W)
Random House Children’s Books Fall 2015 Preview and Debut YA Author Panel, featuring Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.


Monday, June 29, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Exhibit hall, booth 3224
Tricia Stirling, whose haunting YA debut WHEN MY HEART WAS WICKED is "uncanny, unexpected, unforgettable" (Kirkus), signs books at Scholastic's booth.

Monday, June 22, 2015

From the Archives: REVISION TIPS AND TRICKS

Revision. Does the word fill you with glee or terror?

My part of revision is to ask questions, point out inconsistencies, cheer for the writer, and ask more questions. It’s one of my favorite parts of being an agent. I love the work that goes into understanding characters, what they want, and how that must shape the plot.  There are as many ways to go about it as there are writers, but I’m lucky to work with a group that consistently amazes me with their ability to dig deeper into a story.  So, I thought I’d ask them how they go about revision – what tips and tricks they use, what keeps them going when they’re stumped, and what they enjoy the most.

Hope this inspires everyone working on a revision right now!


The joy of working with a great editor or agent is that most of the time revision comments are things that really resonate with me. Of course that's not always the case and it's often the comments that I don't agree with that I spend the most time considering. It's easy to just ignore them or go and complain to whoever happens to be nearby (probably why my husband and kids make themselves scarce when I get a revision letter). But I find that digging a bit deeper into the hard-to-swallow comments can really make a difference. I ask myself things like "why can't they see that I've already answered that question?" or "what makes them think that my character would ever do XYZ (of whatever their suggestion might be)." And normally what I find is that I haven't been clear enough in my motivation, or that I've hidden some insightful little nugget at the bottom of a paragraph and that it needs to be brought out more. – Amanda Ashby, Dating the Guy Next Door (Fall 2015), Sophie’s Mixed Up Magic, Demonosity, and more

I think being open to a revision is most important - even though it's a very counterintuitive process.  I feel like I want to fight every note but then once I let go of my resistance, the note often inspires something beautiful or something I never considered before.  The book has a chance to become deeper and I, as the author, have an opportunity to know my characters more fully.   And then after it's done, I can't imagine going back to the way it was! – Dana Middleton, currently revising a middle grade novel for submission this fall

Filling up a blank page to create a first draft is labor, but revision is a blast. It’s my favorite part of a project. I really enjoy getting ideas and feedback for making things better, and then I pretty much incorporate every single suggestion -- even the ones I disagree with -- to see what it does to the work. (When done in concert with an editorial letter, I make it a game called "Let's Pretend She's Right.") From there, I begin to put things into a shape that makes sense to me. At that point, I really discover what matters and even what’s going on in a story. (I also discover that I don't have to pretend that my editor is right. She usually is.) For me, no good writing takes place until the revisions start. With that thought in mind, the first draft becomes a lot easier too. It gives me permission to make a mess now because I know I am going to clean it up later. – Paul Acampora, author of I Kill the Mockingbird, Rachael Spinelli Punched Me in the Face and more

Just like a good manager for any skilled job, I'm rarely looking for solutions beyond suggestion. I'm looking for someone who can tell me "this isn't working" and why. Who can make observations about the broader strokes, the things that make a story exciting: character, scene or arc tension, richness of the storytelling. An editor who can not only tell me what the problem is, but help me understand it, is giving me tools to problem solve and make informed decisions for improving the work. – Christopher Baldwin, author/artist, Little Dee (Spring2015)

I guess the biggest obstacle I have overcome in terms of revision is distinguishing the original inspiration for the novel from believing that what I wrote first is itself the best way of expressing that inspiration. That is, I am no longer afraid to just write new stuff, cut characters, take a weird tangent, change the ending--see what happens. Now I trust that I can rewrite, build new structures, listen to others' thoughts and be the final arbiter of whether the revision is syncing with what I set out to accomplish. – Sarah Lariviere, The Bad Kid (Summer 2016)

What helps me revise: Susan's awesome notes. Oh, you meant once I have the notes ;)
If I don't have any ideas immediately, time spent doing other things - walking my dogs, reading, watching movies, taking a shower (I get a ridiculous amount of ideas in the shower) - is really helpful. So is brainstorming with my critique buddies. – Rachael Allen, 17 First Kisses and The Revenge Playbook, (Summer 2015)

Before I write the first revised word, I spend a LOT of time thinking. The first answer to my problem is almost never the one that ends up getting written. – Lisa Tyre, The Wars of Zollicoffer (Spring 2015)

My mantra: no one can help me revise that which is only in my head, but once the first draft is on a paper I can employ the troops!  Yeah, for me revising is not always solitary.  My process usually involves a lot of brainstorming (by myself and with others), bouncing several drafts of trial and error off of others' heads (ouch!) and marinating.  I've learned not to rush but to let myself enjoy the process.  My best work comes when I'm having fun. The second it isn't fun anymore I stick it in a drawer and work on something else. – Marcie Colleen, currently revising a new project for submission next month

If I'm stuck on a particular character (their motivation for something, making them more 3D), it really helps to highlight that character's sections and read them through all at once, almost like it's a mini-book about that character. – Rachael Allen, 17 First Kisses and The Revenge Playbook, (Summer 2015)

I like to do revisions in long stretches of time - no quick edits for me. This means I have to clear my schedule and find a quiet place free from distractions. My office tempts me to do other things, so I grab my coffee, a blanket and my computer and head out to the screened-in porch. I settle in and refuse to answer emails, phone calls, etc. until I have a few hours under my belt!
I've also been known to use http://anti-social.cc to ensure NOTHING gets my attention other than my novel. – Lisa Tyre, The Wars of Zollicoffer (Spring 2015)

Want to know the crazy change-up/choice that finally got my rough draft of Book Two moving forward more quickly? HAND-WRITING it!! Yes, with a pen, in notebooks. It immediately took care of my seemingly unbreakable urge/compulsion to revise as I went which the computer makes so alluringly easy.  An urge/compulsion which pen and notebook make effectively impossible to indulge in. It made me much more willing to let imperfect/ugly/prosaic lay where it fell with the knowledge that there will be a time for revisions. I recommend this method for anyone struggling with embracing the "rough" in rough draft. – Jen Swann Downey, The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand and Ninja Librarians book 2 (Summer 2015)

For more on these authors' books and upcoming projects, visit them online and on Twitter!

Amanda Ashby, also on Facebook
Dana Middleton on Twitter
Paul Acampora, also on Twitter
Christopher Baldwin on Twitter
Sarah Lariviere
Rachael Allen, also on Twitter
Lisa Tyre, also on Twitter
Marcie Colleen, also on Twitter
Jen Swann Downey, also on Twitter

Friday, June 19, 2015

Deal announcement: subsidiary rights

I'm thrilled to announce the following subsidiary rights deals for our authors:

AG Howard’s NYT bestseller ENSNARED sold in Brazil to Novo Conceito.

Becky Albertalli’s SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA sold in the Netherlands to Blossom Books and in Taiwan to Global.

Lori Nelson Spielman’s SWEET FORGIVENESS sold in Korea to Arumdri Media.

Adam Silvera’s MORE HAPPY THAN NOT sold in Taiwan to Global.

Francesca Zappia’s MADE YOU UP sold in France Collection R/Laffont, in a pre-empt.

Lynn Weingarten’s SUICIDE NOTES FROM BEAUTIFUL GIRLS sold in Germany to Fischer.

LH Cosway’s HEARTS OF FIRE sold to Amarin in Thailand.

Lori Wilde’s CHRISTMAS AT TWILIGHT sold in Germany to Weltbild.

Lori Roy’s LET ME DIE IN HIS FOOTSTEPS sold in France to La Masque.

Sam Garton's I AM OTTER, OTTER IN SPACE and OTTER GOES TO SCHOOL sold in China to CITIC.

Audio rights to Penny Reid's Elements of Chemistry series, ATTRACTION, HEAT, and CAPTURE, sold to Tantor.

Audio rights to Alwyn Hamilton's REBEL OF THE SANDS sold to Recorded Books in a three book deal, at auction.  

Audio rights to Harriet Hapgood Reuter's SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER sold to Audible.  

Congratulations to them all!