Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Wishes and Wish Lists from TBA!

We’ve had a fantastic 2014 here at TBA, and are all very much looking forward to 2015. January is always an exciting time to dive into our submissions inbox and look for that gem that we'll be talking about all year. So, with this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the sort of submissions each TBA agent has asked Santa to bring us in our Christmas stockings. He's obviously a busy guy in December, so if you have any of these, please help him out and email them over! Submission guidelines can be found here.

Jenny Bent:
  • High-concept, emotional women’s fiction like THE LIFE LIST and SWEET FORGIVENESS by Lori Nelson Spielman
  • Novels for adults about crazy quirky families like THE FLOOD GIRLS (a novel I just sold to Gallery by Richard Fifield)
  • Novels with a touch of magic or paranormal in them like THE NIGHT CIRCUS or THE GHOST BRIDE by Yangsze Choo (but not genre fiction)

For a longer list, click here.
Query Jenny/Follow Jenny on Twitter

Gemma Cooper:
  • Animals and anthropomorphic characters—I love stories with either animals as the main character, or with a close bond with a child. Examples: CHARLOTTE’S WEB, A DOG CALLED HOMELESS, THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN. Or what about historical fiction seen through the eyes of an animal—major events in history with a dog or cat or pig or...etc. narrator?
  • Adventures are big for me in MG—I’d love something Goonies-inspired or a coming-of-age adventure like Stand by Me, where characters set off on an adventure and come back irrevocably changed having learnt something important about themselves.
  • I am always nostalgic for extreme weather. Can someone please send me my DASH AND LILY’S BOOK OF DARES or my THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY!

For a longer list, click here.
Query Gemma/Follow Gemma on Twitter

Louise Fury:
  • A m/m romance like FALSE COLORS by ALEX BEECROFT, but for teens
  • A cool, but interesting cookbook like THUG KITCHEN by Thug Kitchen or Gluten Is My Bitch by April Peveteaux or a fun one like An Illustrated Guide to Cocktails by Elizabeth Graeber
  • A YA that has interesting family dynamics, is deeply emotional, compelling and thought provoking, with a touch of mystery that pushes the boundaries of realistic contemporary like MADE YOU UP by Francesca Zappia or WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart.

For a longer list, click here.
Query Louise/Follow Louise on Twitter

Molly Ker Hawn:
  • More witty YA romance-with-a-twist
  • Smart, accessible contemporary MG fiction that deals with everyday bullying—not so much WONDER, but more like BLUBBER and THE AGAINST TAFFY SINCLAIR CLUB (shout-out to my fellow 70s/80s kids)
  • A gorgeously-written YA fantasy set in a world I've never seen before. I'm tired of medieval/Elizabethan/Victorian/British/Game of Thrones-feeling stuff—show me something new. Bonus points for absorbing political intrigue, alternate history, and no elves whatsoever.
  • Diversity! Show me characters we don't see enough of in MG/YA fiction, in leading roles.

For a longer list, click here.
Query Molly/Follow Molly on Twitter

Susan Hawk:
  • Richly imagined YA & MG fantasy, perhaps with an alternate historical setting, and strong characters, like ABHORSEN, SHADOW AND BONE, or CHAOS WALKING series.
  • YA and MG that uses found documents, like diaries, maps, journals or letters as a story-telling device; WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE for teens or tweens.
  • Literary, character driven MG with a (possibly magical) twist, like A SNICKER OF MAGIC or WHEN YOU REACH ME.

For a longer list, click here.
Query Susan/Follow Susan on Twitter

Victoria Lowes:
  • A contemporary novel that focuses on friendship. Perhaps something that explores the way friendships evolve like THE GIRLS FROM CORONA DEL MAR or Emily Gould’s FRIENDSHIP.
  • A smart domestic thriller that is both a real page-turner and emotional in the vein of Liane Moriarty.
  • A YA romance set in contemporary Middle East

For a longer list, click here.
Query Victoria/Follow Victoria on Twitter

Beth Phelan:
  • Emotional and magical novel, like a YA version of Mary Rickert’s beautiful and witchy THE MEMORY GARDEN. 
  • Poignant and sensitive YA that features characters struggling with not often explored issues of mental and physical health, like trichotillomania, phobia or genetic mutation.
  • Thoughtful, moving, coming-of-age YA about cults, rumspringa or the rapture, in the vein of RAPTURE PRACTICE.

For a longer list, click here.
Query Beth/Follow Beth on Twitter

Brooks Sherman:
  • YA or adult epic or historical fantasy with vivid world building, like Libba Bray’s THE DIVINERS, or Susanna Clarke’s JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL.
  • Fantasy and/or adventure middle grade fiction, a la ARTEMIS FOWL or THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES.
  • Works of adult speculative fiction, thriller, or horror, along the lines of THE MAGICIANS by Lev Grossman, THE ROOK by Daniel O’Malley, or NOS4A2 by Joe Hill.

For a longer list, click here.
Query Brooks/Follow Brooks on Twitter

We look forward to hearing from you in the new year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Deal Announcement: Stephanie Kate Strohm's hilarious YA to Sky Pony Press

I'm a big fan of Stephanie Kate Strohm's books (you've read Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink, haven't you?), and when the opportunity came along to work with her on her new project, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Stephanie is so sharp and so funny, and she loves history and theatre and food and pop culture — O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright, and she's basically my dream dinner date. So you can imagine how delighted I am to report that her new YA novel, THE TAMING OF THE DREW, has sold to Sky Pony Press. It's set at a kooky summer Shakespeare program for teenagers that reminds me of my own (also kooky) high school theatre experiences and it has one of the funniest first-person narrators you'll ever meet. LOVE. 

Young Adult 
Author of Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink Stephanie Kate Strohm's THE TAMING OF THE DREW, a romantic comedy about students in a summer Shakespeare program who find the plot of their production playing out in their offstage lives--with gender roles reversed, to Julie Matysik at Sky Pony Press, for publication in Spring 2016, by Molly Ker Hawn at The Bent Agency (World).

Congratulate Stephanie on Twitter, why don't you?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The 7 “Be”-Attitudes of Finding Your Agent & New Deal Announcements!

I’m so excited to announce two deals today, both for the wonderful Marcie Colleen, picture book writer extraordinaire. But not only that! I asked Marcie to write on the process of finding an agent for the blog, and she’s created a list of the key qualities that will carry you through your search—it’s as inspiring as it is useful. Be sure to scroll down for her smart advice, which follows these announcements.

Here’s our first deal, for THE ADVENTURE OF THE PENGUINAUT, the story of intrepid little Orville, a penguin who imagines visiting the moon. I love this story, especially for Orville’s dreamy determination:

Picture book 

Marcie Colleen's debut THE ADVENTURE OF THE PENGUINAUT, about a penguin who lives at the zoo and dreams of building a spaceship to fly to the moon, to Emellia Zamani at Scholastic, by Susan Hawk at The Bent Agency (World).

And here’s our next deal for LOVE, TRIANGLE and a second unnamed book. The first time I met Marcie she told me she had this title, but wasn’t sure of the story yet. Watching it come together has been a total delight:

Picture book 

Marcie Colleen's LOVE, TRIANGLE, about best friends Circle and Square, and the dynamic Triangle that comes between them, and to Alessandra Balzer at Balzer & Bray, in a very nice deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, by Susan Hawk at The Bent Agency (World).

Please join me in congratulating Marcie at or on Twitter: @MarcieColleen1.

And now, here’s Marcie herself, with  


I am often told how lucky I am to have such an awesome agent. And yes, Susan Hawk is amazing. After all, we make quite a team and sold three books this year—two of which were sold in a five-house auction!

But am I really lucky?

Of course, I tried wishing on a star, writing to Santa Claus, and crossing my fingers that one day an agent would just randomly email me and ask to represent my work. But when it came down to it, those things did not get me Susan.

What did land me such a fabulous partner-in-crime was hard work. It was planning. It was researching.

It was attitude.

You see, the responsibility lies with the writer to do everything within their power to find an agent. So for those of you still looking, still hoping, and still wishing on a star, here are my 7 “Be”-Attitudes to help you along the journey:
1. Be“craft”y. First and foremost, focus on craft. If you want to be agented (and published), spend time making your writing the best that it can possibly be. Take classes, attend workshops, join critique groups, and read books. I feverishly worked on my craft for years before I felt ready to start the query process. And having worked on craft for so long, I was confident that what I was submitting was not half-baked, but something I could be proud of. It’s easy to be eager, but don’t rush this step.

2. Be social. I know social media can be a time suck. But if used well, it can be a writer’s lifeline. By seeking out communities of writers on Facebook and Twitter, I was able to learn more and more about the industry. I was able to keep current with new titles, be introduced to names of agents and editors, and ask burning questions—all without even getting out of my pajamas!

3. Be present. All right, so I eventually got out of my pajamas and ventured into the “real world.” I attended conferences, classes and workshops where I was able to get to know fellow writers, as well as editors and agents. I even had many face to face critique sessions with industry professionals, one of which actually introduced me to Jenny Bent and ultimately led to querying Susan. Sure, these kinds of events cost money—but it’s worth it. Consider it an investment in your dream.

4. Be Nancy Drew. Once you have a few names of agents that you want to query, don’t wait for Santa Claus to deliver them under your tree on Christmas morning. Instead, find them through Twitter, Google and Facebook. Read interviews they have given and blog posts they have written. Get to know what they are interested in and who they represent. Get to know their personality. Find out which conferences or industry events they will be speaking at. If possible, attend those same events. Are they participating in an online forum or a webinar? Again, participate if you can. Sure, this can be a lot of work. In fact, it might even seem like a second job. But isn’t your dream worth it?

5. Be mindful. Check in with yourself. What do YOU want in an agent? Make a list.  Do you want someone who represents a few different genres that you write? Do you want someone who has a background in editorial or is also a writer? How about someone who you can relate to personally? This list is perhaps the most important of all. I knew Susan was my dream agent because she met the criteria on my wish list. But that doesn’t mean she will be perfect for everyone. Don’t ignore your own wishes in your search.

6. Be patient. This all takes time. Lots and lots of time. I first queried Susan in the winter of 2013. We emailed back and forth a number of times going into the spring, eventually met, and she offered representation shortly after, in June. Agents are busy people. If you don’t hear right away, do not fret. Take a deep breath. Continue to work on your craft. Query someone else. Keep moving forward. And never, ever lose faith. Which brings me to the last “be”-attitude.

7. Be dreamy. Never lose sight of your dream. Your dream is what is going to keep you going through the silence and through the frustration. Remember, a rejection from an agent is not a rejection of you. It simply means that you haven’t found your Susan yet. And believe me, finding the one agent who is super giddy about your writing, believes in you more than you might believe in yourself, and wants to take you to the highest heights is well-worth the wait.
Many thanks Marcie, and good luck to everyone on their agent search!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Deal Announcement: Ormsbee's YA debut to S&S Children's!

So, I posted last week about K.E. (Kathryn) Ormsbee's middle grade, and this week it's all about her YA. Zareen Jaffery at S&S has just acquired Kathryn's YA debut called LUCKY FEW. It is darkly funny, with snappy dialogue and a really fantastic friendship at the root of it all. I can't wait for people to read this.
Young Adult 
Kathryn Ormsbee's category debut LUCKY FEW, about a home-schooled teen who agrees to help her neighbor, a boy struggling with death anxiety, confront his fears as he carries out a list of increasingly perilous fake deaths, to Zareen Jaffery at Simon & Schuster Children's, by Beth Phelan at The Bent Agency (World English).

You guys, I am completely in love with this book. No joke.
Please congratulate and follow Kathryn on Twitter at @Kathsby! She also blogs here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Susan Hawk closing to queries December 1, opening January 12

I will be closed to queries from this Monday, December 1, through Sunday, January 11.  On January 12th, I’ll open again.

If you queried before this announcement was made (on Dec 1 at 10:30 am), I will reply to your query in the next couple of weeks. 

If I requested your material or if you were referred by a client or someone I know, please go ahead and send your query.

All other queries will receive an auto-reply, reminding you that I’m closed, and requesting that you re-query when I open again.

Many thanks all, I look forward to seeing your pages in 2015!