Well, the year is off to a cold, rainy, busy start here at GSF. While we're sick of the atmospheric aspects, we're grateful for the briskness of business. This week we highlight some agent news, cool contests (romance, anyone?), agent wishlists, and then consider the revolutionary potential of self-publishing at the end (well, not really, but kind of, a teensy bit).
We'd love to hear your feedback. Please let us know what you think in the comments and if there are certain types of information you would like to see in the Roundup. Also feel free to tweet at us (@freelancingrads) with any ideas or questions. Have a great writing week!
Irene Goodman Agency loses one agent and gains another, and a YA enthusiast finds a new home
Whitney Ross has has joined Irene Goodman Literary Agency as a literary agent.
Fiction: Middle grade, YA, and adult fiction of all genres.
Nonfiction: Design, cooking, and fashion.
"Whitney loves to read novels set in unusual time periods and locations, whether that involves a fantastical element or not. She is rarely able to resist the trickster king motif, and has a weakness for read-between-the-lines subtle romances. Yet she's constantly surprised by books not on her "wish list," and is always open to stories with compelling characters and emotionally involving plotlines."
Rachel Ekstrom has joined Folio Literary Management as a literary agent.
Fiction: Thrillers; upmarket/bookclub fiction; Middle Grade; YA
Nonfiction: Psychology/mental health; social issues; parenting; nature/animals
"I’m eagerly looking for new voices and projects, particularly commercial and upmarket adult fiction with an immediate, commercially appealing voice, in the areas of thrillers and suspense, bookclub and women’s fiction, historical, crime and the occasional exceptional work of Young Adult and Middle Grade."
Jennie Kendrick has joined Lupine Grove Creative as a literary agent.
Fiction: General Fiction, especially YA and Middle Grades.
Nonfiction: History; Law; Food/Beverage; Pop culture
"You change so much as a young adult, because you're finding your own identity and launching yourself out into the world. Whether you're doing it against the backdrop of WWII, high school, or a dystopian universe, you come out the other side irrevocably changed. I think we all can point to that moment (or moments) in our lives where Shit Got Real, and as a result, how we ended up a completely different person. When an author can harness the electricity and immediacy of those moments, it speaks to all of us." Source
Help Harlequin do what Harlequin does best, plus two great opportunities for emerging LGBTQ and immigrant writers
So You Think You Can Write's Harlequin Romance Blitz—Submissions due by February 14th, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. EST (Fiction contest—Editorial feedback + consideration for publication)
What: A cover letter introducing yourself and your Romance novel (which may be a work in progress), including any previous publishing credits, plus the first chapter and a complete synopsis. Winners will receive editorial feedback by February 21st and consideration for publication.
To Submit: Complete contest guidelines and a link to the submission form may be found here.
Lambda Literary's Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers—Submissions due by February 20th, 2018 ($$$ prize)
Who: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer identified authors who have written and published 1-2 books of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry and are actively engaged with LGBTQ literary communities.
What: This award is for an emergent author, not a specific work. Applicants may nominate themselves or others and will be judged on a core writing sample, supplemental materials, and evidence of contributions to the LGBTQ literary field. Two winners will be awarded a $1000 cash prize.
To Submit: Contest guidelines and a submission form may be found here.
Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing—Submissions due by February 28th, 2018 (Fiction contest, BIG $$$ prize + publication)
Who: First-generation residents of their country, which can refer either to people born in another country who relocated, or to residents of a country whose parents were born elsewhere. Candidates must not have previously published a book of fiction with a US publishing house.
What: Submissions must be a minimum of 45,000 words and can take the form of a complete novel or a book-length collection of short stories. All submissions must be in English though translations are welcome. Winner receives a $10,000 advance and publication by Restless Books.
To Submit: Guidelines and a submission form may be found here.
#MSWL Highlights: Train hopping, unlikable heroes, and "nerdstalgia"
Alyssa Jennette, Agent at Stonesong Literary Agency
Alyssa feels like there's an overemphasis on the creation of alternate worlds/realities/universes in YA fiction, and suggests: "Why not pull from real life and give me a book about riding the rails/hobo culture? I'm fascinated." Source Tweet
Alyssa is actively seeking:
Fiction: Graphic Novels; Picture Books; Middle Grade & Young Adult; Adult Fiction; Suspense/Mystery/Horror; Historical Fantasy
Non-fiction: Humor; Pop Culture
"She values diversity, ensemble casts with distinct voices, and formats that are specific to the story and give it its own context."
Lindsay Mealing, Junior Agent at Emerald City Literary Agency
Lindsay loves her some unlikable heroes. Send yours! Source Tweet
Fiction: Adult Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Romance; YA all genres
"Above all, I’m looking for a narrative voice that resonates with me and characters I can fall for. I want diverse characters and settings that make stories feel real. I don’t always know what I’ll fall in love with, so definitely reach out and query!"
Follow Lindsay on Twitter @lindsaymealing.
Leon Hustock, Literary Agent at L. Perkins Agency
In a turn of events, Leon wants us to know that he is definitely not interested in seeing his own "nerd nostalgia (nerdstalgia?) projected onto fiction." If you want to know what he is interested in, we've got you covered. Source Tweet
Fiction: Sci-Fi; Fantasy; YA; Middle Grades
"He has a particular interest in science-fiction and fantasy, especially fantasy with non-Western European inspired settings and cultures (e.g. Leigh Bardugo’s Russian-inspired fantasy). He also loves young adult and upper middle-grade of all stripes, as well as genre mashups (e.g. fantasy westerns, noir + almost anything else, etc). Strong characters are, of course, a must."
Follow Leon on Twitter @LeonHusock.
This week over at Buzzfeed, Jaime Green discusses the reading/writing of romance novels as a political act. This illuminating essay describes the continuing evolution of the oft-maligned genre, particularly the way in which once-taboo relationships and people—which is to say anything involving non-cis, non-white, non-straight folks—are now populating the romance landscape in ever-greater numbers. The authors Green interviews describe how simply writing the stories they want to tell is inherently political when the characters those stories are about are members of groups who are politically marginalized IRL. The whole thing is worth a read, but my favorite bit comes from Green herself, who wraps the piece up by describing the endeavor of romance as a “kind of literary whisper network” that discusses a host of highly political issues, largely free of male critique because men generally ignore the genre due to “taboo or misguided derision.” Check it out here.
As self-publishing becomes an ever-larger piece of the literary pie, it may be that evolutions like the one Green describes can happen more quickly, maybe much more. Suzanne Brockmann, an award-winning romance novelist, told Green how in 1992 she wasn’t allowed to have even one minor character be gay, and as late as 2007 had to fight to get out her book about a gay Navy SEAL. When following traditional publishing routes, an author is always subject to an array of forces whose interests do not necessarily include keeping intact her artistic vision. The self-published author is beholden to none of these, though, and so is free to include material that may not be in sync with the particular mores of the publishing guild.
Speaking of resisting the forces aligned against the author, this week the San Francisco Chronicle profiled an Oakland nonprofit press that focuses on international literature—works that are being overlooked by the big houses. Transit Books is interested in literature that deserves distribution but for one reason or another has been ignored. The founders, a married couple originally from New York, formed the press as a nonprofit so that they could make decisions in line with their mission rather than on sales potential. The works they have put out so far have been well received, and they plan to expand their portfolio to include American works that “push literary boundaries.” Check it out here.