Deals: Making Friends With Giants by Bassey Ikpi Acquired by Harper Perennial

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Sometimes, books start in the quirkiest of places.

Like in a Facebook conversation with a friend from back home.

Steve Clark, a storyteller from back in Philadelphia who I’ve seen numerous time at various First Person Arts events, sent me a message one fateful day. He’s one incredibly gifted guy, and my goodness, I look forward to seeing his book in stores one day. And when he brought up his friend, I was happy to take a look at the project, and recommend other agents for it, in the event it wasn’t for me.

Turns out, it was definitely for me.

Some of you might recognize Bassey Ikpi. And you should. Here’s her Twitter. Her Wikipedia. You probably saw her on Def Poetry Jam, or read one of her many essays or articles around the Internet. I highly suggest checking out her gorgeous, recent essays on Catapult. She’s a rockstar, and I’m so happy Steve connected us.

Bassey and I exchanged really long emails discussing her work. The essays she’d written. Her poetry and time with Def Poetry Jam. The articles for places like The Root, Essence, XO Jane, and more. She wanted to put together a book that would help push her mission… erasing the stigma around mental health for women of color.

My wife often writes about mental health, on her blog Down to Utopia, so this was something really close to me. I absolutely had to be the agent who worked on this project with Bassey.

We spent a lot of time pouring over this project together. And the resulting book, Making Friends With Giants, is a memoir about living with mental illness, and my goodness, I can’t wait for it to be out there in the world, making a difference. It’s my hope people will pick up Bassey’s story, and feel less alone.

And I’m thrilled to say Making Friends With Giants will be published by Harper Perennial in 2018. Here are the details, from Publisher’s Marketplace:

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Go ahead and follow Bassey, her editrix Erin Wicks, and Harper Perennial on Twitter, and wish them all the congrats. And here’s to making books that help make the world a better place.

How to Nail an In-Person Pitch: Some Questions You Should Be Ready For

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I love taking in-person pitches at publishing conferences.

It’s how I found Lindsey Smith (her book, Eat Your Feelings, comes out with St. Martin’s Press next year!), and I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to talk with numerous writers around the country. About their books, about their platforms, all kinds of good stuff, sharing advice as well as dishing out suggestions for their projects.

But without fail, at every conference I attend, there are certain questions I ask that seem to trip writers up. And sometimes, not having answers to those questions sends up serious red flags.

So I thought I’d do a little post, to dish out some tips for those of you pitching agents and editors in-person. Because while you may have polished that pitch to perfection, you’re going to need to answer these kind of questions. Read more

The Best of #CorgiYA, And The Benefits of Social Media Silliness

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Back in August, my wife jokingly suggested that we make a Twitter account for our dog, Augustus. I’d been occasionally tweeting about him being my “assistant” at P.S. Literary, and she thought it might be funny to make a profile of him doing just that.

And now he has over 1,200 Twitter followers. For a corgi tweeting his life goal of being a literary agent. The Internet is a wonderful place.

One of the quirky things I’ve been doing with Auggie’s Twitter account, is Photoshopping corgis into YA books. Poorly for the most part, and sometimes spending WAY more time than I should on others. #CorgiYA was born, and it’s a fun way to distract myself.

To celebrate his 1,000 follower landmark, I offered up a query critique contest. The best #CorgiYA would win a query critique from me and Augustus. Mine will be real, Auggie’s will be silly. And much to my surprise, a bundle of people jumped in to play along! Authors, editors, agents, publishers… it was a very fun few days on Twitter.

And I can’t talk about doing a social media game without pointing at the analytics of the fun.

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With over one million impressions and the reach to over 600,000 people, over 250 folks participating in favoriting, retweeting, talking about and creating their own images… a lot of people were engaged in having fun with this thing. It pulled in about 100 new followers for Auggie’s account and my own.

Remember, writers in the social media world. It doesn’t all have to be “BUY MY BOOK” to get people paying attention to you and sharing your stuff. In fact, it shouldn’t be. No one is on social media to be promoted at. They are here to have fun.

Do things like this. Have fun.

I also have to call out Ashley Ruggirello in particular here. She made some of my favorites in this game. I know she does freelance cover designs, and my goodness, her Photoshops during this were gorgeous. If you’re looking for a designer, please drop her a line.

As for winners, my three winners were from Lyndsay Ely, Ari Faye, Ashley Ruggirello, and The Book Voyagers. “Eric wait that’s four.” I know. I may have seen a query from one of these folks and given them notes already. So one is an honorary winner.

Here are the best of the best, starting with my four winners. Enjoy!

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WINNER: From Ash Ruggirello

CORGKEEPER

WINNER: From Lyndsay Ely

WHEN THE MEAT WAS OURS

WINNER: From The Book Voyagers

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WINNER: From Ari Faye Read more

My First Full Year as a Literary Agent: Six Lessons I Learned

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So last year was my first full year working as a literary agent.

I had a lot of awesome victories that I shouted to the social media winds and posted about here. I signed a number of rockstar authors, from well-established authors to debuts. You can check out my team in this handy Twitter list. They are all wonderful. I went to a bundle of conferences all around the country, so many that I can’t remember all the places. I even sold some books I can’t quite announce just yet.

And the ones I did announce? I’m so proud of them.

And while all of that sounds awesome, there were some big hurdles in the mix, and some major lessons I took away. Because for every author I picked up, there was another I didn’t get to work with. There were conferences that were, sadly, not a good use of my time. And I’m going to try to get better at handling all of these things.

Here are some of the lessons I learned, that I hope you can learn from too. Read more

Deals: Erica Cameron’s Pax Novis Trilogy Acquired by Entangled Teen

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Back in August, I was honored to announce signing Erica Cameron.

Twitter exploded, and I was so happy.

Chances are, you know Erica. She’s already fantastically prolific. She’s the author of The Dream War Saga, a series with Spencer Hill Press, the Assasssins series, with the new LGBTQ+ imprint Triton Books, The Ryogan Chronicles with Entangled… and… well, frankly a lot more. Just look at them all here. She’s a rockstar.

I was introduced to Erica by Tristina Wright, whose debut comes out next year (please add 27 Hours to your Goodreads), and I knew I wanted to work with her after devouring one of her manuscripts in a day.

That, and if Tristina says someone’s work is good… you better listen. I hope you agent and editor pals are following Tristina on Twitter. She has talented friends.

Me and Erica spent the tail end of the summer touching up her proposals and reviewing her projects, all of which cut me deeply. Her inclusive stories are the kind I’m dying to see more of on bookshelves. They remind me of some of my recent favorites like More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera and Hero by the late, great Perry Moore, in how they give LGTBQ+ teenagers a place to see themselves in genre fiction.

And her next trilogy will continue to do just that.

I’m thrilled to announce that Erica’s sci-fi trilogy, PAX NOVIS, has been acquired by Entangled Teen. The first book, PAX NOVIS, will debut in 2018, with ORIGINS and PLAGUED following soon after.

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The series introduces readers to a galaxy at war, and the massive, nearly-continent-sized trade ships that travel between planets. These are neutral vessels that no one would dare attack, as they provide supplies for the planets suffering along the outer rims.

But as political upheaval hits the universe and the desperately needed ships start vanishing without a trace, several teenagers on one of these ships find themselves rushing to save them… and consequently, make their way back across the cosmos home.

It’s very much along the lines of Across the Universe by Beth Revis mashed up with Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek Voyager (the best Star Trek series, sorry everyone), and I’m just so very excited for it.

And hey, it’s my first trilogy as an agent. Squee!

Be sure to send Erica all the congrats, and meet her awesome editor, Kate Brauning, and publisher on social media.

Erica Camerontwitter.com/byericacameron

Kate Brauningwww.twitter.com/KateBrauning

Entangled: www.twitter.com/entangledteen