Deals: Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed Acquired by Soho Teen

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Update: Samira’s debut has been re-titled Love, Hate & Other Filters! You can add it on Goodreads here!

Oh man.

Here we go.

Back in February, during one of the many publishing pitch events on Twitter (#PitMatch, a team up between the crew of #PitMad and #MSWL), I came across Samira Ahmed’s query, which, and I’ve said it multiple times and in emails to editors, I favorited so fast I nearly broke my mouse.

Here’s that original tweet:

Four days later, I called and offered to represent her. She dishes about all that here.

Four days. That’s how fast I read this manuscript. Faster, really. I read it in a single weekend. It was beautiful, hilarious, and heartbreaking. It felt important and utterly needed. A story of a girl torn between worlds, the one of her family and the one she wants. Of her family’s dreams and her own. Of two boys. Of two futures. And it all comes falling down when a terrorist attack hits a nearby city, and the alleged bomber shares a last name with her and her family.

It asks a gripping question. What happens to the one Muslim girl, and the one Muslim family, in a town suddenly rocked by fear and peers driven by misguided hatred? 

It’s my belief that this book will give Muslim teenagers a powerful place to see themselves in literature, during a time when hatemongers are continued to be given a platform in our media. I hope they see this book and know they are wanted. That their voices matter.

In fact, while discussing the book on Twitter this weekend, one teenager sent out an excited tweet about the book, and it made me tear up:

This book tackles important themes with grace and breathtaking prose, and I’m so thrilled to announce it’ll be on shelves soon.

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LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS by Samira Ahmed has been acquired by Daniel Ehrenhaft at Soho Teen, the YA imprint of Soho Press. Daniel worked on my favorite book of 2015, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, and is an incredibly talented editor who understands and believes in this book’s message. It’ll hit shelves everywhere in the Spring of 2018.

Epic thanks to Daniel at the team at Soho for taking this book on. Be sure to follow Samira on Twitter, and send her all the congrats.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some more crying to do.

And remember, querying authors. Social media is a fantastic resource. Samira and I found each other there, and just a few months later… here we are.

Updated: Authors & Editors That Can Touch Up Your Manuscript & Query Letter

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Recently, I had my friend Katherine Locke touch up some manuscripts by authors I’ve signed. She offers editorial services when she has the time, and I really wanted her thoughts on these particular books. I won’t say much about those books, but she was the perfect person to have working on them, rockstar that she is.

If you haven’t picked up Katherine’s books in her District Ballet Company series, please do. One of them, Turning Pointe, is even free!

But wait. Why have someone else looking over the manuscripts by the authors I’ve been signing?

Well, here’s the thing, writerly types. I can still miss things that need work. Generally when I’m picking up an author, I’ll have read through their manuscript pretty quickly (if I’m in love with a manuscript, I read it like I read any book… by devouring it), and when it comes time for edits, I’ll read it again, slowly, making notes. Then usually another time. And then again.

By the time we’re ready for sub, I’ve likely read the book four, maybe five times. At that point, I’m probably missing stuff. If I didn’t catch it by the fourth or fifth read through, I’m not going to. This is when another set of eyes is SO key. This goes for my work process as an agent and as a writer, as well as any author working on a query letter or a rough manuscript. They’ll catch things you might have missed, and pick up on issues that are closer to them.

TL; DR: More eyes, means a better letter or a better book.

After getting such fantastic results from Katherine, I thought it might be a good idea to roundup other authors and editors that offer up freelance editorial work. Because who better to help you work on that query / manuscript, then someone who has been there before? Authors and editors know what solid queries and manuscripts should look like, having read and written so many.

So… here we go!

Last Updated: July 18th, 2016

Katherine Locke (@Bibliogato): As I mentioned above, Katherine Locke is the author of the District Ballet Company series, a digital exclusive New Adult series with Carina / Harlequin. She knows her genre well, and works on Young Adult, Romance, and middle grade books. She offers up help on query letters, full reads, and line edits of manuscripts. [Website]

Laura Lee Anderson (@LLAWrites): Laura, like me, is an author with Bloomsbury’s digital imprint Bloomsbury Spark. Her novel, Song of Summer… well, you’re going to have a lot of feelings after reading it. Have tissues ready. She looks at query letters and full manuscripts. [Website]

Helene Dunbar (@Helene_Dunbar): Helene is one of my favorite YA authors, and you’ll be able to read a short story of her’s in my adoption anthology in 2017. She writes heartbreaking reads, and is available to work on your manuscripts! Details can be found on her site. [Website]

Lauren Spieller (@laurenspieller): Lauren’s one of my favorite book people on Twitter. She’s interned in publishing and worked on a number of manuscripts for authors that have books due out soon. You can check out her testimonials here, and of course follow her on Twitter. [Website]

Rhonda Helms (@RHelmsBooks): Rhonda is a super prolific author, with books published by Simon Pulse, Kensington, and Spencer Hill Press. You can learn more about all her books on her website. She freelance edits, and you can learn more about her rates and past clients on her editorial site. [Website]

Nicole Frail (@nfrail17): Nicole’s an editor over at Sky Horse Press (they picked up one of my author’s books recently), and she’s also written a few non-fiction titles of her own. You can check out her rates here. [Website]

Cait Spivey (@CaitSpivey): Cait’s also an editor, working with Reuts Publications, and specializes in YA and New Adult. Here’s a bit about her interests from her site. “I specialize in YA and NA speculative fiction (sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, paranormal, etc.). I LOVE projects with strong women, diverse characters (including LGBTQ, race, ethnicity, disability, etc), and surprising plots.” [Website]

Nicole Tone (@nicoleatone): An author / editor who works at Panda Moon Press and has a novel coming out with REUTS at the end of 2016, Nicole’s available for freelance editing. Contact her for more information regarding her services. [Website]

Kisa Whipkey (@KisaWhipkey): Kisa’s author editor over at REUTS available for freelance editorial work. She likes working on fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, mystery, some horror, and short stories / novellas. [Website]

Amanda Foody (@AmandaFoody): A YA author repped by Folio Literary, Amanda does query critiques, for free! She specializes in YA and MG queries, so only send her those. Details on her blog. [Website]

Meredith Rich (@MeredithJHRich): Meredith is the superstar editor over at Bloomsbury Spark, and acquired my YA novel! If she made that readable, you better believe she can work on your book. She’s available occasionally, particularly for query edits and genres outside what she acquires. Contact her for availability.  [Website]

Liz Furl (@LizLazzara): With words on The Huffington Post, Good Men Project, Bustle, and more, Liz has an impressive publication history. And she runs a lit journal! Contact her regarding availability for edits. [Website]

Tessa Gratton (@tessagratton): According to Twitter, author Tessa Gratton (check out her novel Blood Magic, which came out with Random House in ’11) is available for select projects. Contact her for availability. [Website]

E.C. Myers (@ecmyers): The author of Fair Coin, Quantum Coin, and The Silence of Six, Eugene is an awesome YA author that I’m a big fan of. And guess what? He offers up some freelance editing services! Manuscript critiques and the like. Drop him a note regarding availability. [Website]

Jon McGoran (@jonmcgoran): An author with Tor, Jon’s DRIFT series is a favorite of mine. Drift, Dead Out… all killer thrillers, that you should be reading. He’s taught a number of writing courses and novel editing classes, and is available for select projects. Drop him a line, especially if you’re working on thrillers or mysteries. [Website]

Hanna M. Fogel (@hannamfogel): Fun Fact, Hanna used to be my intern back when I was at Quirk Books. She was a superstar, and has since taken the leap into the publishing world. She’s looking to freelance edit books in fantasy for any age, as well as MG and YA titles. You can check out her rates on her blog. [Website]

Caitlin R. O’Connell (@Caitlin_Renata): A freelance editor, Cait works on query letters and full manuscripts, and she’s got some super reasonable rates! Check out her site for more details. [Website]

Kat Howard (@KatWithSword): Kat’s an author with Saga and a published short story writer with over 30 shorts out there in the world. And she has a Ph.D in literature, you guys. Check her site out for more info regarding what she edits and her rates. [Website]

J.A. Weber (@jawlitagent): Julia’s not just an editor, but a rockstar literary agent. Who better to scope out your manuscript and give you notes? She does everything from full manuscript edits to working on query letters. Details on her site. [Website]

Anna Banks (@byannabanks): So Anna is one of my favorite YA authors. I adored her Of Poseidon trilogy, and her standalone, Joyride, is… well, a joy. She’s offering up critiques, from manuscripts to query letters. Check out her rates on her site. [Website]

Ilana Masad (@ilanaslightly): Ilana’s one of my authors! I represent her and her amazing stories, and guess what? She critiques and edits. She’s won scores of awards for her short stories, and you definitely want to work with her. Drop her a line regarding her rates via her website. [Website]

Lara Willard (@larathelark): Working on comics? Graphic novels? Picture books? Lara’s the gal for you, specializing in work with a visual angle, though she does other stuff too. You can learn more about her via her site. [Website]

Kate Heartfield (@kateheartfield): Kate and I are actually represented by the same agency! She’s a Red Sofa Client, and writes speculative fiction, and is available to work on non-fiction and fiction manuscripts. [Website]

Jocelyn Bailey (@thebookhooker): A former editor at Thomas Nelson and a freelance editor for places like Pegasus, Jocelyn’s a rockstar. You can see what she offers up on her website. [Website]

Lyla Lawless (@lylalawless): Lyla’s worked with P.S. Literary, Entangled, and a whole bunch of great folks doing edits. You should definitely check her out and her rates. [Website]

Have someone you’d like to add to the list? Are YOU that someone? Email me! ericsmithrocks at gmail dot com!

Book Expo America 2016: Recap, Top Ten Books I’m Psyched About

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Ah, BEA.

This year’s BEA was really the first Book Expo I’ve been to as like, a fully grown literary agent. I went last year, but I was just one month in, and didn’t even have proper business cards yet. This time around, I had a few book sales under my belt, actual business cards like an adult, and meetings scheduled with editors at a few publishers.

On the agent side of things, BEA was a delight. I nudged editors at publishing houses I’d yet to meet anyone at, had some great meetings, and met up with three of my brilliant YA authors, Dave Connis, Samira Ahmed, and Lizzie Cooke. I was lucky enough to be able to bring Dave and Samira to a few events, and seriously felt like a proud Dad while watching Dave network at a YA author meetup.

What? It’s not weird.

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Me, Samira, and Lizzie, breakfasting for like three hours. It was awesome.

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Dragging Dave around to things, hanging with Danielle Paige.

I also managed to squeeze in a bunch of workshops with writers, and attended the Chicago SCBWI’s meeting (with over 40 members!) to talk about agenting and querying on Thursday evening, and on Saturday, the Chicago Writers Workshop, to take queries before jetting back off to The Book Con for a panel.

Saturday night at The Book Con, I got to host an in-discussion panel with Michael DiMartino and Leopoldo Gout. You might know Mike from his work co-creating Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Leo has worked producing numerous James Patterson movies and television shows. It was an absolutely honor, and a HUGE thank you goes out to the Fierce Reads crew for having me out.

Other quick highlights of BEA including getting to see so many of my blogger friends, BookRioters, BookTube pals, and author BFFs. I finally met David Arnold, Danielle PaigePaul Kruger, and Dhonielle Clayton, after being buddies on the Internet forever. I had the pleasure of getting to hangout with the brilliant Anna-Marie McLemore, who promptly prank texted me the entire weekend (seriously check that out here). And I only fanboyed a little bit when I met the hilarious John Corey Whaley.

Okay, maybe a lot. Whatever.

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Oh, and did I mention that Bloomsbury was handing out Branded bookmarks? What a thrill! It was really fun to see my lil’ book getting some push at BEA this year, especially when it’s paired up with two other fantastic titles, AND being given out with temporary tattoos for Isaac Fitzgerald’s next book. Super honored. <3

All in all, 10/10, would go again.

Now, as for those books.

I managed to snag a mind-boggling amount of ARCs, and might have been seen leaving a party early just so I could go to a Target and buy a bag to lug them all home. Out of all of them, these are the ten I’m the most excited about… though I should note I’m SUPER psyched to get A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir and History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera. Couldn’t snag one at the con. Someone send me those please.

As for what I picked up… here we go! All book links in the list will take you to Goodreads, so please, go add these to your shelves, and join in the excitement.

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Kids of Appetite by David Arnold: I’ll be honest. I wasn’t leaving Chicago without a copy of this book. It was either I’d get this book at BEA, or I would have to wait in Chicago until the book came out, wandering the streets, shouting at the sky outside Barnes & Noble. His debut, Mosquitoland, was one of my favorite books of 2015 (you can see that list here on Paste), and I definitely need his followup. I even got it signed.

Teach Me To Forget by Erica M. Chapman: I ran into Erica while wandering the convention, and was bummed to have missed her signing. But gasp! She said there were still copies at her publisher, Merit Press. So I booked it over there, and promptly held her book to my chest, ever-so-tightly. Rumor has it this one brings the tears. I am ready.

Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova: I waited in line for this one. Zoraida and I actually went to Mexico last month on a writing retreat together (expect a blog on that soon, btw) and she didn’t have an ARC for me! The vacation was almost canceled. I waited patiently until BEA to get her latest, and I’m psyched to dive into this book full of culture and witchcraft.

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner: This book has been getting a lot of buzz on the ol’ bookish Twitter, so it was way up at the top of my must-grab list when I was wandering BEA. Out with Candlewick in September, it sounds like a pretty devastating read about loss and grief. More tears! Ya’ll know I like to cry. The ARC has a pretty photo on the front of people swimming, so I think this will be an ARC I keep. <3

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige: While I was really happy to meet Danielle at BEA this year (FINALLY), I was double excited to get the first book in her new series. The crew over at Bloomsbury (who were giving out Branded bookmarks, those sweethearts), hooked me up with an early copy, and I’m excited to see Paige’s take on another fairytale gone wrong.

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Spindle by E.K. Johnston: How. Did. This. Happen. I was rushing by the Disney booth when an all-too-familiar cover caught my eye. I LOVED Johnston’s A Thousand Nights, and spotting the companion novel sent my heart racing. This one isn’t even out until December. So excited. They’d just put the ARCs out when I snagged one, and they promptly were devoured by the book hungry hordes. No surprise. Johnston is fantastic.

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles: Man there is a lot of buzz going on for this book. There’s even a blurb on that back of it from Peter Jackson. As in, the guy who directed the Lord of the Rings movies Peter Jackson. There’s a bounty hunter from Hell in it! And romance! Just… just gimme, I need to start this now.

Mice of the Round Table by Julie Leung: So Julie is actually in my writing group here in Philly. Or was. SHE LEFT US FOR NEW YORK. But oh, I am so excited for her middle grade debut. It’s charming, involves adorable mice that run around with swords and shields. It’s like middle grade Mouseguard, which is one of my favorite things in the world. Can’t wait. So proud.

Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West: I managed to snag this one during an ARC drop over at Holiday House, and focuses on an orphan who finds herself roped into a magical world, inspired by a number of myths and legends, including the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. So… yes. I am here for this.

Resurrecting Sunshine by Lisa A. Koosis: When I ran over to Albert Whitman for a Very Professional Agent Meeting (TM) I managed to stumble on Lisa’s signing. We chatted a bit and she was absolutely delightful, so I’m already way excited for her debut novel. YA contemporary, yes! And it’s about CLONING. Leaving the cover blank on this one, since I don’t think they revealed it yet. I don’t want to mess that up.

So these are the books! Look for them!

Events: Where to Find Me Through the Fall

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Oh. My. Goodness.

Summer is wrapping up, and Fall is looking to be a pretty hectic season when it comes to book-type-events. And I seriously can’t wait to be out and about, hearing about new books and meeting awesome authors. I feel like I’m traveling more in the next three months than I have in the past full year, and it is super exciting.

Here’s where you can find me, September through November. Book events galore. Read more

A New Chapter, Turning a Page, [Insert Additional Book Metaphor Here]

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At this point, most of the Bookternet seems to know. But in case you didn’t hear, after five years at the fabulous Quirk Books, I’m packing up my little toy-decorated office this week.

Several New York Times bestsellers, books that won numerous awards, a dozen (mostly) viral book trailers, several bookish websites, plenty of social network profile launches, the publication of my own book, tons of conventions, and thousands upon thousands of books mailed to bloggers… it’s been a really wonderful and fulfilling experience, working with all the awesome people at Quirk.

But, it’s time for a new chapter, as they say. A new challenge.

This month, I’m jumping into a new career as a literary agent with P.S. Literary. Read more