Deals: When the Beat Drops by Anna Hecker Acquired by Sky Pony Press

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Anna Hecker queried me on my birthday last year, with one wonderful gift.

Her next novel.

It was wild to me, to discover that there weren’t any YA novels about EDM… Electronic Dance Music. Considering the current popularity of The Chainsmokers, the easy listening joy that is Owl City, and my absolute favorites, Daft Punk, how hasn’t this been explored?

Well. Enter Anna with When the Beat Drops.

In Anna’s latest novel, she introduces readers to Mira Alden, a teen girl who wants nothing more than to ace her audition to the prestigious Fulton Jazz Conservatory. See, she’s essentially a teen jazz prodigy, writing beautiful music with her best friends as a somewhat band-geek outcast. And then she falls into the EDM scene when her sister comes home… and discovers a surprise gift for DJing. 

The book is Pitch Perfect and Save the Last Dance meets This Song Will Save Your Life, with a heavy splash of Daft Punk, as a teen girl has to choose between what she thought was always her passion, and the exciting new world she’s getting swept up in. There’s drugs, toxic relationships, and oh my, so much music. 

I fell in love with this book hard, and loved pitching it around while listening to dance music. Some of my favorite YA contemporary reads are music-filled, like Ashley Poston’s The Sound of Us and We Own the Night, Charlotte Huang’s For the Record, Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments, and Morgan Matson’s Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. I can’t wait to see Anna’s book on shelves and lists with these.

And I’m so pleased to say it’ll be in bookstores everywhere in the Spring of 2018 with Sky Pony Press, having been acquired by Becky Herrick. Here are the details, found on Publishers Weekly Children’s Bookshelf:

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You’ve likely heard me ramble about Sky Pony before, here and on the ol’ social media. That’s because they are putting out the very first book I got to sell, Dave Connis’ The Temptation of Adam and thus, will always have a special place in my heart.

Please head to Twitter and wish Anna and Sky Pony all the congrats.

Preferably while listening to the Tron Legacy soundtrack.

And Anna, thank you for that wonderful birthday present.

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.

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

Deals: Eat Your Feelings by Lindsey Smith Acquired by St. Martin’s Press

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A few months ago, I met Lindsey Smith, The Food Mood Girl at the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference.

It was my first time attending my former hometown’s writing conference as a full time literary agent, and I’d been to a number of pitch sessions like this over the past year. It’s the sort of event lots of agents go to, to potentially meet new authors, discuss publishing with people, and network.

When Lindsey sat down and handed me her 40+ page proposal, detailing her platform, biography, publications, and more… it took everything in me not to cry. And ya’ll know I love crying.

The proposal had everything I wanted in a non-fiction author and in a cookbook project, which was something I’d been looking for since I started agenting. During my time working at an actual publishing house, I absolutely adored working on cookbooks and with the passionate food blogging community.

Lindsey’s story is a fantastic one. After being hospitalized for anxiety at a young age, she focused her life on health, happiness, and eating well. Years later, she’s teaching stress management classes to her high school peers. Fast forward a bit more, and she travels the country, inspiring tens of thousands of people to live well and be healthy.

Recently, she’s written about depression for The Huffington Post, had her posts on body image featured on Elite Daily, did a fantastic TED talk, and will be on TV in her town of Pittsburgh. She’s a rockstar. I highly recommend checking out her inspirational blog. The recipes, the advice… everything is so positive and full of humor, wit, and sunshine. It’s impossible not to love.

And now, she’ll have a book out with St. Martin’s Press in the Fall of 2017.

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I am THRILLED to say that EAT YOUR FEELINGS has been acquired by St. Martin’s Press by Laura Apperson, and will be in stores everywhere next Fall.

Where most books about emotions and eating have to do with academia and diets, Lindsey’s is a cheerful take on all that. I can’t wait for people to read this, and see a positive, fun-filled way to feel good about themselves, with delicious recipes, encouraging words, and her trademark wit and humor.

You can follow Lindsey at @LindseySmithHHC, and of course, St. Martin’s Press and her new (awesome) editor Laura Apperson at @StMartinsPress and @LCatAp respectively.

Go wish them all the congrats, and then, have yourself a healthy snack to celebrate all these happy feelings. I sure will.

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.