Monday, April 28, 2014

Ongoing, Upcoming

April has been a slow month around here, so here are a few things to keep on your radar:

--I interviewed Ryan Gebhart on the Fearless Fifteeners blog last week in conjunction with the release of THERE WILL BE BEARS, his MG debut. It's a sweet story about a thirteen-year-old boy who's losing his best friend--also known as his grandpa--to old age, rest homes, and kidney failure, so they decide to sneak out and go on Tyson's first and last elk hunt. The interview also includes an ongoing giveaway (which is super easy to enter), so definitely check that out!

--"The Writer's Voice" returns THIS THURSDAY, so get those queries and first pages ready to go. If you click on that link, you'll find all the details, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

--If you live in or around southern Nevada and want to learn how to use free online resources to research your ancestors, I'll be teaching a class at the Spring 2014 Genealogy Jamboree. It's a free event, so if you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you. The jamboree will take place on May 17, and you can preregister anytime before then (or just show up on that day).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Interview with an Agent: Taylor Haggerty

I'm excited to share my interview with Taylor Haggerty of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency. As you might have noticed, Ms. Haggerty is one of the agents who'll be casting her votes in "The Writer's Voice" next month, so this interview feels especially timely. Enjoy!

KV: How long have you been agenting, and how did you get into it?

TH: I joined Waxman Leavell in the spring of 2013, and started building my list less than a year ago. I’d always pictured myself working in publishing in some form or another, but when I met a literary agent through a study abroad course in college I was immediately intrigued by this side of the business. After college, I interned at several publishers while completing a graduate degree from Emerson College’s Publishing & Writing program, and then worked at the Gersh Agency before joining WLLA.

KV: How would you summarize your personal agenting philosophy? What do you expect from an agent-author relationship?

TH: My philosophy is to work with authors I’m passionate about to help them build a successful career--whatever that means to each individual author. No two careers are identical, and I think communication and a mutual understanding of the goals and expectations at any given point are both particularly important aspects of the agent-author relationship. There can be a lot of ups and downs in this business, but I always expect my authors to be professionals. (Professionals who laugh at my bad jokes are appreciated, not expected! :))

KV: What client work do you have coming out soon? What drew you to those writers and/or projects?

TH: I have a lot of exciting projects in the works, but nothing hitting shelves quite yet. Stay tuned for news! 

All of my clients are exceptionally talented (not to mention lovely humans), and I was drawn to their work by that magical combination of a compelling voice, an undeniable command of language, and just flat-out great storytelling.

KV: What genres do you represent? What genres do you definitely NOT represent?

TH: Middle grade, young adult, historical fiction, and romance. I don’t represent poetry, screenplays, or picture books. 

KV: What query pet peeves and/or pitfalls should writers avoid when querying you?

TH: I really only have one pet peeve--vague/generic queries. When a query tells me that the characters will face life-changing events, challenging obstacles, or dire consequences, but doesn't elaborate on the stakes or specify what is unique about this particular world, character, or story, it's really difficult to feel invested. I don’t need plot twists or the whole synopsis right up front, but I do need enough details about the manuscript to be hooked and excited to read more. Reel me in!

KV: What are you looking for in a manuscript right now? What are you tired of seeing at the moment?

TH: I’m looking for a manuscript that keeps me up late reading, and then stays with me beyond that last page--something that really pulls me into another world and makes me fall in love with the characters. For YA, I'd love to find a smart, funny contemporary romance or friendship story, as well as a gorgeous, original historical fantasy. On the historical fiction side of things, I love reading about kick-ass women in history, so if you have an awesome heroine please do send her my way! I''m also on the lookout for a great dual historical/contemporary narrative.

On the flip side of that, I’m still seeing a lot of books about kids with supernatural powers and/or prophetic dreams, so something along those lines would have to really stand out to catch my eye.

KV: What’s the best way to query you?

TH: E-mail, with the query + first ten pages in the body of the e-mail to

Thank you, Ms. Haggerty, for these helpful responses. I think more than one writer just added a new name to his or her query list:)

Have a great weekend. I'm out!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"The Writer's Voice" Details!

“The Writer’s Voice” is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Brenda Drake, Mónica Bustamante Wagner, Kimberly P. Chase, and Elizabeth Briggs*. We’re basing it on NBC’s singing reality show The Voice, so these ladies will serve as coaches and select projects for their teams based on their queries and first pages.

Here’s the timeline:

May 1
May 2
Everybody enters the Rafflecopter lottery
The lottery winners sign up on the widget
May 2-10
They select their team members from “The Writer’s Voice” Blogfest
May 10-19
They coach their team members, helping them polish their entries
May 19
They post their team members’ entries on their blogs
May 22
Agents vote for their favorites


To enter, your manuscript must meet two conditions: First, it must be COMPLETE, POLISHED, AND READY TO QUERY, and second, it must be in one of the following genres**:

Adult Historical
Adult Fantasy
Adult Science Fiction
Adult Romance (excluding erotica)
YA fiction (all genres)
MG fiction (all genres)

To determine who gets to participate in the blogfest, we’ll hold a single-entry Rafflecopter lottery on Thursday, May 1. The lottery will remain open for 12 hours, from 9:00 a.m. EDT to 9:00 p.m. EDT, at which point the Rafflecopter will select 150 random winners. Those winners will then sign up for the blogfest on one of Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets the next day, May 2. Once you sign up on the widget, you’ll post YOUR QUERY and THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript on your blog.

In summary, you must follow these three steps to enter:

1. Enter the Rafflecopter lottery on May 1 during the submission window listed above.
2. Sign up on the widget on May 2 if you win the lottery.
3. Post your query and the first 250 words of your manuscript on your blog.


The coaches will be building their teams via “The Writer’s Voice” Blogfest, so YOU MUST HAVE A BLOG TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS CONTEST. We don’t care if you’ve had it for five years or five minutes; we just want to be able to fight over you in public:)

The coaches will review the entries and leave a comment on your post that says something like, “I want you!” If more than one coach wants you on her team, you’ll have to pick which coach you want to work with.


The coaches will select 8 team members by May 10, then spend the next week and a half helping them put a final polish on their entries. You won’t have to take all of their suggestions, of course; they just want to help you make your entry the best that it can be before the agents get a look at it.


On May 19, the coaches will post their team members’ queries and first pages on their blogs so that the agents can review them. Here are the awesome agents who’ll be voting on your entries:

Mollie Glick of Foundry Literary + Media

The agents will vote for their favorites on May 22. Each vote will count as a partial or full request depending on how many votes the entry receives. If an entry receives 1 or 2 votes, those votes will count as partial requests. If an entry receives 3 or more votes, those votes will count as full requests.

Voting will stay open until 9:00 a.m. EDT on May 23, at which point we’ll determine which coach’s team received the most votes. That coach will win bragging rights for time immemorial, and everyone who received requests will be able to submit their materials to all the agents who voted for them. These votes represent serious interest in your project, so PLEASE DON’T ACCEPT AN OFFER OF REPRESENTATION BEFORE GIVING “THE WRITER’S VOICE” AGENTS AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE A COMPETING OFFER.

So get those queries and first pages polished up, then meet us back here on Thursday, May 1, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EDT. We can’t wait to read your entries! (And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below.)

*As you probably noticed, I’m not going to be one of the coaches this year. I’ve just got a lot on my plate at the moment and can’t give the contest as much time and attention as it deserves. BUT I have full faith and confidence in Elizabeth Briggs, one of my agent sisters and a good friend. In fact, I have so much faith and confidence that I’ve signed on as Liz’s guest coach. Go Team Liz!

**As you probably also noticed, we’re not including any new adult genres. We have to base the genres on the agents’ interests, and most of the agents participating this year aren’t looking for NA at the moment.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


And the winner of Susan Gloss's VINTAGE is HeatherCRaglin. (This isn't a joke, I promise!)

Congratulations, Heather! Please e-mail me at kvandolzer(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address so I can pass it on to Ms. Gloss's marketing coordinator.