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‘Literary Agents’ Category

  1. Announcing 2-book deal with Carolrhoda Lab

    February 21, 2016 by Kiersi

    Hot dang, it has been a wild week around here.

    I’ll be posting tomorrow or the next day about what’s going on in QUARTZ CREEK RANCH land, but today, I have a super special announcement to make:

    I’m going to have TWO Young Adult novels published by Carolrhoda Lab!

    Here’s the deal announcement in Publisher’s Weekly:

    Deal text from Publisher's Weekly

    So a little background on these two books, because they both have a story.

    HONOR CODE has some pretty deep roots in my feminist heart, even though the subject was originally Alix’s brainchild. The novel takes place at a private boarding school on the east coast—an elite institution that’s been educating and refining the rich and powerful for over a century. (more…)


  2. We’ve Got A New Horse Book Series!

    October 3, 2014 by Kiersi

    Kiersi Burkhart riding her horse at 12

    Me at 12 years old, running the poles event at a gymkhana show with my Appaloosa pony, Frosty

    All right, everyone. Do me a favor and, before we go any further, run and get your cowboy hats on. Then shrug on your cowboy boots. And prepare a good old holler: WHOOPAH!

    First: This whole thing came about because of a story I told on Twitter about a horse I loved as a girl. When my friend Amber Keyser heard I’d grown up a cowgirl, she approached me about a possible opportunity for a series of horse books, aimed at the middle-grade age range.

    Then we started dreaming. We dreamed and dreamed and had this really wild Vulcan-esque mind meld, where suddenly the perfect idea came to us.

    And so SECOND CHANCE RANCH was born—a place for troubled kids to find themselves with the help of a horse. The series is set on a cattle ranch in the mountains of my home state, Colorado, and based loosely on a cattle ranch owned by Amber’s relatives (also in Colorado). It draws on a lot of the things we loved about horse books as youngsters ourselves—the child helping the horse, and the horse helping the child; the magic of learning to ride for the first time; and the deep relationships we form with animals.

    Second: Here is the announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace!

    Publisher's Marketplace announcement SECOND CHANCE RANCH

    So, after giving birth to this crazy idea, we handed it over to Amber’s agent, Fiona Kenshole, at Transatlantic Literary Agency.

    And she loved it.

    She asked us to write some sample chapters right away for two of our proposed books in the series. Though we dreamed up this world together, we each took control of one story—my debut in the series will be SHY GIRL AND SHY GUY, and Amber’s PUSHOVER AND PRINCE.

    Third: Since then, I have signed with Fiona as my agent, and I couldn’t be happier! Fiona has done a fantastic job helping us hone our proposal for the series and negotiating our 4-book deal with Andrew Karre at Darby Creek, an imprint of Lerner Books.

    The books are scheduled to release twice a year beginning in Spring 2016. I’m so excited to be working with the folks over at Darby Creek and, of course, my great friend and truly talented co-author Amber!

    (Seriously, you guys don’t even know how awesome this woman is. I am pretty much the luckiest girl on the planet.)

    And that’s it for today, my friends. It’s time for me to go eat some celebratory sushi!


  3. It Takes a Village to Write a Book

    April 9, 2013 by Kiersi

    The Night Circus

    As I move into the critique stage of my current novel, and my August book release finishes up with the editor over at Rain Town, it has become clearer and clearer to me that no single person is responsible for the great books we read and love.

    Today I read a fabulous post, “On Writing and Publishing Paths,” by Erin Morgenstern–author of the seriously delightful, magical, spectacle of a novel The Night Circus. And the takeaway is one that I hope every aspiring writer takes to heart: a manuscript rarely emerges from a writer’s mind a finished product.

    I’ve been on the receiving end of query rejections, form letters and personalized responses alike. “They don’t get it,” is something we’re tempted to think. “They’re blind to my potential.”

    As Erin writes:

    …I got my manuscript to the point where I didn’t know what else it needed and it seemed like the right point to start sending it out. I did. It got requests because I had a query letter that made it sound like it had a plot when it really didn’t. It also got a lot of rejections. (more…)


  4. Oh, god, it’s time to write a query again?

    January 12, 2013 by Kiersi

    Yep, it’s that time again–a new manuscript, a new query.

    For me, writing a query is a long, long process; one that usually begins while the manuscript I’m querying is still in the early stages (first or second draft). There are a couple reasons for this:

    1. Writing a query requires fundamentally understanding the story you’re trying to tell. When I say “query,” I’m meaning the whole shebang: the hook, the pitch, the short bio, the ass-kissing. And none of these things are possible to do well if you’re not absolutely sure of the story, the characters, and the stakes.

    And it’s not just understanding the structure of these things, or what they look like, or writing them in pretty sentences–it’s also understanding their appeal. (more…)


  5. Why Self-pub Authors Need to Stop Whining

    September 13, 2012 by Kiersi

    I really like author and blogger Noah Murphy. I’d like to think we’ve had a good relationship on Twitter. I’m excited about his upcoming book, Ethereal Girls. But I’m growing pretty tired of self-published and indie authors whining about being repressed and “kept down” by the traditional book publishing industry when that is clearly not the whole story.

    In his article, Publisher’s Weekly Review Double Standard, Murphy accuses book periodical Publisher’s Weekly of extorting self-published authors. As you probably already know, Publisher’s Weekly reviews traditionally-published books for their book review section. But they also have PW Select, which reviews self-published and indie-published books. The catch? The regular PW only takes submissions for books published by a publishing house, and it’s free to submit; however, PW Select charges a fee for your submission.

    Murphy writes:

    To Publisher’s Weekly, we’re not real authors – worthy of consideration for free – because we’re not part of the club. We decided to go outside the system and therefore we should be punished for that by extorting us. We have to pay to even be considered worthy of a review. This is the major way traditional publishing can keep us down because otherwise they’re quaking in their boots. (more…)


  6. WWC12 Wrap-up

    August 14, 2012 by Kiersi

    Willamette Writers Conference 2012 - Portland

    This year’s Willamette Writers Conference 2012 was a startling success. I pitched to four agents and one publisher, and received from all of them requests for more. I attended sessions all three days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) and did my best to stay sane and conscious enough to socialize.

    Part A: The Program

    I wish I could Vulcan mind-meld with you, if only so you could have experienced with me Eric Witchey‘s stellar, re-orienting talk on Story Fluency: Story as a Second Language.” It’s not my place to divulge all of the secrets that Eric, in turn, divulged to us–but I can tell you that my most basic understanding of the structure and arc of story is fundamentally changed. It goes a bit like this: (more…)


  7. A Lesson for All Authors

    June 1, 2012 by Kiersi

    Kiera Cass's agent Elana Roth, calling a reviewer a "bitch"

    Kiera Cass's agent Elana Roth, calling a reviewer of Cass's book a "bitch" on Twitter

    As a reviewer, I’ve experienced an author’s wrath first-hand. In my particular case, my negative book review spectacle was more fueled by said author’s rabid pack of fans than by the author herself–later incendiary comments on Goodreads by someone named “Marilyn” even accused all of us who wrote negative reviews about the book of “colluding to ruin this good woman’s reputation.”

    Regardless of that hilariously absurd allegation, the whole situation got me to thinking in broader terms about the blogosphere and the ramifications of its naturally low barrier to entry. To set up a blog these days, all you need to do is visit a site like wordpress.com or Blogger and create an account. Pick a theme, add some content, and you’re up and ready to post some book reviews. Social media networks such as Goodreads lower the barrier even further, so anyone with a computer can sign on and review a book.

    By the same token, authors use these platforms to great success. Kiera Cass (who I will talk about more in a moment) keeps an online journal where she talks about book releases, signings, and more. I recently added a book to my Goodreads’ “to read” list after reading a fabulous blog post by that book’s author. I’ve built relationships with other debut YA authors on Twitter over things like cover reveals and critique partners. Social media–including my Twitter, my Facebook, and my blog–have all done a lot of my marketing for me, because I simply enjoy using these mediums to talk about my passion. (Which means I am always working, and by the same token, never working.)

    My friend Abi over at A Hunger to Learn pointed me to a much larger-scale debacle than my indie-pub incident. This controversy stars Kiera Cass, New York Times best-selling author of The Selection (to which I gave a panning review here), and a high-profile blogger-slash-book reviewer who goes by Wendy Darling. (more…)


  8. Tips for Writing the Perfect Hook

    April 30, 2012 by Kiersi

    Tips for Hooking an Agent or PublisherWilliam Nolan, author of the award-winning dystopian novel Logan’s Run, described the process of editing for Gamma magazine as far back as the 1960s at the Write to Publish 2012 convention this weekend:

    Every Thursday I went into the office to go through the slush pile of manuscript submissions for the magazine. I reached the point where I’d open each box or envelope, slide out the first page, and just read the first couple of paragraphs. That was all the time an author got to impress me and convince me to keep reading.

    With the advent of email submissions, agents and publishers increasingly find their inboxes swamped by unsolicited manuscripts–leaving them even less time to wade through backstories and prologues to get to the action, the theme, the meat. This is true even for query letters. I’ll leave that topic for another day.

    Here are some suggestions I picked up at the Write to Publish conference to help you clean up your manuscript for submission. (more…)


  9. Colorful Rejections: Landing a Literary Agent

    January 28, 2012 by Kiersi

    Colorful Carousel in Buenos Aires, Argentina

    A strange, graffiti-mottled carousel I photographed in Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Life over the last week has been a stark contrast of, well, everything: there’s gorgeous, sunny weather outside (yay for the southern hemisphere!), all the time in the world to work on my books and hone my craft, and to top it all off, an endless supply of kind-of-encouraging rejection letters from literary agents.

    On the one hand, at least they haven’t all been form letters. Even better, I’ve actually been getting responses. From what I hear (and read), that’s unusual at best. And strangely, it seems that from the agent perspective, my writing is good. The pitch is even good. It’s just not great. (more…)