Writers: You’re Invited to Our First Ever Pitch Fiesta!

We’re baaaaaaack from vacation and so excited to announce the details for our first ever Pitch Fiesta, an online pitch event that could lead to writer-agent-publisher matches and future books by/for/about Latin@s. This event is open to middle grade and young adult writers. We’re sorry, but no picture book manuscripts this time around. We might have a separate event in the future for picture book writers and illustrators.
Before we get to the application information, let’s introduce our participating agents and publisher:

ADominguezSMALLAdriana Dominguez, an agent at Full Circle Literary since 2009, has 15 years of experience in publishing, most recently as Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, where she managed the children’s division of the Rayo imprint. She is a member of the Brooklyn Literary Council, which organizes the Brooklyn Book Festival, and one of the founders of the Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference in NYC. She is interested in middle grade novels and literary young adult novels. Adriana has a long trajectory of publishing underrepresented authors and illustrators, and welcomes submissions that offer diverse points of view.



Adrienne Rosado is an agent at the Nancy Yost Literary Agency as well as the Foreign Rights Director. She is interested in literary and commercial fiction, especially YA, urban fantasy, multicultural fiction, women’s fiction, and new adult, all with strong voices and an authentic tone.  She’s especially drawn to dark humor, innovative takes on classic literary themes, and Southern gothics. Adrienne is also on the lookout for quirky and smart narrative nonfiction, memoirs, pop science, and business books with a creative approach. Please no picture books, chapter books, poetry, or westerns.



Amy Boggs is an agent at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. She is looking for all things fantasy and science fiction, especially high fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk (and its variations), YA, MG, and alternate history. She is also looking for unique works of contemporary YA, historical fiction, Westerns, and works that challenge their genre are also welcome. She seeks and supports projects and authors diverse in any and all respects, such as (but not limited to) gender, race, ethnicity, disability, and sexuality. Please no: thrillers, women’s fiction, picture books, chapter books, poetry, screenplays, or any debut work under 30,000 words in length.


sara_sized_160x240Sara Megibow is an agent at the Nelson Literary Agency. Sara is looking for debut authors with a complete novel-length manuscript in any of these genres: middle grade, young adult, new adult, romance, erotica, science fiction or fantasy. Any sub-genre is accepted including paranormal, historical, contemporary, steampunk, fantasy, etc. In short – if you can write it, Sara will read it – as long as it’s 100% complete, novel-length, not previously published and in one of the above genres. Where does Diversity fit in? Sara is looking for manuscripts AND/OR authors representing diversity of religion, race, culture, socio-economic status, ability, age, gender and/or sexual orientation. Sara is on twitter @SaraMegibow and on Publishers Marketplace here:  http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/SaraMegibow/


_KO Agent Photo

Kathleen Ortiz is the director of subsidiary rights and a literary agent for New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc. She is an active member of AAR and SCBWI. She’s always on the hunt for outstanding stories with strong characters whose voice and journey stay with her long after she finishes reading the story. She loves YAs set within other cultures and experiences across all genres (though she’s a bit full up on sci-fi and dystopian at the moment).



Laura Dial

Laura Dail of the Laura Dail Literary Agency received her Master’s degree in Spanish Literature from Middlebury College (but would prefer to consider works in English). She’s most interested in realistic YA, and funny middle grade and chapter books. She represents fiction and nonfiction, but no picture books, poetry, or screenplays. See more here: http://ldlainc.com/kids-teen-ya/



AP long logo color verticalArte Público Press, affiliated with the University of Houston, specializes in publishing contemporary novels, short stories, poetry, and drama based on U.S. Hispanic cultural issues and themes. Arte Público also is interested in reference works and non-fiction studies, especially of Hispanic civil rights, women’s issues and history. Manuscripts, queries, synopses, outlines, proposals, introductory chapters, etc. are accepted in either English or Spanish, although the majority of our publications are in English.

Piñata Books is Arte Público Press’ imprint for children’s and young adult literature. It seeks to authentically and realistically portray themes, characters, and customs unique to U.S. Hispanic culture. Submissions and manuscript formalities are the same as for Arte Público Press.

Now, here are the guidelines:

1. Writers who are Latin@ or writers of any ethnicity who have included Latin@ characters, settings, etc. in their manuscripts are eligible to apply.

2. You must have a complete manuscript at the time of the Pitch Fiesta. If an agent or editor is interested, you must have a complete manuscript ready to send. So, writers–get writing! Finish that manuscript!

3. Please read and consider what the agents are looking for. Please do not send us a query and first pages in a genre that does not mesh with their lists.

4. We will accept applications from September 2 through October 3. To apply, please send your query and the first 5-10 pages of your middle grade or young adult novel to our email: latinosinkidlit@gmail.com. In the subject line, please write: PITCH FIESTA ENTRY. Please post both the query and the first pages directly into the email. No attachments.

5. One of the Latin@s in Kid Lit members will read and respond to your email. During the month of October, we will help selected writers revise and polish queries and first pages to prepare for the Pitch Fiesta. Even though we will help you with your queries and first pages, please send us your best work. We have the right to reject any applications.

Queries and first pages will be posted on November 12 and 13. If an agent or an editor from Arte Público is interested, you will be contacted.

Exciting, right?

We hope writers will take advantage of this opportunity to present your work to publishing professionals who are actively seeking, and thereby supporting, diversity in kid lit!

Agent Chat with Adrienne Rosado of Nancy Yost Literary

By Zoraida Córdova

I’d like to welcome Adrienne Rosado of Nancy Yost Literary. Eight years ago, I was one of Adrienne’s minions slush pile interns. Three books later, I’m proud to call her my agent and BFF.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Adrienne: I’m a second generation native New Yorker and have worked in publishing for just over 8 years. I represent a very eclectic group of authors and somehow was lucky enough to have stumbled into the “when I grow up” perfect job.

Me: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

29380_10152263632420414_1819881365_nAdrienne: I always read older than my age group because there wasn’t the wide range of YA and MG books in the way that we know now. When I was a kid (because apparently I’m about 500 yrs old now), you were either an R.L. Stein/Christopher Pike, or Babysitter’s Club/Sweet Valley High reader. I was all about Fear Street. There was a really clear divide in what types of books were offered to children based on gender. I remember being made to read the Lurlene McDaniel books because they were “girl books.” I remember one really bitter summer when the assigned book for girls was The Secret Garden while the boys read Indian in the Cupboard.

So, I ended up reading a lot of Stephen King and Michael Crichton instead.

Me: So when you were in school, were Latin@ books ever highlighted/incorporated into the curriculum? I did grades 1-12 in NYC public schools, and the only Latin@ book I read in high school was House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.

Adrienne: I would completely agree with you. We didn’t cover very many books with multicultural characters. I definitely read HoMS and Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia. Basically, we did classics by lots of dead authors, unless we were celebrating some kind of heritage month, which in hindsight is really sad.

Me: I agree. We shouldn’t wait for Latino or Black history months to enjoy these stories. Now, for some businessy questions: as an agent, what do you look for in submissions?

Adrienne: It boils down to quality writing. I want a well-defined protagonist, multilayered secondary characters, and a really fantastic voice. I want this regardless of the character’s race or magical species, I’m looking at you, Z.

Me: *Holds out hand for a gold star* What is the biggest mistake new authors have made when contacting you (other than addressing you as MR. Rosado)?

Adrienne: Sending me submissions before they’re ready. I see so many subs that still need another round or two of revisions and you always want to put your best foot forward.

Me: How can an author show their professionalism?

Adrienne: The most successful authors that I know have always acted as professionals before they were published. They did their research in their genres. They avoided trend chasing. They strove to make their manuscripts as pristine as possible before sending them out.

Sometimes, it’s even as simple as having a dedicated professional email address with your name as opposed to babygirl23XOXO@aol.com
It’s demonstrating a familiarity with what being a modern author entails, having a Twitter account, a blog, etc.

Deadlines are also huge. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I request a manuscript and then am told that the author needs another couple of months to polish it. That’s unprofessional.

Me: How many clients do you represent? Are you still looking?

Adrienne: I try to keep a smaller and diverse list, so I can give my authors personal attention. I’m always on the look out for fresh voices and new talent.

Me: How do you decide where to pitch a manuscript?

Adrienne: It’s not dissimilar from how an author looks for an agent. The sign of a good agent is someone who maintains a good network of editorial contacts. They know who is looking for what kind of material. You wouldn’t go to an imprint that does non-fiction with supernatural YA. Everyone’s taste is different, even within houses and imprints. Your agent should stay up-to-date with what editors are looking for.

Me: How do you work with your authors? How deep are your edits?

Adrienne: It’s different with every author and the level they’re at with their careers. Some agents don’t do any editorial work at all. I happen to do some editorial work with my clients.

With debut authors I tend to do more polishing edits, and even some developmental, before going out on submission in order to put our best foot forward in the publishing marketplace.

There has to be a level of trust in the editorial process and open communication.  I would never want to make suggestions that an author felt were inauthentic to their material.

Me: What are you looking to represent now?

Adrienne: This is going to sound like a cop out, but I’m looking for strong writing, an exciting voice, something that’s going to put me in the character’s life and make me feel like part of that story that has the potential to make me miss my stop on the subway.

I accept anything from MG to Adult. I do have a soft spot for thrillers, anything dark and edgy, Southern Gothics, and things that make me laugh or cry really hard.

Me: What do you think we can do as a writing community to promote or have more books with diverse characters?

Adrienne: I think that diversity should be a facet of a character and not a defining characteristic of the story. Your work for example. You happen to be an Ecuadorian immigrant who wrote a book, which includes a diverse cast of characters, but that’s not why I represent you. I represent and read your books because I love the stories and world that you’ve created.

Me: It also represents my upbringing. My friends have always been first or second generation immigrants from all over the place. But it’s still hard to see ourselves in a lot of media without stereotypes.

Adrienne: I feel that the issues in multicultural literature are different now than they were 15-20 years ago. The stories we’re reading now are going to a generation that is used to having diversity in their daily lives. It’s less about assimilating into a new culture/community and more about individual identity. For instance, when I was a teen, if someone asked me where I was from, I would say I’m a New Yorker. That wouldn’t have been the case for my parent’s generation. Now, it’s assumed that people have a diverse background. It’s not uncommon in this city.

Me: It might be different for kids who live in less diverse communities and states.

Adrienne: Agreed. But that doesn’t mean that children and teens from a less diverse community are not going to be able to relate to another teen’s story just because it comes from a protagonist of a different race, religion, etc. People read to learn about something different, a new world, a new character, whether it’s a coming of age story or an epic fantasy. A good story is a good story. It should be how a story is told that defines the book.

Me: Totally. Though I think authors shouldn’t be afraid to write more diverse characters and make it a non-issue. In writing classes people like to throw around the phrase “write what you know,” but I think we should “write what you don’t know.”

Adrienne: I agree. Added to that, though, is that growing up happens to the best of us, so we all happen to face really similar challenges as we “come of age.” For example, isn’t it Jane Austen that said, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single teen in possession of a good prom dress, must be in want of a date.”  Or something like that anyway?

Me: LOL. Something like that. Maybe the problem is that people keep making it a problem.

Adrienne: I completely agree with that. There should be more diversity in books. I think the issue is that many authors fear that they will get pigeonholed as “multicultural” when that is only a sliver of the story.

Me: Agreed. Sometimes our politically correctness gets in the way.

Adrienne: At the end of the day, write a good story. Don’t be afraid to let your characters be who they are…

Me: Well thanks for taking the time to chat with me. Now, I’m going to go write a quasi-biographical YA based on my early years.

Adrienne: *groans*

Me: Kidding. Thanks for being with us. If you’d like submit to Adrienne Rosado, please read the NYLA guidelines.

Here are some of Adrienne’s clients:

PLAY ME BACKWARDS FRONT copy   colony-225-1   Blood_Tango   9781402265136-300   7990393-1


The Road to Publishing: The Big Q–How to Write a Query Letter

For this series of posts, we are writing about the road to publishing. You should start with our overview and then read this post about working with beta readers and critique groups. Today, Zoraida tackles the query letter.

By Zoraida Córdova

So you wrote a book.

First of all, congratulations. Writing a book, whether it’s fiction or non fiction, 1k words or 100k, it is no easy feat. Once you’ve revised and gone through the critique process, you’re ready to put yourself out there.

What do I need?

I’m glad you asked. First, you need a query letter. I know, you’ve already written all the words, now you’ve got to write a couple more!

Where do I start?

Round up the agents that you want to work with. Always make sure that they represent the kind of book you are shopping. If an agent says they only rep Adult Romance and Women’s Fiction, then you probably shouldn’t send them your Middle Grade Action Adventure told from the POV of a young boy.

Some good places to start are:

Agent Query

Writers Beware (I’ve been reading this site since high school and learned a lot)

Publisher’s Marketplace (Warning: keep to the agents. Don’t get discouraged if you see deals that are similar to your work.)

Writer’s Digest

Basically, do your research.

Great, so let’s write the letter.

The Vicious Deep (The Vicious Deep #1)Keep it simple, professional, but still be yourself. Let’s work with my novel, The Vicious Deep.

I’ve seen query letters start one of two ways: with something flattering about why you are querying the agent and your MS title or with your novel hook.

I like to start with the novel hook because if you’re querying the agent, then it’s a given that you a) like them b) like the work they represent c) did your research.

Dear Ms. Rosado, (From my agent, Adrienne Rosado, herself: “I’ve had authors congratulate me on placing a title for an author I don’t represent and who have started their letters to me with ‘Dear Mr. Rosado.’ A little research goes a long way.”)

Tristan Hart is a playboy, a lifeguard, and after a freak storm on his home shore of Coney Island, a merman. (A hook. No pun intended)

He discovers that his grandfather, the sea king, is getting on in years and has set up a championship for the throne. Along with four eligible mermen, Tristan must piece together the three parts of the trident and return to court in a fortnight. The trident pieces could be anywhere in the world, and armed with his good looks and a family dagger, Tristan doesn’t know where to start. With the help of two court guards, Brooklyn’s supernatural alliance, and his reluctant girlfriend, Layla, Tristan is on his way to retrieving the first piece of the trident. But the champions aren’t the only ones fighting for the throne. The Silver Mermaid, ancient and powerful, has broken from her prison. She’s got an army of vicious merrows at her disposal, and she’s got her sights on Tristan Hart. (Summaries are the hardest because how do you whittle your 100k words into a tiny paragraph? Start with your Character, Challenge, Goal, Obstacle. I know there are plenty of subplots in your novel, but try to stick to the major one for now.)

THE VICIOUS DEEP, a YA urban fantasy complete at 100k words, is the first in a trilogy. It will appeal to fans of Charles De Lint, Holly Black, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I believe my work would be a good fit for you because of your interest in fresh YA fantasy. (Make sure your manuscript is complete. Don’t lie about this. I know you want to get your book into agents’ hands, like, yesterday. But you’d do your work a disservice if an agent asks for the full manuscript and you only have half of it.  Also, include something personal about the agent you are querying. You might have heard them speak at a conference. You read their bio on the agency website, etc.)

I studied English Literature and Latino Studies at Hunter College. In 2004 and 2005, I attended the National Book Foundation Writing Camp. My short work has been published in the anthology GROWING UP GIRL. (Credentials, if any. You don’t have to have an MFA in Children’s Literature to write a novel. It’s great if you do, but don’t be discouraged if you don’t. I certainly don’t, and I still managed to get my books published.)

I look forward to hearing from you.


Zoraida Cordova

What now?

After you’ve spell checked and read your query over, it’s time to send it out. Always double check the submission guidelines. All agencies will have this page. This is an example from my agency.

Former agent Nathan Bransford says that you should always include a five page sample of your work.

I believe this is will also save time in the back and forth process with the agent. Now that they have a tiny sample of your work, they can know if they want to see more.

For further questions, comment here, email us at latinosinkidlit@gmail.com, or message us on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t be shy!

Good luck!

The Road to Publishing


Where do you find yourself along the road to publishing?

Check all that apply:

__Shopping for a vehicle

__Mapping a route

__Calling for roadside service

road signs

Image from Creative Commons

__Arriving at your destination

Let’s say this is your first publishing quest. How nice if you could enjoy the ride and worry less about breakdowns and wrong turns. We know how you feel. Over the coming weeks, our posts will provide tips for the rewarding, but arduous journey toward seeing your book in print.

To get things rolling, please enjoy a few insights from our experiences:

What made you realize THIS was the book you wanted to share with the world?

Zoraida: I had been working on some contemporary stories about a young Ecuadorian girl (we were very similar), but it just wasn’t going anywhere. Then one day after wanting to read a mermaid fantasy with action and cute boys, I decided to start writing the story myself. It is true what “they” say: you have to write the story you want to read.

Stephanie: I’ll apply this question to my upcoming series, Betting Blind and its sequel, Out of Aces, which will be pubbing in 2015. Both books were inspired by my youth in Las Vegas. I lived on my own at sixteen in a colorful, funny, sleazy, interesting city. It gave me a lot to write about.

Cindy: I am a visual person, so I “saw” the opening scene in my head long before I knew how the entire story would unfold. I was in the middle of a master’s program and had no real plans to be a novelist although writing a book was always in the back of my mind. I tried mentally to set aside this “daydream,” but it wouldn’t leave me alone. One night, although dead tired, I was compelled to write out the scene. After that, I had to keep going. The basics of the story–teens, teaching, depression, Emily Dickinson–are all familiar to me.

What’s on your recommended-reading list for all things publishing?

Ashley: Many things helped me on the journey to professionalization, but none was more crucial than agent and editor Noah Lukeman’s excellent little e-book, How to Write a Great Query Letter. Lukeman’s advice cuts straight to the heart, and once I revised my query letter (about 7 times!) according to his advice, I started getting requests for partial and complete manuscripts.

Zoraida: When I was in high school, Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott was my writing bible. I haven’t read it in years, but I always think about it when I’m working on a novel. I recommend it to anyone who asks.

Stephanie: For more soul-feeding, encouraging material, especially for those who also teach writing, I recommend Wallace Stegner’s On Teaching and Writing Fiction. He writes with candor and clarity about the rejections, the wait time, and all the other thorns in the path to publication, but ultimately his message is really encouraging.

Lila: Mary Kole’s Writing Irresistible KidLit is a solid resource. The bulk is about craft, but you’ll also find advice on querying and approaching agents. I also tune into reliable blogs and newsletters. You can’t go wrong with the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.  

Cindy: I searched online for most of my information. The places I found most helpful were: SCBWI, YALitChat, YA Highway, and Query Tracker. SCBWI and YALitChat introduced me to critique groups, regional and national conferences, and other people like me chasing the dream. YA Highway is a popular site with loads of information about the process provided by writers. Query Tracker is a free–FREE!–online database of agents and editors. This is what I used to find agents to query and to keep track of my process– when a query was sent, what was the response, etc. It was a great resource and led me to my wonderful agent, Laura Langlie.

On our Facebook page, Samantha Villarreal asked: “Is it best to have an agent? Are the major publishing companies actively searching for Latino children’s lit or is it better to try smaller companies that focus on Latino lit?”

Ashley: I would say yes to the agent question. Whether you aspire to ultimately publish with a larger publisher or with a smaller press like Cinco Puntos or Arte Público, an agent can help you manage the decision-making and handle the business side of things. Later, we’ll be sharing more on how we connected with our agents and publishers.

Lila: I can vouch for the fact that it’s possible to break in without an agent.  My book was published through an academic press. Within six months of its release, the exposure that the book brought me led to contact with an agent.

Cindy: To seek an agent or not, to aim for big or small publishers, or to self-publish are all personal decisions based on your strengths and needs. From the start, I knew I wanted an agent and would pursue traditional publishing. I had no experience or connections in the publishing world, and I had little confidence in my abilities to produce and promote my own novel as a self-publisher. For these reasons, I decided I would do the writing and rely on an experienced agent and editor to guide me through the rest of the process.

Have agents and editors preserved your artistic vision?

Zoraida: My agent, Adrienne Rosado, is very encouraging. Even though I’m sure she gets an ulcer every time I say, “I have an idea…” My editor at Sourcebooks Fire, Aubrey Poole, is great at looking at my fantasy world and asking the questions I don’t ask. And she pushes my hero in the right direction. We’re working on the last book in the trilogy and I’m excited for the final product.

Stephanie: My editor has been completely supportive of my artistic vision. She’s never asked me to make changes I disagreed with, and she has always left the final decision in my court. We’ve worked on three books–soon to be four–together, and I love the smooth partnership we’ve developed.

Cindy: As a first time writer, I can say the search for an agent and editor is like literary e-harmony. You put yourself out there and wait until you find the perfect match for you and your project. Both my agent and editor loved my story, which is why they both said, “yes.” That’s what you want and need–an agent and editor who fully support your choice of subject matter and your writing style. They need to love it because they will be wedded to it–and you–for a long time during the publishing process.

Suppose your efforts to capture an agent’s interest haven’t gone anywhere: what then?

Cindy: Analyze what may not be “right.” Is the writing as good as it can be? Is the query the best you could do? Are you aware of what the agents and editors are looking for when you are querying? Then I would say go to a conference, have a one-on-one, join a critique group…do something you’re not already doing.

Image from Creative Commons

Image from Creative Commons

So now we’re off on a roll. Join us in the coming weeks as we bring you more advice from agents, editors, and other authors traveling the road to publishing. AND, we would love to hear from you! What has your journey taught you?