Friday, November 19, 2010

Agent Sara Megibow Visits, and Enter to Win an ARC of HUNTRESS by Malinda Lo!

Hey Guys! We are so lucky and honored to have Agent Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency with us today. We think her post speaks for itself (it's chock-full of good information for writers), so without further adieu... Here's Sara!

Dear Writers,

Thanks to the fabulous writers at YA-5 for inviting me as a guest today! It's so cool to be here!

Since we're barreling toward the end of the year, it puts me in the mood to reflect. *sips eggnog*

I've read some absolutely stunning YA novels this year. It's ironic - when I started working at the Nelson Literary Agency in 2006, I was an avid science fiction, fantasy, commercial fiction and romance reader. But, I hadn't ever shopped in the YA section of the bookstore. When I joined the company, I started reading to "catch up" and "learn the marketplace." Holy cow was I impressed! And I still am - YA authors are creating brilliant new worlds, complex emotional and social commentary and vivid characters in a way that has really captured my imagination and my heart. Way to go! If you write YA novels, keep it up! I love reviewing these projects and I am actively acquiring new clients (see submission guidelines at

So, here it is - the Happy New Years List of favorite novels for the year:

ASH by Malinda Lo is my absolute favorite read in 2010! I am a stark, raving, lunatic fan of this book. I couldn't put it down and am considering an ASH tattoo somewhere on my body (just kidding) (sort of)

These are my other absolute-love favorites this year:
THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger
GIRL PARTS by John M Cusick
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan
MATCHED by Ally Condie

As you can tell, I lean slightly more toward the contemporary and realistic voice, but don't worry all you paranormal writers out there - I love that sub genre also!

So, how did I become a literary agent? That's a funny story actually. One *could* say that I started on this journey in 5th grade when I first read THE HOBBIT and LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy. That's what hooked me on reading for sure. THE BLUE SWORD by Robin McKinley was another early favorite. As a kid, all I wanted was to play castles, horses, knights and swords.

Fast forward to adult life - I graduated from college in the dot com boom (with a major in Women's Studies and another major in American History) and went plop right in to corporate America. Needless to say in 2001 I lost my job when the company shut down. In 2006, I was job hunting again (after being a full time mom for a while, which I LOVED with a white hot passion!). I met Kristin Nelson and fell in love with her company immediately. Not only is she an amazing literary agent and powerful advocate for books, she has a ton of integrity (something that *cough* was sometimes lacking in corporate). That's my journey - in 2009 I was promoted to Associate Agent and I currently represent 11 fabulous writers (including YA-5's very own Miranda Kenneally, whose debut YA novel SCORE will be out in 2011).

I am so excited about 2011! In addition to seeing my clients' books on the shelves, I also feel like the publishing industry is picking up some steam and leaving behind the doldrums of the past few years. Personally, I think ebooks are helping this momentum. Sure, ebook growth presents challenges, but I also think that more books being read by more readers in more ways can only help, right? The YA market continues to be strong. In fact, I posit that the YA market is driving fiction publishing in a really spectacular way. JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer have paved the way for a generation of people who love book and great stories. So, all we have to do is put those books out there and they are going to be gobbled up and enjoyed. Go us!

As I am an "actively acquiring" agent, people like to ask "what are you looking for?" and the answer is a bit of a cop out - superior writing and a unique concept. But, that's just so true.  I don't really care what you write, if you do it well I am interested. Paranormals are still hot and still selling. Retold fairy tales seem to be everywhere right now and that's really interesting to me (especially as a fan of Malinda's ASH and BEAUTY by Robin McKinley). I'm seeing mermaids and unicorns - perchance there are some minotaurs out there too? Dystopian novels are still fresh enough to be unique although I think the peak of buying was last year. And for me, I simply love contemporary or multicultural YA (think Simone Elkeles). Finally, I think if there were an historical YA author out there a la Philippa Gregory for kids, there would be a market for that too. That covers just about everything.

Finally, whether you are a published author or a pre-published writer, I say write, research, network and get your author website up now. Write because you love it. Research smartly (our website, has a terrific "resources" link). Network with other writers (I personally love twitter, conferences and book signings. I'm @SaraMegibow on twitter). And get a professional, polished website up now. It doesn't need to be flashy, but it does need to be professional. Miranda has done a terrific job with hers - check it out at

That's all for now,
Happy writing and Happy New Year!
Sara Megibow

Since one of Sara's favorite young adult books of 2010 is Malinda Lo's ASH, we're also excited to announce that we're giving away an ARC of her new book, HUNTRESS!

To win?

First, leave a comment below, telling us your favorite YA book EVER. Tell us why you love the book! Second, you must mention today's blog via Twitter, or your blog, or Facebook, OR record a video of yourself screaming about it (just kidding... maybe). Let us know you did that in the comments section as well. Enter by Friday, November 26 by 5:00 p.m. EST, and we'll draw a number out of a hat.

And thanks again to Sara Megibow of the Nelson Literary Agency!


Miranda said...

Should've mentioned that Ashley March is having a contest on her blog! Sara Megibow has offered to read the first 30 pages of one of this year’s NaNoWriMo’s participants. BIG opportunity!

malinda said...

This is so great! What a wonderful compliment, Sara, I'm so honored.

I should mention, though, that HUNTRESS is *not* a sequel to ASH. It is set hundreds of years *before* ASH, so it's sort of a loose prequel (there aren't any crossover characters ... or are there?).

Malinda Lo

Miranda said...

Hey Malinda! Thanks for visiting and commenting. So embarrassed I got that wrong! :-/ It is now fixed. And congrats on the new book - the cover is gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

I am so excited for Huntress! I really loved ASH.

What's my favorite YA book /ever/? I feel like I'm doing a disservice to all the YA authors I have read and loved (Tamora Pierce, Jessica Day George, Holly Black, Malinda Lo, and many more), but L.M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" series will always hold a special place in my heart. What can I say? I grew up with Anne Shirley, Gilbert Blythe, and the town of Avonlea. Every time I reread the series, I feel like I'm coming home.

In the fantasy genre, though, Tamora Pierce's "The Circle of Magic" series is definitely up there. I've always wanted Sandry's thread magic, and as I've grown, I've come to appreciate the GLBTQ elements in the series. (Who doesn't love Lark and Rosethorn?)

Anonymous said...

Oops! And I did indeed retweet this content. Skills. I have them.

RK Charron said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the great post Sara!
And thank you for the opportunity to win an ARC of HUNTRESS.
My fav YA book ever??
Little Women
Such wonderful characters & story.
All the best,

RK Charron said...

Er, I forgot.
I tweeted.

Nicole said...

You do not know how exciting this is for me. ASH personally touched me and helped me through a horrible period in my life. If it wasn't for ASH and KEEPING YOU A SECRET by Julia Ann Peters, I might not have turned into the person I am today.

Being an agent sounds like an awesome job, I attended a writers conference with my friends once and it made me want to be a book agent. Its a career path I'm heavily considering.

Thanks you for the AWESOME opportunity to win HUNTRESS. My fav YA book ever. Man that's is a -really- hard one to answer.

Currently I can think of WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr. I say that one because its the only YA novel I have read more then once, expect for ASH I read that a fare bit. Good luck to all the contestants!


I re-tweeted about the blog here!/Icenek0

Rachel said...

I really enjoyed Ash and would definitely put it among my top books of 2010. Really looking forward to Huntress coming out next year.

As for favorite YA's a difficult choice, but EL Konigsberg's books were a cornerstone of my childhood. I know they were published years before I read them, but her stories stand the test of time. I think it's a tie between From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler (is there a better title in YA literature? I can't think of one) and A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver.

Rachel said...

Oh and I retweeted this post on Twitter @austengirl

E. Kristin Anderson said...

This is such an awesome post. I totally want me some Huntress, but I am disqualifying myself as a fellow YA-5-er. YAY Sara & Miranda!

Cholisose said...

I think my favorite YA book of all might be Sabriel, by Garth Nix. Necromancy is too cool.

I'll have to look into reading Ash some time--it sounds like a good one.

I twittered the contest:

Maggie Desmond-O'Brien said...

Loved this post! Such great information, and I have to admit I had a spazz attack at the thought of just maybe winning an ARC of Huntress. I'm so excited!

My favorite YA book...probably Madapple by Christina Meldrum. There are others I think are probably better, but I feel like that book could have been written for me, it touches on so many topics I'm interested in. (But that's a really hard choice!)

My tweet:!/mdesmondobrien/statuses/6097309871906816 Thanks!

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

Great interview. Thanks for sharing it!


Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview and contest. My favorite YA novel ever? So hard to choose, but I'd have to say THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak, because it's so breathtaking and it broke the rules.

My tweet:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

My favorite YA book is probably Beauty by Robin McKinley. It's beautifully written. I love it because it's a retelling of my favorite fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast, and because of the differences in the storyline. A link to my Twitter where I tweeted the link.!/archangelntwrk1

MercuryBlue said...

My favorite YA book Harry Potter YA this week? I must have read Order of the Phoenix five hundred times. I'm fairly certain I'm not exaggerating. Failing SO MANY. This week I guess it's Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Kate and Cecelia are amazing intelligent women, James and Thomas aren't half bad themselves, and Wrede and Stevermer do marvelous humor.

MercuryBlue said...


fourthbreakfast said...

My Fav YA book is "The Road Home" by Ellen Emerson White.

fourthbreakfast said...

Here's my tweet:

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