Realizing the problem is you…

I’ve had a hard time getting my daughter to read. I’ve tried everything. Forcing her to read 20 minutes a day (school rules). Not getting her way or pushing her at all. Taking her to the bookstore once a week and spending $30 on books she would never read (because I chose them).

As a lifelong reader and someone who works in the book industry I was feeling pretty depressed about having a child that had no desire whatsoever to read. I’ve spent a year trying to figure out what was wrong. Her teacher says she can read at grade level. Her comprehension was fine. We don’t allow her to have a ton of TV or video games. Why wouldn’t she read?

The answer was me. I was buying her books I read as a child. Or books that are out now that I would have read if I were still a child. I rushed her in the bookstore after a half hour of looking because I was bored.

The reason my daughter wasn’t a reader was me.

I took her to Hicklebee’s this Saturday and I got the eff out of her way. I let the staff there work with her on finding a book. They are the real experts on children and reading. If you have a reluctant reader a trip to your indie bookstore may be the cure!

Addie bought Ivy and Bean book one and two. She’s halfway through book two. Since Saturday! It never occurred to me at all that my daughter may want shorter books with realistic fiction.

If your child isn’t reading, evaluate what you are buying them. And get thee to an indie!

child reading1child reading

Prophecy Girl Release Day + contest!

Around a year ago today I became a literary agent. Laurie McLean gave me access to her query inbox and with CJ Redwine’s help I found Cecily White. I read her book over a weekend day and forced Laurie to read it. She agreed that it would be a great first book to shop as a new agent.

I later sold that book to Liz at Entangled.

Today, that book is out in the world. And I love it dearly.

14741366 Amelie Bennett. . . . Ending the world, one prophecy at a time.

I was born to slay Crossworld demons.
Big black flappy ones, little green squirmy ones. Unfortunately, the only thing getting slain these days is my social life. With my high school under attack, combat classes intensifying, and Academy instructors dropping right and left, I can barely get my homework done, let alone score a bondmate before prom.
Then he shows up.
Jackson Smith-Hailey. Unspeakably hot, hopelessly unattainable, and dangerous in all the right ways. Sure, he’s my trainer. And okay, maybe he hates me. Doesn’t mean I’ll ignore the wicked Guardian chemistry between us. It’s crazy! Every time I’m with him, my powers explode. Awesome, right?
Now my teachers think I’m the murderous Graymason destined to bring down our whole race of angelbloods. Everyone in New Orleans is hunting me. The people I trusted want me dead. Jack and I have five days to solve the murders, prevent a vampire uprising, and thwart the pesky prophecy foretelling his death by my hand. Shouldn’t be too difficult.

Getting it done without falling in love. . . that might take a miracle.

To win one of my agent paperbacks please comment below! I’ll pick a winner next week when I’m home from vacation.

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But… you’re just a blogger.

Foreword Literary, Inc has three bloggers turned agent. Book Blogger is how we choose to identify on social media, and therefore that is how people perceive us.

On the day we launched Foreword publicly Ann Kingman asked who was going to do the first story on book blogger agents and is that a viable way for bloggers to get into the industry. My immediate response was hell yes! For others it is a black mark on a record, an immediate outcry of assuming began.

They’d like to see a study in five years, if no one’s making any money bloggers as agents must suck, how do you know they are smart enough to do the job…

You don’t. But you also don’t know that the MFA student that just got a job as a new agent is legit either.

Newsflash, no new agent makes money. Not a sustainable income amount of money. You treat it like a startup, in a few years you earn out.

The three bloggers at Foreword have put an amazing amount of time into learning the business. I myself interned for four years. The first rule of lit agency interning (you sign an NDA) is not to talk about interning. I didn’t take the first agent job offered to me. I wanted to understand way more than I did.

Because being an advocate for an author is a big fucking deal. They need you for way more than to just sell your book. Almost anyone with discriminating taste can make a sale somewhere.

But can they negotiate, read contract language, have a mentor they can go to for help? Do they understand option clause and advance money vs. royalties and escalators? Can they love their author and that book like their own child?

Being a blogger is not the end all of my life. I’m a mom, a wife, a writer, and I’ve help various positions in professional fields. I have a resume, I have skills, and none of those skills have anything to do with me being an upstart blogger.

Blogging prepared me for so much in this industry and this job:
-Knowing imprints and houses.
-Knowing editors of imprints and houses.
-A strong understanding of the market in the fields I would go on to represent.
-A connection to bloggers who will help me promote my books if I love them.
-Complete understanding of a marketing plan.

I don’t think that blogging alone can prepare you for being an agent. I don’t think every blogger is a right fit. But I’m not going to judge someone based on their blog when I have no idea what they do outside of their blog and their in professional life. And I am a firm believer that a certain kind of savvy blogger gets an informal education in publishing whether they mean to or not.

I can’t answer whether I’m a good agent. That’s up to my clients and their works. What I know is that I try my damnedest to be, and that I understand the importance of what I am doing and spend 12 hours a day or more doing it.

When I took my position at Larsen Pomada they sat me down and explained I probably wouldn’t sell a book my first year, and that is totally acceptable and ok.

My one year anniversary is coming up. I made 9 deals for a total of 21 books. I have books coming out in April, June, July, and November of this year.

I’m damn proud of my record and I’m proud that blogging gave me an edge with the knowledge it brought. So I’m hoping we can lay to rest the judging of people based solely on their online presence. And that’s something I’ll have to work on personally as well. It makes you a giant ass.

Anyway, I’ve always been on team book blogger world domination.

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On Foreword and moving forward


In case you missed the news I have left Larsen Pomada and am starting my own literary agency with the help of a few awesome agents and partners.

I’ve known about this for a while, but I had to keep it secret from you. Keeping secrets is hard on the soul. I’m forever grateful to Michael Larsen and Elizabeth Pomada for starting me on my career and for blessing this new career choice. They are amazing people.

Now that the cat is out of the bag a few housekeeping things:

Your queries, partials, fulls are all safe and have been transfered over to Foreword. But I won’t be reading anything this week. My job was to help my husband build the website and add all the content and start all the social media. This week I’m going to bask in the glory of my news and take a nap or two. Next week I’m back at work for you.

My intern John Hansen has been named my assistant. Congrats to John.

This is a scary, wonderful, amazing thing that is happening and if you want to live in wonder with me you can find Foreword at these places: website, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Pinterest.

Thank you all for the congrats.

Cover reveal: Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes + gift card contest!

Vivi Barnes is my client and I think her cover is about the coolest thing ever. You can buy Olivia Twisted in November or it is up for pre-order now at Amazon or add it on Goodreads! This is also the first time we are revealing the synopsis, and if you look closely on the cover below there’s a quote from the AWESOME Tara Kelly.


He tilts my chin up so my eyes meet his, his thumb brushing lightly across my lips. I close my eyes. I know Z is trouble. I know that being with him is going to get me into trouble. I don’t care.

At least at this moment, I don’t care.

Tossed from foster home to foster home, Olivia’s seen a lot in her sixteen years. She’s hardened, sure, though mostly just wants to fly under the radar until graduation. But her natural ability with computers catches the eye of Z, a mysterious guy at her new school. Soon, Z has brought Liv into his team of hacker elite—break into a few bank accounts, and voila, he drives a motorcycle. Follow his lead, and Olivia might even be able to escape from her oppressive foster parents. As Olivia and Z grow closer, though, so does the watchful eye of Bill Sykes, Z’s boss. And he’s got bigger plans for Liv…

I can picture Liv’s face: wide-eyed, trusting. Her smooth lips that taste like strawberry Fanta.
It was just a kiss. That’s all. She’s just like any other girl.
Except that she’s not.

Thanks to Z, Olivia’s about to get twisted.


Vivi cover photo Vivi Barnes was raised on a farm in East Texas where her theater-loving mom and cowboy dad gave her a unique perspective on life. Now living in the magic and sunshine of Orlando, Florida, she divides her time writing, working, goofing off with her husband and three kids, and avoiding dirty dishes.

Find her on her blog:
Find her on twitter: @ViviBarnes
Find her on facebook: Facebook.ViviBarnes.Author

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