YA Logline/Comp Contest Winner!

giveaway-winnersHappy Friday, everyone! As you know, we hosted a YA Comp Contest this week, which concluded Wednesday night. We had some great entries, and I would like to thank everyone who participated. However, there can only be one winner. After careful consideration, the winner of this comp contest is (drumroll, please)…S.P Bowers! Here’s her winning entry:

“When commoner Raisa is chosen to wed the crown prince, she thinks her worst problem will be learning to curtsey—until she awakens an ancient and vengeful river elemental that begins a war her country is too weak to win.

RIVER SPELL, like THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, shows one girl’s struggle not only against supernatural powers, but against peoples’ perceptions of who she is.”

I chose S.P’s entry for a few reasons. First, her logline is powerful and intriguing. She tells us the main draw for the story, but without giving too much away. It makes you want to know more about it, and that’s exactly how you want your reader to feel. Having armed us with that basic knowledge of her novel, she brings us to her comp. Though her comparison is to another fantasy novel, she focuses on the similarities between the protagonists—a good tactic. By comparing her story to another fantasy, she gives us an idea of what her story will be like without having to say much on that point, all the while driving home the true heart of the story: the protagonist’s need to prove herself.

So, congratulations to S.P. Bowers for winning this YA Comp Contest! She’ll be receiving an advance reader copy of Carl Hiassen’s YA book SKINK NO SURRENDER, which will hit bookstores September 23rd, and Cheryl Klein’s SECOND SIGHT: AN EDITOR’S TALKS ON WRITING, REVISING & PUBLISHING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS.

0Tara Slagle is Linda Epstein‘s intern and is working toward her M.S. in Publishing at Pace University. After completing her degree she would like to work in the publishing world as either an acquisitions editor or literary agent, focusing on YA and (the emerging) New Adult titles. This was her last blogpost as intern.



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YA Writer Contest: Flaunt Your Comps


search-2 Hi, Linda’s intern Tara here! So, we’re having a YA Comp Contest! (I’m doing YA again because not only am I most familiar with YA books, but we have a great YA book as a prize!) The winner will receive an Advanced Reader Copy of Carl Hiaasen’s new book, Skink No Surrender, plus a copy of Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein’s must-read guide for children’s book writers, Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults. SecondSightFinalCover-9

Making a comparison of your manuscript to another book can tell a lot about your work. It makes it easier for an agent or editor to imagine who your reader might be. Your manuscript doesn’t need to be identical to a book for you to compare the two. You don’t want it to come off sounding like your manuscript is the doppelganger of another title. Instead, pick a few aspects of your work that compare to those same aspects in another book. This demonstrates that yours has some really great qualities that have worked for other writers. Thinking about the books that are similar to your work is a healthy and helpful exercise. Then when you write your query letter you can include your comp, if you like.

searchHere’s an example of what I mean:

Four teenaged girlfriends spend their first summer apart, yet are still connected by their deep bond of friendship and a magical pair of pants that brings luck to each of them in unexpected ways. SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELLING PANTS is like a teenaged version of DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD in a light-hearted way showing how strong female friendships can impact our lives.search-1

Here are the Comp Contest rules:

  • Write a logline for your YA novel. (If you’re not sure how to write a logline, refer to my post about them.)
  • Pick one YA book that you think is the best comparison for your work. In one-to-two sentences, describe how your manuscript is similar to that book. Don’t forget to include the title and author of the book you’re using.
  • Post your entry into the comment box below.
  • Entries must be submitted before midnight (EST) on Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
  • Only one entry per person (and sorry, but Linda’s clients may not enter).
  • This contest is open to U.S. & Canadian residents only, due to the high cost of international shipping.
  • Winners will be posted here on Friday, August 8th.

Now, put your YA book knowledge to the test and find your perfect comparison!


8025427_1Tara Slagle is Linda Epstein‘s intern and is working toward her M.S. in Publishing at Pace University. After completing her degree she would like to work in the publishing world as either an acquisitions editor or literary agent, focusing on YA and (the emerging) New Adult titles. 



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Guest Post: Writing a Novel with your Left Brain vs. Right Brain

left-right brain (Natasha)I’m a pretty solid left-brainer. I’m organized. Not to a compulsive degree, but close enough. I like things in the right places, dishes in the dishwasher, papers filed, pillows fluffed. My three kids’ diverse daily schedules are color-coded on my iPhone. I’m a slave to the clock.

So you’d think my left-brain would prevail even when it comes to the normally right-brain task of creative writing. You’d think I would break the seal on a fresh package of colored index cards, or open a blank document on my MacBook, and then begin outlining my novel in an orderly fashion – chapter-by-chapter, scene-by-scene. Wouldn’t you think that? Me too.

But no. When I begin a novel, my left-brain hightails it. It cowers in the shadows, horrified, as ideas come in no particular order, in scattered bits and pieces – a mood, a setting, a moment, a fragment of dialogue. After much kicking, screaming and self-loathing over this disorganized plot-less thing, a well-meaning critique partner might gently suggest that I focus on creating an outline or a story map. Then there’s more kicking, screaming and agony.

But, it eventually happens. My brain – left and right – pulls all the pieces together – the characters, the plot and subplots – and the novel goes where it needs to go. Not in the first draft, certainly, but eventually. This is the inefficient, frustrating, miraculous process that somehow works for me.

So my goal as I trudge through the current torture of this novel-in-progress, is to remind myself to trust my own process. I have to allow the right-brain ideas to swirl in an uncomfortably messy chaotic mush for a while. My left-brain can’t force the ideas into their proper places until the right-brain is ready to give over some control. Though painful, this process will get a novel written. Maybe it’ll even be my best one yet.

What about you? Do you fall in the right- or left-brain camp?

*According to the left-brain, right-brain dominance theory, the left side of the brain is considered to be adept at tasks that involve logic and analytical thinking, while the right side is best at expressive and creative tasks. Researchers have debunked the theory, but, for this post, let’s just believe.

Natasha SinelNatasha Sinel is a writer of young adult fiction, represented by Linda Epstein. She lives in Bedford Corners, NY with her husband and three male children. When she’s not writing, she can be found muttering expletives while wiping off toilet seats and bathroom floors. She’s pretty sure that if she were male, she’d figure out how to do the whole thing right.


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