Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Literary Rambles with Casey McCormick

Recently I've received some emails from young authors who were eager to find out what they could about how I got my agent. After pointing them to such resources as Verla Kay's Blueboards,, and other fabulous online resources, I always tell them to head on over to Casey McCormick's fantastic blog Literary Rambles. Casey's blog was a godsend to me during my agent search. Her Agent Spotlights provide in depth information on nearly a hundred children's literature agents.

During my agent search, I read every single agent spotlight and started compiling a new agent excel spreadsheet based entirely on what I like to think of as compatability factors. What books had the agents repped, what were their likes and dislikes, how did they come across in their interviews, etc. I absolutely believe that my agent search was successful because of the hard work Casey had done providing this amazing service to the writing community. So I'm extremely happy to have Casey drop by and talk to us about herself and her blog and all she does for the writing community.

Ello - Hi Casey! I really feel I owe you a big thank you for all the hard work you've done compiling the agent research and then providing it to everyone on your blog. Thank you so much for all that you do!

Casey - Hi Ellen! I'm so happy you recognized Lit Rambles as a great resource. I really appreciate your support and enthusiasm in spreading the word. Every time someone reaches out to me with thanks it makes it that much more worth it.

Ello - You've done so much for the writing community. You are really amazing! And so well appreciated by all of us.

Casey - The writing community RAWKS. Seriously, the community of writers I’ve come to know online and through SCBWI over the past few years is amazing. I don’t know what I’d do without them. I’ve met all my critique partners online, learned a ton about the craft and business of writing, and made a lot of fabulous friends. I hope all aspiring writers find their way into the fold; it has so much to offer.

Ello - What made you start this amazing resource?

Casey - The idea for Agent Spotlight sort of came to me out of the blue. I’d been considering my favorite blogs, what I liked about them in particular, and realized I was drawn to ones that had a lot of humor or a regular feature that was helpful and unique. I’m not really a funny person but do love to be helpful. I started trying to think up something I could do for my fellow aspiring authors that I was qualified to do. I guess the idea sprung out of my obsession with agents and the querying process!

Ello - So tell us a little about your own writing.

Casey - My writing has had a really interesting evolution, but I thinks that's a story I'll keep for after publication. ; )

Right now I have a couple contemporary YA novels in the works. One is more high concept and psychological and the other is (in my dreams) comparable to a Sarah Dessen novel. I have just a few more months of school left and hope to query one or the other before the end of the year. We’ll see!

Ello - How do you manage your time with everything you juggle?

Casey - Last year was pretty rough. I was juggling the blog, self-employment, school, family, interning, WriteOnCon, a ton of e-mail, social networking, critiquing, and writing. I really spread myself too thin. Toward the end of the year it was obvious I needed to reevaluate. I ended up reprioritizing some things and quitting my job. I’m not sure what that says about my priorities (ha!) but hey, I was in a position to do it and I’m much happier now.

As for actual time management, I keep lists of everything I need to do in a given day, week, month, etc. and update daily. Knowing what I could be working on at any given moment helps me stay on task (sane) and nothing feels better than crossing stuff off my lists!

Ello - Speaking of WriteOnCon, I know it was a fantastic success. Is that something you are doing again? If so, what do you want to share about the experience?

Casey - Yes! The 2nd annual Writers Online Conference (WriteOnCon) will happen in August again. We’re doing our best to make it bigger and better this year and, with any luck, there won’t be a server crash this time. It was a fantastic experience. We got to read, watch, and learn from over 60 amazing authors, agents, and editors and share invaluable knowledge with other writers. If you enjoyed WriteOnCon last year, please spread the word! We’re really hoping to reach more writers this year.

Ello - I will absolutely spread the word! But what's next for you?

Casey - What’s next? Well, who knows! I’m always pushing myself for more. I’m gaining a blog partner at Literary Rambles this month who will be doing some fabulous interviews and giveaways, planning for WriteOnCon 2011 with the other organizers, and getting through the last few months of school. With the right amount of motivation, I’ll accomplish all my goals and finally jump into the query trenches.

Ello - How has all of these experiences changed you, helped you?

Casey - I think my blog and WriteOnCon have affected my life positively. I’ve learned and grown a lot from both endeavors. I’ll be the first to admit they take a lot of time away from writing, definitely, but they nurture other areas of my life and I can’t imagine setting them aside at the moment. I’m just taking each day and opportunity at a time and feel confident in the path I’m following.

Wish me luck!

Ello - Absolutely! I wish you all the success in the world! And thanks for everything you do!


Richard Levangie said...

I love Casey! Her site has proved enormously helpful to me, and it's the reason why I thought your agent might also be a good personal fit because he enjoys stories featuring mixed families and cultural diversity.

I would have approached Joe based on Casey's recommendation alone, but your recommendation was the icing on the cake.

I just hope my work is good enough.

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm not allowed to cry at my desk here at work, but if I could, I would.

Such an inspiring story. Thanks ladies!

Charles Gramlich said...

I haven't checked out Casey's site but I will visit now.

Steve MC said...

I discovered Casey just a few months ago, and haven't even checked out the agents part of her site. The Tuesday Tips and interviews like yours are great in themselves.

Thanks for this glimpse of a very classy lady!

Kimbra Kasch said...

Great interview! I love the info and what a woman Casey is, doing so much and still doing for others :)

A truly inspirational story.

Casey McCormick said...

Thank you so much Richard, Matthew, Charles, Maine Character, and Kim. I appreciate your comments and kind words. Ellen insisted on this little interview and I really appreciate the support.

Thank you again, Ellen. I expect great things from you! : )

Christina Farley said...

Yeah for Casey! Great interview. Great blog.

Brilliant writer.

Nandini said...

Great Interview. Thanks for the wonderful resource you've created, Casey. I'm off to read all the agent spotlights!

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