The Suffering Tree Blog Tour (+ Summer of Authors #7): Guest Post + GIVEAWAY with Elle Cosimano – How I Found the Perfect Agent

Hi guys! I am so glad to have back Elle Cosimano, author of her latest book The Suffering Tree, on the blog! Earlier this year, I gave an exclusive interview with Elle (which you can find here) and reviewed her YA paranormal thriller Holding Smoke (which you can find here too), which I loved. Now, I am glad to promote her newest book The Suffering Tree in the blog tour!


About the Book28810197

Title: The Suffering Tree

Author: Elle Cosimano

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: June 13th 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Synopsis: “It’s dark magic brings him back.” 

Tori Burns and her family left D.C. for claustrophobic Chaptico, Maryland, after suddenly inheriting a house under mysterious circumstances. That inheritance puts her at odds with the entire town, especially Jesse Slaughter and his family-it’s their generations-old land the Burns have “stolen.” As the suspicious looks and muttered accusations of her neighbors build, so does the pressure inside her, and Tori returns to the pattern of self-harm that landed her in a hospital back in D.C. It all comes to a head one night when, to Tori’s shock, she witnesses a young man claw his way out of a grave under the gnarled oak in her new backyard. 

Nathaniel Bishop may not understand what brought him back, but it’s clear to Tori that he hates the Slaughters for what they did to him centuries ago. Wary yet drawn to him by a shared sense of loss, she gives him shelter. But in the wake of his arrival comes a string of troubling events-including the disappearance of Jesse Slaughter’s cousin-that seem to point back to Nathaniel. 

As Tori digs for the truth-and slowly begins to fall for Nathaniel-she uncovers something much darker in the tangled branches of the Slaughter family tree. In order to break the curse that binds Nathaniel there and discover the true nature of her inheritance, Tori must unravel the Slaughter family’s oldest and most guarded secrets. But the Slaughters want to keep them buried at any cost.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:elle-cosimano

Author of NEARLY GONE, NEARLY FOUND, HOLDING SMOKE, and THE SUFFERING TREE (Disney*Hyperion, 2017). Represented by Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency.

Let’s get onto the guest post!

Elle Cosimano

How I Found the Perfect Agent

Six years ago, when I completed my first draft of what would become my debut novel, I was a real estate agent with a background in psychology who dreamed of becoming a novelist. I had no formal writing training. I had no literature degree. And I had zero knowledge of the world of publishing. Basically, I had no idea what I was doing, much less any clue where to start. All I knew is that to get where I wanted to go, I presumably needed an agent.

But where did one go to find an agent?


Well, if that’s all you wanted to know, you could Google a big fat list of them.

But that’s not what you asked me. You asked, “how did I find the perfect agent?” And that’s a whole other box of Scrabble tiles.

I knew I didn’t want just any agent. The perfect agent for me would be someone very specific.

–          Someone who liked to read and represent the kinds of books I wanted to write.

–          Someone who was highly editorial, a patient coach willing nurture the long learning curve I had ahead of me.

–          Someone highly respected within the industry with a solid track record.

–          Someone with a business acumen and personality that could mesh well with my own.

A tall order.

So where did I start my search?

I made a list of comparable titles. I knew my manuscript was an edgy, urban mystery/thriller with romantic and paranormal elements, and that it would probably be best suited to mature teens. With this in mind, I read broadly within YA paranormal fiction, YA mysteries, and YA urban fantasy. I made lists of the books I loved, specifically those that had a similar feel, characteristics, or pacing to what I hoped mine might one day become. Then I opened all those books to the Acknowledgments page and made a list of every agent who represented these authors. (Hint: we ALWAYS thank our agents in our Acknowledgments. This is a great way to figure out who reps whom. You could also use the Who Reps Whom at Query Tracker.)

I researched all those agents. Google was a great place to start. I read blog interviews, guest posts, sale announcements, submission requirements. I surfed their blogs, Twitter feeds, and Facebook pages. I took notes, keeping track of the ones that felt like a potential fit. Blog interviews and guest posts are a great way to get a feel for the agent’s “voice” and agenting style. I was able to grasp which ones had editorial backgrounds and were willing to help promising authors through a tough revision. I was able to get a read on the kinds of stories that stoked their fire. And by observing their social media interactions, I was able to get a sense of their industry knowledge, promotional savvy, and the way they carried themselves within the writing community.elle-cosimano

When I had my list narrowed to agents that felt like a potential fit for me, I researched their sales background. Publisher’s Marketplace was a great place to learn more about the number, size, and types of deals each agent had done in recent years, as well as which editors they’d sold to. This information helped me to turn my agent list into a Wish List.

Once I had a highly polished finished draft and a strong pitch letter ready to go, I began querying. I started at the top of my list, and was very, very lucky to receive a response from Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency.

Sarah was very high on my Agent Wish List, but I didn’t know she was the perfect agent for me until I interviewed her. A phone call is usually the next step in the process. If an agent likes a query and wants to discuss the possibility of working together, they’ll probably want to schedule “The Call”. For most of us (myself included), this is a terrifying, exhilarating prospect. What if we mumble or spew nonsense? What if we vomit into the phone? I wanted to be completely prepared. The purpose of the call was to be a feeling out period for both of us. So I made myself a list of interview questions. And her answers to those questions gave me the confidence to sign with her. I knew without a doubt she was the perfect agent for me.

Six years have passed. My real estate license has lapsed. My fourth novel publishes this month. Some of my books have been nominated for some pretty snazzy awards. I can’t say I’m an expert at what I do—I’m still learning every day—but I’m confident that at least I got this part right.

Here’s the Tour Schedule!

Tour Schedule


Prize: The Suffering Tree bundle, including a finished copy, a sticker, and a bookmarkThe Suffering Tree

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

  • Open to US residents ONLY.
  • Must be 13 or older to enter (and have parental permission if under 18).
  • Giveaway starts 12:00 a.m. 6/20/17 until 12:00 a.m. 6/27/17. *UPDATE: I shortened the giveaway to the 6/25 due to me being out of town for the week.*
  • All entries are double-checked and false entries will be disqualified.
  • Winner will be notified via email and needs to answer in 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.
    Your personal information won’t be used or be seen unless you’re the winner of the giveaway. We won’t sell it nor use it in a bad way.
  • Tour Hosts are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
  • One person cannot win more than one prize in a same tour giveaway even though the same prize has been won in different blogs. If the same person appears in the same winners list, he/she will immediately be disqualified. See our Tour Guidelines in our website for more information.

Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Do you have any thoughts or questions?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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