This month on OA Recommends, let's learn more about Literary Rambles!
1- What is the origin story or history of Literary Rambles?
Casey McCormick, my former blog partner, founded Literary Rambles in 2008 and began our popular Agent Spotlights in March 2009. I joined her as a blog partner on March 7, 2011. Casey’s involvement on the blog decreased over the years after I joined the blog, and she left the blog in 2015.
2- What are some of the biggest changes that Literary Rambles has experienced over the years and have your original site goals changed?
My mission has always been to help aspiring writers and authors on their path to publication whether as a traditionally published, hybrid, or self-published author and to share my love of books with readers. However, how I accomplish this has changed over the years.
When I joined Literary Rambles, I focused on featuring debut middle grade and young adult authors to help promote their books and to have them share advice on the craft of writing, getting an agent and publishing contract, and marketing their books with writers.
Shortly before Casey left the blog, I took over the agent spotlights and started doing them in an interview format with a query critique giveaway. I also began having debut authors and agents do guest posts with a book giveaway and query critique giveaway around that time. My goal has been to feature more literary agents and to give aspiring writers a chance to get feedback on their query letters and direct interactions with an agent.
For followers of my blog who I cannot offer an interview or guest post spot, I added a Followers News feature, where I shout out about their book releases in a regularly scheduled post to help promote their books.
In April 2021, I also made a commitment to keeping the agent spotlights current and updated over 175 agent spotlights and agent spotlight interviews. I try to update the spotlights when I learn about an agent switching agencies or forming their own agency and plan to update all of them every three years.
3- Are there any big events or exciting news coming up for Literary Rambles in 2021-2022?
I have a full schedule of debut author interviews, agent/author guest posts, and agent spotlight interviews through 2021. I also have been participating in two book giveaway blog hops every month to promote more middle grade and YA debut and new releases that month.
I just planned the winter 2022 schedule and will be adding more guest posts by authors and agent/author guest posts that are focused on a specific topic. I’m offering books in a wider range of genres and am also trying to feature more diverse authors and their books, something I’ve started focusing on the last few years.
4- How often do you have a new post on your site and is there a schedule for certain posts on certain days?
I post an author interview or agent/author guest post on the first Wednesday of the month when I also do a short post for The Insecure Writer’s Support Group, that brings a lot of followers to my blog and most Mondays the rest of the month. I do one or two agent spotlight interviews each month on Wednesdays (and an occasionally open Monday) and two book giveaway hops on the dates they are scheduled by the giveaway hop hosts.
5- How do you choose which agents to feature?
When I took over the agent spotlight interviews, I mostly selected them from blog posts on Writer’s Digest about new agents and agents looking for clients. Now I still find some of my agents through their blog posts but also find agents through Publisher Weekly newsletters and other authors’ blogs and podcasts that feature literary agents.
Because there are so many agents that I haven’t featured, I’m become a bit more selective in who I choose. I try to pick ones who represent picture book through young adult or at least middle grade and young adult and a variety of genres because I think this would help more writers in their search for an agent.
6- How do you choose which debut authors to feature?
Every year, debut middle grade and young adult authors form debut author groups to support each other during their debut year. They have a website, such as The 21ders, which lists all the authors and their books. Usually, the websites go live in July or August, and I begin searching for authors and books that I think my followers will like. Sometimes I get a request to be featured by a debut author, which I try to accommodate if I can.
I’ve selected the debut authors for the beginning 2022 a little differently. One of the authors in the group that I will be featuring let the group know that I was starting to schedule guest posts and interviews for 2022. A number of them contacted me, and I was able to create my January-March schedule in a few days with books in a wide range of genres and by diverse authors.
7- How do you choose people to write guest posts for you, and the topics they will address?
Except for the agent/author guest posts, I have been mostly interviewing authors for the last three or four years. In 2022, I am choosing more authors to write guest posts. The process is similar as for picking authors to interview or feature with their agents. I am looking for authors who have books I think my followers and I will enjoy and can share their expertise about a topic that would help aspiring writers and authors. I’m ask them to suggest a topic, so I know ahead of time what it’ll be about. I think it might help me promote their posts better too if the topic is more focused.
8- Tell us about your giveaways.
Ever since I joined the blog, I have offered a book or ARC giveaway with almost all of my interviews and guest posts and query critiques with my agent spotlight interviews. I also offer a selection of books or an Amazon gift card in my book giveaway blog hops.
I do this because I think I get a better response to the posts with a giveaway, which is more helpful for the authors I am promoting. Also, I want writers and authors looking for an agent to get help with their query letters.
9- Your site has several awards and recognitions. Would you list a few of those and tell us how you won them?
Literary Rambles has been listed as a Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers in 2015 and 2016 for our agent spotlights and agent spotlight interviews. I would love to be listed as one of their best websites again because it would give Literary Rambles so much exposure and bring more people to the blog who could benefit from all the blog has to offer.
10- With all the websites for writers out there, why should someone take the time to read Literary Rambles; what makes Literary Rambles unique?
My sole purpose is to help writers and authors and share books with book lovers. All the interviews and guest posts are filled with helpful information. Unlike some other blogs, everything I offer is free. I also offer numerous book giveaways and one to three query critique giveaways every month.
While Literary Rambles does not list all the agents who represent authors in children’s publishing, my database has a wide range of agents for aspiring authors to query. Almost all of the debut authors I’ve featured at Literary Rambles in the 10 years I’ve been blogging have told me that Literary Rambles helped them find their agent.
11- Would you please list the links and ways people can find Literary Rambles website, blog, social media.
Here’s where you can find me:
Literary Rambles: http://literaryrambles.com
Natalie Aguirre is the blog host of Literary Rambles. She joined Casey as a blog partner on March 7, 2011 and took over as blog host in 2015. She is an aspiring middle grade and YA author and a member of The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She is a retired attorney and part-time contract writer. Natalie is also a widow and mother of a wonderful young adult daughter.
Natalie's mission at Literary Rambles is to help aspiring writers and authors on their path to publication whether as a traditionally published, hybrid, or self-published author and to share her love of books with readers. She interviews and features guest posts by many debut middle grade and young adult authors who share about their books and offer advice to other writers with an ARC or book giveaway. She also hosts agent/debut author guest posts chocked full of advice with a book and query critique giveaway.
She is carrying on the popular Agent Spotlight series through Agent Spotlight Interviews with query critique giveaways once or twice a month. She also helps promote her followers’ book releases through her Follower News monthly feature.