Pamela Van Hylckama Vlieg joined Larsen Pomada as an Associate Literary Agent in 2012 to represent young adult and middle grade children’s book authors. Over the past four years Pam has become one of the top YA book bloggers in the country at Bookalicious.org. She partners her blog with Hicklebee’s, a children’s bookstore in San Jose, CA.
Pam writes fantastical YA and MG fiction and is represented by Laurie McLean, also of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents. She lives in the Bay Area of California with her Dutch husband, two children–a boy and a girl the perfect set–a Jack Russell terrier, a bulldog puppy, and a small guinea pig. It is her greatest dream to own a menagerie.
Since this blog is about offering inspiration to writers—my first question for you is, do you have a favorite quote? If so, why is it your favorite?
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
I think it shows that no matter what you are facing, there is always someone facing something worse and being incredibly positive while doing so.
You are one of the country’s top YA book bloggers, wow—that’s quite an accomplishment! What advice could you give others trying to promote their books and blogs?
Think of your query letter, then think of how you can take that letter and switch it up a bit and make someone want to read your book. Bloggers get a lot of pitches for ARCs and finished copies. Probably the same amount of emails an agent gets with queries. It takes more time, but be personable, write about something you read on their blog, or hire a service like Lit Logisitics to do it for you.
As for promoting your blog here are my tips:
– Engage in the community. Comment, link posts you like or relate to on your social media.
– Worry more about content rather than consistency. Quality always wins over quantity. Do you want to be a Lincoln or Hugo?
– As you have done with your book, write about the things that make you passionate.
– Participate in a few memes. A few being the key parts of the previous sentence.
– Don’t be pushy. It takes a least a year to build a decent following, linking yourself all the time is the equivalent to only talking about your book and nothing else on Twitter.
– Most importantly, have fun. It doesn’t need to be a job. It should be your outlet when you are blocked.
You’ve read a lot of books; if at all possible, could you pick one book that has deeply affected you? If so, what was it that moved you about it?
When I was younger it was Wuthering Heights. Twelve year old me worried about Heathcliff. He had such a raw deal in my mind. I tried to read it recently and I was more Team Cathy. Funny how the years change you.
Recently it was Ruta Sepetys Between Shades of Gray. I had no idea that Lithuanians were treated so horribly. It is something we just skip when we learn world history and these people suffered horribly.
If you could send a piece of advice to your teen self in one tweet, what would you say?
Hey girl, NKOTB isn’t going to be around forever. Start listening to jazz.
In your career as a writer and agent, who’s had the biggest influence on you? What did they do to inspire you?
Laurie McLean! She took an upstart blogger under her wing and spent many of her hours (and continues to do so) teaching me how to be the best advocate that I can possibly be for my authors.
What did you want to be growing up? Now that you’re an author/agent, did this come as a surprise?
I wanted to be a sociologist. People interested me incredibly, now people still interest me. They are mostly fictional people though. I don’t think it is too surprising, from the time I learned to read I would skip meals to spend time with a good story.
If you could pick a word to describe yourself, what would it be?