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The Building Blocks of YA Editor Monique Jones Brown

This month, we'll be highlighting the Donors from Our Rate Your Story *Build-A-Story* Contest (August 1 - 31st). Each will share a little bit about themselves and the building blocks of their career, tell you about their latest project and leave YOU a building block to help build your stories! Be sure to check them out! AND don't forget to enter our contest (more info here) to be eligible for prizes! SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Due to not being able to complete our many Donor Spotlights by the end of August -- there are more building blocks and prizes to come -- we are going to extend our contest by just over one week! The new deadline will be September 10th, also to allow for Labor Day, and Back-to-School, as well as time to review all the Donors, who we are very happy to promote. Please feel free to share any blogposts for Donors who shared advice or prizes that resonate with you. They would surely appreciate it, and I know that I would, as well. The more entries, the more prizes that I will add to the pile (Rate Your Story Speedpasses, Query Critiques and Mentor Sessions with The Picture Book Mechanic). Thanks in advance!


My name is Monique Jones Brown and I am the Acquisitions Editor for Young Adult books for The Little Press. We are an independent publishing company that has garnered award-winning books such as, My Superhero Grandpa by Michele McAvoy and positive Kirkus reviews. My role at The Little Press is to find and acquire and edit age-appropriate and page-turning young adult books.


At The Little Press, we have a debut author, Sierra Isley, and her amazing story, In the Ring. It is a contemporary story of a queer teen who uses boxing to deal with anxiety and a sexual assault. Through all of that, Rose, the main character, struggles with the ups and downs of falling in love. Release date is September 15, 2023 with the preorder campaign being run by Little Shop of Stories in Atlanta (where you can purchase signed copies.)


Manuscripts that have compelling stories and strong characters. The Little Press is particularly interested in authentic voices. Our wishlist ranges from a fractured (twisted) fairy-tale to contemporary coming of age stories. Most importantly the voice and writing has to be good.


One story that has always resonated with me has been From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. A story of two siblings who run away and their adventures that ensue. It was as if I was lost in the story alongside the characters and I think that it stands the test of time. Many kids have thought of running away at some point, I know I have and it is a fun story of childhood adventure.


It takes a lot of self-control. I keep the structure by rereading the text several times before I dive in to edit. This allows me to edit without changing the style and voice.


As an indie press we look towards our creatives to help promote and market themselves and their titles. In this way, a social media presence is important. The number of “followers” is not as important as engagement. We much prefer an author who has a small following of die hard fans then a large following of fairweather folks.

MONIQUE'S PRIZE: Monique has generously offered three (3) Above-the-Slush Submission passes, one to each of the top three (3) YA Finalists!

Meet MORE Prize Donors and Find More Prizes HERE [Click on the Links] The Building Blocks of Karen Kilpatrick The Building Blocks of #SeasonsOfKidlit (

And don't forget to send in your entry here:

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