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Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, reviewed by Josh Lacey
Dead End in Norvelt is a defiantly political novel that delivers some simple moral messages: question the stories that you're told at school or in the media; "if you don't know your history you won't know the difference between truth and wishful thinking"; and, most importantly, don't forget the narratives of American life that have been neglected or deliberately buried by the dominant culture. JOSH LACEYAdd a Comment
Blog: Sophia Whitfield Children's Book Publisher (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: Silver Apples of the Moon (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: Manga Maniac Cafe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Ciye Cho is the author of Florence, a YA paranormal romance featuring one of my favorite mythical creatures – Mermaids! Ciye dropped by the virtual offices to chat about his new book, so read on to see what he has to say.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Ciye Cho] Daydream believer… who may (or may not) have been a merman in a past life.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Florence?
[Ciye Cho] Seventeen-year-old Florence Waverley is lost beneath the waves. Kidnapped and dragged down to Niemela–the hidden world of merfolk–she is the coronation gift for a mer prince named Kiren. But nothing is what it seems in the war between Niemela and the dark ocean–a conflict that will drive her between two brothers… and force her to find out where she belongs.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[Ciye Cho] I’ve always loved mermaids and mermen. Who doesn’t? And I thought it would be cool to present a different take on the mythology of merfolk. Instead of playful sirens in conch bras… why not make them multicolored warriors armed with rifles, spears, and the occasional super power? Instead of putting them in a shell castle… why not put them in a city made of coral and jellyfish… stuck in a valley of deep-sea volcanoes? I wanted to take the classic mer theme of belonging and take it to another level by making the Niemelans (the merfolk in "Florence") exceptionally regimented and driven by a sense of order and purpose.
This is where the idea for the characters came from. I liked the idea of having characters who don’t quite fit in with the rest of their world. Like Kiren who rebels against the rules of Niemelan life; or Rolan who follows each commandment to the letter… only to find he can’t truly connect with the world he was born into. And, of course, Florence Waverley who doesn’t have a place in any world–deep-sea or otherwise.
I think a lot of people feel out of sync with the world they live in. Like they’re (fishes) out of water.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the book?
[Ciye Cho] Trying to make all the interactions feel real. The young-adult genre is incredibly sophisticated and YA readers have high expectations of they books read. They might be willing to suspend their disbelief over vampires, elves, and mermaids… but the interactions between the characters have to feel real. I don’t know how well I succeeded, but I spent a great deal of time rewriting the core interactions between Florence and the mer she encounters.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Florence?
[Ciye Cho] Outsider looking inside.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Kiren would never have in his bedroom?
[Ciye Cho] Kiren doesn’t actually have many possessions in his kelp tower. Niemelans are super-obsessed with purpose, work, and order… and therefore material possessions are rare if they don’t serve a purpose. I don’t even know if he could answer this question.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Rolan’s single most prized possession?
[Ciye Cho] Like Kiren, Rolan has little need or want for material goods. Like a true Niemelan, he doesn’t even have a bedroom.
[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Ciye Cho] I did a lot of research into marine life while writing Florence. One thing I picked up from stuff like nature docos was this idea that life will thrive wherever it must–be it in a warm reef&helAdd a Comment
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The older you get the more facts seem to change. For example, when I was a kid I remember that some facts were as of yet unprovable but were told with a certain ring of truth. Take the dinosaurs as an example. As a kid I “knew” that they had all died out probably because of a big nasty meteor. Talk to a kid today and ask them what killed the dinosaurs and you will receive a very different interpretation. The dinos? Why didn’t you know? They all turned into birds! Which is to say, there’s a working theory at the moment that says that the dinos evolved into the birdies we know and love today. With that new theory in mind I can think of few author/illustrators better equipped to write a factual illustrated bird picture book than Ms. Lita Judge. Having wowed the masses already with her fantastic Born to Be Giants: How Baby Dinosaurs Grew to Rule the World it seems only appropriate that she should turn her sights on the next stage in evolution: those with some avian flair.
How much do you really know about birds? They’re our neighbors, after all. Even if you live in the most busting of metropolises, you’re bound to catch a glimpse of them here or there. Yet are they the brainless twittering nobodies we sometimes take them to be or is there something else at work? Are they, in fact, capable of communication? Turning her attention to twenty-eight different kinds of birds, Ms. Judge separates her book into the ways birds choose to stand out amongst one another, how they greet each other, how they find one another, how they protect one another, encourage each other, listen, and learn. Accompanied by Ms. Judge’s gorgeous lush watercolors, kids get short sweet glimpses into the lives of birds, common and otherwise. Back matter includes a listing of the birds in this book (with additional information about their habitats and geographical locations), a Glossary, References, a Web Site, and an Author’s Note that explains how Ms. Judge came to write her book.
How does nonfiction get used by kids on a day-to-day basis? Basically it splits into two segments. Either they pick up a nonfiction tome for a class assignment or they do it out of love for the subject. And because there are as many distinct individual obsessions as there are fishies in the sea, no matter what the subject matter is you can count on some kid somewhere loving that topic to death (example: When I was a kid I wanted to know everything there was to know about albino animals… of which there was nada). Birds seem like a pretty straightforward choice, though. Usually a kid will obsess over a particular type of bird, rather than the species a whole, but I’m confident that if talked up correctly this book could prove as popular with the penguin and macaw fans out there as it is with kids assigned the standard “animal book” requirement in school.
Blog: Children's Book Reviews and Then Some (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The dedication to WUMBERS by Amy Krouse Rosenthal with illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld reads: We dedic8 this book 2 William Steig, the cre8tor of C D B! (cer10ly the inspiration for this book) and so many other cla6. I am thrilled that Rosenthal and Lichtenheld (the duo who brought us the fantastic Duck! Rabbit! and Yes Day! as well as It's Not Fair and the OK Book) have given a nodDisplay Comments Add a Comment
Blog: The Children's Book Review (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The Children’s Book Review
Published: June 30, 2012
Then she was raised on the Caribbean island of Trinidad and the charming country of Germany before moving to America. Her travels impact her stories with a sense of compassion and love for all people!
Van Horn thrived at the university of North Carolina at Charlotte where she earned a BA in Elementary Education in 1993. She went on to earn the highest degree possible for educators by becoming a National Board Certified Teacher in 2000. In addition, she earned a MaEd. in Elementary Education from her alma mater in 2002 and she renewed her certification as a National Board Certified Teacher in 2010. It is evident that Van Horn is a firm believer that education equals authentic empowerment for a successful and fulfilling life. Currently, Stephanie P. Van Horn lives in North Carolina with her supportive husband, amazing daughter and mischievous malti-poo.
As an educator to elementary students, she creates an academic environment that makes learning both engaging and memorable! Through her first book, “Math Rapmatics: Mathematical Rhymes Right On Time,” Stephanie displays her passion for knowledge by forming mathematical concepts to music and rap. Her desired goal is to take learning to a higher level. She realizes that there is a need for authentic educational and energizing resources. Frankly, many students are just plain bored when it comes to math. Van Horn is determined to change this perspective. She enjoys writing because it allows her to reach children from all over the world. Children everywhere inspire her to write. They deserve to enjoy learning.
“Math Rapmatics: Mathematical Rhymes Right On Time” is a unique collection of raps created to teach crucial mathematical concepts in an exciting way. Readers will be thoroughly engaged as they learn about telling time, symmetrical shapes, congruent figures, number sense and reading greater than and less than signs. This beautiful hard cover book includes a rap CD. The book includes art created by Rick Daniel. Van Horn insisted that the art work in the book add to the lessons of each rap. The CD matches the lyrics word for word making this a great book for learning to read new words in addition to learning math in a cool hip-hop manner.
“Math Rapmatics” is being used in all 26 Freedom Partner Schools in Charlotte, NC to make math lessons for struggling children exciting and engaging. It is also used by the second grade teachers at Mountain Island Charter School in Mt. Holly, NC to enrich their math program. The book is loved by children of all ages. Children as young as four and as old as twelve have found it to be great fun and educational at the same time. It is checked out quite often from all of the Union County Public Libraries during the school year and during the summer months.
Get your dancing shoes ready and join the math fun. Your copy of Math Rapmatics: Mathematical Rhymes Right On Time by Stephanie P. Van Horn can be purchased at www.stephanievanhorn.com. You can also learn more about the author at her site.
Education…enjoy the journey!
Written By Stephanie P. Van Horn
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Blog: Monday Artday (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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|"It followed her to school one day, which was against the rule."|
Sharpie Marker Illustration
Original Character by Arnoldo L. Romero©
Canadian author Kenneth Oppel has won the 2012 Hampshire Book Award with his book, Half Brother.
Stephen Davies came third with Oulaw and LA Weatherly's Angel second..Add a Comment
Blog: Writing and Illustrating (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: authors and illustrators, Illustrator's Saturday, Interview, News, picture books, Cecilia Yung, Dog Gone, Illustrator Saturday, Leeza Hernandeez, Putnam, Add a tag
Leeza Hernandez’ debut book hit the bookstores the week of June 10th. That Friday night we celebrated in NYC with Leeza at her book party. It was so much fun getting to see Leeza shine. The picture on the left is Leeza and Connie Colon. Notice the necklace that Leeza is wearing? The ornanment on the chain is a dog bone – so cute! She even had rice crispy treats made up in the shape of dog bones. And the dress she wore was a knock out. The whole thing should have made the society page or the book section of the New York Times. Anyway, I thought I would show off Leeza a little on Illustrator Saturday to help you get to know the next New Jersey SCBWI Regional Advisor a little better.
I asked Leeza to share the journey to getting Dog Gone Published. Here’s Leeza:
Dog Gone! has been in the making for almost three and half years, so it’s wonderful to see it out in the world now. Early in 2009, I was invited to the Putnam office at Penguin to meet with art director Cecilia Yung, publisher Nancy Paulsen and editor Nicole Kasprzak. The meeting was a result of winning the Tomie de Paola portfolio award at the New York SCWI winter Conference that same year. I remember being so excited but crazy nervous, too!
I shared my portfolio and we talked about ideas that I had for picture books. Cecilia pointed out a dog sample in the portfolio and asked if there was a story to go with it.
It just so happened I had with me what I call an ‘ideas’ book. It’s like a small portfolio but filled with loose sketches, notes and random papers. Luckily, there was a copy of the story tucked in the back. Nancy, Cecilia and Nicole read it. I sat quietly for what felt like hours and then Nancy said “Let’s take it.” It was that pinch-me moment when a good poker face can come in really handy. I gave a silly, goofy grin and managed to suppress the girlie squeals, but inside I was running round the office as if I just scored a hat trick at the World Cup!
Writing a story wasn’t the plan, but thanks to an art director who requested a dog sample from me a year prior (there were only cats in my portfolio at the time), an idea germinated from simple word play on dog terms—“Hot Dog” became “Top Dog” which led to “Doggone it” then a-ha,“Dog Gone!” a story idea appeared about a puppy who runs away.
While working on the book, I have made a number of revisions, mostly to the illustrations; had the book release pushed back twice; saw a change in publisher and switched to a new editor. All par for the course apparently, although at the time I had no idea what to expect throughout the process, especially when a publication date gets changed. That’s hard to take when you are so excited and have to wait another six months or maybe a year before you get to see the book in hand.
Working with Susan and Cecilia has been great. Marikka Tamura was the designer on the book and nailed the type design to suit the illustrations perfectly. Everyone helped shape the book into what it is now and I could not have done it without them, for sure. You learn to appreciate very quickly that making children’s books is a collaborative team effort.
Some other things I learned during the creation of this book:
Communication is key. Anything and everything is as simple as a conversation, so don’t be afraidDisplay Comments Add a Comment
Blog: Neil Gaiman (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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It's in the festival's Main Theatre. Rigth now there are a still some tickets, and the ordering lines seem to have gone away. Check in at http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/coraline-with-neil-gaiman-chris-riddell/buy-tickets
This photo has nothing to do with that. It's from Amanda's Brooklyn Art event last night:
(From http://twitpic.com/a1pk86) - I love the combination of the green balloon in the real world, and the devil horns and the wings in the shadow world....
Blog: Le MoNdE dE RoDoLpHe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Blog: Playing by the book (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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The coming week’s bookish radio delights to listen out for include:
Sunday 1 July
A well-bred horse hits hard times and poor health due to overwork. With Adam Godley.
Monday 2 July
Mel Giedroyc introduces the first part of a Horrible Histories series on the Groovy Greeks
Tuesday 3 July
Mel Giedroyc introduces the second part of the Horrible Histories series on Groovy Greeks.
Wednesday 4 July
Old Friends and New Meetings
1/3 Anne Elliott meets her fiance Fredrick Wentworth again after eight years apart.
Mel Giedroyc introduces the third part of the Horrible Histories series on Groovy Greeks.
Thursday 5 July
Accidents and Encounters
2/3 Anne Elliott is surprised to hear news of an impending marriage. Stars Juliet Stevenson.
Mel Giedroyc introduces the fourth part of the Horrible Histories series on Groovy Greeks.
Friday 6 July
3/3 Anne Elliot begins to suspect that she was wrong about Captain Frederick Wentworth.
Mel Giedroyc introduces the final part of the Horrible Histories series on Groovy Greeks.
Saturday 7 July
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
All these radio programmes are available to listen to online worldwide, usually for one week after initial broadcast in the UK.
Details on the reasons why this English-language bookshop is having to close, with quotes from the owner Odile Hellier.Add a Comment
Blog: ALSC Blog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Last week-end, many of us enjoyed beautiful weather in California while learning more about libraries, librarianship, and how to improve services to children. We also made time to visit the Exhibit Hall, network with colleagues, and celebrate quality children’s literature.
Ten bloggers volunteered to “live-blog” from the conference. Unfortunately, a serious hardware outage at our provider prevented us from from doing this. Tomorrow and Monday, some of us hope to share some of the things we learned and experienced at the ALA Annual Conference last weekend.
Feel free to add YOUR thoughts about what you learned at the Midwinter Conference in the comments below.Add a Comment
In The Guardian Stuart Jeffries has a solid profile of John Banville: a life in writing.
Banville's Ancient Light is just out in the UK (get your copy at Amazon.co.uk) but only due out in the US in October (pre-order your copy at Amazon.com) -- though look for that date to be pushed up if it gets Man Booker-shortlisted, as Banville (tongue quite deeply in cheek, no doubt) is certain it will:
"I think they may as well call the whole thing off and give me the prize now !"(Several Banville titles are under review at the complete review, including his Man Booker-winning The Sea.) Add a Comment
Blog: Le MoNdE dE RoDoLpHe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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"Tout ce que la constitution de l'univers nous astreint à souffrir, endurons-le en faisant preuve de grandeur d'âme."
In The Guardian Julian Barnes recounts My life as a bibliophile.
He seems to have long been a pretty diehard one, recognizing (just) how far his obsession went (goes ?):
I also bought books it made no sense to buy, either at the time or in retrospect -- like all three volumes (in first edition, with dust-wrappers, and definitely unread by the previous owner) of Sir Anthony Eden's memoirs. Where was the sense in that ?(Several Barnes titles are under review at the complete review, including his Man Booker-winning The Sense of an Ending.) Add a Comment
The second volume in Deborah Harkness' 'All Souls Trilogy', Shadow of Night, is due out shortly (pre-order your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk), so I've finally gotten around to the first volume: the most recent addition to the complete review is my review of A Discovery of Witches.Add a Comment
Having been reading and enjoying the History Girls blog for the last few weeks, I thought perhaps I might do a History Girls-type post here, about how I researched a book I wrote, and perhaps when you've read it you might like to check out the sample chapter I have on this blog. It's the story of the April Fool's Day bungled robbery, of which more later.
About four years ago, I decided to take a term off from school, on long service leave. I had no special plans, except a bit of travel and some writing of articles and short fiction. I was just about to start my nice long break when I received an email from Paul Collins of Ford Street Publishing. I had written some short fiction for Paul before, but he knew I had written a lot of non-fiction(in fact, I'd recently completed an article about forensic science for the NSW School Magazine, at their request.)
Paul explained that his partner Meredith Costain had done a book called Fifty Famous Australians and he had an idea for a book on fifty infamous Australians. Would I be interested in writing it?
Is the Pope a Catholic?
When you write non-fiction for children, you have to be prepared to write about anything, and I had been doing that. Sometimes I suggested the topic; more often I was commissioned. I love writing about something unfamiliar, because I learn something new.
I did know a little bit about crime, due to my forensics article, and all the Underbelly gangland stuff in the newspapers. I'd read about it over the years. Who hasn't heard of Ned Kelly? And then there was the gruesome story of the Batavia, mutiny and murder.
But there was a lot to do here, not merely the fifty, but a whole lot of snippets for "Did You Know?" boxes. I prepared a long list of possible entries and visited my publisher to be briefed and discuss. This was a book for children. As such, it had to be written carefully so that there wouldn't be anything too detailed in the descriptions of the crimes. I knew that, Paul didn't have to tell me. At the same time, this was a history of crime, children Iove gruesome and I was adamant that this was not going to be a book to help with homework. Potentially it could help with homework, but it was for entertainment. Anything called Fifty Infamous Australians would sound like homework material. In the end, I didn't come up with the title Crime Time: Australians behaving badly, but at least it didn't imply homework!
There had to be a mixture of men and women, grim and humorous, scary and quirky and a vague historical timeline. I would start with the Batavia incident, when a Dutch ship was wrecked off the coast of Western Australia in the seventeenth century and while the captain was gone for help, members of the crew mutinied and murdered passengers and anyone who wouldn't join them.
In the end, though, I wrote the entries in no special order, deciding to sort them later. I knew a book on Australian crime without Ned Kelly would be like a history of women in science without Marie Curie, but I also learned that there was a Kelly brother, James, who lived to a ripe old age as a pillar of the community. And with the other bushrangers there was a lady called Mary Ann Bugg, the wife of Captain Thunderbolt, who was brave and strong and who kept them alive in the bush. I devoured books about Australian crime, from the Batavia to the present day. I read the newspapers for contemporary crime stories, including those I could use for the "Did You Know?" boxes.
Australia is rich in crime stories, the only problem being how to choose among them. There were some who,like Ned Kelly, couldn't be left out. Paul requested some and I duly researched them.
Because I understand how history writing works, I made sure that each of my entries had at least two, preferably more, sources. I remember one Internet source about the Hoddle Street massacre was suspiciously sympathetic to the murderer, for example. Likewise, there were articles pr
Blog: Children's Author Artie Knapp (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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Thanks for visiting the official site of children’s author Artie Knapp!
COPYRIGHT © 2012 ARTIE KNAPP
Use of any of the content on this website without permission is prohibited by federal law
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Blog: I Just Wanna Sit Here And Read! (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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From Goodreads. What if you were mankind’s last chance at survival? Sixteen-year-old Tess lives in a compound in what was once the Western United States, now decimated after a devastating fourth World War. But long before that, life as we knew it had been irrevocably changed, as women mysteriously lost the ability to bring forth life. Faced with the extinction of the human race, the government began the Council of Creators, meant to search out alternative methods of creating life. The resulting artificial human beings, or Chosen Ones, were extraordinarily beautiful, unbelievably strong, and unabashedly deadly. Life is bleak, but uncomplicated for Tess as she follows the rigid rules of her dystopian society, until the day she begins work at Templeton, the training facility for newly created Chosen Ones. There, she meets James, a Chosen One whose odd love of music and reading rivals only her own. The attraction between the two is immediate in its intensity—and overwhelming in its danger. But there is more to the goings-on at Templeton than Tess ever knew, and as the veil is lifted from her eyes, she uncovers a dark underground movement bent not on taking down the Chosen Ones, but the Council itself. Will Tess be able to stand up to those who would oppress her, even if it means giving up the only happiness in her life?
Review by Jess
CHOSEN ONES by Tiffany Truitt, follows Tess, a girl who struggles to do what she needs to in desperate times in a desperate place. Inspiring from the beginning to the end, readers will fall in love with the dynamic characters and fast moving plot.
I LOVED this book. When I first began reading it, I found that it was somewhat difficult to understand some of what was going on. There could have been a little more ease into the main character's world, but once it was figured out it was spectacular! Every aspect of this novel was very original to me and I felt like I hadn't read anything like it.
I've picked up quite a bit of books in the dystopian genre and Truitt did a spectacular job at WOWing me. Her world was so unique. Bringing in artificial beings that are superior to the struggling natural humans. The infertility that spread across the lives of the characters brought a harsh and original tone to the story. I loved the focus on reading and books. As a book junkie it added so much to the story!
I loved the characters, from start to finish. There is no question in regards to the characters. They all had a wonderful dynamic and I found them so real, I wanted to reach into the book and help them. The tension between the main characters Tess and James is outstanding! I could feel their frustration in me! The background characters, that are sure to play a bigger role in the future excite me. I cant wait to learn about more characters.
Tiffany Truitt constructed a beautiful and tragic story of love and betrayal, growing and learning. I was able to feel what these characters were feeling and understand them. I enjoyed reading this book immensely. Well done, I'm hooked. 0 Comments on Chosen Ones by Tiffany Truitt: Review as of 1/1/1900
Blog: Guide to Literary Agents (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
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So you’re at a writers’ conference and you have a chance to sit down with an agent. This encounter is basically like speed dating because you have about five minutes to get the person across the table from you to want, if not to commit to a relationship, at least to try one out.
You have probably 15 seconds to make a lasting first impression. Another 30 to build curiosity. A mere few minutes to captivate, inspire and intrigue…
GIVEAWAY: Merry is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before.
Guest column by Merry Jones, author of the Harper Jennings thrillers,
SUMMER SESSION and BEHIND THE WALLS, as well as the Zoe Hayes
mysteries, THE NANNY MURDERS, THE RIVER KILLINGS, THE DEADLY
NEIGHBORS, THE BORROWED AND BLUE MURDERS. She has also
written humor (including I LOVE HIM, BUT…) and nonfiction (including
BIRTHMOTHERS, Women who relinquished babies for adoption tell their
stories.) Jones is a member of the Philadelphia Liars Club, Mystery Writers
of America and The Authors Guild. Visit her at MerryJones.com.
Find links to all her books here.
These time estimates don’t apply just to hooking agents. They apply to meeting people in general. In our culture, we first impressions matter a lot—consciously or not. And when you approach an agent with your banging book concept, you’re the hundredth person she’s seen that morning. So you have to make her hear you. Which means, somehow, you have to get her attention.
And that’s where creativity comes in. I know authors who have gone far to get agents’ attention. One woman wore an extravagant, oversized elaborate hat. Another went dressed as her main character: a prim Victorian lady. One guy wore his parrot on his shoulder. And someone actually admitted to hobbling in on crutches, feigning a broken leg, just to make an impression.
They all made, I’m sure, lasting first impressions. But was that enough?
Apparently, it wasn’t, as not one got agents that way. Getting attention is good, but it’s just the first step. It isn’t enough to shock with costumes or win sympathy with a limp. Even if you wear neon tights and arrive by trapeze, you’ll probably need something more.
So prepare. Find out what other books that agent has representedAdd a Comment
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