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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Middle Grade Novels, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 125
26. Falkenstern & Heller Kudos Plus Book Signing

When Lisa Falkenstern emailed me letting me know about her new book and book signing (it hit the book shelves on Tax Day), I asked if she would tell me how it came about. She said, “This book started a few years ago, when I was showing my editor, Margery Cuyler at Marshall Cavendish (now Two Lions), an idea for a picture book done in steampunk style.

lisafalkensternsteamcover

Steampunk, often described as Victorian science fiction, is a genre I love. I had been collecting gears and clock parts for years with plans to use the pieces as still life props. The imagery of steampunk gears, metal machinery and steam engines is so rich and interesting to look at, I thought that the progression from still life to picture book would work well.

lisafalkensternsteam

 

“Margery liked my idea, however she suggested an alphabet book. I did a rough dummy, and after the idea was approved, I started work on how I would present a steampunk alphabet. I decided that the individual letters should also be illustrated as though built with steampunk parts. That way they would be part of the workshop setting I was playing with.

lisafalkensternC

Then my husband and I spent a large part of our vacation in the Outerbanks going through the dictionary, selecting which words to use. We had a long list and Margery helped make the final selections. Since the text of the book only featured a single sentence for each letter of the alphabet, I decided to illustrate a background plot in which the two mice are building something in their workshop. Each letter propels the story along until the mice reveal their masterpiece, with the letter ‘Z’, of course.

lisafalkensternD

Once I had the whole concept, I started all the illustrations. I draw and paint from reference materials. First, I collected an immense amount of photographs as well as buying parts of lamps and other objects that worked as steampunk. Then I made models of the mice characters and a model of the steam engine.  My husband posed for the mice, which is funny, considering he is six feet, four inches!

lisafalkensternF

I did the roughs of the letters first, and when finished, I added the mice and had them interact with the letters.  Then I did final drawings, and finished the book using oil paints.

lisaFalkensternendpapers

And that was it!

SAVE APRIL 26TH AND 27TH – LISA’S HAVING A BOOK SIGNING AND EVERYONE IS INVITED!

falkensternHetzel poster.2.lores

Ginger HellerThe Huffington Post featured an interview yesterday on Ginger Heller and her new book, The Kid Who Beat Wall Street and Saved Africa.

Here is the link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-hummel/an-interview-with-ginger-heller_b_5070333.html

After I read the interview, I emailed Ginger to ask why she was calling her book a YA Novel. Here is her answer:

“I use the YA label only when it’s all that’s available. My book is really a “tween book” for ages 10-14. I have had some success with reluctant readers in 9th grade, (ages 14/15) if it’s presented right.”

gingerheller2014-04-07-KidWhoBeatWallStreetandSavedAfricaMy story, trading stocks and commodities on the internet, is a sophisticated one as are the issues with which I deal.

The fact that there is a “dictionary,” in the back of the book (I refer to it as my appendix A, 100 Words of Interest ) helps the reader easily look up some difficult words. The interesting part is that the definition of these words appear in the same grammatical form as they do in the book.

As for how did I get the interview, the writer knew of my book and thought it would be of interest.

Click here to take a look on Amazon. If you have a Kindle you can buy the book for $3.99 or if you are a Prime Member you can read the book for free.

Congratulations! Lisa and Ginger.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Kudos, Middle Grade Novels, Picture Book, success Tagged: book signing, Chance to win signed book, Ginger Heller, Lisa Falkenstern, Steampunk ABC, The Huffington Post

7 Comments on Falkenstern & Heller Kudos Plus Book Signing, last added: 4/19/2014
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27. By the Grace of Todd by Louise Galveston for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday!

For other MMGM posts, see the links at Shannon's blog.




By the Grace of Todd by Louise Galveston (for ages 8 to 12, Penguin, February 2014)

Synopsis (from the publisher):

Twelve-year-old Todd has created life through sheer grossness.
How did he become an accidental god? 


Ingredient A: A worn athletic sock
Ingredient B: Dirt from the Great and Powerful Todd himself

Instructions: Leave under bed for months. Do not clean room.

Yields: 50 ant-sized Toddlians

BUT WATCH OUT! When school bully Max Loving puts the future of the tiny Toddlians in jeopardy, Todd will have to do everything in his power to save the race his very negligence created.



Why I recommend it:

Take a cup of The Indian in the Cupboard, a tablespoon or two of Toy Story, a few teaspoons of The Borrowers, add a generous dash of Dan Gutman and a pinch of Andrew Clements, stir in some highly original humorous situations, and shake well.

Even if this book wasn't about the timely topic of learning to deal with bullies, it would still be worth reading for the Toddlians alone. This is hilarious! I'm always happy when a book lives up to its premise. Best moment for me: the Toddlians learn how to speak English by watching TV all night and then they spout advertising slogans that will have you laughing out loud.

Note that the POV changes from Todd to an occasional chapter by one of the Toddlians (Lewis), and even a couple of chapters from each of two other Toddlians (Persephone and Herman). So the switching POVs might confuse some readers. But for sheer fun, this is definitely worth a read.

*   *   *

I'm taking a blogging break for the next few weeks. Between my birthday, my younger son's birthday and the Easter holiday, I'll be busy with family get-togethers, plus I'm trying to finish revising my third MG novel so I can start querying this summer. I'll be back in May. Happy reading!


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28. Agent Looking to Build List

agent-caitlen-rubino-bradwayCaitlen Rubino Bradway of LKG Agency is making an open call for new submissions from writers. So check her out and see if she could be the right agent for you. If so, send her a query.

Caitlen Rubino-Bradway

I joined the LKG Agency in 2008, thereby disproving the theory that no English major ever does anything with their degree.  Before that I worked at another literary agency, Don Congdon Associates, where I had the behind-the-scenes thrill of seeing Kathryn Stockett’s The Help first come in (and getting one of the first reads). And before that I was getting my Masters in English and Publishing from Rosemont College. I have enjoyed my apprenticeship under Lauren very much, and I am now actively looking to build my own list, which includes (after a surprisingly minimal amount of begging and pleading on my part), securing Lauren’s agreement to open the agency to considering middle grade and young adult fiction.

In my spare time, I am an author in my own right (or is that write?).  My first book, Lady Vernon and Her Daughter, which I co-wrote with my mother, was released by Crown in 2009.  We also contributed to Jane Austen Made Me Do It, published by Ballantine in 2011.  My first middle grade novel, Ordinary Magic, was published by Bloomsbury Children’s in 2012.

She is seeking: “I personally am looking for middle grade and young adult fiction. In teen novels, Sci-fi/fantasy is my sweet spot, but I’m open to anything as long as it doesn’t have zombies.

First, I’m just looking for middle grade and young adult now.  Please, no picture books or early chapter books.  And please, no dystopian futures (it’s not really my thing), a lot of violence (also not my thing), or books written in the present tense.  (Wow, I just described The Hunger Games, didn’t I?)  Please, no zombies.  Vampires, werewolves, witches and wizards, angels and demons, the Greek Pantheon, Thor and Loki and Fenrir, superheroes, aliens, super-powered aliens — all good.  But zombies give me nightmares.

Please do send fantasy, whether it be like Harry Potter and Sarah Prineas’ Winterling trilogy (contemporary fantasy about modern kids!); or Stephanie Burgis’ Kat, Incorrigible series, and Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s Sorcery and Cecelia (historic fantasy re-writes with both humor and heart!); or Kristen Cashore’s Graceling, Jessica Day George’s Princess of the Midnight Ball, and Erin Bow’s devastating Plain Kate (traditional fantasy!  With horses!).  And, why, yes, I am listing some of my favorite books on purpose, on the chance that you have read these and your book compares favorably to one of them.

On a related note, please do send sci-fi, which I also love, having grown up on Star Trek: TNG.  Anne Osterlund’s Academy 7 will forever hold a place in my heart because it is a futuristic sci-fi with spaceships and lasers, but it also has a boarding school!  (I love books with boarding schools.)  Ah, that reminds me: please do send things with boarding schools.

Please, please, please send fairy tale re-tellings.  Please.

So if you have a sci-fi retelling of The Hedgehog Prince that takes place at an orbital boarding school that circles Saturn, or a story about a girl who discovers she’s descended from the Norse gods and has to earn her place as a Valkyrie to stop Fenrir from breaking free and starting Ragnarok, please do send it along.

But, seriously, no zombies.

“Also, the LKG Agency is always on the lookout for nonfiction, both practical and narrative. We specialize in women’s focused how-to, such as parenting, lifestyle, health & nutrition, and beauty, but we are open to a lot of nonfiction genres. (For a full list you can check out the submission guidelines on our website.)”

How to contact: “We are looking for email queries only. Nonfiction queries should be sent to lkgquery [at] lkgagency.com; we ask that you please mention any publicity you have at your disposal in your query letter. For middle grade and YA queries, email crubinobradway [at] lkgagency.com.”

The LKG Agency | 465 West End Avenue 2A New York, NY 10024 | query@LKGAgency.com

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Caitlen Rubino Bradway, LKG Agency, Looking for Authors, Sci-Fi and Fantasy

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29. Free Fall Friday – Editor Announced

CALL FOR ILLUSTRATIONS: Only one illustrator sent in something for March. Surely you have something to show off, so please look to see if you have an illustration that would go well with the month or any illustration that might go with a writing or illustrating post. Same as always: At least 500 pixels wide, sent to kathy (dot) temean (at) gmail (dot) com, and include a blurb about you. Thanks!

I am pleased to announce that Susan Dobinick, Assistant Editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux has agreed to be our Guest Critiquer for March.

susan-dobinick

Susan wants to work on everything. Right now she is especially looking for funny middle grade girl novels. In the young adult realm, I’d like to see books that tackle big social issues but aren’t preachy. With picture books, I like short and funny; I prefer quirky stories over cuddly. Across all formats, I’m a fan of books that have depth but are accessible—so that both kids and critics will love them.

Susan assists two children’s trade imprints. She works with fiction and nonfiction, ranging from picture to young adult books. Her specialties include children’s trade publishing, picture books, chapter books, middle-grade books, young adult books, educational publishing, textbooks, and teacher editions. She holds a B.A. in English from Chicago Goucher College.

Susan is Edith Cohn’s editor for Spirits Key, which is coming out in September. Edith has a nice interview with Susan on her blog. Here is the link:

http://edithcohn.wordpress.com/interviews/interview-with-my-editor/

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in March: Please attach your double spaced, 12 point font, 23 line first page to an e-mail and send it to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail.

DEADLINE: March 21st.

RESULTS: March 28th.

Put “March First Page Critique” or “March First Page Picture Prompt Critique” in the subject line. Make sure you have your name on the submission, a title, and indicate the genre.

You can only send in one first page each month. It can be the same first page each month or a different one, but if you sent it to me last month and it didn’t get chosen, you need to send it again using the March directions. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission. It can be a first page from a work in process or you can use the picture prompt above.

Please include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

BELOW IS THE MARCH FIRST PAGE PICTURE PROMPT for anyone who would like a little inspiration to spark their first page.

markgatortrain

Always thought there was a story with this picture illustrated by Mark Meyers. Mark spends his days drawing and painting pictures filled with kids, escaping circus monkeys, and everything in between. He was featured on Illustrator Saturday. Here is the link: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/illustrator-saturday-mark-meyers/

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, picture books, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Chicago Goucher College., Farrar Straus Giroux, First Page Critiques, Free Fall Friday, Susan Dobinick

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30. The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot







The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson (Sept 2013, Harper, for ages 8 to 12)


Source: I purchased the hardcover from Children's Book World when I met the Lucky 13s at Haverford Township Library in November 2013. Here's Caroline reading from her book.




Synopsis (from the publisher): Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword.


There's only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags. But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for an answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn't exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous -- and unexpected -- villain on the High Seas.



Why I recommend it: This is a rollicking romp of a novel. All of the characters are delightful, but especially Hilary (yay for a girl pirate!) and the adorable Gargoyle. This is precisely the kind of book I would have LOVED as a ten-year-old (and the kind I wish I could write). As a kid, I would have read this over and over until it fell apart. And I would have swooned to learn it's the first in a new series. Pirate's honor!

My only quibble (and it's minor) is how hard it is to read the hilarious letters interspersed throughout the story. Wish they hadn't used a dark background and a cramped font.


Have you read Magic Marks the Spot? If not, what funny pirate tales can you think of?




Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger.








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31. If at first you don't like to read, try, try again!

Four years ago, I tried to read The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place... and I couldn't get into it. I read a chapter or two, said "meh" and put aside the ARC.

The other day I picked it up again. Yes, that's a long time to hold onto an ARC, but I'm a bit of a pack rat. Hey, don't judge. (But believe me, you don't want to see my basement.)

And this time? I was utterly captivated and laughing out loud. Why couldn't I read it the first time? Who knows. Maybe I was tired of Lemony Snicket. Maybe the times have changed. Maybe I've changed.




The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (February 23, 2010 Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, for ages 8 to 12)

Source: advanced reading copy from publisher (um, a long time ago)

Synopsis (From the publisher): Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the Incorrigibles are no ordinary children: Alexander keeps his siblings in line with gentle nips; Cassiopeia has a bark that is (usually) worse than her bite; and Beowulf is alarmingly adept at chasing squirrels.

Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. Only fifteen years old and a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, Penelope embraces the challenge of her new position. But mysteries abound at Ashton Place: Who are these three wild creatures, and how did they come to live in the vast forests of the estate? Why does Old Timothy, the coachman, lurk around every corner? Will Penelope be able to teach the Incorrigibles table manners and socially useful phrases in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball?  


Why I recommend it: It's downright hilarious. Yes, I realize much of the humor will go right over kids' heads (for instance, the narrator calls a couple  of royals Hoover and Maytag), and there's definitely a sarcastic, Lemony Snicket tone to all of this. But it's fun. I had to keep reading to find out what happens. Which of course means I now have to read all the other volumes, because most of the questions are still unanswered (one thing that bugs me about series). 

Do you like reading series books that leave questions unanswered? And have you ever gone back and finished a book after putting it aside the first time?



I hunted down some other MMGM reviews of this very same book:

Middle Grade Mafioso
Gina Carey
Kim Aippersbach

And if I missed anyone, please let me know! For other middle grade reviews, check out Shannon's blog.

0 Comments on If at first you don't like to read, try, try again! as of 3/24/2014 9:13:00 AM
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32. Free Fall Friday – Results

susan-dobinickSusan Dobinick, Assistant Editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux is our Guest Critiquer  for March. Read the four winners and read Susan critique below:

Susan assists two children’s trade imprints. She works with fiction and nonfiction, ranging from picture to young adult books. Her specialties include children’s trade publishing, picture books, chapter books, middle-grade books, young adult books, educational publishing, textbooks, and teacher editions. She holds a B.A. in English from Chicago Goucher College.

Susan is Edith Cohn’s editor for Spirits Key, which is coming out in September. Edith has a nice interview with Susan on her blog. Here is the link:

http://edithcohn.wordpress.com/interviews/interview-with-my-editor/

 

ELLIE AND THE KING by Anita Nolan MG Novel

“I’m adopted. It’s the only possible explanation.”

The Piercing Pagoda kiosk at the mall provides excellent cover for my friend Lindsey and me while a group of kids from school—the popular ones—stroll past, but I duck lower anyway. I don’t know why I worry. I’m one of the more invisible people at school. But if anyone connects me with the man dressed as Elvis standing across the way, my name will be texted to every student in Cranford Middle School, and possible the entire state of Pennsylvania.

Lindsey glances at the older ladies—it’s always older ladies—lined up to meet my dad, and shakes her head. “There’s only one problem with the adoption theory, Ellie. How do you explain your eyes?”

That is the problem. I’ve tried to convince myself that I look nothing like my father—and I don’t—except for my dark green eyes, complete with little blue flecks. I guess the adoption theory can’t be right, but as Dad bursts into song, I wish it were.

The kids from school hang at the edge of the crowd, pointing at Dad and laughing. My faces flushes. I have a hard time swallowing. I wish he would keep the Elvis stuff out of the mall and away from anyone I know.

Gram says I shouldn’t be embarrassed. Everyone has a few skeletons in their closets. Unfortunately, my skeleton is the one dressed in gold lame singing Love Me Tender in front of the Cinnabon.

All Lindsey and I wanted to do was buy a few yards of silky white polyester. It wasn’t our idea to turn a trip to the mall into a media event. But apparently Dad decided to promote the upcoming Philly Salutes Elvis Tribute, so here he stands, dressed like Elvis, talking like Elvis, and acting like Elvis. Dad’s best friend, Norm, who is also Lindsey’s father, pretends to be Dad’s bodyguard—as if he needs one. But Elvis always had a bodyguard, so Dad does too.

HERE’S SUSAN DOBINICK:

Ellie and the King

I like the voice in this—the writing feels very authentically middle grade girl to me. I am not sure the author is choosing the right place to focus this energy, though, especially at the beginning of the book. Ellie is the one who I am interested in, but her dad is stealing the show (as, of course, an Elvis impersonator is apt to do). I think it is common for kids to be embarrassed by parents and there is certainly room for books that talk about navigating these relationships, but I want the child protagonist to be at the forefront here. More Ellie and Lindsey, please! What are they going to do with that fabric? Then, once we know and love Ellie, we can see more about the relationship with her father and relate more to her embarrassment. I also would caution against leaning too heavily on Elvis as a joke throughout the whole book—I am not sure that kids would love that joke as much as adults—so be sure to keep the ways in which Dad embarrasses Ellie relatable to people who don’t know much about Elvis.

*******

 

HALF-TRUTHS by Carol Baldwin                    Young Adult/Historical Fiction

Women can’t be scientists. At least that’s what Daddy always tells me.

But now I have proof he’s wrong.

I pick at the frayed edges of The Story-Lives of Great Scientists and stare out the kitchen window. If Marie Curie could make exciting scientific discoveries, why can’t I?

But I know better. Only a few colored kids make it to college. And if they do, it’s just to colored schools to become teachers. Not to big universities where important scientists get their start.

Science has always been my favorite subject. My best friend Darla rolls her eyes when I say the PTA should buy more microscopes for chemistry and biology. She thinks the money should go towards a gym. We can’t ever agree on that one.

I look at the clock above the kitchen sink. It’s four already. Any minute my big brother Sam will push through the screen door wondering what’s for supper. Momma, Daddy, and Big Momma will come in talking about work and expecting to smell dinner cooking.

“Gloria!” I yell out the window to my younger sister. “Get yourself in here and wash up the breakfast dishes!”

She looks up from the tea party she’s having with her Shirley Temple doll. “Let me finish pouring tea. I’ll be in soon!” She waves away a chicken that’s wandered over.

I doubt that’s going to happen. It’ll be me, not Gloria, catching heck if Big Momma comes home to a sink full of dishes. Sometimes I feel like everyone’s maid—something I swear I’ll never be. I wish I could spread a pair of wings and fly away.

HERE’S SUSAN DOBINICK:

Half-Truths

Well, this has a lot of interesting premises that drew me in right away. I’m a sucker for a strong female protagonist. I especially love books with characters who overcome societal expectations to succeed—and you just know that this character is going to find a way to succeed. I do think the author is putting all of her cards on the table right away, and I would like to see some of this develop more slowly—so, for example, she thinks that she can prove her father wrong that women can’t be scientists, but then shoots herself down quickly because people of color can’t even go to college. What would it be like to see her keep with the Marie Curie excitement a little longer, and then feel her disappointment when she comes to this second realization?

My caution with YA historical fiction is that it can be a bit of a tricky sell—when I am looking at these submissions, I am looking for historical plus a big hook; day to day life is a bit harder to reach a wide audience.

*******

 

MRS. HENNESSEY’S HENS     by Susan E. Harris     Picture Book

Mrs. Hennessey had six speckled Sussex hens. They were cheerful and chubby. Curious and cuddly. Feathery and friendly. So friendly they were more like dogs than hens.

When Mrs. Hennessey ate breakfast on the patio, the hens ran to greet her.

When she enjoyed a cup of tea under the stars, they nestled at her feet.

And when Mrs. Hennessey took her daily walk, they always wanted to walk with her.

But Mrs. Hennessey worried. “You may think you’re dogs but you’re not. You are hens! And it isn’t safe for hens to take a walk.”

One day, Mrs. Hennessey left for her walk. “My, what a windy day,” she said and headed down town. <Gate stays open and hens follow>

At the post office the wind blew hard. “Goodness,” said Mrs. Hennessey, “there goes all the mail! I must go help the mailman. Never mind. Those little dogs fetched his mail. But I’m glad my girls are home. I’m sure those dogs would’ve chased them.” She started her walk once more.

At the library Mrs. Hennessey stopped. The librarians were hanging a banner. The wind blew harder still and pulled the banner from their hands.

“My, how I wish I could help them,” said Mrs. Hennessey. “Never mind. Those little dogs caught the banner! And look how they’re hanging it on the library. But I’m glad my girls are home. I wouldn’t want them flying so high.”

She bought an apple-tart from the bakery and went to sit in the park.

In the park some children were flying a kite. The wind blew it’s hardest yet and sent the kite into a tree.

“I’m sure those little dogs will help the children. After all, they can fly.” Mrs. Hennessey thought about what she’d said. “Wait a minute! Dogs can’t fly!”

HERE’S SUSAN DOBINICK:

Mrs. Hennessey’s Hens

You know, it’s funny—my colleagues and I were just talking about liking chicken books the other day. I think the sentence length here is really spot on for picture books, and the author has a good sense of how to move the story along. I am having a logic problem, though—is Mrs. Henessey actually mistaking her hens for dogs? I just don’t know that a pet owner, especially one who clearly loves her pets so much, would make that mistake, even if she is absent-minded—and though picture books are fun places for fantastical adventures, I am a stickler for logic, so I would rather see a story that really embraces hens being hens. (Of course, I suppose the hens could dress in dog costumes—but I still am not sure that the costumes would be that believable to hide that the dogs were really hens…)

*******

 

THE THREE WIGGLY WORMS BLUFF by Wendy Greenley     383 word Picture Book

“Melting snow is swamping the soil! Time to head to higher ground,” said Papa Worm.

Papa, Mama and Baby Worm squirmed to the surface and wiggled up the grassy slope to face—the dreaded sidewalk.

“Ow! It’s rough,” said Baby.

“Go as fast as you can.” Mama gave him a pat. “And keep a lookout for birds.”

Baby wiggled as fast as he could.

But he was only halfway across when a robin swooped down.

“I’m going to slurp you up and take you to my babies!” the robin squawked.

“I’m a baby myself. Barely a bite, and not worth your flight. Mama is coming, she’s more than a morsel. Why don’t you wait for her?” said Baby.

The robin thanked Baby and sent him on his way.

When the coast looked clear, Mama wiggled as fast as she could.

But she was barely halfway across when the robin hopped out from a bush.

“I’m going to slurp you up and take you to my babies!” the robin squawked.

“I’d make an adequate dinner, but if you want to treat your babies to a feast you might want to wait for Papa worm. He’s coming next,” said Mama.

The robin thanked Mama and sent her on her way.

Papa did calisthenics, warming up his wiggle. Between the birds and the pavement heating up, He needed to be fast!

Papa wasn’t halfway across when the robin landed in his path.

HERE’S SUSAN DOBINICK:

The Three Wiggly Worms Bluff

I like that this has a good seasonal hook—I could imagine a class of kids reading it right at the end of winter or the beginning of spring. I also think it builds in a satisfying way—it’s an old and simple trick, but using patterns of threes (three characters, three problems, etc.) tends to work well, especially in picture books. I am not sure why the family keeps throwing each other to the mercy of the bird, though—the baby can’t actually want the mama to be eaten, or the mama for the papa to be eaten, right? I think you could get rid of the worms suggesting the bird eats the others and still have each worm outsmart the bird in a different way.

*******

I want to thank Susan for sharing her time and expertise with us. These type of critiques can help all of us improve our writing skills. We really appreciate you helping take us to the next level. Thanks again!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 


Filed under: Advice, Editors, inspiration, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, revisions, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Farrar Straus and Giroux, Free Fall Friday, March First Page Critiques, Susan Dobinick

2 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Results, last added: 3/31/2014
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33. Catching up on middle grade books for MMGM

There are so many cool middle grade novels pubbing in 2014, that I'm tempted to read only what's new. After all, I have to keep up, right?

But then there's my TBR list... So this last month, I've been playing catch-up at my local library. I thoroughly enjoyed these gems from 2012 and 2013, some of which I first heard about on other MMGM posts. Added bonus: they're all multicultural!



Flying the Dragon by Natalie Dias Lorenzi (Charlesbridge, 2012, for ages 9 to 12)

Synopsis (from the publisher): American-born Skye and her Japanese cousin, Hiroshi, are thrown together when Hiroshi's family, with his grandfather (who is also his best friend), suddenly moves to the U.S. Now Skye doesn't know who she is anymore: at school she's suddenly too Japanese, but at home she's not Japanese enough. Hiroshi has a hard time adjusting to life in a new culture, and resents Skye's intrusions on his time with Grandfather. Through all of this is woven Hiroshi's expertise, and Skye's growing interest in, kite making and competitive rokkaku kite flying.


Why I recommend it: This is one of those quiet books I adore so much (and I don't think there are enough of them). Skye and Hiroshi seemed like real kids to me, with real concerns. Loved the kite flying, the alternating points of view, and the little bit of Japanese I picked up from reading this.






P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad/Harper, 2013, for ages 8 to 12)

Synopsis (from the publisher): Eleven-year-old Brooklyn girl Delphine feels overwhelmed with worries and responsibilities. She's just started sixth grade and is self-conscious about being the tallest girl in the class, and nervous about her first school dance. She's supposed to be watching her sisters, but Fern and Vonetta are hard to control. Her uncle Darnell is home from Vietnam and seems different. And her pa has a girlfriend. At least Delphine can write to her mother in Oakland, California, for advice. But why does her mother tell her to "be eleven"?

Why I recommend it: A glorious sequel to the award-winning One Crazy Summer, this made me feel I was right there in 1960s Brooklyn. What I love most, though, are the relationships: especially among the three sisters, plus the sometimes-prickly relationship between Delphine and her distant mother. (Have to admit, I have a soft spot for the name Delphine, because I had a great-grandmother with that name.)





Written in Stone by Rosanne Parry (Random House, 2013, for ages 9 to 12)

Synopsis (from the publisher): Pearl has always dreamed of hunting whales, just like her father. Of taking to the sea in their eight-man canoe, standing at the prow with a harpoon, and waiting for a whale to lift its barnacle-speckled head as it offers its life to the tribe. But now that can never be. Pearl's father was lost on the last hunt, and now the whales hide from the great steam-powered ships, which harvest not one but dozens of whales from the ocean. With the whales gone, Pearl's people, the Makah, struggle to survive as Pearl searches for ways to preserve their stories and skills.


Why I recommend it: In a word: Pearl. The thirteen-year-old is headstrong, loving, and realistic. But the setting also deserves special mention. I could feel myself transported to the Pacific Northwest in the 1920s, with the ocean, beaches, rocks, and mist. Parry includes a glossary, historical notes, cultural notes, and other back matter, so this is perfect for schools.


For other Marvelous Middle Grade posts, see Shannon Messenger's blog.

What books are you catching up on?


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34. Educational Publisher Looking for Submissions

schoolwide
Huge opportunity for writers and Illustrators – published, unpublished, self-published.

Susan Tierney, longtime Editor in Chief of Children’s Writer and the Institute of Children’s Literature’s Writer’s Guide and the market directories, has now become Acquisitions Editor at Schoolwide, Inc. 

This educational publisher of reading, writing, and grammar curriculum products, and professional development resources, is looking for submissions of books, stories, and articles that support reading and writing for children from kindergarten to grade eight for a digital classroom library.

Of interest are fiction and nonfiction picture books, concept books, early readers, chapter books, middle-grade and early YA books, articles, essays, short stories, poetry, poetry collections, and plays.

Fiction may be contemporary, realistic, historical, multicultural, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, adventure, fairy or folk tales, verse novels, or rhyming books.

Nonfiction sought includes informational/expository, biography/profile, narrative procedure (how-to), creative nonfiction, personal narratives or memoir, essays, opinion pieces, primary sources/reference books.

Subject categories include: Science, history, social studies, language and literature—and any subject that is age-appropriate and would encourage independent reading.

Not interested in preK or older YA.

Email only to submissions@schoolwide.com, with:

1. AUTHOR CONTACT INFORMATION
2. WEBSITE ADDRESS (if any)
3. TITLE OF WORK
4. WORD OR PAGE COUNT
5. TARGETED AGE/GRADE LEVEL
6. A BRIEF SYNOPSIS OR OUTLINE IN THE BODY OF THE MESSAGE.
7. ATTACH (Microsoft Word only) THE COMPLETED WORK AND A RESUME OR LIST OF WRITING CREDITS. 
8. INDICATE IF SUBMISSION IS UNPUBLISHED, SELF-PUBLISHED, OR PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED and if so, by WHOM. 
9. PLACE “MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION, SCBWI” IN THE SUBJECT LINE.

Schoolwide will accept:

(1) previously published materials for which the author holds rights. For these book, story, or article submissions, please also indicate the publisher, date of publication, and if applicable, whether an illustrator holds rights to the artwork (illustrators would receive the same royalty arrangements, if interested).

(2) completed manuscripts of original, unpublished work.

Royalty. Responds in six months, if interested.

Schoolwide, Inc.
4250 Veterans Memorial Highway, Suite 2000W,
Holbrook, NY 11741
www.schoolwide.com

Don’t miss this opportunity!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, picture books, Places to sumit, poetry, publishers, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Call for Submissions, Educational Publisher, Schoolwide Inc., Susan Tierney

7 Comments on Educational Publisher Looking for Submissions, last added: 4/4/2014
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35. Pumped Up in the Poconos

Mary Zisk attended the Highlights Novel Writing Workshop at the end of last year, so I asked her if she would share her experience with us. I think you will enjoy hearing about it and what she learn.

zisk_hilights_group

Pumped Up in the Poconos By Mary Zisk (back row with yellow scarf)

“Work on voice—like a girl talking to her best friend.”
“Focus on characterization—your characters feel a bit stock. Bottom line: it’s your job to entertain.”
“Is this a historical novel or a novel that takes place in a historic time? There’s a difference.”
“Make your novel shorter and characters younger. Forget boyfriends. Add touches of fantasy.” (Whaaa?)
“I lived through the sixties. Why would I want to read about it?”

That’s what I heard at last year’s NJSCBWI Conference in June. After critiques from an author, an editor, a consultant, a publisher, and an agent pitch for my middle grade novel, my head was spinning like a boardwalk Tilt-a-Whirl.
But there was a hopeful note. At the end of each critique, I said “I’m thinking of illustrating my novel.”

60s280“Hmm, that could work,” they all said.

So I literally went back to the drawing board to approach my novel illustratively. I kept drawing and writing and revising and characterizing and revising and plotting and revising. By winter, I had written my novel to the end, with illustrations for the first three chapters.

The 2013 NJSCBWI Conference was still five, long months away, which would be the next opportunity to meet with the pros to discuss my novel. Suspended in limbo, waiting for June, I cleaned the subterranean hoard known as my basement.

But the Universe pulled me out of limbo (and my basement) and led to me the Highlights Foundation Whole Novel Workshop: Middle Grade. I had heard writing friends reminisce about the Highlights Writing Workshop in Chautauqua, NY. Their eyes would glaze over with a combination of reverence and rapture. “Instructive. Inspiring. Life-changing,” they sighed.

“Huh, I need that,” I thought. “Now!”

No one had ever read my entire novel past the usual 15 or 30 pages. Hot-cha-cha, this workshop would be perfect! I’d return either pumped up or deflated.

The Highlights Foundation www.highlightsfoundation.org no longer has an annual workshop in Chautauqua, but instead, has more than thirty, short (three to seven days), theme-focused workshops throughout the year at their conference center outside of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, home of the Highlights office. The Whole Novel Workshop promised three author faculty members, one of whom would be my personal “reader.” Plus (GET THIS!), I’d have my own private, “rustic” cabin for writing and contemplation.

zisk_hilites_barn_cabin

Author Alan Gratz www.alangratz.com was assigned as my reader. I immediately googled him and found that Alan had written sports novels and murder mysteries. I fretted. Could he relate to my female, coming-of-age 12-year-old, aspiring-artist, main character? Absolutely! Before the workshop, Alan sent me a six-page, single-spaced letter thoroughly critiquing my novel, and his insights were spot on. We had a strong starting point for renovating my novel at the workshop.

I drove (and antiqued) my way through the Pocono Mountains to the The Barn at Boyds Mills while the other participants arrived from all over the country. Our faculty members were authors Tami Lewis Brown www.tamilewisbrown.com, Alexandria LaFaye www.alafaye.com, and Alan, with help from authors Helen Hemphill www.helenhemphill.com and Sue Ford www.susanuhlig.com.

The week started with a face-to-face with our reader, which I wanted to be honest and blunt—no pain, no gain. Alan hit me with the difficulties of selling a book set in the sixties (no agent will touch it). Why did I choose that time period? Should it be contemporary instead? I stuck with the sixties. Look at The Wednesday Wars or Dead End in Norvelt.

We dug into the meat-and-potatoes of my novel (although Alan only eats pizza). Alan thought the novel started with a strong goal and then dropped away for 25 pages. My novel’s chronology had always been a struggle, especially finding my beginning. I could wallpaper a bathroom with all the “first pages” I’ve written over the years (a master-suite bathroom, not just a powder room). I retreated to my cabin to wrestle with the chronology, conferred with Alan again, then back to the cabin to move chapters around and write a new first chapter. Hot dog! The beginning pieces of my plot snapped together. On to the rest.

Alan felt my novel continued at a nice pace, with conflicts, ups and downs, good humor, and heart. He questioned some of my decisions: Are the seventh graders too savvy about art? Is the lightning strike and resulting fire an unrealistic act of God? Is the reference to Vietnam intrusive, not instructive? Would today’s tween really know who Pepe Le Pew is?
Again, back to the cabin.

Later in the week, Alan made a masterful plot presentation to all of the participants using the hero’s journey and Star Wars. The other faculty members also made presentations: Tami showed us the advantages of storyboarding both actions and emotions, from first epiphany, through attempts and failures, recommitment, the depths of despair, victory, and resolution. Alex took us into a deep analysis of text, like the Double Duty Detail that puts details to work in many ways, flashbacks that are triggered by an object (I used this), and that chapter names, not numbers, generate a cognitive response in the reader.

Throughout the week, talking during meals at a large communal table, gathering in the sitting room, or working alone in our cabins, we were immersed in the craft of writing and nothing else (although I did sneak in a couple of posts to Facebook). On our final night, each participant read a few pages aloud from their novel. I discovered I had a gift for voices (maybe I should only do an audio book). Then we shared what our plan would be when we got home.

My plan was to:

1. Work on voice;

2. Illustrate my novel’s most compelling events as seen through my MC’s eyes

3. Attend the NJSCBWI Conference in June to improve my novel through more critiques (I’ll pitch it as “Ellie McDoodle meets The Wednesday Wars”)

Not only did that week in the woods solidify my novel, it gave me confidence in my skills. I arrived at Boyds Mills a participant and I went home a writer.

Next step: I plan to make merry with the New Jersey Tribe at the Conference!
See you there!

*****************

Mary Zisk is the author/illustrator of The Best Single Mom in the World: How I Was Adopted (A. Whitman & Co.). During the day, she is a magazine art director trying to hold on to the use of illustration in print. The rest of the time, she writes and illustrates picture books and middle grade novels. www.maryzisk.com

Thank you Mary for sharing this very well written, interesting, and informative article with us. I love your idea of illustrating your middle grade novel and I love the humor in your illustrations. I can see how much your style has grown since I featured you on Illustrator Saturday in July of 2010. http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/illustrator-saturday-mary-zisk/

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: children writing, Conferences and Workshops, inspiration, Middle Grade Novels, writing Tagged: author/illustrator Mary Zisk, Highlight Foundation Workshop, Improving your novel, Pumped up in the Poconos

7 Comments on Pumped Up in the Poconos, last added: 5/21/2013
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36. In Your Face Research

Freefalling by Children’s Author Debbie Dadey

“I didn’t think you would do it,” my son Nathan told me when I fell out of an skydive3airplane at fourteen thousand feet.  But I was determined since I was writing a story about someone who skydived.  I learned that freefalling at one hundred miles an hour is very terrifying!  The sad thing is that I have never been able to sell that story.  But as a former librarian, I love doing research for my writing even if I don’t make a sale.  Each new story is an opportunity for learning. Sometimes that involves doing something just a bit crazy.

Mermaid Tales _4_NEW“I didn’t think you would do it,” my husband said to me when I climbed up the hundreds of steps to the sixty foot drop into a pool of sharks.  I didn’t tell him, but I almost chickened out at the top.  Still, it was a chance to get close to sharks and I was determined to do the research.  So, I took a deep breath and plummeted to what I feared was certain death.  Luckily, I lived to write Danger in the Deep Blue Sea, which is book four in the Mermaid Tales series from Simon and Schuster.

I’ve done some other things that were slightly less crazy for research, like the multi-axis trainer at Space Camp for Mrs. Jeepers in Outer Space, a trip to Hawaii for Werewolves Don’t Go To Summer Camp (who says research has to be hard?), and a trip to the dentist for Hercules Doesn’t Pull Teeth (I took notes the whole time).

MermaidTales_5_cvr (2)Another kind of research on Ancestry.com told me that my seventy-seventh grandmother was Cleopatra of Egypt.  That led to the fun of writing my newest book, The Lost Princess (Mermaid Tales #5)

I think doing research with books or websites is fine.  But whenever I get the chance to do something hands-on, I try to take that scary leap.  What better way to be able to write about it than to actually experience it myself?  Who knows what’s just around the corner for me to learn?  Who will say to me, “I didn’t think you would do it”?  I just hope it doesn’t involve freefalling at one hundred miles an hour!

You can check out Debbie’s skydiving screams at http://www.debbiedadey.com/Video/skydive.php  

Debbie Dadey is the author and co-author of 158 books, including The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series and the new series, Mermaid Tales.       http://www.debbiedadey.com/    LinkedIn   Twitter    Facebook

Do you have any in your face research you want to share?

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: article, authors and illustrators, chapter books, inspiration, Middle Grade Novels, Tips Tagged: Debbie Dadey, Free Falling into Research, Hercules Doesn’t Pull Teeth, Nermaid Tales, Werewolves Don’t Go To Summer Camp

3 Comments on In Your Face Research, last added: 5/16/2013
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37. Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing

What is the Katherine Paterson Prize for YA and Children’s Writing?

An annual prize for Young Adult and Children’s Literature. A chance for your YA and Children’s Lit to be read by Hunger Mountain editors and guest judges!

What will the winner receive?

One overall first place winner receives $1,000 and publication! Three category winners receive $100 each and publication. The categories are

  • Young Adult (YA)
  • Middle Grade (MG)
  • Picture Book or Writing for Young Children

Who can enter the contest?

Anyone! Everyone!

Is there a fee to enter?

Yes, the fee is $20.

Do you have a word limit on what you submit?

Yes, it is 10,000 words. Your entry may be a short story or a novel excerpt, but if it’s a novel excerpt it should really stand alone.

Who is this year’s judge?

The 2013 judge is Rebecca Stead, author of Liar and Spy and When You Reach Me, which won the Newbery Medal in 2010.

When is the deadline?

The postmark deadline is June 30th

Where is last year’s winning entry?

The 2012 first place winner, “Crabcake Charlie,” a Middle Grade story by Sally Derby was published in Hunger Mountain 17: Labyrinths. (Order a copy here).

Other winners:

  • In Your Head by ZP Heller, selected by Kathi Appelt, winner of YA category, 2012
  • The Flood, by Kathleen Forrester, winner of MG category, 2012
  • Sybilla Under the Bones by Barbara Lowell, winner of PB/writing for younger children category, 2012
  • Him by Heather Smith Meloche, selected by Kimberly Willis Holt, overall winner, 2011
  • Forty Thieves and a Green-Eyed Girl by Christy Lenzi, winner of MG category, 2011
  • Cesar by Betty Yee, winner of the Picture Book/Writing for Young Children category, 2011
  • Steve by Jaramy Conners, overall winner 2010, chosen by Holly Black.
  • Chasing Shadows by S.E. Sinkhorn, winner of YA category, 2010
  • The Ugliest Dog in the World by Marcia Popp, winner of the MG category, 2010
  •  Something at the Hill by Jane Kohuth, winner of the Picture Book/Writing for Young Children category, 2010
  • Crazy Cat by Liz Cook, overall winner2009, chosen by Katherine Paterson
  • Tornado by Susan Hill Long, winner of the MG category, 2009
  • No Mistake by Tricia Springstubb,winner of the Picture Book/Writing for Young Children category, 2009

Does Hunger Mountain accept electronic entries?

Yes! Please enter your original, unpublished piece under 10,000 words. Your entry may be a short story or a novel excerpt, but if it’s a novel excerpt it should really stand alone. Feel free to include a brief synopsis if your entry is a novel excerpt. Your name and address should not appear on the story; we read contest entries blind. Click the link below to access our online submission system. Once in the submission manager, you’ll need to choose “Katherine Paterson Prize” (scroll all the way to the bottom to find it!) Pay the $20.00 entry fee and upload your entry. Please include a cover letter in the comments section, letting us know what age group your piece is intended for: Enter the Katherine Paterson Prize

Does Hunger Mountain still accept Snail Mail entries?

Yes! Please send one original, unpublished piece under 10,000 words. Your entry may be a short story or a novel excerpt, but if it’s a novel excerpt it should stand on its own. Feel free to include a brief synopsis along with your novel excerpt. Include a $20 entry fee. Make checks payable to “Vermont College of Fine Arts.” Entries should be postmarked by June 30th. Your name or address should not appear anywhere on the story itself (we read entries blind.) Instead, enclose an index card with story title, intended age group (YA? MG?), your name, address, phone number, and email address. You may also enclose an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope)  for notification of winners. Entries should be typed, and on one side of the paper only. No staples please! Send entries to:

KPP Hunger Mountain Vermont College of Fine Arts 36 College Street Montpelier, VT 05602

May I include illustrations with my Picture Book manuscript?

Yes. This year for the first time, we’re allowing illustrations along with picture book manuscripts. These should be copies/pdfs only. PLEASE DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL ART! We’ll consider illustrated and unillustrated text for picture book entries.

If you submit by mail, send copies of art only. If you submit through Submittable, your entry should be a pdf.

Will my entry be considered for general publication as  as well as for the Katherine Paterson Prize?

Yes, it will. Several stories we publish have come from the Katherine Paterson Prize entries.

May I enter more than one story in this prize?

Yes. Enter as many as you like! But each entry needs its own entry fee.

Are simultaneous submissions okay?

Yes,  but please let us know right away if your work is accepted elsewhere. And unfortunately we can’t refund entry fees if the work is accepted somewhere else.

I’m a child or a teenager. May I enter this prize?

You may. But your work will be evaluated alongside adult work. If you’re a serious writer, it’s okay with us if you enter the prize, just know this prize isn’t intended for teenagers or for children.

What if I have questions that aren’t answered here?

Email us at hungermtn@vcfa.edu


Enter the Katherine Paterson Prize by clicking here

Maybe this is the year your manuscript will be ready to enter. If so, Good Luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: children writing, Competition, Contests, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, picture books, Places to sumit, Young Adult Novel Tagged: $1000 prize and publication, Hunger Mountain, Katherine Paterson Prize

2 Comments on Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing, last added: 5/21/2013
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38. Agent Looking to Build Client List

emma-patterson-agent-brandt-hochmanChuck Sambuchino over at Writer’s Digest reported last week that agent Emma Patterson was looking to build her client list at Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents.

Address:
1501 Broadway New York, New York 10036
Phone: (212) 840-5760

Emma grew up in New Jersey, the daughter of a literary agent, so she has been around books, manuscripts, and query letters, all her life. After graduating from Kenyon College with a degree in history, she joined The Wendy Weil Agency as an assistant, later became a rights associate, and eventually an agent. After Wendy’s sudden and tragic death last fall, Emma and her colleague Emily Forland joined Brandt & Hochman in the beginning of 2013. She sold her first manuscript in March. She now lives in Brooklyn.

She is seeking: “I am on the lookout for literary and commercial fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, historical fiction, narrative nonfiction, pop culture, memoir, food writing, and YA and MG fiction and nonfiction. I’m open to mostly any project with strong writing, an original premise, and a story that immediately grabs me – and I still think about weeks after I’ve finished reading it. I’m especially drawn to stories that make me cry, laugh, or transport me to a world that’s new to me. So long as the writing is strong, I don’t shy away from dark or quiet stories. I don’t tend to like category or genre fiction.”

How to submit: “The best way to contact me is via email at epatterson [at] bromasite.com with a basic query letter (a bit about the project, the author, and the author’s past publishing or writing history). A few pages of the work can also be pasted into the body of the email, but I won’t open attachments unless I’ve specially asked for one. Due to the high volume of emails I receive, I generally only respond to queries that sound up my alley.”

I could not find a website for this agency, but they have reported 15 signed contract in the last twelve months.


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Buidling List, Brandt & Hochman, Chuck Sambuchino, Emma Patterson, Open to Query Letters

1 Comments on Agent Looking to Build Client List, last added: 5/28/2013
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39. YA & MG Novel Agent

lyalogonew2

emilyagencypicEmily Gref is an Agent at Lowenstein Associates, as well as our contracts and royalties manager. She also handles foreign and subrights. Her interests are wide and varied. In Young Adult and Middle Grade she is looking for all genres, but has a weak spot for fairy tale, folklore, and mythology retellings. Emily is also interested in fantasy and science fiction, as well as literary and commercial women’s fiction.

In non-fiction she is looking for strong narratives and books by recognized experts with a wide-reaching platform, especially books that lend themselves well to digital mediums. Subjects of interest include popular science, linguistics, anthropology, and history. She is not looking for memoirs or biographies at this time.

To Submit

By e-mail:

For fiction, please send us a one-page query letter, along with the first ten pages pasted in the body of the message by email to assistant@bookhaven.com. If nonfiction, please send a one-page query letter, a table of contents, and, if available, a proposal pasted into the body of the email to assistant@bookhaven.com.

Please put the word QUERY and the title of your project in the subject field of your email and address it to the agent of your choice. Please do not send an attachment as the message will be deleted without being read and no reply will be sent. We reply to all queries and generally send a response within 4-6 weeks.

By mail:

For Fiction: Mail a query letter, short synopsis, first chapter and a S.A.S.E (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).

For Nonfiction: Mail a query letter, table of contents and, if available, a proposal (if not, please send a project overview) and a S.A.S.E (Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope).
To:
Lowenstein Associates
121 West 27th Street Suite 501
New York, NY 10001

Please note, if you do not include a S.A.S.E., we will not be able to respond to your submission. Please allow 4-6 weeks for our response.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishing Industry, submissions, Young Adult Novel Tagged: All Genres, Emily Gref, Lowenstein Associates

1 Comments on YA & MG Novel Agent, last added: 6/3/2013
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40. Breaking News – Agent Louise Fury – Kudos

thebentagency
louise Furytwitter_pic_205163742_stdLouise Fury has left L.Perkins Agency to join The Bent Agency this past week. A select group of advanced and published writers will be getting full critiques with Louise at the end of this month. I will give you feedback on that in October.

Louise is interested in:

Picture books
Literary Middle Grade
Young adult
New adult
Graphic Novels
Commercial fiction, especially all sub-genres of romance
Suspense/Thriller
Erotica/Erotic romance
Cookbooks
Pop Culture

Louise is currently closed to unsolicited materials. To send Louise requested materials, please review our submissions guidelines Then email furyqueries@thebentagency.com

Louise Fury represents young adult, middle grade, new adult, commercial fiction including romance, and select nonfiction.  

A native South African, I now live in New York City and travel to Cape Town every year, where I spend time educating South African writers, meeting with international publishers and distributing books. Before agenting, I worked in marketing and advertising for both the consumer markets and publishing. Prior to joining The Bent Agency, I worked as a literary agent at the L. Perkins Agency. I represent numerous New York Times and USA Today best-selling authors. I encourage my authors to have one foot in traditional print publishing and the other in the digital-first arena and am a huge advocate of utilizing secondary rights—I have sold film/TV, audio and foreign rights for my clients. I believe in staying ahead of the pack by embracing change, not just adapting to it. 

I’m looking for writers with a unique voice and an unforgettable story. I’m particularly drawn to stories with a strong protagonist. In young adult, I look for manuscripts that are written with an unforgettable voice—this can be deep, dark and gritty or literary, lyrical and emotional. I’d love to find a young adult novel that has a bone-deep sense of danger that haunts me from page 1 and doesn’t let go of me for days. I want delicious adult romances with creative plots, sexy liaisons and unique characters who sweep me up in their love story. I want to feel something unforgettable when I read your pages. I want manuscripts that I can’t stop thinking about.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Conferences and Workshops, Editor & Agent Info, Kudos, Middle Grade Novels, News, Young Adult Novel Tagged: L Perkins Agency, Louise Fury, The Bent Agency

0 Comments on Breaking News – Agent Louise Fury – Kudos as of 1/1/1900
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41. MMGM Loki's Wolves -- and a Giveaway!

I've been wanting to read this book ever since I first heard about it in Publishers Weekly. Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong, two popular YA novelists, have collaborated on their first MG series, The Blackwell Pages. I finally bought a copy of the first book and yes, I will be giving it away. Details at the end of the post.



Loki's Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr (May 2013, Little, Brown, for ages 9 to 13)

Source: Hardcover purchased from Books-A-Million

Synopsis (from Indiebound):  "The runes have spoken. We have our champion...Matthew Thorsen."

Matt hears the words, but he can't believe them. He's Thor's representative? Destined to fight trolls, monstrous wolves and giant serpents...or the world ends? He's only thirteen.

While Matt knew he was a modern-day descendent of Thor, he's always lived a normal kid's life. In fact, most people in the small town of Blackwell, South Dakota, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt's classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke. No big deal.

But now Ragnarok is coming, and it's up to the champions to fight in the place of the long-dead gods. Matt, Laurie, and Fen's lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team, find Thor's hammer and shield, and prevent the end of the world.

Why I liked it: It's a fast-paced, thrilling adventure for kids and young teens. The authors waste no time in sending Matt, Fen, and Laurie on a dangerous journey to find the other descendants. There are trolls, giant wolves, and police officers trying to stop them. In addition, the authors do an excellent job of filling us in on Norse mythology without hitting us over the head with it. Boys and girls will enjoy this, since Laurie certainly holds her own against the guys. Give this to fans of The Lightning Thief.

For other MMGM links, visit Shannon's blog.

________________________________

Now for the giveaway! I will be giving away one hardcover of Loki's Wolves to one lucky follower of this blog. International entries welcome. You MUST be a follower and you MUST leave a comment on this post. I'll give you an extra entry if you mention on Twitter (I'm @JoanneRFritz) and another entry if you mention on your own blog. Please let me know in the comments. This giveaway ends at 10 pm EDT on Saturday Sept 21, 2013 and the winner will be announced on Sunday Sept 22.

19 Comments on MMGM Loki's Wolves -- and a Giveaway!, last added: 9/11/2013
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42. Airships, Aliens, and Artwork!

Today is the publication date of my friend Caroline Carlson’s, debut middle-grade novel The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: X Marks the Spot! Not only is this a fabulous read (yes, I got a sneak peek at an advance copy), but it also turns out that I did some artwork for Caroline’s website!

Caroline approached me with my dream illustration job! She asked for bright colors, adventure, books, and (my favorite) monsters! It was a blast creating these images. Not only do they look great on the site, but now I fantasize all about having my own polka-doted alien pets (who also love to read!).

In honor of Caroline’s big debut, here are the illustrations I did for her website!

Opening home page:

Caroline Carlson Website1

Spot illustrations on top left and bottom right:

Caroline Carlson Website

And of course, check out Caroline’s new book! It’s in bookstores today!

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: X Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

About the Book: Hilary Westfield has always dreamed of being a pirate. She can tread water for thirty-seven minutes. She can tie a knot faster than a fleet of sailors, and she already owns a rather pointy sword. There’s only one problem: The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates refuses to let any girl join their ranks of scourges and scallywags.

But Hilary is not the kind of girl to take no for answer. To escape a life of petticoats and politeness at her stuffy finishing school, Hilary sets out in search of her own seaworthy adventure, where she gets swept up in a madcap quest involving a map without an X, a magical treasure that likely doesn’t exist, a talking gargoyle, a crew of misfit scallywags, and the most treacherous—and unexpected—villain on the High Seas.

MAGIC MARKS THE SPOT is the first installment in the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates trilogy. Books 2 and 3 are forthcoming in 2014 and 2015.


1 Comments on Airships, Aliens, and Artwork!, last added: 9/10/2013
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43. Example of Excellent Middle Grade Discussion Guide

This is an excellent discussion guide for Kate Applegate’s Newbery winning book, THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN. With this one piece Kate is showing not only helping teachers know how to use her book with their classes, but she is also, generating interest in her book, encouraging teachers to share it with her readers, and get invited to their school. Bottom Line: Increasing sales.

Are you putting out something this high end? Next, I will share a picture book Discussion Guide. I hope these will get you thinking about what you can do for your book.

oneonlyivan1oneonlyivan2oneonlyivan3oneonlyivan4

If your publisher is not planning on creating something like this for you, don’t let that stop you from doing all the things you can to look professional and grab more sales.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, Marketing a book, Middle Grade Novels, Process Tagged: HarperCollins Childrens, Increase your sales, Newbery Winner, School Discussion Guide, The One and Only Ivan

2 Comments on Example of Excellent Middle Grade Discussion Guide, last added: 10/1/2013
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44. Agent Jenny Bent Wish List

jenny_bentJenny Bent is the founder of The Bent Agency. There is no reason why you shouldn’t try to snag an agent who has been in the industry for over 20 years. Just make sure that what you want to submit needs to be revised and polished and you feel the writing is at the top of your game, before sending a query letter.  I thought you might like to read about her and what she is looking for. The Bent Agency has seven other agents working with Jenny. You should check them out, too. 

To send Jenny requested materials, please review our submissions guidelines Then email queries@thebentagency.com

Jenny Bent represents literary and commercial adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction. She also represents nonfiction in the areas of memoir, humor and select narrative nonfiction.

I was born in New York City but grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia in a house full of books where I spent many lazy afternoons reading in a sunny window seat. I went on to England to get a BA/MA with first class honors from Cambridge University, but I began my career in publishing as an undergraduate, with jobs at Rolling Stone and Ladies Home Journal. I then worked with prominent agent Raphael Sagalyn and with Michael Cader, the force behind the website Publishers Marketplace, before establishing a successful career at several boutique agencies. In 2003 I joined Trident Media Group, where I was promoted to Vice President before leaving to found the Bent Agency in 2009. I now live in Brooklyn in an apartment full of books and while there are not quite so many lazy reading afternoons, I manage to fit one in now and then.

My list is varied and includes commercial and literary fiction as well as memoir and select humor titles.  In adult fiction, I particularly enjoy women’s fiction and crime/suspense.   I also love novels—for grown-ups or children—that have an element of magic or fantasy to them or that take me into a strange and new world, whether real or imaginary.   All of the books that I represent speak to the heart in some: they are linked by genuine emotion, inspiration and great writing and story telling. I love books that make me laugh, make me cry, or ideally do both.

Please send me:

  • Literary fiction
  • Women’s fiction
  • Commercial fiction, including romance
  • Young adult and middle grade fiction
  • Memoir
  • Humor
  • Suspense/crime

I’m not currently considering queries in the following genres:

  • Science fiction
  • Poetry
  • Picture books
  • Serious nonfiction
  • Reference
  • Sports
  • Self-help/how-to

JENNY’S SPECIFIC WISH LIST THIS PAST WEEK:

1. A classic YA fantasy with at least one female lead, like the upcoming LARK RISING by @sandrajwaugh

2. In general, I love strong, feisty female characters with a purpose

3. Non-genre fiction with a paranormal, fantasy or otherworldly element to it, like DISCOVERY OF WITCHES or NIGHT CIRCUS or GHOST BRIDE

4. Historical fiction based on a famous real life person

5. Women’s fiction or YA with a strong gothic feel.

6. Here’s some of what I am looking for: stylish psychological crime/suspense with at least one female lead (not cozy mystery, thanks).

7. Women’s fiction with a strong hook or premise and lots of plot and emotion.

8. Definitely would love some YA horror.

Follow on Twitter: @jennybent


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, list, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Wish List, Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency

3 Comments on Agent Jenny Bent Wish List, last added: 3/6/2014
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45. Agent Looking to Build List

cate-hart-literary-agentCate Hart is all about guilty pleasures. She loves salted caramel mochas, Justin Timberlake, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, and Steampunk. As a native Nashvillian, Cate’s biggest guilty pleasure is watching Nashville.

When she’s reading, Cate looks for character-driven stories, a distinguished voice, and intriguing plots. She loves characters that surprise her, like the pirate with a heart of gold, and plots that keep her guessing until the very last page.

When she’s not reading queries, Cate works with clients to build their platform, works on PR projects to help promote clients’ books, and reads manuscripts with an editorial eye.            

CATE’S SUBMISSION PREFERENCES:

Cate seeks unique stories with well-crafted plots and unforgettable characters with a strong voice. Her favorite genre is historical, whether it’s Middle Grade or YA, Adult Romance or something even spicier. The time periods she loves most are Elizabethan England, the American and French Revolutions, the Victorian Era and the Gilded Age. She loves Scottish and French History. If it’s steampunk, clockpunk, or candlepunk she wants it.

Her first love will always be YA. She will consider any genre, but is looking especially for Fantasy and Magical Realism.

For Middle Grade, she is looking for Fantasy, Adventure and Mystery with a humorous or heart-warming voice and a unique concept.

For Adult, she is only accepting Historical Romance. Cate will also consider select LGBTQ and Erotica.

For Non-Fiction, Cate will consider select histories and biographies. She is looking for secret histories and little known facts and events. She enjoys reading about the everyday heroes of the American and French Revolutions, something more beyond the tactics of war.

To Submit your work:

Cate prefers you attach your 1-2 page synopsis and the first five pages of your manuscript as a separate Word .doc. to query [at] corvisieroagency [dot] com, Put “Query Cate” and your title in the subject line. You can place the text in the body of the e-mail or include as an attachment.

The Corvisiero Literary Agency accepts electronic queries only.

  • Please only submit one project at a time. If your query is rejected, you may then submit a query for another project. 
  • Do not e-mail queries to any of our Agents directly unless the work has been solicited.
  • A rejection from one agent is a rejection from all. Please do not query another agent unless expressly invited. 

Cate will respond to every query. You can check her website www.catehart.com for “current through” dates as well as updated wishlists. Plus at: Twitter, FacebookPinterest

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Cate Hart, Agent Looking to Build List, Corvisiero Literary Agency

3 Comments on Agent Looking to Build List, last added: 3/14/2014
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46. New Imprint At Capstone

Back in February I reported about how Capstone was expanding their new Young Readers trade imprint. This week they announced they were launching Switch Press their new YA Imprint, so now there is something for most all of  you out there to consider, even historical fiction, graphic novels.  Scroll down to read.

capstone2Capstone Publishing Group, which has been aggressively expanding beyond the school and library markets with the launch six months ago of its Capstone Young Readers trade imprint, is adding picture books to the list this spring. Thirteen picture books in print format will be released initially under the CYR imprint; after the first list, the imprint will release four to six picture books each year.

Capstone Publishing Group has previously published picture books for the educational and trade markets under its Picture Window imprint and will continue to do so; this is the first time the company is publishing picture books under the CYR imprint. Thus far, board books, chapter books, and hobbies and crafts books have been published under the CYR imprint, which is overseen by senior product manager John Rahm and editorial directors Michael Dahl and Nick Healy.

In May Capstone will launch a Web site to promote its new CYR line, www.capstoneyoungreaders.com. CYR titles will be available in digital formats as well as in print. While only select Capstone Publishing titles for the educational market are available in digital formats, all of Capstone’s trade titles will be available in both print and e-book formats.

Capstone Young Readers Launches YA Imprint: Offers Wide Range of Nonfiction and Fiction Titles

Capstone Young Readers, a leading publisher of children’s books and digital products and services, announced the launch of Switch Press, a new imprint dedicated to titles that appeal to the wide range of interests of the young adult audience today. Switch Press will include a broad selection of contemporary nonfiction and fiction book titles such as graphic novels, cookbooks, craft/how-to, narrative non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, fantasy and other speculative fiction.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, poetry, publishers, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Capstone Young Readers Trade Imprint, Fiction and Non-fiction, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Switch Press YA Imprint

3 Comments on New Imprint At Capstone, last added: 3/14/2014
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47. A winner... and a mystery!

First, I need to announce the winner of the prize package of a paperback of Hattie Big Sky and an arc of Hattie Ever After!  According to random.org, the winner is:




creativewritingintheblackberrypatch
(aka Janet)



Congratulations, Janet! Expect an email from me, asking for your mailing address.

Now to today's MMGMM. Yes, there's an extra M in there, for mystery.

I've been writing a middle grade mystery, so I thought it wise to read more mysteries over the past few months. And I really liked this one:



The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (Yearling/Random House paperback published 2009, for ages 8 to 12).

Source:
paperback purchased from local bookstore

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim board the London Eye, but after half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off—except Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air? Ted and his older sister, Kat, become sleuthing partners, since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery. 

Why I liked it: Oh, without a doubt the character of Ted! He wants to be a meteorologist when he grows up, so he's obsessed with weather forecasts. His autism is never defined, but he nonetheless works out puzzles in his head, counts his breakfast cereal Shreddies as he eats them, and doesn't like to be hugged. Dowd, who sadly died of cancer in 2007 at the age of 47, makes Ted both likable and memorable. Ted tells the story in first person and London comes to life through his eyes. The mystery kept me guessing, and I also liked the way Ted and his sister grow closer together while they try to figure out what happened to Salim.

What middle grade mysteries have you read lately?

For more MMGM posts, see Shannon Messenger's links or my sidebar.

20 Comments on A winner... and a mystery!, last added: 2/28/2013
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48. Will Sparrow's Road by Karen Cushman -- and a giveaway!

First, I want to thank everyone who participated in the lively discussion on my last post. Even discounting my replies, that post generated more comments than any other post in my four years of blogging. Now for this week's recommendation:




Will Sparrow's Road by Karen Cushman (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin, November 2012, for ages 10 and up)

Synopsis (from the book jacket): Will Sparrow, liar and thief, is running away -- from the father who sold him for beer, the innkeeper who threatened to sell him as a chimney sweep, from his whole sorry life. Barefoot and penniless, without family, friends, or boots, Will is determined to avoid capture and, of course, to find something to eat.

Some of the travelers he meets on the road have a kind word for him and a promise of better things to come, such as coins and juicy beef ribs. Eager to go along, Will repeatedly finds himself tricked by older and wiser tricksters.

Why I liked it: Will's a remarkable character, who at first cares for "no one but myself and nothing but my belly!" Writers who struggle with character growth should study this because Will grows and changes more than any protagonist I've come across recently. And if you're a fan of historical fiction, you'll love the story. The inimitable Karen Cushman infuses the novel with colorful personalities and plenty of Elizabethan flavor as Will travels from one market fair to another, along with an assortment of "Oddities" in search of a place to call home.

(My only trouble with this book was every time I read the name "Will Sparrow" I kept picturing Will Turner and Jack Sparrow. Guess I've watched "Pirates of the Caribbean" too many times!)

Now for the giveaway. Since I didn't receive an arc, I purchased a hardcover copy. And I'm eager to share it with one of you. To enter the giveaway you must be a follower and leave a comment on this post. International entries welcome. This giveaway will end at 10 pm EDT on Saturday, March 23, 2013. Winner will be chosen by random.org and announced Monday, March 25. Good luck!

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Messenger. See her blog for the links, or check out my sidebar.

25 Comments on Will Sparrow's Road by Karen Cushman -- and a giveaway!, last added: 4/7/2013
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49. Agent Building List – Laura Biagi

Kathleen Rupff was the winner of Susan Dietwiler’s Big Cat, Little Kitty book give-a-way.

AGENT LAURA BIAGI OF THE JEAN V. NAGGAR LITERARY AGENCY INC.

Jean Naggar opened her agency over 30 years ago and expanded in 2004, when she decided to partner with Jennifer Weltz, who had joined the agency in 1994. They incorporated as The Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Inc., or JVNLA, Inc. They are located right in the heart of the Publishing Industry – NYC.

The team of seven agents each represents an independent list of authors that reflects her individual styles, tastes, and strengths, with all collaborating as a team to orchestrate the agency’s contracts, subsidiary rights, publicity, and editorial development.

Laura Biagi joined the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency Inc. (JVNLA) in 2009. She is actively building her own client list, seeking young readers’ books (including picture books, young adult, and middle grade) as well as adult literary fiction.

She is particularly interested in young readers’ books that have magical tinges to them, cultural themes, strong voices, and vivid writing.  She loves books that incorporate high concept, dark/edgy, and quirky elements, and especially titles that challenge the way we typically view the world.

Laura also handles the sale of Australian and New Zealand rights for the agency, and she coordinates the submission of JVNLA’s titles internationally.  Laura studied creative writing and anthropology at Northwestern University, and she is the recipient of a Kentucky Emerging Artist Award in fiction writing. She grew up in a small town in Kentucky and maintains a fondness for Southern biscuits and unobstructed views of the stars.

http://jvnla.com/our_team.html

You can meet Laura at the Niagara Falls Writers Illustrators Retreat. May 3-5.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, picture books, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Building List, Jean V. Naffar Literary Agency, Jennifer Weltz, seeking middle grade and Young adult books, Seeking picture books

1 Comments on Agent Building List – Laura Biagi, last added: 3/25/2013
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50. What is a Story Architect?

lexa hillyer lowresheadshot260I was going over my New Jersey SCBWI Conference Registration and noticed Lexa Hillyer co-founder of Paper Lantern on the faculty. I was not familiar with Lexa, so I read her bio. Here it is:

Lexa Hillyer received her BA in English from Vassar College and her MFA in Poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She has received various poetry awards, including the 2011 Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize for her first book of poems, Acquainted with the Cold. She was named one of the Best New Poets of 2012 by Matthew Dickman. Lexa worked as an editor at both Harper Collins and Penguin, and is co-founder of boutique literary incubator Paper Lantern Lit.

This still didn’t tell me enough, so I visited Paper Lantern Lit to see what additional information I could discover. I found out Paper Lantern Lit is a “book incubator” that creates hits for publishers–and careers for undiscovered writers. Lexa Hillyer and co-founder Lauren Oliver are story architects. I still needed more information so Lexa and I talked and she answered my questions in this interview. I think you will find what they are doing, very interesting.

What is Paper Lantern Lit?

We come up with story ideas, we plot them using our knowledge and experience with narrative structure, and we coach authors through the writing process. Like architects, we envision, design and layout all the basics of a book, but it’s our writers who inhabit them and bring them to life.

lauren oliversm260How did you and Lauren Oliver decide to start Paper Lantern Lit?

We met when we both worked as editors at Penguin, before Lauren decided to pursue a career in writing. After a few years, we had stayed friends, and realized we both had pieces missing from our lives. She missed editing, and often found she had more ideas than she could possibly write herself. I longed for more creative flexibility for my ideas, and the freedom to make stronger connections with writers. We discovered that we both possess creativity and passion for storytelling alongside a pretty unusual obsession with structure and form. We know that a great novel has both, and while the elusive power of an original, emotive voice may not be teachable, the a-to-z of plotting a book is. So why not build incredibly fun book concepts, offer to help new writers, and get the thrill of discovering them ourselves?

Once we had that all figured out, we just started having meetings. We took it one step at a time and taught ourselves what it would mean to really own a business. We made sure we had a lot of different projects we felt confident pursuing, so that our company would have longevity. Then we reached out to Stephen Barbara of Foundry Media, to ensure that we would have strong representation. Finally, we hired the most amazing interns ever, two of whom now work for the company full time!

Was this before she wrote the Delirium Series?

Yes, though I believe she was already working on it. It was right after her first book, BEFORE I FALL, came out. 

How does Paper Lantern Lit differ from a traditional Publisher?

We are not a publisher or an agency, though our company does have certain similarities to an agency: we seek out excellent writers, work with them on a project, and then typically sell the project to a publisher. However, at Paper Lantern Lit, we develop many of our book ideas in-house. So while a traditional agency looks for finished manuscripts, we are far more focused on finding the best new writers out there and fostering their voices. We pride ourselves on cultivating emergent authors, and providing them a context in which to further learn their craft.

So you could say you are a book packager?

Our business model is certainly similar, but we feel our approach is unique in that we put a major emphasis on the author and on our relationships within the industry. We’re not about making a product, package or sale. We’re about creating an experience that is hopefully lasting and has universal appeal. We attach writers and projects together much the way a matchmaker might: it’s all about finding the perfect pairing.

Since Paper Lantern gets the advance for the books they sell, how does the writer get paid?

We pay the writer directly per project. You can consider it as doing Freelance or Work-for-Hire. Some of our deals offer sub rights and other financial participation—we want our authors to enjoy success as the book’s audience grows, and for them to feel invested in its future and their own!

Does the writer get their name on the books they write?
Sometimes yes, though many times we mutually agree to move forward under a pseudonym. Often that feels like the best way to give both parties the most freedom and most protection at the same time. We understand that many of our writers may be concurrently pursuing other work, and this allows for greater flexibility to do so.

Do you accept full manuscripts?

We are looking for writers, typically, not manuscripts, because our focus is on building story from the ground up. We are the story architects, after all! You might say we prefer to work on new designs rather than renovations: this way we can always vouch for the end result—we can guarantee a sound structure. However, there’s an exception to every rule. If you love what we do, we encourage you to reach out. You never know what opportunities will arise, especially as we turn our focus with more and more interest toward the digital publishing sphere.

How long have you been in business?

We officially launched PLL in May of 2010, so we’re at the three year mark.

How many books have you gotten published?

We have 25 domestic titles (this includes multiple book deals for each author). We’ve also sold our books in dozens of foreign countries. Of these, we have 9 that have hit shelves so far, and our 10th, TRUTH OR DARE by Jacqueline Green, comes out May 14, 2013!

Do you run your book ideas past editors before you look for an author?

Not often, but we certainly have many editor friends and are always discussing what they’re excited about and where we all feel the market may be headed. Further, we do ALWAYS share our ideas with our agent, Stephen Barbara, before taking on a writer. We consider him the third partner and take his objective reactions very seriously—it’s important to have some checks and balances!

So I would image that you work closely with the author to develop the book. Is that right?

Oh absolutely. It’s a very hands-on process. We check in with our authors weekly and provide very consistent notes and feedback. They constantly work to adapt the story so that it is truly theirs—in the end, sometimes they depart wildly from the original concept, but we communicate and work together the whole way through to be sure at all times that the structure is solid and that their voice is being heard.

I see you have a group of teens called Trendsetters who read pre-published YA books from you. Have you changed books due to this feedback?
Definitely! It’s fascinating to get a peek into what teens are really thinking, what their experiences are like, what they most care about. We take their input very seriously and we just love all of the awesome ways they get involved in our projects, from coming up with soundtracks to the books to creating character collages and inspiration boards. These teens are very savvy, very articulate, and love books—so of course, we love THEM!

Do you feel that an unknown author benefits from working with you, other than the freelance money they receive?

I very much believe and hope so, yes. Some of our authors have gone so far as to refer to us as a “paid MFA in writing.” Others call it novel-writing boot camp.  We offer a lot of insight and structure regarding the craft and the writing process, in addition to offering serious access to new contacts in the industry and help them reach their fans directly.

If the authors get school visits from librarian who come to you, do they get the full amount of money for the visit?
Yes!

I read that Paper Lantern has a Fellowship Program for a MFA student enrolled at Queens College’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation. What do they get if they are chosen?

The recipient receives full tuition remission for the spring semester in addition to a $1,000 internship stipend.

What do authors do to get you interested in working with them?

Send us your resume, a brief bio, and a ten-page sample of your best writing (preferably fiction.) Please submit all of the above in the body of your email (no attachments), and include your name and sample title in the subject heading. Also please let us know where you heard about us!

Show off their voice. Knowing your own individual strengths, rather than trying to prove you can be malleable, is key. Also show us that you are savvy with the interwebs and not afraid to have a presence there. If you fear your own audience or seem like a ghost when we google you, that can be concerning. Writing for young people these days means having confidence in your voice, what you have to say, AND your ability to interact with your audience.

You can still register for the New Jersey SCBWI Conference in June and get a critique with Lexa. Don’t miss this opportunity. Here is the link: www.regonline.com/njscbwi2013conference

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Stephen Barbara, Book Packager, Fellowship Program at Queens College MFA Program, Lauren Oliver, Lexa Hillyer, Paper Lantern Lit

2 Comments on What is a Story Architect?, last added: 4/30/2013
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