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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Megan Cash, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Tamson Weston on How to Choose an Editor

by Tamson Weston

There are all kinds of scenarios in which a manuscript becomes a book. Sometimes it’s a series planned well ahead of time, sometimes the author is well-known and the project is signed on the basis of a proposal, sometimes the agent knows that the idea in itself is a winner and he/she sends it out to vast range of different editors, generating a lot of buzz in the process.

As an acquiring editor, however, my favorite way to come across a manuscript is much more quiet than any of these scenarios. It’s when I stumble across something in a pile of submissions that strikes my fancy. The reason it’s fun to discover things in this way, is that I am not reacting to a trend, but to something that particularly suits my taste. And this means I’m going to remain excited about it right up until the release date and beyond.

I’ve had quite a few books like this on my list. It’s hard to pick just one. But I think there is one that is particularly illustrative of this kind of scenario. It’s Bow-Wow Bugs a Bug by Mark Newgarden and Megan Cash.

I got a completely different submission from Mark and Megan in the slush pile—unagented. Mark and Megan decided to send it to me because they had come across another project of mine that made them think I might be interested in their work. Their submission was beautifully packaged, in a folder, with lots of visuals and a pitch sheet. I won’t mention that project, because I still love it and hope that it will come out eventually in some form. For various reasons I wasn’t able to pursue it. Anyway, alongside the mystery project was a proposed series of board books based on a intrepid little terrier. Bow Wow Bugs A Bug was created later, as an anchor to this series.

There are a couple of inspiring things about this story. First, the project came through slush. I know we hear about things being discovered this way. But these stories are told for a reason—they are remarkable because they don’t happen very often. The reason Mark and Megan’s work stood out was that it was impeccably presented and it was exactly the kind of thing that I like to read. They had built an entire pitch package of the quality that we might mock up for a marketing meeting, and they thought very carefully about to whom they were sending it. It was funny, clever and visually stunning with selling points and a target audience outlined. The other important point to note is that, despite the appeal of this package, we ended up having them do a different project all together. They were willing to work with us (and did to an absolutely heroic extent) in order to build a good publishing strategy. And I was willing to work with them, because I could see very clearly that they had more than one project in them.

There is one point I would like to make clear. Mark and Megan are not push-overs. A willingness to work on something doesn’t mean a willingness to surrender your vision to someone else. It simply means that you are willing to hear feedback and try to incorporate it in a way that suits the project. Mark and Megan have a strong aesthetic perspective and I had long email exchanges with them over what to keep and what to leave out. It’s important to work with your editor, but it’s also important to maintain your point of view. Do not compromise to the extent that you don’t want to be associated with

10 Comments on Tamson Weston on How to Choose an Editor, last added: 1/25/2012
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2. Drawn In Brooklyn! Exhibition at the BPL

image: Sophie Blackall – Big Red Lollipop

As is now routine, I moseyed through the park and did my weekly grocery shopping at the Grand Army Plaza greenmarket on Saturday.  This time, though, I wasn’t too loaded down with pickles and goat cheese, and actually had the energy to stop at the Central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.

I’d been meaning to hit the BPL because, though I’ve always been a huge library supporter (it’s in my blood, thanks mom and dad), lately I’ve been in the bad habit of buying books instead.  But with student loans looming this November (it’s been nearly 6 months already?!), it is time to tighten the finances and catch up on my reading – for free.

I was disappointed that I didn’t find anything super fresh and exciting in the YA section… but I guess it’s good that teens are checking them all out. Next time, I’ll have to bring a bigger list. I DID get the chance to see the Drawn In Brooklyn! exhibition of children’s illustration – and that, in itself, was worth the trip.

Drawn In Brooklyn! is a 4-month long festival of 34 local artists, celebrating the borough with the largest concentration of children’s book illustrators on the planet. In close proximity to Manhattan, illustrators can network with the publishing and art worlds first-hand… but then find both community inspiration and a bit of creative peace back here.  No wonder Brooklyn is home to, well, almost everyone I admire.

image: Peter Brown – Chowder

In the vast display of work in the Grand Lobby of the BPL, there were many, many familiar names, including personal heroes (Leo and Diane Dillon, Ted and Betsy Lewin, Paul O. Zelinsky), current favorites (Sophie Blackall, Peter Brown) and former professors (Pat Cummings, Megan Montague Cash). Also, a few illustrators I’d never heard of before: both Daniel Salmieri and Sergio Ruzzier‘s whimsical, quirky characters made me smile.  Here they are below!

image: Daniel Salmie

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