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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: agent, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 340
1. Free Fall Friday

IF metamorphosis final b

Dow Phumiruk is an aspiring children’s book illustrator.  She won the 2013 SCBWI On-the-Verge Emerging Voices Award that promotes diversity in children’s books.  Please visit her newly organized portfolio site at www.artbydow.blogspot.com.  The Emerging Voices Award 2014 opened for submission on September 15! Scroll to see Monday’s post about it.

ANNOUNCING THE WINNER OF DARLENE BECK-JACOBSON’S WHEELS OF CHANGE is: Drum roll please… Donna Taylor from Writer’s Side Up. Congratulations! Donna. Please send Darlene or me your email address so Darlene can send out your book.

Since I know so many in the audience love Eileen Spinelli, I thought you would want to read this interview Lora over at Words On A Limb had with Eileen. Here is the link:Eileen Spinelli Interview

joycebook

Joyce Wan just received her advance reader’s copy of her new picture book, THE WHALE IN MY SWIMMING POOL, which will hit book shelves in April 2015! A WHALE of a tale that is sure to evoke giggles from little guppies! ♥

At Running Press Kids, Lisa Cheng has been promoted to senior editor.

At Simon & Schuster Children’s, Jenica Nasworthy has been promoted to assistant managing editor.

Co-founder of start-up Ruckus Media and one-time president of Simon & Schuster Children’s Rick Richter is joining Zachary Schuster Harmsworth as an agent, working in their Boston office. Richter will represent children’s books as well as narrative nonfiction focused on history and military history.

Longtime editor Tom Miller will join Sanford J. Greenburger Associates as a literary agent on September 15. He will represent primarily nonfiction projects in the areas of diet and wellness, psychology and self-help, business, popular culture, spirituality, cooking, and narrative nonfiction. Most recently, he was an executive editor at McGraw-Hill.

Annie Nybo has been promoted to assistant editor at Margaret K. McElderry Books.

PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT A FIRST PAGE FOR CRITIQUE IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO HAVE THE CRITIQUE POSTED. Thanks!

Rachel_Brooks_LPA_photo_17781343_stdAgent Rachel Brooks from the L Perkins Agency has agreed to be September’s First Page Critiquer.

Before joining the L. Perkins Agency, Rachel worked as an agent apprentice to Louise Fury. In addition to her industry training, Rachel has a business degree and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English from Texas A&M University-CC.

WHAT RACHEL LIKES: She is excited about representing all genres of young adult and new adult fiction, as well as adult romance. While she is looking for all sub-genres of romance, she is especially interested in romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also on the lookout for fun picture books.

She’s a fan of dual POVs, loves both print and ebooks, and has a soft spot for marketing savvy writers.

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in September: In the subject line, please write “September First Page Critique” or “September First Page Picture Prompt Critique” and paste the text in the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Plus attach your first page to the email. Please format using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Remember to also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail, plus attach it in a Word document.

DEADLINE: September 19th.

RESULTS: September 26th.

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 for this month. 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.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Kudos, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Agent at L. Perkins Agency, Dow Phumiruk, Editor Tom MIller joining Sanford J Greenbuger as Agent, Free Fall Friday, Publishing Industry promotions, Rachel Brooks, Simon & Schuster Children's

8 Comments on Free Fall Friday, last added: 9/19/2014
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2. Agent Building List

genevieveGenevieve Nine joined Andrea Hurst Literary Management as an intern in 2012. She has a background in professional editing and gets great satisfaction from developing authors. She’s a Creative Writing MFA candidate at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, holds a Certificate in Children’s Writing from the University of Washington, and graduated with honors and a B.A. from the USC School of Cinema & Television.

Genevieve loves books. Her tastes are eclectic, ranging from the classics to quirky. She’s drawn to the fantastic, the curious, and the unexpected. Genevieve is looking to represent authors who weave layered tales with well-developed worlds and characters who threaten to burst from the page. She appreciates smart and original plots with well-crafted twists. And no matter how zany or diabolical, every character should be undeniably human at heart.

When not reading or writing, Genevieve enjoys watching her Sherlock DVDs, planning future travels, and embarking on culinary adventures. She and her husband live in Seattle with their two naughty cats, Selkie and Napoleon.

Within young adult and middle grade, she’s looking to acquire:

Fantasy (open to all subgenres except game-related)
ŸScience Fiction
ŸMystery
ŸHistorical Fiction
ŸRetellings (classics, fairy/folk tale, myth)
ŸContemporary Realism (especially with elements of humor)

She also represents the following adult and new adult categories:

ŸMystery (detective/PI, amateur, cozy, historical, comic, caper)
ŸThriller (supernatural, historical, disaster, ecological)
ŸGothic/Hauntings/Quiet Horror
ŸHistorical Fiction
ŸRetellings (classics, fairy/folk tale, myth)
ŸRomantic Comedy
ŸMagical Realism
ŸFood Memoir
ŸTravelogue/Travel Memoir

She is not interested in the following:

ŸHard SF/Military SF/Space Opera
ŸGraphic Horror
ŸErotica
ŸReligious Fiction/Nonfiction
ŸShort Stories

Submission Guidelines: querygenevieve@andreahurst.com. Email queries only. ŸNo attachments. ŸInclude “Query: Book Title” in the email’s subject line. ŸPaste the first ten pages of manuscript below your query. ŸPlease state if manuscript has been previously self-published. ŸPlease state if query is a multiple submission and inform Genevieve if the project becomes no longer available for representation.

Follow Genevieve on Twitter (@GenevieveNine).

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Building List, Andrea Hurst Literary Management, Genevieve Nine, Northwest Institute of Literary Arts

0 Comments on Agent Building List as of 9/17/2014 12:10:00 AM
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3. Free Fall Friday – First Page Guest Critiquer – Kudos

Below is a double page spread from A LOVE LETTER FROM GOD that Laura Watson illustrated.

LauraWatson_LoveLetter_beach_800

I received a wonderful update note from Laura Watson who was featured on Illustrator Saturday last year. http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/illustrator-saturday-laura-watson/

Here’s what Laura wrote:

“I wanted to thank you again for the wonderful profile you did on me last fall. It led to at least one awesome job, that I know of, and tons of great exposure. Thank you so much!”

“I have a couple of recent projects that are now printed:

Farm Friends for I See Me! Inc. Personalized Children’s Books (http://www.iseeme.com/my-farm-friends-personalized-book.html#Tab-A-2 ) and A Love Letter from God by P.K. Hallinan (for Ideals Children’s Books.”

“I’ve also been working on projects for Capstone, Orca Books (in Canada) and a couple of self-publishing clients too. This has been my busiest year ever, so far. Just pausing to catch my breath and update my portfolio, etc. this week.”

Laura, congratulations on all your recent successes. I’m so happy I contributed to a good year.

cropped-creativity-cookbook-header-600dpi

Donna Taylor launch two blogs with week. Thought you might like to check them out. She has some give-a-ways on both blogs that you may like. They end Sunday night at midnight. 

http://writersideup.com and http://2creativitycookbook.com

Rachel_Brooks_LPA_photo_17781343_stdAgent Rachel Brooks from the L Perkins Agency has agreed to be September’s First Page Critiquer.

Before joining the L. Perkins Agency, Rachel worked as an agent apprentice to Louise Fury. In addition to her industry training, Rachel has a business degree and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English from Texas A&M University-CC.

WHAT RACHEL LIKES: She is excited about representing all genres of young adult and new adult fiction, as well as adult romance. While she is looking for all sub-genres of romance, she is especially interested in romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also on the lookout for fun picture books.

She’s a fan of dual POVs, loves both print and ebooks, and has a soft spot for marketing savvy writers.

Below is the September picture prompt for anyone who is inspired to use it for their first page.

Anne_Belov_Ellie_and_edmond_and_pandas 100 r  copyThe above illustration was sent in by Anne Belov. She was featured on Illustrator Saturday http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/illustrator-saturday-anne-belvo/ She works in oils, egg tempera, and works with printmaking.

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in April: In the subject line, please write “September First Page Critique” or “September First Page Picture Prompt Critique” and paste the text in the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Plus attach your first page to the email. Please format using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Remember to also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail, plus attach it in a Word document.

DEADLINE: September 19th.

RESULTS: September 26th.

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 for this month. 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.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, inspiration, Kudos Tagged: Anne Belov, Donna Taylor, First Page Critique, Free Fall Friday, L Perkins Agency, Laura Watson, Rachel Brooks

2 Comments on Free Fall Friday – First Page Guest Critiquer – Kudos, last added: 9/12/2014
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4. Agent Looking to Build List + Call For Illustrations

Illustrators: If you have an illustration you would like to show off, please email it to me. All illustrations need to be at least 500 pixels wide. Thanks!

Rachel_Brooks_LPA_photo_17781343_std

Rachel Brooks – Junior Agent

Rachel is actively building her client list.

Before joining the L. Perkins Agency, Rachel worked as an agent apprentice to Louise Fury. In addition to her industry training, Rachel has a business degree and graduated summa cum laude with a BA in English from Texas A&M University-CC.

WHAT RACHEL LIKES: She is excited about representing all genres of young adult and new adult fiction, as well as adult romance. While she is looking for all sub-genres of romance, she is especially interested in romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also on the lookout for fun picture books.

She’s a fan of dual POVs, loves both print and ebooks, and has a soft spot for marketing savvy writers.

TO SUBMIT: Send a query letter (with an author bio in it) and the first 5 pages of the manuscript pasted into an email (no attachments) to rachel [at] lperkinsagency.com. Please only query one agent at this agency.

Email: rachel@lperkinsagency.com

Twitter: @RachMBrooks

REMEMBER:

  • Attachments will not be opened unless specifically requested.
  • We only accept email queries. We do not accept queries by snail mail, phone or social media. All snail mail queries will be discarded unopened
  • We will only consider one manuscript from one writer at a time to one agent at a time. If you have written more than one manuscript, choose the one you think is the most promising and pitch that to us. Do not pitch all of them.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Agent Looking to Build List, Call for Illustrations, L Perkins Agency, Rachel Brooks

0 Comments on Agent Looking to Build List + Call For Illustrations as of 9/4/2014 1:26:00 AM
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5. Free Fall Friday – Critique Results – Holly McGhee

pippin

Cynthia Reeg                          FROM THE GRAVE             Middle Grade Fantasy

Monster Rule #9: A monster’s appearance should incite fear and significant revulsion to scare the socks off mere humans.

FRANK’S TALE

Shocktober 13, Year of the Scrull

Looking through the bus window, I tilted my nose up toward the sky’s “determined drear,” as Ms. Hagmire liked to call it. That was Uggarland—grim, gray, and delightfully desolate. From the bony skeleton trees, to the swampland grasses, to the lurking monsters. My itchy right palm brushed against my perfectly tucked shirt and my much too crisp pant leg. I should be an example of such determined drear, general disarray, and evil intent. Only I wasn’t.

“I saw a bat flying upside down last night,” said Oliver. My mummy friend sat next to me. His unwrapped, wrinkled brown finger skimmed down the page of the tattered book on his lap. “I’m trying to find out what that means.”

“That means trouble,” I muttered. The low rumble of voices from the other eccentric students on our bus seemed to echo the word. Trouble.

“Maybe its antennae were just damaged.” Oliver pointed to bold print on the right hand page.

I shook my head. “No. It means trouble.”

Our special Fiendful Fiends Academy Bus—otherwise referred to as OMO (Odd Monsters Only) bus—lurched to a stop in front of our school. We all climbed out, but as I tilted my nose upward again, I stopped in mid-step.

HERE’S HOLLY:

From the Grave, Middle-grade Fantasy, Cynthia Reeg

I was interested in Oliver and the first-person narrator, and I think it might be smart to start the story off with the dialogue about the bat. It’s important that the reader engage with the characters first, that we connect with them and care, before learning about the scenery of Uggarland. So I suggest moving the scenery further down in the story and pulling back on the detailed descriptions of clothing in order to laser-focus on the two kids. Hook us with them and then take us on a journey.

___________________________________________________________

Best Chocolate Cake and Other Dramatic Disasters by Julia Maranan – MG Novel 

Things I Am Good At

Field hockey

Music

Science

French

Chess

Baking?

Starting middle school on crutches had been about as bad as it sounds. While I was hobbling around trying to find all my classes after an “unfortunate accident” during field hockey tryouts, everyone else found all their friends and where they fit in. By the time I was back on my own two feet, I was pretty much invisible (except to Angie, who’d been my BFF since, well, forever). And it’s not like I hadn’t been trying things. I just hadn’t found the right thing. But today, that would finally change. I could feel it.

I took another look at the picture of the expertly frosted Best Chocolate Cake our home ec teacher, Mrs. Collins, had projected in the front of the classroom, and my mouth watered.

Baking is a good thing to excel in. I mean, who doesn’t love chocolate cake? People are going to ask me to bake them things all the time! Maybe I can even get extra credit if I bake something amazing. I’ll have to find out what my teachers like before midterm grades are due…

I read through the instructions one more time: grease and flour the pan, mix everything in a bowl, and pour the batter into the pan to bake. This is going to be awesome.

“Do you want to grease the pan, or should I?” I asked my partner, Kate Nichols, who was the second worst person in the room Mrs. Collins could have paired me with.

“I think maybe you should just make your own cake. Over there.” She motioned vaguely to the counter by the sink, purple nail polish sparkling under the fluorescent lights.

“But we’re supposed to work together,” I said.

“But I want my cake to be edible,” she said, and took her pan over to a table.

HERE’S HOLLY:

Best Chocolate Cake, Middle-grade novel, Julia Maranan

I like the idea that the main character wants to find something to make her visible. But those first days of school are not here—those days with her on crutches, left out of all the quick-forming friendships circles. I would like to see them. That way I would make a connection, and I’d be rooting for this girl and her baking skills. Show us the character in her darkest moment, all those friends pairing and bonding while she can’t keep up, that anxiety and pressure, and then you’ll be set up to tell the story. I did like the list at the top! As for baking and home ec, I’m not sure when the story takes place, but in our schools, they don’t offer home ec anymore, sad to say, so make it clear what year the story starts.

___________________________________________________________

DOGS ON STRIKE! By Rita D. Russell – Picture Book 

All night long, Rufus snored and sniggled in his sleep. He dreamed about his birthday and getting super-duper treats. But when Rufus woke up… he got nothing.

“Not even a birthday card?” asked Dugan.

“Or pupperoni cupcakes?” wondered Nugget.

“Nothing,” said Rufus. “Not even the Happy Birthday song.”

The three mutts mulled over the situation while burying bones in the backyard.

“What’s the world coming to,” they groused, “when a dog gets less love than a mouse?” [Art: Rufus, Dugan,and Nugget watch a man mowing the lawn with his pet mouse peeking from his shirt pocket.]

“No walking in the park.”

“No dancing in the dark.”

“No purple pupsicle treat.”

“No cruising in the front seat.”

Something had to be done.

STRIKE???   [Art: Dogs vote at a meeting of the neighborhood dogs association.]

Rufus strode to the podium and proudly proclaimed, “Today dogs are changing the rules of the game. Our smiles and affection are no longer free. We demand nicer treatment. So until families agree…”

[Art: Families are shocked to discover…]

“No greetings at the door?”

“No footrests on the floor?”

“No herding cows or sheep?”

“No guarding while we sleep?”

“DOGS ON STRIKE!”

The cool cats stayed back. (They were not impressed.)

HERE’S HOLLY:

Dogs on Strike, Picture book, Rita D. Russell

This is a cute concept and I like the idea of turning the dog-people relationship on its head. That said, I don’t know why this dog is surprised that he doesn’t have a birthday celebration. Has he had them in the past? What is the context? If you can figure that out and keep this very simple, with excellent dialogue, you might have a winner. Check out David Ezra Stein’s I’M MY OWN DOG, just published, for a fantastic example of role reversal.

___________________________________________________________

Carol Foote           FOREVER MAGIC                   Middle Grade

The hint of a whisper.

At first Elena thought it might be trees sighing or a faucet turned on somewhere else in the house. But the sound grew louder, as if coming at her through a long tunnel. She tilted her head to listen just as it burst out, filling the room.

El-e-naaaaaa…

Elena almost dropped the pickle jar she was preparing for a science experiment. Her knees wobbled, and she leaned against the kitchen counter.

El-e-naaaaaa…” The whisper swirled around her. Then it was gone.

She ran to the window and nudged aside the white lace curtains. Outside, her ten-year-old brother Connor was tossing a plastic bag in the air and attacking it with a stick.

“For the king!” Connor cried, slashing at his flimsy opponent. “Victory is ours!”

“Did you call me?” Elena shouted. Her voice sounded high and thin.

“No.” Connor impaled the bag and didn’t even look toward her.

“Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

Elena eyed the woods beyond the lawn. Not even a leaf rustled. Gram’s car wasn’t in its usual spot at the top of the long dirt drive. Elena crossed the kitchen and peered into the living room. The solid, stuffed chairs and dark, polished tables sat undisturbed. Only the steady ticking of the grandfather clock broke the stillness. Breathing in the familiar smell of old books and fireplace ashes, Elena forced her shoulders to relax. See? It was nothing.

She returned to her experiment where vapor rose from a tray of dry ice. Like a genie from a lamp. Her hands shook, and she spilled rubbing alcohol as she tried to pour just enough to saturate the black felt she’d glued inside the jar. Tightening the lid, she glanced around the room.

HERE’S HOLLY:

Forever Magic, Middle-grade novel, Carol Foote

I think this is a fantastic opening page! Keep going. I want to know more. But get a better title. Well done.

___________________________________________________________

Thank you Holly for sharing your time and expertise with us. It is a huge help to read you comments.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Agent, demystify, inspiration, Process, revisions Tagged: Agent Holly McGhee, First Page Critique, Pippin Properties, Writing feedback

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6. Agent Looking to Build List

siobhan-mcbride-literary-agentAbout Siobhan McBride at Serendipity Literary Agency:

Siobhan McBride grew up in the New York Hudson Valley and studied painting, drawing, and ceramics before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz.

She began her career in Publishing as an intern for the literary agency Objective Entertainment, and from there went on to work as a writer in the Editorial departments of various magazines including MovieMaker and Chronogram, before joining Serendipity Literary Agency in 2014.

Her passion for music and film led her to becoming the Music Editor of CriticalMob, eventually moving on to do freelance work with their parent company, Company Cue. Recently she has been tutoring young adults as a volunteer with 826NYC.

Siobhan looks forward to creating lasting relationships with her clients and wants to work closely with them to give life to the vision of their work. Holding positions on both sides of the editorial field gives her a strong grasp of what an audience is looking for and the knack to balance that with a writers’ artistic drive.

Siobhan is seeking voice driven narratives for Fiction, Memoir, or Non-Fiction. She has a strong interest in Literary and Gothic Fiction, Horror, Paranormal, Adult Dystopian, Mystery/Crime, Historical, daring Young Adult, Thrillers and narratives with philosophical undertones. She say she gives bonus points if your thriller has a psychological bent. 

For Memoir and Nonfiction titles, she seeks Investigative, True Crime, and dark/bizarre History. Siobhan enjoys the dark, macabre aspects of life where paranormal fiction and horror are viewed an under appreciated art forms deeply rooted in psychology, and looks for authors unafraid to delve into these inner workings of the human psyche.

How to submit: Visit the submissions page on Serendipity’s website: serendipitylit.com. You can direct your submission directly to Siobhan by requesting her in the body of the submission form. The average response time is 4-6 weeks.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Looking for Clients, Serendipity Literary Agency, Siobhan McBride

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7. Free Fall Friday – Holly McGhee/Hallie Durand

Holly November 2013

A new book titled, CATCH THE COOKIE has hit the bookshelves written by Hallie Durand, a.k.a. Agent Holly McGhee and illustrated by David Small. I have the book and can truthfully say it is a very fun picture book. I scanned in a few interior shots and Holly sent a picture of the real Marshall to add to the interview questions. I also added a quick blurb to whet your appetite:

Marshall knows one thing for sure, despite what all the stories say: Gingerbread men cannot run. Cookies are for eating, and he can’t wait to eat his after spending all morning baking them with his class. But when it’s time to take the gingerbread men out of the oven . . . they’re gone! Now, to find those rogue cookies, Marshall and his class have to solve a series of rhyming clues. And Marshall just might have to rethink his stance on magic. Catch That Cookie! is an imaginative mystery, deliciously illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner David Small. It’s sure to inspire a new classroom tradition . . . and maybe even a few new believers!

I wanted to know more about the book and Holly, so below is the interview I had with her. If you want to read more about David Small and read about the process of creating the book cover for CATCH THE COOKIE, he was featured this past Saturday on Illustrator Saturday - definitely worth reading. Here’s Hallie/Holly:

Most people know you as Holly McGhee. Why did you decide to write under another name?

A: On that first submission especially, I needed to know whether my writing could speak for itself, in no way connected to me as an agent—could I get published just because an editor and publisher believed in my work? I’ve kept with a pen name to separate my writing from agenting, though at this point it’s not a secret that I’m Holly McGhee & Hallie Durand.

When did you start writing your latest book, Catch That Cookie!? 

A: I started Catch That Cookie! in earnest over the Christmas holidays of 2011. My son Marshall had been a preschool student of Mrs. Gray’s (the teacher in my book) in the fall of 2009, and he had gone on a gingerbread hunt at school. He’d come home with a recipe for gingerbread men, and he was obsessed with making the cookies. He kept nagging me, and so I finally borrowed the cookie cutters from Mrs. Gray and we made them for our class picnic in June of 2010, in ninety-degree heat. We put them in the van to bring to the picnic, and then Marshall started locking the van doors. I realized he thought the cookies would escape, ha ha ha ha! I knew there was a story there, and I wanted to know what Mrs. Gray had done in class to make Marshall believe those G-men could escape. So I interviewed Mrs. Gray and that inspired my picture book.

Marsh with his G-Man August 2014

How did it find a home at Dial?

A: When I finally had a draft that I liked, I shared it with my agent, Elena Giovinazzo, who sent it out to editors. Lauri Hornik and Kate Harrison at Dial made an offer.

Catch That Cookie!, with ribbon

Were you the one who chose David Small to illustrate the book?

A: No, that was my editor, Kate Harrison, and the art director Lily Malcom. I couldn’t be happier about the choice—not only is David my client but he is one of my very close friends. (I was nervous he would turn it down though, and thrilled that he liked it—he’s picky!)

cookieinterior74

How long did it take David to do the illustrations?

A: He started early in 2013 and finished that fall. I sent him a picture of Mrs. Gray to inspire him and also pictures of Marshall, Avery, and Henry, who all appear in the book (they were Marshall’s classmates).

cookieinterior75
Do you plan any book signings or other marketing things now that the book is sold?

A: Yes, David and I are doing a little mini tour to celebrate both the book and our friendship. I am going out to Kalamazoo, Michigan on September 10 and we are doing one appearance for adults at the Kalamazoo Library and one for kids at the Book Bug, and then he’s coming back with me to Maplewood, NJ. We’ll have a big gingerbread hunt with Mrs. Gray at the Maplewood Library on September 13, and an event for writers and artists (together with Anna Kang and Chris Weyant of You Are (Not) Small and Richard Morris of This Is a Moose) on the 14th. We’re going to talk about collaboration. Then we’ll have an appearance at our local bookstore on the 15th as well as a private event for the preschool four year olds (all at Words, Maplewood). David will share some of his drawing secrets. I’ll have more details for you soon.

When did you write your first book and what was the title?

A: In 2007 I wrote my first chapter book / novel, Dessert First, and I wrote two more books in that series. Dessert First was published in 2009, Just Desserts in 2010, and No Room for Dessert in 2011, all illustrated by the amazing French artist Christine Davenier.

dessertfirst

Were you an editor at that time?

A: Nope, I had been an agent for nine years already (though I’ve never stopped being an editor really—as an agent I’m often the first set of eyes on a manuscript, helping polish it enough to be acquired).

How did the idea come to you?

A: It started at a dinner with one of my best friends at the River Run Café in NYC. We ordered dessert to share, and as always I angled the plate so that the best part of the dessert “happened” to be directly in front of me. My friend had had enough of my bad behavior and she said, “WHY DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE THE BEST PART OF THE DESSERT?” And I, with nowhere to hide, said, “Because I thought I was getting away with it.” That honesty marked a turning point in our friendship. A few years later, we were sharing a slice of Iced Lemon Cake at lunch, reminiscing about our fateful evening at the River Run. And that very evening, on NJ Transit, Dessert Schneider barged into my life and wouldn’t be quiet till I wrote her story. I’d never experienced anything like that—she was really bossy!

How did that book get published?

A: It was multiply submitted, under my pen name, and was acquired in a two-book deal.

dessertsJust

It looks like most of your books have a food element. Is that because you like to bake?

A: Funny you bring this up, because it hasn’t been intentional. Food has been a continuing thread throughout my life, and as a kid I always went grocery shopping with my dad (we still like to go together when we can); we like to see what new products there are on the shelves and what’s on sale. I was the New York State 4-H Bread champion (not kidding!) as a seventeen year old—baking bread was something to do in an otherwise pretty boring summer in farm country, so I went for it, baking bread every day for the entire two months that school was out. Cooking and baking are relaxing for me like nothing else, and when I’m not writing, I’m usually in the kitchen. I even like chopping leeks, just as thin as I can get them without slicing off my thumb in the process . . .

Headless G-Man

Do you feel that writing your own books helps you relate better with your writer clients?

A: I think my writers and artists appreciate that I understand what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling in a way that you only know if you are a writer or artist yourself. We talk . . . a lot.

cookie riser

When I heard David Small and Kate DiCamillo speak at SCBWI conferences, it sounded like you were not only a great agent, but a great critique partner for them.

Over the years, there’s a trust that builds, and with David and Kate and most of my clients, I’m a gatekeeper; they can share work with me before anybody else sees it, and they know that if I’m willing to share it with the world, I believe in it.

cookieend

Why did you decide to leave HarperCollins to open a literary agency?

A: I’d been an executive editor for six years, and I had developed my own taste in books. I’d begun to believe that if I loved reading a book, maybe somebody else in the world would too. And so I was ready to set out of my own after a time, especially when some of the projects I tried to acquire were rejected by an acquisitions board. I wanted to succeed or fail based on my own taste.

What was your biggest success as a literary agent?

A: Biggest successes can run the gamut. There are the seven-figure deals with film rights and foreign licenses sold simultaneously, and there are the original books by new authors that become franchises, with television and live-stage deals coming along the way. But there are also the smaller deals that come with huge personal satisfaction, such as bringing a beloved book back into print decades after first publication, or placing that book I’ve always believed in, months after first submission. I think the biggest fun is finding an editor who loves a book, acquires it, and publishes it well, whether it’s snapped up in a pre-empt an hour after submission or acquired after months of waiting. They all matter.

On top of that, the feeling of comraderie I have with my colleagues is one I cherish–we root for each other and have a fabulous time together. That matters too.

Hallie, catching a cookie NYC August 2014

Do you have any words of wisdom for writers from an author’s point–of-view?

~Be discerning but don’t be precious about your work.

~Take your work as far as you can on your own before showing it; your agent only gets a first read once.

~Let your work speak for itself—no need to tell your agent how much your neighbors and other writer friends love it first; that can set unrealistic expectations before that first read.

~Go to your laptop or drawing board every day. It’s easier to stay with the story you’re trying to write or illustrate than it is to reintroduce yourself after an absence.

~Think about a problem you are having with your book right before you go to sleep, and keep a pencil and notepad by your bedside table; you might get an answer during the night or first thing in the morning (it happens!).

~Don’t worry about how many books you have published / are publishing; Robert McCloskey did seven in his lifetime.

~Don’t get obsessed with Amazon rankings, etc. The secret is that a bad ranking will make you feel worse and a good ranking or review won’t make you feel much better.

~As long as you can say to yourself, when you’re looking back at your work, I did the best I was capable of at that time in my life, you’ll be a bit more impervious to negative comments. But make sure you can say that before your book goes out into the world.

Would you answer differently with your agent’s hat on?

A: No, but some of these things I only know from being a writer, inside information J.

Holly, thanks for answering the interview questions. I will remind people when they might be able to see you in September. It was such great fun to share the picture of your son with everyone. It looks like David really captured his looks and personality.

Best of Luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

PS: Remember to check back next Friday to read the four first pages critiqued by Holly.


Filed under: Advice, Agent, Book Tour, Editor & Agent Info, Interview, Picture Book Tagged: Agent Holly McGhee, Author Hallie Durand, Catch the Cookie, Illustrator David Small

9 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Holly McGhee/Hallie Durand, last added: 8/25/2014
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8. Agent Looking to Build List

Leon Husock – Associate Agent at L. Perkins Agency.

leonlperkinsPrior to joining the L. Perkins Agency, Leon was an associate agent at Anderson Literary Management. He has a BA in Literature from Bard College and attended the Columbia Publishing Course.

Leon is actively building his client list.

He has a particular interest in science fiction & fantasy, young adult and middle-grade novels filled with strong characters and original premises, but keeps an open mind for anything that catches his eye. 

He is also looking for historical fiction set in the 20th century, particularly the 1980s or earlier.

He is not interested in non-fiction at this time.

Email: leon@lperkinsagency.com

Follow him on Twitter: @leonhusock

How to submit:

Please email a query letter containing the following:

  • brief synopsis
  • Your bio
  • The first five pages from your novel or book proposal in the body of your email.

Please keep in mind:

  • Attachments will not be opened unless specifically requested.
  • We only accept email queries. We do not accept queries by snail mail, phone or social media. All snail mail queries will be discarded unopened.
  • Please only query one agent at this agency. They will only consider one manuscript from one writer at a time to one agent at a time. If you have written more than one manuscript, choose the one you think is the most promising and pitch that. Do not pitch them all.
  • We have a strict NO MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS policy within the agency, so please be sure to only submit to one of us. (Though simultaneous submissions to other agencies are expected.) We work together closely, often passing projects along to other members of the team.

Send to leon [at] lperkinsagency.com.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent looking for MG and YA, Agent Looking to Build List, L Perkins Agency, Leon Husock, Sci-fi and fantasy and historical

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9. Free Fall Friday Plus Alert

Writer Scam Alert!

The SCBWI put out this alert with writers. Didn’t want you to miss it:

Agents have been writing to us about a new type of “scam” they are seeing: agent middleman services. These are companies that, for a fee, will query agents for you. Agents overwhelming ignore queries from these companies. If you are having trouble getting an agent to represent you, your best plan of attack is to work on your manuscript and research the field. Join a critique group, attend an SCBWI event and make sure you are querying the right agents by searching though the agent directory in The Book. Paying a third party to query for you is not a fast track, it is just a waste of your money. How Not to Seek a Literary Agent: The Perils of “Middleman” Services

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

I know I’ve written about this before. But I’m seeing an increasing number of these kinds of “services,” and they are all worthless.

What am I talking about? Agent middleman services–services that, for a fee, purport to contact agents on your behalf with the aim of snagging representation and, hopefully, a publishing contract.

A particularly egregious example: Bookmarq.net’s Finding a Publisher service. (All errors courtesy of the original.)

Worth reading the full article. Here’s the link:

http://www.victoriastrauss.com/2014/08/12/how-not-to-seek-a-literary-agent-the-perils-of-middleman-services/

_________________________________________________________________________

Agent Holly McGhee is our Guest Critiquer for August. Holly McGhee opened Pippin Properties in 1998, after being an executive editor at HarperCollins and has built one of the most prestigious Literary Agencies in the Children’s Book Industry.

Holly says, “At Pippin we embrace every artistic endeavor, from picture books to middle-grade novels, nonfiction, young adult, graphic novels. We don’t follow trends—we encourage our clients to follow their hearts. Our philosophy, the world owes you nothing, you owe the world your best work, hasn’t changed, but as an agency we have evolved to keep pace with our clients.”

Among Holly’s celebrated clients are Kate DiCamillo, David Small, Doreen Cronin, Jandy Nelson, Kathi Appelt, Harry Bliss, Peter H. Reynolds, Sujean Rim, Jon Agee, and Holly’s very own big sister, Alison McGhee. Holly lives with her husband and three children fifteen miles west of the Lincoln Tunnel, and she also writes under the pen name Hallie Durand.

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in August:

Please “August First Page Critique” in the subject line. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Please attach your first page submission using one inch margins and 12 point font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines 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 and then also attach it in a Word document to the email.

DEADLINE: August 21st.

RESULTS: August 29th.

Use inch margins – double space your text – 12 pt. New Times Roman font – no more than 23 lines – paste into body of the email

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 August’s directions. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, need to know, writing Tagged: Agent Holly McGhee, Agent Middleman Services, First Page Critique, Free Fall Friday, Pippin Properties, Victoria Strauss, Writer Alert

2 Comments on Free Fall Friday Plus Alert, last added: 8/15/2014
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10. Agent Looking for Clients

Alexander SlaterAlexander Slater from the Trident Media Group is looking to build his client list.

When asked how he became an agent at Trident, concentrating in the expanding children’s, middle grade and young adult businesses, Alex simply replies, “It was only natural.” While karma is not an established business concept,  it is clear that Alex’s career arc led him in this happy direction.

Start with Alex’s love of fiction, and in particular the stories that captivate the minds and imaginations of young people, from those so young that books are read to them, to young adults who get captivated by creative fiction. “I love to let myself go, and become the reader, whether the story is directed at a ten-year-old or a teenager,” says Alex.

Next is Alex’s experience at Trident, where he has been since 2010. He became a very successful agent representing the company’s children, middle grade and young adult authors in many licensing arrangements in the global marketplace for translation and in the English language in the U.K., having placed books with publishers in dozens of countries. Alex was Trident’s representative at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy, as well as the broader-based London and Frankfurt book fairs. His experience in representing fiction in these areas showed him what elements in stories work well, and how to maximize the value of what an author has created.

He is now building his list domestically at Trident, while keeping his focus on these areas.  As a Foreign Rights Agent, he sold international rights for authors such as R.J. Palacio, Louis Sachar, Jessica Sorensen, L.J. Smith, Rebecca Donovan, and many others.

Alex’s plan is to, “Look for stories that will rise above the rest with characters that will be remembered well past childhood, with the potential to cross over to other media and formats,” such as programming, games, motion pictures and merchandise. “Trident is the leader on taking advantage of the latest opportunities presented by changing technology,” says Alex, and, “I will be there to help make the latest innovations happen for my authors.”

“I believe that the most successful writers have a bit of the dreamer in them.” And Alex passionately believes that he can help turn their dreams into reality.

What Alexander is looking for: Alexander is interested in children’s, middle grade, and young adult fiction and nonfiction, from new and established authors.  As he says, “I’m looking for projects that will rise above the rest…characters you’ll remember well past childhood…books that translate well to film because within them contain incredible stories, not because they’re the latest trend.”  He particularly loves authors like Frank Portman, Jim Shepard, Jenny Han, and Rainbow Rowell.

How to submit: Send a query letter, pasted in the body of the email, to aslater [at] TridentMediaGroup.com. Your query should include only a paragraph about yourself, a brief plot pitch, and your contact information. Please do not send a manuscript or proposal until you have been requested to do so.

Follow him on Twitter: @abuckslater.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Alexander Slater, Trident Literary

2 Comments on Agent Looking for Clients, last added: 8/14/2014
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11. Agent Talk: 7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With

carly-watters-p-s-literary-agencyA few weeks ago, Agent Carly Watters on her blog talked about after you write a great manuscript, how does an agent decide to work with someone after that? She has seven tips.

7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With by Carly Watters:

1. Open to revisions

Right away, I know if an author is going to be a fit for me based on how they react to revision ideas. Agents are looking for writers that are open to feedback and collaboration. If I gave you an R&R did you connect with my notes? Did you ask questions that take my notes from suggestions to big picture changes that make the novel better?

2. Always wants to get better

A line I like to use is “trust your future self.” What that means to me is if you can write good novel, you can write many more. Getting defensive about your novel means you are holding on to it when really you should be willing to let it go and work on the next. Agents are looking to represent authors for the long term, so what we need is the faith that you want to be the best writer, every time you write a new book. We know there will be ups and downs, but it’s that drive to succeed that will separate many writers from the ones that don’t make it.

3. Treats assistants and senior industry members alike

From time to time we get people who respond to our query letter auto-response with condescending and mean emails. It doesn’t matter who is on the other end of those emails, our principal agent or our assistant, you have to be friendly to everyone–not just the people who influence your career. Those mean emails just reinforce our decision to pass without a second thought.

4. Asks questions

I love it when authors want to know more about the process. Don’t be shy about wanting to know how the business works. Whether it’s a Twitter #askagent session or when you’re on ‘The Call’ with an agent, make sure you ask the important questions that help your understanding.

5. Trusts us

The number one way to work with an agent for a long period of time is trust. I know this isn’t built over night, but you have to trust your agent to have your best interests at heart. This is one of the most important long-term author/agent relationship requirements. Only query agents that you see yourself working with and that you already trust (whether it’s a referral, their taste or client list).

6. Communication

This is part of trust, but authors have to be up-front with agents. Did you self publish before? Have you had an agent before? Can you share your sales numbers from your previous book? It’s the little things that add up when it comes to communication. We need to know everything if we’re going to represent you well.

7. Professional on social media

As easy as it is for authors to Google agents to see if we might be a fit for you, when we fall in love with a query or manuscript the first thing we do is Google you back. What agents love to see on social media is a personality (not just link blasts). You don’t have to have a ton of followers (but points if you do!) to get our attention. It’s all about the balance between promotion and personality. We love it when authors are part of writing communities and support other authors. That means, when the time comes, those other published writers will support you too.

You should check out Carly’s Blog: http://carlywatters.com/blog/

PS Literary is looking for an intern. Carly has information about working remotely for them. If you have any aspirations to become a literary Agent, this would be something to consider.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Agent, article, authors and illustrators, list, opportunity, Social Media, Tips Tagged: 7 Ways to Make Yourself an Easy Author to Work with, Carly Watters

3 Comments on Agent Talk: 7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With, last added: 8/10/2014
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12. Free Fall Friday – Holly McGhee

Holly_McGheeI am very happy to announce that Agent Holly McGhee has agreed to be our Guest Critiquer for August. Holly McGhee opened Pippin Properties in 1998, after being an executive editor at HarperCollins and has built one of the most prestigious Literary Agencies in the Children’s Book Industry.

Holly says, “At Pippin we embrace every artistic endeavor, from picture books to middle-grade novels, nonfiction, young adult, graphic novels. We don’t follow trends—we encourage our clients to follow their hearts. Our philosophy, the world owes you nothing, you owe the world your best work, hasn’t changed, but as an agency we have evolved to keep pace with our clients.”

Among Holly’s celebrated clients are Kate DiCamillo, David Small, Doreen Cronin, Jandy Nelson, Kathi Appelt, Harry Bliss, Peter H. Reynolds, Sujean Rim, Jon Agee, and Holly’s very own big sister, Alison McGhee. Holly lives with her husband and three children fifteen miles west of the Lincoln Tunnel, and she also writes under the pen name Hallie Durand.

Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in August:

Please “August First Page Critique” in the subject line. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

Please attach your first page submission using one inch margins and 12 point font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines 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 and then also attach it in a Word document to the email.

DEADLINE: August 21st.

RESULTS: August 29th.

Use inch margins – double space your text – 12 pt. New Times Roman font – no more than 23 lines – paste into body of the email

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 August’s directions. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Publishers and Agencies, submissions Tagged: First Page Critique, Free Fall Friday, Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties

1 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Holly McGhee, last added: 8/11/2014
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13. Free Fall Friday – Results – Jenny Bent

patricia Pinsk summer_pinsk_02
This Goldilocks illustration was sent in by Patricia Pinsk. It was done as a paper collage with ink, watercolour, digital textures. Her work includes multi-media drawing, illustration, photography, glass-work, sculpture as well as Web-based graphics for the corporate world. Website: http://www.patriciapinsk.com Twitter: @PatriciaPinsk

Below are the first page critiques done by literary agent, Jenny Bent. We can all learn a lot from what Jenny had to say.

Deena Graves – TERRAZA – Young Adult

Pizza sauce, garlic, and beer did not mix. Not when all three meshed, creating a gag-inducing stench in the faded black fibers of my Perky Pepper T-shirt. Dixie would shoot me dead for sure. The last time I came home from the pizza shop smelling like a garbage disposal, she threatened to hose me down in the front yard before I’d “ever step one soiled foot” into her home.

Shrugging into my fleece jacket, I ignored the stink of my shirt and shoved my dark-framed glasses back up my nose. I scowled down at my beat-up Mongoose and the flat tire forcing me to walk my happy ass home.

“Hey, Luc!” a voice called from behind. I kept walking, stealing a quick glance over my shoulder. Max jogged toward me, holding up the sides of his pants. I snorted. If he didn’t wear them so low, maybe the stupid things would stay up.

“Wait up, man,” he panted, pulling up beside me. “You know bikes were designed to be ridden, right?” Max eyed my flat and sucked in a breath. “Oh.”

“Yeah.” I tossed him the souvenir I’d found wedged in the rubber tread. “And they ride better when the tires aren’t shredded.”

He inspected the chunk of weird black glass about the size of a half-dollar, tossing it from hand to hand. It weighed next to nothing, and no thicker than my pinkie, but its wicked, chiseled edge had almost cut my finger trying to dislodge it. “This was in your tire?”

I nodded. “I bet it was Manager Mike, the douche nugget.” I scowled out at the dark, Edison Square of squat, brick buildings. The stretch of small-town antique shops, specialty clothing stores, and trendy eateries had long since closed for the night. A brisk October wind cut through my fleece jacket.

HERE IS JENNY BENT:

Terraza

Lively voice which is great, I’m seeing too many flat voices in YA contempt these days. Not sure the voice is always completely authentic– “gag-inducing stench” doesn’t feel to me something like a teenaged boy would say. I did like the voice overall however. And line by line the writing is strong here.

I would like to see this author push themselves a little more to write a really “wow” first page. The skill level is there. But I am not sure from reading this that the book is beginning at the right point. I like the hint of mystery that someone sabotaged his bike. But the writer is starting with a conversation, which can be a tricky way to start a book, particularly when the conversation is not necessarily a very interesting or illuminating one.

I would try instead to either start in a place that is a bigger moment for the character or a place with perhaps more emotion for the character.

Alternatively, the author could perhaps have the character show/feel a little more here. What is his mental state as the story opens? We don’t know, beyond annoyed, and I’d like a little more on that. What is his general frame of mind as the story opens? What is he thinking about as he leaves work, is there anything significant on his mind? How does he feel about his friend Max beyond the thought about his pants, I can’t tell. If the author gave us more access to thoughts/feelings, we could get a better sense of him right away. Also, perhaps these two could banter a little more and we could get a sense of their personalities and relationship that way. Right now their conversation isn’t that interesting. It’s there to convey information about the bike, some of which we know already (there’s a flat tire) but it should serve more purpose than that–it should also illuminate character and it should also entertain. And is there a different way he could react to the flat tire? Something funny or unusual that would really intrigue the reader?

And finally, I would love the author push him/herself a little more with the opening line. The opening line to a book should be the best sentence the author has ever written. It doesn’t have to be necessarily super action-packed or dramatic, but it should instantly intrigue, or amuse, or create thought. I fear that this one is a bit of a throw-away.

__________________________________________________________

Helen Landalf – CLEO – YA novel 

The minute I slither into my sequined tank, Joan starts to disappear. I yank it down to show a little cleavage, slide on my black lace over-the-elbow gloves, and she fades even more. Then I squeeze into a pair of velvet leggings that hug her queen-size thighs, top them off with a flirty skirt, and step into my red stilettos. She’s almost gone.

“Joan,” comes Mom’s voice from outside the bedroom door. “Are you in there, honey?”

Elizabeth Taylor, in her Cleopatra gown and headdress, gazes down at me from the poster above my dresser. Ignore her, she seems to say. You’ve got work to do.

I glance at my phone, but there’s no text from Matt. Grabbing the bottle of foundation, I slather the cold, sweet-smelling liquid along my skin. The little potholes left over from Joan’s acne outbreak back in middle school? Gone. Next comes blush, the soft brush whispering glitter and bone structure onto Joan’s chipmunk cheeks, followed by eyeliner that sweeps into a dramatic V at my temples, adding flair and width to Joan’s squinty eyes. I glance up at the poster again and paint it thick and black, just like Liz’s.

The doorknob wiggles. “Joan?” Mom says.

“Be out in a sec.” I fluff my limp brown hair to create the illusion of fullness and then dim the lights on my makeup mirror. Leaning forward, I suck in my cheeks and survey my work. Not bad. All I need now is a dab of lipstick, and my transformation will be complete.

Just as I’m snatching up the tube of Burgundy Plum, the Lady Gaga ringtone blares from my phone.

“Hi, Matt,” I say. “Hang on, I’m coming.”

HERE IS JENNY BENT:

CLEO:

This is another one with strong writing that could have a stronger opening line. For inspiration, here’s a link to 20 great opening lines in YA fiction:

http://www.epicreads.com/blog/20-amazing-opening-lines-in-ya/

I like the concept here that we are watching someone’s transformation. And there is a great use of physical detail here. But again, as with the last critique, there’s not enough information about this character’s state of mind as this is happening. I want to know more about her and I’m not getting anything about her personality from this–all I’m getting is physical characteristics and perhaps that she is pretty hard on herself about the way she looks.

I love the part where the poster of Elizabeth Taylor seems to talk to her, that gives this a little edge that it really needs. But let me learn more even about this character from her inner thoughts or her dialogue, make every line really work. Maybe she could say something funnier or more interesting to Matt? To her mom? Think something interesting while she is doing this that lets me know something about her or her state of mind while she is doing this? Why does she need to transform? What about transforming makes her feel strong or special? Why does she love Elizabeth Taylor?

I think adding this level of detail and characterization, as well as working on the opening lines, will give this already strong first page some extra added oomph. Remember that you never have much time to hook the reader and focus on making this character as vivid and lively as possible.

_________________________________________________________

Mieke Zamora-Mackay               SHADOW                                     Young Adult

The hall is buzzing. Not the usual humdrum of the first hour of school. It’s a serious buzzing. Whispers about someone. Murmurs about something that’s happened.

In the woods…

Junkie…

Huffing…

Dead…

These are the words that float above the din.   No one looks my way, but there’s enough space for me to walk through the sea of bodies. I’m used to it. Everyone always walks around me, like I’m encased in some bubble. Protecting their personal space, they’re probably afraid that if they brush up against me, I’ll know everything they keep hidden inside. See into their dark hearts and thoughts, their misdeeds, acts of violence and carnal desires. It comes with being the daughter of a self-proclaimed medium; the local town kook.

The truth is, I don’t know any of their secrets. I don’t see anything they have to hide. Instead, I see spirits, ghosts – lost souls.

I see the part of every person that has left their physical body. Usually, they’re just trying to find their way home, or revisiting a part of their life they wish to say goodbye to. Some just really don’t know what’s happened to them.

I reckon that’s how the fresh one walking in my direction is feeling.

I keep my eyes down low. I don’t want him to catch me looking. He’ll know instantly that I can see him, and that won’t do. Lost spirits are never up to any good. The fact that they don’t have a clue about what’s happened to them in the first place is an indication of that. And this one’s got trouble written all over him.

HERE IS JENNY BENT:

SHADOW

I like this one a lot! The voice is strong, the first line is good and the opening page shows us a lot of information about this person and their place in the world of the school without “telling” us too much. There’s a real attitude to the writing, which I like. I also like that the author sets up the character and tells us about who she is in an interesting way and then starts right into the action. It’s great that she sees this particular dead person and immediately forms an opinion about him that is intriguing to the reader. I want to read more because I want to know more about this ghost and why he’s trouble and what will happen between these two. I also like that the writer starts at a moment of interest in the action–the school is buzzing about something–what is it? And then he/she gives us a lot of information about the character by telling us that she’s an outcast–everyone is buzzing about something, but she wouldn’t know because no one tells her anything. This is a more interesting way of showing us something about her rather than simply telling us that she’s an outcast. There are plenty of question marks to keep us reading but enough information is provided that we don’t feel confused, which is an essential balance.

If the writer wanted to go a little further, she could give us a little more info about the particular state of mind that this character is in as the book opens, or how she feels about the fact that she is an outcast, but overall this is a very strong opening page indeed.

_________________________________________________________

Peter McCleery       THE STAND-IN           Contemporary Middle Grade

Middle-school is a lot like prison. There is a precise routine and schedule overseen by an all-powerful warden (the principal). There are authority figures who roam the halls and enforce strict rules (guards/teachers). You are allotted a certain time and place to eat grub. There’s a Supermax cell block for repeat offenders (detention). There’s even a rec yard and communal showers. And, of course, there is a very specific hierarchy of cliques and social groups among the inmates. You better know who you can trust and who you can’t.

In my line of work, I can’t trust anyone. If this were prison instead of Glenview Middle School I’d be called a Fixer. The guy who runs the black market. I like to think of myself as a businessman. Or entrepreneur, if you want to be fancy about it. I sell things to the inmate-students that make their 3-year stint here a bit more comfortable. At a fair price, of course. In prison, a fixer deals in cigarettes and shivs. Here, I deal in contraband junk food and fake doctor notes. Now, some of these things may or may not be “appropriate” or “legal” per se, but they do fill a need. I provide a valuable service. There is supply. There is demand. And there’s good, ol’ Digby Fisher in between making a little money. Is that so wrong?

The answer is no, by the way.

Shortly after my mom and I moved to Glenview (which should just be called The Affluent Town of Glenview because that’s always how they describe it the newspaper.) I knew I had a good thing. These kids get more allowance money than my mom gets in her paycheck. One day the vending machine went out of order (I had nothing to do with it, I swear! Just a lucky coincidence.) It just so happened that my mom was doing a Costco run that day. I added a few items to the shopping list. Snack-size Doritos, gum, M&Ms. The next day I sat next to the broken vending machine with a backpack full of snacks and sold out before third period. I provided a needed service. In many ways I was a hero. After maintenance fixed the machine

HERE IS JENNY BENT:

THE STAND-IN

I love the idea of this one and this is a good first page in that it has tons of voice and sets up an interesting, resourceful character that the reader will want to spend time with. However, to my ear, the voice was a little older than middle-grade at times, slotting into that awkward 14/15 year old territory, and in the second paragraph maybe even more 16. Examples of places I would loosen the voice are, “precise routine and schedule overseen ” and “a very specific hierarchy of cliques and social groups” – phrases like this feel a little formal for the target market. The age issue might just be because of Digby’s very in-depth knowledge of how a prison runs, even down to knowing the word shiv. It left me wondering whether he knew someone in prison or just watched a lot of old movies. The opening has a journal feel to it, but I would lose the direct talking to the reader halfway down as this can pull you out of the story. I liked some of the examples of the things Digby can source, like doctor’s notes, and the story about how this ‘job’ started was short enough not to feel like too much up front backstory, although I’d hope the present day plot starts on the next page, with the inciting incident following shortly after.
________________________________________________________________

Thank you Jenny for sharing your time and expertise with us. Your advice is invaluable.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, demystify, inspiration, Middle Grade Novels, Process, revisions, Young Adult Novel Tagged: First Page Critique, Free Fall Friday - Results, Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency

4 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Results – Jenny Bent, last added: 8/2/2014
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14. Agent Looking for Clients

MarykAgent Mary Krienke: Mary joined Sterling Lord Literistic in 2006 after receiving her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. She now lives in Brooklyn.

Mary works with Sterling Lord and represents literary fiction, creative nonfiction, and realistic YA that pays close attention to craft and voice. She is especially drawn to new and emerging writers who seek to push boundaries of form and content, and she responds most strongly to writing that reaches great emotional and psychological depths. She is equally interested in work that illuminates through humor or by playing with genre. Her other interests include psychology, art, and design.

How to submit: You can email Mary with your submissions. For fiction, please send a synopsis and the first three chapters or a 50 page sample. If submitting non-fiction, send a detailed proposal.

Queries should be sent to info @ sll.com with “Attn: Mary Krienke” in the email subject line. Cover letters should be in the body of the email but send the actual submission as a Word document attachment.

You can find Mary on Twitter: @MaryKrienke.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Mary Krienke, Sterling Lord Literistic

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15. The Future of the Independent Book Store

One of the questions I asked Editors and Agents was about the Indy Book Stores. Over the last year, I’ve heard so many writers and illustrators voice their concern about the stores future. We’ve seen some of our favorite book stores shut their doors and every publishing professional knows how lost we would be without them out there to help promote our books, so I had to ask.

First slide responses from editors:
indyeditors
Second slide shows agent responses.
indyagents

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Book Stores, Editors, Publishing Industry, stats Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, Agent Responses, Editor Responses, From State of the Market Report, Future of Indy Book Stores

3 Comments on The Future of the Independent Book Store, last added: 7/27/2014
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16. Price Drop – Revise Your Novel in a Month

jillandmarthaSince, agent Jill Corcoran is such a good marketer, I am sure most of you already know about the video series that author of the PLOT WHISPERER, Martha Alderson and literary agent Jill Corcoran released three months ago.

You can watch the first video in the series for free, which I did last week. It was very good and since I watched it, I’ve been wondering how I could come up with the money to rent the rest of the series.

Today, Martha and Jill lowered the price to $75.00 to rent the 8 part series for a whole year, so now I can afford to buy the series and learn from what they have put together.

If you are a picture book writer, they even have something for you. You can pre-order: How to Write & Sell A Picture Book- Pre-Order and SAVE $25 https://vimeo.com/ondemand/writesellpicturebook

Here is the information for the Revising Your Novel in a Month: http://vimeo.com/ondemand/reviseyournovelinamonth

In this 8 Video (5.5 hours) Series, Plot Whisperer Martha Alderson and Literary Agent Jill Corcoran provide step-by-step instruction on how to revise your
• Concept
• Structure and design
• Tension and conflict
• Character growth and transformation
• Pacing
• Cause and effect
• Meaning
• Hook
• Polish
• Prose
in preparation for a major rewrite of your novel.

To complete the course in a month, watch two videos a week. Or, work at your own pace and take more or less time on the step-by-step exercises. You decide your revision pace as you explore and complete each video exercise based on your own individual needs in preparation for a major rewrite.
• 8 videos (available for viewing as many times as you would like for 1 year)
• 30 writing exercises- one for each day of the Revise Your Novel Month

apathtopublishing.com/for-those-who-purchased-aptp-videos/

PlotWriMo: REVISE YOUR NOVEL IN A MONTH
I. TRAILER
a. Introduction
II. OVERALL STORY LEVEL
a. Video #1: HOW TO REVISE + CONCEPT & CHARACTERS
• Welcome
• How to Approach Revision
• Organization
• Concept
• Characters
• Story Titles
III. PLOT AND STRUCTURE LEVEL
a. Video #2: TRANSFORMATION + GOALS
• Review
• Layers of Plot
• Transformation / Change
• Goals
b. Video #3: CONCEPT + ENERGETIC MARKERS
• Review
• Concept
• Energetic Markers
• Plot Planner
IV. SCENE LEVEL
a. Video #4: SCENES AND THEMES
• Review
• Scene and Summary
• Themes
• Character Motivation
• Antagonist
b. Video #5: CLIMAX
• Review
• Preparation
• Anticipation
• Event
• Reaction
• 3 Major Plot Lines
• Antagonist Crisis
c. Video #6: BEGINNING & END
• Review
• Beginning
• Traits, Skills, Knowledge, Beliefs
• Cause and Effect
• Antagonists
V. WORD LEVEL
a. Video #7: MANUSCRIPT VOICE + CHARACTER & ACTION
• Voice
• Transformational Journey
• Backstory Wound
• Subplots and Theme
• Crisis

b. Video #8: FIRST PAGES + FINAL TEST
• Every Word Perfect
• Sentence structure
• Dialog
• Prepare for Rewrite
• Rewrite
• Concept
• Structure and design
• Tension and conflict
• Character growth and transformation
• Pacing
• Cause and effect
• Meaning
• Hook
• Polish
• Prose
To complete the course in a month, watch two videos a week. Or, work at your own pace and take more or less time on the step-by-step exercises. You decide your revision pace as you explore and complete each video exercise based on your own individual needs in preparation for a major rewrite.
• 8 Instructional videos (available for viewing as many times as you would like for 1 year)
• 30 writing exercises- one for each day of the Revise Your Novel Month
Who will benefit from PlotWriMo: Revise Your Novel in a Month:
• Writers seeking to write a great novel
• Writers with a draft of a novel and uncertain how to proceed
• Writers with story problems
• Writers who feel blocked
• Writers who wish to move from where they are to where you wish to be
• Writers committed to improving your craft
• Writers interested in digging deeper into your story
• Writers needing help organizing for a major rewrite

Dolly D. Napal watched the series and said, “Don’t let the title fool you. This is not only a revision course. It’s a fully comprehensive writing course for PB, MG, YA, and Adult writers, at any point in their career.”

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Advice, Agent, Author, opportunity, Process, reference, revisions, video Tagged: Jill Corcoran, Martha Alderson, Novel Revsion Video series, Plot Whisperer

3 Comments on Price Drop – Revise Your Novel in a Month, last added: 7/25/2014
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17. The Role of an Agent

Having an agent does not guarantee a book sale. 

http://scotteagan.blogspot.com/2014/06/understanding-role-of-agent.html

0 Comments on The Role of an Agent as of 7/17/2014 3:29:00 PM
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18. TRENDS: Editor and Agent Market Survey Answers

artshow colleenscbwi entry 2_6
The Artist Showcase from the NJSCBWI Conference continues with this wonderful illustration of the sand and the surf in Cape May, NJ by illustrator Colleen Rowan Kosinski. Colleen is an author/illustrator that has worked as a fine artist for over fifteen years and has artwork hanging in homes across the country. She is a member of the SCBWI and, along with writing and illustrating picture books, she writes MG and YA novels. She is a graduate of Rutgers University. Website: www.colleenrowankosinski.com

MY STATE OF THE MARKET REPORT and AGENT/EDITOR SURVEY CONTINUES BELOW:

agent trends
editors trending

Check back tomorrow for more from answers to question asked in the 2014 State of the Market Report I gave at the NJSCBWI Conference the other week.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Filed under: Agent, Conferences and Workshops, Editors, need to know, Publishing Industry Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, 2014 State of the Market Report, Colleen Rowan Kosinski, kathy temean, Presentation

2 Comments on TRENDS: Editor and Agent Market Survey Answers, last added: 7/14/2014
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19. Sheldon Fogelman Agency

Sean McCarthy left the Sheldon Fogelman Agency at the end of last year to start his own agency. There are two opportunities to get your foot in the door with an agent. You should consider querying one of them.

Sheldonfolglemanbg1_2500

Janie Hauber 2013small

Janine Le joined the agency after graduating from Bucknell Unversity with honors in English (Creative Writing) and completing NYU’s program at its Summer Publishing Institute. She enjoys working with the agency’s clients as an assistant agent and as the agency’s foreign rights manager. Janine has licensed translation rights in over 20 languages and has represented the agency and its clients annually at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Janine is building her list of clients and is open to picture books through YA. She is most drawn to stories with a strong emotional core that influence the way readers view the world, themselves, and the people around them. She is also fond of complex characters and relationships, unique cultural perspectives, and stories with a touch of humor, romance, or both.

sternpiccroppedWithout realizing it, Amy Stern spent most of her life preparing to be a literary agent. After receiving degrees in creative writing and English at Bryn Mawr College, she earned masters degrees in children’s literature and library science at Simmons College, while working as a librarian and a bookseller. In addition to her job as Assistant Agent at the agency, Amy has mentored writing students at Simmons’s Center for the Study of Children’s Literature, and taught a graduate course there on science fiction and fantasy in children’s and young adult lit. Her favorite novel topics include summer camp, giftedness, mental health issues, queerness, and reality television, but more than anything, she likes sympathetic characters in a good story. She often stays up all night reading the newest YA novels while claiming it’s “for work.”

SUBMISSIONS POLICY

Sheldon Fogelman Agency, Inc. specializes in children’s books of all genres, from picture books through young adult literature. The agency represents both authors and illustrators.

We always welcome submissions, and look forward to adding new people to our client list each year. However, we receive thousands of submissions each year, and are very selective in offering representation. We consider each submission carefully, and do our best to respond quickly; however, please be aware that it takes time to read and consider each manuscript. It may take us up to six weeks to consider an initial query, and if we request more work, the process can take even longer. Please note that we do not charge a reading fee.

If you are interested in submitting, please adhere to the following guidelines:

    • Send a single page cover letter that includes a brief synopsis of your work, your publication history, and how you were referred to us, if at all. (If you are querying electronically, please paste the body of this cover letter into the email.) If you are querying several other agencies simultaneously, we ask that you mention this in your query letter.
    • If you are a novelist, you may include the first three (3) chapters of the work and a synopsis. Please do not submit the entire work or include chapters from more than one work unless specifically requested.
    • If you are a picture book writer, you may include two (2) manuscripts. Please do not submit any additional manuscripts unless specifically requested. If you are not an illustrator, it is not necessary to include images in your submission.
    • If you are an illustrator, please include information regarding website portfolio links, if applicable. Otherwise, send a limited sampling of copies of your work. Please do not send original artwork under any circumstance. We do not take responsibility for damage or loss of any original artwork that may be erroneously sent to us.
    • If you would like to send your work to a specific agent, address your query to that agent. Otherwise, simply put your work to the attention of the submissions coordinator. Please note, however, that a submission to one agent in our office is considered a submission to all.
    • If you are submitting by mail, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope with all submissions. Please be sure to include an envelope of sufficient size with proper postage to accommodate any work you would like returned; mail submissions without an appropriate SASE may not be replied to, and due to space constraints, your work may be disposed of. All hard copy submissions should be sent to the following address:
       

Sheldon Fogelman Agency
10 East 40th Street, Suite 3205
New York, NY 10016

  • If you are submitting electronically, make sure that all text attachments are accessible via Microsoft Word (.rtf and .doc preferred). We prefer illustrations in .jpg or .pdf format, and all files sent should not total more than 5 MB combined. All electronic submissions should be sent to submissions@sheldonfogelmanagency.com. While every submission will be read and considered, please understand that due to time constraints, we can only reply if we are interested in seeing more of your work.
    • If additional work is requested following the cover letter, we prefer exclusive consideration of the requested work for at least one (1) month.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, picture books, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Sean McCarthy, Sheldon Fogelman Agency

    4 Comments on Sheldon Fogelman Agency, last added: 6/20/2014
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    20. Free Fall Friday – Pen Awards

    amesmallIMG_20110605_083124Have to give a shout out to my friend Ame Dykman who made the 2014 Pen Literary Awards short list. Best of Luck!

    2014 PEN LITERARY AWARDS

    PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing ($5,000): To a writer for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2013.

    Judges: Mac Barnett, Ted Lewin, and Elizabeth Winthrop

    Shortlist:

    Train (Orchard Books), Elisha Cooper
    Tea Party Rules (Viking), Ame Dyckman
    The King of Little Things (Peachtree Publishers), Bil Lepp
    Crabtree (McSweeney’s McMullens), Jon & Tucker Nichols

    - See more at: http://www.pen.org/press-release/2014/06/17/shortlists-announced-2014-pen-literary-awards#sthash.07UYoF42.dpuf

    CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR JUNE’S FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES BY SARAH LAPOLLA AGENT AT BRADFORD LITERARY.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Agent, awards, Kudos, Picture Book, Publishing Industry Tagged: Ame Dyckman, Pen Literary Awards, Steven Kroll, Tea Party Rules

    6 Comments on Free Fall Friday – Pen Awards, last added: 6/20/2014
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    21. Agent Survey Question: Some Answers

    Again I don’t have time to work on a separate post for todays blog, so here is a slide with some of answers to a question I asked in the Agent Survey I conducted with 18 agents in the industry. No, I can’t share who said what.
    query slide

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, need to know, Publishing Industry, submissions Tagged: Agent Queries, Agent Survey, Amount received in the last year, Slide Show, State of the Market Report

    9 Comments on Agent Survey Question: Some Answers, last added: 6/26/2014
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    22. Free Fall Friday – Sarah LaPolla

    sharonJune illokathy temean art

    This fun illustration was sent in from illustrator Sharon Lane Holm. Sharon is an illustrator/author who has over 20 years of experience in children’s book publishing. She has also written and illustrated 2  apps. available on Itunes, “Kids Counting Kitties 1-10, and Kids Counting Kitties 10-1″; available in English and Spanish.

    Carolyn Chambers Clark, SECRETS, YA Coming of Age

    Logan Spenser roars his convertible across the school parking lot and idles alongside my half-open window. His black leather jacket shines in the morning sun, setting off his chiseled jaw and the beauty of his mocha skin. I’ve seen him in the halls without the reflective sunglasses he’s wearing now. Something buried deep in his eyes tells me he’s been through some rough stuff himself.

    He points his finger at me. “Raz Rinaldi! Thief.”

    Chelsea gawks at me from the driver’s seat as if to say answer him, Her yellow sunglasses make her pale face look even more like vanilla pudding, while her blonde hair lies in perfect order against the shoulders of her expensive sweater.
    “Thief? You’re calling me a thief?” My words tumble out and I want to duck my head, but force myself to pull back my shoulders and glare at him.

    He doesn’t answer me, just laughs and zooms off.

    My face gets hotter while I tick through my actions of the last week and find the worst thing I’ve done is “forget” to do the dishes my stepmother left in the sink. “What’s he talking about?”
    Chelsea, AKA Speed Demon of Ash City High, and the closest thing I have to a friend, shrugs and laughs. “It’s destiny. The hottest guy in school knows your name.”

    I love Chelsea, but she gets everything wrong. “I’m not looking for a hot guy. I have to keep my grades up. You know that.”
    Chelsea laughs. “You are one boring chick. I can’t think of one reason why I like you.”

    HERE’S SARAH:

    Carolyn Chambers Clark, SECRETS:

    A clear strength to the writing here is the dialogue, which feels realistic and not forced. We don’t yet know these characters, but I felt like I had a good sense of who they are on the page. However, I felt the writing was expository at times. For instance, “Something buried deep in his eyes tells me he’s been through some rough stuff himself” felt like leading the reader in a very specific direction. I’d much rather get to know Logan as the story progressed before I saw the narrator jump to this conclusion. Similarly, the description of Logan in the first paragraph didn’t feel authentic to a teen voice, which surprised me given the way the teens actually speak in dialogue. Shining leather jackets, chiseled jaw, and roaring convertibles gave the impression of the 1950s and, to me, the adjectives used in this paragraph felt dated, or at least from an older perspective, as well. I appreciated how quickly the love interest – and possible conflict – was introduced right on page 1, and I’m interested in Raz’s friendship with Chelsea. Though, when Logan calls Raz a “thief” I expected more context. Is this a joke they share? Why is Chelsea so shocked he knows Raz’s name if they seem to have a natural banter with each other? We move on to Chelsea and Raz driving away before we get a chance to learn more about Logan, even though the novel opens with him.

    ____________________________________________________

    MARK OF THE SIFTER by Laura Rueckert - YA Contemporary Fantasy

    Deep in my chest, I could feel it: the girl was asleep. The itch to jump into her dream almost overpowered me, but I lingered in the arched entrance hall of Rainthorpe Manor, the mansion we’d used as home base on Earth the last twenty years. A new recruit had died this morning, and Beatrice would bring her by any moment to meet me. Not even the peaceful glisten of snow through the leaded windows could curb my urge to depart, and I leaned around the corner to check the grandfather clock again.

    Beatrice and an older woman with brown, wind-toughened skin materialized in front of me. I nodded to both of them.

    “This is the Head Sifter, Seth,” Bee said, gesturing in my direction.

    The new Sifter’s eyes flicked to Bee and back to me.

    “Welcome.” I didn’t ask her name. The details of her former life had been included in her contract.

    Her voice wavered as she asked, “Are you the one shielding it?”

    I gave a short nod, and her hard face looked like it might crack. “Thank you. It was horrible.”

    Bee caught my eye and raised a finger to show she understood my impatience. “I’ll introduce you to your partner,” she said, drawing the woman from the hall. “And we’ll go over some of your duties.”

    “Thank you!” the woman called over her shoulder, but I was already fading out, diving into the dream world of the destroyer.

    It was time to find the problem. Stealing, cheating, taunting—despite our normal methods, none under my command were having any luck with the girl who was supposed to annihilate my team of Sifters.

    HERE’S SARAH:

    Laura Rueckert, MARK OF THE SIFTER

    I really liked the voice here. It’s calm without being passive, and I feel like Seth is a narrator I can trust. I wondered, though, about the genre, which is labeled as “contemporary fantasy.” To me this read much more like sci-fi, in both tone and in what was being said. The mention of “home base on Earth” and being part of a mysterious group of “recruits” that jump into dreams have an Inception-like science fiction concept. The idea of dream-jumping is an interesting premise, and I like how this opens with Seth’s desire to jump into this sleeping girl’s mind. It tells me a lot about him as a character with very few details. Though, overall, I was left with more questions about this concept than intrigue. Who is the sleeping girl and why is she not mentioned when Beatrice enters the scene? Is Seth no longer with her at that point? I also wanted the phrase “dream world of the destroyer” explained a bit more. Is “the destroyer” a person? A threat? Why is Seth involved? Without context, it’s hard to get immersed in the world, and in sci-fi – and fantasy – that is the key element in attracting a reader on the first page. I needed to know what a Sifter was in order to know who our main character was, and also know enough about his world to want to learn more.

    ____________________________________________________

    JUST GO AHEAD by Valerie McCammon, Picture Book

    My annoying big brother, Patrick Robert, doesn’t think I can do anything right.
    I’ll show him.

    I tell him I’m going to swing as high as the sun.

    “You just go ahead and do that, Nick.”

    I pump and I push, flying higher and higher. I’m Astronaut Nick zooming across the Milky Way.

    “Fire the rocket boosters.”

    I gain speed as I dodge whizzing asteroids.

    Clunk! One hits me in the head. [Illo note: acorn falls]

    Patrick laughs and walks away.

    I tell him I am going to sail across the ocean to rescue the tribal princess.

    “You just go ahead and do that.”

    I ready my ship. I hoist anchor, and Captain Nick shoves off.

    “To the Skeleton Coast.”

    The sail billows in the wind as I shout orders to the crew. [Illo note: Swab that deck, sailor. Batten down the hatches, mates. Report to the brig, cadet.]

    Uh-oh. Pirates are boarding. [Illo note: dogs jump in]

    As the hull fills with water, one last command: “Abandon ship.”

    I lunge for shore as Patrick moors the sinking vessel. He sighs as he also rescues the crew.

    I remain confident. I tell Patrick I am sure I can find hidden treasure.

    “You just go ahead and do that.”

    I don my pith helmet and claw through the attic jungle. Patrick trails me from a safe distance.

    Hiss! An anaconda, poised to strike. [Illo note: coiled up garden hose]

    HERE’S SARAH:

    Valerie McCammon, JUST GO AHEAD

    As a picture book concept, I thought this was really fun. I love the idea of a younger brother trying to get the attention of his older brother, and the escalations of each attempt. Though, the illustrator notes left little interpretation for the scene. It’s important to use descriptive language in picture books, but the illustrator should be able to add to that vision with their own. Another thing I liked about this book was that Nick’s first attempt at “swinging as high as the sun” was a realistic thing he’d be doing at a playground, and that in his mind it went to a completely fantastical place. But, the next declaration is to “sale across the ocean to rescue the tribal princess.” This, to me, was the fantastical thing in his head, but didn’t fit the pattern you set up of “real thing vs. imagination.” What also confused me a little bit was the opening line, “… doesn’t think I can do anything right.” None of the scenes that follow really demonstrated him trying to do anything “right” so much as trying to prove he can do something amazing. The phrasing there didn’t really set up what the story was going to be about. That said, I think this is a strong concept overall and can be very fun with a few tweaks for consistency.

    _______________________________________________________

    The Outlands, a middle grade novel by Julie Artz

    The first rule the village elders teach us in Graz? Curiosity kills. It’s the first lesson, the last lesson, and just about every lesson in between from what I can tell. They only let up for a sprinkling of history and a dash of survival. I should know. I’m in year seven of this, the final year before apprenticeships start.

    So I’m not surprised to see Curiosity Kills written in tidy script on the whiteboard when I walk into class. I slide my bag under my desk and power on the tablet that’s bolted to the desktop. My fingers trace the graffiti on the wooden surface before swiping at the screen and picking up where yesterday’s notes left off.

    Paper is scarce so we type everything. It’s a good thing, too, because my chicken-scratches wouldn’t pass muster with my teacher, Ms. Imma. She’s standing at the front of the class now in a dress as neat and precise as her handwriting on the board. The wooden shutters of our tiny schoolroom are opened wide, hoping to capture enough breeze to keep us from roasting. Or falling asleep.

    I tap some of her words with a few added “blah, blah, blahs” into my tablet and glance over at Lisbeth, who types like a bird skimming the surface of the creek at a mayfly hatch. Zip. Zip. Zip. She notes every single word, and probably studies them every night before her bedtime prayers. It makes sense, really, because Ms. Imma is her mother.

    Lisbeth is the only one of the year sevens who seems happy with the plan the elders have for her. My best friend, Nico, fidgeting at the desk in front of mine, will dig wells with his father, Aitor. Pablo will tend goats. Both jobs involve hard work and a strict master. Lisbeth will become a teacher. She’ll be perfect after years of practice nagging the three of us.

    Then there’s me. Unlike the others, I can’t follow in my father’s footsteps. He’s already got an apprentice. My brother Rim. I feel my ears getting hot just picturing the glee on Rim’s face.

    HERE’S SARAH:

    Julie Artz, THE OUTLANDS

    I loved the opening line of this, and the opening paragraph overall is strong as well. It sets up an interesting premise and I was curious to read further to find out just why curiosity kills and what, exactly, this apprenticeship was all about. I liked the voice, but did have a few concerns about word choice. For example, “chicken scratch” felt like an old-fashioned phrase that a MG-aged character wouldn’t refer to himself. I also didn’t know whether a “bird skimming the surface of the creek at a mayfly hatch” was supposed to mean very quick or very carefully. This, of course, might be regional, but the phrasing of it also felt like the voice of someone much older. I couldn’t picture a young person speaking that way, particularly with the use of simile and metaphor. It didn’t feel true to the voice we opened with. I also wasn’t sure if this was a futuristic world. Paper is scarce, but they don’t seem to be typing on anything that doesn’t already exist. The jobs that are described for the other Year Sevens feel very rural, but without any futuristic advancements that may exist. It made me wonder if it isn’t futuristic, why is paper scarce and why does curiosity kill? I think the world could be better developed here. I also didn’t see the narrator very much after that opening paragraph. I was curious why the story itself begins here and where the plot of the novel is set into motion.

    _____________________________________________________

    Thank you Sarah for sharing your time and expertise with us. We can all learn a lot from reading and first page and hearing what an editor or agent thinks.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Advice, Agent, Process, Writing Tips Tagged: Bradford Literary Agency, First Page Critiques, Free Fall Friday - Results, Kids Counting Kitties, Sarah LaPolla, Sharon Lane Holm

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    23. Passionate or Practical? Writing To Market Children's Books {and Poetry Friday!}

    .
    Howdy, Campers!

    Woo-woo!  The winner of Joan Bransfield Graham's new book, The Poem that Will Not End is Rosi Hollenbeck, who happens to be the SCBWI critique group coordinator for Northern and Central California. Congratulations, Rosi!  You'll find Joan's Wednesday Writing Workout here and my interview with her here.

    Today we conclude our series on Writing What We Want to Write versus Writing What is Marketable (or, as I like to call it, WWWWWWWM). Each of us is taking turns thinking aloud about Marion Dane Bauer's terrific post, The Creative Mind, in which she writes convincingly about WWWWWWWM.

    It's also Poetry Friday at Buffy's AND it's the start of TeachingAuthors' Summer Blogging Break--woo-woo!

    http://buffysilverman.com/blog/
    Thanks, for hosting PF, Buffy!

    First, let's review what TeachingAuthors have been saying so far this round:

    JoAnn began the conversation by sharing her monarch haiku project and the new direction in which she's taking it; Carmela talked about how hard it is to work so long on beloved projects that don't sell...but finds redemption; Laura writes that it's a matter of prioritizing, e-publishing, sharing poetry love and more: and writing coach/writers' booster Esther sees the light, rewrites, submits like the devil, and stays optimistic. Her post has helped me stay optimistic, too.  In fact each of these posts has.

    So...wow. I've been mulling over how to talk to you about this one.  It's potent. And personal.

    Just like each of my blogmates, I've sent out countless manuscripts that have bounced back again and again and again and again.  *Sigh.*  I'd be a great boomerang maker.


    For example, Girl Coming in for a Landing--a Novel in Poems (Knopf) took me ten years to sell. Then it won two major awards. Editors who rejected it said, "Teens don't read.  And if they do read, they don't read poetry."  As Esther reminds us: "Times change; markets change; publishers' needs change; editorial staffs change." Oy--is that ever true.

    More recently, I finally found a way to fictionalize the story of the flood which destroyed my family's farm and how we rebuilt afterwards.  I'd been taking this picture book manuscript out, rewriting it, and putting it back in my bottom drawer for years.  Last year I was invited to join a dynamite critique group; I took a risk and showed them my story. At this Magic Table I learned what my story was missing and how to strengthen it.
    This is what happens at our Magic Table. Sort of.
    I was elated.  I sent it to my fabulous agent.  She told me that picture books these days must be short. VERY short.  Picture books used to be for ages 3-8 and could be as long as 1500 words.  These days, editors want picture books for ages 3-5.  After 650 words, editors roll their eyes, my agent told me.

    I told the Magic Table this.  They helped me shorten it.  I sent it flying out my door again.

    Editors said that it was too regional. I went back to the Magic Table. They said, What about all the floods around the country? What about your themes of resilience, problem solving, weather, storms, climate change and life cycles for heaven's sake? You've just got to help them see this.  You'd got to help your agent sell it.

    SO...I hired a curriculum specialist...and resubmitted the story complete with Supplementary Materials including Themes, Common Core-related English Language Arts activities, Science-related activities, and a Glossary.

    (Huh! Take That, I say with all those Capital Letters!)

    And it's still not selling.

    And yet...I believe in the Power of the Table. I do. I love this writing biz. I do. And I love my gang around that table. So what else can I do but believe? I keep on keeping on.

    I wrote a poem recently to our group, to our leader, to the Magic Table. It was reverent, in awe of the smarts and wizardry at the Table.

    But today I changed the poem. Maybe it's not a Magic Table after all. Here's the revised version:

    AROUND THIS TABLE
    by April Halprin Wayland

    It's magic, you know.
    Impossible feats of metaphor.
    Six of us around this rosewood table,
    savoring tea.

    Spilling over our pages,
    foreshadowing, fortune telling,
    drawing stories
    out of the shadows of these drapes.

    The illusion of allusion.
    A prophecy of sorcery.
    The tinkling of full moon necklaces.
    Shamans jingling bracelets
    dangling from our sleight of hands.

    But…are we clairvoyant?
    Are we soothsayers, 
    sorceresses, sorcerers?
    Maybe it's all just make believe.

    Believe.


    poem copyright © 2014 April Halprin Wayland. All rights reserved.
    I am boldly stealing the following EXACT WORDING (and formatting) from today's Poetry Friday host, Buffy Silverman because it's 12:15 am here in California...and because it applies to Buffy, to me, and to many other poets in the kidlitosphere you may know (thank you, Buffy!):
    In other poetry news, I recently submitted a poem to a children’s poetry anthology being prepared by Carol-Ann Hoyte on food and agriculture, and was happy to learn this week that the poem was accepted.  I’m in good company with many other Poetry Friday folks–look for the anthology in October of this year.

    TeachingAuthors will be taking our annual blogging break--we'll be back Monday, July 13th.  See you then!
    Four TeachingAuthors on summer break.

    Written by April Halprin Wayland who thanks you for reading all the way to the end.

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    24. Free Fall Friday: July – Jenny Bent & More

    HAPPY 4TH!

    artshowclairLousyDay

    This wonderful illustration is by Claire Lordon, who exhibited her work at the New Jersey SCBWI Art Show. If you would like to see more of Claire’s art here is her website: www.clairelordon.com

    jenny_bentIt is my pleasure to let you know that Jenny Bent has agreed to be our critique our first pages in July. Each month four first pages are picked for critique.

    See Bottom of Post for submission Guidelines.

    Jenny 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.

    In 2003 Jenny joined Trident Media Group, where she was promoted to Vice President before leaving to found the Bent Agency in 2009. She lives in Brooklyn in an apartment full of books and while there are not quite so many lazy reading afternoons, she manages 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 way: 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.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Thought the writers on the West Coast might be interested in this Writer’s Retreat.

    It certainly had two great industry professionals on the faculty with:

    Editor Melanie Cecka is Associate Publishing Director at Knopf Books for Young Readers.

    Agent Scott Treimel heads the full service S©ott Treimel NY Agency, established 1995. The agency represents exclusively children’s books and it give the attendees a chance for a full novel critique.

    FEES: Basic seminar is $769 (Early Bird, extended to July 5th); adults’ critiques are additional (15 to 30 pages, or full novel; all $3 per page). Basic fee includes Thursday through Saturday nights’ beachfront, double-occupancy lodging and most meals.

    WHOLE-NOVEL SEMINAR & RETREAT

    12th Annual Pacific Coast Children’s Writers Workshop:

    October 17-19, 2014 Coastal Santa Cruz, CA.

    http://www.childrenswritersworkshop.com/

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in July:

    Please “July First Page Critique” in the subject line. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

    Please attach your first page submission using one inch margins and 12 point font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines 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 and then also attach it in a Word document to the email.

    DEADLINE: July 24th.

    RESULTS: August 1st.

    Use inch margins – double space your text – 12 pt. New Times Roman font – no more than 23 lines – paste into body of the email

    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 July’s directions. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy

     


    Filed under: Agent, Conferences and Workshops, Editor & Agent Info, opportunity, Places to sumit Tagged: Claire Lordon, First Page Critiques, Free Fall Friday, West Coast Writer's Retreat

    2 Comments on Free Fall Friday: July – Jenny Bent & More, last added: 7/4/2014
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    25. Genres: Trends From Editors/Agents Survey

    artshowAngela Padron NJ SCBWI art show FINAL

    The NJSCBWI Art Show Continues: I think you will enjoy this cute little sea monster in this illustration by Angela Padron. Angela was born and raised in Freehold, NJ but moved to Florida in 2002. For over 15 years, Angela taught bilingual, ESL, Spanish, and Art in public schools before becoming a freelance writer and illustrator. Now she writes and illustrates children’s books, including board books, picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels.

    Below is the slide I made up after tallying the answers to the survey I sent to a total of 38 editors and agents. I asked each whether they thought the genres below where increasing, decreasing, or staying the same and if they expected this to continue for the next year.

    GenreTrends

    Check back tomorrow for more details.

    Talk tomorrow,

    Kathy


    Filed under: Agent, Conferences and Workshops, Editors, inspiration, need to know, Publishing Industry Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, Angela Padron, State of the Market Report

    5 Comments on Genres: Trends From Editors/Agents Survey, last added: 7/14/2014
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