Thursday, December 17, 2009

Exclusive SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-Conference Interview: Laurent Linn...


Visit Lee Wind's Blog for the latest in our series of exclusive SCBWI TEAM BLOG pre-conference interviews with SCBWI Winter Conference speakers and keynoters.

Lee interviewed Laurent Linn, Art Director at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Lauren will offer breakout session on The Real Deal About Visual Story Telling.

I'll continue to direct you to more pre-conference interviews as we approach conference time. (It's getting close!)

To register for the SCBWI conference, click here. And here's a link to Laurent's own website: www.laurentlinn.com.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Embracing Inappropriate, Violent & Blasphemous: Three Writers Make Negative Reviews a Fashion Statement...

As I prepare for the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference I thought it was about time I followed-up with three of my favorite Annual Summer Conference attendees, Emily Wing Smith, Brodi Ashton and Bree Despain, to talk about their outfits.

I spotted Emily, Brodi and Bree at the LA conference this past August wearing these t-shirts:


Word shirt ring leader Emily Wing Smith told me the terms emblazoned on their chests—"blasphemous," "violent" and "inappropriate"—were all stinging comments they heard about their own novels.

Below the three talk about those negative critiques, how they were impacted, and how they forged ahead through fashion.


Emily Wing Smith
I N A P P R O P R I A T E


When I wrote my YA novel THE WAY HE LIVED, I expected some backlash. After all, the book deals—however briefly—with some serious themes: suicide, homosexuality, mental illness. But I wasn’t prepared for the words of an anonymous commenter who left a review on a book retailer’s website, claiming she “tried to overlook the references to homosexuality and other inappropriate matters” but ultimately couldn’t get past it.

Okay, so I don’t happen to believe that homosexuality is an inappropriate matter. I don’t think anyone should believe that. But what really baffled me? Being offended by even a reference to something she deemed inappropriate. I believe that murder is inappropriate, but I’m not offended when someone refers to it. Maybe that makes me inappropriate—if so, then my “Inappropriate” t-shirt is actually appropriate!

www.emilywingsmith.com


Brodi Ashton
V I O L E N T


My YA book ECHO features a teenage girl who becomes an alien hunter, so I wasn’t surprised when readers called it “too violent.” The problem came when I tried to change every scene that had offended someone. I quickly learned two things: 1) No two people were offended by the same scene; 2) If I removed every scene that had one detractor, there’d be no book left.

Not everyone is going to like my book. Someone, somewhere, is going to think a story about a teenage girl who can kill an alien with a fork will be too violent. But if I let myself think that too, I never would’ve typed “The End” and found an agent who thinks my book is just violent enough.

My “Violent” t-shirt was a smart move because it got me to the front of one of the lines at the SCBWI conference. The lady said I could cut because she didn’t want to mess with me.

www.brodiashton.blogspot.com


Bree Despain
B L A S P H E M O U S

I think for many authors, one of the hardest things to deal with is occasionally hearing negative feedback about our book. It doesn’t seem to matter how much praise, or how many awesome reviews we receive, when somebody finds something not to like about our books, or is offended by something we wrote, we can let that negative energy eat away at us—sometimes even to the point where we find ourselves unable to write.

Around the same time that Emily’s book received a particularly upsetting review because of some supposed inappropriate references, I was dealing with getting over something someone else had said about my book THE DARK DIVINE. A writer friend had read the manuscript and told me that she thought my book was “blasphemous” because I talked about faith and mythological paranormal creatures in the same story. She also worried that people would think it was blasphemous to use a teenage girl as a metaphor for grace and redemption. I didn’t agree with my friend, but I found myself wondering if I needed to rewrite my entire book in a way that it couldn’t possibly offend anyone. (A completely impossible feat, I soon discovered.)

Luckily, Emily, Brodi, and I decided that instead of letting the negative things people said about our books cripple our writing; we would just put our bad reviews on t-shirts and “own” them. Our bad review t-shirts have been a lot of fun to wear. People love to stop us to talk about our shirts, which always leads to discussions about our books—and Sherman Alexie even remembered our names because of them!

www.breedespain.com

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Exclusive SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-Conference Interview: Tina Wexler...

Tina Wexler is a literary agent at International Creative Management (ICM), a full-service agency and home to Dr. Seuss and E.B. White. Her list includes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults, with a focus on middle grade and YA.

Recent and forthcoming titles represented by Tina
include Donna Gephart's As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running For President (winner of SCBWI's 2009 Sid Fleischman Humor Award), Sara Lewis Holmes' Operation Yes (Arthur A. Levine Books), Mara Purnhagen's Tagged (Harlequin Teen), Laurel Snyder's Baxter, The Pig Who Wanted To Be Kosher (Tricycle), and Sanjay Patel's Ramayana (Chronicle).

Please tell us about how you got into agenting and how you ended up at ICM.

After getting my MFA in poetry, I applied for a job as an agent assistant to Louise Quayle and Elizabeth Kaplan at the Ellen Levine Literary Agency. There, I cut my teeth on permissions, audio and serial sales, and foreign rights. Around the time ELLA merged with Trident, I moved to the Karpfinger Agency to continue with foreign rights but soon left to start building my own list at ICM.

What are the advantages for you working at a big agency? What are the advantages for your authors?

The advantage of being at a big agency is that everything is kept in-house , which means having more control of what is happening with my clients' projects (and for the client, only one commission). We have the Los Angeles office shopping our books for film/TV; we have the London office securing UK and translations deals; we have an in-house lecture department; an agent who sells audio, ebook, and serial rights; and a theater department ready to negotiate stage adaptations of our books. I'm able to pull from a number of resources: our in-house attorneys, our tax and royalty departments, the knowledge and experience of the ten other agents working in our literary department. All of these elements come together to make my office run smoothly so I can focus entirely on my clients and their needs.

Do writers of books for young readers really need to have agents?

I think the benefits of having the right agent--whether you write for the adult market or the children's market--are immeasurable. Certainly, there are books that get published without the involvement of an agent, but that's not the route I would go were I a writer. Having an agent is a real asset, and in most circumstances, an absolute requirement just to enter the ring. (Don't ask why a boxing metaphor is cropping into my answer. We can debate whether writers need to have agents, but there's no doubt everyone could use an editor!)

If a writer is unsure whether she needs an agent, she will want to assess how comfortable she feels mixing business dealings with the creative process. How contract-savvy she is, how great she is at negotiating. How many doors are open to her at the various publishing houses. How capable she is of selling subrights such as audio, film/TV, and UK/translation rights to her book on her own. And for agents like me who can be very hands-on when it comes to getting a manuscript into the best possible shape before submission, how strong is her revision process. If she feels that she'd like a partner to help her in any or all of these areas (and there are so many other things that agents do each day for their clients), she needs an agent.

What type of material do you represent? Are you open to queries?

I represent mostly YA and MG (and adult non-fiction too). Within those categories, I'm interested in most everything: magical realism/paranormal, mysteries, adventure, suspense, contemporary, and some non-fiction for teens. I tend to shy away from high fantasy and poetry collections, but I love novels-in-verse. In short: make me laugh, make me angry, make me cry, make me pause. Also, I do not represent screenplays. I am accepting queries at twexler[at]icmtalent[dot]com, despite what ICM's website says about unsolicited material.

Would you offer some general advice on approaching agents?

First, do your research. I know it's tempting to query every agent you find info on--the old "throw it at the wall and see what sticks" approach--but doing so only results in slower response times and fewer agents responding to queries at all, which no one wants. So do yourself and your fellow writers (and agents) a favor and be selective. Second, be professional but know that I'm in this business because I love the written word, I love stories, and I really do want to hear from you if our interests overlap.

What will you be talking about at the SCBWI Winter Conference?

I'll be doing an agent panel ["Ask the Agent: 3 Agents Analyze the Market"] with George Nicholson [Sterling Lord Literistic] and Rosemary Stimola [Stimola Literary Studio], talking about the market and addressing any other questions thrown our way.

Why do you recommend writers attend conferences? Have you found clients at such events?

Conferences are a great way to connect with other writers, to meet editors and agents, and to get a sense of what is happening in the business all while being inspired creatively by the workshops and speakers. I am working with several writers whom I met through conferences, and a majority of my clients are SCBWI members.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Exclusive SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-Conference Interview: Ben Schrank...

Visit Suzanne Young's Blog for the first in our series of exclusive SCBWI TEAM BLOG pre-conference interviews with SCBWI Winter Conference speakers and keynoters.

To kick us off, Suzanne interviewed Ben Schrank, president of super cool Penguin imprint Razorbill.

I'll direct you to more pre-conference interviews in the weeks to come--and you'll find a few in this space.

To register for the SCBWI conference, click here.
To read more from Ben Schrank, click here for my 2007 interview with him.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Jane Yolen is Added to the SCBWI Winter Conference Lineup...

The 11th Annual SCBWI Winter Conference already has a terrific lineup--and it just got a little better. SCBWI announced yesterday that author Jane Yolen has been added to the roster.

Jane, who's been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century, and is the award-wining author of numerous children's books, fantasy, and science fiction, including Owl Moon, The Devil's Arithmetic, and How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, will offer the closing keynote address.

I remember seeing Jane speak from a wheelchair at the 2006 SCBWI LA conference after a night in the emergency room. She still knocked our socks off!

There's still time to register for the SCBWI event--click here. Early registration rates apply until January 4th.

If you can't make it, you can follow the conference as it's happening with full SCBWI TEAM BLOG coverage on the Official SCBWI Conference Blog.

And if you'd like some Jane Yolen wisdom you can carry around in your bag, check out her wonderful book Take Joy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Queries Wanted for Upcoming Novel & Short Story Writer's Market...

Besides CWIM, there are a few million other exciting things I work on in the WD Community. One of them is editing Novel & Short Story Writer's Market, CWIM's sister publication solely for fiction writers.

I'm currently planning the lineup for the 2011 edition, and I'm looking for queries for articles and interviews for NSSWM. The articles are broken up into these categories:

  • The Writing Life
  • Craft & Technique
  • Getting Published
  • For Mystery Writers
  • For Romance Writers
  • For Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Writers

I'm most in need of material for the genre sections, but open to queries for all. I've also go a few spots to fill in our annual "Premier Voices" feature for which we interview debut fiction writers, so if you're a first-time novelist, I'd love to hear from you as well.

If you'd be interested in writing for me, email me at alice.pope@fwmedia.com with your ideas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The National Book Award Winner in the YP Lit Category Goes to...

Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Should You Be on Facebook? Is Tweeting Really Necessary? Talking Online Presence with Loren Long...

I took Monday and Tuesday off work this week for no other reason than to use up some PTO (that expires at the end of the year). One of my Monday activities way having lunch with illustrator Loren Long and his wife Tracy. (Loren also lives and works here in the Nati.)

During lunch at the cafe at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (because I thought it appropriate and because they have great vegetarian chili), Loren, Tracy and I talked a lot about online presence. Loren has a website but has not ventured much beyond that. Does an author with more than a dozen fabulous books under his belt--who works with publishers like Philomel and Simon & Schuster, who is on the Jon Scieska's Trucktown team--need to be blogging? Be on Facebook? Twitter? It couldn't hurt.

It's no secret that authors/illustrators have a big responsibility in their own promotion. The more you're out there, the more connections you make, the more friends you have, the more conversations you get into, the better. Networking should start before you get published (see Christina Katz's Get Known Before the Book Deal) and keep rolling along once you have a book or two or ten out in the world.

That doesn't mean you have to use every social network avenue available. Twitter is not everyone's cup of tea. And heaven help us if everyone had a blog. But if you've got a blog's worth of things to say that would be interesting/useful/informative/inspiring then go for it. If you enjoy being part of the conversation and can fit it into your schedule, tweet away. But if these things aren't you, if they'd be drudgery, move along. But at least try things out to see what fits--you might really enjoy participating in the conversation. (And sometimes that conversation will be about your work.)

Speaking of work, here are a few of my favorite Loren Long covers. So so beautiful. (And now I'm off to hang up my autographed Otis poster.)




Friday, November 13, 2009

Some Friday Afternoon Led (stats) for Your Head...

File this under apropos of nothing/just for fun, but I felt the need to share my IT professional brother's latest word research here on my CWIM blog.

My brother and my classic-rock-digging teenage niece were listening to Led Zeppelin in the car, he tells me, and they had their usual discussion about how a rock song can't be a true rock song without the word babe or baby in it, or a reference to a female. "So," says my bro, "I decided to find a way to count the frequency of each word in all Led Zep songs. I included the titles of the song in my search, and used a lyrics list compiled by an obsessed fan who painstakingly documented what Robert Plant actually sung in their songs."

Here are my brother's Led Zeppelin word counts. Should I set him to work on the Judy Blume catalog? On what three occasions does Plant sing "lollipop"? And why isn't Houses of the Holy on my iPod?

Click here for the online word frequency counter my brother used. Might be fun to apply to your WIP!

821 the
695 i
673 ah
632 you
603 oh
548 a
491 my
441 yeah
399 to
384 ooh
360 and
332 baby
313 me
291 it
234 love
231 of
202 know
193 on
193 la
189 your
181 all
177 in
166 that
161 now
155 i'm
148 it's
144 is
138 no
138 hey
129 gonna
128 so
128 do
123 ahh
119 down
111 ya
109 for
108 don't
107 whoa
104 be
103 when
98 time
94 way
93 just
90 got
89 but
88 go
87 come
82 babe
80 well
73 she
73 from
72 with
72 what
72 we
69 one
69 i've
69 good
68 woman
68 hoo
68 been
65 let
65 keep
65 can
64 if
64 have
62 tell
60 see
58 how
57 ain't
56 they
56 take
56 little
55 will
55 light
54 that's
54 her
54 gotta
53 feel
53 day
53 can't
53 back
52 said
52 bring
52 alright
51 wanna
50 away
49 night
49 home
49 get
48 really
46 mama
46 ha
45 woo
44 uh
44 as
43 was
43 never
43 are
42 she's
42 right
42 like
42 give
41 hear
40 talkin'
40 only
40 long
39 need
38 you're
38 yes
38 make
37 this
36 won't
36 want
36 oooh
35 there
35 goin'
35 every
35 'bout
34 more
33 up
33 true
33 girl
33 did
33 could
32 by
31 out
31 lovin'
31 leave
30 hard
30 aw
29 say
29 people
29 man
29 i'll
29 hoh
29 hah
28 thing
28 ho
27 where
27 pole
26 who
26 please
26 gone
26 find
26 at
25 times
25 sweet
25 lonely
25 didn't
24 still
24 sing
24 run
24 own
24 makes
24 jesus
24 heart
23 sure
23 hold
23 had
23 about
23 'cause
22 would
22 them
22 must
22 many
22 ma
22 eyes
22 door
22 days
21 years
21 some
21 not
21 bit
21 again
20 then
20 should
20 here
20 care
19 walk
19 through
19 ow
19 hand
18 wind
18 why
18 us
18 tom
18 sun
18 stop
18 song
18 shake
18 move
18 mine
18 look
18 darlin'
18 darlene
18 'em
17 same
17 push
17 our
17 ohh
17 mm
17 gallows
17 ever
16 wrong
16 try
16 think
16 there's
16 sometimes
16 rock
16 mind
16 hide
16 fine
16 comin'
16 'round
15 whole
15 took
15 ten
15 stay
15 quarter
15 lord
15 livin'
15 inside
15 he
15 hands
15 feelin'
15 does
15 blow
15 believe
15 another
15 always
15 'till
14 turned
14 those
14 soul
14 singin'
14 since
14 show
14 new
14 n
14 has
14 groove
14 found
14 call
14 ballin'
13 we're
13 tryin'
13 too
13 stand
13 side
13 rain
13 old
13 name
13 mornin'
13 matter
13 m
13 lotta
13 lo
13 life
13 join
13 dream
13 cry
13 callin'
13 blue
13 around
13 'bye
12 you'll
12 world
12 wonder
12 what's
12 walkin'
12 their
12 swingin'
12 shook
12 seems
12 ride
12 quit
12 play
12 made
12 left
12 four
12 fire
12 face
12 easy
12 done
12 don'tcha
12 couldn't
12 bad
11 while
11 very
11 told
11 talk
11 roll
11 ramble
11 put
11 pain
11 much
11 meet
11 mean
11 last
11 huh
11 ground
11 friends
11 drop
11 drive
11 ay
10 within
10 watch
10 used
10 two
10 start
10 somebody
10 smile
10 seem
10 road
10 rider
10 pie
10 oughta
10 open
10 mile
10 low
10 lookin'
10 knew
10 into
10 hours
10 honey
10 his
10 gold
10 feels
10 fall
10 dreams
10 custard
9 you've
9 y'know
9 word
9 upon
9 town
9 touch
9 today
9 they're
9 tellin'
9 takes
9 share
9 saw
9 queen
9 nobody's
9 money
9 moan
9 land
9 lady
9 grow
9 glad
9 everybody
9 earth
9 drag
9 die
9 dark
9 child
9 change
9 brown
9 bite
9 before
9 an
8 which
8 thought
8 tears
8 squeeze
8 slidin'
8 silver
8 sad
8 pretty
8 over
8 other
8 nothin'
8 nah
8 may
8 listen
8 lies
8 head
8 hangman
8 gon'
8 fun
8 fly
8 floor
8 fault
8 far
8 dance
8 cryin'
8 brother
8 break
8 boogie
8 better
8 best
8 ask
7 yay
7 workin'
7 work
7 waitin'
7 wait
7 twenty
7 turn
7 treat
7 throw
7 standin'
7 soon
7 someone
7 shakin'
7 seen
7 sea
7 save
7 sail
7 or
7 nobody
7 mountains
7 minute
7 mad
7 lost
7 lose
7 line
7 levee
7 i'd
7 hurt
7 high
7 hi
7 heaven
7 happy
7 goes
7 friend
7 fight
7 dyin'
7 country
7 coolin'
7 cold
7 clear
7 chewin'
7 breakdown
7 black
7 arms
7 along
7 alone
7 aaah
6 without
6 use
6 three
6 than
6 taste
6 summer
6 strong
6 seven
6 set
6 rolls
6 ring
6 poor
6 piece
6 path
6 outta
6 middle
6 maybe
6 load
6 lifetime
6 li
6 late
6 knows
6 kinda
6 hot
6 holdin'
6 help
6 goodbye
6 fill
6 eye
6 end
6 ee
6 de
6 crawl
6 chocolate
6 children
6 brought
6 bed
6 ball
6 anybody
6 am
6 ago
5 worried
5 who's
5 white
5 went
5 ways
5 wanted
5 until
5 turns
5 train
5 though
5 things
5 these
5 tangerine
5 suarez
5 step
5 steal
5 stairway
5 spin
5 sometime
5 somethin'
5 slip
5 sky
5 sit
5 sister
5 second
5 searchin'
5 runs
5 rollin'
5 red
5 pull
5 place
5 ove
5 nn
5 na
5 monkey
5 medication
5 marching
5 lemon
5 leaves
5 lay
5 kind
5 juice
5 insane
5 heartbreaker
5 gun
5 guess
5 grand
5 glow
5 fool
5 flyin'
5 feet
5 fake
5 everything
5 er
5 desire
5 denyin'
5 d'ya
5 choose
5 carry
5 car
5 c'mon
5 bright
5 bridge
5 bell
5 begin
5 beat
5 angels
4 wrath
4 woogie
4 won'tcha
4 whisper
4 whiskers
4 whatcha
4 were
4 walked
4 uhh
4 tree
4 tonight
4 thousand
4 thoughts
4 tear
4 streets
4 street
4 songs
4 snow
4 smilin'
4 sittin'
4 sinkin'
4 shouldn't
4 send
4 seed
4 satisfied
4 sat
4 rolled
4 rockin'
4 rivers
4 rhythm
4 rest
4 remember
4 read
4 reach
4 ramblin'
4 quite
4 pray
4 planned
4 pay
4 pass
4 ohhh
4 nothing
4 next
4 news
4 myself
4 mountain
4 missin'
4 mighty
4 might
4 men
4 lover
4 longer
4 live
4 lights
4 leg
4 keeps
4 instrumental
4 hopes
4 him
4 hee
4 heard
4 happiness
4 hair
4 full
4 fortune
4 foolin'
4 fell
4 falls
4 eyed
4 evil
4 eleven
4 dry
4 dog
4 deep
4 darkness
4 crazy
4 corner
4 confused
4 communication
4 comes
4 city
4 celebration
4 built
4 breaks
4 bow
4 body
4 birds
4 asked
4 any
4 air
4 above
3 yourself
3 yours
3 young
3 worry
3 worked
3 words
3 wonders
3 winds
3 weep
3 water
3 warmth
3 warmed
3 war
3 wants
3 wan'
3 wall
3 walks
3 wah
3 voice
3 tutti
3 tune
3 trees
3 trade
3 total
3 tomorrow
3 tired
3 tides
3 thinkin'
3 takin'
3 sunshine
3 sunlight
3 sugar
3 store
3 stood
3 steady
3 starts
3 started
3 star
3 spend
3 south
3 son
3 someday
3 slow
3 sixteen
3 silent
3 shine
3 seventh
3 savin'
3 roundabout
3 rise
3 rings
3 ridin'
3 reason
3 real
3 promised
3 pick
3 peace
3 once
3 off
3 ocean
3 nowhere
3 now's
3 nightshirt
3 nervous
3 needs
3 nature
3 mr
3 movin'
3 mouth
3 moon
3 mistreated
3 midnight
3 messed
3 merry
3 mercy
3 luck
3 loving
3 loves
3 lot
3 losin'
3 lollipop
3 lives
3 listened
3 laugh
3 lanes
3 knock
3 kiss
3 kindhearted
3 killin'
3 kid
3 howlin'
3 hove
3 heyy
3 heavens
3 heat
3 he's
3 haw
3 havin'
3 hadn't
3 guard
3 growin'
3 groovin'
3 greatest
3 gown
3 gong
3 going
3 gloom
3 garden
3 game
3 fry
3 fruitti
3 fruit
3 free
3 folk
3 flowers
3 flow
3 flame
3 flag
3 first
3 filled
3 feather
3 fallin'
3 fa
3 eat
3 drunk
3 doom
3 dollar
3 doll
3 doin'
3 dogs
3 disgrace
3 devil
3 depths
3 dear
3 dazed
3 darkest
3 dancin'
3 daddy
3 d
3 count
3 cocaine
3 clock
3 chicago
3 catch
3 california
3 buying
3 burnin'
3 blues
3 bluebird
3 bird
3 bill
3 big
3 below
3 barrelhouse
3 baby's
3 ba
3 await
3 atlas
3 anything
3 although
3 ahhh
3 achin'
3 aah
2 you'd
2 yesterday
2 yeahh
2 y
2 wrote
2 wring
2 wouldn't
2 wonderful
2 wome
2 wish
2 winners
2 wings
2 wine
2 wife
2 whooa
2 whistles
2 whispered
2 wheel
2 whatever
2 western
2 wearin'
2 we've
2 wasted
2 walter's
2 version
2 valley
2 underground
2 under
2 truly
2 truckin'
2 truck
2 trouble
2 tried
2 track
2 together
2 thunder
2 thrill
2 threshing
2 thinking
2 they'll
2 thanks
2 thank
2 tea
2 taught
2 tall
2 talks
2 tales
2 tale
2 swore
2 swing
2 sweep
2 surprise
2 sunrise
2 summer's
2 such
2 style
2 studies
2 stranger
2 straight
2 story
2 storm
2 stops
2 sting
2 startin'
2 stars
2 stage
2 springs
2 spirits
2 special
2 sounds
2 smiles
2 slower
2 slipped
2 slice
2 sleep
2 skinned
2 skin
2 sisters
2 sings
2 single
2 simple
2 sign
2 sick
2 showed
2 shoulder
2 shotgun
2 shot
2 shore
2 shoot
2 shinin'
2 shines
2 she'd
2 sharin'
2 shall
2 sent
2 senses
2 seek
2 seeds
2 seconds
2 seaside
2 searched
2 school
2 sayin'
2 s
2 rule
2 rosie
2 rosedale
2 riverside
2 river's
2 river
2 rides
2 return
2 resist
2 remains
2 release
2 refused
2 reflection
2 realize
2 raised
2 raise
2 rainin'
2 racin'
2 race
2 quotient
2 quiet
2 purple
2 proud
2 prayin'
2 power
2 plum
2 plenty
2 playin'
2 plane
2 pines
2 pickup
2 pearls
2 payin'
2 part
2 park
2 pack
2 owls
2 overran
2 outdoor
2 orleans
2 order
2 oo
2 oar
2 nose
2 north
2 noon
2 nice
2 ni
2 nest
2 moves
2 mother
2 moonlight
2 moanin'
2 moaned
2 misty
2 mistreat
2 miles
2 met
2 mess
2 means
2 master
2 makin'
2 maid
2 magic
2 mae
2 lyin'
2 lower
2 loud
2 looks
2 living
2 lips
2 levee's
2 letter
2 let's
2 lemme
2 led
2 leavin'
2 learnin'
2 law
2 laughin'
2 lands
2 laa
2 l
2 knowing
2 knee
2 kissed
2 king
2 kick
2 keen
2 kashmir
2 joy
2 jive
2 jet
2 je
2 jar
2 ice
2 hurts
2 hurry
2 hunter
2 houses
2 hotel
2 horn
2 holy
2 hollerin'
2 hills
2 hidin'
2 hid
2 hesitatin'
2 helps
2 helpin'
2 held
2 heavy
2 hears
2 heah
2 headed
2 harm
2 hare
2 happen
2 haa
2 guy
2 guitars
2 guessin'
2 growing
2 groanin'
2 great
2 gray
2 grace
2 gods
2 goal
2 gets
2 gave
2 fully
2 front
2 friendship
2 force
2 foot
2 flower
2 flames
2 fish
2 finish
2 finest
2 finally
2 fields
2 few
2 felt
2 fellas
2 fears
2 fast
2 fangled
2 fame
2 fair
2 f
2 excuse
2 everytime
2 everybody's
2 evenings
2 evening
2 evenin'
2 enough
2 emotion
2 emmie
2 eastern
2 ear
2 each
2 dying
2 dreamin'
2 drank
2 downtown
2 doubt
2 doors
2 dong
2 doesn't
2 dizzy
2 distance
2 ding
2 din
2 dim
2 dig
2 destination
2 deliver
2 dawn
2 dancing
2 damned
2 da
2 cut
2 cure
2 crying
2 crumble
2 crucify
2 crowds
2 cries
2 course
2 cost
2 cool
2 convincin'
2 concentration
2 comfort
2 clover
2 clouds
2 cloth
2 climb
2 check
2 changed
2 caught
2 castle
2 cares
2 careful
2 cannot
2 came
2 bron
2 bride
2 breathless
2 boy
2 bottom
2 both
2 born
2 book
2 blows
2 blood
2 block
2 blinded
2 between
2 beneath
2 behind
2 beer
2 bay
2 bargained
2 band
2 bags
2 b
2 aww
2 awful
2 aur
2 aside
2 apples
2 anymore
2 alimony
2 after
2 abuse
2 'pon
2 'nuff
2 'ed
2 'eah
2 'cross
1 zeppelin
1 yr
1 youth
1 york
1 yo
1 yet
1 yer
1 yellow
1 yearnin'
1 yazed
1 wuh
1 writ
1 wrappin'
1 wove
1 worth
1 worn
1 working
1 wooo
1 wondering
1 wondered
1 won
1 woe
1 wished
1 wiser
1 wise
1 winter
1 window
1 wind'll
1 win
1 will's
1 wild
1 wide
1 wicked
1 why'd
1 whose
1 whoops
1 whoaa
1 whisperin'
1 whirl
1 whether
1 where's
1 wheels
1 wha
1 wet
1 west
1 weren't
1 wee
1 weaves
1 wearing
1 weak
1 we'll
1 we'd
1 watchin'
1 watched
1 wastin'
1 washed
1 wanton
1 wandering
1 wander
1 walls
1 wall's
1 wake
1 wag
1 vows
1 voices
1 vixen
1 view
1 valhalla
1 upset
1 unwind
1 unsuspecting
1 unkind
1 unfolds
1 unending
1 understand
1 underneath
1 unchallenged
1 umbrella
1 uck
1 u
1 tyrant's
1 type
1 twistin'
1 twist
1 twirl
1 turnin'
1 tryin'a
1 trust
1 troubles
1 trouble's
1 trip
1 trim
1 tremblin'
1 tremble
1 tread
1 travelling
1 traveler
1 transmission
1 trampled
1 traces
1 trace
1 towards
1 toward
1 touched
1 torch
1 top
1 tooth
1 tools
1 tongues
1 tongue
1 toll
1 toast
1 tires
1 tiny
1 timely
1 tiles
1 tight
1 ticket
1 thrown
1 threatened
1 thread
1 thor
1 thirty
1 thirteen
1 they've
1 there'll
1 tha'
1 th
1 texas
1 terrible
1 tender
1 teeth
1 teenage
1 tearing
1 tasted
1 taller
1 tadpole
1 synchronized
1 swords
1 sword
1 swept
1 sweetest
1 sweat
1 swear
1 sway
1 sustain
1 suspension
1 sung
1 sunday
1 summertime
1 suck
1 subsides
1 stuff
1 stu
1 strut
1 stroll
1 strange
1 straits
1 straighter
1 storied
1 stores
1 stopped
1 stop's
1 stone
1 stomp
1 sticks
1 stepped
1 steel
1 steam
1 station
1 state
1 standing
1 stand'a
1 stall
1 st
1 squander
1 springtime
1 spring
1 spreadin'
1 spoon
1 spoken
1 spite
1 spirit
1 spinnin'
1 spent
1 speech
1 speak
1 sparkle
1 spare
1 space
1 sow
1 soul's
1 sorry
1 sore
1 soothes
1 sooner
1 songbird
1 song's
1 something's
1 something
1 somehow
1 soft
1 snowman
1 smug
1 smoked
1 smoke
1 smiled
1 smell
1 small
1 slips
1 slidin
1 slide
1 slicked
1 sleeping
1 slam
1 skies
1 size
1 sir
1 sippin'
1 sinks
1 singing
1 sin
1 sights
1 sight
1 sighed
1 siftin'
1 sic
1 shufflin'
1 showroom
1 shoutin'
1 shout
1 shmooze
1 shiver
1 ships
1 shining
1 shift
1 shields
1 shep
1 shelf
1 she'll
1 shape
1 shangri
1 shambles
1 shady
1 shadows
1 shadowed
1 shackles
1 sh
1 sews
1 sewn
1 seventeen
1 service
1 servants
1 separate
1 sells
1 seldom
1 seemed
1 seein'
1 seat
1 seasons
1 season
1 screw
1 screen
1 score
1 schoolin'
1 schoolgirl
1 scan
1 says
1 saved
1 saurez
1 satan's
1 satan
1 santa
1 sandy
1 sand
1 sails
1 sailin'
1 saddened
1 sa
1 rustin'
1 rusted
1 running
1 runnin'
1 runes
1 ruled
1 ruins
1 ruined
1 ruin
1 royal
1 roy
1 row
1 rover
1 roused
1 roses
1 roots
1 room
1 rolling
1 robert
1 roar
1 roadside
1 roads
1 risin'
1 ringwraiths
1 ringin'
1 rider's
1 rid
1 rich
1 reward
1 revealed
1 respect
1 require
1 repay
1 rented
1 rememberin'
1 remain
1 relate
1 reindeer
1 refrain
1 recognize
1 received
1 recall
1 rebuild
1 ready
1 readiness
1 reached
1 razor
1 ray
1 ran
1 rainbow's
1 railroad's
1 railroad
1 quiver
1 queue
1 question
1 queens
1 q
1 puttin'
1 pushed
1 pure
1 punch
1 pump
1 provision
1 protect
1 promises
1 promise
1 prince
1 price
1 prey
1 prevails
1 pressure
1 preserved
1 preen
1 precedent
1 powerless
1 pose
1 policeman
1 points
1 pointing
1 pockets
1 pocketful
1 plunder
1 plow
1 plot
1 pleasant
1 plays
1 played
1 plate
1 plan
1 pity
1 pits
1 pitiful
1 piper's
1 piper
1 pink
1 pilot
1 pills
1 pieces
1 picture
1 peter
1 permit
1 perfect
1 peeks
1 paths
1 passin'
1 paradise
1 pane
1 palms
1 pair
1 painted
1 pages
1 packin'
1 packed
1 pace
1 ozone
1 oww
1 overrun
1 overlords
1 overdrive
1 outside
1 ours
1 opportunity's
1 ooooh
1 ong
1 ones
1 one's
1 older
1 oil's
1 ocean's
1 obliged
1 oars
1 o
1 notice
1 note
1 nightmares
1 newspaper
1 nerve
1 neighbors
1 needed
1 near
1 natural
1 names
1 mystifyin'
1 mystery
1 mutual
1 musta
1 music
1 murmur
1 mrs
1 movies
1 movie
1 most
1 mortgage
1 mortals
1 morning
1 mordor
1 moonshine
1 montreux
1 month
1 moments
1 moment
1 model
1 mocks
1 moby
1 misusin'
1 missed
1 miss
1 misgiven
1 mirror
1 minutes
1 mine's
1 million
1 midst
1 metal
1 messin'
1 message
1 merle
1 memory
1 melts
1 melted
1 mellow
1 measuring
1 meanings
1 meals
1 matters
1 matchbox
1 mat'
1 master's
1 margaret
1 mare
1 march
1 mak'er
1 madman
1 m'my
1 lying
1 loved
1 louisiana
1 lotsa
1 lore
1 loom
1 looking
1 looked
1 london
1 locked
1 lock
1 lobby
1 list
1 lion
1 linings
1 lines
1 lined
1 limousine
1 lilting
1 likes
1 likely
1 lightness
1 lift
1 lien
1 lied
1 lie
1 legions
1 legged
1 leaving
1 leather
1 learned
1 learn
1 leaf
1 lead
1 lazin'
1 lawdy
1 laughter
1 lair
1 koo
1 konis
1 knowin'
1 knockin'
1 knocked
1 kitchen
1 kissing
1 kings
1 keys
1 key
1 kept
1 keepers
1 keeper's
1 june
1 jumped
1 jump
1 journey
1 jokin'
1 joke
1 john
1 jimmy
1 jeopardize
1 jam
1 its
1 it'll
1 isn't
1 intruder
1 inspiration's
1 inspiration
1 ins'
1 ind
1 increased
1 incomplete
1 inch
1 implore
1 immigrant
1 ight
1 if'n
1 hypnotized
1 hypnotize
1 hurtin'
1 hunter's
1 hundred
1 hummin'
1 however
1 hots
1 horses'
1 horde
1 hope
1 hop
1 hood
1 hoochie
1 honolulu
1 hon'
1 holler
1 hollar
1 hole
1 hoe
1 hittin'
1 hits
1 hitch
1 hit
1 hiss
1 himself
1 hill
1 highway
1 higher
1 hides
1 here's
1 helping
1 hellhound
1 hell
1 heed
1 hedge
1 heaven's
1 heaved
1 health
1 healin'
1 headin'
1 he'd
1 haul
1 hats
1 hate
1 hat
1 harper
1 happened
1 hangin'
1 hang
1 hammer
1 halls
1 habit
1 haaah
1 guys
1 guy's
1 guitar
1 guilt
1 guide
1 guaranteed
1 grows
1 grown
1 groovy
1 grip
1 grieves
1 greyhound
1 grey
1 grew
1 green
1 greasy
1 grass
1 grandson
1 grain
1 grab
1 gotcha
1 gore
1 goods
1 gollum
1 golden
1 god
1 glowing
1 globe
1 glitters
1 glancing
1 gives
1 gimme
1 giggled
1 giant
1 gettin'
1 gentle
1 general
1 geen
1 gauge
1 gates
1 gasoline
1 gas
1 games
1 gabriel
1 ga
1 futile
1 funny
1 frown
1 fright
1 freeway
1 freedom
1 fray
1 frame
1 forth
1 formless
1 forget
1 forever
1 forests
1 footsteps
1 foot's
1 fools
1 fool's
1 follow
1 folks
1 fold
1 foe
1 fluff
1 flown
1 flight
1 flies
1 flick
1 flee
1 fled
1 flat
1 flash
1 flamin'
1 fix
1 fireman
1 firelight
1 fined
1 findin'
1 fifty
1 field's
1 field
1 feeling
1 feelin
1 feathers
1 feasts
1 feast
1 fear
1 father
1 fate
1 faster
1 family
1 fakin'
1 fails
1 fail
1 fadin'
1 factory
1 faces
1 faceless
1 fabled
1 expect
1 exhibition
1 exceed
1 evident
1 everywhere
1 everything's
1 everyplace
1 evermore
1 eternal
1 endure
1 end's
1 empty
1 embraced
1 else
1 elders
1 eh
1 een
1 edition
1 echo
1 ebb
1 ease
1 earthly
1 ears
1 earned
1 eah
1 eagles
1 eagle
1 e
1 dust
1 dungarees
1 dulled
1 dug
1 drums
1 drops
1 droolin'
1 drives
1 drip
1 drinkin'
1 dresses
1 dress
1 dreamless
1 drawer
1 dragon
1 downing
1 downhill
1 doves
1 doubts
1 don'cha
1 doldrums
1 doggone
1 distant
1 disguise
1 disclosin'
1 discernin'
1 dirty
1 different
1 dick
1 diamond
1 devour
1 devotion
1 devil's
1 despite
1 desert
1 describe
1 den
1 delight
1 deed
1 declare
1 decided
1 death
1 dearly
1 deals
1 dead
1 daw
1 daunting
1 daughter
1 date
1 darker
1 dared
1 dances
1 damn
1 d'yer
1 curving
1 curtain
1 cursed
1 cup
1 crystal
1 crunge
1 crept
1 creepin'
1 created
1 craze
1 cracked
1 crack
1 couple
1 coulda
1 cough
1 cook
1 convince
1 constant
1 conscience
1 confounded
1 conditioned
1 con
1 completely
1 companion
1 communicate
1 common
1 commitment
1 command
1 coming
1 collide
1 coldness
1 coin
1 coda
1 clutchin'
1 clothes
1 closet's
1 closed
1 close
1 cloak
1 climbin'
1 clean
1 clay
1 clarify
1 claim
1 circus
1 church
1 choice
1 chill
1 cherries
1 cheerin'
1 cheeks
1 cheatin'
1 chase
1 charm
1 changes
1 chances
1 chance
1 cent
1 caused
1 case
1 carouselambra
1 carne'
1 carnation
1 caress
1 careless
1 canyons
1 candy
1 candle
1 cameron
1 calms
1 calmed
1 calm
1 calcutta
1 cadillac
1 buy
1 butler
1 bustle
1 bursts
1 burns
1 burned
1 burn
1 bumps
1 build
1 brunt
1 brow
1 brook
1 bringin'
1 brighten
1 brick
1 breath
1 brave
1 brand
1 brakeman
1 bower
1 bourbon
1 bound
1 booze
1 boots
1 bonzo's
1 bone
1 boilin'
1 body's
1 boats
1 boat
1 blushin'
1 blowin'
1 bliss
1 blinds
1 blindin'
1 blind
1 bleeker
1 bleedin'
1 bleed
1 blazin'
1 blame
1 bitten
1 bills
1 biding
1 beware
1 betwee
1 betcha
1 bend
1 behavin'
1 begun
1 begins
1 bee
1 become
1 beads
1 battle
1 bathed
1 bash
1 bars
1 barry
1 barely
1 bare
1 bane
1 bands
1 balance
1 bag
1 backdoor
1 backbone
1 ayy
1 awake
1 avalon
1 autumn
1 automatic
1 attainment
1 aryan
1 armor
1 arm
1 argue
1 april
1 apple
1 anyway
1 anytime
1 anyplace
1 anthony
1 answer
1 annie's
1 angel
1 andy
1 ame
1 altogether
1 alri
1 already
1 aloud
1 almost
1 allow
1 alive
1 albion
1 alarmed
1 ake
1 airplane
1 aged
1 age
1 aftermath
1 advice
1 adrift
1 across
1 achilles'
1 aboard
1 'twas
1 'n
1 'fore

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New WOW course: Writing the Young Adult Novel...

Writer's Digest's Writer's Online Workshops (WOW) is launching a brand new 8-week course on Writing the Young Adult Novel based on our terrific book by K.L. Going, Writing & Selling the YA Novel. Here's some information about what's covered:

The choices you make as an author—choices about character development, setting, conflict, and plot—are going to be driven by the impulses, interests, and issues relating to a YA audience. In this course, we’ll be paying particular attention to how to write with an eye toward a teen audience. Questions we’ll ask ourselves: What kinds of characters are best suited for a YA novel? How can I develop and deepen the conflict of my novel? What are the limitations and possibilities of YA fiction? And, finally, How do I go about publishing and/or marketing a YA book? The various lessons in this book will introduce you to the YA genre and help you apply specific writing strategies to your work in order to turn the kernel of your idea into a publishable and saleable novel.

I've taught a few WOW courses myself and they're a lot of fun. Students get detailed critiques and advice from instructors on their assignment or works in progress as well as getting input from fellow students.

I'll share part of the course lecture. This begins a discussion on techniques for getting to know your character:

Before you pen even a single sentence of your novel, you should know your protagonist (and other main characters) and know him well. Entire books are written on how to well-develop character, and there’s much to consider. Going writes, “consider what truly defines each of your characters. What makes them unique individuals, different from others?”

This advice is excellent. Before you even begin writing your novel, you should write a character bio for each of your main players. Questions to ask: What is your character’s history? Where did she go to school? What is her favorite color? How many family members does she have? What is her biggest fear? What kind of job does she have, if any? What kind of grades does she get in school, and what is her favorite subject? Does she listen to music? Watch TV? Enjoy movies?

You, the writer, should know all of the answers to these questions, even if these answers do not make their way onto your pages. Why? Because the answer to these questions will reveal your character’s fully rounded personality, and it is this personality, the accumulation of all facets of the individual’s life and experiences, that will determine other aspects of your novel, such as how your protagonist responds to particular events before him.

Going’s chapter on character leaves us with a lot to consider, but let’s, for now, focus on four core elements of character: History, Complexity, Appearance, and Plausibility.

This new course on YA writing has two upcoming sessions, starting December 3 and December 31 (just in time for those writing resolutions).

Friday, November 06, 2009

Tomorrow: National Bookstore Day and Buy a Book, Save the World!...


For the second year in a row, a group of book lovers who've organized on Facebook is gearing up for "Buy a Book, Save the World!," which kicks off tomorrow in conjunction with PW's National Bookstore Day, "a day devoted to celebrating bookselling and the vibrant culture of bookstores."

Here's the message posted on the Buy a Book, Save the World! Facebook page:

Well, it’s that time again--the Buy a Book, Save the World! 2nd Annual International Holiday Bookstore Bookpush! Last year was a brilliant success, with our numbers surging over twenty-five hundred strong, all for the love of reading.

How can y
ou participate? It’s easy. All you have to do is pledge to visit your local bookstore and purchase a book to give as a gift. Remember--try and give preference to independent stores if you can, though we love all our booksellers.

This year, we’re doing something a little different. Instead of kicking off on Black Friday, we’re getting started a little early. Tomorrow begins a Publishers Weekly–sponsored initiative called National Bookstore Day. One hundred and forty independent bookstores from around the nation are participating with raffles, author signings, and discounts to celebrate the occasion. What better time is there to start our International Holiday Bookstore Bookpush? Contact your local Indie and see if they’re participating. (If they're not, encourage them!)

So get out, invite all y
our friends, spread the word about Buy a Book, Save the World!, and enjoy National Bookstore Day! Happy Shopping!!!

Tomorrow I'll be visiting Joseph-Beth Booksellers here in the Nati (which I do quite often). Jamie Ford, author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet,
will be signing at 1PM.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Featured Blogger:
Jacket Knack's Julie Larios...



Julie Larios maintains Jacket Knack along with co-blogger Carol Brendler (a writer with an MFA from Vermont College) . The pair offer weekly posts focusing on children's books cover art.

Why did you decide to start a blog focusing on cover art? How long have you been blogging?

Actually, Carol approached me and asked me if I'd be interested in starting a blog with her about the cover art of children's books. I'm not quite sure why she asked me—she had probably heard me going on and on about Chip Kidd , a designer of book covers for adults—but I'm so glad she did. In college I originally wanted to be a graphic designer, and I link three or four graphic design websites to my personal blog.

T
ell me a little about your background in regards to the children's book world.

My mother read to my sister and brother and me all the way through our elementary school years. That's where an involvement with kids books really begins—being read to as a child. When my own kids were little, I read to them, and I took a job at a bookstore. Eventually, I became the head buyer for a large children's book department in Seattle. Doing that every day—talking with reps about new books, judging all those books by their covers (!) as I ordered them (along with a quick pitch from the rep about author and plot), handing people books and watching their reactions—that got me completely hooked. I've written four books of poetry for children, and I teach on the faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA-Writing for Children and Young Adults program, which I recommend to all people who are serious about learning how to write for children. I also write poetry for adults, so I straddle the fence and look both ways in terms of my writing interests.

In the world of adult poetry, the community can be a little competitive, a little nuts (some of the craziness I love) and a lot hermetic. Luckily, the world of children's books is filled with generous, full-hearted people who love nothing more than building community, so I get to experience both the mysteriously introverted and the warmly extroverted extremes and everything in between. It's glorious.

Not too long ago, I started my own blog, The Drift Record and it straddles the same fence—not all Kidlitosphere, but not all adult. I go where the drifting takes me.

How often do you post and what kinds of things do you cover in regards to covers?

I post on Jacket Knack every other Monday, alternating with Carol. One of those two posts of mine each month is called “Tapjacketing”—filled with links to websites I've enjoyed over the previous month which I want to share with readers (and Carol sometimes sends me suggestions for sites she's seen, too.) I'm interested in the collaborative nature of book jackets—the behind-the-scenes decisions of art designers, editors, illustrators and marketing people who are all working together (I think) to come up with a cover that readers can't resist, so interviews with people in the business are important.

I'm also interested in patterns—having been a bookseller for a long time, I notice odd patterns and trends—one season it's photos of feet, another season, it's the backs of people's heads, another season, blue is the de rigueur color, then suddenly everything is black with white, or everything is done montage. Very strange. What generates these waves?

I'm curious, so I think of the blog as a little journey of exploration. What I'm looking for is perfection—everything working together to get a book into the hands of the child who will love it.

If you had to choose, could you tell me your top three favorite children's book jackets (and a little on why you love them).

Top three book covers. Oh, gosh—the minute I hear a number, I want to double it. Let's see…

#1) One I'd have to choose is the hardcover edition of M.T. Anderson's novel, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party illustrated by Gerard DuBois. The need to keep Octavian's identity a secret was an important design factor—and the solution (the mask) is just horrifying. You don't know what you're looking at—is it human? And of course, that question is the central question of the book. Brilliant cover, though the award stickers diminish the impact of the illustration, and the paperback version takes away the dark background (such a mistake—it's the darkness that draws us in).

#2) Carol wrote recently on Jacket Knack about title-less book jackets—and it made me think of the first time I saw the startling full spread cover of Puss in Boots, illustrated by Fred Marcellino. Whoever made the decision to keep all the text off that cover was a genius. The book just begs to be picked up—Puss is all-cat, all-the-way, he shines from within, you see that cover, you want that book.

#3) There's one cover that I think no one else in the world would put on a list—it's from a 1938 "adaptation for children" of the adult novel Lorna Doone, written by Richard Blackmore. But I fell into this book so hard when I was eleven or twelve, it's a miracle I ever climbed back out. The cover design and interior illustrations were done by the great graphic artist Alexander Key, who later turned to writing and produced Escape to Witch Mountain. The only photo of the particular edition of Lorna Doone I love so much, which is a woodcut showing two men on horseback, galloping at each other their swords drawn, the moon shining, oh, such DRAMA!!—is very small: and I'm not sure you can get a sense of its impact. Using black-and-white woodcuts adds immediate drama, it's built in to the technique itself, due to the contrast between negative and positive space.

Once and for all, can you judge a book my its cover?

Well, covers are made to sell books, and when the bottom line is profit, you can't ever quite trust the process. So no, you can't judge a book by its cover alone. But a good designer can get you awfully close to judging well. Good cover art conveys tone, timbre, subtext, audience, mood—a good cover gives the book's readers lots of clues.

Friday, October 30, 2009

My First Book Picks Are Picked...

I spent the better part of the week working on the agonizing-yet-fun task of choosing debut authors to feature in First Books in the 2011 edition of CWIM. I've e-mailed all of my chosen ones today. To all those debut authors who haven't heard from me, I will be contacting many of you in the coming months as I resurrect Debut Author of the Month here on the blog beginning in January 2010. (Why does this all sounds so Biblical?)

Thanks so much to everyone who contacted me. I was so thrilled to hear from each of you and so happy to read about your successes (and your books). You should all be very proud.

Happy Halloween weekend to everyone. (Don't forget to fall back--and haunt for an extra hour tomorrow night).

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

First Books Lowdown: My Unscientific Findings on New-Author-Friendly Publishers...

Every year since I've been blogging, I've put out a call for debut authors for my First Book feature and every year I post about which publishers are publishing the debut authors who contacted me. Here's the scoop for this year (all of which are in random order because I don't like to alphabetize)...

Publishers who are publishing one of the debut books in my pool:

  • Flux
  • Carolrhoda
  • Flashlight Press
  • Scholastic
  • Houghton Mifflin
  • Albert Whitman
  • Dutton
  • Blooming Tree
  • Holiday House
  • Pelican
  • HIP Books
  • Clarion
  • Bloomsbury
  • Feiwel & Friends
  • Candlewick
  • Raven Tree Press
  • Delacorte
  • Capstone

Publishers who are publishing two or more of the debut books in my pool:
  • HarperCollins
  • Walker
  • Putnam
  • Random House
  • Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky
  • Farrar, Strauss & Giroux
  • Simon & Schuster
  • Sterling
This year Putnam ties previous two-time winner HarperCollins at five a piece, so they each get a Friendly-to-New-Authors Gold Star!

Only a handful of the debut authors who contacted me said they have agents--I'm sure more do and didn't mention it--and some of those agented writers didn't get their agents until after the first book deal. I heard from plenty of unagented writers.

About half of the authors who contacted me are YA writers, the other half picture books, MG and chapter books, with PBs as the majority.

If you're among the YA authors (or even if you're not) check out Publishers Weekly's report, What Do Teens Want?, a survey of teen ├╝ber readers. Lots of statistics and charts! (I tweeted a link to this yesterday and was retweeted like crazy.)

Now back to the tough/fun job of deciding who to interview.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Reunites for the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in New York...

I'm very excited to announce that I will once again serve as captain of SCBWI TEAM BLOG as we offer exhaustive coverage of the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in New York City which takes place January 29th-31st at the Hyatt Grand Central.

Conference info (faculty, schedule) is now up on the SCBWI website, and online registration will open Wednesday, October 28th at 10 a.m. PST. But whether you attend or not, TEAM BLOG will keep you posted on every session and keynote on the Official SCBWI Conference Blog.

Here are the Winter Conference TEAM BLOG bloggers and links to their blogs and Twitter pages. (Look for exclusive pre-conference content on our blogs between now and conference time):