Thursday, September 27, 2007

New Chapter in the Chronicle/Blurb Story...

You may have seen it reported recently that Chronicle Books was forming a partnership with print-on-demand publisher in which Chronicle would refer writers to the service and in turn receive a fee from Blurb.

Now Publishers Lunch quotes Sarah Williams at Chronicle saying that information cited in Newsweek was not correct: "Chronicle Books will not receive a referral fee for recommending to aspiring authors or artists," she said.

She goes on to say: "Chronicle will provide a landing page from our website to which our editors may refer authors or artists whose works they feel are a good match for For their
part, will offer us discoveries they might make in terms of online trends, notably how consumers are finding books online. There are many self-publishing options in the marketplace, though far fewer for illustrated book authors and artists. As an independent illustrated book publisher in San Francisco, Chronicle Books felt an affinity for the locally-based and the quality of the product it is offering the public."

We can't help but wonder here at the Writer's Digest Books office whether Newsweek got it wrong or if Chronicle changed the terms of their partnership after the fact due to reactions of the writing/publishing world. It makes me uneasy to think that a reputable publisher like Chronicle would enter into such a deal, referring rejected writers to a self-publishing outlet for a fee. Even without the fee it still feels a icky.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Here's News: Boys Don't Like Girly Book Covers...

My co-worker sent me a link to this piece in a British paper discussing the fact that publishers aren't choosing covers with universal appeal for boys and girls. It's not exactly breaking news that boys won't get caught dead reading books with pink covers. But I wonder if a cover can appeal to both boys and girls? As Hodder Children's Books publishing director Anne McNeil says in the article, “Where books are about real contemporary characters rather than fantasy, we find that it is challenging to produce a cover which appeals equally to both genders--the danger is, you end up appealing to neither. Therefore we do tend to make a targeted decision, and are comfortable that this produces more sales.” That's smart--it's also not breaking news that girls read more than boys and thus buy more books.

But why? Is i due to all the pink book covers out there? Video games? Peer pressure? Societal mores? Who knows. As the mother of a 3-year-old boy, I've found it fascinating that my son, through no initial urging by his parents, is obsessed with things like delivery trucks, construction equipment and robots. He tells me certain toys, books, and his light-blue sweatpants which he refuses to wear are "for girls." How does this happen? Is it in his DNA to be repulsed by pastels? Is it because of me--am I too girly? I love pink. I have a pink dressing room (pink carpet, pink pillows) and a pink bathroom (pink sinks, pink toilet, pink tub). Pink = mommy, Mommy = girl therefore Pink = girl. Murray = boy therefore Murray avoids pink or anything with a pink-ish and thus girlish quality.

Why is it always the mother's fault?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

First Books Update: I Have My Lineup...

After several weeks I've finally decided on my lineup of debut authors for First Books for the 2009 CWIM! If you haven't gotten an email from me today, I didn't choose for the feature.

I'm sorry I'm not able to personally contact all the authors and illustrators who emailed me about their first books. There are a lot of you, and if I email you all right now, I might never finish getting my 2009 edition planned. (I'm sure the writers who have queried me about CWIM features must be getting impatient by now.)

A number of the debut authors who contacted me will be hearing from me in the not-so-distant future. One of you will me my next Debut Author of the Month--I have you picked out. And I think I few of you may fit into CWIM in some capacity.

Another big Thank You for emailing me about your books.

2008 CWIM TOC Boo-boo...

It's recently been brought to my attention that in the 2008 CWIM the Clubs & Organizations section is not listed in the Table of Contents. Fear not--the book does indeed include Clubs & Organizations as always--the section begins on page 292. (Feel free to pencil it in the TOC of your copy.) Thanks to Harold Underdown for alerting me to this omission. (Click here for Harold's review of the purple 2008 CWIM posted on his website, The Purple Crayon.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lots of Publishers Are New-Author Friendly...

As I've been going over my possible First Books candidates for the 2009 CWIM, I've been keeping a list of the publishers producing all the debut books I've been reading about and mulling over. Today I will share:

Here are publishers with multiple books in my stack:

  • 6 books from HarperCollins or HC imprints (Greenwillow, Tegen)
  • 3 books from Scholastic or Scholastic imprints (Levine, PUSH)
  • 3 from Random House or RH imprint (Wendy Lamb)
  • 3 from Farrar, Strauss & Giroux
  • 3 from Dutton
  • 2 from Henry Holt
  • 2 from Simon & Schuster (1 S&S, 1 Atheneum)
  • 2 from Penguin Group (1 Putman, 1 Razorbill)
  • 2 from Sylvan Dell
  • 2 from Onstage
  • 2 from newcomer Gumboot
Here are publishers with just one book in my stack (in alphabetical order. I had to sing the alphabet song several time to accomplish this):
  • Abrams
  • Concordia
  • Delacorte
  • Flux
  • Front Street
  • Holiday House
  • Lobster Press
  • Red Deer
  • Sterling
  • Tilbury
  • Tricycle Press
  • Whitman
So this year HarperCollins is gets the gold star for most debut authors who happened to contact me. (Last year it was a tie between Delacorte and Sylvan Dell.)

Also of interest--I had at least three authors tell me they were plucked from the slush pile! Lots of authors who contacted me do not have agents. And I have the exact same number of picture books as young adult novels--that never happens! I always hear from far more novelists than picture book writers and illustrators. Who says the picture book market is flat? Apparently publishers on the above list are buying them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First Books Update...

I have not yet decided on my First Books lineup for the 2009 CWIM. It's hard. And I was on vacation. And it's hard. So please debut authors...bear with me. All of you who contacted me will be hearing from me soon. Thanks again for telling me about your first books--there are so many wonderful stories to choose from. You should all be very proud. (Remember--if I don't choose you for the CWIM article, you may be a Debut Author of the Month like Marlane or Kim.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Children's Book Agents on GLA Blog...

If you're not subscribed to the Guide to Literary Agents e-newsletter, you missed the recent issue focusing on agents who handle children's books. GLA editor Chuck Sambuchino interviewed Jessica Regel of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Michelle Andelman of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and Laurie McLean of the Larsen/Pomada Literary Agency. Also see the GLA blog for an interview with Random House Children's Books editor Nick Eliopulos. (You can sign up for Chuck's newsletter on the GLA blog as well.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle Remembered...

In case you hadn't heard, Madeleine L'Engle, beloved author of the 1963 Newbery winner A Wrinkle in Time and dozens of other tales, died yesterday at the age of 88. Here's a story about her in the New York Times.

Debut Author of the Month: Marlane Kennedy...

Marlane Kennedy decided to become an author when she was in the 4th grade, but it took 14 years from the time she got serious about writing until she got her first book contract with Greenwillow for Me and the Pumpkin Queen. Here she talks about her path to publication, finding an agent--and learning everything there is to know about growing super gigantic pumpkins.

You wrote for a long time before getting Me and the Pumpkin Queen published. I guess that makes you the Persistence Queen! What kept you going?

Yes, I'm the Persistence Queen. Or maybe just plain stubborn. It seemed like every rejection somehow made me even more determined. But along with my fair share of form rejections, I did receive personal notes from editors and invitations to send more manuscripts their way. I found that encouraging. They must see something in my writing, I thought. Something worthwhile. Something with potential. So I kept on plugging away. And I kept on finding more projects to become excited about. I did not get hung up on one manuscript--I was able to eventually let go and move ahead if something wasn't working. I have seven unpublished middle grades lying in peace under my bed. But I learned something with each one. They are the building blocks that made me the writer I am today. I do not regret a single one. All the time and effort I put into those fourteen years were well worth the moment I got to see my novel on a bookstore shelf for the first time.

How did you find your agent? Please talk about your path to publication.

I had an agent relationship early on when I first started writing that did not work out. So for a long time I submitted to publishers on my own. Finally I got frustrated with the fact so many houses were closed and decided to bite the bullet and try again. When I was researching agents, I came across Sue Stauffacher's site. She talked about her agent, Wendy Schmalz, and how loyal she was. Sue had hit some dry patches and Wendy did not give up on her. That is the kind of agent I want, I thought. So off I sent a query letter and sample chapters to Wendy--no referral, no connections. Within a week, I was her client. After the phone call I started jumping willy nilly around the house, which embarrassed my two teenage sons greatly. They did not appreciate my happy dance, but they were really excited for me nonetheless. Unfortunately, Wendy was not able to sell the manuscript she originally took me on with. But she liked my new project, about a giant pumpkin growing girl, and it sold fairly quickly during the first round of submissions.

Once you signed your contract, what was the publication process like for Pumpkin Queen? Were there any surprises?

Everything went super smooth and on schedule--I guess in a way that was a surprise. I had heard in publishing it is quite common to experience delays and that editors come and go in the blink of an eye, but I was pleased to find out none of that was in store for me. All the editorial suggestions made during the revision stage made sense and made the book stronger, though I was asked to change the ending and that was a challenge. Another surprise was the cover. Since the story takes place in a real setting, I always imagined it being realistic in depiction. But I fell in love with Marla Frazee's interpretation the moment I saw it. I can't imagine it having any other cover now!

You had to do a lot of research about growing pumpkins as you worked on your book. Do you know enough about pumpkins to fill a 1000-pound-er?

Whew! How about filling two 1000-pound-ers? When I was about 3/4 of the way done with the manuscript I was tempted to throw up my hands and say, "I give up! This is way too complicated!" There are entire books dedicated to the art of growing giant pumpkins and new theories are continually being added and tested. What details do I include? What do I leave out? I didn't want the book to come across as a pumpkin growing manual, but at the same time I wanted to portray how difficult it truly is and all the hard work and dedication involved. Somehow I muddled on through and found the right balance of story and facts. Funny thing about me writing this book, though, is that I can't even keep a houseplant alive. For all I've learned, I'm not sure I'd actually be successful at growing a giant pumpkin.

Tell my readers a little bit about your novel? Is your main character Mildred anything like you when you were a girl?

In Me and the Pumpkin Queen, eleven-year-old Mildred is on a quest to grow a giant pumpkin big enough to enter into her hometown's festival weigh-off. She has tried for years and has only met with disappointment. Something always goes wrong and by the time the Pumpkin Show comes around Mildred 's giant pumpkin dreams are squashed. But she refuses to give up. Growing the giants makes her feel close to her mother, who died when she was only six. Her aunt calls her hobby an obsession, but to Mildred her time in the pumpkin patch is important in a way her aunt isn't able to understand. Mildred is a bit on the serious side and enjoys the animals her father cares for in his veterinary practice. She is not a girly girl and does not aspire to be one. Like Mildred, I was on the quiet side. I wasn't a super bubbly, perky kid. And I loved being around animals. I grew up around dairy cows, pigs, horses, dogs, and cats. I was a country girl through and through--though unlike Mildred I did have an affinity for clothes and shopping for them!

You grew up in Circleville, Ohio, home of the Pumpkin Show, which is the setting for your book. Do you remember what it was like attending your first Pumpkin Show as a kid?

I remember parking in an outlying downtown neighborhood and being enchanted before I even reached the blocked off streets of the Pumpkin Show. All the houses were dressed for the event--front porches, windows and doors all decked out in fall themes and lots of orange and of course, pumpkins. It was as if the entire town had caught pumpkin fever. Amazing. And once I walked onto the actual festival grounds I couldn't believe how huge it was--and how crowded. The parades were something else, too. So many decorated floats and all the different marching bands that had traveled to my new hometown to perform. And I got several days off from school! I soon learned that everyone in Circleville and the surrounding area was passionate, almost crazy, about their Pumpkin Show and for good reason--it really is the "greatest free show on earth."

Why do middle-grade novels appeal to you as a writer and as a reader?

Books about pre-teens are so fresh and fun and full of wonder. They do sometimes address serious issues, but it is done in a very different way than young adult books. There isn't the heavy cynicism or the deep questioning or the dark moods. I do appreciate older, edgier stuff (for example I loved Speak), but my heart belongs with middle grades. There is something about that age group--you're not a little kid anymore and you're developing a world outside of your parents and a sense of independence. There is this belief you can do anything if you put your mind to it--the world is wide open. Middle grades capture this. It's about exploration and discovery. It's about the magic and freedom of being your own person. It's about saying, "Look out world, here I come!" There is an energy to middle grades that draws me in and puts me in a good mood--I haven't outgrown middle grades yet. I hope I never will. I guess part of the appeal is that they keep me young in heart.

How has your membership in the Class of 2k7 helped you as a debut author? Do you have any special promotions coming in October (the greatest pumpkin month)?

It's been wonderful to share the experience of being a first time author with others. It's like a built in support group! We truly understand each other. It's also been terrific to have the additional marketing the group provides. There have been articles about us in various trade publications (there's more than a few mentions of the group in the new CWIM) and our members have been invited to speak at several conferences. It's been an extra added boost in getting my title out there and noticed. As for special promotions, the end of September through October will keep me hopping. Of course I will be at the Pumpkin Show signing books. I also will be doing a book signing at the Polaris Barnes and Noble in Columbus, Ohio, on September 28 at 7 p.m. and a joint event at Rhoads Farm Market in Circleville with my expert pumpkin grower, Dr. Robert Liggett, on September 30 at 2 p.m.. Then there will be various school visits and I will be attending the Ohio Educational Library Media Association conference on October 19. I'm doing a contest on my website as well to celebrate the Pumpkin Show and my book. Just look under NEWS on the homepage. One lucky winner will receive an autographed copy of my book along with 10 Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds. All you have to do is guess the weight of this year's winning pumpkin for a chance to win.

I saw Pumpkin Queen on the Book Sense Picks list for Autumn 2007. It's also a Junior Library Guild Selection, and has gotten some favorable reviews. What's it like to hear the reactions to your first book?

Before the honors and reviews came in it was a scary, nerve-racking time. You know you are so incredibly lucky just to have a book published, yet you so long for your "baby" to be loved by others. I had read reviews of other books that used descriptions like not compelling, flat characters, and weak plot. So I tried to prepare myself for the worst. I think most writers battle self-doubt. I know I did. Fortunately, the reviews have all been positive. Some actual made me cry with the nice things they said! And being a Junior Library Guild Selection and Book Sense Pick is icing on the cake. It's been incredibly reaffirming, but I have to admit there are still days when I question myself and my writing. I've accepted, though, that that is a normal part of the process. I have another book coming out with Greenwillow in 2009 and already I am full of excitement and worry over how it will be received!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors, particularly those writing mid-grade books?

First of all read, read, read. Go to the library and get an armful of middle grades on a regular basis. I don't think I'd be where I'm at today without reading Kate Dicamillo, Jerry Spinelli, Lois Lowry, Patricia McLachlan, Sharon Creech and too many others to mention. Immerse yourself in the business--join SCBWI, go to a conference or two if possible, visit the message boards at And most importantly, just write! I knew I wanted to become an author yet I spent most of my twenties finding excuses not to write. I was the Procrastination Queen before I became the Persistence Queen. You don't have to have everything perfectly figured out before putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. That is what a first draft is for--making mistakes. And don't fear rejection. For most of us it is inevitable. Of course it stings, it hurts, but each rejection I got put me closer to becoming published. It was a long journey, but well worth it. So put on that Persistence Crown and keep at it--just like Mildred did with her pumpkins!

2008 CWIM Excerpt: Jan Fields...

Jan Fields loves to write. "For me, writing is much more like trying to control flood waters." Fields took a circuitous approach to children's literature. She started with newspaper writing, then moved on to freelance writing and manuscript editing. Next came being a writing instructor at the local community college. Finally Fields realized what she really loved was writing for and about children. "I am fascinated by the whole beast-the whole world that is children's publishing."

Fields has kept herself diversified even after she figured out what she loves to do. A wife and mother, Fields balances many roles. Not only has she written several books and hundreds of articles, she teaches for the Institute of Children's Literature and runs Kid Magazine Writers.

Kid Magazine Writers (KMW) is an e-zine Fields started several years ago when she realized there was a need for a resource for people who write for children's magazines. "I waited for someone else to discover that and launch a magazine," she says. "I eventually figured out that wasn't happening. So, I started KMW because I felt that if I'm going to complain about something, I should be part of fixing it." Fields got her husband to help her with the technical stuff and launched the e-zine into her already busy life.

Working online has been a new experience for Fields. "It's much easier and faster for me to create a Web page than it was (back in the early 80s when I was learning print publication) to lay out a newspaper page. And one person can do a lot more." Yes the digital age has raised some difficulties. "Expectations have risen. People e-mail me and if I don't answer in an hour, they'll e-mail again. Folks just expect a quick answer to anything they need to know." Something that most people don't realize is that "the cost in time is incredible."

The online format gives Fields enough of an advantage over print publications to keep her going. For example, "I can 'scoop' print magazines on market news because I don't have long lead times from printing." But probably the best part of having the magazine online is that it gets to exist at all. Fields didn't have the money to invest in a print publication, but she could afford the time. "Kid Magazine Writers couldn't survive as a print publication, but it thrives online."

KMW thrives because it can change constantly. The content and features change monthly, and what gets published is determined by a couple factors. "Partly it's determined by what comes in," Fields explains, "but I also write part of the content for virtually every month and my contribution totally depends upon what high horse I'm up on." There are some things that do stay constant. "Every month I have industry information. Every month I have something on the writing life-either practical or philosophical/inspirational. And every month I have something on technique. I think these are the three sides of a successful writing career. I will always feed those three sides, but the subcategories can vary."

While some of the specifics in KMW may change, some things remain in constant demand. "We get the most hits to the editor area. Everyone wants to hear from editors. The whole market section is probably the first stop of most of our more successful writers because once you're selling regularly-you're always looking for new markets, better market info, and insider tips." Visitors can find tips on how to write better query letters to some new publishing opportunities.

One of Field's favorite sections is the technique area. "Within whatever your target specialty is-it's so important to always be honing your technique." Fields has reason to be proud of this area. "When I get positive e-mails from editors of magazines, it's nearly always about articles in this area."

What many new writers really love is the "Working Day" area. "I think that much of the 'Working Day' area is just very cozy, writer-to-writer chatty stuff. The things in there help people feel less alone. We get a lot of e-mail about that section too and how inspirational it is for writers who are struggling with fitting writing and life into a smooth whole."

One of the difficulties both new and seasoned writers have with the rise of Internet publishing is figuring out which sites and e-zines are reputable. Fields suggests these guidelines:

  • How long has it been online? Anything new stands the chance of folding quickly. Also, the quality of submissions grows over time so an older magazine tends to have a better reputation for quality.
  • Who is running it? If the site is run by someone with real experience in the business, I'm much more confident about how good the material will be and how good the editing will be.
  • Does it pay? That seems snobbish coming from an editor who doesn't pay, but for children's e-magazines, pay is a big part of reputation. Paying writers is a big commitment so magazines that pay are either picky about quality or sadly transient.

Writing for children's magazines is different from writing for adults. Fields maintains that one thing is vital if you want to write for children's magazines: "Read children's magazines. There is nothing, nothing, nothing you can do that is more important in this field. If you're not reading children's magazines, you're likely to get more rejections than acceptances. Reading fuels your creativity in the directions that will work for the magazines. And you'll internalize the unique pacing, plot and scene structure of the short story."

While reading to see what is there is important, Fields warns writers to be aware of what is not there as well. "I'm sometimes startled by folks who target Highlights, for example, by saying they've read the magazine since they were kids-but they're sending a story where a bully smacks a kid around in the school yard. Highlights has a very strict 'no violence' policy." If you don't want more rejections slips, be aware of each magazine's standards and guidelines.

That advice extends to writing activities for children's magazines. "You need to be familiar with your target magazine (that's code for read it) to send the right activity." Along with knowing the magazine, "lively and fun should be your watch words." These watch words apply to nonfiction writing as well, with one twist. "You have to be tightly focused. Don't write about camels-write about the feral camels of Australia. Drill down to the most fascinating aspect of the subject, the part that captures you, and expand that into your article."

For Fields, the key to writing for children is to have fun with it. "If you're reading what's being published and not enjoying it, you're probably not destined to write for children. Find the magazines that still catch your imagination and excite you and learn from them. You're probably the right person to write for them. There is an incredible amount of joy in writing for children and reading is the key to finding it."

[Article by Rachel McDonald from the 2008 CWIM.]

Interview: Editor Deborah Brodie...

After three decades working for publishers, Editor Deborah Brodie has hung out her shingle as a freelance editor, working for both publishing houses and writers on varying projects in varying capacities. I've caught up with her to ask about what she's doing--and what she can do for a writer--and to see how things are going in her life as a freelancer.

Writers interested in contacting Deborah should email a description of your manuscripts and some sense of what you think your work together might be to:

What is your new "title"--are you a freelance editor? a book doctor? (What do your new business cards say?!)
I thought a lot about what to put on my new business cards, as my job description is now amazingly varied. As a freelancer, I'm editing books for all ages, even fiction for adults-I worked on several adult books years ago at Penguin, including The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King.

I'm also leading writers' retreats and staff-development workshops; being a book doctor; speaking at conferences; teaching creative writing and mentoring MFA students. My clients include small and large publishers, as well as literary agents and individuals.

But what I ended up putting on the card is truly who I am: "Editor of Books for Children and Teens."

What services can you offer writers? What types of books for young readers will you work on? And what freelance work are you doing for publishers?
As a book doctor, I try to make it clear that, while I obviously cannot guarantee that our work together will result in their book being published, I can help individual writers take their work to the next level by giving detailed comments and direction.

I can work with the author through several rounds of intensive revising. In some situations, though, it makes more sense to do light editing and provide a phone consultation-really a one-on-one tutorial about the field of children's books and how the writer can find a place there.

For publishers, I'm working on books that will definitely be published, and some want me to step in for one or two early stages. Others want me to take over completely and work directly with the author, provide jacket copy and marketing support materials, and oversee the book through most of the production process.

The range of books is the same as when I worked on-staff at a publishing house: from deceptively simple picture books for toddlers to humorous, family-centered middle grade novels, to sex-and-violence teen fiction, with a touch of nonfiction--all literary and/or commercial.

You worked for Viking for more than 20 years and spent six years or so at Roaring Brook. What's it like for you living the freelance life?
When I first left Roaring Brook, I immediately started to look for fulltime work in another publishing house. Editors, publishers and agents kept sending me freelance projects, unsolicited, and two major publishers said they'd like to turn over projects to me, as a freelance editor, that would include working directly with the authors. As long as I can work directly with authors--the juicy, delicious part of being an editor--I'm happy. I worked from a home office for the last six years, so I'm all set up and have already proven how productive and professional such an arrangement can be. I just didn't expect to enjoy it this much and to be so comfortable with such a fluid structure.

So this is no longer an interim arrangement for me, it's my new work life-and I love every varied and meaningful minute of it!

Over the years have you noticed common mistakes writers make? Are there two or three things you'd advise them not to do?
That's an interesting question, Alice. Much of the strengthening of a manuscript takes place in cutting out didactic passages, encouraging writers to know their characters so well that actions and emotions are credible and the point of view makes sense. It really comes down to trusting your reader enough to not spell out every detail and, of course, to be willing to revise, revise, revise.

Why (or at what point) should a writer consider working with a book doctor or a freelance editor? Can it help a manuscript shine more brightly from the slush pile?
"Shine more brightly" is a great phrase and, yes, it can. The help of an experienced book doctor can make enough difference to inspire a publisher to actually acquire the book. Or for an agent to decide to take on the writer as a client or, if the writer is already a client, decide that the manuscript or dummy is now ready to submit to publishers.

Because I enjoy teaching so much, I'm also happy to talk to writers at a very early stage and give general comments on voice, audience, format, career planning and marketing.

The goal in all these situations is to bring the material to a higher level and also give the writer tools to use for the next book.

Are there important questions a writer should ask a freelance editor going in?
Any question that clarifies the expectations on both sides is a good question. It's crucial to define the parameters of the work. Will I be giving detailed notes throughout the manuscript, plus an editorial letter about strong points and specific suggestions for parts that need strengthening, plus phone and email access as needed, followed by a second round with light copyediting and editorial polishing? Or more general comments and no revising?

All financial arrangements must be clear before the work even begins. I charge a project fee for intensive editorial work and an hourly fee for consultations, with half up front, and usually ask to see the material to determine the extent of the work before quoting a fee. Then, if we decide to work together, we set up a schedule (and I keep the author informed if, for some reason, I need more time).

You've said that you're a better editor because you're not a writer--will you comment on that?
The urge to write is so compelling that an editor who writes usually becomes a writer who edits. I don't want to create something from scratch, I want to help someone else do that and stretch and grow and do even better work.

I give away ideas to people who can write, never holding on to them for myself. I try to work with writers the way they need to work, to fit their personal style (do they need a deadline, for example? OK, I'll make one up. Are they paralyzed by deadlines? OK, let's pretend we have all the time in the world. Do they need to talk out every detail before beginning or do they just generally want to know I'm there?)

Also, over a 30-year period, I've developed different ways of pulling out potential, tricks for overcoming writers block, and writing exercises for moving along. There are almost as many ways of approaching writing as there are writers, and the writers I've worked with have taught me so much.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Agent Jessica Regel Interviewed on GLA Blog...

Guide to Literary Agents Editor Chuck Sambuchino recently posted an interview with agent Jessica Regel of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Jessica agents books for young readers and adults, but the interview focuses on children's books.

Society of Illustrators Taking Entries...

The Society of Illustrators is now open to entries for it's annual exhibition. Their categories include sequential, editorial and book among others. Selected entries will be on display for several months in the Society's 50th Annual Exhibition and appear in Illustrator's 50: America's Original Annual of Illustration. Visit their website for more information.


First Books candidates.
I've heard from many many debut authors. You all certainly don't make it easy for me what with your great titles, websites, sample chapters, and interesting tales of how you got your first book contract. I want to read all your books and interview all of you! Alas, I cannot. I'm re-reading all my First Books emails and deciding on my lineup this week. Those of you who contacted me last Friday (or past my deadline) may not have gotten replies from me since I was out of the office for an extra-long holiday weekend. Rest assured that I'm still considering you for the article even if you didn't hear from me.

My second newsletter will email this Friday. If you haven't signed up, click here.

Market Books giveaway.
Writer Unboxed is awarding a complete set of Market Books to one lucky winner: CWIM, Guide to Literary Agents, Novel & Short Story Writer's Market, Writer's Market and Poet's Market. Visit the blog to read about their contest.