Friday, February 22, 2008

What People Are Saying About the Recent SCBWI New York Conference...

In my recent newsletter (click here to subscribe), I asked to hear from writers and illustrators who attended the SCBWI Mid-Winter Conference which took place in New York February 8-10. I was not able to attend so this was my way to live vicariously through those of you would did.

These bloggers alerted me to their posts about the conference: Kristi Valiant; Mary Cronin; Donna McDine; and Darcy Pattision whose blog includes links to other attendees conference reports.

I'm keeping me fingers crossed that I'll get to attend the SCBWI Conference in LA this summer.
If I do, I'll be blogging like mad, just as I have the past two years. (See my August 2007 and August 2006 archives if you're interested. I just now relived the last conference as I read through my old post. It was lovely to think about being in sunny Los Angeles, abuzz with children's book people, instead of here in cold, snowy, icy Cincinnati.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Check Out Chuck's Blog...

Guide to Literary Agents editor Chuck Sambuchino recently posted notes from a conference session he attended with agent Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary and author Wendy Lichtman. They offered tips and advice for writing for tweens and teens.

Click here's to check it out.

Friday, February 15, 2008

New Agent Interview: Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary...

"For me," says agency founder Sarah Davies, "the Greenhouse is about everything I've achieved and assimilated over my entire career, how to work with authors, what constitutes a great book, what publishers are looking for..."

Davies started the Greenhouse Literary Agency with 25 years of publishing experience under her belt and a knowledge of both the US and UK children's publishing worlds. Below she talks about her journey to becoming an agent, and what she can do for the authors she represents. See my post below for the full listing for the Greenhouse that will appear in the 2009 CWIM.

You’ve called starting your agency “a truly epic personal and professional adventure.” Why did you decide to steer your career in this direction?

I’d been a corporate publisher for a long time. I still loved working with my authors and helping to grow and manage the business, but I knew the time had come for a change. I was being approached about a number of opportunities, but I was particularly drawn to do something that would use absolutely all my abilities and experience and that would be very entrepreneurial. When Working Partners (a very successful British company with a great track record for creating children’s fiction for international publishers) offered me the chance to set up and run a brand-new literary agency, I knew it was an amazing opportunity – especially as the business would have offices in both the USA and UK. Plus it all tied in with my personal life – I married my American fiance in October 2007, when I first arrived in the States!

Is the Greenhouse unique in that it’s a British and American agency? What can you do for your authors that other agencies cannot?

There are a number of agencies, especially the big ones, that have offices in both countries. Where I think the Greenhouse is unique, is that I am personally representing authors from both countries – and I’m representing them to both territories. American agencies would generally call the US their ‘home’ market and everywhere else ‘overseas sales’ – with different commission. Unusually, Greenhouse takes the same commission for sales to both US and UK and calls both its ‘home’ market. This reflects the international view I have of the industry (the connectedness of the English-language world) and is partly possible because I have homes in both places. Just as importantly, I have close knowledge of both markets – what books are likely to work in each – and I’m very well connected with publishers in both New York and London, which is crucial.

There are a couple of things the Greenhouse can offer that sets us apart from other agencies, in addition to the transatlantic basis of the business.

Firstly, my publishing background is deeply editorial – I have been a fiction editor most of my life and my specialty is in working creatively with authors. I have worked with some very famous writers, but equally I love to be alongside someone just starting out, when they have a talent and commitment that excites me. That’s why I chose the name Greenhouse – it summed up the kind of development I seek for authors I work with: growth as a writer, growth in finding the right publisher; ultimately, we hope, growth in profile and sales.

Secondly, I’ve mentioned my passion for the international side of the business. Most agencies use sub-agents to sell rights around the world. Greenhouse is very fortunate to work with its sister-company Rights People – a trio of rights-selling experts with a great track record in children’s sales. This gives the agency an unusually cohesive presence around the world.

Is there anything in particular that appeals to you in a manuscript (funny, edgy, etc.) or are there certain types of material for young readers that you prefer (adventure, romance, futuristic, etc.)? How would you describe your taste?

I like everything – from the mass market series to the literary novel, from girly fiction to dark thrillers. I just want to see something special in a project – a shining spark of originality, characters that leap off the page, a narrative voice that makes me keep reading. It’s funny, but when I read something out of the ordinary, I feel like the hairs are standing up on the back of my neck. It’s proved to be a very reliable gauge!

How do you prefer to receive submissions (full manuscript, query)? Any tips you could pass on in regards to first contact with you (or any agent)?

Lots of agents want just a query letter. To me, a writer’s voice is one of the most important factors and you can’t always determine that from an outline. So what I want is: a) a short synopsis (no more than 500 words ; b) a short paragraph of bio (giving any relevant information that might make me want to read your work; c) the first three chapters of the text. In terms of first contact, please don’t believe you are an exception to everyone else – it’s annoying to be called up or sent the same material multiple times.

Can you offer some general advice for children’s writers seeking agents?

Really take your writing seriously and do all you can to polish it before you submit it. Read voraciously, join a critique group, go on a writers’ conference and listen to published authors talk about their experience. There are lots of things you can do to learn about the craft of writing before you start looking for an agent. Also, get to know the market, spend time with kids and understand their world as it is today, not as it was when you were a child or teen. In fact, the Greenhouse’s Top Tips for children’s authors are on the website, so click on to and have a read!

Finally, before you submit anything, read your chosen agency’s website carefully – don’t waste your time (and the agent’s) by sending material that isn’t appropriate to that agency. Submit exactly what is requested – and then allow a realistic amount of time for a response.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Some people get fixated on the idea of having an agent in New York. Having been in Virginia (just outside DC) for several months now, I’m delighted to be in this location. Not only are there far fewer agents here, but there are also some really powerful writers’ groups. On the other hand, I’m close enough to NY to make regular trips, whether for the day or longer, which is also crucial in keeping up with publishers. If I were an author seeking an agent, I’d be asking these questions: Is this agent well connected? Do they really know the industry? Do they understand a writer’s craft – and will they be looking to my long-term interests rather than just making a quick deal? These things are far more important than location in an age of broadband and Blackberry. Oh, and they should actually make sure they like their agent because it’s a particularly close relationship. Editors will come and go, but you hope that your agent will remain!

New Agent Info: Greenhouse Literary Agency...

As mentioned in my recent newsletter (click here to sign up) here's information for Sarah Davies' new agency:

11308 Lapham Drive, Oakton VA 22124. E-mail: Web site: Contact: Sarah Davies. New agency actively seeking clients. Seeking both new and established writers. Estab. 2008. Member of SCBWI. Represents 4 clients. 100% new writers. 100% books for young readers. Staff includes Sarah Davies.
  • Sarah Davis has had an editorial and management career in children's publishing spanning 25 years; for 5 years prior to launching the Greenhouse she was Publishing Director of Macmillan Children's Books in London, working with and publishing leading authors from both sided of the Atlantic.
Represents Handles fiction, middle grade, young adult. "Sarah Davies (who is British) represents authors personally to both the USA and UK, and the Greenhouse has offices in both countries. Commission structure reflects this as the agency takes the same commission for both the USA and UK, treating both as the ‘domestic’ market. Foreign rights are sold by Rights People (a separate business but also part of the Greenhouse’s parent company), a dedicated team of rights-selling experts with a fast-growing international track record. This means sub-agents are rarely used, giving the agency an exceptionally cohesive presence around the world and a truly global reach. Davies has a strong editorial background and is able, as necessary, to work creatively with authors in a very hands-on way to help them reach submission point." Actively seeking children's and YA fiction of all kinds, from age 5+ (post picture book) through teen and crossover. Does not seek "nonfiction, poetry or picture books (text or illustration). However, if a client diversified from children's fiction into other areas, then the Greenhouse would continue to represent the author, whatever the age group or genre of work. The agency represents authors, not books."

How to Contact
Send a one-paragraph outline and biography, plus 3 sample chapters. Accepts queries by e-mail, mail. "Allow 6 weeks for a response to initial material. Check Web site before submitting." Returns mss with SASE only. Obtains new clients through recommendations from other, queries/solicitations, conference.

Terms Receives 15% commission on sales to both US and UK; 25% on foreign sales. Offers written contract.Sarah Davies attends Bologna Children's Bookfair in Bologna, Italy; SCBWI conferences; BookExpo America; and other conference--see Web site for information.

Tips "It’s very important to me to have a strong, long-term relationship with clients. Having been 25 years in the publishing industry, I know the business from the inside and have excellent contacts in both the US and UK. I work hard to find every client the very best publisher and deal for their writing. My editorial background means I can work creatively with authors where necessary; I aim to submit high-quality manuscripts to publishers while respecting the role of the editor who will have their own publishing vision. Before submitting, prospective authors should look at the Greenhouse’s ‘Top 10 tips for authors of children’s fiction,’ which can be found on our Web site."

2008 CWIM Agent Updates...

As mentioned in my recent newsletter (click here to subscribe), here are full CWIM listings for some agents and art reps who've recently sent us updated information. (2008 CWIM page numbers are included.)

350 7th Ave, Suite 2003, New York, NY 10001. E-mail: Web site: Member of SCBWI, WNBA, Authors Guild. Represents 10 clients. 30% of clients are new/unpublished writers. 50% of material handled is books for young readers.
  • Anna Olswanger coordinates the Jewish Childrens's Book Writers' Conference each fall athe 92nd Street Y in New York City and is a children's book author. Represents Fiction, nonfiction; author-illustrator pictrue books. How to Contact Query with first 5 pages. Must include e-mail address for repsonse. Considers simultaneous queries.
Represents Fiction, nonfiction; author-illustrator picture books.
How to Contact Query with first 5 pages. Must include e-mail address for response. Considers simultaneous queries. Responds in 4 weeks to queries; 8 weeks to mss. Obtains most new clients through recommendations and queries.
Terms Agent receives 15% commission on domestic sales; 20% commission on foreign sales. Offers written contract. Charges client for color photocopying and overseas postage.

5750 Bou Ave, Ste. 1508, N. Bethesda, MD 20852. E-mail: Web site: Contact: B. Linder. Handles only certain types of work. Estab. 1981. 80% of clients are new/previously unpublished writers.
Represents Considers text materials for K-12 market. "We specialize in educational materials to be used in classrooms (in class sets) or in teacher education classes." Actively seeking educational, text materials. Not looking for picture books, story books, fiction; no illustrators.
How to Contact Query with SASE or send outline and 1 sample chapter. Considers simultaneous queries and submissions if so indicated. Responds in 6-8 weeks to queries/mss. Returns material only with SASE. Obtains clients through recommendations from others, queries/solicitations, or through conferences.
Recent Sales How to Solve Word Problems in Mathematics, by Wayne (McGraw-Hill); Reviewing U.S. & New York State History, by Farran-Paci (Amsco); Minority Report, by Gunn-Singh (Scarecrow Education); No Parent Left Behind, by Petrosino & Spiegel (Rowman & Littlefield); Teaching Test-taking Skills (R&L Education).
Terms Agent receives 15% commission on domestic sales; 25% on foreign sales. Offers written contract, binding until any party opts out. Terminate contract through certified letter.

1751 Charles Ave., Arcate CA 95521. Phone/fax: (707)822-5500. E-mail: Web site: Commercial illustration representative. Estab. 1982. Represents 20 illustrators. 20% of artwork is children's book illustration. Staff includes Richard Salzman. Open to illustrators seeking representation. Accepting both new and established illustrators.
Handles Accepts illustration.
Terms Receives 25% commission. Offers written contract. 100% of advertising costs paid by illustrator. Advertises in Workbook,,
How to Contact For first contact, send link to Web site or printed samples. Portfolio should include tearsheets, photocopies; "best to post samples on Web site and send link." Finds illustrators through queries/solicitations.

S©OTT TREIMEL NY (page 284)
434 Lafayette St., New York NY 10003. (212)505-8353. Fax: (212)505-0664. E-mail: Contact: Scott Treimel. Estab. 1995. Represents 45 clients. 10% of clients are new/unpublished writers. Specializes in children's books, all genres: tightly focused segments of the trade and institutional markets. Member AAR, Author's Guild, SCBWI.
  • Prior to opening his agency, Scott Treimel was an assistant to Marilyn E. Marlow of Curtis Brown; a rights agent for Scholastic, Inc.; a book packager and rights agent for United Feature Syndicate; the founding director of Warner Bros. Worldwide Publishing; a freelance editor; and a rights consultant for HarperCollins Children's Books.
Represents 100% juvenile books. Actively seeking career clients. Not seeking picture book authors, but author/illustrators may submit.
How to Contact Send query/ouline (include word count, number of chapters, and protagonists' ages), SASE, sample chapters of no more than 50 pages. No multiple submission. Queries without SASE will be recycles. No fax. queries.
Recent Sales Sold 29 titles in the last year. Right Behind You, by Gail Gailes (Little, Brown); Comic Guy, by Timothy Roldand (Scholastic); Kitchen Dance, by Maurie Manning (Clarion); The Ninja Who Wanted to be Noticed (Viking); Love is a Good Thing to Feel, by Barbara Joosse (Philomel); Kiki, by Janie Bynum (Sterling); The Hunchback Chronicles, by Arthur Slade (Penguin Canada); Before and After Otis, illustrations by Cyndy Szekeres (Harcourt); Grandma Calls Me Beautiful, by Barbara Joosse (Chronicle).
Terms Agent receives 15-20% commission on domestic sales; 20-25% on foreign sales. Offers verbal or written contract, binding on a "contract-by-contract basis." Charges for photocopying, overnight/express postage, messengers. Offers editorial guidance, if extensive charges higher commission.
Writers' Conferences Speaks at Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators Conference, The New School; Southwest Writers Conference; Pikes Peak Writers Conference.
Tips "Keep cover letters short and do not pitch. Let your work speak for itself."

1138 S. Webster St., Kokomo IN 46902. (765)459-8258. E-mail: See Web site. Web site: Contact: Sharene Martin-Brown or Robert Brown.
  • From Wylie-Merrick's Sharene Martin-Brown: "Although we continue to work with our established children's authors, we are not looking for new clients in this area.

1712 E. Butler Circle, Chandler AZ 85225. (480)899-0600. Fax: (480)899-3636.Web site: E-mail: Contact: Mary Anne Asciutto, art agent. Children's illustration representative since 1980. Specializing in children's illustrations for children's educational text books, grades K thru 8, children's trade books, children's magazines, posters, packaging, etc.
Recent Sales Bats, Sharks, Whales, Snakes, Penguins, Alligators and Crocodiles, illustrated by Meryl Henderson (Boyds Mills Press).
Terms Agency receives 25% commission. Advertising and promotion costs are split: 75% paid by talent; 25% paid by representative. US citizens only.
How to Contact Send samples via email with a cover letter résumé. Submit sample portfolio for review with an SASE for it's return. Responds in 2 to 4 weeks. Portfolio should include at least 12 samples of original art, printed tearsheets, photocopies or color prints of most recent work.
Tips In obtaining representation, "be sure to connect with an agent who handles the kind of work, you (the artist) want."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

SCBWI Bologna Interview Series on Cynsations...

A note from webmaster/blogger extraordinaire Cynthia Leitich Smith:

"It's my pleasure to host the SCBWI Bologna 2008 interview series, which launched today with an interview of Tracey Adams of Adams Literary in the U.S. Please check back at Cynsations or my MySpace blog over the next few weeks for 32 sequential question-and-answer interviews with agents, editors, art directors, publishers, authors, illustrators, and other publishing types about the international youth publishing scene. The series is offered by the SCBWI Bologna Biennial Conference in
conjunction with Cynsations."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Agent Info...

If you haven't visited Chuck's Guide to Literary Agents blog in a while, check out his recent post with info on an agent interested in picture books, middle grade and young adult work.

You should also click here and sign up for my monthly CWIM e-newsletter (just promise to ignore all the old info about the 2007 CWIM--I'm a little behind with updating this landing page). The February edition will mail at the end of the week (a late Valentine of sorts from yours truly) and will feature an interview with an brand new children's book agent about her brand new agency (!) as well as a Debut Author of the Month interview, market updates, and other things I feel like talking about. There will be newsletter-related content here on my blog as well.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Class of 2k9 Accepting Applications...

An executive member of online marketing collective the Class of 2k9 posted to the CW list on Friday saying that the Class is accepting applications for membership. If you have a mid-grade or YA novel under contract for 2009 publication and have an interest in joining the Class of 2k9, you can e-mail them at

If you're not familiar with the Class of 2k7 and Class of 2k8, visit their websites. Also see Greg Fishbone's 2008 CWIM article: "Class of 2k7: First-Time Authors Band Together for Book Promotion" (pgae 98).

Friday, February 01, 2008

Children's Authors and Illustrators Week...

There's an exciting event coming up, and I'm not talking about the Super Bowl. (Go Patriots! Actually I don't really care who wins, although an undefeated season sounds kinda fun. I'm just excited about the Big Sandwich--vegetarian for me--and the guacamole.)

I'm talking about Children's Authors and Illustrators Week which my loves-to-send-me-links brother clued me in on. Why is this not on my Madeline calendar in my office?

I love the idea of a week devoted to creators of book for young readers visiting those readers. Here's what the California-based Children's Authors Network says about CAIW:

During this annual event, acclaimed authors and illustrators from Children’s Authors Network (CAN!) visit schools, libraries, and children’s shelters all over the country. Lively storytelling, fascinating presentations, and hands-on writing workshops make books spring to life, and inspire a life-long love of reading and writing.
I say we turn CAIW into a national holiday! Even if you just heard about CAIW, you can still celebrate in your own way. Visit a bookstore or a library with some tiny little readers. Start a new YA novel on Monday. Devote next week to mailing out your own manuscripts. (Make a Big Sandwich in the shape of J.K. Rowling.)