Thursday, May 29, 2008

How Do People Read and Buy Books?...

Publishers Lunch reported on a Random House/Zogby survey which "explores how and where readers shop, what makes them buy, and their reading and book-buying habits." Click here to read the results. It's interesting and is making me think about my own reading and buying habits. (I particularly liked the question about what book you'd recommend to the next President if s/he called you at a 3 a.m. asking for an I-can't-sleep book suggestion.)

Here is part of the Publishers Lunch rundown:

Zogby International released results from a nationwide online survey of the reading and book-buying habits of over 8,000 representative adults, commissioned by Random House (which will publish a book with Zogby later this year). The overall portrait shows Americans as light readers and book purchasers (half buy fewer than 10 books a year; just 14 percent buy more than 20 a year for themselves) who are highly unlikely to buy an e-reading device (3 percent own one; 4 percent plan to buy); more influenced to buy a book by public radio (15 percent) than Jon Stewart (8 percent) who still rans above Oprah Winfrey (5 percent); light sellers of their books when finished with them (only 3 percent do so) and big online customers (more people buy often online, 43 percent, than anywhere else, including chains, at 32 percent) at Amazon in particular--which 66 percent named as online retailer they frequent (with the failed drawing an insignificant response).

So What's Going on with Me and CWIM (in case you were wondering)...

It's been a bit of time since my last post--and since then the 2009 CWIM has gone to the printer! And I must say, it's a really good one. (I know I say that every year, but it's true.) It will be available in early August, hopefully in time to go on sale at the SCBWI LA Conference August 1-4.

Below you can see the new CWIM cover. (It's still a nice shade of light purple, but the fish has swum away.) While we're waiting for the book to be off the presses, I'll be posting some excerpts from the new edition, which will hopefully get you interested in reading more when the book hits stores.

Speaking of the LA Conference--I will be going, I will be presenting, and I will certainly be blogging. I so love this event. It's good. It's fun. It's information-packed. It's a schmooze-apalooza!

Before I worry about putting my presentations together, I've been worried about finding a plane ticket that will not bankrupt SCBWI. I live in Cincinnati, and we are supposedly the most expensive airport to fly out of in the country. (Sometimes the Westchester County airport in New York is higher. I've flown there. It's tiny.)

It costs $200 less to fly from LGA (New York) to LAX than to fly from CVG (in the Nati) to LAX. Does that make sense to you? Sure, I could fly out of Dayton or Columbus or Louisville, but that would involve driving longish distances and long-term parking and layovers and changing planes. I'm not getting any younger--just contemplating 16 hours of travel zaps the life out of me. To quote Carrie Bradshaw as she headed off to Paris, "I want to arrive stunning and impossibly fresh looking." You never know who you'll run into in the lobby. (I'm a tad excited about the Sex & the City movie that opens tomorrow. My company just announced Friday "summer hours"--it's like we work in New York--and I'm seeing a late afternoon matinée with six of my co-workers at the mall across from our office. I will be wearing heels.)

After a couple more market books go out the door in early June (I'm here working on them while a number of my co-workers are in LA at the BookExpo--but I had to pick one LA trip over the other, and SCBWI won), I'm taking a little vacation to New York. It's not publishing-related except that I will be hanging out with a number of my editor friends (who left the Nati to move to New York, both for the publishing jobs and, I'm sure, the cheaper flights). I'll pretty much be eating and shopping and meandering.

Then I'll get back to work and start thinking about my plan for the 2010 CWIM. I'm alway open to queries, so feel free to email me ( after June 16th. Then I'll start assigning articles in full swing when I get back from the LA SCBWI event.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reading My Now-Vintage Writing...

Since my last class reunion, I’ve been getting together with a group of high school friends every few months. A few weeks ago we met at one of their houses and someone brought along a stack of our high school newspapers, Spectrum, for which I was the features editor my junior and senior year. I was a little scared to read the articles I’d written, but once I’d grabbed a stack of papers and searched for my byline I couldn’t quite put them down. My stuff--the alliterative headlines, the essays on first speeding tickets and under-appreciated vending machine candy bars, the channeling-my-inner-teen-psychic horoscopes--was not bad. Not stellar, but decent for 17-year-old me (although I was temped to grab a pen and do just a little editing).

On a recent visit with my sister in Florida, she pulled out a box she had unearthed full of letters I’d written to her when I was in grade school. (She moved down south when she was 20 and I was 11.) The letters were pretty clever and witty, sometimes downright hilarious, and rife with recurring themes (and creative spelling). It was interesting to see my young voice in those letters (and to revisit the things that were soooo important to me when I was 12).

When I was in grade school I never had aspirations to become a writer. (I wanted to be a geologist and anthropologist “both at the same time.” I liked rocks and bones.) When I was in high school, I never made declarations that I would have a career in publishing. (Does anyone in high school ever say I want to be an editor?) I had no clue what to do with my life, pretty much until junior year of college. Yet the universe steered me in this direction.

I remember the moment the world of children’s books was reintroduced to me in college—that first day of my Victorian Children’s Lit class, which I took in the summer, Monday through Friday, every day for six weeks, at 7:30 a.m.—and wheels began to turn in my head. But looking back at my early “masterpieces,” I wonder why the younger me didn’t have a clue that working with words was the way to go.

WD Magazine's 101 Best Websites for Writers...

Writer's Digest has recently compiled their annual 101 Best Sites for Writers for 2008.

Says WD:

"We sifted through more than 2,100 nominations and chose the 101 most valuable. This year, we've added a "jobs" category and have expanded the genres/niches category to better fit your needs. The list has been divided into nine sections: general resources, creativity, publishing resources, jobs, writing groups and communities, genres/niches, agent blogs, protect yourself and just for fun. "

Here are couple of children's-writing-related sites that made the list.

Kid Magazine Writers,
Yay Jan Fields for making the list! Her site offers news, info and tips on writing for children, along with a wealth of paying children’s markets. Click here for an interview with Jan, excerpted from the 2008 CWIM.

Robyn Opie's Writin
g for Children,
This children’s book author delivers dozens of free articles on constructing, writing, editing and publishing your children’s book. Click on "Free Writing Tips." There are also two books available for free download.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Agent Interview: Michael Stearns...

After nearly 20 years working on the editorial side of things--most recently as editorial director and foreign acquisitions manager for HarperCollins Children's Books, and prior to that, as senior editor, director of paperback publishing for Harcourt Children's Books--Michael Stearns decided to mix things up a bit. Starting last month, he left Harper to become a literary agent at Firebrand Literary.

Stearns brings a wealth of experience to his new role. He has worked on hundreds of books for children and adults including many bestselling and award-winning titles such as A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, Tangerine by Edward Bloor, The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls by Elise Primavera, Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson, Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge, the Young Wizards series by Diane Duane, and the Chet Gecko Mysteries by Bruce Hale. He has taught a dozen classes on writing, edited three anthologies of original stories, and published a half dozen pieces of his own fiction for both adults and children.

Below, in his first interview as an agent, Stearns talks about his career shift, the kind of material he's looking to represent, his submission policy, his agenting style, and exciting changes at Firebrand.

Why the huge career shift?
I don't see it as that big a change in what I do—but okay: why'd I skip over the fence separating publishing and agenting?

Something terrible happens to the successful: They get kicked up the corporate ladder as a reward for having done well.

I found myself as an editorial director at HarperCollins Children’s Books, as well as the manager of foreign acquisitions for the list. There were obvious benefits to the job—I could acquire with a freer hand, attend all the book fairs, develop a thorough knowledge of UK editors and publishers, line my pockets with gold and faded dreams—the usual. And yet . . .

I was spending more and more of my time attending meetings, and helping my team figure out their books and their publishing strategies; and spending less and less time doing what I've always loved most, which is working closely with talent. Editing, shaping, and bringing books to market is the funnest part of the job.

There is nothing wrong with what I was doing at Harper, but I wanted more hands-on time to nurture writers and their careers. And now I have that.

What types of work for young readers are you most interested in representing?
My list will be 75-80% novels, with the remaining 20 percent made up of picture books.

I'm not against picture books, but I am extraordinarily picky, and I find that most beginning writers tackle picture books because they mistakenly think they are "easier." So there is a higher degree of suckage in most picture book submissions. Rather than plow through that, for picture books I am relying on referrals and am signing only a few writers whose work I know and trust. (This 80/20 percentage is nothing new, by the way; this about equals the make-up of my lists at Harcourt and Harper.)

Okay, picture books are unlikely. But how do your tastes run with regard to novels?
I’m keenest for both teen and middle grade fiction. Nothing makes me happier than commercial novels with literary chops—good writing that isn't afraid of plot—though "good writing" is what everyone wants, I'm sure. What do I mean by “literary chops”? I mean, the writer has skill and voice, and that she recognizes character as a key to all good storytelling.

Genre-wise I flee far and fast from issue novels (hard to sell) and am much more interested in non-Tolkienesque fantasy, paranormal romance, comic coming-of-age, and thrillers (again, all with some literary spin). For whatever reason, I respond well to wit. Not dorky funny but genuine wit. (See authors I’ve worked with such as M.T. Anderson, Frances Hardinge, Bruce Hale, Derek Landy, et al.)

Are you open to unsolicited submissions?
Well, of course. Writers can submit via Firebrand’s website at, which has very detailed descriptions about how to submit. People who have not submitted to and been rejected by Firebrand in the past can submit to me. If it is not for me, they will receive a form "No, thanks," rejection via email. If it is something I want to see more of, I'll invite them to send the full manuscript via email. Actual mailed submissions are not being accepted. (We try to be as paperless and green as possible.)

The website is going to relaunch in a few weeks with a new look, a new logo, and all sorts of unbelievable goodies. Same tender snark as at the old site, but with even more of the qualities that make Firebrand a different animal from other agencies.

What, exactly, are those differences?
Well, it will be revealed in greater detail on the site to come, but here’s a small tease: We are creating an aggressive marketing team to help sell-through for our books and authors—marketing that will complement those of their publishers. And we have a foreign rights agent in myself who, thanks to years spent buying and publishing major UK titles for the United States market, knows the UK market very well—the publishers, their lists, and the editors whose tastes shape those lists.

And there will be more. These are exciting times at Firebrand.

[Here's the agency's new logo.]

How would you describe your “agenting style”?
Oh my god, is there such a thing? “Post-modernist, with a surreal dash of ‘finger painting and graham cracker’ interpretations of Duke-of-Windsor-style men’s fashion”? “Jean-Paul Gaultier sans cones and bad dancing”?

No, no, no. I haven’t the foggiest idea what my “agenting style” is quite yet—I haven’t even been here a month!—though I imagine it will turn out to be much like my editorial style. That is, I will work very closely with my writers to develop their projects and to guide their careers. I love developing projects, and I think of myself as my authors' second head: someone who understands their goals as a writer.

I don’t waste time making nice. I get fired up about a book only when I feel like I've really found something new or exceedingly excellent. I don’t phone it in. If I love something, I’m all about that love. By the same token, I have little time for projects that are just “good enough.” Good enough rarely is.

My utter lack of a poker face is one reason I have the trust of the people I deal with—whether my writers and clients or the editors to whom I sell projects. People know that I can’t fake enthusiasm.

Do I have any upcoming gigs at which writers can meet you and/or pitch their ideas?
The only things that should be pitched are baseballs. (Go, Mets!) Or nonfiction books for adult readerships.

I abhor pitches for children’s books. A worthwhile book lives or dies in execution, on the skill of the writer, and pitches are the complete opposite of that. A pitch boils an idea down to its most basic, but who cares? I want to see what the writer does with the idea.

You can find me at two SCBWI events this summer: a workshop in Florida on June 6 and 7, and the national conference this August in Los Angeles. As well, I will be dropping in on the Vermont College MFA in Writing for Children during their summer session.

We'll be posting the appearances schedule of all of the Firebrand agents on our new website. Yet another reason to check it out!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Debut Author of the Month: Debbie Reed Fischer...

Debut YA novelist Debbie Reed Fischer originally planned to write screenplays, but instead she fell into the business side of the industry, becoming a talent agent for TV and film. "It's probably just as well," she says, being that her first screen play—"about sorority girls who were perky Susie Chapsticks by day and axe-wielding serial killers my night"—wasn't exactly Oscar-worthy. "Now I would let my neighbor's dog use it as a chew toy if I could find it."

Fischer moved from talent agenting to model brokering in Miami, an experience that offered her a treasure trove of characters and the backdrop for her debut Braless in Wonderland released in April by Dutton. She eventually left the world of modeling behind, got married, went back to college and became an English teacher. After five years of teaching, she quit to "have two babies and focus on writing." She got involved in SCBWI, found a mentor, and started attending conferences—which all helped lead her to her first book contract. Here's her story.

Do you have an agent? How did you get your book contract with Dutton for Braless in Wonderland?
I was fortunate enough to meet my agent Steven Chudney at a Florida SCBWI conference. Within five minutes of my “pitch,” he kindly told me I talked too much, which shows he is a very perceptive man. We hit it off immediately. Steven really ‘gets’ my humor and what I’m going for. He sent out Braless in Wonderland to a handful of editors, and we received some positive responses within a few weeks, but it was Dutton who responded first. It was another several weeks of nervous waiting as it went up the editorial ladder until I got The Phone Call that an official offer had been made. The date was June 14, 2006, one of the happiest days of my life. My kids and I released a gaggle of balloons in the sky and I told them they could be anything they wanted. We celebrate June 14th every year now as our own wacky “dream day” holiday.

Your website refers to Braless in Wonderland as “a funny, honest peek at the crazy and glamorous world of professional modeling.” Tell us more about your debut novel.
Braless in Wonderland is about a small-town girl named Allee who falls into the world of modeling. She considers herself a brainiac and a feminist, but definitely not model material. She leaves that to pretty people like her little sister (a.k.a. “The Fluff”). That’s why it’s a complete shock when Allee, not her sister, is the one spotted by modeling scouts at the mall and signed by a major modeling agency in Miami. The book gets inside the mind a new model, especially her insecurities and her misconceptions about what the modeling industry is like. It’s also about holding on to the core of who you are, but being willing to grow and change.

You worked as a model booking agent for years—at the time did it occur to you that that world would make a great backdrop for a YA novel? Did anything in particular spark your idea?
It occurred to me from my very first day on the job, as I videotaped teen models dancing in prom dresses for a casting. The environment is so surreal, you really feel like you’re in a kind of modern Wonderland, which is one of the reasons elements of Alice in Wonderland are woven throughout the story. Many scenes in the book are based on my experiences as a booker. I repped a model who always carried a stuffed animal she called Jupiter. She made us talk to it. That weirdness made it into the book. The agency provided lots of inspiration.

I was especially intrigued by the fact that so many stereotypes I’d held dear were wrong, namely the “models are shallow and dumb” belief. That is definitely untrue. It’s just that models often have to choose between college or their career, which leaves them uneducated. Some manage to do both, but for most, the demands of the modeling industry and the travel required make it a tough call. That issue is addressed in Braless, as is the issue of stereotyping.

I was also fascinated by the transformation that took place after a new model arrived in South Beach. Every season there was some shy, quiet Susie from Osh Kosh who would suddenly become confident, loud Suzette by season’s end. That screamed, “YA novel!” to me. The teen years are a time of self-discovery, and the modeling industry is a world where you get to “try on different shoes,” both literally and figuratively speaking.

At one point, you decided to quit teaching and get and serious about writing. How long did it take you to get from that point to being a published YA novelist? What did you do along the way to learn about the world of books for young readers?
It took me about four years. The first year I attempted to write a novel without taking workshops or joining a critique group, because I just didn’t know any better. Plus, since I’d studied screenwriting, I actually thought I was ready to be published. HAHAHAHAHA! Never have I been so painfully wrong. That manuscript is now where it belongs. Six feet under. Just kidding, it’s in my closet. But I should probably bury it.

After about a year of toiling away, I realized A) that I was stuck, and B) it was terrible, so I took a workshop at a local library led by a YA author. It was then that I realized how much I still had to learn. I joined a wonderful critique group, started attending conferences, met fellow YA writers and really dedicated myself to my goal. As far as learning about the world of books for young readers, I’ve been an avid reader of middle grade and young adult fiction since I was a middle grader myself. I’ve never stopped reading books for kids. That’s actually why I had kids, to give me an excuse to read children’s books.

On your website bio, you mention a mentor. Can you tell me about that person?
With pleasure. Her name is Joyce Sweeney and she’s an award-winning YA author, a teacher, and a tremendous source of strength and guidance for many writers in South Florida. It was her workshop that inspired me to go after my dream. Under her mentorship, many local writers have become published. She also worked with my agent Steven many years ago when he was a publicist. I’m a big believer in synchronicity. People definitely come into your life for a reason.

On your site, you give ten tips for writers. Your #1 tip: “Be fearless.” Are there any fears you had to overcome as you embarked on a writing career? Any fears you’re still working on?
My fears mostly deal with revealing truth in my writing. Even though I write humor, I also draw from my own personal mistakes, my insecurity and awkwardness; all of that takes courage. I really try not to pull punches when it comes to depicting the under belly of high school politics, family relationships, or in the case of Braless, the modeling industry. Someone who read my book said to me, “Why do you have to write about models who take diet pills?” I answered that while it’s true that not all models pop pills, it would be dishonest to write a book about the modeling industry and not include a model who takes appetite suppressants. There are models in my book who starve themselves, models who eat healthfully, as well as some who eat tons of pizza and fast food, yet remain wasp-waisted goddesses. All types exist in the modeling world. The truth is the truth.

A scene in Swimming with the Sharks, involves a first-time make-out session that goes horribly wrong. It’s based on an experience I had in high school, and it was incredibly difficult (read embarrassing) to write, and even more difficult to read to my critique group. But it was a turning point for me as a writer. Every single person in the group recounted an experience similar to the one I’d written. It was clear I’d struck a chord, and now I’m glad I wrote that scene. But that’s where the fear comes in, those pesky thoughts of "What will my mother-in-law or my son’s teacher think?" It takes bravery to be honest and I’m a total chicken about most things. But I really can’t write any other way.

I love that you’ve got a dream cast picked out for a movie version of Braless in Wonderland—that’s something I do a lot when I read novels. Has the book been optioned? Maybe it could turn into the next big CW show. (Gossip Girl will be cancelled eventually, although I hope not any time soon.)
CW, Lifetime, the big screen, the Weather Channel, bring it! It hasn’t been optioned . . . yet. Would you like to join me in a little visualization exercise so we can make this happen? That whole law of attraction thing? Come on . . . concentrate . . .

I also love that you’re giving away accessories (hoop earring like ones your main character wears, for instance) along with books as you promote Braless. What else have you been doing to create buzz?
Fun interviews like this one! The most rewarding thing I’ve done to promote is join the author class of 2k8. It’s a wonderful network and I’ve learned so much from other members. I also love communicating with readers via the Internet. I’m active on Myspace, Facebook, and I have a blog. Write to me! My video trailer is my favorite part of promotion so far. It feeds that whole “movie option” fantasy . . .

In a blog post you expressed some frustration in regards to promotion—the MySpacing, Facebooking, blogging, Listserving, chatrooming, etc.—in that it takes time away from writing. As a debut author, how do you reconcile that?
I’m getting all tough love now with my promo activities. Ultimately, time for writing has to be a priority. Everything else has to come second. If it means I have to neglect my blog for a few days to finish a chapter, then so be it.

Tell me more about your second novel, Swimming with the Sharks which comes out in September from Flux.
The main character is Peyton, who has finally earned a coveted spot on the varsity cheerleading squad. For her, it’s the end of standing on the social sidelines and the beginning of being in the Alpha Clique. The problems start when Lexie, the charismatic and powerful squad captain, orders Peyton and her team mates to drive another girl off the squad by bullying her. As the cruel hazing spirals out of control, Peyton is torn by her conscience, yet seduced by the chance to have everything she wants.

What’s your advice for aspiring YA novelists, particularly anyone thinking about giving writing full time a go?
My motto is: “Write what blows your skirt up!” Write whatever it is that you like to write. Enjoy yourself. Don’t get caught up in the angst, the neigh-sayers, the statistic-quoters. Just write. Find your own voice. Most of all, take workshops, join writing organizations, and make friends with other writers. It can change the trajectory of your life. Trust me. Oh, and check out my website for more writing tips at

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

National Children's Choice Book Awards Announced...

You may have spied the Children's Choice Awards widget on the right side of my blog. Well the results are in for the award, announced last night at a Children's Book Council dinner in NYC hosted by Jon Scieszka. Here they are (in non-widget form), reinforcing for all of us that kids dig scary stuff, precocious pigs and boy wizards (drumroll please...):

  • Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year: Frankie Stein written by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Kevan Atteberry (Cavendish). I'm posting the cover of this one, because I really dig Kevan and his book. (Murray loves it too, but he's too young to vote.)
  • Third Grade to Fourth Grade Book of the Year: Big Cats by Elaine Landau (Enslow)
  • Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year: Encyclopedia Horrifica by Joshua Gee (Scholastic)
  • Illustrator of the Year Award: Ian Falconer, Olivia Helps with Christmas (Simon & Schuster)
  • Author of the Year Award: J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Scholastic)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh My--Self-Published Picture Book Down with the P-O-T...

Take a look at this disturbingly hilarious (hilariously disturbing?) post on Galley Cat about a self-published picture book called It's Just a Plant (which I'm not linking to. OK yes I am--because you can click through and read this fine piece of literature ***), "an illustrated children's book about marijuana" that is "a book for parents who want to educate their children about the complexities of pot in a thoughtful, fact-oriented manner."

The commentary about the book from the former publisher of High Time magazine is, well, commentary from the former publisher of High Times. Dude.

*** in English, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish or Thai. I kid you not. And don't miss the reviews (one of which calls the author "the Dr. Seuss of pot") from the likes of Entertainment Weekly, Bill O'Reilly, and David Crosby.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

New Edition of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books...

Harold Underdown has just come out with a revised and updated version of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books. Harold reports that the latest edition of this very helpful and info-packed guide has updated chapters, a new chapter on finding a good writing how-to, a new chapter on self-publishing, and a revised and reorganized marketing and promotion section, as well as revisions and added material throughout. TCIGtPCB is a great companion book to CWIM (although the initials don't exactly roll off the tongue).

And if you haven't been to Harold's website, The Purple Crayon, in a while, stop in. He's recently updated his Guide to Children's Book Agents and Artist's Representatives page.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Registration for SCBWI LA Is Open...

Today is the first day to register for the 37th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference in L.A.! So beat the crowd and click over to to sign up. You can also check out the faculty and read about the sessions. And guess who's presenting? It's your favorite CWIM editor! (Finally, I won't have to crash the after party.)

(Speaking of parties, the theme for the annual Saturday poolside is Paint the Town Red. I've got to start planning my outfit.)

Here are all the presenters in random order (it's quite a list):

Katherine Applegate
Sid Fleischman
Krista Marino
Namrata Tripathi
Jay Asher
David Gale
Mark McVeigh
Lisa Yee
Bonnie Bader
Melanie Hope Greenberg
Stephen Mooser
Paula Yoo
Tracy Barrett
Judy Goldschmidt
Yuyi Morales
Cecilia Yung
Ann Bausum
Margaret Peterson Haddix
Diane Muldrow
Linda Zuckerman
Michael Bourret
Dianne Hess
Lin Oliver
Brenda Bowen
Gretchen Hirsch
Susan Patron
Donna Bray
Mac McCool (aka Christian Hill)
Ann Whitford Paul
Christopher Cheng
Allyn Johnston
Sara Pennypacker
Rachel Cohn
Alan Katz
Alice Pope
Nancy Conescu
David LaRochelle
Laura Rennert
Bruce Coville
Elizabeth Law
Adam Rex
Suzanne Cruise
Arthur A. Levine
John Rocco
Debra Dorfman
Laurent Linn
Abigail Samoun
Amalia Ellison
Dorothy Love
Michael Stearns
Connie C. Epstein
Steven Malk
Julie Strauss-Gabel
Dilys Evans
Leonard Marcus
Mark Teague

Friday, May 02, 2008

Hey--How About Signing Up for My Newsletter?...

In case you haven't seen it mentioned here before, I send a (pretty much) monthly CWIM email newsletter. Each edition features my Debut Author of the Month. Other recurring features include exclusive interviews with authors and agents, updates of market listings, conference news, book mentions, and other things I feel like talking about.

Many of the short features in my newsletters link to full stories here on my blog. So if you read my blog, why sign up? Because (1) all the newsletter info doesn't make it to my blog and (2) the CWIM newsletter will be a nice and not-frequent-enough-to-bug you reminder to visit my blog (when there's really good stuff here) just in case you forget.

Click here to subscribe. I've got a newsletter going out next week that includes an interview with a new agent along with my DAotM, conference news and more. And I have some exciting (at least to me) stuff planned for upcoming editions. Plus there are always lots of picture and links.

Be sure to visit my blog next week for some good newsletter-related posts.

SCBWI Summer Conference Grant Opportunity...

If you're interested in attending the awesome yet pricey SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in LA this August 1-4 and could use a little extra cash (and who couldn't?) Fairy Godsisters, Ink./Shrinking Violet Promotions is offering a $1,000 grant to use for attending the event. Applicants must write a 250-word essay describing their goals for the conference and submit it to Visit Shrinking Violet Promotions for more information or contact with questions. The deadline is May 15th. (If you go, be sure to say his to me--I'll be there and I'll be blogging.)

According to their blog:
"Fairy Godsisters, Ink. is a small, benevolent squadron of children’s book authors who believe in the magic of passing forward lucky breaks, bounty and beneficence, as so many have done for us. We are Thalia Chaltas, Mary Hershey, Valerie Hobbs, R. L. La Fevers and Lee Wardlaw."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A New Blog from Jane Friedman...

Writer's Digest Books Editorial Director Jane Friedman launched a brand new blog yesterday, There Are No Rules.

Jane, who oversees the publication of more than 50 nonfiction titles a year and speaks at a bazillion writer's conferences on myriad publishing-related topics (and is my boss) says her goal is "to deliver valuable advice to aspiring and established authors through frank commentary on publishing trends, live reports from conferences/events, and brief interviews with agents/editors/authors."

So check it out. Bookmark it. You will likely learn something or come away with a provocative thought about the ever-changing publishing landscape. Leave a comment while you're there. (Feel free to say something nice about me.)

There Are No Rules is part of the new-and-improved