Friday, August 27, 2010

In the News This Week

Fridays on the SCBWI blog, I share snippets of and links to some of the publishing/media-related news I've read during the last week that I found interesting, helpful, and/or fun. Click titles to get to the full articles.

Below you'll find news on digital publishing for young readers, Sneed Collard III's new publishing venture, a resolution to the Wylie/Amazon/Random House adventure, authors who make lots of dough (guess which children's authors made the list?), low-priced e-readers in time for the holidays, some tips on using Facebook Places (I've been checking in!), teens grumbling about Facebooking parents, a roundup of MOCKINGJAY reviews, and more.

Digital 'Firsts' from Random House and HarperCollins (PW)
Children’s book publishers continue to push forward into digital publishing, and both HarperCollins and Random House revealed new e-products earlier this week. Random House Children’s Books is publishing its first e-book original, a tie-in to Michael Scott’s Nicholas Flamel series. The Death of Joan of Arc: A Lost Story from the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is an e-book original from Delacorte, arriving between the fourth book, The Necromancer, which was published this past May, and the fifth, The Warlock, due in 2011. The Death of Joan of Arc went on sale this past Tuesday for 99¢; the story posits that rather than being burned at the stake, Joan of Arc was rescued by Scathach the Warrior.

Montana Author Launches Publishing House (PW)
After his latest book, The World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale, was turned down by 15 publishers, Sneed Collard III, the author of 50 books for children, who received the Washington Post-Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award in 2006, decided to take matters into his own hands. Collard, who lives in Missoula, Mont., has formed his own publishing company, Bucking Horse Books, and is publishing the 64-page picture book himself this fall. The World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale will be released in October, with a retail price of $18 and a first print run of 5,000 copies.

The RH/Wylie Showdown Ends, New Digital Royalty Rate Is Born
The news that Random House had "won" its showdown with The Wylie Agency, over the inclusion of titles by its authors in Wylie's backlist digital publishing business Odyssey Editions, spread through publishing circles quickly on Tuesday, after Random House and Wylie released a joint statement. The statement said that Random House will now be the exclusive e-book publisher of its 13 titles originally part of Odyssey Editions and that, as a result of the agreement, Random House will lift its ban on doing business with the agency.

The Highest-Paid Authors (Forbes)
Publishers are feeling the heat, with hardcover sales weak and the rise of e-books promising to upend their business models. But the world's 10 top-earning authors are making out just fine, earning a combined $270 million over the 12 months to June 1.

PW Select: Opportunity or Exploitation? (Writer Beware Blog)
Print on demand technology has done a lot over the past 10 or 12 years to change the publishing landscape. Among other things, it has created an explosion of fee-based publishing options, small publishers, and micropresses. These ventures in turn have driven an intense proliferation of services targeted to writers, all of them intended (theoretically, at least) to offset the minimal marketing and limited distribution that's typical of POD publishing services and small presses.

Seth Godin on Non-Traditional Publishing (GalleyCat)
Last week, author Seth Godin generated headlines around the world when he told GalleyCat: "I've decided not to publish any more books in the traditional way." This week published a long interview with the bestselling author, entrepreneur, and marketing consultant. In the interview, GalleyCat correspondent Jeff Rivera discovered that the last book Godin read was Nothing Sacred by Douglas Rushkoff.

Amazon Loses E-Book Deal (WSJ)
A month after jolting the book industry with a deal to give Inc. exclusive digital access to some of the country's best-known literary works, literary agent Andrew Wylie is largely abandoning the agreement. The Amazon deal was struck after Mr. Wylie failed to agree to terms with publishers for electronic rights to his authors' existing titles. It was a notable step in the battle between Amazon and its two main rivals in e-books, Apple Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc.

The Sharper Image Introduces $159 eReader (GalleyCat)
This holiday season is gearing up to be a busy one in the eReader wars. Now, The Sharper Image is entering the eReader game with the new Literati, a color eReader slated for release this October.

Teens on Facebook GOL (grumble out loud) as mothers become friends (LA Times)
Mothers have found a even better way to humiliate their children than showing baby pictures: becoming a friend on Facebook. Like the cyber version of being picked up in an uncool car, teens are now mortified by nagging chats and clueless comments left by their mothers on their online profiles.
Nearly a third of Facebook teens are ready to unfriend their parents on the social networking site and are twice as likely to want to avoid Mom as Dad, according to an AOL study released Tuesday.

How To Use Facebook Places (All Facebook)
So you’ve spent the weekend watching your friends check in from various places around the world and it’s showing up in your news feed but you can’t figure out how to check-in somewhere yourself. Have no fear, we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you get up and running and sharing your location.

'Mockingjay' Review Roundup (HuffPo)
The last installment in Suzanne Collins' wildly popular "Hunger Games" trilogy hits stores today. Here's an early sampling of what people are saying:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hooray for Mockingjay Parties!

I haven't read any of Suzanne Collins' books yet (never cracked open a HARRY POTTER or a TWILIGHT book either), but seeing the excitement these Big Series generate, reading all the coverage on the web about the release parties for MOCKINGJAY at bookstores and libraries alike, and seeing editors, agents, and other writers tweeting with joy about the book's release made me so happy for the world of print books.

With so much talk of e-books and e-readers taking over (and their sales are rising--click here, here, here, and here if you dig statistics), I love seeing reports of brick and mortar bookstores ordering 3600 printed copies of MOCKINGJAY.

Not that I'm against e-books. Go e-books! Knock yourself out. Sell, sell, sell. As long as consumers are happily reading, I (as publishers) don't care how they are doing it. (In fact, a recent survey suggests that consumers with e-readers do more reading since they got their devices.)

But how do you throw a party for an e-book release? Does everyone show up at a coffee shop with their Kindles and simultaneously download? And, what--no line numbers, no autographs? No fun!

So I guess when, someday, printed books go the way of the album {shudder} someone will have to come up with a new way to throw a party. In the meantime, enjoy this coverage of MOCKINGJAY events:
And Party on, readers!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Tweet Roundup

Welcome to the mostly-MOCKINGJAY edition of my Wednesday Tweet Roundup. Suzanne Collins' latest book was a trending topic--lots of writers, editors and agents were terribly stoked about the release of the latest in the HUNGER GAMES series.

I've also included, among other things, news of an original e-book for young readers, some query tips from agents, and one writer's video please for publication.

My favorite tweet of the week on the Emmy win for the Old Spice Man You Man Can Smell Like commercial my seems apropos of nothing--but that ad is a great example of something catching on and totally going viral via YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Isn't that what we'd all love for your books? Quick--someone hire Isaiah Mustafa for a book trailer!

Click on the Twitter handles (@name) to find each tweeter's page should you wish to follow them or read more of what they're saying. Follow the included links to read the articles or blog posts these tweeters recommend.

Remember--whether you're signed up with Twitter or not, you can read tweets and click links to find helpful blog posts, useful articles, and timely news bits (like the ones below).

@Ginger_Clark Popping head in from vacation to ask if something major happened today in my industry? Huh?

@jamieharrington @Ginger_Clark naah, everybody's too busy reading Mockingjay :)

@PWKidsBookshelf Suzanne Collins answers five questions; @Scholastic has the video

@Scholastic MOCKINGJAY is trending on Twitter (USA!) Here's the proof. It's legit!

@ElanaRoth Okay, guys. I'm going in. #mockingjay

@EgmontGal I am reading. THE BOOK. Shhhh. No more from me till it's done.

@curiousmartha I can't wait! RT @colleenaf Tonight's regularly scheduled writing group has been replaced with reading group. #blamemockingjay

@angie_frazier My local Indie has my copy of #Mockingjay waiting for me :-) I'll be picking it up tomorrow & hiding it from my husband...

@Janet_Reid I'm thinking of waylaying @sztownsend81 and @mer_barnes to see if I can steal their copies of #Mockingjay. #nonotreally
@MandyHubbard 2 teen grls were buying #mockingjay at borders. 1 team peeta, 1 teem Gale. Kinda wanted to go read it with them!

@MyraMcEntire Dear @scholastic,Pls pass along my a)offer of servitude b) deep and abiding adoration c) bucket of tears to S. Collins.

@PWKidsBookshelf Random House Ch Bks publishes its 1st e-book orig: The Death of Joan of Arc: A Lost Story from the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel

@GalleyCat The list keeps growing as our Facebook readers recommend the best YA Books for Adults:

@emhornerbooks Some Recommended Titles for LGBTQ Young Adults via @huffingtonpost

@WeronikaJanczuk A Note About Reading Queries:
@NathanBransford Everything you need to know about how to write a query letter:

@AudryT Top 100 banned/challenged books in the last decade: A lot of these authors are on Twitter!
@JoKnowles Great post on censorship by @lkmadigan "When Parents Panic"

@PublishingSpy publish: Calling Literary Agents And Publishers For My First Novel

@mashable “Old Spice Guy” Ad Wins an Emmy -

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Agent Interview: Mary Kole, Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Mary Kole came to children's literature from a writer's perspective and started reading at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency to see what it was like "on the other side of the desk." She quickly found her passion working for the agency, and officially joined as an Associate Agent in August, 2009.

Mary has worked in editorial as well, with a stint at Chronicle Books. Her editorial background--along with her MFA in Creative Writing-- makes her a hands-on agent, working to develop each project she takes on to its full potential.

You'll find her sharing her knowledge and advice at a number of SCBWI and other events both in person and online (more on that below) as well as her terrific blog,

You started as an Agent with Andrea Brown Literary in August 2009. What drew you to agenting books for young readers?

I've always been drawn to children's books, and to kids. I have an inner age of about sixteen. With that in mind, I wanted to work on books that captured that spark, those possibilities, the electric, alive feeling of being a kid. Too many adults around me seem to have stopped seeing the magic of life. And kids' books not only foster the idea of magic in everyday life, but they also inspire other magical things: reading, creativity, imagination, strength, hope, laughter. Children's books really do have the power to change lives. They give kids friends, they make kids into lifelong readers, they empower kids to tell their own stories. If, at the end of the day, I have any hand in changing lives with books, I'm happy.

What's it like for an agent in the first year? What were your goals?

My goals in the first year, and my goals as I start my second year, are to find great talent and to become savvier about the marketplace. The first goal, finding talent, is always part effort, part kismet. I keep a go to conferences. I do what I can to get my name out there and attract submissions. But most of my clients have come from serendipitous queries in the slush, great conference connections, or referrals. At the end of the day, I just need to be open to receiving my next great client, however they come to me. I can't do much more than that. It's frustrating, sure, because I want to find that amazing new project now now now, but it's also liberating, since there's so much chance involved and I'm just along for the ride.

My other goal--being savvy about the market--has kicked into high gear since I moved to Brooklyn in July. I'm meeting a lot of editors, studying publisher catalogs, and reading upcoming and previous releases. I've been reading like mad this summer, actually. The more I know, the more of an asset I am to my clients, so I've really been pounding the pavement and hitting the books. The big difference between my first year and my second year is that I am now being more selective in what I take on, since I have a great base of clients already. That's not to say that I wasn't selective initially, but I was really aggressively building my list. Now I know a lot more about agenting and the marketplace, and I feel like I'm making better, stronger choices. I'm still very much looking for talent, but I feel like I can take my time now and be really picky. I'd say I can sum up my goals in agenting and in life with, "Read and learn more and more every day."

You have a popular blog on which you offer generous servings of advice. As a newer agent, why did you choose to blog. Should writers blog?

I caused a flap on my blog recently by suggesting that not all aspiring writers blog. I stick by what I said. For some writers, blogging is a great source of community. For others, they would probably be better served by writing, not social networking. I love my blog--it was a great way for me to get my name out there and is now a great way for me to practice my passions for teaching and for the writing craft--but it's a lot of work. Blogging isn't for the faint of heart, and you really have to have great, valuable content in order to hook and keep your readers.

You answer questions from your blog readers. Are there a few that come up over and over?

People are obsessed with queries. Sure, they can be the only thing an agent sees before deciding your fate as a writer. But Andrea Brown asks for sample pages and I always look at the writing. The key to a strong story is simple: make me care. Tell me about your character and their story in a way that I want to read on. Lots of writers over think the query when they should be doing more revision on the actual project. Also, unpublished writers love to talk about numbers and royalties and ebooks. A lot of that is premature, since they don't have a publishing contract to worry about yet. I'm all about writers who are informed and know how publishing works, but I feel like most are best served, at least at the early stages, by focusing on writing.

There's a manuscript wish list on your blog. Does that change with any sort of frequency? And are you currently open to queries?

I'm very much open to queries. And the list changes occasionally. I am still looking for all those things on the Wish List, and they tend to reflect my favorite themes and subjects. But it's all about the execution. I've gotten a lot of ghost books since I put out a call for ghost books, and only one has really hit the spot, and it's just one spin on a ghost story. I'd love to find more. There are things I want to add to the list.

Overall, I find myself craving darker, edgier, older YA these days. Not "darker" in terms of "let's put a vampire in it." In fact, please don't. I just have a very sarcastic, edgy, dark, morbid, creepy side to myself, something my inner sixteen year old can really relate to, and I'd love to see something complex and sophisticated along those lines. If I had anything to say about most of the submissions I get, it's that they're not complex or sophisticated enough. Teens are such smart readers and their lives are super rich and full. I expect nothing less from teens in books. Too many stories seem like they just take me from point A to point B without any depth or meat.

Are you participating in any upcoming events where writers can hear you speak and meet you?

Yes! I have tons of events on my list. I'm doing a Writers Digest online webinar on September 23rd. Writers from all over the place will be able to call in and hear it. A week later, on the 30th, I'm teaching a Learning Annex class in Manhattan. October is a busy travel month for me. The 8th through 10th, I'll be in Ohio, and the 15th through 16th, I'll be in Wisconsin, both for the SCBWI. On the 21st, I'm heading to Florida for the weekend for the Florida Writers Association. In November, I'm in South Dakota the 5th to the 7th, also for the SCBWI. In January 2011, I'm doing a Writers Digest conference on the 21st to the 23rd, and then the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference in New York that's the weekend of January 28th.

I'm also thrilled to be doing the Big Sur Writers Workshop, hosted by my agency. It's a small group intensive workshop-based conference that takes place in beautiful Northern California. One weekend is December 3rd through 5th, the other weekend is March 4th through 6th, 2011.

You just participated in the online WriteOnCon. How was it?

It was great! My client Jamie Harrington was one of the organizers. My favorite bit about it was that I got to troll through people's queries and sample pages that they'd posted on the forums. It was like getting to pick and choose my pitch appointments (usually agents have no control over who pitches them at in-person conferences). I also loved how much of a turnout there was. I know that a lot of people don't have the ability to travel to conferences. While I think the SCBWI regions do such a great job of bringing great opportunities to writers, I know lots of writers who, for one reason or another, haven't been able to make a conference. This lets everyone participate. Finally, it was really fun to create content for the attendees. I ended up doing my very first vlog! It sounds like WriteOnCon might keep featuring content and chats throughout the year, and I'm excited to keep participating.

Could you offer a piece of advice (or two) to writers looking for agents?

My biggest piece of advice is to really work on the craft. That happens when you read, write, read, write, read, write, lather, rise, repeat. Publication will still be there when you've polished a great manuscript. Agents will still be there when you're truly ready to query. But your writing and your premise really have to blow me away. So work on it. Really work on it. Don't just get out there and start querying because that's the next step in the process. The step before publication--the writing-a-publishable-book step--can be a long and frustrating but wonderful and fulfilling one. And, above all, it's a necessary step. Don't rush it.


Friday, August 20, 2010

In the New This Week

Fridays on the SCBWI blog, I share snippets of and links to some of the publishing/media-related news I've read during the last week that I found interesting, helpful, and/or fun. Click titles to get to the full articles.

Below you'll find a report on fellow authors standing behind the dis-invited Ellen Hopkins, good news on the children's hardcover sales front, tips on Facebook privacy after the rollout of Places, an interview with boundary-breaking Tony DiTerlizzi, the release of this year's make-us-all-feel-old Beloit College mindset list, J.D. Salinger's toilet for sale, a dating site which aims to make lovers out of book lovers, and more.

Authors Withdraw from Teen Lit Festival (PWxy)
Blogs, Twitter, and Facebook have been abuzz in the last 24 hours with news that four YA authors have pulled out of the annual Teen Lit Fest in Humble, Tex., a Houston suburb. The authors withdrew in support of writer Ellen Hopkins, who announced in a blog post last week that she had been disinvited from the festival, which is organized by the Humble Independent School District, and is scheduled for January 2011. In the post, entitled “Censorship Bites,” Hopkins announced that her invitation had been revoked after a middle-school librarian and parents approached a superintendent and the school board about her participation.

Hardcover Children's/YA Sales Rose 19.6 Percent in June (GalleyCat)
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) reported today that hardcover sales for the Children's/YA category rose 19.6 percent compared to the same period last year--totaling $60.6 million in sales. However, year-to-date sales were still down 16.7 percent compared to 2009.

ABC and ABA to Present Merger Plan in September
It’s been over a year and a half since the Association of Booksellers for Children first began exploring the possibility of merging with the American Booksellers Association as one way of securing its future. Now that possibility is moving a step closer, with the release of a merger plan early next month, and a vote in October.
The Facebook Places Privacy Settings You Need To Know (All Facebook)
When Facebook launched their Places product yesterday they also released a new set of privacy settings. One feature that has attracted a fair amount of buzz is the ability for your friends to tag you in different places. That means you may not actually be somewhere, yet your friends will tag you as a joke and now you’re showing up at a random strip club. Granted, your friend will need to check in at the strip club as well to make that joke a reality, however I know we all have at least one of those friends! Read on to learn how to configure your settings properly.

E-books vs. Traditional Books [Infographic] (HuffPo)
Amazon recently announced that its June 2010 Kindle e-book sales nearly doubled its hardcover book sales (180% higher). Many of those e-books were self-published books priced under a dollar; however, data indicates e-books may become the dominant long-form format in not too many years.

The WondLaful Tony DiTerlizzi (SLJ)
Tony DiTerlizzi pushes the boundaries of bookmaking with his latest, The Search for WondLa (S & S), which combines a traditional novel with a graphic novel and the interactivity of a computer. SLJ spoke to the award-winning author and illustrator about the inspiration and creative process behind this augmented reality children's novel, what's in store for books two and three, and a Wondla movie already in the works with Paramount Pictures.

The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014 (Beloit College website)
Born when Ross Perot was warning about a giant sucking sound and Bill Clinton was apologizing for pain in his marriage, members of this fall’s entering college class of 2014 have emerged as a post-email generation for whom the digital world is routine and technology is just too slow. Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall.

Like Stieg Larrsson? Let's Date! Can Books REALLY Lead To Love? (HuffPo)
Chin Ma is 25 and looking for love. He paddles regularly in the dating pools online, paying fees to navigate millions of profiles based on lengthy checklists and compatibility formulas. So how'd he find his latest prospect? Through a book by Andy Warhol on, a newcomer looking to connect people free of charge based on their favorite reads. It's a unique approach in a recession-hardy industry that has dozens of niche sites serving potheads to pet owners, millionaires to Mac lovers.

J.D. Salinger's Porcelain "Throne" For Sale (GalleyCat)
Step right up and place your bids for J.D. Salinger's used toilet.
The Vault of Forsyth Inc. (boasting 99.2% positive seller feedback) posted the item on eBay. The price tag is $1 million or your best offer. A million might seem like a lot to ask, but at least the shipping is free. This deal also comes with a letter from Joan Littlefield who, along with her husband, owns Salinger's former residence in Cornish, NH. As of 2:51pm on 08-18-2010, 18 bidders have thrown down. Bidding will end on September 4th 2010 17:06:30 PDT.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Participate in Random Acts of Publicity Week September 7-10

"In the publishing industry, it’s so easy to get into the 'Me' mentality," says author Darcy Pattison. "Read my book, read my blog, come to my book signing, etc. I found myself doing this last year and didn’t like myself."

So Darcy said took a step back to look around and consider all the fellow authors and illustrators she knew who had books that deserved great reviews. Thinking about the philosophy of Pay It Forward, she got the idea to initiate a week of Random Acts of Publicity during which she would encourage fellow book creators to help publicize one another's work. "The model is to do a kindness for others, not expecting anything in return," she says.

Read on to learn more about it RAoP which takes place September 7-10, visit Darcy's website for additional info, and click here to pledge your participation in the event via Facebook. 

It's the second year fro Random Acts of Publicity--how did it get started?

Borrowing the idea of Random Acts of Kindness, I wondered what a week of random acts of publicity would look like.

First, the timing. The Christmas season is a time when book sales soar right along with toy sales. The competition is fierce, though, so our marketing efforts need to be in stellar condition. For example, on Amazon, books tend to do better if they have more reviews. And that’s something I can help another author with. By putting the Random Acts of Publicity the week after Labor Day, we’ll have plenty of time to help others get ready for the holiday shopping season.

Second, what to do during the week? Last year, I posted suggestions, focusing each day on a different way of helping others promote their works.

How else are you spreading the word about RAoP other than via Facebook. Is Facebook the best place for info?

The Random Acts of Publicity event on Facebook is a great place for information. Click here.

The week of the event, I’ll be posting suggestions about things to do on my blog and adding links to those posts on the Facebook events page. Others are welcome to suggest ideas or talk about what they are doing, too. Last year, the schedule went like this:
This year, it will be similar.

What if a person wants to do something, but doesn't have a lot of spare time?

Even the smallest Random Act of Publicity is welcome! There are no small acts of kindness, no small places to do it. If your blog only has five readers, it still helps to post a review of a friend’s book. If you have time to only click Become a Fan on a friend’s Goodreads page, it’s enough. It’s a welcome kindness.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Tweet Roundup

It's humpday which means it's time for me to share some of my favorite tweets of the last week from the many writers, illustrators, editors and agents who are out there sharing information and joining in the conversation on Twitter.

Click on the Twitter handles (@name) to find each tweeter's page should you wish to follow them or read more of what they're saying. Follow the included links to read the articles or blog posts these tweeters recommend.

Remember--whether you're signed up with Twitter or not, you can read tweets and click links to find helpful blog posts, useful articles, and timely news bits (like the ones below).

Among this week's picks and links: censorship news (boo!), an agent requests a query via Twitter (yay!), reports on conferences (one live, one online), varying pieces on craft, social media news, and more.

@PublishersLunch: #plnws School Librarian Who Didn't Read Ellen Hopkins' Books Gets Her Disinvited from Teen Lit Fest; Other YA Auth...

@ceamer: YA author takes stand against insidious censorship:

@GalleyCat: Two New Jersey libraries remove an anthology of short stories written by gay & lesbian youth:

@4KidLit: WOW Wednesday: L.J. Boldyrev on Writing Short to Lengthen Your Resume

@CynLeitichSmith: How to Create a Dystopia by @parkerpeevy:

@Kid_Lit: Lack of voice/character in MG boy books and the boy problem, inspired by @hannahmosk:


@halseanderson: Blog up: dealing with rejection and typing with your nose

@wendytoliver: Love contemporary YA novels?

@Georgia_McBride: On submission? #YALITCHAT has a new group for YA writers seeking advice, support and safe place to vent.
@libmaryann: Great review of #YAlit site, Bookurious, by @ErinWalk

@gregpincus: WriteOnCon round-up Day 1: and Day 2:

@jessiedenlim: Good stuff RT @4kidlit Conference Round-Up: WriteOnCon Day 2
@4KidLit: If you missed #WriteOnCon, come check out our cheat sheet!

@DeborahFreedman: Relive the moment #LA10SCBWI - almost. The amazing Ashley Bryan recites "My People"

@wendydelsol: Too funny! Author M.T. Anderson singing at #la10scbwi: I'm proud to be part of laugh track.

@scbwi: Check out great pictures from #LA10SCBWI by Rita Crayon Huang here:
@maybegenius: My take on the LA SCBWI 2010 Editor's Panel is up. What makes them choose your book?
@ingridsundberg: On the Blog - Loren Long: Illustrating the Picture Book -

@sialche: Social media for unagented/unpublished writers. Yay or nay? http://bit.ly9jw1rU (via @WeronikaJanczuk)

@ingridsundberg: Grand list of #kidlit peeps who tweet tweet tweet! Editors, Agents, and Authors to follow:
@mashable: Our top story this evening: "Facebook Launches a Live Video Channel" -


@MichaelBourret: I want a scary YA alien novel. Maybe CLOSE ENCOUNTERS but not so cheery. Anyone?

@marilynpeake: @MichaelBourret I just finished writing an alien novel! Getting great reviews, is unpublished, doesn't have agent. May I send it?

@MichaelBourret: @marilynpeake Please do send me a query.

@PetaAndersen: Nice--but short--list of good #MG books for boys -
@harperchildrens: In Search of the Elusive Funny Female Character via @sljournal


@sirayn: best book title ever for YA book deal just up on Publishers Marketplace: WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hey Bloggers! KidLit Con 2010 Is Set for October

Attention all you bloggers out there... have you heard about Kidlit Con 2010?

Kidlit Con is a conference just for the community of children's and young adult book bloggers. The 2010 event will be held at Open Book in Minneapolis on Saturday, October 23 and is hosted by three kidlit editors--Andrew Karre (Carolrhoda), Ben Barnhart (Milkweed), and Brian Farrey (Flux). Blogger and New York Times Bestselling Author Maggie Stiefvater is the keynote speaker for the event, which will include a full day of innovative and informative sessions.

Says Carolrhoda Publisher Andrew Karre:
Blogging and social media are increasingly important to every facet of book promotion in trade and library markets. Everyone knows this. It’s more than promotion though. I think these tools will play a role in shaping the artistic future of the genre. The uniquely collegial and cooperative community of kidlit authors and reviewers does itself a big favor when it supports events like these. I hope our Kidlitosphere has something for everyone from bloggers to authors to librarians trying to facilitate teen reading groups. Most of all, I hope it provides a forum for lots of unexpected conversations.

Click here for a helpful post on who should attend and why.

For updates about the event as well as registration and hotel informaion, visit the Kidlit Con blog. You can also follow Kidlit Con 2010 on Twitter.

Friday, August 13, 2010

In the News This Week

Fridays on the SCBWI blog, I share snippets of and links to some of the publishing/media-related news I've read during the last week that I found interesting, helpful, and/or fun. Click titles to get to the full articles.

Below you'll find a cool book deal by Carolrhoda Lab, top picture book agents, an essay defending grown-ups who read YA (whatev!), writers helping a financially strapped library in my home state, layoffs at Borders, Elizabeth Bluemle's updated list of star-reviewed titles (fall reading list, anyone?), speculation on THE HUNGER GAMES movie casting, an enhanced e-book from Knopf BFYR, query letter tips, and some Twitter news items worth tweeting about.

Lerner Lands Unconventional Book from Three YA Authors (PW)
YA readers will have an opportunity to learn how authors conceptualize and write fiction, from start to finish, when Lerner Publishing Group releases (in spring 2012) a collection of YA stories written by Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver and Linger), together with her colleagues Brenna Yovanoff (The Replacement, Razorbill, fall 2010) and Tessa Gratton (Blood Magic, Random House, summer 2011). The stories originally appeared on the three authors’ blog, Three Merry Sisters of Fate. The as-yet-untitled release, which will be published under the Carolrhoda Lab imprint, will also include private emails, tweets, and IMs among the three, discussing and critiquing each other’s work as they develop and revise their stories.

Top 20 Picture Book Agents in Publishers Marketplace (Suite101)
The world of children's literature is packed with promise and savvy literary agents, listed below are the top 20 dealmakers as of August 6, 2010.

Twitter Moves to Make it Easier to Tweet (WJS Digits)
Twitter borrowed a page from Facebook Thursday, announcing a plan to begin offering online publishers the chance to embed a “tweet” button on their sites. The goal is to make it easier for users of Twitter to share content–or tweet, in Twitter-speak. More than 30 large sites including,, and YouTube, the video website, today will begin making the tweet button available to users, Twitter announced.

The Stars So Far 2010—Updated 8/12/10
(Shelf Talker)
It’s time for another update of the starred reviews from Booklist, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, the Horn Book, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates). Starred reviews are excellent guideposts, but they don’t tell the whole story, of course. There are amazing books out there that never receive a starred review but are popular and/or critical favorites nonetheless.

Writers Help Struggling Ohio Library (PW)
Newcomerstown Public Library in Newcomerstown, Ohio, has been struggling to remain open in its small community due to state budget cuts. The library formed a fundraising committee last fall and has been working hard to raise funds so that it may continue operating.

Borders Group lays off more employees at Ann Arbor headquarters (
Borders Group Inc., which is battling a continuous revenue slide and massive industry changes, laid off more employees at its Ann Arbor headquarters this morning, a spokeswoman confirmed. The job cuts come as the book store chain is placing a heavy emphasis on its new electronic books strategy in the midst of major structural challenges to its core business model.

The Kids’ Books Are All Right (NY Times)
While au fait literary types around town await the buzzed-about new novels from Jonathan Franzen and Nicole Krauss, other former English majors have spent the summer trying to get hold of “Mockingjay,” the third book in Suzanne Collins’s dystopian trilogy, so intensely under wraps that not even reviewers have been allowed a glimpse before its airtight Aug. 24 release. What fate will befall our heroine, Katniss Everdeen? My fellow book club members and I are desperate to know. When will the Capitol fall? And how can Collins possibly top the first two installments, “The Hunger Games” and “Catching Fire”? Oh, did I mention? “Mockingjay” is for teenagers. I am well into my 30s.

FishbowlNY Talks To Marie Claire About Its Interactive September Issue (FishbowlNY)
It seems that many publications are touting the interactive features made possible with iPad or smartphone applications, but Marie Claire has found a way to make browsing through a print magazine a more interactive experience for its readers. We spoke with the magazine's publisher, Nancy Berger Cardone, about how Marie Claire's September issue, with a little help from image recognition technology expert Pongr, is helping readers shop instantly for items found among its pages.

3 Key Elements of a Great Query Letter (HuffPo)
Yes, the concept of writing a query letter can be an intimidating process. The fact that it should only be one page in length makes the need for potency even more relevant. It is the proposal for your proposal and it's just as important. You have to be able to convince agents why you and why your book.

RH Children's Does First Enhanced E-book (PW)
Knopf Books for Young Readers is publishing its first enhanced e-book, a tie-in edition of Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. The publication marks the first foray any Random House imprint has made in publishing an enhanced e-book for the children's market. The e-book went on sale August 10 for $14.99, leading up to the August 27 release of the film, which is directed by Rob Reiner.

iStoryTime Launches Story App For Deaf Children (eBook Newser)
Digital publisher iStoryTime, a publisher of children's storybooks for the iPhone and iPad, has launched a new app for deaf children. Their first app designed for the hearing impaired, the app is a hear impaired version of Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy includes a sign-language interpretation.

Casting Future Movie Franchises: Who Will Star in The Hunger Games? (New York Magazine)
The next win-a-franchise battle—this one called the “Who gets to be Katniss Everdeen?” contest—is scheduled to begin on August 24, with the release of Mockingjay, the third installment in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy, a series of adult-loved YA books that will be adapted into movies, and that you will only be hearing more about.
Women in Publishing Twitter Directory (GalleyCat)
Today Dear Author co-founder Jane Litte created a big stir in the publishing Twitter-sphere, celebrating her favorite Women in Publishing. Her post generated a massive response from readers around the globe, all archived at the hashtag, #womeninpublishing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Tweet Roundup: Post-Conference All #LA10SCBWI Edition

Today I bring you a rather massive all-Annual-Summer-Conference Tweet Roundup featuring great quotes and soundbites, links to conference report posts offering info/take away/reactions from a baker's dozen  conference-goers, and some other fun tidbits.

The grand prize for most tweeted and retweeted line goes to S&S editor Justin Chanda:
"If everyone goes home and writes to the trends, then the vampires win!"; "We're looking for what's new."

And a little advice to all you Twitter users out there from my partner in crime Greg Pincus:
@gregpincus: Post #la10scbwi - don't forget to connect with all your new Twitter friends (many followed you - have you followed back?)
Click on the Twitter handles (@name) to each tweeter's page should you wish to follow them. Follow the links included below to read the articles or blog posts these tweeters point to.

Remember--whether you're signed up with Twitter or not, you can read tweets and click links to find helpful blog posts, useful articles, and timely news bits--or, in this case, to experience vicariously/relive the 2010 SCBWI Annual Summer Conference.

@barrygoldblatt: Most common question I got at #LA10SCBWI: "Is @libbabray here?" #mywifeismorepopularthanme

@mbrockenbrough: Marion Dane Bauer: Most stories begin in neuroses: anger, fear, unfulfilled longing so deep it never leaves...even in your sleep.

@LPP_Media: "I just turned 37, and I can't purge this adolescent voice from my head!" Carolyn Mackler. Please don't, CM. You're fabulous!

@alicepope: Marion Dane Bauer: The best ideas for picture books are subversive (Where the Wild Things, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie)
 @_JessicaLove: "If you have writers block, it's because you don't know a character well enough or because you're avoiding a scene." Rachel Vail
@HeatherTrese: Susan C. Bartoletti "You can't research in the middle because that's where stereotypes live. You have to research to the edges."
@LPP_Media: Children's book author, Gail Carson Levine, humbly confesses - her most frequent note to self is, "I don't know what I'm doing."

@mbrockenbrough: A. Levine: "It tasted of pot and Dr. Pepper. That's a very specific kiss. The more specific it is, I feel like I just had it."

@storyconnection: Francesco Sedita, Penguin: If you're not making mistakes, you're not taking risks.

@HeatherTrese: Loren Long - When an illustrator picks up a book, he's saying he loves it enough to make it as much his as it is the writer's.

@_JessicaLove: "As artists, we need to fill ourselves to overflowing and give it all back." - E.B. Lewis

@alicepope: Agenting styles vary. Ginger Clark: I'm not your shrink. Lisa Grubka: I am.

@HeatherTrese: Gordon Korman: "Picture in your mind a bored, disaffected 11 year old saying, 'Do I care about this?'"

@kirstenhubbard: Press yourself to ask dangerous questions. Don't be afraid of your eccentricity -- embrace it. ~MT Anderson

@HeatherTrese: Loren Long: "Ask yourself - 'If they can do this, why can't I?' It's not who you know. I live in Cincinnati."

@SaraLewisHolmes: Linda Sue Park: MG novels = the world isn't fair---what are you going to do about it?

@_JessicaLove: "To make a character more like a teen have her stop thinking about something else, bring her back to thinking about herself" Amy Koss

@LiteraryAsylum: 3 most repeated words by agents, publishers, editors, and even the valet at #LA10SCBWI - NO MORE VAMPIRES.

@lishacauthen: "Find the one agent/editor who lights up when they read your work. That's the one for you." - Jill Alexander

@alicepope: Lin Oliver (setting Jon Scieszka straight): Princesses don't fart. They don't have intestines, just tiaras.

@combsmaggie: Agent Panel Notes

@angelamatteson: My conference blog post day 1:

@jaimetem: At #LA10SCBWI I only blogged about celebrities, picture books, graphic novels, and big pants.

@heatherkephart: Hazel Mitchell's SCBWI Summer Conference notes/doodles on Facebook are a must-see! #la10scbwi #kidlit

@Brodiashton: M.T. Anderson's Break Out Session, or Why My Head Exploded at SCBWI

@kiwiandpear: My recap of the SCBWI Summer Conference

@DHeiligman: A few things I learned at #LA10SCBWI also cupcakes.

@amysundberg: My response to MT Anderson's fabulous keynote at #LA10SCBWI:

@KatieAlender: On the blog » SCBWI Conference Wrap-up

@DanaElmendorf: An overview of what I took from #LA10SCBWI With follow up blogs to come in the next few weeks.

@GretchenMcNeil: Woo hoo! It's my #la10scbwi round-up post featuring too many awesome writers and agents to name in 140 characters!!!

@leewind: Amazing! What I learned at the SCBWI Summer Conference

@gregpincus: Publishing is Changing. Let's Deal. (my recap/opinion of Rubin Pfeffer's #la10scbwi keynote):

@talewright: Hey Men! Want a reason to attend #LA10SCBWI other than the great people and fantastic workshops. M to F Ratio: 1-4 (don't tell my wife!)

@angelamatteson: I went to NY one but got even more from #la10scbwi Heard just what I needed to push myself to take my work to the next level.

@joypreble: So very ready for some character revision in the WIP after brilliant sessions from Rachel Vail and Carolyn Mackler.

@mbrockenbrough: When Arthur Levine points something out about your writing, you want to smack your forehead and say, "Of course!" He's so good.

@LiaKeyes: Such buzz & excitement this year! One friend signed with an agent, another got a full ms requested from an editor... happy!

@wendydelsol: @rachelvailbooks Kudos to someone who can make me laugh and cry at 8:30 on a Monday morning.

@crcook: #la10scbwi: danced barefoot, dined with poets, stealth-photographed a literary genius, had my mind blown, didn't sleep, did ponder and laugh


@rondiolson: Best part of #LA10SCBWI ? Talking to other authors who are on the same journey. It can be long and frustrating!
@_JessicaLove: The best/craziest thing about #LA10SCBWI? You sit next to someone at the lobby bar, then the next day you realize he is a Caldecott winner.

@KKittscher: Lovely birthday present: long chat at lunch with sid fleischman winner allen zadoff. Inspiring.


@breedespain: Danced to "The Love Shack" with M.T. Anderson. Only at #LA10SCBWI #Eep

@elisanader: OH from hallway last night: Drunkie 1: "I can't remember my room number!" Drunkie 2: "Really? Because I have to throw up."

@rachelvailbooks: Kids have no idea how wild the seemingly mild-mannered writers of their books are.
 @yaHighway: YA Highway and @theGotYA just got kicked out of the Hyatt hot tub :(
@juliacollard: - was unaware that this conference was also a Karaoke bar.

@alicepope: Overheard at #LA10SCBWI: "How do you spell sobriety? I'm emailing my agent."


@novaren: Can't stand it. Have to go to #LA10SCBWI next year. Is the LA conference the best one? Sounds like it:

@happybluejess: Thanks to all for the tweets from #LA10SCBWI. Hope to be there next year, but feel like I'm there now via tweeps.

@HeatherTrese: Am definitely fan-girling over everyone.. Also? Children's book writers are SO much more fun than adult authors.

@gekkards: Official SCBWI Conference Blog rocks! Thanks TEAM BLOG.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Looking Ahead: October Regional Events

I've been talk talk talking about the just wrapped SCBWI Annual Summer Conference, dear readers, and, although it was the best-attended one ever, still only a fraction of SCBWI members were in there. If distance/time/cost/etc. keeps you from the Big Daddy of SCBWI events, remember that there are a ton of terrific regional conference that may be just a short road trip away.

Hopefully you're all aware of the Events calendar on the SCBWI website. In addition to info on the awesome international conferences held in August and January, the calender also offers an exhaustive list of local chapter goings-on including meetings, schmoozes, speaker events, retreats, and conferences. Regional events are, of course, smaller and more intimate than the LA and NYC conferences and a great way to meet agents and editors, have manuscript and portfolio critiques, and network with local writers and illustrators.

October is a beautiful time of year to get together and talk children's book with industry insiders and your peers. Below is a list of the October regional SCBWI conferences with information currently available. For more see the Regional Events calender on Remember, it's never to soon to plan ahead for conference travel, and early registration often means savings on tuition cost.

If you see something on the list that interests you, click the event names for more information.

October 7 - October 10
Oregon Annual Fall Retreat
Silver Falls Conference Center, near Salem, Oregon
INFO: Our Special Guests: Chris Eboch, Haunted series author; Claire Horowitz, writer; Elizabeth Rusch, author; Abigail Samoun, editor: Tricycle Press; Kelly Sonnack, agent: Andrea Brown Literary Agency
October 8 - October 10
Michigan Fall Conference
Yarrow Golf Resort, Augusta, Michigan
INFO: Workshops with Cinda Chima, NYT fantasy bestseller; Darcy Pattison, acclaimed author and writing instructor; Patrick Collins, Art Director (Henry Holt); Susan Chang, Senior Editor with Tor Books (fantasy publisher); Amy Lennex, Sleeping Bear Press editor;;Betty Raum, author; Crystal Bowman, picture book author.

October 9 
Ohio: Central and South 2nd Annual Scarlet & Gray Event
Upper Arlington Senior Center
INFO: Speakers include associate agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency; Lisa Klein, author; Marcia James, author and expert on cyber promotion.

October 15 - October 17 
Sierra Nevada/Nevada South Conference on the Comstock
Virginia City, Nevada
INFO: Presenters include: editor Cheryl Klein, Arthur Levine Books; agent Tracy Adams, Adams Agency; editorial consultant, Emma Dryden; editorial consultant, Harold Underdown; illustrator Priscilla Burris; MG author Terri Farley; YA author Ellen Hopkins; PB author Verla Kay; MG author Susan Hart Lindquist; PB author/illustrator Terri Sloat; MG author Suzanne Morgan Williams.

October 15 - October 16 
Spain Park High School, Birmingham, AL
INFO: Faculty lined includes Darcy Pattison, author and instructor, Keynote Speaker; Stacey Barney, editor, Penguin/G.P. Putnam's Sons; Kate Sullivan, assistant editor, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Jamie Weiss Chilton, agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency; Kerry Martin, senior designer,
Clarion Book.
October 15 - October 17 
Wisconsin Annual Fall Retreat
Siena Center, Racine, WI
INFO: Speakers include editor Greg Ferguson, Egmont USA; editor Lisa Yoskowitz, Dutton Children's Books; art director Loraine Joyner, Peachtree Publisher; author Bruce Hale (Chet Gecko Series); author Deborah Wiles (Each Little Bird That Sings, Freedom Summer); agent Mary Kole, The Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

October 15 - October 17 
New Mexico Fall Retreat
Hummingbird Music Camp near Jemez Springs
INFO: Critique group facilitators include Chris Eboch, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, Lois Ruby, and Pari Noskin Taichert; Editor manuscript critiques with Pamela Kelly Glauber, associate editor, Holiday House.

October 23 
San Francisco East/North Bay Area Fall Conference--From Acorns to Oaks: Inspiration to Creation
Mills College, Oakland, CA
INFO: Presenters include Lisa Yoskowitz, assistant editor of Dutton Books; Kaylan Adair, editor, Candlewick Press; Caryn Wiseman, agent, Andrea Brown Literary Agency; Ammi-Joan Paquette, associate agent at Erin Murphy Literary Agency; Bruce Hale, author; Tim Myers, author; Ginger Wadsworth, non-fiction PB and MG author; Pamela Turner, nonfiction author; Joe Cepeda, illustrator.

October 30 
California Lutheran University
INFO: Presenters include Rubin Pfeffer, agent, East West Literary Agency; Stacy Whitman, editorial director, Tu Books; Andrea Welch, editor, Beach Lane Books; Mary E. Pearson, author.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Getting Back in the Swing Post-Conference

After a whole week in Los Angeles which included four days of blogging, three parties, two presentations with Greg Pincus, a little too much wine, far too many french fries, my first board meeting, and very little sleep, I took last Thursday and Friday to nap, unpack, do laundry, nap, hang with my kid, nap, shake off the jet lag, catch up on my TV shows, nap, readjust to eastern standard time, and nap.

I also managed to squeeze in some time (between naps) to read the post-conference buzz (which is still buzzing) on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and the media. Because, to be quite honest, it's hard when the conference is over. It zips by so quickly--then, all of a sudden, I'm home. And I miss the energy. I miss my old friends. I miss my new friends. I miss the Century Plaza and it's sultry-voiced elevator ("Lllobby"). And I miss TEAM BLOG.

Speaking of, if you haven't been there, I urge you to check out the AMAZING conference blog. There are a hundred-plus posts covering keynotes, breakouts, premium workshops, and social events as well a as a ton of photos and video. Kudos again to the terrific TEAM for their pre- and live conference coverage: Jaime Temairik, Jolie Stekly, Lee Wind, Martha Brokenbrough, Sara Stern and Suzanne Young.

If you haven't seen the Publishers Weekly coverage yet, click here for PW's conference overview and here for their piece on Rubin Pfeffer's keynote on content.

Wednesday I'll be offering an all-post-conference Tweet Roundup including favorite quotes, interesting observations, links to various conference reports, and more. If you can't wait two days to peek at the ever-growing conference conversation, search for #LA10SCBWI to check it out.

If, like me, you have a touch of pre-conference funk, read about it, relive it, scroll through your photos, go over your notes, e-mail new contacts, create an inner buzz--then get to work. Apply what you learned. Try something new. Revisit your WIP with fresh perspective. 

And remember...the SCBWI Annual Winter Conference is not that far off.