Friday, August 26, 2011

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.

This week's news includes a new YA imprint at Whitman, essays on boys reading and diet books for little girls, new words in Webster and the OED, a favorite piece on Steve Jobs (who, you may have heard, is stepping down), KidLit Con and Borders-related charity, and more.

Albert Whitman Takes on Teens with New Imprint (PW)
Founded in 1919, Albert Whitman publishes a range of children’s books, including board books, picture books, and middle-grade fiction, notably Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar Children Mysteries and The Boxcar Children Graphic Novels. With last month’s launch of Albert Whitman Teen, the Chicagoland publisher has expanded its offerings to include young-adult books. The inaugural releases are Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera, a novel set six months after 9/11 that centers on a teen who finds himself incarcerated as an “enemy combatant”; and Michael Ford’s The Poisoned House, a ghost story that takes place in Victorian London. Guantanamo Boy was selected for the ABA’s summer 2011 Kids’ Indie Next List.

Children's Store to Open in Katonah, N.Y.  (PW)
Borders’s loss is proving to be indies’ gain. With the closing of a Borders in Mt. Kisco, Jennifer Cook, owner of NoKa Joe’s in Katonah, N.Y., has decided to take the plunge and turn the 650 sq. ft. second floor into a children’s specialty bookstore in October.

Was Steve Jobs really Apple’s editor-in-chief? (The Cutline) 
For those who've followed Apple, casually or compulsively, Steve Job's resignation as chief executive on Wednesday was not unexpected. But the announcement was nonetheless met with a mixture of shock and sadness.

Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope? (NY Times)
At an American Library Association conference in 2007, HarperCollins dressed five of its male young adult authors in blue baseball jerseys with our names on the back and sent us up to bat in a panel entitled “In the Clubhouse.” We were meant to demystify to the overwhelmingly female audience the testosterone code that would get teenage boys reading. Whereas boys used to lag behind girls in reading in the early grades, statistics show, they soon caught up. Not anymore.

Do Little Girls Need Diet Books? (Salon)
It's the kind of aspirational image familiar from women's magazines and yogurt ads--a frumpy girl standing before the mirror, holding up the outfit she longs to fit into, dreaming of the smiling, slim version of herself waiting on the other side. But this isn't some Slim-Fast pitch or another Bikini Body by Friday! morning show segment. It's the cover of a children's book.

GoodReads Launches New iPad App (eBook Newser)
The online book community GoodReads has just made it a little easier for you to share your book interests with other fans. GoodReads uploaded a new version of its app to iTunes a few days ago and it finally supports the iPad.

New Words in Merriam-Webster Dictionary Include 'Tweet,' 'Fist Bump' (CNS News)
Merriam-Webster Inc. has added dozens of entries to the latest edition of its Collegiate Dictionary. Here are some, along with the year in which Merriam-Webster researchers first found them used in an English-language publication, and their meanings: 

Retweet & Sexting Are Now Words In Oxford English Dictionary (Mashable)
The Concise Oxford English Dictionary has added 400 words to its dictionary, including retweet, woot, sexting and cyberbullying. The 12th edition of the dictionary is a recognition that modern technology and social media have greatly impacted the English language. Retweet, the act of resharing a message on Twitter, is our favorite addition, though sexting and woot are a close second and third.

new Study Reveals Kids Who Read More are Better Readers (eBook Newser)
he UK based National Literacy Trust has recently released a the results of a study. After testing over 18 thousand children in the UK, the Trust concluded that the ones who read more books each month were also better readers.
KidLit Con Partners with RIF (GalleyCat) 
KidLit Con has launched a fundraising partnership with Reading is Fundamental (RIF).
Earlier this year, we reported that the federal budget for RIF has been reduced. With the new partnership, readers can donate to the childhood literacy program in the name of KidLit Con. Follow this link for more details about how to make a donation.

Mementos of Borders, for Charity (Shelf Awareness) [scroll down]
Just in case you had a particular bond with your local branch of Borders, here's an opportunity to gain a souvenir of the fast-fading bookstore chain and do some good, too.

Friday, August 19, 2011

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.

This week's news includes PW's coverage of SCBWI 40th Annual Summer Conference (which is technically last week's news, but I didn't want you to miss it); Little, Brown and Holiday house entering the leveled reader realm; magazine editors reaching out to the young and wired; syncing posts on multiple social networks; some e-reader-related news; Twitter contest tips; indie bookstore coverage including some fun from The Daily Show's John Hodgman; and more.

SCBWI Conference Celebrates 40th Anniversary with Record Turnout (PW)
A surprise guest appearance by Judy Blume at the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators annual summer conference in Los Angeles made the 40th anniversary of the organization even more meaningful to the record-breaking number of attendees, which included writers, illustrators, publishers, editors, and agents. Nearly 1,350 people were on hand for the conference, which was held August 4-8 at the Century Plaza Hotel.

Two Leveled Reader Programs Debut This Fall (PW)
A phone call from a librarian friend at the Boston Public Library allegedly prompted Ursula Nordstrom in the mid-1950s to launch Harper & Row’s I Can Read! line of beginning readers. After the librarian told the legendary editor that there was a dearth of simple books that new readers were able to tackle on their own, Nordstrom set out to fill that void. The first I Can Read! title, Else Holmelund Minarik’s Little Bear, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, was released in 1957. That same year, Random House debuted Beginner Books with Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. In subsequent years, many other early reader programs entered the marketplace, including Random House’s Step into Reading, Scholastic Readers, HMH Books’ Green Light Readers, and most recently Square Fish’s My Readers, which launched this spring. This fall, two new leveled reader lines join their ranks: Little, Brown’s Passport to Reading and I Like to Read Books from Holiday House.

Liberty Buys Barnes & Noble Stake
Liberty Media said it has agreed to purchase $204 million of Barnes & Noble preferred stock, a deal which would eventually give it a 16.6 % stake and trumps a $1 billion bid the media  giant had made for the troubled book retailer in May.

iPad Killer: Amazon Goes Razor Blades On Tablet Landscape (PWxyz)
This October is likely going to be a defining moment for tablets. That’s if, as expected, Amazon drops its tablet into the increasingly crowded fray, which at the moment is only slightly more organized than the Wild West. Many are expecting Amazon to set things straight, eliminating the pretenders and giving us a better idea of what exactly buyers want out of a tablet. But before we get to what might happen, let’s get caught up on what already has happened.

Easily And Automatically Sync Posts Between Twitter, Google+ And Facebook (AllTwitter)
We’ve written before about how to tweet your Google+ posts to Twitter, and now we’ve got an even more robust way to sync up your various social media profiles.

4 Things To Remember When Running A Twitter Contest (AllTwitter)
Twitter is a fantastic place to host a contest. You have a direct line to your customers and fans, you can easily set a time limit, and you can even use a hashtag to track it easily. However, there are some things you’ve got to consider when setting up your Twitter contest, or else the scammers, hackers, and otherwise deceptive people will start coming out of the woodwork and ruin all your best intentions.

HARRY POTTER CHAINED to new Sony reader (Register)
Sony will bundle its next generation e-reader with the entire series of Harry Potter stories from November, The Register has learnt. The bespectacled wizard debuts in digital format in October – the same time as the Sony-sponsored Pottermore "online reading experience" goes live – according to well-placed sources in the vendor's retail channel.

Editors Face Teen Angst (WWD)
Magazine newsstand sales were revealed last week by the Audit Bureau of Circulations and the numbers were bleak. Editors are desperate to engage the younger generation — those tweeters, Facebookers, text messagers and Web surfers who will ensure that titles have a future beyond the Baby Boomers. But what do they have to offer this prized demographic? More pictures of Lady Gaga or Kim Kardashian?

Independent bookstores add a new chapter (WaPo)
The brick-and-mortar bookstore is, like most of the economy, dead or close to it. See: Amazon, growth of. See: Borders, tanking of. Everybody knows this. So here’s Eileen McGervey, owner of One More Page bookstore in Arlington, standing next to her gourmet chocolates and a nice little wine selection, right across from the food and travel section, and she . . . opened in January of this year?
John Hodgman Shares Tips for Indie Bookstores (GalleyCat)
Author John Hodgman poked fun at the demise of Borders in a Daily Show appearance (video embedded above) this week,  urging booksellers to “replace their old-fashioned bookshelves with beautiful, well-appointed downloading pods.”

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Tweet Round-Up: 40th Annual Summer Conference Edition #LA11SCBWI

My tweet roundup temporarily comes out of retirement today to bring you some great tweets from the recent--and fabulous--SCBWI Annual Summer Conference.

I've included links to a number of conference-goers post-event posts so you can see some varying perspectives. (Everyone's experience is different, after all.) You'll find plenty of photos, highlights and inspiration.

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 blog posts or view the photos offered in these tweets. To peruse the conference conversation on Twitter, search #LA11SCBWI. And be sure to check out SCBWI TEAM BLOG's in-depth coverage on the Official SCBWI Conference Blog. (Lots of great info here--don't miss it.)

@HUnderdown Good, long article from @PWKidsBookshelf summarizing the #LA11SCBWI conference:

@angelamatteson My brief conference wrap-up post: 

@kimmiepoppins SCBWI LA 40th Anniversary Conference-Part 4 Libba followed by Laurie...priceless!

@DeeWhiteauthor Dee White My LA Adventure part one - inspiring Bruce Coville and more 

@StephanieRuble My notes from the #LA11SCBWI conference -

@Ani_Lou Notes from the awesome #LA11SCBWI conference -

@karensandlerYA #LA11SCBWI - The Wisdom of Agents - Panel Discussion

@DiandraMae Finally posted about #LA11SCBWI… There's probably nothing you haven't seen yet, but if you're interested... ;)

@LPP_Media For all of you who followed #LA11SCBWI, check out this fresh wrap of the event: And share your thoughts! 

@timmccanna Tim's Top 10 Takeaways from #LA11SCBWI…

@leewind 5 highlights of my #LA11SCBWI experience - w/quotes & @judyblume !

@mravenbrown: Kill the Baby: A Recap of My Experience at #LA11SCBWI with 13 bon mots from the conference.

@novaren In which I blog the Surreal Moments at the SCBWI LA Conference and Beyond.

@ingridsundberg: 14 Fun & Fabulous Take-Away's from 2011 SCBWI LA Conference: 

@LisaYee1 Look at all the big name authors at the SCBWI conference! (Some behaved better than others.)

@LisaYee1 More photos of super famous/super nice KitLit authors and illustrators conferencing & making mischief -- 

@jayasherguy: Pics from #LA11SCBWI, including me rockin' a pink bunny suit:

  Summary (w/ takeaways & photos) of the amazing Illustrators Intensive at #LA11SCBWI :

: Finally found the time to write about my weekend at #LA11SCBWI. The most amazing 4 days. Thank you all!

@gregpincus: Here are six social media steps to take after any conference or big event (like #la11scbwi):

@alicepope: Norton Juster: For an encoure, I'm going to take out my own appendix while whistling an aria from La Bohème.

@alicepope: Gary Paulsen: When a story goes well the hair stands up on the back of my neck. It's like wolf blood.

@alicepope: David Small: Life is a shit storm. When it rains on you sometimes art is your only umbrella.

@alicepope: Bruce Coville: Writers can reach hundreds of thousands of children. Our work ripples. We have impact. 
@alicepope: I don't think about my legacy. I just want a little tombstone that says: Are you there, God? It's me, Judy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-Conference Interview: Jamie Weiss Chilton

Wrapping up our terrific SCBWI TEAM BLOG conference faculty interviews is my chat with former SCBWI staffer turned agent, Jamie Weiss Chilton. Jamie represents children's books exclusively as part of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency team, specializing in teen novels and picture books. (See her bio on the agency website and her interview below for more info on what she's looking for.)

Before agenting and working at SCBWI, Jamie interned at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, and held editorial positions at both Bantam Delacorte Dell and Knopf & Crown Books for Young Readers. Here she talks about nonfiction, Lady Gaga, critiques and more.

All you conference-goers will see her in LA this weekend at the 40th Annual SCBWI Summer Conference! (Don't forget to visit the conference blog for the play-by-play.)

At the Annual Summer Conference you're offering a session called "The Current Marketplace for Nonfiction." Why did you choose this topic? What will conference-goers learn from this session?

Nonfiction is a wonderful genre, one that can have all the power of fiction with the added kick of "I can't believe that really happened!" It's inspiring, shocking, riveting, touching, and entertaining. I'm excited to be presenting a general survey of the nonfiction market, from picture books through YA.

Your bio on says you're looking for "the Lady Gaga of YA fiction." I'm assuming that doesn't mean you'll be on the lookout for the most outrageous outfit at the poolside pajama party. Would you explain this for my readers?

I love the way Lady Gaga has captured the imaginations of and inspired a huge number of people of all ages. To me she exemplifies a new, unique voice taking artistic risks, who has attracted a broad and dedicated fan base. She has reinvented the pop star genre, and I'm looking for writers who do the same in their respective genres.

Are you open to taking on new clients? Is there any particular area you're most interested in currently?

Yes, I am looking to take on new clients, especially of the Lady Gaga sort. I'm open to all genres and am particularly looking for YA at the moment.

You're offering manuscript critiques at the conference. What's you advice on getting the most out of a critique meeting.

I love the way the critiques are run at this conference; I think the setup helps writers and illustrators get the most out of their one-on-one meetings. For those new to critique, I recommend Linda Sue Park's great article The Give and Take of Critique, which is available to members on the SCBWI website.

To get the most out of your summer conference critique, come prepared to listen to your critiquer's advice. That doesn't mean you have to agree with everything, or make all the suggested changes (or even any of them!) but you will get the most out of your session if you approach it with an open mind.

You're a former SCBWI staff member. What was it like attending the Summer Conference for the first time as an agent instead of the conference director?

It was a strange feeling! I had the overwhelming urge to help and had to keep reminding myself that wasn't my job anymore. It's such a pleasure to attend the conference as a faculty member. The SCBWI staffers, TEAM BLOG, all the RA's and the bookstore staffers do a ton of work behind the scenes to make sure the conference runs smoothly. For me, being at the conference from the other side of the desk is kind of like a vacation, albeit a working vacation. : )

Would you please offer some advice (or do's and don'ts) for writers and illustrators interacting with agents in a conference setting?

Do introduce yourself and tell the agent (or editor) about your manuscript. We're at the conference to meet you! Don't hand the agent or editor any materials. We have a lot to keep track of and pack, and most of us prefer electronic submissions (ABLA is an all-electronic agency, as far as submissions are concerned.) And remember that we have a lot of people to meet and talk with, so please be understanding when we need to move along and meet other people. For that reason, have your short, concise pitch at the ready (and it can be really, really simple, like "My YA is The Omen meets The Pink Panther." (I have no idea what kind of book this would be--a strange one--just throwing it out there as an example.)