Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Someone's Filling My Shoes: An Interview with the New CWIM Editor Chuck Sambuchino

As you are probably aware, before I started up this SCBWI blog, I spent a number of years working on Market Books for Writer's Digest, with my foremost responsibility (and greatest joy) being the editing of CHILDREN'S WRITER'S & ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET. I worked on the book for 18 years. I raised it from a baby. And I let it go.

CWIM has now landed in the capable hands of Chuck Sambuchino, who's got a few years at WD under his belt, first working on WRITER'S DIGEST magazine, then going onto edit GUIDE TO LITERARY agents and maintaining a popular and terrific blog covering all things agent. Chuck is also a humor book writer, with his book, HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK to be released in September 2010 from Ten Speed Press/Crown. His first book was writing-related: the third edition of FORMATTING & SUBMITTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT. He's a produced playwright and a writer for both national and regional magazines with more than 600 articles have in print. He's represented by Sorche Fairbank of Fairbank Literary Representation.

In addition, Chuck is a husband, cover band guitarist, chocolate chip cookie fiend, and owner of a flabby-yet-lovable dog named Graham. He's also a good pal of mine. (I wouldn't trust my baby with just anyone.) We recently chatted about CWIM.

The former editor of CWIM worked on the book for nearly two decades and I hear she was pretty awesome and everyone liked her. How do you plan to fill her stylish shoes?

She does have stylish shoes. Well, from working on my blog and book, I’ve met a lot of kids agents and authors, and I will have to dip into all my contacts to make sure I’ve got my finger on the pulse of kids writing. CWIM has always sold well because it’s a great resource, so I have no intentions of any radical overhauls. The plan is just to produce good articles and give people the best markets possible.

I know that you have been bitten by the writing for young readers bug, right?

My personal writing at this point has been a lot of nonfiction and some fiction scripts (stage plays, screenplays). But I would love, love, love to write kids stuff--MG and YA--as I go along. I’ve already conspired with some co-writers on projects, and it just becomes a matter of carving out time to write and polish work.

Any favorites books for young readers you've read recently?

I’m reading THE DUFF right now (like everyone else, it seems). Besides that, I’ve been reading a lot of adult narrative nonfiction. I kind of go in waves.

Are you open to queries for the 2012 CWIM?

I am open to queries for CWIM, but I warn you that I will not review them for 4-10 weeks, depending. But people are free to submit article ideas to me. Send them to chuck.sambuchino(at)fwmedia(dot)com with “Query” in the title. I urge people to query about helpful and unusual topics. I also accept pitches for my other book, GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS, though I buy fewer articles for that title. Besides that, if you’ve written a book and are looking for ways to promote your work, consider a guest column of any kind for my GLA blog: www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog.

Are you looking for debut authors?

I assume you mean the recurring “First Books” feature that runs in CWIM and I would say I currently have no plans to change/overhaul that feature--so that’s a yes. People should send me material about their debuts. I also feature debut writers for the “Breaking In” section of WRITER'S DIGEST, so there are multiple options--though be advised I get a LOT of publicists banging down my door to get their people in.

You've got a great blog for GLA. Why should children's writer's read your blog?

Simple--I interview kids agents all the time and also let people know when new kid agents pop up. I delve deeper into what agents want. If an agent wants “YA,” I try to find out what kind of YA they really want to receive (e.g., “no vampires, but more contemporary stuff”). Also, lots of published kids writers do guest columns for me and share their wisdom in the process.

Are the new 2011 market books out yet?

Almost! The 2011 GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS and the 2011 CHILDREN'S WRTIER'S & ILLUSTRATOR'S MARKET both land in the first 10 days of August. You can find them at any major bookstore, or online at our shop (which offers the same discounts as Amazon). The new GLA is packed with new agencies and is as awesome as awesome can be. I assume the 2011 CWIM rocks, too, but you can speak to that better than me. [Alice says: It does]

Will you be at any upcoming conferences where writers can meet and pitch you?

I just spoke the Northern Ohio SCBWI (maybe you were there and we met!). Other than that, I’ll be at the following in 2010: Clarksville Writers Conference in Clarksville, TN (July 30-31); Wrangling With Writing in Tucson, AZ (Sept. 24-26); Surrey International Writers Conference in Surrey, BC, Canada (Oct. 22-24); Vegas Valley Book Fair in Las Vegas, NV (Nov. 6); and San Francisco Writing for Change in San Francisco, CA (Nov. 12-13).


Robert Lee Brewer said...

Great interview! I feel like I know you both after reading it.

SCBWI said...

Oh Robert...I miss you.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great interview. I'm glad that CWIM is going to continue on. I'm glad Chuck will be the new editor if you decided to leave Alice. I love Chuck's blog. It does have lots of helpful info for us middle grade and YA authors.

Heather at My Coupon Coop said...

Fantastic interview! I've been a huge fan of Chuck's blog for a while now. Glad to see him stepping up.

Still snickering about the flabby-yet-lovable Graham.

Jessica Subject said...

Great interview! Thank you Alice. I follow both of your blogs

Carmela Martino said...

Thanks, Alice. While we'll all miss you as the CWIM editor, from what I've read of Chuck's blog in the past, I think he'll be a terrific replacement for you. (Though no one could really fill your shoes.)

Unknown said...

Thank you, Alice. While we miss CWIM as a journalist, what I read Chuck's blog before, I think it should be a fantastic replacement for you.

trainers shoes