Wednesday, December 30, 2009


From April 28, 2009
Dutton author Tina Nichols Coury--“Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose, Growing Up On Mount Rushmore”--created a fab video at the recent SCBWI LA Writer's Day. I'll bet you'll recognize lots of wonderful kidlit folk, including me and my client Charlie Cohen.

Check out Tina's blog, Tales from the Rushmore Kid, for lots of great
12/30/09 Midway through THE ADVENTURES OF NANNY PIGGINS by R.A. Spratt, illust by Dan Santat and loving it.

How about you?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009



May you receive what you need

and give with your heart.

Here's to a healthy, happy, and successful 2010!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Click to read.

Jan Fields kindly asked me to answer questions Dec 9-11th. Only Jan knows this, but my life on the 9-11th was nuts. The days before--calm, happy, easy. Come the morning of the 9th and all heck breaks loose in my personal life--sick kids, kids having accidents, etc. Of course, on the 12th--back to calm, happy, easy.

Life is funny. Grab joy and happiness at every turn because you never know when all heck will break loose.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Children's books 2009: It's all good! says Jon Scieszka --

Children's Books 2009
Children's books 2009: It's all good! says Jon Scieszka --

A must read, and smile....and then go out and buy and read all the books mentioned:)

Inside the Secret World of Literary Scouts

Inside the Secret World of Literary Scouts Part 1 & Part 2

By Emily Williams..."publishing is a marketplace. Agents almost always submit a manuscript to more than one editor, and if that manuscript is good the editors who want to acquire it have to compete for it, both financially and by reputation. The same is true among international publishers—and film studios—who want to buy rights to the best American books. It’s competitive, and we help make sure the companies we work for know about the books that might interest them. In the best cases we can even position them so they have the first shot at something and get to read and make an offer before anyone else. The easiest way to understand it is as a consulting role—we’re our clients’ eyes and ears in New York, looking out for their best interests, keeping our finger on the pulse of the book world."
Click link above to read full article.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I was thinking today about the art of writing. About how writers choose their words and how they decide what order to place them on the page.

I find myself turning away manuscript after manuscript not because the concept is weak---a lot of writers have fascinating concepts and intriguing plots. However, the writing--be it underwritten, overwritten, choppy, flowery, stagnant, slippery, etc--does not draw me in and make me lose myself in the story.

I was looking at one of my old posts that I wrote before I was an agent. When I was like most of you, struggling with the art of writing. At the time, I was writing poetry so my post focuses on words and making every word count. I understand that novels are 30k, 60k, 90k words long. But what if you can make every one of those 90,000 word count?

Here is the post I am referring to: HOW DOES THAT WORD FEEL?
Be sure to read the comments by a couple of the best poets writing today: Douglas Florian and J. Patrick Lewis

Also, for those of you who missed it, The Intern had a great post on copy editors: HAIL TO THE COPY EDITOR

And one more, THE COPY EDITORS' SURVIVAL GUIDE, INCLUDING DEALING WITH WRITERS:) which features THE SUBVERSIVE COPY EDITOR. This is the book Oprah would write if her vocation were saving writers from embarrassment, rather than saving the whole world.

So next time you let the words flow, next time you go back to revise, next time you submit your manuscript to a critique partner, to an agent, to an editor, make every word count. How do those 30k, 60k, 90k words feel?

Sunday, December 6, 2009


The closer a table is to the front of the bookstore, the more expensive the real estate--and each book on each table costs publishers anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000, and even up to $50,000 depending on placement. [Viral Loop Chronicles Part 6]

You all know this, right?!?

Actually, I think most consumers do not know that publishers pay to have their books placed on tables, end caps and displays. I know this because I worked in cereal and in the supermarket you pay to play. Publishing is not so different.

"If you took everything out of a supermarket that was bought and paid for promotions, it would look like Soviet Russia," says Lorraine Shanley, a principal of Market Partners International, a consulting firm. "Books have a kind of halo effect because they are advertisement-free, but they are not promotions-free."

Barnes & Noble monetizes only a scant 3% to 5% of a store's total space, far less than supermarkets. The miles and miles of shelves crammed with books with only their spines showing don't cost publishers anything. But because Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Borders control distribution, they have immense clout, deciding which titles stick out when customers browse their stores and Web sites. They are empowered by a scarcity of space: There are so many books but only so much square footage available in stores.

Read the full article here: Bookstore Baksheesh: The Real Estate Deals That Sell Books | The Penenberg Post | Fast Company

So the next time you find yourself wandering into a Barnes & Noble and stop at a table to thumb through a book that catches your eye, remember that a publisher paid to put it there, hoping you would do just that. It's not that you've been punk'd. You've just been marketed to.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


1. Young Adult realistic romance with authentic dialog that makes me yearn to be the main character.

2. Paranormal MG or YA that keeps me at the edge of my seat and has a fantastic payoff at the end.

3. MG that captures the reality of Middle School with an intriguing plot plus authentic emotion. 7th and 8th grade =hormonal roller coaster where kids strive to be independent yet are still such babes in the woods.

4. Laugh-out-loud, fast paced Chapter Books, MG and YA.

5. Books that organically combine illustration with prose--MG and YA

6. Characters that reflect the popular kids, not just the loners, geeks, etc....I was asked on FB, 'If main characters are popular, healthy, athletic, gets straight A's, gets all the girls, have a perfect family, etc., where's the story?

The story is: who the world perceives we are, how we think about ourselves, and who we really are is usually not the same. I just read The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart. I loved the part where the mc realizes that the boys she thought were confident and had it all were actually self-conscious and insecure about 'issues' the mc never considered.

Some new favorites not on my original list: Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree/Fell in Love by Lauren Tarshis, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart, Forever by Judy Blume, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, What is Goodbye? by Nikki Grimes.

For now: no high fantasy.

Added Feb 1, 2010: I no longer send form declines. If you do not receive an email response to your query + 10 pages within a month, I am sorry but I am not the right agent for your work.


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