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August 31, 2010

Two For Tuesday: Book Crafts

Kate Hart
What is it? Post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That's it.

Today: I like books. I like crafts. Put them together and you get...

oh no.
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(Click through because the featured comments are pretty funny.)


But this is better! Directions for making your own e-book cover are here.
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** Posting may be sporadic here for a few weeks: I've been working from home for 4 1/2 years... until yesterday, when I started working at the office 4 days/week. I plan to write and schedule posts ahead of time, but it may take me a few weeks to get into a new groove, so bear with me. :) **

August 25, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: I Will Survive

Kate Hart

Katniss' talent is archery. Rue's is climbing trees and Peeta's is camouflage. If you were a tribute in The Hunger Games, what would your talent be?

Hm. Skills are important. I am slow and small and do not have Peeta's skills of an artist. The BFF says I work in puns the way other artists work in oils or clay, but it's hard to picture that being helpful in the arena. (Get it? Picture? Yeah, pretty sure my punning skills will just get me killed faster.)

I can sew, but that's not going to do me much good unless I happen upon a fabric store, and my abilities to make play dough from scratch, speed read and retain 30 years worth of song lyrics are fairly useless in a survival situation.


Hm... wait! I did a lot of kickboxing and Tae Bo in high school! But it's been a long time since high school. And looking at this picture, I'm thinking it might strike fear into the hearts of my enemies, but probably not in the way I'm hoping.

Photobucket It's been even longer, but I was a Girl Scout. Daisy, Brownie, Junior and I even bridged to Cadette before I moved from St. Louis to Arkansas.* So I do know a few helpful things:
  • How to build a log cabin fire
  • How to make a solar oven
  • Best pranks to get your entire cabin in trouble
  • Make new friends but keep the old. (This is only helpful early in the games.)
  • How to get your dad to sell all your cookies for you
  • How to rock the knee socks (see right) 
I've also done a lot of traveling and camping and hiking. I'm not terribly hardcore or anything, but I did hike twenty miles for spring break my senior year of high school, and I did voluntarily go on a two-week camping road trip when I was five months pregnant.

So I'm short on mortal combat skills, but probably just the right amount of insane to survive, at least for a little awhile-- "wait until the others all die" would be my best strategy. Good thing I'm a writer! We're experts at waiting!


*I just got totally excited that there are Cadets in The Hunger Games, then realized I was thinking of "Careers." Cadets are in Jellicoe Road. #YAfail

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Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate! 

August 23, 2010

Things to Ask An Agent

Kate Hart
I'm not squeamish about most things. When bug killing is required, I'm on it. Reptiles don't bother me-- I had pet lizards as a teen. I can bait my own hook, take my own fish off said hook, and, if pressed, can even fillet said fish, though I rarely eat said fish and thus manage to avoid cleaning them most of the time. 

But I hate talking on the phone. Like to the point that if we're ordering pizza (which we rarely do, because only one place delivers out here in the boondocks and it's not very good), I make my husband call. So you can imagine my terror when I realized, early in the querying process, that at some point I might be expected to-- *gasp!*-- have an actual conversation with a living, breathing agent.

This prospect did not make me happy.

Defense mechanism: Research the hell out of it. And when it came time, I had a great list of questions next to the phone, which was very helpful when an agent said, "Hello, is this Kate?" and my brain went "uh.... uhh.... uhhhh..." There are several excellent lists already posted around the internet, including:
But some questions were more revealing than others, and I pass them on to you in hopes you find them equally helpful.

1) How is your contract different from those at other agencies? I don't know a huge amount about contracts, so this was an interesting way to approach the issue. What the agent chooses to highlight can also be enlightening-- does s/he mention foreign sales? Publicity? Does the agency use subagents to deal with subsidiary rights or do they keep them in house?

2) What do you think my comp titles would be? Most agents I talked to volunteered it on their own, but the answer is fascinating. Not only is it flattering to hear yourself compared to pros, but an agent who compares you to a title you can't stand might have a very different view of your work or your career.

3) Where do you see this book going? Some agents aren't comfortable giving you their entire potential sub list, which is understandable-- if you go elsewhere, they don't want to show the competition their cards. But they should at least be able to suggest authors with similar career tracks. And on a related note--

4) Do you expect me to write within only one genre? If you're writing YA and picture books, or romance and mystery, you'll obviously need to address this. But more specifically, I also got a wide variety of answers when I asked if a YA author can write both contemporary and paranormal.

5) How do you feel about internships/group blogs/online forums? Everyone was pretty pro-YA Highway, but I got extremely varied responses regarding internships with rival agencies. (No, I don't have an internship, but might like to in the future.) And if an agent has specific expectations for your behavior online, better to know it upfront.

6) What questions do you have for me? Interesting to see what kind of research an agent has already done on you, and how interested they are in your life, opinions, etc. What level of interest you'd like will obviously vary, but if the agent doesn't have any questions for you, that might be a red flag.

7) Take notes. I know, that's not a question. But seriously. It's just like going to the doctor for a diagnosis. All you hear is "pregnant!" or "cancer!" and the details disappear. Same thing here. "Offer!" = braindead. So write it down.

8) What revisions would you like to see? I'd argue this is the most important question of all. If an agent wants you to completely rewrite your book, they may have a point (really, sometimes total rewrites are necessary)... or they may be a horrible match for you. And as squeamish as I am about phone calls? A breakup call is the worst nightmare I can imagine.

August 22, 2010

Sunday Sewing: iPod Covers

Kate Hart
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Just some little gifts I made for the YA Highway girls before heading to LA. I used our "What tattoo would you get?" posts for inspiration, as well as the color schemes of the girls' blogs and things I knew they liked.


(Um... Kody, Amanda, Leila and Lee... don't look. I definitely do not have any of these in the works for you.)




Kristin Jr and Kaitlin picked tattoos that were too hard to sew.
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Emilia's tattoo was an inspirational phrase in Polish.
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Michelle's awesome middle grade novel includes some boys who act more like... well, you get it.
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A jackalope for Kirsten
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And Kristin Sr. won a bag in my contest awhile back (I haven't forgotten you, other winners! I promise!), so I brought that to her.
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"But Kate," you might ask, "weren't you packing for a long trip as well as sending queries that week?" Why yes. Yes I was. Clearly I have issues, and most of them involve time management and impulse control. See also: excessive hoarding of fabric and buying of books.

August 19, 2010

The Beta Battle

Kate Hart
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How do you beta? Everyone has a different style, and everyone has a different preference. Writer Sarah Enni bravely volunteered her first page so that you can jump from blog to blog and see how varied the feedback can be.

My method:
  • I compulsively line edit, with a stream of consciousness commentary in the margins. 
  • After a day to think over the piece, I add an overview of larger issues that struck me, both good and bad. 
  • In an ideal world, I'd read every piece twice, but time restraints usually mean one thorough round.
  • Sometimes I reword sentences. I try to be very clear that my rephrasing isn't "right"-- it's just faster to use an example than to figure out how to make the suggestion in a roundabout way.
  • Some people tell their betas what to look for, and I'm always fine with helping address particular issues. But after awhile you figure out which betas excel in which areas, and know who to ask for line edits versus plot holes.  
  • Deb suggests that if a writer doesn't want line edits, the reader shouldn't touch the prose. I'm not that reader--once I got busted for marking typos in the staff handbook during a training-- and I try to make that clear up front.
  • When I personally get feedback, I like to merge it all into one document, and the comment feature in Word makes that the easiest. But I can use something else if the writer prefers. I just need to hear it on the front end.

So. With that said... (click to enlarge)

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My overall comments:
Lots of evocative imagery in there but we need more of a hook to keep reading. (If this were an actual partial, I'd be able to offer more advice on the latter.)

Now: Go check out what Kathleen, Cory, Windy, Meredith and Alicia have to say-- and go tell Sarah to keep up the good work!

ETA: I forgot to thank Kathleen for the adorable fierce banner!

August 18, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Kate Hart
This week, YA Highway wants to know: If you could rewrite the ending of any book, what would it be?

As you can see, I like to use the Carrie Ryan theory of plotting: What's the worst that could happen? Now how can I make that worse? Here, with the help of my mad Photoshop drawing skills, is how the Twilight series would have ended if I were writing it.


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Thanks to Fanpop for the starter image.

Now, I'm NOT saying that this is how things should have gone, although I would have liked to have seen Bella sacrifice something by the end. I'm merely saying this is how they would have gone if I were writing it... which may or may not make you want to read my books, should they be published in the future.

*hides knife behind back*

*grins at characters*

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Join us at YA Highway with a link to your post!

August 17, 2010

How I Got the Agent I Never Queried

Kate Hart
I've always loved reading people's agent stories, and some of the girls at AW requested to hear mine-- and then Kath demanded it. So here goes.

APRIL:
Started querying REFUGE.

MAY:
Got requests. Got several "the writing is good but there's a spark missing" responses. Started writing AFTER THE FALL.

JUNE:
To my surprise, finished writing AFTER THE FALL. Knew immediately that first draft was better than seventh draft of REFUGE.

JULY:
Betas agreed. The lovely Michelle Schusterman informed everyone that it "ripped her face off." (I love her.)

JULY 26:
Sent queries for ATF to 8 agents.

JULY 27:
Woke up to 3 full requests. Almost died of shock.

JULY 27-28:
Packed frantically for LA, a task made more difficult by a crippling need to check my email every. five. seconds. Continued to freak out as more full requests showed up.

JULY 29-AUGUST 2:
Fun at SCBWI. Copious borrowing of friends' iPhones. Tried to keep the crazy under control.
  • AUGUST 1: On bus back to hotel from Hollywood, Kirsten asked if I was going to query her agent, Michelle. I explained that I still had a REFUGE query for Michelle at her last agency, and didn't know how to query her at the new one, or if I even should. Kirsten offered to contact her. I responded with semi-coherent thanks and blabber.
AUGUST 3:
Flew home. Checked messages on runway after landing in Dallas. I HAVE AN OFFER. Did a little dance in my seat. Girl next to me did dance with me. (Thank you girl flying from Seattle to Dallas for a Mary Kay conference!) Spent time before next delayed flight calling husband, BFF and mom. Squealing ensued. (Except for husband, whose reaction was appropriately enthusiastic in a manly way, of course.)

AUGUST  4:
Sent emails to agents who had ATF, or REFUGE, or in some cases, just a query for either.
I GET ANOTHER OFFER.

AUGUST 5-6:
I HAVE THREE MORE OFFERS OMG. And one of them was from Michelle, who requested the full without a query, based on whatever nice things Kirsten told her.

AUGUST 7:
Husband left for DC. I spent the day wondering how to survive the crazy without him.

AUGUST 8:
Email with locked attachment from BFF that said "I will call at 10:45 with the password." At 10:45, she called, I opened the document, and found: "Say this out loud: ACCIO BFF." So I did.

Doorbell rang.

!!!!

AUGUST 9-12:
OMG WTF I HAVE ANOTHER OFFER. BFF watched children, kept me sane and reminded me to do things like eat because OMG WHAT is this insanity the next offer makes SEVEN and this one is for REFUGE!

As alpha/beta/most important reader, BFF helped breakdown all the agents' suggested revisions. As my BFF, she took one look at me and said, "You're in love with Michelle."

And I was.

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But it was still a ridiculously hard decision, because I loved some others too. I purposely didn't query anyone I wasn't absolutely sure I'd like to work with-- which is a great strategy, until you have to pick between them and they're all freaking awesome.

Finally, though, it came down to the advice that the amazing Myra McEntire gave me: Go with your gut. You want someone who's genuinely excited. And considering Michelle offered to get on a plane and fly to Arkansas to meet me, I couldn't doubt her enthusiasm. (I also couldn't possibly ask her to fly here when it's 102 degrees.)

(Also, her agency's hold music is old school Michael Jackson. And she tells me their office walls are green with gold glitter. SPARKLES, people. And their agency cookout involved ice cream and Frisbee. These things all suggest a match, despite my tendency to get hit in the head with Frisbees pretty much anytime one's around.)

Of course I didn't pick just based on excitement (or sparkles, or "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough"). Michelle's revision suggestions for ATF are amazing, and then she read REFUGE and her suggestions for it were just perfect. When I found myself at the library, checking out the research books she'd recommended for its revisions, I knew the decision was already made-- her suggestions had already registered as the ones that matched my vision, but challenged it to be better.  

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When I queried REFUGE, I desperately did not want the "start writing your second book" axiom to be true. I started writing ATF as a writing exercise, nothing more. But it turned into a lot more. A whole lot more.

Sometimes things don't work out the way you expect, but that way turns out to be just about perfect.

Thank you to all of the amazing agents, writers, friends and family who have gotten me this far. I hope I can do your support justice.

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ETA: I should add: I know it's sometimes disheartening to hear that someone got an agent based on their connections. Please believe me when I say-- Yes, it helped, but I did get offers from people I have no connection to at all. People get picked out of the slush all the time and if you're doing your research, reading blogs like these, you may very well be next.

Also... I feel kind of obnoxious putting my stats out here for the world to see. I hope it helps someone the way other people's stories helped me. :)

NEWS

Kate Hart
I am now officially repped by the amazing Michelle Andelman at Regal Literary.
More later when my head has stopped exploding.

Two For Tuesday: Award Time Again!

Kate Hart
 What is it? Post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That's it.

Today: Tags and laughs. Scroll down for the latter.

First off, the lovely Holly Dodson gave me the "Moms Who Write Rock!" award. I am passing it on to some writer moms I know and love:

Deb
Kaitlin
Kristin
Amanda
Lee
Steph


And second, the lovely Amna tagged me in a funny little meme.
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1. Name/Blog Name. 
2. Right handed, left handed or both?
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3. Favorite letters to write? 
4. Least favorite letters to write?
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5. Write: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
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6. Write in caps:


CRAB , HUMOR , KALEIDOSCOPE , PAJAMAS  + GAZILLION
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7. Favorite song lyrics? 
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eta: oh hey. so I wrote what I thought the lyrics were for years, not what they actually are:
"glory beyond our reach." not "love is." #fanfail


8. Tag 7 people
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Kirsten, Kristin Jr, Emilia, Jamie, Sarah Enni, Cory and Myra

9. Any special note or drawing? 

 I had drawings for you guys. Really. Some very lovely doodles from my SCBWI notes + a turkey. I'm very good at drawing turkeys.

Alas, my computer and my camera aren't playing nice today, so in lieu of my artistry, please accept the following pairs:

Two Twilight funnies
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(explanation for those who haven't seen Mean Girls)

Two Good Puns
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Two More Good Puns

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August 16, 2010

Personal Lessons From SCBWI LA 2010

Kate Hart

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Cool costumes mean you can bug
famous authors like Jay Asher for pictures.



- DO: Wear a flamboyant costume to the Gala.


- DO: Have cards to give out when you get attention for said costume. When we planned, YA Highway cards seemed weird, but once we got there, we wished we had some.



- DON'T: Forget to give out your personal business cards. Particularly if your husband made a special last minute trip to Kinkos to pick them up for you.

- DO: Get in the hot tub with a big group of friends.

- DO: Be nice to the hotel employee forced to kick you out of the hot tub.

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Kristin Jr. feeds the pigeons.
- DO: Get outside a little. Sitting in the hotel basement listening to speakers for 8 hours will make you weird.

- DON'T: Be a speshul snowflake who asks questions that pertain only to you. If you want to monopolize a professional's time, pay for a consultation, or avail yourself of some internet resources where real pros hang out.

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Me and Deb



- DO: Tell Deb if you notice her chicken is undercooked. (Sorry Deb!)

- DO: Make some plans. The "Abilene Paradox" is a very real thing. (I learned its name from Steph Kuehn, a genius new friend we met that week.)


- DO: Attend every bit of the conference you can. I only went on Friday and Saturday, and heard that some of the best presentations were on Monday.

- DO: Bring a notebook. 99.9% of the speakers are brilliant, and the number of things I'd forgotten until I looked at my notes is shocking. For that other 0.1%... let's just say Kristin Sr. kicked my butt at tic tac toe.
 
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This is me when faced with
noisy audience members.
- DON'T: Talk loudly during presentations. Seriously people. We paid money to hear this stuff. (This is where the notebook comes in handy-- write your snarky notes instead of whispering them. Or at least whisper in the first place!)

- DON'T: Be afraid to approach authors you recognize from books and blogs. Everyone is there to meet people. Look, even Kiersten White says so! (And we'll ignore the fact that Kirsten Hubbard talked to her while I stood off to the side, too shy to say hello.)

- DO: Make contact beforehand, on Twitter or forums, with agents and editors who will be attending. I met Jill Corcoran in the elevator, and because I had talked to her in #askagent a few days prior, it wasn't weird to introduce myself (despite the fact I had a quesadilla in one hand).

-DON'T: Make contact in some creepy way, like staking out agents' locations or showing up in their hotel rooms.

- DO: Be sure the author/agent/editor you're trash talking isn't standing nearby. Not every pro is on the faculty, clearly marked with a bright red name tag.

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My food pwns Kristin Sr.'s food
- DO: Remember to eat.

- DO: Have a few drinks.

- DON'T: Get trashed.

- DO: Bring cash. Splitting a tab with 87 credit cards is a huge pain in the a$$.

- DO: Strike up conversations with random people. I didn't do this nearly enough. I didn't even manage to talk in person to all the people I talk to on the internet. And on a related note:

- DO: Mention your last name and/or blog title. I'm pretty sure I met Heather Trese three times and didn't realize she was that Heather until a week after I got home.

Photobucket - DO: Room with fun people!

August 11, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: Important Useless Stuff

Kate Hart
(At first, I named this post "What Lies Beneath Your Character's Skivvies." Then I thought about that a little harder and realized how wrongly it could be construed. SO WRONG.)

Anyway, you probably saw the first 8,000 times we've mentioned it, but a bunch of the YA Highway girls went to SCBWI, and several of us very much enjoyed Carolyn Mackler's presentation on "Creating Characters That Come To Life." Her first suggestion: Figure out the details. What are your character's quirks? One way to dig deeper into that question is to ask another: What would s/he hide in his/her underwear drawer?

On the flight home, I made a list of all the major characters in both my books (parents included-- woot for existent parents in YA!). One by one, I dug through each of their dressers, and here's what I found:

REFUGE
  • Aubrey: A pressed flower
  • Griffin: One of his dad's guitar picks
  • Bryan: Baseball cards he still secretly collects
  • Paige: won't tell me. hussy. Or maybe she just has no secrets. It's possible.
  • Jason: An arrowhead he knows he should give to a museum
  • Hugh: A secret fiction MS
  • Natalie: If I tell you, there's no reason for you to read the sequels... that only exist in my head right now anyway.

AFTER THE FALL
  • Matt: Small collection of rocks
  • Andrew: Weed
  • Raychel: Andrew's pipe (funny-- this already existed in the story)
  • Dr. Richardson: Ticket stubs from past concerts
  • Mrs. Richardson: Her father's cuff links, to be given to the boys at their graduations
  • Raychel's mom: The wedding ring she never pawned
I was not only surprised by the items themselves, but what they mean for the larger story. For example, Raychel and her mom need money, yet her mom has never pawned that ring. She feels guilty, which drives some of her overreactions.

Carolyn's second prompt was Who would your character call when s/he got good news? What would that good news be? I found Andrew would call Matt, but Matt would call Raychel. Ohhhh... Andrew resents her for taking his place as his brother's best friend, and that's why he pursues her, even when he knows it'll hurt his brother. It's so obvious... now that I've asked a seemingly completely unrelated question...

Yes. This is really my room.
As for me? I honestly have nothing hidden in my underwear drawer. My shelves, however, are overflowing with old pictures, fabric, beads, pieces of costumes, yearbooks and other assorted nostalgic detritus. I have a crippling inability to throw stuff away.

But sometimes unimportant stuff turns out to be crucial.





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Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

We'd love for you to participate!

August 10, 2010

Two For Tuesday: Wisdom from Gail Carson Levine

Kate Hart
What is it? Post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That's it.

Today: More from SCBWI!

Keynote speaker Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted, gave a talk entitled "Sweat and Magic"-- and promptly informed us that it, like writing, would be 90% sweat. Here are two pieces of wisdom paraphrased from my notes.

ONE: When you get to a choice in your plot, make a list of possibilities. Nothing is stupid. After all-- a pumpkin turning into a cart is, at first glance, a ridiculously stupid idea. But if a storyteller hundreds of years ago hadn't had the courage to take that chance, our very culture would be different.

(No pressure or anything.)



TWO: The time for the big surprise in your story's universe is right away. The reader is ready for anything in the first chapter. If aliens land at the school on the second page, the reader will be okay with it, but if they land in the fourth chapter... maybe not so much.

ETA: Guest blogger Cherie l'Ecrivain at The Rejectionist has a semi-related post, in which she points out that readers are also more willing to accept "coincidence" and "fate" early in the story.

For more great info from Gail's speech, check out the SCBWI official conference blog.

August 9, 2010

Notes from SCBWI 2010: One Word

Kate Hart
The conference started with a faculty parade. Accompanied by the Star Wars theme, SCBWI co-founder Lin Oliver asked everyone on the faculty to choose one word to share with the group. I tried to scribble down their answers, but had trouble getting all the names, so here are some of my favorites:

August 7, 2010

Notes from SCBWI 2010: Literary Agents View the Market Place, Part II

Kate Hart
If you missed part one, start here!

So like I said, we learned some stuff at SCBWI. Like that I am very short. And Vee is very tall.
Vee Roth, Michelle Schusterman, Kaitlin Ward and me, measuring up against some bears at the La Brea tar pits museum.

But probably more interesting to all of you: What agents had to say about the market.

GC = Ginger Clark from Curtis Brown
KW = Ken Wright from Writers House
JA = Josh Adams from Adams Literary
LG= Lisa Grubka from Foundry

Self Publishing
GC: Thinks the canon of ethics at AAR will change.

LG: For now, we're still at the point that most self published books don't succeed.

Lin: We're still in "wait and see" mode.

Midlist Authors
JA: It's easier to sell a debut author than one with a mid-level track record.

GC: We're about to enter the Golden Age in the power of kids books. Frequently it's the children's division paying people's salaries. (This got a huge round of applause.)


Service Agents Provide, What Makes a Good Relationship
JA: All about team work and communication. He used the analogy of a home: Agents are here to help but not replace editors. They'll stage the house and make it look good, but they aren't the architects or even the interior designers.

KW: "Sometimes we're your shrink..."

GC: "I'm not."

LG: "Sadly, I am." Lisa edits quite a bit, and if that means three rounds, she'll do it. She wants to establish a means of communication right away, and calls herself the author's first line of defense.

GC: Is not your therapist, accountant or mother, but she will be your bad cop.

Nonfiction
KW: It was a great year for kids narrative nonfiction. The ALA has a new nonfiction YA award. The school and library markets for it are good, but trade market isn't doing as well.

When to Query
KW: Summer is actually better for him-- he has time to read then.

JA and LG: Whenever you can't make it any better. That's the best time.

GC: Don't submit two weeks before or after the big fairs-- Bologna, Frankfurt, London.
 
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Next week: I'll have a run down of  Jon Scieszka's keynote speech and the faculty parade, a look at the Writing Across Borders breakout session, and writing tips from MT Anderson, Gordon Korman, Carolyn Mackler, Rachel Vail and Gail Carson Lavine, plus a post about what I learned and what I'll do differently at my next conference.

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*Notes taken frantically-- my apologies if I've misrepresented anyone.

August 5, 2010

Notes from SCBWI 2010: Literary Agents View the Market Place

Kate Hart
As the only unagented author in our crew, I was very interested in the panel with four agents from very different agencies. Ken Wright from Writers House, Ginger Clark from Curtis Brown, Lisa Grubka from Foundry and Josh Adams from Adams Literary answered an hour's worth of questions from moderator extraordinaire, Lin Oliver. My notes are long, so I'll break this article into two parts, with the second half coming Saturday.

Introduction from each agent
GC: Wants mermaids and sirens NOW. I see people on AW lamenting all the time that no one reps fantasy, but Ginger mentioned she reps both high and mid YA fantasy. Publishers are looking for middle grade. She accepts both email and snail mail queries but prefers the former.

KW: Considers himself a hands on agent. He's seeing YA literary, MG series and young MG fiction selling. He also reps YA non-fiction.

JA: Works with wife Tracy, and they only rep kids books. He started by saying, "The state of the market is strong." They take e-queries and give priority to SCBWI members/attendees. He also pointed out that "timeless [stories] will always be timely."

LG: Reps both kids and adult books. She's very interested in YA/MG with an international focus, as well as stories based in reality, voice-driven, and strong characters. Editors are looking for boy MG. She takes email queries but tends to give paper queries a longer look.

A Look at the Foreign Market
GC: Feels an agent should hold on to as many rights as possible. Books that aren't super-American (i.e. focused on American football and baseball) do better. She suggested authors look for agents who have sub-agents for translations.

JA: Having the agency market foreign rights usually gets you a better split with the publisher. He's seen authors get a higher advance in foreign countries than they did domestically, but it's harder to sell stand alones abroad.

LG: Be sure to tell your agent about any connections you have in foreign countries or fluency in other languages.

Contracts and Subsidiary Rights
JA: Tries to keep them all. You wouldn't think you'd need theme park rights, but you never know!

GC: One current issue is publishers wanting to include audio rights as part of their boilerplate agreement. Another is multimedia rights, especially for enhanced e-books. Some publishers would like to "gently" animate picture books, but film companies usually want those rights.

KW: If publisher is insistent, he inserts language that returns the rights to the author after a short amount of time.

JA: The higher the advance, the more rights the publisher wants to take. Reversion language like Ken mentioned can help avoid a dealbreaker.

LG: No one's sure what the next big platform will be. Publishers are "like squirrels with winter coming," trying to store as many rights as possible just in case.

KW: Also includes "back language," which lets the author renegotiate the contract if the publisher isn't utilizing the rights.

Check back Saturday for the rest of the panel!

*I scribbled notes as fast I could, and apologize to the agents if I've misrepresented anything they said.

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