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