Friday, September 30, 2011


Hey kids,

I realize that I never did one of these bad boys for September... whoopsie! I guess we all need a break from the usual routine now and again.

I'm spending the next few days getting ready for a big conference in Texas next weekend (yeehaw!) and generally reading and puttering and such - but in the meantime, I figure, why not answer some questions? WHY NOT INDEED.

So if you have agentish - publishingish - bookish - booksellerish - doggish - or whatever other questions, feel free to posit them to me here. Short answers I will deal with in comments, some long ones might be selected for their very own blog post.


Monday, September 26, 2011

More about Contests

First of all, don't forget that the contest to win a full set of BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z is open until 8pm tonight. Get on it, kids!

Also, a pal pointed out this fun-looking contest from MeeGenius:

MeeGenius* is a picture book app for the iPhone, iPad, iTouch, Google TV, and the web. They're a fast-growing company, and in addition to publishing original digital picture books, one of their goals is to become a community for children's book writers and illustrators; a place for them to get to know each other, learn more about publishing, exchange ideas, and get published online! To that end, they're launching a "Book Challenge," and are inviting writers to submit manuscripts. Here's a link to their announcement page.

My POV on contests is pretty much, don't think of it like "this is my chance to get published!" or in any way taking the place of the work you are doing toward being published in a traditional way. That would be like just playing the lotto instead of getting a job. Fun, perhaps, but not a great way to get the rent paid on time.

Personally, I think of contests like this as just pure fun. At worst, it's a bit of a timewaster - at best, it could be a neat opportunity for people looking to get into the children's book world to become involved, learn from their peers, and get exposure. Plus, looks like the prizes are pretty sweet. Good luck!

*(Although every time I see the word "MeeGenius" I have to say it in this voice...)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brilliant CONTEST of Gianna Z!

There's this book I represent, by Kate Messner. It's been out a couple years... it won the EB White readaloud award... it's super good. It's called THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z and it looks like this:

It's about Gianna, a 7th grade girl who has a lot going on. Her family is slightly nutty, she is dealing with a mean girl at school, she sort of has a procrastination problem which means she might not be able to run at her track meet, and she has this HUGE leaf project that is basically ruining her life. And she needs to pull it all together, like, now.

BRILLIANT FALL is a wonderful story -- warm and funny and full of heart. If you are the parent or teacher of 9-12 year olds who like family stories and school stories, you really ought to know this book. And hey - it's seasonal. AND you can't beat the price, hello paperback!

So here's the deal. I have a box of these rascals to give away. I think that they would be best off either in a couple of mother-daughter book clubs, or in a classroom or other literature-circle type situation. 

If you want to win a set of Giannas, here's what you do:

Write an email to: GiannaContest at

Include your name & contact info, the kind of group you are, age of kids and number of kids participating. And what you would do with the books if you won.

And answer, in any way you choose, the famous question, IF YOU WERE A TREE, WHAT KIND OF TREE WOULD YOU BE?

Contest ends at 8pm Monday, 9/26. Judgement rendered by me, based on my own whim. Creativity might help you. There may be more than one winner.

For more info about the book, and to see how some famous kids book authors answered The Tree question, click here!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tumblog About Books

So I've resisted the siren call of Tumblr for a while, but... I realized that I want a place to specifically talk about books that are NOT "my books." To just plain recommend stuff that I love, but that are off-topic for this blog.

And you might get a sense of my taste if you take a look at the types of books I read and enjoy when I am NOT working. I try to read pretty widely, but there are definitely some trends that I find cropping up as I make lists of what to review. (Do keep in mind, though I review grownup books on the tumblr, I still only rep kids & YA books.)

Anyway, enjoy, comment, feel free to recommend titles to me (though my reading time is pretty limited) - I am always curious to hear what people are loving! :D

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not ALL about the Benjamins...

From Twitter: "[I] stopped reading a blog after the 2nd sentence, "being an agent is less about art and more about money." tell me it's not true"
Actually I think that is accurate.

The statement isn't "being an agent is NOT about art and ONLY about money." That would not be true. After all, most agents probably become agents at least in part because they love books and reading and thinking about books and talking about books. So art comes into it.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I take on projects that I love...but I have to also that I think that I can sell them, otherwise it isn't worth my time. Seriously. Taking on a new project is a major commitment of time, energy and mental bandwidth, and I don't get paid unless I sell the thing. So from a purely self-interested standpoint, certainly, money matters.

And it SHOULD.

You aren't getting an agent to be a critique partner (though some give great critiques). You aren't getting an agent to be your editor (though some are great at editing.) You aren't getting an agent because they are a great writer (though many are.) You aren't getting an agent just so they'll hang around praising you all day and telling you how rad you are (though my clients ARE rad, for the record!)

You are getting an agent to handle business for you. To sell your projects well and make sure you get paid. To negotiate for you. To be a bully on your behalf. To support you and your career in many ways, but particularly in all matters business related.

So, less about art, more about money? 

Unashamedly so.