Saturday, November 24, 2012

Conference Tidbits

Thought I’d share a few nuggets of wisdom about ‘the business’ from the SCBWI NJ Fall Retreat a few weeks ago. In my next post, I’ll share some craft tips.

Editors, Agents and Consolidation
Selling a manuscript is increasingly "more difficult." There are fewer editors, and each editor is responsible for a growing number of books.
  • Each editor has less time available to spend on each manuscript. 
  • The Penguin/Random House merger will only add to this trend. 
  • New authors: try a new and not-yet-established agent or editor, especially at reputable agencies. New authors need more personal attention. These young and hungry professionals can devote more time to you than a more senior editor may have available.
Author Responsibility
Several editors and agents agreed that authors are expected to do even more these days once they are published. Editors are looking for extra content: 
  • short stories, 
  • character notes, 
  • side stories for minor characters. 

You must help, sometimes for free, to build the audience and bridge the time between major publications. Don’t throw away your character sketches or alternative plot notes!

Still, each and every editor professes to be looking for new talent -- but mostly through agents or conferences. As always, put forth only your best work.

Finally, kudos to Leeza Hernandez for keeping the conference on-track after Sandy.  Through our first day, the hotel was running on generator power.  NJ Transit was not in operation. Still we had a full panel of agents and editors, and a full schedule.   Thanks Leeza. 

Good luck and keep at it writers. 


  1. Interesting that editors/agents are saying to hold on to your character sketches and alternative plot notes!

    They must be thinking of authors using this material on web sites, Twitter, etc. to start discussions with readers?

  2. Gale, Exactly -- they are looking for the potential to keep readers attached to the author's material during the time between books. Short stories (e-readers, websites, even printed) were mentioned, as well as twitter and social media content.

  3. So I guess I should do a better job of organizing my drafts and character sketches? Oh, and my killed darlings file.

  4. Yup, you just may have a chance to bring your darlings back to life!