Sunday, June 12, 2011

SCBWI Editor's Day in Lexington, KY

Maggie Lehrman of Abrams Books

So yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the SCBWI Editor's Day held in Lexington, KY. This one day event hosted two editors: Maggie Lehrman of Abrams Books and Kate Larken of Motes Books. In addition to informative talks from these lovely ladies, every person attending (I think about 56 of us) had our first pages read and critiqued. I chose to turn in CAST IN GOLD's first page just because it's so polished. I was thrilled when both ladies were super enthusiastic and both said they'd read on. When I asked Maggie if she was open to LBGT YA, she gave an enthusiastic, "Yes. Send it on." So did Kate Larken, though for now, I'm still gunning for the big houses.

We got a little talk at the beginning on intellectual property rights and SCBWI, so I am not able to go into great detail about the details of the day, but I'm happy to share the bullet points from Maggie Lehrman's talk on "Stand-Out Ideas". She listed five things that she thinks about when manuscripts cross her desk and these are:

  1. Voice (choose your POV for the best fit)

  2. Story (kids' books must have plots - stuff must happen!)

  3. Originality (tell your story)

  4. Reader Appeal (she reads from a child's perspective)

  5. Holes in the List (the one thing out of our control and yes she told us what her hole was but if I wrote it here, I'd have to kill you)

Kate Larken talked about why you might choose a small press, and what that means to the author (basically no advance but higher payout). She's a feisty broad who is passionate about what she does. My writing buddy and I shared a lunch table with her and she would be very fun to work with.

Then the afternoon talk from Maggie Lehrman was about the "backstage drama" of getting a manuscript to publication. Super informative.

So here's the rub. If you want the inside skinny on good juice like this - you've got to join SCBWI and go to these conferences! Totally worth it, and those of us who went get a free submission pass to Maggie Lehrman (who anyone would be very lucky to have as an editor, she's smart, adorable, and friendly) at closed house Abrams.

So there it is - all the good stuff!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah! It sounds beyond fantastic. Of course, I'm dying to know what the whole is :)


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