Agent Joanna Volpe, our January Professional Series speaker, likens a writer’s career to a long journey requiring a team to provide support along the way, just the way the fellowship of the Ring supported Frodo’s journey to Mordor in Tolkien’s books. She and the other members of her agency, New Leaf Literary & Media, are that team for their author and illustrator clients.
Heather Flaherty of the Bent Agency, Alexandra Penfold of Upstart Crow Literary, and Alec Shane from Writers House were the featured agents at this year’s Agents Panel, co-hosted with the New School’s MFA writing program and held in November at the New School. The event was introduced by Caron Levis from the New School’s creative writing program and moderated by Gina Carey, a steering committee member of Metro-NY SCBWI, and Co-Regional Advisor Bridget Casey. Questions came from both the audience and the moderators. Here are some highlights:
Is an agent necessary?
All three agents: Yes! It’s a tough business and the complex contracts are usually familiar only to those in the industry. Agents also have unique relationships with publishers and editors. Agents protect writers’ rights so that writers may concentrate on writing.
We all love a good picture book. But how does it get to be good? The first Professional Series presentation of the 2015-2016 season featured two thirds of the staff of Paula Wiseman Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division): Editor Sylvie Frank and Editorial Assistant Sarah Jane Abbott offered us a window into what happens after a publisher acquires a picture book.
Frank brought two books, Tammi Sauer and Liz Starin’s Roar! (to be published on October 6th), and Curtis Manley and Kate Berube’s The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read, to illustrate the editorial process. Over the course of six revisions, from the first manuscript edits to first sketches to the page breakdown to the final version, attendees saw how an editor and art director help the writer and illustrator refine their ideas. (more…)
This year’s highly anticipated agents panel was comprised of Laura Biagi of the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, Brenda Bowen of Greenburger Associates, and Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary. The agents introduced themselves and then responded to questions posed by Bridget Casey, of SCBWI. (more…)
New York literary agents Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich; Holly M. McGhee, founder and owner of Pippin Properties, Inc.; and Regina Brooks, founder and owner of Serendipity Literary Agency, discussed submissions and the book world at the agents panel in April. The most popular question from attendees was, “What makes you say yes to a writer’s manuscript?”
McGhee is drawn to “books that give something back and speak to my spirit.” McCarthy says, “There isn’t any one thing I’m desperate to find; it’s more of a feeling I’m chasing.” And Brooks knows she’s onto something when “the book just stays on my mind.” (more…)
Kellie Celia, marketing communications manager for Walden Media/Walden Pond Press, offered practical tips and advice for authors and illustrators on how to launch their own low-cost community building and online marketing campaign. Here are some highlights from her May Professional Series lecture: (more…)
This time of year, many people love to get away to a quiet stream or isolated bit of shore and throw a line. Fishing is good for the soul. So is creating art and making a living. When you are fishing for jobs, your art is your hook — not your resume or your winning personality. Your actual work, its style, color, drawing quality, and characters, will win you assignments. As an agent, I show editors and art directors my clients’ art, and I have a tackle box full of hooks. But an individual artist really only needs one or two memorable hooks of the right kind and quality to win a job. (more…)