A native of the Midwest, Andrea knew she wanted to be an editor when she graduated from college. But she found New York to be overwhelming, and when she learned about an opening at Harcourt in San Diego, she grabbed it. She joined Beach Lane with her publisher, Allyn Johnson.
Fun facts: They keep their fridge stocked with white wine and delicious cheeses, and Andrea works several days from home at a 200-year-old desk. They've bought 15 projects from SCBWI folk in the last four years.
Her presentation on Perfect 10 Picture Books was standing-room only.
What draws her to a manuscript
She used to say she was looking for great writing. But drilling down deeper, she's come up with a list of things that make manuscripts irresistible.
The first impression is key: Does she laugh? Does it have fun with the language? Does her heart ache for the character? Does she want to read it aloud? "I will never get used to that feeling I get when I open something up and say, 'Oh my God, this could be amazing!'"
Does it have certain crucial elements? She asks 10 questions (we're sharing five)
- Who is this manuscript for and does it have a clear audience?
- Is the project emotionally engaging?
- Does the manuscript meet a specific childhood developmental/emotional need?
- Does the manuscript have a highly creative concept, structure, and execution?
- Does it use clever, evocative language?
"Emotionally engaging doesn't mean sappy," she sais. "It means it speaks to a reader's heart somehow." The Mo Willems pigeon books speak to a child's desire to want to do something, for example.
"If a manuscript is funny, it will get my attention," she says. "If it's funny and full of heart, I probably won't be able to resist it."