Saturday, April 21, 2012

Editor agent panel #scbwiwwa

Our conference kicked off with a panel of editors and agents discussing the industry, trends, what they hope to find. Here are some highlights:

Andrea Welch, a senior editor at Beach Lane Books: She's hoping to see something exciting, jazzy, fun, and different--most especially a book that's fun to read aloud to a child.

Chris Richman, an agent at Upstart Crow Literary: He's looking for things that grab him from the first paragraph. He skims the pitch and goes straight to the writing, and the voice comes first, because he's hoping to sign a writer for more than one book. "The writing is always what gets me most excited."

Rubin Pfeffer, an agent at East West Literary: "I look for the OMG factor." He's become a bit jaded over the years, and he thinks less about what a child will think and what an editor will think.

Scott Magoon, an art director: "I love strong, compelling character design." He looks for things that can build an emotional connection for young readers, and for him, strong character design is paramount. He also looks for illustrators who can bring pacing and drama--storytelling chops--to the reading experience. "It's a very rare gift."

Tricia Lawrence, an associate agent at Erin Murphy Literary Agency: She immediately goes to characters who are wounded in some way. She's also looking for writers who want to dig deep. "I'm really impressed with something where you have poured yourself all over the page. You can tell."

Andrew Karre, editorial director of Carolrhoda Books: The manuscript he's most attracted to are the ones he can read "with the hairs on the back of my neck rather than my brain."

Eddie Gamarra, literary manager at The Gotham Group: "We look for people who, if we sat around a campfire with them, they can enthrall us." He is also looking for freshness, particularly in the style of animation. "The style really does need to be unique."

Lucy Ruth Cummins, art director Simon & Schuster: She likes stuff she'd feel good about giving to her many nieces and nephews. It has to be "something I'm dying to share with someone else." She also loves something with a sense of humor.

Nancy Conescu, executive editor, Penguin: "I'm always looking for a great voice." She's looking for writers rather than books, meaning someone she's interested in working with, even if a project they've sent doesn't seem like the right one. With picture books, she looks for manuscripts that would be a perfect project for an illustrator.

Susan Chang, senior editor, Tor Books: They publish middle grade and young adult science fiction and fantasy. She isn't looking for common tropes, but rather, new ideas. "The writing at the very least has to not be distracting and get in the way." She wants really good writers, but can be seduced by a wholly new premise.

Jenny Bent, agent at The Bent Agency: "I want to feel. I want to laugh, or I want to cry. I just want to feel something big." She also wants work with big ideas, and when she has a big idea with strong emotional impact, she has something compelling to talk about with editors.

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