Jen Rofé, agent, Andrea Brown
Kristen Nobles, art director, Candlewick Press
Michelle McCann, editor, Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster
Christa Heschke, agent, McIntosh & Otis
Rachel Orr, agent, Prospect Agency
Carter Hasegawa, associate editor, Candlewick Press
Any recent bright stars that you've signed or published and if so what attracted you?
Michelle McCann pointed to Amber Kyser and her new book THE V WORD, an anthology of essays about first time sexual experiences, a recent acquisition.
Rachel Orr shared that a new client had a wonderful style, knew how to make a dummy, and was receptive to feedback.
Jen Rofé recently signed a client whose artwork she said she "fell into".
Christa discovered a YA author that had many unique ideas and a lyrical voice. She could see the author having a long career ahead of her.
Kristen Nobles found an illustrator at an SCBWI event and fell in love her whale illustrations, which she later paired with a manuscript by Jane Yolen.
What have you been pleasantly surprised by in the submission/acquisition process:
Do you pay attention to social media?
The panel agrees, a large following on social media doesn't matter. More than anything, a person's social media might be looked at to see how she or he behaves and interacts with others and the industry.
It can be more important to have a social media presence if you are writing YA.
For illustrators social media (particularly an online portfolio and blog) is very important because art directors use websites to find and look at an illustrator's work.
When is it time to submit?
Make sure you have polished, strong work. Be sure you've done your homework and research (about the agency/publishing house) and are sending/submitting completely prepared. But there's also a time when you might be fine-tuning too much. Trust your peers to help you make those decisions.
Also, don't be in such a hurry, especially after a conference. Take time to listen to feedback, allow information and feedback to soak in, and then do more work before submitting.