Tag Archives: books

How to Honor Your Favorite Children’s Bookstore: A Pannell Award Nomination Primer

pulling-hair-outI know, I know, I’m sorry for the radio silence folks. I promise, I’ll be back blogging and blabbing just as soon as my son’s bar mitzvah is in the past instead of looming in my future and torturing me with an endless “to do” list that never gets “to done.” So while you all wait for me to resurface and continue blogging publishing tips, my pearls of wisdom, some random thoughts, and endless ranting, I’d like to share the following with you, in case there’s an independent children’s bookstore you particularly love and care about and would like to honor:




The nomination period for the WNBA Pannell Award has been extended to January 31st!


Since 1983, the Women’s National Book Association has awarded one of the most prestigious honors in children’s bookselling. Given annually at BookExpo America’s Children’s Book and Author Breakfast, the WNBA Pannell Award recognizes bookstores that enhance their communities by bringing exceptional creativity to foster a love of reading and books in their young patrons.

Every year a panel of publishing professionals selects two winners of the award—one a general bookstore and one a children’s specialty bookstore.  The store nominations come from customers, sales reps, store personnel, or anyone who has been impressed with the work of a particular independent bookstore.

Electronic nominations can be sent to PannellAward@gmail.com and should include the following:

1)    Name, email address, and phone number of person making the nomination

2)    That person’s connection to the nominated store

3)    A brief statement outlining the reasons that store is being nominated

4)    Contact info for the owner/manager of the nominated store.

The nominations will be announced shortly after the new January 31st deadline.  The nominated store then puts together an electronic submission with a description of activities, goals, or any contribution to the local community that involves young people and books. Photos, media coverage, letters from customers, or anything else that transmits the degree of contribution can be included in the submission. The deadline for the store’s submission is March 31, 2013.

The Pannell Award jurors will make their decision by late April, and a phone call will notify the winners, as well as all stores sending submissions. Each of the two winners will receive a $1,000 check and a framed signed original piece of art by a children’s illustrator.  The presentation of the award will be in New York at the BEA/ABA Children’s Book and Author Breakfast, which draws more than 1,000 attendees.

Along with WNBA, Penguin Young Readers Group co-sponsors the award, which was established in honor of Lucille Micheels Pannell,  founding member of one of the WNBA chapters.  Founded in 1917, WNBA is a national organization of women and men who promote the value to the written word by championing the role of women in the book community and by providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information about book lovers and professionals.  http://www.wnba-books.org.


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Writers, Publishing Professionals, and Other Humans: How to Get the Job Done

Last night I attended an event at Wix Lounge, hosted by the New York chapter of the Women’s National Book Association, The Making of a Young Adult Bestseller: From Acquisition to Reader. The panel was stellar, including Susan Katz (President and Publisher, HarperCollins Children’s Books), Joy Peskin (Editorial Director, Farrar Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers), literary agent Jenny Bent (The Bent Agency), Marisa Russell (Publicity Manager, Penguin Young Readers Group), and the inimitable YA/MG author Hannah Moskowitz, all moderated by rock star librarian and blogger, Betsy Bird (I’m a total fangirl; I can’t help gushing!).

So, just to set the record straight, they did not answer the how-to question or hand out an algorithmic rulebook for writing a blockbuster YA bestseller. What there was though, was some smart and interesting discussion,  appropriate for both publishing professionals as well as writers. And as with most WNBA-NYC events, it was a great opportunity to meet other people in the industry, engage in intelligent discourse about books, and of course eat cheese and crackers. (So that’s called networking, by the way…)

Now I learned a couple of things about the publishing process, I was entertained, and I made some nice contacts. All good. But for me, the takeaway lesson was about something that anyone, trying to achieve anything, might do well to think about. After the panel, I introduced myself to Jenny Bent and we spoke a bit about agenting. She couldn’t have been kinder and more encouraging to me, still a newish agent. But one thing in particular about our conversation has stuck with me. She said, “People who persevere, succeed.” (That’s how I remember it, anyway…) But yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you for reminding me of that, Jenny! It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? I mean, if you quit something then what are your chances of succeeding at it? That’s right: zero. She also told me that having self-doubt may never stop, that she still has self-doubt, but that it shouldn’t actually influence my actions. Holy moly. Jenny Bent still experiences self-doubt?! Ok. I’ll get over myself. I guess I’m in good company!

Then, later in the evening (yes, we were up to the cocktails and yummy food part) Hannah Moskowitz said the most brilliant thing. (Yes you did, Hannah!) We were talking about publishing, ebooks, getting/keeping an agent, the submission process, etc…Now this is what I think she said, not necessarily what she actually said. It was something like, “If your manuscript isn’t selling, write another one.” Write another one! Now please people, pay close attention here. Hannah is 21 years old. She’s copped to writing about 15-20 novels in her life. She’s had 6 accepted for publication so far. There are 4 in bookstores already and another 2 in the tubes. Did you hear me?! SIX NOVELS. 21 YEARS OLD. Is Hannah a prodigy? Perhaps. But what she also is is tenacious, indefatigable, incredibly upbeat, and a poster girl for the word persevere. (Not that this is relevant, but she has nice teeth, too.)

Ok. So takeaway for the evening: keep at it. If you’re a writer, keep writing. Write another manuscript. And then another. And then after that, another. If you’re trying to get into publishing, keep trying. Try something new. Try something old. But keep trying. When you stop trying your chances for success will drop off considerably.

Do you give up?


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Good Karma: Being Kind to People on the Other End of Queries

I know I promised I’d write about building yourself a platform but… not today! I’m just not in the mood. Can I just share with you? Yes, you! Stop smiling and looking over your shoulder. I’m talking to YOU, the person who’s reading this blog post. Ok then.

Today I had lunch with an editor, someone who I initially met on Twitter. It was so nice to meet somebody who actually looks like their profile picture! (I wonder… did she think the same thing of me? Do I look like my profile picture? Which profile pic did she look at? Straight hair? Curly?) We had a lovely lunch, talking about books, about what she’s looking for, about what I’m looking for, about reading, about my Grandmother, her father, trying to eat a frisee salad politely, ordering gluten free, about books, about authors, about books, about books, about books. Totally my kind of lunch.

One of the other things we talked about is remembering that there are people on the other side of those queries. It’s an issue I’ve mentioned before as something that is very important to me. I think it’s just good karma to be attentive to that; to try to be kind even if you have to pass on someone’s manuscript. You reap what you sow, kind of thing. And also, I’ve got years of being a bitch in my personal life to make up for. Karmically, that is.

That’s all. Just wanted to share that.

How was your day? Did you write? Did you talk about books to anybody? Did you eat frisee?


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