Tag Archives: books

Books I’m Looking Forward to in 2015

GROUNDHOG DAYHappy Groundhog’s Day! I’m afraid Punxsutawny Phil saw his shadow this morning and here in the Northern Hemisphere we’re in for another six weeks of winter, folks. (By the way, how weird is Groundhog’s Day, anyway?)

Anyway, more snow and cold. More fires in the fireplace. More scotch and bourbon and hot chocolate and hot toddies. More skiing and snowboarding and shoveling. More gloves and hats and scarves and cold, runny noses. And more reading! Reading, reading, reading! The real reason I want winter to be over is to see the publication of some books that I’m anticipating coming out.

At the top of my list, of course, are my client’s books! First, there’s THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH the next book by Bill Konigsberg (coming in May from AAL Books/Scholastic). It’s just gotten it’s first publishing industry acknowledgment, a starred review from Booklist. And, Andrew Smith, award-winning author of GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, said “Bill Konigsberg’s THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH is at once heartwarming and heartbreaking, a funny and thought-provoking road trip with remarkable friends Carson and Aisha, who share tough lessons about mending fractures, forging bonds, and discovering grace. Undeniably human and unforgettably wise, this book is a gift for us all.”

Then, I can’t wait to be able to go into a bookstore and see THE FIX in the YA section. THE FIX is a moving, intense debut by Natasha Sinel (coming in September from Sky Pony Press). Carrie Mesrobian, award-winning author of SEX AND VIOLENCE and PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY, said THE FIX is, “A bewitching, beautiful, and brave debut. Readers will marvel at Macy’s resilience. Natasha Sinel’s writing devastates and uplifts, by turns. An important story of one girl’s journey to rewrite the blueprint of her own life by facing the truth inside herself.”

Come late summer, PEANUT BUTTER AND BRAINS: A ZOMBIE CULINARY TALE, will be the debut picture book of the very talented Joe McGee (in August from Abrams). It’s illustrated by the gifted Charles Santoso. Librarians, book stores, and elementary school teachers interested in school visits in the fall, around Halloween (it’s zombies, after all!), should definitely get in touch with Joe soon. The book is fun and funny and Joe is quite entertaining himself.

And then, of course, I have a very long list of books I’m looking forward to reading this year, by people who aren’t my clients.

What are you looking forward to reading?


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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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