Tag Archives: Inside scoop

2015: It’s a Wrap!

end title 590.jpgLooking back on 2015 to see what I’ve done on this blog, trying to take stock, assess and reassess…

  • I did a lovely series of interviews with some of the top children’s book editors in the business called Quick Questions, where we heard from Stacey Barney of Penguin/Putnam; Lisa Yoskowitz at Little, Brown; Nancy Mercado at Scholastic; Joy Peskin at Farrar, Straus and Giroux; and Rotem Moscovich at Disney Hyperion. Thank you for your generosity, ladies!
  • When the beautiful, new JDLit website launched, you all were some of the first to see it, because I highlighted it here.
  • I posted a beautiful nugget on writing, by one of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
  • We did a couple of book giveaways and gave lots of writing and publishing advice, on topics ranging from breaking through writer’s block, to how to write an effective query letter, to the benefit of going to writing conferences.
  • My former intern (hi Kimberly!) wrote a terrific monthly series, Inside Scoop: Dish from a Literary Agent Intern, sharing her experience of interning.
  • Some of my clients stepped up and blogged for me over the summer, giving me a break. Thank you, Jodi McKay, M-E Girard, Jessica Rinker (Cooper), Joe McGee, R.L. Saunders, Katherine Sparrow, Elaine Kiely Kearns, and Natasha Sinel! And then when I was at a loss for words at the end of the year, Jodi, Jessica, Joe and Elaine stepped up again.
  • By far, my most-viewed blog post though, was by the inimitable Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest. If you’re one of the very few people left on the planet who didn’t read Chuck’s post, check it out here.

What will 2016 hold in store for me? Who knows?! Here are some things I do know though…

  • I’m very much looking forward to seeing the publication of a couple of client books, announcing a few deals that are done but not fully executed, finalizing deals for some other clients, selling a bunch more client manuscripts, and finding and welcoming new clients.
  • I’m starting off the year doing something I love, going to the Miami SCBWI conference. Then in the spring I’ll be at the Pike’s Peak Writer’s Conference. I so enjoy meeting authors and trying to make a bit of a difference for them.
  • I’m making a commitment to finish the first draft of a middle grade manuscript I’ve been writing (by July 1st). I’m outing my writing self here. Hold me to it, friends!

What are you looking forward to in 2016? What are you committed to?

(Scroll down to the comments section. I really want to know!)

 

 

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Inside Scoop: Dish from a Literary Agent Intern… And The Chosen Are!

Thank you to everyone who sent in their book spine poetry for the contest. Your creativity and participation were really wonderful and made it that much more difficult for me to choose just 5 of you! But, it had to be done and I am happy to announce the winners of our  holiday contest.  (To see an enlarged picture of each poem, just click on the thumbnail)

Danielle DaviesFor first place, and winner of the ARC of Porcupine of Truth by Bill Konisburg, we have Danielle Davies. Her creativity and choice of titles helped the poem flow perfectly. It brought to mind beauty and love. I hope she had as much fun making this as I had reading it!

Elizabeth BradleyIn second place, and winner of a 10 minute Skype session with Linda, is Elizabeth Bradley. Her use of more somber titles made this poem really stand out to me. I felt the reflective aspect, like she was looking at days past, and I thought this really translated well in the poem.

For our runners up, and winners of  The Hunger Games Trilogy book set; an audio of If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric Gansworth; and an ARC of The Best Friend Battle by Lindsay Eyre (with illustrations by Charles Santoso) we have:

Karen TomasKaren Tomas, who used great word play to come up with something solid. She kept it simple, and it worked.

Linda C.Linda C. used a bit of whimsy in her poem, which flowed well and made me think of a dark fairytale (and not just because it had the word in it). She followed the theme all the way to the end, which gave the poem a nice rounded feel.

Sally SteinmillerSally Steinmiller stuck with (almost) one author and built a darker, more mysterious poem that reflected well the titles she chose. I’m a fan of the dark and somber and she really captured that, with a little help from Agatha Christie.

Winners, please send Linda an email with your home address so she can mail you your prize.

So that ends our holiday contest! I hope you all had fun, because that’s what it’s all about. Again, I want to thank everyone who participated and I wish you a Happy New Year. See you in 2015!

Kim Photo BioKimberly Richardson is currently interning for Linda Epstein at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, while pursuing her Masters degree in Pace University’s Publishing Program. She also interns at the National Association of Professional Women. You can follow Kimberly on Twitter @kimberly_ann688.

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Inside Scoop: Dish From a Literary Agent Intern on being Gracious

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As Thanksgiving approaches, I thought it would be nice to write something in line with the spirit of the season. I think of this season as a time to be thankful and grateful and for me that also means being gracious. So, I’d like to take this time to talk about proper etiquette. Whether you’re sending your manuscript out to an agent or editor, or giving feedback to another author, it’s good to remember to think about how you are presenting yourself. Being Linda’s intern has given me a unique insight into what works and what doesn’t when authors are interacting with agents. I get to watch Linda deal with authors and other professionals in the field, on the phone, in person and via email. I’m learning the appropriate way to talk to authors, whether Linda and I are accepting or rejecting their work. Together, we have sent feedback to writers whose work we’ve asked them to revise and resubmit. I’m learning how to nicely say no to a manuscript, even when there were some things I liked about it. Learning these skills is shaping me into someone who can stay positive and encouraging yet assertively say what I need to say. Here are some tips for when you’re querying that might seem obvious but can’t be stated enough.

When sending your work out, remember to end with a thank you.  I know this seems like common manners, but the truth is manners apparently are no longer so common. Showing your gratitude, either expressing it as an author to an agent for looking at your work, or an agent to an author thanking them for their query, it says a lot about who you are. I’m not saying be obsequious, but it’s always nice to end with a “thank you for your time” or something. We’ve gotten many emails where an author expresses their gratitude that we’ve taken the time to give them feedback. When an agent does take that time on your work, even if it’s with a rejection, remember to be thankful. There are plenty of agents who aren’t willing to do that. When they do, they are going above and beyond.

It’s nice to be appreciative of the time an agent takes to look at your work, regardless of the outcome. Sending a demanding letter, or telling the recipient they’ll be happy about the time they’ve spent reading your work, doesn’t look good. You won’t come across as confident, you’ll come across as full of yourself and rude. Also, agents hate being told how they are going to feel about reading something. They like to make up their own mcook-book-cornucopiainds.

As an author, you should not only be accepting of criticism  but be happy that time was taken to give you constructive feedback. If you are rejected, leave it at that. Don’t go back and ask more in depth questions as to why they didn’t want your book. It doesn’t matter! They might not have liked your writing, your story, or just didn’t feel it was a good fit for them. No matter what it was, you wouldn’t want someone representing you because you begged and pleaded for it.  You want someone who is going to love and fight for your manuscript. Accept their opinion, with feedback or not.

When you’re in the position to critique other people’s work yourself, say what you mean without being mean. This is something that has been really crucial for me to learn. There was a time when my critiques were a bit harsh and unkind. Let’s be honest, sometimes you just want to ask someone “OMG, what were you thinking when you wrote that?!” But you can’t. And I can’t. It’s not nice, nor is it helpful. Instead, make sure whatever feedback you give is constructive. Leave the other person with something positive to think about and constructive feedback that they can go back to their work with and give it the best they can.

As an agent, intern, author, or someone in a critique group, we should all strive to help one another be the best we can be. I think it’s a good rule of thumb to try and spread across the whole year what the Thanksgiving season is about. Let it be a guide to how you treat the agents you submit your work to and how you give feedback to your author friends. Being grateful and gracious we can never go wrong.

Kim Photo BioKimberly Richardson is currently interning for Linda Epstein at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, while pursuing her Masters degree in Pace University’s Publishing Program. You can follow Kimberly on Twitter @kimberly_ann688.

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