STATUS: It’s super late here but I’m just getting this blog in under the wire Denver time.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? D’YER MAK’ER by Led Zeppelin
I had lunch and several meetings with the editors of Bloomsbury/Walker Children’s today. It was a day at the Flatirons.
And the adage couldn’t be more true. No two editors are alike.
I asked them to name the top 5 things they don’t want to see in a children’s submission.
One editor said “no more vampires.”
But the other editor said, “I’m still good; send me the vampires” (but she says she is “slightly tired” of trolls in middle grade fiction).
I have to say that for troll fiction, I have not seen nary a one.
Top five list for Editor A:
1. No more girl stories with famous dad, friend, family member or other. Give her a couple of years and then she’ll be game to see Hollywood insider stories again.
2. No teaching a lesson
(and let me add for the record that saying such in your query letter is always the kiss of death at the Nelson Agency. We are interested in the story you want to tell; not the moral you’d like to teach. Blech!)
3. Time travel is not this editor’s cup of tea (but the other editor says to bring it on).
Once again proving that an agent’s knowledge is often key concerning who is the right fit for a manuscript.
4. No more vampires, please.
5. No more comparisons of Harry Potter meets anything (and the same can be said about the Twilight series).
Darn it all. When are the other agents going to compare their submissions to the Gallagher Girls?
1. No including a sales or marketing plan where you tell the publisher how the book should be published.
(Gee, can’t imagine why that would go over like a lead balloon)
Dang I’m funny this late at night…
2. This needs to go to Oprah.
(Just in case you folks didn’t know, Lady O only does adult trade books).
3. No comparisons to Harry Potter
(hum… where did I hear that before?)
4. For picture/chapter books, please refrain from feeling the need to provide cover illustration done by a friend or Uncle Bob or better yet, your nephew. In fact, no “drawings” are necessary.
(Learning moment: Publishers hire the illustrator—not the author.)
5. If it’s over 400 pages (and first ask the question why your YA or middle grade is that long), but if it is, don’t send the whole thing. A couple of chapters will suffice.
Common sense that is perhaps not so common.