Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Looking for ALA Award Predictions? Try Fuse #8 at School Library Journal and Educating Alice. See also Notable Children’s Books, 2013 Discussion List from ALSC Blog.

Children’s-YA Book Awards: A Demographic Survey by Mitali Perkins from Mitali’s Fire Escape. Peek: “…to generalize, last year’s award-winning books were mostly about white people and created by white people.”

Fantasy and Originality or Tolkien Stole My Idea by Katherine Catmull from The Enchanted Inkpot. Peek: “I want you. Not your surface politeness or charm, not your bland social
gestures, not what you think I want to hear. I want your meat. I want your juice. I want your weirdness, your voice, your truest thing.”

Find Someone Who Is a Stakeholder in Your Writing Life: Find a Few Someones by Kate Gale from Glimmer Train. Peek: “Find someone who believes in you. The kind of stakeholders you need fall into three categories…” Source: Jane Friedman.

Marketing Strategies: Who? Access? Willing by Darcy Pattison from Fiction Notes. Peek: “Basically, the agent–and ultimately the publisher–want to know a couple simple things. Who do you know, what access do you have to potential readers (online or offline), and what are you willing to do?”

Why You Should Critique Other People’s Queries by Sarah Pinneo from QueryTracker.netBlog.  Peek: “It is the rare query which contains only mistakes I’m past making for myself. There’s always something to learn.” See also Query Letters from Mette Ivie Harrison.

Top Ten Things One Writer Learned About Social Media by Colby Marshall from Mystery Writing Is Murder. Peek: “Social media doesn’t create a fan base–it keeps one.”

Dramatic Point of View in Historical Fiction Picture Books from Donna Bowman Bratton. Peek: “Whereas most picture books are written in close third person point of view, allowing the reader to get inside a character’s head, dramatic point of view is more from the narrator’s vantage point, as if he/she is telling a story as it unfolds, and taking us along for the ride.”

Outside Author Control from Wastepaper Prose. Peek: “What behind the scenes process that authors don’t usually have a hand in but affects how your novel is represented, such as audiobook narration, cover design or marketing, scares you most?”

Diversity 101: Not Injun Joe by Joseph Bruchac from CBC Diversity. Peek: “You can also turn to well-prepared Native American people themselves, teachers, librarians and writers, tribal leaders and respected representatives of their own nations. (But do not make the mistake of assuming that any random Native American will know everything about Indians or even about his or her tribal nation.)”

The Children’s Digital Market: Still Uncharted Territory by Gale Habash from Publishers Weekly. Peek: “The Bowker study had some surprises, most notably: 84% of YA books were purchased by consumers 18 or older – and a full 35% of YA books were bought by consumers aged 18-29, by far the largest demographic.”

Embrace the Naked by Robin LaFevers from Writer Unboxed. Peek: “…if you think that it’s scary to intentionally put more and more of
yourself on the page, to become more and more vulnerable, you’re right.”

International Book Giving Day is Feb. 14. Get ready!


The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is announcing the publication of The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children.

Formerly known as the SCBWI Publications Guide, the new book is a completely revamped and updated edition, with a new look, new name and a full complement of current, essential articles on all aspects of the children’s book publishing industry.

New and relevant articles feature such topics as maximizing social media, creating book trailers, best practices in independent publishing, and grassroots promotion.

A highlight of The Book is the up-to-the-minute Market Survey, which includes a comprehensive house by house listing of editors, art directors and key personnel. Other useful surveys are The International Market Survey, The Book Reviewers Directory, The Agents Directory, and a unique feature called Edited By, in which editors have been personally surveyed to provide a history of their recent acquisitions. Key resources include an annotated bibliography of essential reference books for any aspiring children’s book author or illustrator, as well as a current listing of bloggers, reviewers, grants and awards.

The 300-page comprehensive, hands-on tool is designed to guide children’s book writers and illustrators through their publishing careers. The Book is available in hard copy and online to SCBWI members.

Egmont U.S.A.

Egmont U.S.A. this week announced the appointment, effective immediately, of Andrea Cascardi to the new combined role of Managing Director and Publisher.

Andrea joins Egmont U.S.A. from the Transatlantic Literary Agency, where she has represented many bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators, including Newbery winner Clare Vanderpool, Mary Casanova and Mary Nethery. Prior to that, Andrea was a highly respected children’s publisher, beginning in the editorial department at Houghton Mifflin and most recently as Associate Publishing Director at Random House Children’s Books for the Knopf and Crown imprints.

Cally Poplak, Managing Director of Egmont Press, who has been managing the U.S. business from London, said: “I’m delighted that Andrea is joining us to take on this new combined role. She has the strategic vision, business experience and creative background to accelerate Egmont’s growth in the US, and I’m very much looking forward to working with her to build on our first few years.”

As this role encompasses the M.D. and Publisher, there will no longer be a separate Publisher role, and Elizabeth Law is therefore leaving after five years with the company.

“Elizabeth has made a tremendous contribution to building Egmont’s list, and we are enormously grateful for the passion she has put into the business,” said Poplak.

This Week at Cynsations

Austin SCBWI

Newly agented Meredith Davis spoke on “Holding Onto the Heart of Your Story” at the Austin SCBWI monthly meeting last week at BookPeople. Meredith is the founder of the chapter and a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Me with Meredith Davis & Betty X Davis (no relation)
Austin SCBWI members hard at work on a writing exercise.
Incoming RA Shelley Ann Jackson and illustration chair Amy Farrier.
Writers and illustrators gather at Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar after the meeting.
With outgoing ARA Carmen Oliver
Celebrating Meredith signing with Alyssa Eisner Heinken of Trident Media Group.

Personal Links

Cynsational Events

Study with me in snowy Vermont!

Join Cynthia (and many more!) Jan. 19 at Young Adult Keller (Texas) Book Festival (YAK Fest) in Keller, Texas. See more information from I Read Banned Books.

Join Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith (and many more!) Feb. 2 at Montgomery County Book Festival. Check out the art contest; deadline: Jan. 18.

2013 Novel Writing Retreat for Middle Grade and Young Adult Writers will be March 15 to March 17 at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. Peek: “This year’s retreat will feature faculty Cynthia Leitich Smith, Lauren Myracle, and Candlewick editor Andrea Tompa.”