This is my third blog post from the Florida SCBWI young adult workshop. Erica Rand Silverman is an agent with Sterling Lord Literistic and Jacquelyn Mitchard is a prolific author as well as an editor-in-chief at Merit Press. Click here for Part I and Part II.
|Erica and Jacquelyn interwove their remarks|
into a tapestry of great advice.
- Don’t over reach. You can use the “X” meets “Y” as long as you use examples that haven’t sold million copies. If you do, use a title that is known, but not over-known.
- Don’t send a photo of yourself.
- Don't say a family member loves your manuscript.
- Don't send with spelling or grammar errors.
- Do Be concise, simple, and straightforward.
- Do List writing programs and classes you have attended as well as degrees and awards. Be relevant, current, and honest.
- Do “Nuggetize” your work. Erika said to ask, "What is my books' essence?" Jacquelyn said it this way: "Find the statue in the block of granite."
- Do Try to include the character’s stakes in the pitch.
- Do reference a client's work you appreciate.
- Do say why you are pitching to this particular agent.
- Sometimes: Writing the pitch before you write the book helps you to conceptualize it. But writing it afterwards can help too.
|Image courtesy of baseball-clip-art.com|
I am writing to you because I met you at the Florida 2015 SCBWI conference and heard of your interest in young adult books. The other books you represent, X and X are Y. [Where "X" are titled of books Erica represents and "Y" is the reason I like them.]
Against the backdrop of segregation and Southern debutante society, Half-Truths is a young adult novel about an unexpected friendship between two teen girls-- one white, the other a descendent of a slave. When they discover a family heirloom that belongs to both families, their friendship is tested and proved. In the process of confronting her prejudices and fears, each girl finds a place in the New South.
Written from alternating points-of-view, my first young adult novel is complete at 80,000 words. I am the author of two nonfiction books for adults as well as many articles and stories for adults and children. I coordinated a SCBWI critique group for over twenty years, have taught writing to both adults and teens, and presented at numerous educational, library, and writing conferences. I review books and share insights into writing at www.carolbaldwinblog.blogspot.com and co-publish Talking Story, a digital newsletter which promotes literacy.
They liked it!