Posted tagged ‘Adams Literary’

Tasty Tidbits from a Conference

October 18, 2011

There is no better way to continue learning your writing craft than by surrounding yourself with dedicated writers, top-notch speakers, and tasty chocolate. These three ingredients are a writer’s recipe for success. (Well, maybe not the chocolate, but it sure helps.)

 Here are some tidbits from the SCBWI-WI Fall Retreat.

Andrea Welch, Tracey Adams, LeUyen Pham

Laura Ruby, Cheryl Klein, Marsha Wilson Chall

LeUyen Pham, an upbeat and talented illustrator, spoke on visual storytelling. In order to make a stand out picture book, an illustrator carefully studies the author’s story. Objects, size, and color choices work together to determine how the illustrations on each page are precisely placed to make the reader’s eye travel around the entire page.

Cheryl Klein, executive editor of Arthur A. Levine Books, presented a detailed talk on the principles of plot. It’s something all writers should study and know. Do yourself a favor and buy Cheryl’s book, Second Sight: An Editor’s Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults. It’s well worth your time and effort.

Marsha Wilson Chall, an award-winning picture book author and instructor in the MFA program at Hamline University, talked about taking a second look at picture books. Look at the structure of a picture book. Look at the pacing and page turns. When you’re writing, keep these in mind and don’t forget to cut and trim any unnecessary words.

Laura Ruby is a multi-talented author who writes for adults, teens, and children. She talked about world-building – how she creates a unique world for her characters. She said when she can see that world and when she starts to hear the sound of the story, she knows it’s time to begin writing.  

Andrea Welch, senior editor at Beach Lane Books, spoke on how to make your picture book a perfect ten. Three things she looks for in a picture book manuscript are heart, humor, and irresistible characters. She likes a manuscript that captures her on the first read. She also noted that spare picture books are selling now – books between 300-500 words.

Tracey Adams, agent and co-founder of Adams Literary, shared tips from twenty years in the business. She mentioned that Margaret K. McElderry mentored her and was inspired by her. At times when she is questioning something, she thinks, “What would Margaret do?” Here are some things Tracey offered up to writers. Always be professional. Work with people you like and admire. Write what you know and love best. Laugh.

K.T. Horning, Director of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was our final speaker. She gave an excellent talk on “What We’ve Learning from Harry Potter” and how the Harry Potter books have influenced, not only our world of reading, but also the world.

There were also break-out sessions presented by fellow Wisconsin SCBWI members that were well-planned and filled with excellent information.

Writers and illustrators know how to have fun!

This conference left a good taste in my mouth and a yearning for more. What more can I say? Except… Take your chocolate to a writing conference today!

Chocolate and Writing Conferences

October 14, 2011

Attending a writing conference is like sinking your teeth into a piece of chocolate. You’ll find some are better than others, but they all offer something tasty.

As a writer, I highly recommend taking advantage of writing conferences. It’s a time to meet and greet fellow writers. It’s a time to keep up with what’s going on in the publishing industry and to connect with editors and agents. It’s a time to share experiences, to pitch ideas, and get feedback from those attending the conference.

Later today I’ll be on my way to the WI-SCBWI Fall Writing Retreat. The Wisconsin group is filled with extremely talented writers and illustrators. I consider myself very lucky to be able to connect with these delightfully fun and gifted people. On the chocolate scale, this group is “To Die For!”

The weekend lineup includes a variety of authors, illustrators, editors, and agents. I’m expecting to devour some tasty tidbits of information from each of them. Cheryl Klein, senior editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, will be there. Andrea Welch, senior editor at Beach Lane Books, will be there. And Tracey Adams, agent at Adams Literary, will be there. I’ll be on a chocolate high by the time the weekend is over. I’m not greedy. I’ll gladly share some pieces of tasty information with you on my Tuesday post.

An Interview with Tracey Adams

October 4, 2011

Tracey Adams is an agent who knows how to kick it up a notch. In 2004 along with her husband, Josh, she co-founded Adams Literary, a boutique agency representing authors and artists in all genres of children’s literature.

I had the opportunity to meet Tracey several years ago at a SCBWI conference in New England. She has an upbeat personality, is enthusiastic about meeting new talent, and definitely knows her business. Tracey’s background experience includes working with literary agencies McIntosh & Otis and Writers House and working in the marketing and editorial departments of Greenwillow Books and Margaret K. McElderry Books.

Here’s your opportunity to meet Tracey Adams and the agency.

Can you tell me what makes Adams Literary stand out among other literary agencies?

We are exclusively children’s books, so we are experts in the market for young readers. We feel that our experience, history, and the talented authors we represent stands on its own. 

What do you see as your strengths as an agent?

I will only represent and author whose work I love and believe in. If I am passionate about a project, I will not give up on it. My stubbornness serves me well as an agent!

How do you go about meeting editors and establishing a good rapport with them?

I’ve known a lot of editors for many years and they have become friends. They introduce me to editors who work with them and new relationships are formed. We make regular visits to New York, where we were for thirteen years before moving south. I’ve also made great friendships with editors at SCBWI conferences, where of course we all spend a good amount of time together. 

Many writers are on a quest to find an agent. If you could have the perfect client, what characteristics would that client have?

Other than amazing writing? A sense of humor, a willingness to trust me, great communication skills, patience and fortitude! 

What are some of your personal dos and do nots for those writers trying to get an agent?

I do an entire talk on this. Don’t address incorrectly (Dear Sir is the worst!), be sure you’re approaching an agent who represents your genre, be open with communication, and don’t accept an offer from a publisher before contacting the agent you want!

Can you explain how your author/agent relationship works?

This is another long talk. We represent you and your work, so communication is key. We find the best home for your work and handle the contract for you. We retain certain subsidiary rights on your behalf. Agents take an industry standard commission on any monies that come in for the client. Our hope is always to work together for the entirety of your career. We’ve worked with many of our clients for well over a decade. 

Is there a certain genre you’d like to see more of and why?

We love classic, timeless, coming-of-age middle grade (because what could be better than a book that will make a difference in young readers’ lives for years to come?) and of course YA is a great market right now. In YA, we see thrillers/suspense as a new trend.

How has publishing changed in the past few years – especially with the economic downturn? Does this make your job more difficult?

It makes us even more selective, because publishers need to be more selective. 

What are the best and worst parts of being an agent?

Best – finding a great home for a great manuscript, and sharing good and life-changing news with a client – then watching as that book is welcomed into the world and finds its fans.

Worst – Having to tell a client hard news.

What’s your best piece of advice for writers?

Read everything you can in your genre! Write! And join SCBWI! (Oh – and get an agent. 😉 A good one.)

Is there something that you’d like to share that not many people know about you?

I’m a second-degree recommended black belt in taekwondo and our entire family practices the art, so I’d love to see more books featuring martial arts (and specifically girls in martial arts!) I grew up by the water and love anything nautical and exotic. And I’m always happy to see diversity of all kinds in characters. 

Thank you, Tracey Adams!

If you think you have the “write stuff” and want to kick it up a notch with Tracey, make sure to check out the submission policy at Adams Literary.


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