Three agents discussed the current children’s literature market in the second-to-last session at the SCBWI 2010 Winter Conference. The participating agents were:
- George Nicholson of Sterling and Lord Literistic
- Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio
- Tina Wexler of ICM
Lin Oliver moderated the discussion.
Each agent gave introductory remarks before Lin asked questions.
George Nicholson (GN) gave the following advice during his remarks:
- Keep an outrageous sense of humor at every turn as the publishing world keeps changing
- Continually think of reinventing yourself
- Ask yourself what you know that can be utilized into a book
- Remember the editing process is crucial to good writing, and good publishing
Rosemary Stimola (RS) addressed the importance of keeping an eye on subrights and categories, as they are always changing.
Tina Wexler (TW) asked authors to keep in mind that agents are in the business because they love books.
Then the Q&A started.
1. What is the current climate of children’s book market?
- RS: It’s a challenging time, but not hopeless; write a great story
- GN: There’s a career behind even a midlist author
- TW: Writers need to be mindful of market and know that trends come and go; write a great book, but know that even a great vampire book will be hard to sell in a glut of vamps market
2. What about trends?
- RS: Set trends, break new ground
- GN: Have faith in your own instincts and judgments; read adult fiction even if you write for kids
- TW: Cultivate writing, but also develop a second creative outlet you love that will inform your writing; bring your nonfiction hobby into your fiction because it shows your passion
3. Are you willing to look at unpublished authors?
- TW: Yes, she loves finding new talent
- RS: Yes, but considers carefully if she can give a new author time; selectivity is important
4. How do you know if you and a book are a good fit?
- RS: She knows a great story/idea when she sees it or feels it
- GN: He must feel passionate about a project in order to represent it