SCBWI Recap #3: Editor Panel – What Makes Editors Want to Choose Your Book

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At the Summer 2010 SCBWI Conference, Krista Marino moderated a Q&A panel with editors Nick Eliopulos, Claudia Gabel, Brenda Murray and Jennifer Rees.

Here are the questions asked, and the answers given.

Which do you look for, voice or plot?

JR: It’s all about the voice.

NE: Plot. But wants to find both.

CG: Voice is something organic, plot can be hammered out in edits; character matters, too; voice and plot can fail if the character is unlikable.

What are two books that inspired you?

BM: In Me Own Words

NE: The Hunger Games, anything by John Green or Scott Westerfield

CG: When I Saw and How I Lived, Little House on the Prairie

JR: A Great and Terrible Beauty, Speak

What outside of publishing inspires you?

CG: Watches movies, TV, etc; creates series based on what she sees

NE: YouTube, gaming; researches what kids are watching

BM: TV, magazines, news

JR: Newspaper, NPR; tries to keep ear to pulse of trends

What are you looking for?

NE: Guy high concept

BM: What isn’t known, what teaches her something new; tried and true works; well-written books are always good as is having a good spin of how to market to kids

CG: Writers who have beautiful prose, but can write fast; tween/teen mysteries

What are your pet peeves?

JR: Anything not professional, synopses that don’t promote the book

BM: People who don’t have a sense of the market place

CG: Queries that have no personality; put yourself into your work

NE: Blindly sent out projects; not giving him a sense of who you are as an author

Is it OK to contact you on Facebook?

NE: He will respond, but it’s weird

BM: No phone calls

CG: Tough to know where to draw line and stay professional

Do you read the slush pile?

JR: Not officially supposed to take slush, but interns read it

BM: Found first book in slush, thought policy is not to read it

CG: Check submission guidelines; someone eventually gets thru the pile

NE: If he gets something random through the mail, he’ll read it

KM: if you’re going to send it, send it right, to right name

Any suggestions for the “out there” concept book?

NE: If you’re trying to hook the editor, write an effective query

CG: The person who “gets it” is out there, keep trying

KM: You need an editor who has the right vision for the book


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