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