Tag Archives: agents

Pick Your Friends, Your Nose & Your Agent/Editor

This past weekend, we had the pleasure to attend our God Daughter’s confirmation.  Close family friends since the summer Dear Hubby and I got married, we adults have been through the births, baptisms and first birthdays of a total of seven kids.  Their oldest graduated three years ago.  Ours does in three weeks.

We’ve been blessed to have had such a wonderful and unfaltering friendship between our two families.  In fact, our collective kids consider each other cousins.  In this respect, we’ve proven the old adage wrong–you can pick your family.

Another myth I’d like to dispel is that writer’s can’t pick their agents, editors or publishers.  I believe we writers can become so starved to see our writing validated that we send queries or submission packages out to any and every breathing professional in the publishing industry.  We don’t consider the long-term impact of accepting offers from less than stellar representatives in the writing arena.

Due diligence, my friends.

Our quasi family has the same morals and values as we have.  They value family and faith.  They respect their children and have strong relationships with them.  They are kind and compassionate, honest and filled with integrity.  They’re fun-loving and generous.  They are the kind of people I’d choose for family.

Similarly, this kind of compatibility is possible within the publishing industry if we choose to do the work.  We must research our options, talk with agents and editors before signing with them and discuss future goals to make sure we’re all on the same page.

CAT’S GUIDE TO PICKING YOUR PUBLISHING PROFESSIONAL

  • KNOW YOUR NEEDS: Create a list of what you want and need from your professional.  Promotion, editing, submitting, validation, publishing, Best Seller sales…the list is endless, and specific to each writer.  Know what YOU need and want and why.  It may be vastly different than the writer in the next computer over.  And that’s a good thing.
  • RESEARCH: Sales, clients, policies.  Dig deep to find out what peeps are really saying.  And what they aren’t saying.  Go beyond Google and don’t be afraid of what you might find.  If you find yourself reluctant to read the dirt, then you’re not ready to pick your professional.  You need to KNOW what you need to know.
  • MATCH YOUR NEEDS TO YOUR RESEARCH: It is completely irrelevant what everyone else is doing and who they’re doing it with.  What’s important is how your professional fits with your needs and desires.  These things should fit together like puzzle pieces.

Once you figure out who you want and why, you can begin courting your professional.  Make your contacts meaningful.  Be a professional yourself.  Work harder and smarter to build a relationship with your chosen few.

What’s important to you in a publishing professional?  How do you research your prospective professionals?  How do you court them, and have you been successful in your endeavors to pick your professional?

Curious minds want to know.

Pirates, Dogs and Books, Oh My!

We had a dog.  She was a good dog.  She loved hunting, slept most of the day and was fabulous with the kids.  Then said dog got old.  She no longer hunts, still sleeps most of the day and remains fabulous with the kids.

So, as many of you know, DH bought Dog Number Two.  She hunts, she sleeps (sometimes) and she’s great with kids.  She is a Labrador, after all, and labs are famous for these abilities.  It’s why they have a long history in Dear Hubby’s family.

But just because she’s a lab doesn’t mean she’s a replica of our first dog.  In fact, Kallie is a black lab and Bailey is buff.  While she doesn’t work out in the gym, her hair is very different than Kallie’s.  She sheds more in one day than Kallie does in an entire week.  (If I would have known that pre-purchase, I would have mutinied.)

She also drools more, barks more and jumps all the freakin’ time.  Her world is run by her belly, and therefore, so is ours.  Kallie used to leave food in her bowl for days, nibbling a kibble here and there.  Bailey starts whining by 5:15 in the morning.  Yet, she’s a bit endearing in that she plays constantly and will roll a ball back and forth with her humans.  Kallie has never fetched a ball in her life.

They’re the same, but different.  Slight variations of each other.  Each better at some things than the other, and each far more annoying in their own ways.  They have one purpose: fetch pheasants.  They are the same, but different.

And that’s the thing to remember about marketability in the publishing world.  Just because a genre is hot doesn’t mean we should all write Hot Genre Novels and they will sell.  In fact, it could mean the opposite.  By the time the shelves are filled with one genre, it is likely that agents and editors are no longer looking for those types of novels.

To even be considered for purchase, a novel must truly stand out and stand on its own merits.  It must be different enough from what has come to warrant hard-earned marketing dollars by a publishing company.  It must be unique–in tone, in voice, in style, not just in characterization or setting.  Yet, it can be done.

“Dystopian is out.”  Or so I’ve heard–we’ve all heard it.  Then my wonderfully, talented writing friend, Mindy McGinnis, sold her dystop in a majorly good deal.  This tells me that dystopian–as a gravy train genre–may be heading through the tunnel and out of town, but stellar dystopian novels are alive and kickin’.

It also gives me hope, because I have a chapter book manuscript I love dearly.  (My agent loves it, too, so I know I’m not completely biased.)  And while Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean are hogging the seven seas, I believe the pirate ship hasn’t sailed altogether.  I believe that somewhere in the vast ocean of publishing is a home port with room for a tiny vessel carrying my beloved pirate family.  I believe that my tone, style and voice, along with my characters and plot, are truly unique and not just a slight variation of what’s already out there.

I will never give up on this project, but I’m smart enough to know I can’t sail aimlessly in saturated waters.  It’s why I write nearly every day.  It’s why I have nearly a dozen completed manuscripts–some ready for submission and some not quite.  It’s why I keep my eye on the hunt and why I’m not afraid to buy a new dog.

How about you, dear writers, do you chase publishing trends or stay well away from hot markets?  Why or why not?  Do you let the fate of one novel dictate the fate of all your novels?  How and why? 

As a reader, what do you believe is more important in setting a novel apart from the masses already lining the book store shelves: a unique voice, a unique story idea or unique characters?  Do you read exclusively within specific genres?  If so, does this ever get tiresome?  Do the stories run together after a while?  What truly sets one novel apart from another?

Curious minds want to know.

Leaping Over This Post!

Sorry, my dear readers, writers, family and friends.  I am leaping over this day and concentrating on my writing.  Tweaking a few things for my agent on my MG novel, ABIGAIL BINDLE AND THE SLAM BOOK SCAM.

That, and I should shower at some point today!

Query Letter Face Lift

I’m not so concerned with aging that I’m willing to augment my smaller parts and suction my bigger ones.  I haven’t bought into botulism injections, nor have I chemically peeled my face.  I wear my wrinkles–each earned through loving my four children and all that they bring into my life–with pride.

Except when they get caught in a snapshot.  Frozen for all eternity.  I’ll admit, though not proudly, that I photo-shopped my crow’s feet out of our Christmas card this year.

It’s a simple fix, photo-shopping is.  It allows me to remain who I am every day–flawed, experienced, time-worn and uniquely me–yet do it gracefully in those moments of close-up scrutiny.

I’m sure those who know me by now get the correlation that’s coming.  Our manuscripts are the natural us.  They are robust and filled with character.  They are living, breathing entities that impact the lives of those who dare to read them.

Query letters are snapshots.  They show the flaws, the eye-baggage and gray hairs.  They can appear tired and worn-out.  And yet, this is the very image we send off to agents and editors in hopes that they will be so wowed with what they see they will beg us to come to dinner.

So, do yourself a favor and photo-shop your query letters.  Smooth out the wrinkles, augment what needs bigger and suction out the parts that over-power.   Don’t be afraid to tease out the inner beauty.

Cat’s Guide to Query Letter Face Lifts

  1.  Whiten that Smile: smiles can invite others into our world.  They encourage connection.  Frowns do the exact opposite.  In the same way, your hook entices or warns away your readers.
  2. Make Your Eyes Pop: the old window to the soul cliché is never more important to keep in mind than now.  Eyes can exude warmth, dance with humor, spark with anger or shimmer.  The eyes, my friends, is voice.  It is the tone of your query.  The personality.
  3. Clip Your Nose Hairs: gross, I know, but who can concentrate on a conversation when a black hair woodles in and out with every inhalation and exhalation?  Yeah, didn’t think so.  Cut the distracting subplots.  Limit your character count.  Instead, focus only on the most compelling points of your story.  Anything else is a distraction that can kill an otherwise great query.
  4. Smooth the Wrinkles: query letters are short, but they need to flow.  Word choice is of the utmost importance in creating a cohesive, yet lyrical piece of work.  The style your query letter is written in should reflect the style of your manuscript.  If your sentences ramble, an agent will assume your manuscript also rambles.  If your query is tight and evocative, so should your manuscript be.
  5. Get Out the Zit Stick: as a finishing touch, cover your blemishes.  At all costs, your query must not have typos or silly grammatical mistakes.

So, how do you fare in the query letter department?  How do you photo-shop your words to make the best impression? 

Curious minds want to know.

PS.  Hope your Valentine’s Muse is good to you today!

A Sharp Stick and a Writing Tip

Youngest had it out at the park the other day–according to the mom on my porch and her ice-packed daughter.  Trust me, it’s a front door visit no mom ever wants to get.

Dude, says Upset Mom, your kid punched mine in the face and poked her with a stick.

Now, Youngest can be a scrapper and he–admittedly–has a bit of a temper.  Yet, I’ve never known him to punch another kid in the face (even his brother).  Or poke someone with a stick, for that matter.

His style is more…well, let’s just say he’d throw the stick at you, then tackle you and shove your face in the dirt.  Again, not a proud mom moment, but there ya go.  I know my kids–their perfections and imperfections.

And while I don’t doubt for a second he took part in this playground scuffle, I do question how it all went down.  Especially when he wailed, “But she started it,” as I marched him down the hall and to the door to apologize.

While Upset Mom continued to “just wanted to let you know what [name redacted to protect the not-so-innocent] had done,” the two tusslers made see-ya-at-school-tomorrow faces at each other.

Writing Tip 2011: Do not poke your friends with sticks or punch them in the head.  Because tomorrow, you just might want to play with them again.

Seriously.  I’ve seen authors shred reviewers even as they beg to be reviewed.  I’ve seen the idea of agents bashed by the very people trying to garner notice and representation.  I’ve seen bitter writers decry traditional publishing companies even as they ask, “If my self-pubbed book sells well enough, will I get a publishing deal?”

Here’s the cliché: don’t bite the hand that feeds you.  Or at least not the one you want to be fed by.

You don’t have to slide with them or swing with them.  You don’t even have to talk to them.  Certainly, don’t punch them in the face or poke them with a stick.  All you have to do is walk away until you may want to play with them again.

PRESSING QUESTIONS THAT INCITE LOTS OF CONTENTION

  • Do writers really need agents?
  • What does an agent do that you can’t do for yourself?
  • Can you sub directly to editors?  What are the pros and cons to each of these options?
  • To self-pub or continue querying?  That is the question.

Writers, research your options.  Weigh the pros and cons.  Make the decision that is right for you.  Share  your knowledge in a respectful manner with others who may or may not make the same choice you did.  But never, ever attack others.  Especially if you just might want to be fed by them in the future.

So, what about you?  Are you a professional writer or a playground scrapper?  How do you respect an industry that seems to quash the dreams of aspiring writers with great regularity?  Do you find yourself growing bitter and disillusioned?  Is the competitiveness of the industry and the rapidly changing landscape a challenge you still want to tackle?  If so, how do you go about it?

Curious minds want to know.

There’s More than One Writing Box

Youngest can’t play football at recess.  There are certain rules that must be followed and one (or more) of the kids playing failed to follow them.  The result was that ALL the wanna-be quarterbacks got banned from throwing the pigskin for the rest of the week.  (Tears in the morning flat-out stink, by the way.)

Hardly seems fair, that whole guilt by association, punish the masses for the destruction of the few, if-they-look-the-same-smell-the-same-act-the-same-in-the-same-box-they-must-all-go.

Yet, we writers  are just as guilty of this as the Recess Nazis are.

Newbies, we think, and stuff them all into a category of must-need-more-work.

“Agents,” we say, and dismiss them as dream killers even as we beg for their attention and mercy.

Publishers, pshaw!  We all know they hate writers and secretly delight in penning form rejection letters.

Self-pubbed?  Garbage.  All of them.

Or not.

As much as we hate to be stuffed into boxes, we should not seal another’s fate with packing tape and cardboard.  We need to remain open-minded and realize that it is the Few who give the bad name to the Many.

So, today, I ask that you break down the box and recycle it.  Let the non rule-breakers play ball.  Pick up a self-pubbed book with fresh eyes.  Encourage the newbie who might just know more than you.  And for heaven’s sake, don’t let a rejection by one agent/editor spoil your good will toward the others.

I’ll admit that I used to feel a fair amount of disdain toward Agent-Only publishing houses.  Then I learned a few things and realized just how much slush gets sent to agents and editors–and what that slush actually looks like.  My respect level rose tremendously.

I used to hate the whole vampire/werewolf thing.  Then I read Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce.  Uhm, definitely out-of-the-box-amazing.

When I was a kid, I thought teachers lived to make recess as boring as possible.  “Don’t run!”  “Don’t bounce that ball!”  “Stop swinging from that bar, you’ll break your leg.”  Seriously, what did they want from us?  A little Kum ba ya?  A coma…?

What are/were some of your preconceived notions about writing, publishing and literature?  Are the judgements fair, or is it time to rethink some things?

Curious minds want to know.

Novel Pitching Made Easy

*taps glass*

I have an announcement.  A discovery, actually.  An epiphany that will make pitching your novel easy peasy.

Dear Daughter has been away at speech camp.  Yeah, they actually have such a thing, and it’s more rigorous than one can imagine.  Just last night, she had a four-hour-long, one-on-one coaching session from 7 to 11 pm.  That’s coming off a 7am start and a jam-packed day of speech prep.  Day five.

After a midnight text exchange–with her bouncing intro ideas off me–and another text session beginning at five thirty this morning, we finally pinned down her introduction.

And guess what?  It’s an awful lot like pitching your novel.  In theory, anyway.

The pitch (aka, DD’s speech intro) has the sole purpose of intriguing our potential agents/editors/readers.  We have, like, twelve seconds to nab their attention.  Gnats live longer than the attention spans of those we are pitching to.

A dry summary of our book is not gonna do it.  Five words in and our potentials will be wondering who’s going to text them next, or what they’re going to eat for lunch, or why we’re wasting their air space with useless words. 

The pitch has to grab them from word one, pull them into the story and make them want to read.  The last thing we want them to think is, “So what?  Why should I care?”

 And that’s exactly what DD’s speech coaches said yesterday with every intro she brought to them.  “So what?  Why should I keep listening to you?”

Ouch.

But for me, it really hit home, and I learned a thing or two that could help you when writing your pitch–whether it’s for a pitch conference or the beginning hook of your query letter.

Here’s what I think I know about the elusive pitch.

  • A pitch has to stand out from the crowd.  At a speech tourney, the judges hear dozens of speeches throughout the day.  In the writing world, agents and editors receive dozens–if not hundreds–of queries a day.  If they all started exactly the same…well, I don’t need to expound on that.
  • A pitch has to make a personal connection, whether through content, voice or unique phrasing.  At a speech tourney, it’s easy to let your mind wander to the clock, the glass of water in front of you or what the speechie is wearing.  In the writing world, it’s even easier to hit the delete key and move on to the next query that doesn’t hold your attention.
  • A pitch has to flow.  Every word must roll together, like a wave drawing a swimmer away from the shore.  It must be fluid and lyrical, and above all else,  crystal clear.  The minute you leave a speech judge or an editor scratching his head, wondering what in the heck you just said, you’ve lost your forward momentum.

…and the things that might help when writing one.

  • Find a unique bent.  First, sum up your novel in a few words.  (DD’s speech novel: it’s about a girl who gets addicted to drugs, is depressed and struggles to find herself.)  This theme is tired.  Hibernate for the winter exhausted.  So, your next step is to absolutely pin down what makes your novel different. (The loss of morality and the ease in which we can lose our moral compass.  How easy it is to blur the lines until they are so wide we no longer see what is wrong.)
  • Make a connection.  Consider your audience.  Why are you pitching them?  What makes each agent a good fit for your book?  Why will your future readers want to read your novel?  Once you uncover the nature of your audience, you can begin to make your pitch relevant.  In the case of DD’s speech: we have all blurred our moral lines.  Even I swiped a cute little butter dish from a restaurant once because we forgot a water dish for our puppy.  Not a proud moment, but relevant in context of DD’s speech.  If I were an agent, editor or judge at a tourney, my attention would be grabbed by a pitch that brought to light my own guilt.  Suddenly, I have an interest in hearing about the downward spiral from a simple misstep to a life of addiction and pain.
  • Make your words sing.  For speeches and pitch conferences, we literally speak out loud to our audience.  Our words must be fluid and  fresh.  They must entice us with their rhythm and leave little doubt in our mind about the message we are presenting.  In queries, we must show potential readers that we are capable of creating solid prose on paper with no words wasted.  Our written voice must be as compelling as our spoken one.

Consider these two versions of DD’s intro.

We all make mistakes, and when we do, the consequences can be devestating.  Crossing a moral line can lead to drug use and alcohol addiction.  This is what happened to (insert author’s name) in (insert title here). 

versus

Have you ever felt your morals slip?  Taken one step to the left of the line when you should have gone right?  It starts innocently enough.  A kiss that lasts too long—who was that guy anyway?  One drink too many or a quick toke on a MaryJane—after all, pot’s not a gateway drug.  Or how about that super cool glass at the restaurant?  Yeah, you know the one.  It’s in your cupboard now. 

Have you ever felt your morals slip?  If you have, watch out for the downward spiral.  It happens.  Drugs, alcohol, theft and one bed too many.  Before you know it, you’re addicted, (insert title here that actually flows with the sentence), a memoir by (insert authorn).

See what a difference word choice makes?

Have you ever pitched your novel live?  If so, share your tips for success.  Query writers: have you ever taken your audience into consideration when writing your query?  I mean really paid attention to who they are and what they like so you can connect with them better?

Curious minds want to know.

Three Strikes: writing outs

I’ve been watching a lot of baseball lately (7 games, 6 practices, 6 days) and have seen a lot of calls.  Some good, some bad.  Some umps are decisive, while others make wishy-washy calls.

Inevitably some parents/coaches feels slighted, going as far as screaming at the umps.

We teach our kids by example.  When our batters strikes out on a questionable call, we have the ability to shape their attitudes–for the game and for life.

“Bad call.”

“Shouldn’t have lost that game.”

“It’s the ump’s fault.”

“Come on, Ump.  Do you need new glasses?!?!?”

“Shake it off, you’ll get it next time.”

“A call is a call.”

“The next one’s yours, try again!”

As parents, our behavior sets our batters on a path of acceptance and hard work or on a journey of blame and frustration. 

Writers, we are no different.  Publishing is a very subjective business, one where many factors come into play well beyond a writer’s talent.  Agent/editor likes and dislikes, marketing, similar books repped/pubbed, competition, etc…

When receiving a rejection after a “perfect fit” query, we often wonder why the agent/editor made such a bad call.  We may have the tendency to shout, “Come on, do you need new glasses?”  We might shoot off a you’ll-be-sorry email.

But is all that really necessary?  Sometimes umps and agents make bad calls.  Sometimes they make the right call, but we’re too close to our work and feelings to realize we struck out for a reason.  For good reason.

I personally think the writing journey is tough.  It takes practice.  It takes more than a handful of swings and misses before we hit a home run.  But in the end, our perseverance is what counts, even in the case of a bad call.  Or especially because of one. 

And that, my friends, is all about attitude.

Wasting energy being angry at the umpire does nothing but waste valuable time.  Blaming someone else for a bad call makes us less than desirable clients and inhibits our creativity. 

Shake it off.  Practice–six times in six days–and go down swinging. 

What works for you in shaking off a bad call?  Chocolate, a walk in the park or a never-to-be-sent letter of frustration?  Share your experiences and positive attitude with your fellow scribes.

Happy Fourth of July.  I have a beach chair with my name on it, family to hang with and good food to consume.  See you on the 6th!

Dessert from SCBWI Iowa

Aaand I’m home.

 I’m also motivated, energized and a whole lot smarter about what’s going in the children’s lit biz.  But that comes later.  What I wanted to share today is the agent/writer connection.

Conferences can be expensive and time consuming.  For me, living in the very, prairie corner of Minnesota where Iowa meets South Dakota, writer’s conferences are few and far between.  Not to mention I typically have to drive, drive and drive some more.  While I have been all shades of green over the Iowa chapter of SCBWI, I’ve never been able to justify the time (three days away from my fam), the travel (fourteen hours round-trip) and the money ($175 for the conference, three tanks of gas and hotel) to actually register and attend.

Yet this year, I noted my agent was going to be a speaker and HAD to go. 

Some writers are lucky enough to meet with their agents before signing or on a fairly regular basis after their working relationship begins.  But, being from the interior of the earth, this is not a likely scenario for me or many Midwestern writers, for that matter.  So when the opportunity arose, I nabbed it.

It was the single most amazing moment in my career to date.

Even better than receiving an offer for representation was actually holding a conversation with my partner in crime, my biggest cheerleader and my strongest advocate in the business—face to face.

Before querying agents, I researched heavily.  I didn’t just check out Preditors & Editors.  Nor did I simply read a blurb or two online—an agent data base and agency websites.  My research took months.  It started with the Agent Query data base then moved to a print copy of Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market.  If there’s a writer’s site with agent info, I hit it.  Blog commentary?  Read it.  Articles?  I checked them all.

By the time I started querying I had narrowed down my search to those who fit my “musts” and my “wants”.  They also had to want what I had to offer.  Needless to say, my A list was very small.  My B list slightly smaller and my C list added just enough to include a total of about 20 agents.  What can I say?  I’m picky.

I guess I figured that if I was going to partner with somebody, I wanted to be compatible.  And yet, paper doesn’t tell all.  Even a phone conversation can be misleading.  Think about it in terms of friendships.  Some friends are casual, others close.  Some friends are for the moment and others are life-long.  They all have their place in our lives and they are all important, yet we don’t always get a sense of this the first time we meet them.

What I had done during my search was to distill the qualities that mattered to me as a writer and applied them to my agent search.  No point in finding a casual friendship if what I really needed was life-long connections.

And I got lucky.  My offer came from a TOP agent on my A list.  Okay, I only subbed to my A’s with a B or two thrown in to satisfy conventional wisdom.  But my thought was this: “I know I have a solid query.  It’s unique and breaks every rule in the book, but it works—for my manuscript.  So why target agents who had only some of my musts and wants when I could target agents who had everything I wanted?”

But it wasn’t until I actually met Agent Awesome this weekend that I realized just how lucky I got.  We share the same quirky sense of humor—trust me, this is important.  It’s why I married my DH.  He’s a gentleman through and through—a consummate professional.  Our visions for my career align so nicely and the enthusiasm he shows for my writing is astounding.  In its totality, this does not come across on paper, during the research period or even during the offer stage. 

Like I told my licensing social worker for my preschool, “I could be the worst person in the world to work with kids, but if I know how to play the game, I can come across looking like Mary Poppins.” 

The same goes for your agent search.  Dig deep.  Deeper than you believe is possible to find all the dirt, not just the raves.  Nobody wants to be fooled into an artistic partnership with someone who is Jeffery Dahmer in disguise. 

Don’t settle for an agent who only reps picture books when the bulk of your work is YA.  It will be difficult to build career relationships this way.  Don’t accept an offer from an editorial agent when all you want is a therapist to support your journey, not help change your destiny.  But above all, don’t even query if you feel the fit won’t be right. 

While some writers believe that snagging an agent is a numbers game—the more I send out, the bigger the odds—I come at if from an entirely different angle.  If you do your research and write the best query and best manuscript you are capable of, the stars will align and provide you with your dream agent.  Because in reality, you won’t sub to any who aren’t.

And above all else, if you have the chance to meet your agent in person, do.  No matter the cost or time.  It is the single best thing you can do to ensure your partnership is exactly what you want and need it to be.

How do you research your potential agents?  How do you define your wants versus your needs?  What is important to you in an agent?

A Second Helping of SCBWI Love

Wow!  Fourteen hours of speakers and sessions, good food and friend-making is…just wow!

Big Picture Book Industry Tip: Your story must be started by page 10.  If you are still writing details and your MC isn’t on his/her journey, then consider a rewrite.  More from Candace Fleming at a later date.

Editor Allie Brydon speaks on sloshing out of the slush pile.  Her big tip on writing for kids?  “Write simpler, not simplistic.” 

Editor Molly O’Neill presented the business side of the industry.  Her mantra, “Write your own story, not someone else’s.”  And no, she doesn’t mean churn out memoirs.  She simply means that writers need to be original in their own works.  We need to find our own stories and storytelling from within us.

Diane Muldrow, Editorial Director of Golden Books/Random House and author, recapped the amazing history of children’s literature in America.  If you don’t know it, study it.  You’ll have a much deeper understanding and appreciation of what it means to write for kids. 

I can’t say enough about Lin Oliver.  I sat by her at lunch and she’s sweet and charming and concerned and caring and supportive and amazing and…well, you get the picture.  Did I mention she’s also the co-founder of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators?  Yeah, that was totally cool!

I’ve learned oodles today and can’t wait to digest it all. 

It’s also ten thirty and I have another five hours of conference tomorrow followed by a seven hour drive home. 

Time for bed!

PS.  I’d love to totally dish on my agent cuz he rocks my socks off.  We had several delightful, insightful and just plain fun conversations today.  Can’t wait to listen to him present tomorrow. 

PPS.  Can I just say wow?!?!?!