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Quick Blog Break!

This week, I am in Italy for the Bologna children’s book rights fair. Tough life. Someone’s gotta do it. Etc. Last week I was in France. Again, boo hoo. However, middle-of-the-week trade shows like Bologna and BEA and Digital Book World always throw me off my blogging game, so you’ll have to indulge a blog vacation this week. I’m skipping today and Wednesday on Kidlit, and tomorrow on KidlitApps (my one reader over there will be devastated, I’m sure…hehe).

The good news, though, is that next week I’ll talk a little bit about the international rights market. It’s a topic that might make your head spin, but it’s quite interesting and something I’m obviously getting more into by being here at the Bologna fair. It’s fascinating to remember that our part in the US kidlit landscape is just one piece of a larger puzzle.

In the meantime, I’m always eager for your questions. I’ve had some good ones in recent months, so let’s keep it going. What are you dying to know about writing, publishing, agents, picture books, middle grade, young adult, or anything else? Ask in the comments, and I’ll have answers for you once I emerge from Trade Show Coma. (The cure for that, in Italy, by the way, is più espresso!)


  1. Lon Dee’s avatar

    Many writers are now choosing to publish independently rather than signing with a publishing house. This offers many advantages, but one of the big disadvantages is the difficulty with publicity. Can you offer any suggestions for indie authors to get the word out? Do you know of any well-known review sites that will review indie books? Thanks a lot, and thanks for your informative blog.

  2. Christina Marie’s avatar

    Alright, so here’s my questions:

    The dual narrative storyline and how to present one correctly in both a query and synopsis so that it won’t give the agent a headache.

    Does each character have the right to their say or should the story just be told through a single character?

    Any help would be great.

    Thanks again Mary for opening up the blog for questions!!

  3. Franziska’s avatar


    Enjoy Italy!

  4. R.Lewis’s avatar

    Dear Mary Kole, in the current market are agents responsive to YA novels in verse that approach narratives experimentally as long as they contain strong imagery and emotional power and what advice would you have for poets who seek to take narrative risks? Thanks for your time, R. Lewis

  5. Elizabeth’s avatar

    France! Italy! Mama Mia. I am green with envy, thank goodnes green is a good color for me.

    Okay, question, who publishes more MG/YA the US or Europe/UK?

    Enjoy your trip.

  6. Julie Daines’s avatar

    Have a great trip. I’ll get back to you on a question.

  7. PK Hrezo’s avatar

    In terms of agenting, would an agent of awesomesauce-ness like yourself consider taking on a project they didn’t necessarily love, but thought they could sell? Or vice versa? Or does it just depend on the agent?

    btw could you grab me a bottle of extra virgin olive oil while in Italia??? j/k

  8. Cathy’s avatar

    I’m close to querying for my children’s chapter book (ages 6-8). I’ve been researching agents to find right fit for my book. I’m encountering a problem with the way agents list their preferred genres. Many agents state that they rep picture books/middle grade/YA, or children’s books but just MG/YA. Most don’t mention chapter books. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Should I focus on agents that list picture books but don’t specify chapter books? Or take a chance with some that rep MG?

  9. Erin Scherfling’s avatar

    Hi Mary,
    I have a question related to some feedback given at a conference “first pages” session. I recently took your MG/YA webinar and was attempting to drop a few hints about my character in the first few paragraphs and then get right to the action and inciting incident. The editor giving feedback suggested holding off on the action and not starting at a place with such high emotions, warning that there would be no place to go from there. I know that we need to make the reader care about the characters/ identify with them early on so that the action matters. Perhaps I was not doing this as well as I thought – but I heard similar comments made throughout the session. Is this a common mistake? How subjective is this? Another comment was that it seemed to be a “sketch of a scene” rather than a scene. Could you please review the elements of a scene?
    Thank you.
    Hope your trip was wonderful!


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