Best. Quote. Ever.

From now until forever, I am going to refer writers who ask me query questions to this quote. It comes from Andrea Brown, my brilliant boss and mentor, and it’s about query letters:

A query letter is like the perfect skirt: long enough to cover everything but short enough to be exciting.

I have worked with the woman for about two and a half years now and have never heard this gem. Where has it been all my life?

This Big Sur, I think, was my absolute favorite. Sure, it was at the Embassy Suites in Monterey (as our March workshops are) instead of the gorgeous Big Sur Lodge in Big Sur proper (as our December workshops are), and the weather spoiled on Sunday, but I think this mix of writers, faculty, and agency clients along for the ride was one of the best I’ve experienced.

A special shout out to Jamie Harrington and Pat Netzley, and to my wonderful colleagues. We missed two of our Jennifers (Mattson and Laughran) at this Big Sur. Fabulous faculty members like Ellen Hopkins, Eric Elfman, Mary Colgan, Anica Rissi, and Deb Wayshak shared their writing expertise with our group of just under a hundred attendees.

My two workshop groups inspired several blog post ideas which you’ll read in the near future. For right now, though, I’m going to catch up on my sleep after this exhausting weekend and start chipping away at my pent-up email. Today is a very exciting day for me in San Francisco, Berkeley, and the Napa valley, which all ties in to my secret new blog/professional project. Soon, my pretties, soon all shall be revealed! For now, delight yourselves with Andrea’s fantastic quote.

The Agent’s Role in Today’s Digital Book World

It’s a flummoxing time in publishing right now. Most publishers, editors, developers, marketers, and creators freely admit that the digital book world is the Wild West. We don’t quite know what to expect, but most of us are hitching up and riding for the horizon.

Literary agents are among those forging new trails. Some spectators (and even some colleagues) are now wondering whether there is a place or even a need for these middlemen of publishing in the digital future. As an agent, I want to say yes, of course, and, self-interest aside, I do think there are new and exciting opportunities for both authors and agents in this changing landscape.

At the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, we’re working on concrete strategies for apps and ebooks every day. Since we’re a sales leader dealing almost exclusively in children’s books—a sector where app and game opportunities are growing rapidly—we’re seeing a lot of the changes firsthand.

My thought is this: There will always be people who want to produce writing or art and see it be made available to readers/viewers/players. There are creators and their content, and then there are the people bringing that content to market. The agent’s role will still be necessary to act as intermediary between the two parties, whether working to create an app, a film, a licensed t-shirt, or a printed book.

In fact, I’ll argue that, as publishers embrace different content delivery systems and processes, agents will take on more packaging responsibilities: editorial work, marketing consultation, design, etc. Whether we’re presenting a book to editors or an app proposal to a digital publisher, we will have had a more active hand in its reaching “market ready” status.

That’s not to say that editors, marketing staff, sales teams, and all the other hardworking people of traditional publishing will be obsolete. But already, as we saw from James Frey’s latest venture, publishers are relying more heavily on “camera ready” packaged work. It makes good business sense (as long as you don’t use Frey’s contract) to invest in a developed product ready to go to market.

My colleague Laura Rennert has recently been exploring digital options for her clients, some of whom include high-profile children’s bestsellers like Ellen Hopkins, Maggie Stiefvater, and Jay Asher. “We have to figure out digital parameters as we did with book rights parameters,” she says. “What rights we hold, what rights we cede; what royalties, revenue share, and subrights splits should be. This is the time of start-ups. We have to figure out what media or dimension a book’s content should occupy.”

Jim McCarthy of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management agrees: “The role of the agent, fundamentally, is to act as an author’s advocate and to serve as a bit of a sieve between aspiring writers and content producers. People will still be writing. And they will still want to connect with readers and make money off of what they write.” Traditional roles, in other words, are relevant no matter the medium.

Blogosphere favorite, former agent, CNET staffer, and author Nathan Bransford sees a segmented agenting community in his digital crystal ball. Agents, he thinks, will be broken up into those that have blockbuster clients and those who don’t. Agents-to-the-stars will deal primarily with major publishers and do business as usual, while others will act more like managers, consultants, and publicists to help smaller authors navigate small presses and self-publishing.

“As long as the polarization between blockbusters and everyone else continues,” Bransford says, “it’s going to be hard for agents to make money unless one of their clients should take off. There’s still a need for authors to be able to draw upon experts who can help them get a leg up and reach their readers, and smaller agents may fill that niche.” In Bransford’s view, then, it’s possible for agents to exist, but they’ll work and earn their keep in new ways. “It seems like it’s a time ripe for experimentation with new agenting models,” he concludes.

For now, I say we delve into new venues for our existing properties and experiment. We should negotiate contracts with the shifting new digital parameters in mind, hold digital rights, insert renegotiation clauses for digital deal points, monitor ebook sales, and collaborate with print publishers as they devise digital strategies for our clients’ existing books. Several of my colleagues are now developing standalone digital book or app ideas and approaching the new crop of digital publishers and developers.

In fact, I’ll argue that agents should start treating their clients’ business like a tech start-up. As a Silicon Valley ex-pat (and a former product manager for a Facebook app development venture that recently sold to Google), I feel lucky to know the ins and outs of the dot com sector from experience. The key there is relentless development, speed, novelty (Twitter, anyone?), and the willingness (and often capital) to delve into new ideas.

For clients rapidly expanding into digital, I predict that no-advance/higher-royalty sales and experiments that require start-up costs will be much more prevalent in the next two years. Agents will also have to keep a hard eye on tech and industry developments, learn the basics of the gadgets, understand tech and programming capabilities, explore what makes a good app (a good starting place is School Library Journal’s “Planet App: Kids’ book apps are everywhere.”), and be at the forefront of brainstorming digital strategy with clients who want to play in the app arena, including developing new properties to pursue. The revenue-sharing model for the agent/client relationship might also change, especially on the digital front and for properties developed mutually.

I’ll be the first to admit that seeing digital topics on our agency meeting agenda always seem to coincide with the flare of a tension headache. Just like the original frontier cowboys, though, we’ll all have to strap on our six-shooters and figure out just what kind of terrain lies over the western ridge of the great Print-Digital Divide.

The one thing we can’t do is pretend that things aren’t changing or that apps don’t exist. Things are and apps do, and that’s why I’ll be at Digital Book World 2011 in two weeks, to see what all this change means for this year and beyond.

***

This article originally appeared on the Digital Book World website, and I will be doing a more extensive write-up of my thoughts after I attend the conference, which is January 24th through 26th. Thanks to Guy, Chuck, and the Writer’s Digest team for the opportunity!

Belated Inspiration for 2011

I promise not to get all weepy and new-age-y on you — I am Tough Agent Lady! (Some of the time…) — but there’s this amazing photographer called Meg Perotti who works in the SF Bay Area and she posted a wonderful, inspiring image on her blog to ring in the New Year. (MK trivia time: I love photography. I have written for a photography trade magazine called Rangefinder. I’m better at appreciating it than doing it myself, but I am an absolute sucker for a stunning photograph, especially portraiture, which is how I fell in love with Meg Perotti’s blog in the first place!)

It’s a bit small here but if you click on it, you can blow it up, print it out, and look at it often, because that’s what I’m doing. I know that New Year’s Eve was, like, a week ago, and everyone is already over it and back to work and slogging through and waiting for the next vacation, but, dang it, there’s too much that’s good and creative and powerful about life to let it streak by unnoticed!

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the bottom of this picture is the beeeeeeautiful city of San Francisco, which I will be visiting next week.

I got a nice month’s break from traveling in December and now it’s back to the skies. I’m flying to ALA in San Diego today for some fun, meetings, and face time with my Southern California colleagues Kelly, Jen, and Jamie. Then on Monday I’m up to San Francisco to see family and friends and to meet with my NorCal colleagues, Andrea, Laura, and Caryn.

For a belated Christmas present, I’m taking my mom to go hear Elizabeth Gilbert speak next Friday. (I think this Gilbert lady wrote a book? Something about eating? Just kidding. It’s pretty hilarious, actually: my mom just discovered EAT, PRAY, LOVE. I’m all like, “Remember that whole collective ommmmmm hovering over 2006? No? Oh well!”) Then it’s back to NYC for a whirlwind!

On January 17th, I’m doing my last Learning Annex class for now. It’ll be in the evening, somewhere in midtown Manhattan, and you can find a link to the event here. If you’ve already gone to one, this will be the same material: an overview of the children’s publishing marketplace. Come out, see me, and get your work critiqued! Next weekend is the Writer’s Digest Conference (see you at the Pitch Slam!), then Digital Book World (more on this next week), and the NY SCBWI. (I’m not speaking or giving a workshop, I’m doing the roundtable critiques on Friday, so I’ll be around all weekend, but I’m not doing any Saturday or Sunday sessions that people can show up for. You’ll just have to find me. Hint: I’ll be near the coffee…) That’s all within two weeks, folks!

Whew! It’s no wonder I’m finding so much calm, solace, and inspiration from Meg’s lovely thought for 2011! I hope you all enjoy it. See you next week with ALA updates.

Conference Checklist

Melissa asks a great question about conferences:

I’d like to attend the January SCBWI conference–my first. Could you maybe post about what a first-timer should bring/be prepared for to get the most out of the experience? Let’s say the writer has a completed book (that has been beta-critiqued) but has not queried yet.

A lot of the things you’ll end up “bringing” to a conference are actually mental, not physical. (For more thoughts on conferences, see “Should I go to a writers conference?”) Even so, I will try to make a list of things to bring and things to leave at home. Even though I now attend conferences as a faculty member, I keep these things and more in my head and in my suitcase when I travel!

If you bring the right tools and mindset, it’s more likely you’ll have a fulfilling conference experience.

Things to bring (mental)

  • An open mind: Lots of people go to conferences to learn and to meet new people (and ideas!), so approach every conference with an open mind. You don’t know everything there is to know and your work isn’t perfect. That’s not an insult…that’s a good thing! With that attitude, you’ll get the most out of a conference and take your savvy and your work to the next level as a result.
  • Your social butterfly hat: Conferences are very social and you get more out of them if you’re willing to engage, meet new people, strike up conversations, and, yes, *gulp* approach faculty (at appropriate times, of course). Even if you’re naturally shy, dip a toe outside your comfort zone and you’ll meet new friends, potential critique partners, other writers on the same journey, and maybe even a business connection.
  • Your relaxation tools: Conferences are stressful and overwhelming, especially for first timers. The days are packed, the nights offer lots of socializing/writing opportunities, and you’ll probably feel like you haven’t slept in days when you get home. Bring something to help you relax and unwind (pleasure reading, a journal, your sweatpants), or something from your home routine (jogging shoes, your iPod, a movie on your computer) to help you keep your sanity.

Things to bring (physical)

  • Journal/notepad and lots of pens: Conference panels and workshops are chock-full of ideas that you’ll want to jot down and take home with you. You’ll get to do very little actual processing while you’re at the event, so take copious notes so that you can revisit them once you’re home and settled down. If audio recording is your thing, take a recorder. Just make sure it’s okay with conference organizers (it may not be) before you record any audio or video at the event. Important: Your notes and/or recordings should be for your own use only. We all work very hard on our presentations, and they’re our intellectual property, so don’t reproduce, reprint, or transcribe our words verbatim for your friends or on your blog. Writers who may see us speak in the future may feel cheated if we give a talk that they’ve read a transcript from before, but most of us only have a handful of talks that we like to give.
  • Camera: Capture the fun (and the faces of your new friends) of a conference. Make sure you have your camera, film/memory stick, and your battery charger.
  • Networking swag: Before you go to a conference, make sure you have business cards, bookmarks, or another paper form of publicity for yourself that you can give away. Even if you don’t have an agent or a book deal yet, make attractive cards to give around. Most faculty will not take cards or papers from you — we don’t need the extra thing to lose, nor do we want it weighing down our suitcase. But you will meet lots of other people at the conference, and you will be grateful to have something with your name and contact information to give out to new people. It’s a lot better than having to scribble your email address on torn-off paper corners, and attractive and customizable business cards can be had for free (or the cost of shipping) from websites like VistaPrint.
  • Art and previous books: If you are an illustrator, have postcards made of your work to hand out as well (I get postcards printed by NextDayFlyers.com for my illustration clients). If you have a portfolio, bring a copy to show to attendees and faculty (at appropriate times). If you have previously published books, do bring them as an example of your work (but not to give away, see below).
  • Travel necessities: Don’t let anything stress you out at a conference. Check and double-check all the nitty gritty stuff in your suitcase: chargers, toiletries, etc. For me, forgetting to bring my phone charger or computer cable is enough to throw me off my game, as I’m always worried about the battery status of my gadgets. By checking the “duh” stuff and making sure you have it all, you’ll take them off your mind.
  • Good clothing choices: Bring comfortable shoes. They are a must. Also, bring sweaters, cardigans, layers, and light jackets, even if you’re going to Phoenix during a heat wave. A lot of conferences are held in big hotel ballrooms and meeting rooms, and those always tend to be freezing. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve made the mistake of bringing a flimsy cardigan and shivering my way through a weekend. The temperature in the conference city is for outside, ladies and gentlemen. The inside of hotel conference centers operates on its own climate altogether!
  • Food for thought: For the bigger weekend conferences, your registration fee will usually cover meals. Sometimes these hotel catering affairs are decent. Other times…oh boy. And food choices in an unfamiliar location can be a nightmare for people with dietary requirements. (For example, some hotels will just serve pasta at every meal to vegetarians…) If you like to eat consistently and not have to worry about food while you’re away, bring some snacks from home and check ahead to see if there’s a grocery store near the hotel. When I travel, I like to go grocery shopping on the first day. Most hotels will have a mini-fridge in the room. If not, you can have one delivered for either free or a small daily fee. If you have dietary needs or just plain think hotel food is yucky, having some of your favorite food will be a great comfort.

What not to bring

  • Your manuscript: Nobody will take your 300 page manuscript home with them, even if they like your work. Most faculty will request samples after the conference that you can then send. Don’t come with printed copies of your work, unless it is required at a workshop-type conference and the organizers have explicitly given you instructions. It will, in 99% of cases, end up leaving the hotel with you after the weekend is over.
  • Bound books: The same goes for self-published or otherwise printed books that you want to give to the faculty. If there is interest, you can always send it after the fact.
  • A book contract: If you’ve been offered a book deal, don’t bring your contract in the hopes that a faulty member will be able to look it over for you. This type of thing, again, can be discussed and arranged, if desired, at a later date.
  • Your know-it-all attitude: Nobody likes a know-it-all. Don’t be hostile, combative, or pushy with faculty or other attendees. Most people come to conferences to learn new things, and those characters who show up with the wrong attitude not only disturb this atmosphere, but they get a notorious rap with the faculty.

I hope this is a good checklist to get you set for your first conference, or a reminder as you gear up for subsequent events.

Talking to Agents and Editors at Conferences

Reader Elizabeth wants to know the following, about approaching and talking to agents and editors at conferences. Since I’ll be doing a lot of conferences in the coming weeks (check my Events and Conferences page!), this is an issue on my mind. Read on:

As an introvert, how do I approach agents and editors at an upcoming conference? I don’t want to be rude or pushy, but I do want to take this opportunity to make connections. I know all the basic stuff, like not shoving manuscripts into people’s arms or under bathroom stalls, and I know that all regular manners apply, as well, but I would love to hear, from the other side, what agents and editors appreciate when talking to aspiring authors. What are you looking for when you go to these conferences, and how do you like to make connections? Do you want to hear pitches, or would you just like someone to introduce themselves and ask general questions? Sometimes I look at editors and agents at these conferences and worry that they are feeling hounded, and that the last thing they want is for one more person to come up and tell them about their manuscript. Can you give me some perspective?

This is a great question. I’ve talked about conferences before (do’s and don’ts and how to pitch, should I go to a conference?, conference polish syndrome), and other mentions appear throughout the blog. However, I’ve never had someone honestly ask me how I’d personally like to be approached at conferences. (This is, obviously, my take on the situation, and therefore I can’t speak for all agents and editors.) While my answer isn’t as specific as some might want, I hope it gives you some insight into how I experience conferences.

When agents and editors go to conferences, we expect to be approached. That’s why we’re there. Lovely conference organizers have flown us many miles to meet their organization’s writers. This is not our time to hide in our hotel rooms or be standoffish. Writers have come to meet with us, learn from us, tell us about their projects, and to, they hope, make an impression.

So I go to every conference expecting to talk to a lot of writers. Writers don’t need to be cautious or sensitive about that. That’s why I’m there.

I love almost everything about conferences and hope to do hundreds more over the course of my career. However, I don’t especially enjoy being pitched. There are two opportunities for pitching at most conferences: getting pitched during a pitch session, when the writer has signed up for an appointment with me, and getting pitched randomly, like at the dinner table or in line for the bathroom. Why do I dislike getting pitched? Because a pitch is a writer talking about an idea. All I care about is the execution…the writing (read more here about idea vs. execution). So a day of listening to pitches is a day of hearing ideas. I won’t know if I’ve found a new project or a new writer until I can see their writing and see how the execute the projects they’re talking about.

In most cases, I will request a writing sample — 10 pages and a query, our standard submission request on the ABLit website — after a pitch. Because I need to see the writing. Sometimes, I know that a project is just not for me. A high fantasy that focuses on world-building, is inspired by Tolkien, and that deals with the origins of golf, for example, won’t really be up my alley. I would politely decline to see more during the pitch. But in most cases, I will give the writer what they’re hoping to get: the request for more. That’s the first reason I dislike pitches: most writers are just focused on the request and don’t know that they’ll likely get one.

The second reason I dislike pitches? The bundle of nerves on the other side of the table. Writers freak out, thinking that their two minute pitch will make or break their career, or they act like robots who have memorized a query and are now regurgitating it. A lot of writers read from actual cue cards, their hands shaking, their eyes glued to the page and never rising to meet mine. They’re so focused on the pitch that they’ll get completely frazzled if I ask a question or interrupt them for clarification. It’s a very one-sided conversation.

So if you do get an agent or editor in front of you, relax. Impossible, I know. But once you relax, you can actually talk to the other person. Tell them about your book. Ask a question. Talk as well as listen. There’s nothing I appreciate more than a writer who is prepared yet flexible, professional yet casual. Someone who’ll talk to me as another person who loves books, not as someone desperately trying to get my approval.

On numerous occasions, I have quite literally held writers’ hands after they burst out crying from nerves. This is an extreme, but it encapsulates, to me, what’s wrong with the contrived pitching situation. So here are some tips. Don’t pitch for the sake of the request. Don’t just say your piece and then stare at us. We’re people. We’re resources, brainstormers, question-answerers, page-requesters.

How do you talk to agents and editors at conferences? Talk to us.

How to Know When It Works

The reader who asked about chapter breaks a few days ago, Dana, just sent me a follow-up email, in which she says:

Many thanks Mary! I have been taking more notice of the pacing lately, both in my own writing and in what I read, and I think scenes and chapter breaks do weigh in. What I am realizing is that, if done correctly, few readers really notice the shift in scenes or the chapter breaks. It is just when they’re awkward that they require attention.

This emphasizes one of the biggest point I can make about writing in general. You know you’ve attained successful writing when, ironically, nobody notices. That’s when I know I’m in the hands of a master, at least.

When I’m caught up in your voice sounding inauthentic, or slow pacing, or awkward dialogue tags, or in grown-up language or phrases that sound like they’re better off in a business memo, or a character acting, well, out of character, or slang that doesn’t need to be there, or clunky sentences, or too-long chapters, or one-dimensional scenes…I know that the writer is still working on their process.

And that’s okay. We’re all always working on our process. But there’s a difference between an obvious work-in-progress and writing that has a publishable quality to it. In my line of work, I’m always seeking the latter.

How can I tell? Well, I can’t exactly tell you when and why something works, without question. But I can definitely tell when something doesn’t work, and that’s, as described above, when I start to notice the writing.

I often use this analogy when I speak at conferences. Great writing is like my shiny little iPad…it’s a well-oiled, good looking, smoothly functioning machine. The aim of good writing is to be unobtrusive, to be especially perfect in moments that catch my attention, but never to catch my attention in a negative way. My iPad works perfectly, and is always impressive and dependable. The only time I will ever be upset with it or disappointed is when one of the little magical gears or cogs or motherboards inside it stops working. Then, the chip or cable or circuit will catch my attention.

So it is with writing. If it’s working, it’s fantastic, it’s easier than it looks (come on, how many of us have read Meg Cabot, for example, or another compulsively readable author, and thought, “I could totally do that and still have time for breakfast”?), and it doesn’t call attention to itself.

It’s when I notice the writing, usually, that there’s something wrong with it.

Vacation!

Hey all! I’m going on vacation! Later today, I’m jetting off to Ireland and Scotland to drink Guinness, eat fish and chips, flounce around haunted castles, drink Guinness, delight in authentic brogue, and otherwise have a great time. I’ve been to Dublin before, but never to Edinburgh, so this will be an exciting trip that mixes old favorites with, I hope, new ones. I also have a client in Scotland…and we are, of course, cooking up appropriate shenanigans.

Long story short: I will not be monitoring the blog, reading comments, responding to emails, or doing any of my usual deskbound stuff until the week of September 13th, and even then, you’d be wise to give me some time to catch up on all my correspondence.

I do have posts scheduled for the duration of my vacation, so the blog will carry on in my absence. However, if you are new to Kidlit.com and have never commented before, your comments will go into my moderation queue until the week of the 13th and won’t be posted on the site until I have a chance to check them out.

You can still query me and send me emails and all that good stuff, just know that I’ll be blithely ignoring them until I get back to New York.

In the meantime, don’t forget to sign up for my Writer’s Digest webinar, which is happening on Thursday, September 23rd. You can enroll by clicking here. It’s the next best thing for all of you who have been waiting to see me live…and you don’t have to leave your pajamas! If you have to miss the live event itself and can’t call in, you can always register for the webinar and have access to the recording of it for one full year.

I pledge to answer all questions posed to me, either during the seminar or later, in writing, and, as a registered student, you will get a critique of the first 500 words of MG or YA novel or the first 300 words of your picture book manuscript, depending on what you’re writing. If I get a good turnout for this webinar, Writer’s Digest will host me again, and  you know how much I love getting teaching opportunities, so tell your friends!

Speaking of Writer’s Digest, if you pick up an October issue or order one online, you’ll find a mini-profile of me in the “27 Agents Looking for New Writers” cover feature. I’m on the “annual hot list”! Hot dog!

Upcoming Workshops and Events

Hey all! I booked some workshops and events this week and would love to tell you about them.

The first is an exciting new opportunity from Writers Digest! On September 23rd (time TBA), I’ll be doing a live webinar program on Writing and Publishing Children’s Books. It will work much like this webinar (click here for a link to a sample workshop…but do not buy this workshop unless you want to take it…this is not my workshop, the listing for mine is not up yet…this is just an example), and will feature information from me, structured question and answer, and the opportunity to receive critiques on your writing and queries. We’re still working the details out, but this webinar will happen online on September 23rd. Anyone with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world, can participate!

Second, for all the writers in the New York/Manhattan area, I’m doing another course with the Learning Annex! The listing isn’t up on the website yet but it will be Thursday, September 30th, in the evening. I’ll post a link as soon as the information goes up on the website. Everyone who attends the class will receive a 5-page quick consultation for a MG or YA manuscript or a quick consultation of an entire picture book manuscript, depending on what they’re writing. I’ll let you know when signups are available for the class, but you can at least put it on your calendars now for September 30th.

These two things are still in progress and you can’t register yet, but do look forward to them. I’ll keep everyone posted. The webinar is a great opportunity for those people who have always wanted to hear me speak but who don’t live in a place that I’ll be visiting in the near future.

Speaking of visits in the near future, I’ve just added some conferences to my schedule! (My Events page will reflect these changes in a few days.)

In November, I will now be at the SCBWI South Dakota event, Friday the 5th through Sunday the 7th.

In December, I will be at the Big Sur Workshop held by the Andrea Brown Agency, from Friday the 3rd through Sunday the 5th.

In January, I will be at the Writers Digest Conference from Friday the 21st to Sunday the 23rd, and I’ll also be at the SCBWI New York National Conference from Friday the 28th to Sunday the 30th.

Whew! That’s quite an upcoming schedule, but I’m really excited!

If anyone has burning writing or publishing questions, this might also be a good time to ask, as I’m always looking to stock my “post ideas” box.

In Case You Missed It…

In case you missed it, I did my first-ever vlog for WriteOnCon, which was last week. If you haven’t gotten over there to read any of the content, do yourself a favor and block out the afternoon today. There’s so much good stuff. Also of interest might be the chat transcript from my session with agents Suzie Townsend and Joanna Stampfel-Volpe and Simon Pulse editor Anica Rissi, which you can find here (to access the chat transcript, click the play button in the screen…it will play an ad and then it will load the content and you can scroll through it).

There’s also a secret about this video. Some of my clients know it and urge me not to share. I have to admit, I’m intrigued by maintaining the mystique a while longer. Sorry, readers!

In other WriteOnCon news, the organizers had over 11,000 visitors to the website for the three-day conference. Wowza! That’s huge! To keep a good thing going, they are planning on hosting some ongoing events, contents, and chats, and I will, of course, participate more. Look out for more good WriteOnCon stuff, coming up.

WriteOnCon This Week!

Hey all. If you’re thinking that you’d love to attend a virtual writer’s conference for kidlit writers only — maybe you’ve never experienced a conference, maybe you’re still nursing your SCBWI-LA-is-over-for-another-year blues — you’re in luck. This week is WriteOnCon, a fantastic virtual kidlit writer’s conference put on, in part, by one of my fabulous clients, Jamie Harrington.

WriteOnCon features editors, agents, and published authors who will be writing articles, doing vlogs, giving presentations, hosting chats, answering your questions, hanging in the forums, and otherwise interacting with writers all week long.

The conference runs from Tuesday, August 10th, to Thursday, August 12th, is completely online, is completely FREE, and features a special vlog presentation (about character depth vs. character stereotypes) and a live chat with yours truly.

Check out WriteOnCon here, and register today: http://www.writeoncon.com.

I’ll also be hanging out in the forums this week and answering questions, so watch out!