Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What editors and agents at the 40th SCBWI Summer Conference want to see

SCBWI outdid themselves at this year’s conference with inspiring keynote speakers, a rocking pajama party, and exciting surprise guests. There were over 1,430 people in attendance this year with representation from 49 of the 50 states (we missed you SD) and attendees from 20 countries.

I’ll be posting some of my notes over the next few weeks. I thought I’d start with what the editors and agents on the panels are looking for. Here’s a quick recap:

   Debra Dorfman, VP, Publisher Paperbacks, Non-Fiction & Licensed Publishing at Scholastic, acquires baby to young adult, although her focus is on middle grade and commercial young adult.

   Beverly Horowitz, VP Publisher of Delacorte Press, works on middle grade and young adult.

   Jennifer Hunt, VP of Acquisition and Development and Editor-at-Large for Dial Books, likes literary/high quality writing.

   Allyn  Johnston, VP and Publisher of Beach Lane Books, acquires picture books, fiction middle grade and young adult.

   Julie Strauss-Gabel's , VP and Publisher of Dutton Children’s Books, preference is literary/commercial middle grade and young adult. In a breakout session, she mentioned she likes contemporary and humor. She doesn’t really do high fantasy or SF, but does enjoy some magical realism.

The agents who participated in the keynote are all looking for the same thing: brilliant writing and the next best seller. They did share what they do not want to see and some of their pet peeves.

                                                            Does not want:                 Pet peeve:
  Tracey Adams, Adams Literary             Quiet books                     Dear Sir
  Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Lit.       Bad writing                      Things he doesn’t rep
  Marcia Wernick, Wernick & Pratt          Vampires                         Long winded
  Tina Wexler,  ICM                                Screenplays                     Hostility

Remember to check their website for submission guidelines before submitting!


  1. This is great insight! I look forward to your updates on what you've learned.

    Aaaand---I've got an award for you over at my blog. :)

  2. I've heard so much about this conference of late. Wish I could have gone. I look forward to reading your future blog posts about the conference details!
    BTW...I'm your newest follower.

  3. Thanks for following!

    I'm hoping to post some of my notes later today. I didn't realize just how many I had until I started to type them up. It's a great conference that I would recommend to any children's writer. The entire SCBWI team does an incredible job putting it together.