CHRISTINE VAN ZANDT: What is an agent’s role at the SCBWI Writers’ Retreat?
JAMIE WEISS CHILTON: Each faculty member at the retreat facilitated several workshop groups (five writers per group). The writers read aloud from a work-in-progress and received feedback on those pages. I was so impressed by the participants’ openness to feedback, and I could see the revision process beginning during the group’s discussions. I enjoy giving feedback and especially love the great group discussions that develop during these workshop sessions. The revisions I heard on the last day, during the First Pages read-aloud session, were fantastic. Writers give each other great advice—it’s evident to me of what a great critique group can do for authors and illustrators, which leads me to your next question . . .
CVZ: What are your Top Five Recommendations to help writers get published?
• Find a critique group; it may take a few tries to find the group that’s a perfect fit for you and your work, and once you do you’ll be glad you did!
• Be open to feedback; revision is the name of the game.
• Be patient.
• Be persistent. Publishing can be a long road. Keep at it! Keep working on your craft.
• Read widely in your genre and children’s books as a whole, to have a strong sense of the market
CVZ: Is there a specific category that is hot right now?
JWC: I always advise writers to pursue the story and genre they are passionate about, rather than trying to write to any particularly “hot” category. Once a category is deemed “hot,” editors are often on to the next thing. Write the story only you can write.
CVZ: Is your agency seeking submissions?
JWC: You’ll find submission guidelines and lots of other information on our Web site, www.andreabrownlit.com.
Jamie Weiss Chilton is an agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc., representing children’s books for all ages from board books through young adult novels.
Interview by Christine Van Zandt,Co-editor of SCBWI’s Kite Tales
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What is SCBWI? Founded in 1971 by a group of Los Angeles-based children’s writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a non-profit, 501 (c)3 organization There are currently more than 22,000 members worldwide, in over 70 regional chapters writing and illustrating in all genres for young readers, making it the largest children’s writing organization in the world. Click HERE for member benefits.