Agent Lorin Oberweger on SCBWI-CenCal Writers Day, Editorial Agents, and What She Wants to Rep


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By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

Lorin Oberweger, agent with Adams Literary, is on faculty for this year’s SCBWI CenCal Writers’ Day, Discovering Your Path to Publication, on October 13, 2018. As an agent with Adams Literary, Lorin is actively acquiring authors for her list. She has also served as a highly sought-after independent book editor, helping to shepherd hundreds of books — including many bestsellers — to publishing success. Lorin’s ghostwritten books have received glowing notices from the New York Times and Kirkus Reviews. And she is co-author of Boomerang, Rebound, and Bounce (Harper Collins) under the pen name Noelle August. She is a popular speaker at conferences around the country, including many appearances at SCBWI events. Teaching writing craft rates right up there in her list of favorite things to do. She’s agreed to answer some questions.

ANN ROUSSEAU SMITH: We’re very excited you’re joining us for Writers’ Day in October. How did you become an agent?

LORIN OBERWEGER: Becoming an agent was a natural offshoot of my years and years (and years) of experience as an independent editor, writing workshop director, instructor and traditionally published author. I was attracted to the new role because of the new challenges it represents, but much more so because it allowed me another avenue for helping writers succeed. I know that sometimes all it takes is that one person who really believes in you and can lift you up, and becoming an agent helps me to become that person for deserving writers.

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Author/Illustrator Cassandra Federman on the Mentors and Digital Illustrations that Led to Her Debut Picture Book


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Author/Illustrator Cassandra Federman was born and raised in Massachusetts where she spent her childhood reading comic books, playing action figures, drawing super heroes, and participating in all things nerdy. She graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University and moved to Los Angeles, where she became a hand model. When she isn’t pretending to be famous people’s hands, she’s creating art and literature for children. She is the SCBWI Los Angeles 2017 Mentorship Contest Winner, Writing With The Stars 2017 Mentorship Contest Winner, SCBWI Central California ArtWorks 2016 Promotional Card Contest Runner-up, and her first book, This is a Sea Cow (Albert Whitman), is coming fall, 2019.

SARAH PARKER-LEE: A lot seems to have gone your way in 2017, leading up to your successes this year with a book deal. Congrats! Before you won all the awards, what were you doing that got you there? Continue reading

Community Corner with Melody Mansfield: How Faeries (and SCBWI) Saved My Life


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When a rabbi-friend urged me to “share my story,” my heart sunk in my tumor-riddled chest. Did the world really need another story about breast cancer? And if I wasn’t willing to tackle this “important” topic, then why did I write, anyway? Continue reading

SCBWI 2018 Summer Conference: Striking Gold


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By Lorian Steider Brady

lyndamullalyhunt,SCBWI held its 47th Annual Summer Conference at the JW Marriott at LA LIVE in Los Angeles, August 3-6. The event spanned three extensive floors and was appropriately centered in the Diamond Ballroom. It was a perfect setting for the dazzling event.

Every day of the conference began with keynote speeches from well-known authors and illustrators or panel discussions with agents, editors, and authors. On August 4, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, award winning author of the middle grade novels One for the Murphys and Fish in a Tree, made us laugh, made us cry, until, finally, the audience rose en masse for a standing ovation. And that was just one of many. Outstanding keynote speakers shone throughout the weekend, reminding us again and again to write the stories in our own hearts because there are children who want, and need, to hear our stories.

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Agent and SCBWI-LA WWR Faculty Victoria Wells Arms On Critiques, First Lines, and More


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Victoria-Wells-ArmsBefore founding Wells Arms Literary Agency in 2013, Victoria Wells Arms spent 20 years in the publishing industry, working as an editor at Penguin and Bloomsbury, where she was the founding editorial director for their U.S. children’s list. She brings her expertise to this year’s Working Writer’s Retreat (WWR) as faculty.

She’s worked with bestselling and award-winning authors, including: E. D. Baker, Susan Middleton Elya, Nikki Grimes, Shannon Hale, Katherine Hannigan, Han Nolan, Marcella Pixley, Candice Ransom, Susan L. Roth and Renee Watson. She is an MFA candidate at the Vermont College of Fine Arts’s Writing for Children and Young Adults program.

Victoria took time away from her studies to answer our questions and share her insight.

ERLINA VASCONCELLOS: The retreat will feature a panel on first pages. How do first pages make readers eager for more? What are the elements commonly overlooked by unpublished writers? Continue reading

Agent Nephele Tempest: Choosing Your Agent, Marketing Tips, Synopses, and Being an Equal-Opportunity Nerd


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Nephele Tempest is on faculty for this year’s SCBWI-L.A. Working Writers Retreat (WWR). She joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles-area office. As an agent, she works with a number of talented writers, assisting them to hone their skills and build their careers. Nephele comes from a diverse publishing and finance background, having previously worked on the editorial side of the business, as well as for several major New York investment firms as a financial advisor and later a financial marketing and communications writer. Her previous experience provides her with insight into multiple aspects of the publishing industry and today she’s going to share some of it with us!

 SARAH PARKER LEE: You’ve been involved with SCBWI events in the past. Are you there just to give back or are you actively looking for clients? If the latter, what makes someone stand out from the crowd at these fast-paced events? Continue reading

#KT250 Winning Entries, 3rd Quarter 2018


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#KT250 is a Kite Tales quarterly community contest! We’re proud to announce this quarter’s winners and share the first 250 words of their unpublished manuscripts. We encourage agents, publishers, and mentors to reach out to any they find intriguing!

To find out how YOU can enter for next quarter, check out contest info here. Entries are now being accepted for next quarter!


GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Continue reading

LitMingle Minute: Future Shock and The Query Review at Westchester Writers Mingle


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By Renee Carter

It began at a chain restaurant. I was meeting with my writers’ group, munching on a salad when suddenly a woman approached.

“That’s me,” she proclaimed, tapping the front cover of the YA novel near my elbow on the table.

I looked at the image of a Latina, teenaged girl on the book cover and turned to the woman. She must have noticed my skepticism because she promptly turned the novel over.

“I’m Elizabeth Briggs,” she smiled. “Do you like my book?” Continue reading