Pam Gruber is a Senior Editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she has worked on everything from novelty and picture books to novels. She primarily acquires middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction. She loves alternate histories, off-beat teen romances, witty voices that can make her laugh and cry simultaneously, and stories of characters being asked to see their world in a different way. She is also on the faculty for this year’s Los Angeles SCBWI Writers and Illustrators Day (Feb. 25th) where she will deliver a keynote and lead a breakout session on immersive world-building. For a great preview and insights from an editor-extraordinaire (and cute cat photos!), read on:
SARAH PARKER-LEE: Your list includes a hybrid graphic-novel series, VIP by Jen Calonita, Claudia Gray’s new space opera, Defy the Stars, and YouTuber Josh Sundquist’s debut novel, Love and First Sight. You certainly don’t dwell in traditional spaces for content or creator! What makes you want to take a risk on non-traditional projects? What’s the difference between non-traditional and straight-up gimmicky? Continue reading
Melissa Manlove is an editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Her acquisitions tend to be all ages in nonfiction; ages 0-8 for fiction. She’s also a keynote speaker, a breakout session speaker, manuscript critique faculty, and an illustration contest judge for the Los Angeles SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Day, coming on February 25th, 2017. When acquiring, Melissa looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She also has 17 years of children’s bookselling experience and is currently on staff at Book Passage.
Sarah Parker-Lee: Your workshop intensive for the SCBWI Los Angeles Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day event, “What We Say Without Saying: Developing Voice in the Text and Art of Picture Books,” is for authors and illustrators. “Voice” is so often associated with text. What does it mean for illustrations? Do authors and illustrators find one voice together, or a way to intertwine their individual voices?
Melissa Manlove: Voice is a lot of things at once, but style and point of view are a couple of the biggest parts, whether you’re talking about text or art. Artists can make a lot of decisions that will make an impact on readers without them being very aware of it—choices that are ‘show not tell’ in the art, like palette, texture, composition—and decisions that ought to be deliberately calculated to communicate what’s most important about the book they’re illustrating; to evoke emotion, to tell a story.
Authors and artists always have separate voices, but when they are both working towards the same (or complimentary) narrative goals, they achieve a harmony that makes them feel like two halves of the same whole. Continue reading
I’ve never written a book proposal and I don’t have an agent, but I’m the author of more than a dozen non-fiction books for kids. How did I do it? I’m a writer for hire!
Many publishers create certain series, concepts, or titles “in house,” but they often need help doing the dirty work – you know, the writing part of it. So they’ll bring in freelancers who can bring their ideas to life. I’m one of those freelancers. Continue reading