Freelance Editor Harold Underdown Workshop - 6/24/08


Log file opened at: 6/24/08 5:29:26 PM
*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Editor Harold Underdown Workshop IN PROGRESS
Verla: Welcome to our Workshop.
Verla: This is a very special workshop tonight folks...
Verla: we have a WONDERFUL guest... and I'm going to introduce him to you in just a minute
Verla: In the meantime, here's some "rules" to help things move smoothly
Verla: Workshop in session. Do not talk yet! Post one question mark if you have a question to ask. Then type your question but WAIT to post until you are told it is your turn. Then you may post your question.
Verla: Please do not ask personal questions about a manuscript that is specific to "just you." "Generic" questions of interest to everyone are fine to ask.
Verla: If you have more than one question to ask, AFTER you have had one question answered, you may post another question mark in the room. You will be told when it is time to ask your next question.
Verla: IF you find you are getting bumped out of the chat then follow this next set of instructions
Verla: but please folks, ONLY if you are getting bumped out... it causes me MUCH extra time to edit all the dots out!
Verla: If you start getting bumped out of the room, post a single period < . > every so often to keep yourself "active" in the room. This might help....
Verla: During the workshop, DO NOT use any of the sounds buttons, or change the color of your text. Do NOT use bold, or other fancy fonts. Thank you for helping this workshop to be an enjoyable experience for everyone!
Verla: Harold Underdown is a freelance editorial consultant. He has worked at Macmillan, Orchard, and Charlesbridge, and has experience in trade and educational publishing.
Verla: And Harold is our illustrious speaker tonight!
Verla: Among the books he has edited are Evelyn Coleman's and Daniel Minter's The Footwarmer and the Crow, Yumi Heo's One Afternoon, Larry Pringle's and Bob Marstall's An Extraordinary Life, Lisa Rowe Fraustino's Ash, Grace Lin's The Ugly Vegetables, and Sneed Collard's and Michael Rothman's The Forest in the Clouds. He is also the editor for the Young Patriots Series, published by Patria Press.
HaroldU: <clears throat> Is this mike on?
Verla: lol yes it is, Harold...
HaroldU: Thanks, Verla. Should I start?
Verla: not yet...
Verla: Harold enjoys teaching, and in that role wrote The Complete Idiot's Guide to Children's Book Publishing, now in its third edition. He founded and runs "The Purple Crayon," a respected web site with information about the children's publishing world at He speaks and gives workshops at conferences, including the SCBWI's national conferences in LA and NY, and smaller conferences all over the country.
Verla: Something new and exciting is happening at this workshop tonight, Folks. Harold is going to give away an autographed copy of his new, third edition book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Children's Book Publishing, to one of you lucky attendees tonight! You must be present to win. It will be given out at some time during the workshop. Good luck to everyone!...
Verla: And now, please give a warm welcome to our chat room guest at tonight’s workshop, Harold Underdown!
Skarecrow: yay
Verla: Yay, Harold! Thank you SO much for coming tonight!
llehn: welcome harold
RebeccaL-G: Welcome Harold. Thanks for spending time with us.
dlan: Yay - thanks for coming.
WriterRoss: A warm welcome to Harold {}
SMozer: Clap
llehn: claps
(channel) CTCP SOUND from Kimberly_Michalski!
guitarnaia: Thanks for coming :)
traceymcox: yay!!!
Doris_Kell: hi
ColoradoKa: thanks for coming!
HaroldU: Thanks, everyone! Let me start with the boring stuff--what I do....
cs: Hi, Harold. Thanks for coming.
HaroldU: As Verla said, I work as a consultant. That means I am mostly doing editorial work for publishers, but also critiques and manuscript help with authors.
HaroldU: And just one more thing...
Verla: and yes, you are ON, Harold. Thanks
HaroldU: I want to say a bit about what I worked on for much of last year...
HaroldU: the new (third!) edition of my Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books, with a good bit of new and revised material...
HaroldU: f you don't know the book, it's a guide to children's book publishing--all the practical stuff, from setting up a writing area to what to do when a book goes OP. There is a new chapter on choosing a writing guide, with suggestions as well as how to go about it, and a chapter on self-publishing and some of its pitfalls...
HaroldU: I also updated several chapters as needed. You can find more information about it on my web site, plus a couple of sample chapters-- . Just had to brag a little bit!~
HaroldU: <done bragging>
Verla: Well I can hardly wait to get my hands on it, Harold!
HaroldU: Thanks.
Lill: Harold, are editors in anyway offended to know that a manuscript is being subbed to agents at the same time it is being subbed to them. Is there some kind of bad karma, if the agent comes on board, just after the offer is made.
Verla: ooh, good question!
Lill: end
HaroldU: I don't think MOST editors would mind...
HaroldU: We know that people often look for agents at the same time they are looking for publishers...
HaroldU: There may be a few editors who would mind, but I think they'd get over it!
dlan: How does your current editorial work differ from ...
Lill: (thank you Harold)
dlan: your work at a single publishing house?
Verla: oooh, I wanted to know that, too, dlan!
HaroldU: dlan, good question....
HaroldU: The biggest difference is that I'm usually not involved from acquisition to publication....
HaroldU: Which is also the biggest downside, as far as I am concerned. Like just about all editors, I love finding a manuscript and seeing it through. Very satisfying....
HaroldU: But I also don't have as many meetings or office politics....
HaroldU: Example, just to show--the Patria Press books are so far all previously published...
HaroldU: From the Childhood of Famous Americans Series. The publisher has me edit them, one pass, to cut the text, modernize it, and generally clean it up.
traceymcox: Would you recomend picture book writers to try and find an agent?
dlan: Very interesting -thanks!
HaroldU: No, and in fact I don't recommend that to anyone....
HaroldU: It's not easy to find an agent if you're not published, even if you're a novelist, and it's a bit easier for them....
HaroldU: So get out there, network, but don't put all of your energy into finding an agent. There's more on this on my site at .
cs: Harold, you mentioned that you offer critiques and help with manuscripts. Would you elaborate on what help you offer?
traceymcox: (many thanks, I'll check it out later!!!)
HaroldU: cs, I do a variety of things. I can offer a detailed critique, line-edit, help someone get something ready for publication....
HaroldU: If you're interested in that, rather than taking up more time here, please go read up at .
guitarnaia: Openings are tough for me. What elements immediately turn you off about a manuscript?
cs: Thanks, Harold. I'll do that.
HaroldU: Openings--I personally think that people worry too much about the first page, what with all the first page crits being done these days....
HaroldU: When an editor is reading the slush, the first pass is just to get rid of the stuff that isn't worth reading....
HaroldU: And that means we are just looking for real problems--a boring style, alliterative animals as the main characters, that kind of thing. Especially with a novel, I'm likely to read beyond the first page if I am at all interested.
Dara_Lehne: harold would it matter if the genre were diiferent for the need of an agent
HaroldU: As I said to Tracey, agents are a bit easier to get if you are a novelist. Also more useful if you are aiming only at the big commercial houses....
HaroldU: But there are so many paths to publication that I had to switch on bold to emphasize my point! Also...
HaroldU: If you write nonfiction, don't even try to get an agent. Very few agents in that area....
Doris_Kell: what can a writer do if they don't like their contract?
Dara_Lehne: thanks Harold I do write NF
NOTE: NF = non fiction
HaroldU: If you don't like your contract, you can talk to your editor about it. They may not make many changes, but you can ask for them. Or ask for clarifications. I think it's worth taking the time....
Doris_Kell: thanks
Verla: heh heh... I didn't sign my contract until it had been changed so I DID like it....
HaroldU: to understand a contract, even if you don't like it. You can be ready to ask for improvements the next time. There's a chapter on contracts in my Idiot's Guide, by the way, that provides guidance and explanations of basic terms.
HaroldU: Right, if you really don't like it, you shouldn't sign it!
llehn: what are some of the trends you're noticing about picture books and urban fantasies these days in terms of subject matter?
HaroldU: I don't notice any trends in terms of subject matter, I have to say. I don't read enough new books, and I also don't....
HaroldU: think that it's all that useful to keep up with such trends. Once you notice a trend, it's too late to do anything about it.
llehn: thanks
HaroldU: Let me add to that....
HaroldU: Just want to add that it IS a good idea to keep an eye on the BIG trends, but not to change what you are doing (such as the YA boom of recent years.)
Kimberly_M: Some writers send a list of MSS titles including a brief synopsis of each along with one query to editors for consideration. But, I have read (many times) that it's not advisable. What say you?
HaroldU: Personally, I want a query for one title at a time. I do NOT want a list of other titles. But other editors may feel differently....
Verla: That's like doing a "laundry list" of stories then.
Kimberly_M: thank you
SMozer: Are there any great places to research current editors and publishing house information? I've found great places to research agents, but not so much others. It seems like they are changing houses and leaving to fast to keep up with.
HaroldU: And different companies may approach that differently too. A NF company may WANT to hear about other topics.
HaroldU: SMozer, you just do the best you can....
HaroldU: No one expects an author to know all the details of who is where. You should certainly have the very latest CWIM...
Verla: (That's the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market guidebook)
SMozer: (Thanks)
HaroldU: And use resources like my Who's Moving Where page and Verla's boards. But sometimes it is OK to send an ms. to the submissions editor, believe it or not.
NOTE: ms = manuscript
traceymcox: Are there certain things we as writers should look out for in our contract that are big no-nos for us?
HaroldU: Big no-nos....
SMozer: Thanks.
HaroldU: Well, an option clause used to be one, but they aren't that common now, and as a great discussion on that topic on Verla's boards established...
Verla: (I found the option clause to be a killer in my first one. I couldn't sign it til they'd changed it or I wouldn't have ever sold another book)
HaroldU: you can wiggle out of them.
Verla: yep
traceymcox: (thanks)
HaroldU: Personally, I would watch for two things: joint accounting and an OP clause that isn't really an OP clause.
Verla: OP = Out of Print
HaroldU: Folks, when I use ... that means I'm not done... and I'm not done on the contract ? ...
WriterRoss: (Sorry-- if I spoke too soon.)
Verla: (that was my fault, pamela)
HaroldU: (WR it wasn't just you) Joint accounting allows a publisher to charge unearned advances from one book against earnings on another book, and as far as OP clauses go...
HaroldU: Publishers today tend to want to hold on to rights even if the only edition still in print is an electronic one. You need to limit that, and put a minimum number on the number of copies of a physical edition....
HaroldU: Since print-on-demand lets even physical books be in print even if the company has no copies on hand! There's other stuff but let's not turn this...
HaroldU: into a contracts seminar. Maybe some other night.
WriterRoss: Hi Harold: What are some of the changes you forsee for the future of children's publishing? No one would have guessed CD sales to plummet as they did but then iTUNES came along. What is the thing we as writers have to fear (except fear itself)? Thanks and nice to see you here-- Pamela
traceymcox: (Yes, Thank you. Very interesting and indepth! I appreciated that very much!)
HaroldU: I don't see books disappearing any time soon....
Verla: Yayayayay for that, Harold!
HaroldU: And I don't see ebooks becoming much more than a large niche product, kind of like audio books. The book as a format has too much going for it....
HaroldU: But I do see more options available now than was the case 20 years ago, what with ebooks and print on demand. And that's actually a good thing.
Verla: Yeah, cuddling up in bed or in the bathtub with a computer just isn't like holding and reading a paper book.
WriterRoss: If not physical format changes...Is the nature of the business changing?
HaroldU: (Thanks, Pamela--good to see you too)
HaroldU: Nature of the business...
HaroldU: well, it's more of a business than it was in the time of Ursula Nordstrom, but...
HaroldU: That has been a gradual evolution. We are not as driven by best sellers as the adult biz is. Yet.
WriterRoss: Yet. Ouch. <g>
WriterRoss: "Our day will come..." Thanks, Harold. (going back to my seat)
FutureDoct: Do you feel that young writers have a disadvantage in the publishing world even if they have they experience?
HaroldU: How young do you mean?
FutureDoct: Well, I'm 14
HaroldU: Well, it's like this....
FutureDoct: and I've learned many agents and publishers turn me down because of my age
HaroldU: What's the hurry? Why not get more experience? You may have been writing for five years, but....
HaroldU: how much better will you be when you have been writing for ten?
Dara_Lehne: What is the most important thing you would like to see on a proposal beside a great synopsis
HaroldU: What kind of proposal--fiction or NF?
Dara_Lehne: i have both getting ready to go
FutureDoct: both, but I'm having trouble with a fiction PB
NOTE: PB = picture book
HaroldU: If it's a PB I would personally want to see the manuscript. But other editors may want something else.
HaroldU: Also, apologies to FutureDoctor--there's a lot more we could talk about, but your ? was personal to you. Contact me if you want to discuss further.
Verla: it's very important to read the guidelines of any editor, right?
FutureDoct: I certainly will, thanks.
Verla: so you know if they want to see a synopsis, three chapters, the entire thing, etc....
HaroldU: Verla, that's right, and to be familiar with the kinds of books a house publishes.
Dara_Lehne: sorry verla i have waht they asked for
Verla: ah... good, dara
Dara_Lehne: i just didn't know if i should emphasis marketing ideas more
traceymcox: Now that there are ebook companies out there that are not self-publishing... How do big house editors look at/feel about ebook authors?
HaroldU: To be blunt, it doesn't "count" in the way that a physical book does, because it just doesn't take the investment...
HaroldU: Book publishing companies have to invest 10 to 30 thousand dollars in a physical book, AND there is overhead. The costs for ebooks are lower....
HaroldU: An ebook credit is good, because it's you working with a publisher, but it's not as good as a physical book.
traceymcox: (kind of what I thought. Thanks for being blunt! haha. Wouldn't ask for it any other way.)
dlan: My question is about industry news I read yesterday...
dlan: about a literary agency opening a packaging company...
dlan: do you think more of this is on the horizon?
HaroldU: Hmm. I missed that. Haven't been reading my Publisher's Lunch....
dlan: It was on galleycat i think...
Verla: (and isn't that a conflict of interest?)
HaroldU: I'm not sure that's all that new a thing. Agents have done packaging in an informal way for a long time....
Verla: ah. Okay
HaroldU: It could be a conflict of interest, yes. It would depend on how it was handled.
Verla: (We are going to take a break in 9 minutes folks... hang around... the free book will be given away to one of you!)
HaroldU: Not something to get very excited about, one way or the other.
dlan: Ok, thanks!
SMozer: You said before that you would submit directly, without an agent, but does it ruin your chances when you get the agent if you've already submitted on your own?
HaroldU: I wouldn't say that it ruins your chances...
HaroldU: Yes, you should let the agent know where you have submitted--and this is another reason not to simultaneously submit to every publisher in CWIM...
SMozer: Before or after they have agreed to represent you?
HaroldU: but even if a publisher had received a given ms. from you, the agent might show it to an editor who hadn't seen it. And you might have improved it in the meantime....
HaroldU: Tell them when they ask. They will!
SMozer: : )
Verla: I'd love to hear how YOU got into editing, Harold? And did your writing come first, or your editing?
HaroldU: Verla, I had been teaching, and though I loved working with my kids on reading...
HaroldU: I had a hard time with classroom management. So I decided to do something different, and
HaroldU: publishing appealed to me. I also wanted to get involved in creating more books like the ones....
Dara_Lehne: curious what grade level please?
HaroldU: I wanted for my students but couldn't find. This was before multicultural publishing took off, and I had a very multicultural class...
HaroldU: (This was 3rd and 4th grade, right before the career move, but I taught other levels too). I was able to get a job as an assistant, and worked my way up....
HaroldU: For me, editing really comes first. It's what I most enjoy...
HaroldU: Or actually, it's the people part of the job that I most enjoy. Editing is about relationships and getting the best out of people even more than it is about putting commas in the right places! ...
HaroldU: And I find the things I do as an editor come more naturally to me than writing. Let me tell you that the 9 months I worked on the first edition of my Idiot's Guide were NO fun at all for me.
Verla: That is so interesting! Thanks, Harold. Okay, folks... we are going to let Harold take a quick break now, while we give away his free copy of his new book! Here's how we're going to do it. (Don't post anything til I give the word) We will come back and pick up right where we left off on questions after the break
Verla: It's time to give away a copy of Harold's free book. Everyone please think of a number between 1 and 100. When I tell you to POST, post it in the chat room. Whoever comes closest will win the book.
Verla: If we have ties, there will be tie breakers until one person has won. Harold and I have already picked out the winning numbers.
NOTE: The first winning number was 17
Verla: Okay... are you ready for the contest?
Verla: You may now POST the number between 1 and 100 that you think is the winning number. POST!
SMozer: 23
Doris_Kell: 59
ColoradoKa: 57
FutureDoct: 19
Kimberly_M: 22
crcook: 27
goadingthe: 21
dlan: 53
traceymcox: 58
NancyS: 24
Dara_Lehne: 54
RebeccaL-G: 82
cs: 55
llehn: 57
joodee: 33
WriterRoss: 13
LindaJoyS: 29
Verla: Is that everyone?
Verla: anyone not post a number yet?
Verla: everyone has not posted a number!
Skarecrow: me
Skarecrow: 34
Lill: 17
Lill: oops
Lill: i missed it
Verla: Okay... the winning number is....
Verla: you didn't miss it, lill... you GOT it!
Verla: LOL
Verla: 17
Lill: REALLY!!!!
llehn: yay
Lill: are you serious!!!!!!
dlan: Ha ha- congrats Lill!
crcook: congrats!
llehn: congrats lill
goadingthe: lol
ColoradoKa: congrats, lill!
Verla: (Harold picked number 17 as the first winning number!)
Lill: omg
FutureDoct: yay lill!
goadingthe: congrats lill
traceymcox: way to go LILL!!!
RebeccaL-G: Yay!
WriterRoss: That was bizarre!
Lill: what did I win?
Dara_Lehne: yeah
Doris_Kell: good choice
SMozer: LOL
WriterRoss: I was going to guess "3" for the 3rd edition
Lill: oooh...oooh..Harold's book...Yay!!!!!!!!!
HaroldU: She won that fair and square--I did pick that number.
FutureDoct: and i really was feeling my number too! :)
crcook: lol
WriterRoss: Shoot.. I was sooooo close. Waah/
Lill: thank you Harold :) !
Verla: you will get an autographed copy of Harold's new revised version of the Idiot's Guide to Publishing Children's Books - 3rd Edition
FutureDoct: only 2 numbers away!
Verla: you almost got it, FutureDoctor
HaroldU: You're welcome. You can tell me or Verla where I should send it and how you want it dedicated by PM.
NOTE: PM = Private Message
Lill: Yay!!!!!!
WriterRoss: Ah but you went over. Kind of like the PRICE IS RIGHT, FutureDoc. ;>
Verla: yep. several of you were very close
FutureDoct: lol
cs: Very nice of you to give a book away.
Lill: okay.....
Verla: just for the record, if there'd been a tie...
Verla: the next numbers would have been: 61
Verla: 49
Verla: 38
Verla: and 83
Verla: just so you know
SMozer: I wasn't close to any of them.
llehn: that was fun
Skarecrow: now i am a REAL loser
crcook: lol
Verla: lol
Skarecrow: didnt hit any
Verla: do you need a couple more minutes break, Harold?
Verla: If so, we will just "chat" for a few minutes
Doris_Kell: i like big old numbers :-)
WriterRoss: Chatroom Lotto... Is this legal? <g>
crcook: lol
traceymcox: teehee
HaroldU: I'm done! Stretched, got some water, ate some chocolate. What else do I need?
Verla: it better be, Pamela... cause we just did it!
Lill: wow....I'm so happy :)
Verla: Okay... we are going back to the questions now... i have six of you lined up with questions so far.
HaroldU: Anyone else who wants an autographed copy, I will be at some conferences later this year.
ColoradoKa: How much weight does publication in children's mags (Highlights, Cricket) carry when querying about a novel?
HaroldU: Not a huge amount, but some. It shows you have skill, have worked with a publisher. You'll be taken more seriously. But the novel still has to interest the editor, of course. I would mention a magazine credit in that situation, definitely.
ColoradoKa: Thanks, Harold.
RebeccaL-G: What questions should a first time unagented author have ready when/if an acceptance call comes?
HaroldU: Hmm. That's a new one one me....
HaroldU: I think the editor will tell you most of what you would want to know, but if they don't, ask them about possible season of publication and basic contract terms....
HaroldU: Any writers want to chime in on that one?
Verla: there's a wonderful book on negotiating contracts
Verla: that I highly recommend
Verla: of course I can't remember the name of it without getting it...
Verla: <races to get it>
Verla: ah... here it is... LOL
Verla: Business & Legal Forms for Authors & Self Publishers
Verla: by Tad Crawford
Verla: it has point by point explanations and what and how to negotiate
HaroldU: I've heard good things about that book, too.
Verla: it's a GREAT reference book and the one that "saved" me when I was negotiating my first contracts
RebeccaL-G: Thanks Harold & Verla.
WriterRoss: This may sound naive but.. is it just me, Harold, or am I noticing more and more multiple book deals (2 at a time, primarily, some 3 at once) for first time authors in children's sales? Is it to anyone's advantage for these bigger deals, esp when the first book has not been pubbed and tested? (Not sure why I am asking non-creative questions tonight. I feel so stodgy.) Do you address this in the new edition, or is this more common fo
WriterRoss: Thanks, Harold.
HaroldU: I see multi-book deals in Publisher's Lunch, but I don't think....
Verla: the end of your question was cut off, pamela... it was too long to post in one message
HaroldU: That they make up a large percentage of the books being signed up, especially when you consider...
HaroldU: that PL reports on a biased, self-selected sample.
WriterRoss: Er... not sure where it was cut off but I see Harold knows where I am going with this one. ;>
WriterRoss: Meaning that the deals reported are the ones the agents are sending in for posting?
HaroldU: Such deals are good for the agents who negotiated them, and they DO make sense for trilogies and the like, but they can backfire, as you note. But like I said, they don't make up a large % of the total deals in the country...
WriterRoss: Maybe these deals are better for the agents and not so much for the creative genius behind the scenes... Good point, Harold. Thanks.
HaroldU: Yes, biased as a sample because the deals reported there are reported by the agents themselves. They aren't going to report all of their deals, and some agents don't report any to such outlets.
Verla: (he's got ellipses... he's not done yet.)
Verla: ah there he's done now
FutureDoct: When is it time to give up on a manuscript after shopping it around?
HaroldU: That's a question for other writers more than for me--I've seen some great discussions on that on Verla's boards...
HaroldU: But I don't think you should necessarily EVER give up, entirely, on a manuscript that you believe in...
Verla: Yarr! I needed to hear that, Harold!
HaroldU: Put it aside for a while, revise it, get a fresh opinion on it from a crit. group...
FutureDoct: I was just wondering, from an editor's POV
NOTE: POV = Point of View
HaroldU: But don't give up on it.
FutureDoct: Thanks.
Verla: as a writer, I revise if I get nothing but form rejects
Verla: if I'm getting great feedback, then I figure it's just a matter of getting it to the right editor at the right time
Dara_Lehne: If you don't live near any large cities with hot beds of publishing, what would you suggest to pursue jobs as an editor or agent?
HaroldU: It's hard to get started in publishing without inhouse experience....
HaroldU: So you might have to move! People work as editors or agents just about anywhere, but you can't do that until you have the experience in a large agency or a publishing co., and have the experience and contacts to go out on your own....
HaroldU: There may be exceptions to that, but that's what I've observed.
llehn: Can you share the process you go through while you're doing edits?
Dara_Lehne: thanks Harold I'll let them know
llehn: oops
llehn: soory dara
HaroldU: There's no one process. It really depends on the manuscript...
Verla: he was just done... your timing was PERFECT, llehn. No apologies needed
llehn: ok
HaroldU: But usually an editor starts with the big issues--is the plot working, are the characters believable--and then more minor issues. One goes through as many passes as seem necessary. Does that answer your question or did you have something in mind?
llehn: i was wondering if there's a guide line you follow
HaroldU: Dara_Lehne, who is the "them" you are going to let know? I'm curious.
HaroldU: llehn, publishers have style guides...
Dara_Lehne: just a friend who ask me to ask she lives in Arkansas
llehn: but for you personally?
HaroldU: but those mostly come into play at the copyediting stage. I'll tell you what I do....
FDara_Lehne: she couldn't be here tonight -- i did invite her
HaroldU: And that is to try to get inside a manuscript and the author's intentions with it....
HaroldU: And work with them to make the manuscript be the best it can be. Which may end up being something quite different from what either one of us envisioned when we started the process. I usually have to read it through a couple of times and let it percolate for a while before I can really get into it.
HaroldU: Thanks, Dara_Lehne, just curious!
Verla: LOL! The image that brings up... Harold, all wrapped up inside a manuscript with glassy, horrified eyes popping out as he realizes the REAL intentions of the author who wrote the story....! LOL!
llehn: thanks harold
HaroldU: VERLA I'm shocked, shocked. It's never like that!
Verla: LOL ha!
Verla: Lill had to go take care of her kids, but she had one more question for you, Harold... What are the three most important qualities you believe a writer must have to succeed in this business?
HaroldU: That's easy! Talent, persistence, and luck, though not necessarily in that order. And note that you make your luck.
cs: Harold, you just answered my previous question about the services you offer.
Verla: oh... would you elaborate a bit on how to make your own luck, Harold? Please?
HaroldU: I was hoping you'd ask that....
HaroldU: You get out there. You go to conferences. You join critique groups. You get involved in our world in all the ways you can...
HaroldU: You do NOT just sit at home and write.
Verla: In other words, you learn from others and network?
HaroldU: Luck has a way of happening to people who get involved.
LindaJoyS: I agree (g
NOTE: g = grin
crcook: I missed the first hour, you may have answered this. Do editors ever take mss, novels in particular, to aquisitions without notifying the writer first? Thank you!
HaroldU: Yes, that's part of it. But it's being involved, in every way. Debating the Newbery candidates, hanging out in chat rooms!
WriterRoss: If we're not aggressive in real life, do we have to turn into one of those types now? <g>
FutureDoct: ?
HaroldU: (Verla, I'm not talking about being aggressive...)
WriterRoss: (That was me. Non-aggressive Me.) ;}
HaroldU: crcook, good question. And the answer is, yes, it happens....
Verla: (that was pamela's comment/question. LOL)
HaroldU: Oops. Well, you know what I mean....
WriterRoss: (And I asked it with a little tongue in my cheek. I think.) <g>
HaroldU: Whether or not an editor tells an author before going to acquisition meeting depends on a lot of things....
HaroldU: Is the company culture one in which most projects get approved that make it that far? Or not? How much status does the editor have? And then there's the editor's personality....
HaroldU: Some people are just more communicative. I wrote a piece on the acquisition process and you might want to read that:
Verla: (You hear that, folks? Editors have personalities! They are REAL PEOPLE, not Gods.)
HaroldU: We certainly do have personalities, though that's more obvious with some of us than with others....
crcook: followup: would the editor tell the writer it went to acquisitions and failed or just pass. thanks for the link
HaroldU: And crcook, again, it depends. Some editors will give you a blow by blow. Others won't.
FutureDoct: Is it a bad sign when an editor takes a long time to respond to a query? I know the general rule is that a longer wait means better chances but it is my understanding that this is only for full manuscripts. Is the same true for queries?
HaroldU: Usually, editors respond to queries yes or no the same day they read them. So the most likely reason...
HaroldU: for a long wait on a query is that the envelope hasn't been opened yet! In general, I would not put any interpretations on the length of a wait...
HaroldU: either for queries or for manuscripts.
FutureDoct: What about for partial manuscripts?
FutureDoct: sorry, you answered that
Verla: Ha. He answered it before you even asked, FutureDoctor
Verla: you are GOOD, Harold!
Kimberly_M: What is the BEST source for market listings or editor calls in children's genres? (Not including WM or CWIM etc. which merely list the markets not any calls)
NOTE: WM = Writer's Market guidebook and CWIM = The Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market guidebook
HaroldU: I can see into the future, you know.
WriterRoss: Is he going to make it as a Doc? <g>
HaroldU: Calls?
Kimberly_M: requests - sorry
HaroldU: I don't think there is any good source, because for the most part, editors don't put out calls. Some exceptions to that, in magazines and nonfiction....
Kimberly_M: let me retype and go to the next question
HaroldU: It's OK. I know what she means...
Verla: are you asking for the places to find the most receptive houses? the ones that publish the highest number of books each year?
HaroldU: The best source is to network and keep your ear to the ground.
Verla: but... it would be nice if the rest of us understood, too, Harold. LOL! Even people like me....
HaroldU: Sorry, Verla! I think she means editors saying they need a manuscript on such-and-such, right, KM?
Verla: oh... did you mean places that ASK for manuscripts?
Verla: ah ha! I'd say non-fiction houses!
crcook: follow up on FutureDoctor's question: what if an editor has had a requested full ms for a year and hasn't replied to a status query? Assume the editor isn't interested and is too swamped to reject? how many status queries become annoying? : ) thanks!
Verla: great question
HaroldU: It's really dangerous to read things into a wait like that....
HaroldU: When I was working inhouse, I did have a pile of stuff that tended to sit for while...
Verla: I have one of those, crcook. It's been with an editor now for 17 months
HaroldU: Not that I was going to reject it. I was on the fence about it. The manuscripts I was wildly...
HaroldU: excited about, I signed up as fast as possible. But that stack had the things that seemed possible, but not grabbing me by the throat. So....
HaroldU: it could be that. Or they could be too damn busy, as you say. If you don't get a response to a query, a follow-up is certainly OK.
crcook: thanks. good luck with your ms, Verla!
Kimberly_M: In recent months I have seen new websites cropping up, which require paid subscriptions. They claim that editors list requests on their sites û requests for all genres. Is there a really a credible source that provides this coveted information?
HaroldU: No. No. No. Those are scams.
Verla: ah ha!
HaroldU: Well, they have to be. I haven't seem those particular ones, but I've run into similar.
mollymom10: whoa
HaroldU: If someone knows of a legit site like that, let me know.
Kimberly_M: ME TOO!
traceymcox: follow up on multiple stories in a query... I have a webpage (private...not listed) where I have all my story-length ms and there availability. Do you think this is a good idea?
traceymcox: This way the editor/agent can see that you are working/ or have worked up to multiple pieces.
HaroldU: Well, not really. Most editors aren't going to want to take the time to go there, to be honest. We want our submissions on our desk, ready to read or reject.
HaroldU: You can mention in a query that you are working on other stories, or something like that...
traceymcox: follow up: wonder if it is a esub? and all they have to do is click on the link?
HaroldU: I wouldn't give editors lists or refer them to lists. If they get excited about one story, they'll eventually ask about others.
traceymcox: (Thank you again, Harold)
Lyon: How is the best way to submit a picture book if you are both writer and artist. I have heard any number of things from sending a full dummy to sending only a manuscript with a sample illustration.
Verla: (Just 7 minutes to go... time for just a couple more questions)
HaroldU: Personally, I'd be OK with either of those. Just don't do finishes for all the pages.
Verla: okay... no more questions until we see if there's time for any more
Dara_Lehne: Harold follow-up to Tracey's ?? I was told once they are on a website and /or blog they are considered pubbed and one could only sell reprint rights, true??
Verla: (Is there anyone who has NOT yet asked a question that wants to?)
HaroldU: Well, yes, that's the conventional wisdom. I don't think that's true, though, as far as personal websites go. I wouldn't post a work in progress anywhere public, though. Far too easy for people to copy, and people DO copy on the web.
NancyS: ?
Dara_Lehne: thanks
Verla: NancyS, It's now your turn to ask your question. Please post it now. Thank you.
NancyS: Is it appropriate when submitting your query to mention a possible sequel or ...
NancyS: is this something that is addressed by the editor if they are interested
HaroldU: Well, that depends to some extent on the publisher and the type of book. If you plan a series or a trilogy, and if that publisher DOES a lot of such publishing, then yes. Most books, though...
HaroldU: or I should say many books--are signed up as single titles. And you need to make sure that that FIRST book is good enough. Don't put energy into a sequel prematurely.
NancyS: thank you Harold
Verla: Lill, It's now your turn to ask your question. Please post it now. Thank you.
Verla: this is the next to last question, Harold... hang in there!
Lill: ummm
Lill: I lost it
HaroldU: <snore>
Lill: hang on
Lill: I"m tryping fast
Lill: Harold, do publishers still have "stables?
HaroldU: I'm still here!
HaroldU: No, publishers mostly drive cars these days...
Lill: one a writer is signed on and selling well do they tend to stick with the same person or in these days
Lill: LOL..
Lill: okay
Verla: LOL
Lill: do unagented writers usually sell to several houses
Lill: I hope that makes sense
Verla: (LOL = Laughing Out Loud for anyone who didn't know that....)
Lill: sorry...when it was my turn things jammed and it wouldn't let me enter my question
Lill: figures
HaroldU: Just kidding. Yes, that makes sense....
Lill: so I had to retype it on the fly
HaroldU: and in my experience publishers do still prefer to keep publishing an author, provided that author keeps producing, of course. And it's good for you too to have your "backlist" in one or just a few places, if possible.
WriterRoss: Why =do= pub houses go outside the box (ie, the office) to use editors/consulting editors rather than use in-house editorial? I guess this is a shy way of asking: what do YOU do for the pub houses when they say "Here, Mr. U. Would you edit this book, please?" <g>
HaroldU: Two big reasons....
HaroldU: a freelance editor does not get paid benefits, and can be brought in to work on a project that the inhouse staff don't have time for (perhaps because there are fewer of them) and...
HaroldU: in some case, a consulting editor may have particular skills or background that a house does not have.
Verla: and that's the last question for the night, folks. Please give Harold a tremendous round of applause for hanging in there through two full hours! Thanks, Harold! Clap clap clap clap! This was an awesome workshop!
FutureDoct: thanks harold!
cs: Thank you, Verla and Harold, for taking the time to teach newbies.
crcook: thank you again, Harold and Verla! Great info! Goodnight, everyone !
Lill: Thank you Harold!!!
jeannek: thanks!
NancyS: awesome Harold, thank you!
HaroldU: Thanks, Verla! Good questions!
llehn: thank you Harold
traceymcox: yes, thanks bunches Harold
Lill: I look forward to the book.
(channel) CTCP SOUND from traceymcox! no sound directory set
ColoradoKa: Thanks, Harold and Verla! G'night.
Dara_Lehne: thanks it was great
FutureDoct: thanks to verla to setting this up!
dlan: This was terrific - thanks Verla and Harold.
llehn: and thank you Verla for doing this for us!
HaroldU: Good night, all.
Lill: This was great, Verla
WriterRoss: You were here for two hours. Give this man a cup of coffee.
Verla: the chatters that come in here ALWAYS have great questions, Harold. I love em!
llehn: night
marciak: Thank you Harold and Verla.
Kimberly_M: Thanks a bunch!
*** HaroldU has left channel #Kidlit
Verla: He's gone....
Verla: Thanks for participating, everyone
Verla:It was a wonderful workshop!
llehn: yes it was
Verla waves
Verla: Thanks again for coming all
Log file closed at: 6/24/08 8:16:52 PM

Verla Kay
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