Workshop Transcript

Ask An Agent

with Steven Malk


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NOTE: People arrived VERY early for this workshop. Skip to ----WORKSHOP BEGINS---- if you do not wish to read the early (and somewhat silly) conversations in the chat room before the workshop actually began and stop at ---- WORKSHOP ENDS HERE ---- if you do not care to follow the conversation with Steven after the actual structured workshop. Conversation parts in this early section that are relevant to the workshop are marked with ***** STARS for those that wish to just skim this first part.



Verla: Wow. Tons of people...REALLY early tonight!

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to "Ask an Agent" Workshop tonight

zbell: Verla, it's not time yet is it?

Verla: no, zbell...40 minutes to go

zbell: oh, okay

Kathysong: Hi! Can't believe I got in!

ClaraRose: welcome Melody

Verla: Kathy! You made it. Good!

Suzy-Q sets up banner, Welcome Steven!!!

Verla: Nice, sq

Verla: Did you bring the silly string, too?

Suzy-Q unloads carload of silly string

Suzy-Q: Everyone take their favorite color.. The Purple is mine.

zbell: Yellow!!

MelLane: Blue! I want blue!

Verla: Hmmm. I feel like Hot Pink tonight, sq.

Kathysong: Green?

kimmer3: I don't care, any color.

Suzy-Q: every color under the rainbow folks

Kathysong: I'll just sit and wait for Steve to begin

***** Verla: And I just emailed Steven and told him he'd best get here early ... or he might get shut out with a full house!

kimmer3: How many fit in here?

Suzy-Q: 50

Verla: 50, kimmer

MelLane: LOL! Can you make room for him, Verla?

NOTE: LOL = Laughing Out Loud

Verla: And we had 40 last time he was here!

***** NOTE: 46 people attended this workshop...

Ginlynn1: Hi everyone, I finally made it. How much longer until the workshop begins?

Verla: ON the hour, ginly

Verla: (where you ARE makes a difference WHAT hour, you know...

Ginlynn1: Thanks Verla.

MelLane: Say... what do we ask the agent?

Verla: you may ask him whatever you want, long as it isn't PERSONAL

zbell can't ask him if he wears purple striped boxers?

katrapp_: ooooooooo purple striped boxers

Verla: zbell, you CAN ask that, (purple striped boxers), but I do NOT recommend it!

zbell: lol Verla

***** Verla: No questions about "my" manuscript....but all questions about...How do we submit to you? What do you like to see? Do you accept "this" kind of manuscript? Do you have /use contracts? Etc etc etc

kimmer3: He's just switched agencies, right?

katrapp_: we all bombard him with manuscripts

kimmer3: Oh, well, it'll be good for his business. :-)

Kathysong: How do we get in touch with him?

Verla: He is going to tell you that tonight, kathy

_Lyra: wow, what a crowd!

MelLane: I kind of feel sorry for this Steve... all these panting writers... just waiting..

***** Steve has joined channel #Kidlit

Suzy-Q: Hi Steve

Verla: Hey! Hi.

christyy: Hi Steve

Verla: Welcome Steve.

katrapp_: hi steve :)

zbell: hi steve

***** Steve: Hello...I'll be back at 6:00 (NOTE: Pacific Time)

kimmer3: Hello, Steve.

Kathysong: Oh, steve's in CA. I'm here in Ct and right now it's 8:30

MelLane: Hello, Steve. (gotta join the other writers in the welcome)

Suzy-Q adjusts mic and chair for Steve

zbell: where's SQ's silly string?

Verla: She passed it all out already, zbell. You are TOO late if you didn't already get yours.

Suzy-Q: Didn't you get your can, zbell?

zbell: I got yellow, but SQ usually is the first one to fire hers off

Suzy-Q: The silly string is for afterwards.

kimmer3: I have fuschia.

Suzy-Q: Steven, would you like juice, ice water or coffee?

ClaraRose pulls up a chair and cracks open a market book.

christyy pulls up a chair next to ClaraRose

MelLane: Hey, Clara! Share that book with me will ya?

katrapp_: i have clam chowder and swiss fondue

MelLane: I get the other side, Christyy, k?

zbell taps mike to see if it's working for Steve

christyy saves a space for MelLane

Suzy-Q: zbell that hurt my ears.

katrapp_: crackle crackle sWWWWAlkkkkk

zbell hears sound of squeals in the background

MelLane moves podium to the front... dusts it off.

Suzy-Q saves spot next to Mel and saves space for zbell

DonaV: Hi all! What a crowd!

christyy passes around a huge tray of cookies...

Suzy-Q: Did I miss a spot, Mel?

MelLane: Naw, SQ, I just like to be careful! BTW, I'm left handed so watch my elbow when I make notes, k?

zbell: hey Mel, we'll get along perfectly, I'm left-handed too

zbell slides into the chair between Mel and SQ

***** Ginlynn1: Verla, will Steve be giving us his new address this evening?

Verla: He will be telling you about that tonight, I believe, Ginly

katrapp_: oooo cookies

Suzy-Q: I'm sitting next to Mel!

zbell grabs one of those candied apples that were offered

Suzy-Q: what candied apples?

katrapp_: OH! i have caramel and apples......

zbell: doesn't Lyra do candied apples?

_Lyra: nope, caramel is fine (g)

Suzy-Q: I do caramel apples

_Lyra: you guys are wild tonight! I'm hiding in a corner...

christyy drags lyra out of the corner and sits her in a chair...

_Lyra: christy! Not so rough!

christyy: sorry lyra hehehe

zbell watches Christyy flex her muscles

christyy: ROFL zbell!

NOTE: ROFL = Rolling On Floor Laughing

kimmer3: Just don't block we short people's view in the back. :-)

Verla gets out the risers and puts the chairs on them in the back so everyone can get a good view...

kimmer3: Okay, veggies anyone?

MelLane: Me! Me!

MelLane waves hand.

_Lyra: Lyra calls on Mel...what?

MelLane: I want veggies!

Suzy-Q sets out veggies

kimmer3: Here ya go, Mel... baby carrots, broccoli, cali, ... oh, heck, just pass it around and then I'll reload it. :-)

Suzy-Q moves to side of room and gets her lazy boy and reclines

Verla heads for the veggie tray! I'm STARVED! Yummy. Where's the Ranch Dip?

MelLane passes Verla the ranch dip.

Verla: Hey, these carrots are SWEET. Yum!

kimmer3: Sorry, soy vegan *ranch dip* -- pretty good though.

MelLane reaches over Christyy & Clara to pass Verla the dip.

ClaraRose: ahem

ClaraRose: Did I ever tell you the story about when I did that as a teen...? I GOT BIT!

zbell: oh clara, do you wear the scars still?

christyy slaps Mel's hand...

christyy then snatches the dip!

Verla: LOL (Laughing Out Loud)

Verla: you are a WILD bunch tonight

***** Verla: Grin. Oh, by the way....all of this "fun stuff" will have to stop once Steven gets underway...

kimmer3: Yes, Mom... er, Verla.

kimmer3: I'm balancing this chocolate chip cookie on top of this broccoli stalk <munch munch> hmmm, interesting flavor combo. <G>

Verla: yuk, kimmer.

zbell: yuck kimmer

katrapp_: oh yummm... crunch slobber.... back

zbell hands katrapp a napkin, lol

katrapp_: now i am ready.... carmal sauce and granny smith apples

***** Verla: Oh...last time, we had so many people...with SO many questions, that what we did was have everyone go in alphabetical order with their questions...five at a time.

Verla: there should be a list on the side of your screen that shows everyone in the room

zbell: I see zbell's name at the last! lol

Verla: I will give a group of names...from XXX to XXX and then that group can post their questions

christyy wonders who XXX is

Verla: LOL

Verla: It's going to be YOU, christy

christyy: lol verla!

zbell: but where's all the O's that go with the X's?

katrapp_: i think XXX will have to take off a few clothes

christyy REALLY wonders who XXX is now... lol

Verla: Then the next group can go when Steven has answered the first group.

***** Verla: Anyone coming in late...(NOT you folks!) will have to wait until the end to ask their questions.

zbell: will you prompt the next group Verla?

Verla: Yes, zbell

zbell: oh good!

Verla: zbell is going to change her name to Azbell...I bet! LOL

christyy: lol

christyy: go for it z!

zbell: Actually, the next time I'll use my other nick - nobody will know me

MelLane: I'll be last... I don't mind being last.

MelLane: (That way I can figure out what to ask!)

***** ClaraRose: how many questions may we ask at a time?

Suzy-Q: Are you comfortable, Steve?

Verla: Steve will be back when the workshop is ready to begin, sq

Verla: he is gone

katrapp_: couldn't stand us rowdies

Suzy-Q: darn

Suzy-Q: How can I suck up if he is gone?

zbell: lol SQ

christyy: ROFL sq!

Suzy-Q: LOL

MelLane: Just practice for now, SQ.

Verla: practice on everyone else, sq

christyy wonders who she should be sucking up to, verla!

Verla: ME, christy. LOL

zbell: Christy, the one who can get you published first!

christyy pulls over a big fluffy chair for Verla and puts it in the front of the room...

Dani257: I'm finally registered on Talk City. Got a password and everything. Should cut down on problems getting here

ToniBuzzeo: I can't stay connected. Sorry! :>\

NOTE: :>\ is a sideways silly face

Verla: Well, I sure hope you can stay connected soon, toni. You don't want to miss the workshop!

Suzy-Q: I saved you a seat

katrapp_: am i confused?

MelLane: Who'd you save a seat, SQ?

Suzy-Q: Lisa

Verla: Hmmm. Sucking up to the people who have "pull" with Steven, eh, sq?

dorii: Wow! Look at all the people! 24 already!

zbell: Hi dori

Suzy-Q: I saved you a can of silly string, Dori

Verla: No, Toni left to try to come back in with Pro, kimmer

LisaW1: Glad I got here early

Verla: and it might be someone trying to get here

NOTE: brb = Be Right Back (or alternatively, BathRoom Break)

dorii: Look what I brought! Triple chocolate fudge Better-Than-Sex Cake!

kimmer3: Ooh, dorii, pass it over!

Dani257: It's crowded in here. Someone's stepping on my foot!

Suzy-Q: It isn't me Dani257 i'm in my recliner

kimmer3: I'm little, I'll just sit on someone's shoulders. :-) Then we can fit more in here. Maybe I'll just sit on Steve's shoulder's... birds'eye view. :-)

NOTE: :-) = A sideways happy face

dorii: kimmer, please get off my shoulders!

Verla: Steve is young and cute, folks. I've met him.

MelLane: What do you call YOUNG, V?

katrapp_: ooooooooooooo

zbell: ooh, Verla, how young?

Verla: He's only 23!

NOTE: Verla erred...Steven is 24

Verla: VERY young

katrapp_: oh yummy

kimmer3: Okay, okay, dorii. :-)

dorii: A mere babe

MelLane: I asked first, zbell.

Ginlynn1: Malk is 23?

Dani257: I'M 23!

Dani257: It's kismet! We were meant to publish (oops, I mean be) together

katrapp_: dont tempt this old letch

Windy2U: Is it okay to wear jammies to this workshop?

Verla: tsk tsk tsk, windy!

LisaW1: I am Windy!

MelLane: Sure Windy... so long as they're LONG jammies...

Windy2U: Oooh good

Windy2U: But... they're shorties...

Suzy-Q: 23? I have a daughter 22

Verla: But Boy! Is he a dynamo agent!

MelLane: Oh, darn... young enough to be my son. sigh.

zbell: lol Mel

MelLane: It's true, zbell. sigh.

MelLane: I can't believe how OLD I'm getting.

katrapp_: i like them young

dorii: LOL katrapp

MelLane: run, kat..

ClaraRose: what?

zbell is disgusted, he's a couple years older than my daughter

Verla: Hey, just RIGHT, zbell...get him to KNOW your daughter and you will have an IN

Suzy-Q: go for it zbell

Suzy-Q: is he married, have a girlfriend?

Verla: Lisa sold a book! Through Steven

dorii: Lisa, are you prepared to take a bow tonight?

Ginlynn1: Congrats Lisa on the recent sale!

hollyj: Hey Congrats again Lisa, have you come down to earth yet?

katrapp_: very congrats lisa

dorii: 29 people here!

hollyj: Wow, full house. Hi everyone

_Enchanted: Hi, everybody! Place is filling up tonight!

Suzy-Q: Hi Rozele

zbell want's to know if it would be improper to take off certain wearing apparel that is considered a torture instrument

MelLane: zbell: ONLY if you're wearing a THIN blouse/top.

zbell feels better now

Verla: Hey, behave, folks!

Verla: You are in the KIDLIT room, remember?

Verla: This room is for writers...not sex maniacs.

Verla: grumble grumble grumble

Ginlynn1: ha ha Verla!

dorii: Darn, Verla. You're putting a damper on the party!

MelLane: Hey. I'm being good, Verla.

MelLane: I'm always good.

MelLane: Every day, in every way, I'm good.

Dani257: I'm an angel

dorii: Me, too, Mel. Always good

katrapp_: oh hi steve... you are back :)

Verla: You had better HOPE he is not back yet!

Verla: The way you are all talking!

zbell: He is Verla

katrapp_: yes he is verla.... i see him

LindaSm: Hi Steve. Hi all

ClaraRose: hello Steve, glad you made it

katrapp_: i have food

_Enchanted: Giving something out for free in here?? FOOD??

BigJohN_: There sure is a big crowd here what's happening Verla?

dorii: 32 people , and counting....

MelLane: 33 people, V!

MelLane: Wow.

LisaW1: I got kicked out.

LisaW1: My stupid computer bumped me out

Verla: wb lisa

NOTE: wb = Welcome Back

dorii: Lisa, sit on that computer!

Verla throws a rope to Lisa and ties her to the chair so she won't get dumped again

Steve: Actually, I'm older than 23. But not by much!

Suzy-Q: are you married Steve?

Suzy-Q: I have a very pretty daughter

Suzy-Q: LOL

Verla: Steve is NOT married, sq

Verla: He DID, however, have a very nice girlfriend the last time I saw him.

Verla: Ooops. He is back! Hi, Steve!

Steve: Did you meet her Verla?

Verla: No, I just saw a glimpse of her, but you TOLD me about her, Steve

Steve: Oh, well she's no more...

Ginlynn1: No more? hmmmmm

MelLane: WHO'S no more?

Verla: Hey! That was a Very dangerous thing to say, Steve!

Suzy-Q: Steve do you want juice, ice water or coffee?

kimmer3: Hello, Steve, nice to *meet* you.

Steve: I'll take a stiff drink

Suzy-Q pours Steve the perfect stiff drink

zbell: lol Steve, you asked for it!

deb55: Hi Steve, I've enjoyed reading the transcripts of your other chats

ToniBuzzeo: I'm here to stay. Hi Steve!

katrapp_: what's your poison?

MelLane: WHO'S no more???

MelLane HAS to know!

Ginlynn1: His girl

Steve: my girlfriend

Verla: You tell THIS crowd you are single and unattached and there's no TELLING what might happen to you.

christyy: Hi Steve :)

BigJohN_: Milk steve.

deb55: Are you settled in your new digs yet?

zbell wonders if anyone else is getting dizzy reading the conversation?

dorii: Yes, zbell. I'm getting dizzy, too

Dani257: Bet you had no idea children's writers were clinically insane...

kimmer3: What do you mean, we're not clinically insane, Dani? :-) We talk to ourselves all day long, so do our characters. :-)

Dani257: No, I said we ARE

christyy isn't insane... at least not the last time she asked herself...

Suzy-Q: Steve did you see my banner? It says "WELCOME STEVEN!!"

Steve: Thanks Suzy-Q

Suzy-Q: You're welcome.




Verla: Okay...I'm going to start giving some instructions, folks...can you all quiet down for a few minutes so we can start on time?

Dani257: Yes, being good now

christyy blows a loud horn... okay, everyone, get quiet!

ClaraRose: welcome newcomers!

Suzy-Q: There are still seats up front

Verla: Because there are SO many of us...we will be taking turns asking Steve questions.

Verla: I will go alphabetically in groups of five. Have your question/s typed and ready to post for when it is your turn

MelLane: I want to be last, Verla... if possible.

Verla: You will be in the M's Mel.

zbell: zbell is glad to see ZZap here, now she's not last

MelLane: Cool. How many questions each?

Verla: One or two Mel...we had 40 here last time and everyone got to ask two sets of questions

Verla: Please hold ALL personal talk and ALL hellos and/or goodbyes until after the workshop

Verla: Steve, did you want me to post your bio as an introduction?

Steve: Sure

Verla: Okay...

Verla: Hang on and I will set the topic and introduce Steven to all of you...

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to "Ask an Agent" Workshop IN PROGRESS

Verla: Steven Malk is an agent with Writers House, where he specializes in representing children's authors and illustrators. Some of the authors Malk represents are Elise Primavera (RAISING DRAGONS), Chris Demarest (ALL ABOARD), Katie Davis (WHO HOPS?), Erica Silverman (BIG PUMPKIN), Deborah Nourse Lattimore (FLAME OF PEACE), Kristine George (THE GREAT FROG RACE), Ann Whitford Paul (EIGHT HANDS ROUND), and Franny Billingsley (WELL WISHED).

Verla: Malk also represents a number of new authors including Janie Bynum (ALTOONA BABOONA/Harcourt Brace '99)), Linda Smith (NOBODY'S BUSINESS/HarperCollins '00), Lisa Wheeler (ONE DARK NIGHT/Harcourt Brace), Sonya Sones (STOP PRETENDING/HarperCollins '99), Melinda Long (WHEN PAPA SNORES/Simon & Schuster), and Karen Romano Young (MY BEETLE AND ME: A Love Story/Greenwillow '99).

Verla: Malk grew up in bookstores belonging to his mother Susan Malk, who owns the White Rabbit Children's Books in La Jolla, and his grandmother, Sylvia Klugman, who opened The Children's Bookstore in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1952, one of the first children's bookstores in the world.

ClaraRose: wow.. in the world?

Verla: Please do NOT ask PERSONAL questions during the workshop...such as...What has happened to MY manuscript...etc. Hold those and Steven will give you a way to contact him after the workshop with those kinds of questions.

Verla: Okay, are on!

Steve: Thanks Verla..thanks everyone

Verla: Is there something you want to say before we start the questions, Steven?

Steve: As Verla said, I'd rather not answer individual questions about submissions during the workshop

Steve: If anyone has questions, you should email me later at

Verla: (Please have your questions typed and ready to post...)

Steve: I don't have my permanent address or phone number yet, but as soon as I do, it will be posted on this transcript


As of October 1998, Steven Malk changed agencies. His new mailing address for submissions is:

Steven Malk

Writers House

3368 Governor Dr, #224F

San Diego, CA 92122

LindaSm: Steve , Did I see a NEW author on your list? Someone named Lisa?

Steve: I also wanted to start off the workshop by announcing the sale of Lisa Wheeler's amazing picture book, One Dark Night, to Allyn Johnston at Harcourt Brace

Verla: Hooray for LISA!

LindaSm: YIPPEEE!!!!!!

Verla: (Cheers are in order folks!

Suzy-Q: Yea, Lisa!!!1

MelLane: Congrats, Lisa!

Sammeow: Fantastic!

Steve: Also...

gaillynn: ditto

Dani257: Wo! Woo!

tmscs1: Wonderful!

zbell: Yeah Lisa, way to go!

HeatherRW: GREAT!

RoxyanneY: clap clap clap clap clap for Lisa

LindaSm: I feel better now Lisa! : )

LisaW1: Thanks all

Steve: I can't help but put in a shameless plug here, you should all check out the website for the White Rabbit Children's Books...


Verla: Okay..are you ready for the first "batch" of questions?

Verla: we are taking turns with our alphabetical order

Verla: The first five of you can now post your questions for Steven...Enchanted through Christy

Verla: You do NOT have to take turns posting your questions in your group. Each group will post their questions all at once when I call on you.

Verla: Clara through DonaV will be next...please get your questions ready...

_Enchanted: Hi, Steve!! Thanks for coming. I'll pass for now and learn from all of you. (Is that your birthday coming up? The Yahoo number?)

Steve: Yeah, November 23rd is my birthday

Suzy-Q: Happy Birthday early, Steve!!

Steve: Ok, fire away with the questions...

_Enchanted: H.B., then!

BeckyCraig: Do you ever represent books for infants and toddlers?

Steve: Becky: Yes, in fact I love young picture books and board books

christyy: Is it appropriate to continue to send a manuscript to publishers when you've queried an agent?

Steve: Christyy: Yes, it's ok. You just may want to mention it to the editors if they express interest

christyy: ok, thanks Steve

Steve: Sure

BeckyCraig: Board books seems like such a hard market to break into. They seem to be done in house a lot. Are their ways to get in without "help?"

Steve: Becky: Yeah, they can be's all about coming up with a fresh, original idea

Dani257: Verla, could you name each person in the group, so I know when I'm up?

Verla: Yes, dani

Verla: Okay, next your questions, now

Verla: clara, cutty, dani, deb, Dona

deb55: Is there a market for a 2000 word, heavy subject matter, "storybook" for 8-10 year olds?

Steve: deb55: That's very tough. The writing would have to be spectacular. Long picture books are becoming increasingly hard to sell. You may be better off packaging it as a chapter book

deb55: would 2000 words be too short for a chapter book?

Steve: deb55: Maybe. You may be able to turn it into an easy reader.

deb55: thanks steve, do you handle these?

Steve: deb55: Yes I do, depending on the writing of course.

DonaV: What do you like to see in a submission packet from an author new to you?

Steve: DonaV: Well-written cover letter, bio, SASE (very important), and the stories (full ms if it's a picture book, first 50 pages if it's YA or mid-grade)

Dani257: Do you accept rhyming picturebooks?

Steve: sure.

cuttyhunke: Just curious to know what a typical day for Steve is like. How much time reading unsolicited ms? :-)


ClaraRose: What is an auction, and do all agents auction manuscripts?

Steve: ClaraRose: An auction occurs when you're fortunate enough to have more than one house make an offer on your book. Not all agents conduct auctions, but most do at one point or another

ClaraRose: thanks

Verla: Donna B3, DonnaSmith, dori, drew, gaillynn...your turn is coming...have your questions ready

deb55: I've heard some publishers are doing picture books into the older ranges because so many kids are visual from TV. Is this true?

Steve: Deb55: If anything, I would say the opposite is true. Kida have shorter attention spans, and publishers seem to want soundbytes.

Verla: Okay, next group...DonnaB3 through Gaillynn

Verla: post your questions now

dorii: Steve, what is a knowledgable way to go about getting an agent if you don't have a good referral? What is the best way for a writer to research agents and agencies?

Steve: Dorii: I would recommend the various Writer's guides. You can find them in bookstores or libraries. Or, you can check through your local SCBWI chapter.

dorii: Do the writer's guides give you more info than just names and addresses?

Steve: Dorii: Some of them give more info. Jeff Herman's guide is a good one.

Steve: SCBWI is also a great resource.

gaillynn: I was told by a published PB writer that it is difficult to get an agent unless you are already published. Is that true?

Steve: gaillynn: That may be the case with some agents. It is certainly not the case with me. I love working with first-time authors, and I find that publishers get very excited by new talent.

Verla: Ginlynn, guest Lyn, Harazin, Heather, Ikeeper...your questions will be next. Please have them typed and ready to post when your group is called.

dorii: Thanks, Steve.

Dani257: Do you accept rhyming manuscripts (sorry for the repeat. I was disconnected before I could see if you answered.)

Steve: No problem.

Steve: Dani: Yes, I do. One Dark Night is a rhyming ms.

NOTE: ms = manuscript

Dani257: Thanks

Steve: But rhyming is tricky, it has to be done just right -- I hate Dr. Seuss knock-offs.

Verla: Okay, Next group may post your questions now.

Ginlynn1: Do you prefer to see more than one manuscript from writer? I have one that I'd like to sub to you but I have been holding off until I had a little more to offer.

Steve: Ginlynn: Actually, sometimes it is best to send just one. I'll look at a couple at a time, but I really don't like getting a packet of 10 manuscripts (it happens!!!)

Ginlynn1: Ok, great! I'll send it along to you as soon as I get your new address. Thanks.

HeatherRW: Is better to publish on your own before seeking representation?

Steve: Heather: Personally, I don't think so -- but I'm biased of course.

HeatherRW: thanks Steve

Ikeeper: In another chat, you said to mention if our voice is something readers of another author might like. Why?

Steve: Ikeeper: It's always nice to pitch your book. Editors will take your book to sales and marketing, and they'll be looking for a "hook"

Steve: For example, I just sent out a dummy, and I said that the author reminded me of Quentin Blake, Peggy Rathmann, and early Sendak.

Ikeeper: I'm afraid you might think I try to parrot her.

Steve: No, I wouldn't worry about that. It also shows that you're aware of the market.

Verla: Kathysong, katrapp,kidlitkt,kimmer3,kyxelsid, You will be the next group...please get your questions ready to post

Ginlynn1: Steve, do you ever edit or critique your clients' work?

Steve: Ginlynn1: Yes, I always offer my opinion to my authors and I try to make suggestions. I'm very honest with my authors.

Ginlynn1: Thanks again.

Verla: Okay, next group may now post your questions...

kimmer3: Do you limit the number of new ms.'s you look at at one time? In other words, are you encouraging subs at the moment to you?

Steve: kimmer: Actually, now (well, when I get my address) is a great time to submit, since I've just switched agencies.

Steve: I'm always looking for new talent.

kimmer3: Oh, great, thanks.

Kathysong: Hi Steve. I've been marketing on my own with no luck. Will agents refer writers to other agents if they decide they can't represent an author?

Steve: Kathysong: Sometimes they will, if they know just the right person.

kyxelsid: on average, how long does it take you to respond to a query?

Steve: kyx: about 4-6 weeks.

kyxelsid: cool thanks Steve :)

Verla: LindaSm, MelLane, pearlsue, RoxyanneYou, will be the next group. Please have your questions ready to post.

Kathysong: Just does one become an agent?

Steve: Kathysong: In my case, it evolved from working at a children's bookstore...but there is no set way to become an agent. It takes knowing the market very well, and being able to match manuscripts with editors, and then being able to negotiate a deal and a contract

Verla: group may post questions now

pearlsue: Steve, I've read Who Hops? (great book!) and heard that it was/will be read on the TV show "Mad About You." Could you talk about that a little? Did that happen through you or the publisher?

Steve: pearlsue: Yeah, that is really amazing. In this case, it happened because the author, who is a real go-getter, has a personal connection with the show.

RoxyanneYo: Please forgive me if you've already addressed this, but what is your dream submission? What do you specifically look for in new talent?

Steve: Roxyanne: Hard to say. I just look for work that moves me in one way or another. I love a distinctive, unique voice.

Rozele: Do you feel it's wise for an author to be published with several different houses or better to stick with one or two?

Steve: Rozele: It depends on the author and on the situation with the house, but I think there are pros and cons for both

Steve: There is a lot to be said for publishing with one house:

Steve: Your backlist is all in one place, they feel you're loyal to them, they have a lot invested in you...

Steve: On the other hand:

Steve: With two or more houses you have different sales forces talking about you, it protects you in case something happens to the publisher or your editor leaves etc.

Rozele: Thanks.

MelLane: Do you represent any Christian and/or crossover Christian material? Do you accept e-mail submissions?

Steve: MelLane: I don't really represent much Christian material...that's a whole separate market that I'm not very familiar with. I'd rather not look at email submssions.

Steve: But I always think it's funny that I''m Jewish, yet I've sold three christmas books and no chanukah books

Verla: Sammeow, schmitz, steve, sq, will be the next group

Verla: Okay, next group

Sammeow: Is the market as soft as reports say for YA novels?

Steve: Sam: I don't think so. Not at all. If the premise is fresh, and the writing is strong, publishers are eager to see YA.

Sammeow: Thanks, Steve

Suzy-Q: What types of books are editors looking for? Are there any hot subjects?

Steve: SuzyQ: That's hard to say. I just think editors are looking for new voices. I know that's vague, but I can't say that there are any hot topics in particular.

Suzy-Q: Thank you, Steve

tinaeva1: Do you need a summary along with the 50 pages of a YA or MG?

Steve: tin: Yes, it's helpful but not absolutely necessary.

tinaeva1: Thanks, Steve.

Verla: tmscs, tmscs1, ToniBuzzeo, Whatie, Windy You are the next group...please be ready

Verla: Okay, next group may post your questions, now

ToniBuzzeo: Steve. what's your ideal number of clients? Has that changed for you at the new agency?

Steve: Toni: Hmmm...good question. I don't really have an ideal number. I'll know that I have too many when I can't properly service my clients. But, it hasn't really changed at Writers House. I actually have more time for my clients now.

ToniBuzzeo: Thanks. But why MORE time now?

Steve: Toni: Because I'm not "in the office" and I'm more autonomous. I'll be getting back to you soon, by the way.

ToniBuzzeo: :> Oh Steve, that wasn't a prompt! Thanks.

Steve: Toni: I know, don't worry.

Windy2U: With your change of house, will you be presenting to the same publishers as when you were with SD? or does that change when you move?

Steve: Windy: Actually, I'm dealing with the exact same editors and publishers.

Windy2U: Thanks Steve!

tmscs1: Do you always get back to writers submitting to you? (as long as an SASE was enclosed, of course)Even if the answer is "no"?

Steve: tmscs1: Yes, as long as an SASE (with proper postage, I should add) is included, the writer will hear. However, depending on what's happening, it does sometimes take a little longer.

tmscs1: Okay, thanks.

Verla: Woolfff, writerc,zbell, zzap, Asuen You are the next group

zzap: Do you suggest your clients not discuss/disclose the particulars of their contracts with peers? And what do you see as the downside of sharing this info?

Steve: zzap: Yes, I don't think it's a good idea to discuss advances and terms, especially if you have an agent.

Verla: Okay, the last group may go now

Verla: I mean..You can POST now.

Verla: (Don't GO!)

writerc: What about an author /illustrator? Do most agents do both aspects of a person's work?

Steve: writerc: Yes, most agents do both.

zbell: What is the "average" wordage of a YA and a MG? I would like to try my hand at something longer than a magazine story.

Steve: zbell: To be honest, I don't really pay much attention to word count. However long it takes to say what you have to say -- that's the appropriate number of words.

zbell: thanks Steve

A-Suen: How is poetry selling? I read that very young collections are selling, but that everything else was at a standstill. What do you see as the market for poetry collections? Teachers? Parents? Or the kids themselves?

Steve: A-Suen: Actually, I've been having very good luck with poetry lately, and I like it very much (it does have to have a hook, however). If it's good, poetry can appeal to all of these different markets.

A-Suen: Hooray! :) thanks!

BeckyCraig: Can you give us a break down of how the money is distributed for a children's book...% to publisher, agent, illustrator, writer, etc.

Verla: enchanted, lyra, asuen, becky, bj, christy...if you have another question, you may get ready to ask it next.

Verla: BeckyCraig asked: Can you give us a break down of how the money is distributed for a children's book...% to publisher, agent, illustrator, writer, etc.

Steve: Becky: Well, an agent will take 15% The author and illustrator split the royalties 50/50 in most cases. but the advances are sometimes uneven, depending on the track record of the author and illustrator

Steve: The publisher takes what's left over.

Verla: Next group may ask their questions now

deb55: If someone's tried submitting a ms. and wants to try working with an agent instead, do you want to know where they've sent it?

Steve: deb55: definitely.

zzap: Verla, Could I have the second half of my question addressed?

Verla: I'm sorry, zap...we missed seeing that.

Verla: zzap's questions...we need the second half answered...: Do you suggest your clients not discuss/disclose the particulars of their contracts with peers? And what do you see as the downside of sharing this info?

Steve: The downside can be jealousy. It's kind of like discussing salaries - not usually a good idea. Advances really run the gamut, and there are a lot of different factors that go into a deal, so not everyone is going to get the same deal.

christyy: Steve, do you also represent people who write both children's and adult's books?


Verla: cutty, dani, deb, DonaV, DonaB3, may now ask your questions

ClaraRose: how much should an agent be expected to help with marketing... i.e. booksignings... *TV appearances* ;)

Steve: ClaraRose: A good agent should give you suggestions and stay on top of the publisher to make sure they're doing their job.

Dani257: Can I submit if a manuscript is already making the rounds with publishers?

ClaraRose: thanks

Steve: Dani: Yes, as long as you send a list of who has your work.

DonaV: Do you have any pet peeves we need to know about? :)

Steve: DonaV: I don't like hand-written, sloppy cover letters, or, even worse, manuscripts. I also don't like getting work that people wrote in 2 minutes. I like books with heart.

Verla: drew, fabulist, gaillynn, ginlynn, guest-Lyn, will be next

DonnaB3: Were you able to take your authors with you went changing agencies, or did they have to stay with SD? Just curious.

NOTE: Just before this workshop took place, Steven had just changed from SD (Sandra Dijkstra) Agency to Writer's House

Steve: DonnaB3: The decision is up to the individual authors.

Verla: okay next group may post

Ginlynn1: Do you have any fees such as copy costs, phone calles, etc?

Steve: Ginlynn: Writers House charges for any "extraordinary" costs, such as overnighting a novel all over the country or the world! But, most children's authors don't incur these costs

gaillynn: The agent gets 15% of what? The writer's advance? royalties? I don't understand.

Steve: gaillynn: The agent takes 15% of all monies received on a book.

Ginlynn1: That's very understandable and thank you

gaillynn: So the publisher actually pays you also. Thanks!

Steve: gaillynn: No, that money comes from the author. An agent works for the author.

Harazin: Do you accept science fiction for young adults?

Steve: Harazin: Yes I do, although it has to be just right for me...

Steve: I don't do much sci-fi, but if it strikes me, I'll take it on...

drewwriter: Sorry to be late. Can a work published as, e.g. a short story be offered as a different genre, e.g. PB?

drewwriter: thanks

Steve: drew: Yes it can, as long as you control the rights.

Verla: Heather, Ikeeper, Kathysong, katrapp, kidlitkt, will be the next group. Get ready

Verla: Okay, next group may post now

kidlitkt: IF you reject a submission, do you say why or do you use a form letter?

Steve: kidlitkt: I try to give personal comments, but in most cases I can't. Due to the volume of submissions I receive, it's impossible.

kidlitkt: thanks

Kathysong: Books with "heart". Do you feel these are written to appeal to children, adults, or both?

Steve: Kathysong: Ideally, both, although they should be written first and foremost for kids.

Kathysong: thanks

kimmer3: At one time I worked with a writer's cooperative (Carol Stein, Working Writers) to get a picture book of mine pub'd, and though it had to fold and didn't pan out, the illustrator I hooked up with was wonderful. Can I pass your name on to him, I'm sure he'd be interested. And perhaps *keep* him as my illustrator, assuming the book is publishable as you see it? How does that work? I know that often companies prefer to use their own illustrators.


Verla: kyxelsid, LindaSm, LisaW, MelLane, pearlsue, RoxyanneYou..... You will be the next group

Ikeeper: What do you look for in voice?

Ikeeper: I suppose it's the same as editors, you know it when you see it.

Steve: Ikeeper: That's right...I have strong instincts.

Steve: No questions from LindaSm or LisaW?

NOTE: Linda and Lisa are two of Steve's clients

LindaSm: I just came to see the news of Lisa Posted! : )

LisaW1: How was your vacation? ;-)

Steve: LisaW: Great!

LisaW1: Good

pearlsue: Steve--say you've signed a client, maybe even sold a manuscript or two for them. What does a *client* (not someone who is *submitting* to you) do that drives you crazy, makes you wish you'd never taken them on, etc.? What makes a "bad client"? Or a good one?

Steve: pearl:

Steve: I try to only work with authors who I get along with very well...

Steve: But, for me, the relationship is based on trust, respect, and a common vision. If one of my authors sends me something, and I don't like it, I going to be honest. If they disagree with me, I'll listen to what they have to say -- it's a dialogue --

Steve: but ultimately, what I wouldn't like is a client who expected me to send out everything they wrote, even if I didn't like it.

pearlsue: Thanks, Steve...

Verla: Okay, Next group may post now

kimmer3: Steve, there was one from me, Kimmer3.

Verla: kimmer3: At one time I worked with a writer's cooperative (Carol Stein, Working Writers) to get a picture book of mine pub'd, and though it had to fold and didn't pan out, the illustrator I hooked up with was wonderful. Can I pass your name on to him, I'm sure he'd be interested. And perhaps *keep* him as my illustrator, assuming the book is publishable as you see it? How does that work? I know that often companies prefer to use their own illustrators.

RoxyanneYo: Do you have your new address yet?

Steve: Kimmer: I answered your question, I think. Did you see the answer?

kimmer3: No, I didn't see it. Re: illustrators? Um... where, Steve?

Steve: kimmer: Yes, I'd love to see the illustrator's work. Thanks!

kimmer3: Thanks! It was kind of a two-parter, I'll post the second question in a bit, Steve. Thanks.

Verla: Rozele, sammeow, SQ, tina, tmscs, will be next

Verla: Toni, you will be in the next group also

MelLane: Would you represent an author that wrote crossover, Christian and regular material? Do you handle hi/low books?

Steve: MelLane: I don't do much Christian material...that's a market I'm not very familiar with.

Verla: What about HiLO books, steve?

Steve: HiLo books???

Verla: Yes, steve. Do you handle HiLo books?

Ginlynn1: Hi interest. low reading level

Steve: Mel: I haven't done much of that, but I'm open to looking at it.

MelLane: Thank you, Steve.

Rozele: What do you consider a good advance for a picture book manuscript for an author who has two or three books already out?

Steve: Rozele: Hard to say. It completely depends on the book.

Sammeow: The questions have been so good...I'll pass, thanks.

Verla: Okay next group may post now

ToniBuzzeo: Steve, what role do you assume in influencing matters of cover copy and other traditional "marketing" matters?

Suzy-Q: If you turn down one mss, would you consider looking at something else by the same author?

Steve: Suzy-Q: Sure.

Verla: whatie, Windy, woolfff, writerc, zbell, zzap You will be the next group

tinaeva1: If you've been unsuccessful in selling one ms for a client and then you do sell a different ms for that writer, does it then make it easier to sell the first one?

Steve: tin: It might, depending on how similar they are. In theory, it should.

Steve: I think it's important for writers to read, and pay attention to what it out there on the shelves.

Steve: You should try and pay attention to publishers, and note who publishes books that you really respond to.

Steve: I always ask my writers if they have any "favorite" publishers, before I send out their work.

tinaeva1: Good. Thank you.

Verla: (That's a nice touch, steve! Asking the authors about the publishers they like...I like that! My agent does that for me, too.)

tmscs1: No questions. Thanks!

Verla: group may post now

Verla: may post your questions now, too

woolfff: What new trends do you see in EZ Readers? Are mysteries still a good bet?

Steve: woolfff: Yeah, mysteries are great. I have a great new series with a mystery. That's a tough genre -- very crowded. So, you have to be original.

writerc: How many submissions do you get? What percent do you evenutally end up representing?

Steve: writerc: It's hard to put a number on the amount of submissions I get. And, I can't really quote a percentage. Obviously, I'm very selective...

Steve: I just follow my instincts. I try not to pay too much attention to the market. If I love something, I know right away, and that is what I choose to represent: books I love, books I feel passionate about.

Steve: It doesn't matter if they might be a tough sell, if I love it enough, I'll take it on and sell it.

zbell: do you tend to favor one genre over another?

Steve: zbell:

Steve: I love young picture books, especially funny ones. I love well-written, literary YA and mid-grade. I also love off-beat, quirky stories. But, my tastes are very broad.

zbell: k, thanks, Steve

zzap: What are the top two reasons you changed agencies?

Steve: zzap: I just felt that working for Writers House was a tremendous opportunity. They're an incredible well respected and prestigious Agency, and I feel we have a lot to offer each other.

Steve: I also like the fact that they have such a strong New York presence, and it will enable me to travel to New York and have a base there. Verla: You may ask your question now, EZ guest

Rozele: Steve, could you address ToniBuzzeo's question: "What role do you assume in influencing matters of cover copy and other traditional "marketing" matters?"

Steve: Sorry Toni, I missed that question...

ToniBuzzeo: sure...

Verla: (So did *I*, Steve! I missed it, too. Tsk tsk. A double "whammy")

Steve: I like to be very involved in those decisions. I always try to get author consultation (approval is hard to get) on catalog copy, flap copy, and jacket design.

Steve: I try to be involved in every phase of a book's life.

ToniBuzzeo: Sounds great, Steve. Many agents let that slide.

Verla: That's something VERY nice to have, Steven. Putnam let me check all of those for errors and I caught several before my book went to print.

Steve: Verla: It's good that you stayed on top of that...very smart.

Steve: In some cases, it can make or break a book.

Verla: I was very fortunate, Steve. They've been VERY generous with allowing me to be involved every step of the way

ToniBuzzeo: The librarian in me can tell you THAT'S true!

Verla: Our time is MORE than up, folks...

gaillynn: Do you mind giving us your business address?


As of October 1998, Steven Malk changed agencies. His new mailing address for submissions is:

Steven Malk

Writers House

3368 Governor Dr, #224F

San Diego, CA 92122

Ginlynn1: Steve, Verla, thank you both so much for this workshop. I need to get going. Ta ta for now :-)

Verla: We have run over nearly 15 minutes...

Steve: Bye Ginlynn

Suzy-Q hands Steve a gourmet caramel apple.........

Ginlynn1: By Steve. You'll hear from me soon

pearlsue: Thank you very much, Steve. Much appreciated.

Dani257: Great job, Steve (whistle, clap, clap)

Steve: I don't mind answering more questions...

tinaeva1: This has been wonderful. Thanks so much, Steve

Suzy-Q shoots purple silly string into the air!!!

Kathysong: This was fun and informative! Thanks Steve and Verla. :)

_Lyra: appluase for Steve! Enjoyable!

MelLane: It was a GREAT workshop. Thanks all.

zbell shoots off her can of yellow silly string

Steve: Thanks asked great questions.

ClaraRose: Thanks Steve!

woolfff: Very informative, Steve!

BeckyCraig: Thanks Steve. You must be a terrific agent.

kimmer3: May I ask one more question?

Verla: Okay...the workshop {Proper} is over..but Steve says he will accept more questions...just don't deluge him all at once!

deb55: appreciate your help!

ClaraRose claps

HeatherRW: Thank you soooo much Steve

Steve: Sure kimmer...

Sammeow: Hope Steve has a giant mailbox...

cuttyhunke: Thanks, Steve!

Windy2U: Thanks so much.

kimmer3: Yes, bravo, Steve, thanks so much.

zbell: yeehaw! great workshop!

Dani257: You know you're going to be overrun with submissions now

Steve: Is Janie Bynum in here???

katrapp_: super BIG mail box

A-Suen: How do you see very young nonfiction? Are you selling more "information" type nonfiction PB's or more "story" nonfiction PB's, with a narrative?

Steve: A-Suen: It depends. Young non-fiction is a pretty crowded genre...a narrative helps.

katrapp_: thankyouthankyouthankyou

christyy: Steve, the manuscripts you brought with you from SD, do you have an estimated query time for them?

Steve: Christty: 2-4 weeks.

christyy: ok, thanks

Dani257: BTW, I read Well Wished. I really enjoyed it. It was very original

NOTE: BTW = By the Way

Steve: Dani: Yeah, Franny is an amazing writer...very talented.

Suzy-Q: I have to run, Zbell can you take care of the podium, mic and banner for me?

*** Verla has set the topic on channel back to #Kidlit to Writers & Illustrators of Children's Literature Meet Here

Suzy-Q: Thanks.

MelLane: bye, SQ.

A-Suen: thanks, Steve! :)

Suzy-Q: Great workshop, Steve...

Suzy-Q: Night!!

zzap: Steve, Authors are adults, they can handle jealousy. Is it not to their advantage to know as much as they can about peers' contracts. Is this of any disadvantage to you?

LindaSm: I think it's a disadvantage to us, Zap

pearlsue: Steve--I understand what you mean about keeping contract details confidential. But most writers are so isolated--working alone, etc. If we don't ask, how do we find out what other writers are getting, and if our deals are good or not?

Steve: pearl & zap: You bring up a valid point. However, if you have an agent, they can tell you what normal market price is for a certain type of book.

Steve: PearlSue: I hope I answered your question?

pearlsue: Yes, Steve. Thank you, I appreciate it.

zzap: If we are published, connected and informed in general, I can not see any reason not to share information freely with peers. To me our allegiance is to our peers

Steve: zzap: It's completely your decision. You're right -- there are certain advantages to sharing this info, especially if you don't have an agent. I just think it can come back to hurt you as well.

zzap: Example?

Steve: zzap: Your publisher may not be too happy, and your friends can get jealous.

zzap: Steve, thank you so very much. I genuinely appreciate your answering my continual prodding follow-ups.

_Lyra: And zzap...unless where huge advances are concerned, I agree that being open with other writers is helpful

Steve: No problem zzap. I hope I answered your questions to your satisfaction...I respect your views.

kimmer3: It was just a second part to that illustrator question... because I tried to pub first threu a writer's cooperative, I hooked up with a wonderful illustrator. What are the chances that I migt get to *keep* him vs. using an inhouse illus. from the publishing do. that takes on my book?

Steve: kimmer: It just depends on how much they like his work...hard to say.

kimmer3: Okay, thanks, Steve.

ClaraRose: Do we get your new address?

gaillynn: Can you give us your business mailing address?

Steve: My address will be posted on here in a couple of weeks. For now, you can email me with questions at


As of October 1998, Steven Malk changed agencies. His new mailing address for submissions is:

Steven Malk

Writers House

3368 Governor Dr, #224F

San Diego, CA 92122

katrapp_: so... in other words... we have to hold our breath for several weeks

tmscs1: Have you pretty much "cleared out" your old backlog of submitted manuscripts?

tmscs1: Thanks, Steve. Are you hanging on to some to consider?

Steve: tms: Yes

Steve: tms: basically, but not entirely...: )

deb55: Goodnight all, and thanks so much for your time Steve and Verla






DonaV: Steve, you touched on this, but how often do you visit NYC?


writerc: Wow, a lot in one night. Great workshop. Thanks.

gaillynn: Thanks Steve. You have been great. Please come back again as Rosie O'Donald says "whenever you want."

MelLane: Bye, all! See you later . . . Steve, very informative workshop!

HeatherRW: Good night all! Thanks again Steve and Verla!

tmscs1: How long would be the very longest you might hang on to a manuscript?

Steve: tms: A couple of months, I would think.

tmscs1: Okay . . .thanks.

BigJohN_: Steve do you have any one in your office that handles Christian lit.

Steve: BigJohn: I'm not sure, but I can check.

BigJohN_: ok

ClaraRose: Please do, Steve (check on agents that handle Christian material), it seems there are a number here who have an interest in that area.

katrapp_: thank you so much steve :)

zbell must go also....great workshop Steve and Verla! tmscs1: My sincerest thanks, also, Steve.

Windy2U: Thanks Verla and Steve. Night all!

Steve: Pearl Sue: Are you Linda Park?

pearlsue: Yes! But I don't think we've met before--how did you know?

Steve: I'm psychic

Steve: No, I saw you talking to a friend, you said "I'm Linda", and I've heard about you (nice things, don't worry)

pearlsue: Oh, dear, of course I'll worry ;-)

Steve: pearl: Who are you publishing with?

pearlsue: Clarion Books, Steve. Dinah Stevenson.

Steve: Oh, they have a great list. She's a very good editor.

pearlsue: I've had a tremendous experience working with her, Steve. I feel very fortunate.

Steve: pearl: i think they're great! Publishers are looking to be more inventive and publish books in non-traditional ways. Look at the success of Out of the Dust!

Steve: Who is your agent?

pearlsue: Ginger Knowlton.

Steve: pearl: Great...she's a very good agent.

Verla: Yes, Ginger is a VERY good agent, Steve. She's mine, too. :-)

ToniBuzzeo: Thanks, Steve. A great night! I'm off to catch the latest election returns and then off to bed here in Maine.

Steve: Thanks, asked some nice questions

ToniBuzzeo: Night.

ToniBuzzeo: Night all. Thanks.

A-Suen: Night, toni! :)

Steve: Toni: Who are some of your favorite authors as a librarian?

ToniBuzzeo: Oooo, that's too good a question to pass up.

ToniBuzzeo: All right. To heck with the election results!

zbell: lol toni

ToniBuzzeo: Some of my favorite novelists are Patricia Hermes, Chris Crutcher, FRANNY BILLINGSLEY :>, Patty MacLachlan...

ToniBuzzeo: But you know, more than favortie authors, I have favorite books, heart books. My two latest favorites, both by friends, are STORYTELLER'S BEADS by Jane Kurtz, and JUST JUICE by Karen Hesse.

Steve: Toni: Great list...especially Franny!

ToniBuzzeo: And THE FOLK KEEPER will write Franny's name in lights!

Steve: Toni: I think you're right!!!!!!

ToniBuzzeo: WELL WISHED is on the Maine Student Book Award list and getting great attention.

_Lyra: Are these books you're discussing all pic books?

LisaW1: hey, I don't know these books. Better get a pen...

christyy: Steve, thank you for your time and answers! Good night! :)

A-Suen: Thanks, Steve it was a great workshop! Have fun at the conference Verla! We'll miss you!

_Lyra: Verla and I will both have fun (g)

zbell: night gang! later

LindaSm: Steve, have you seen any great PB's/Midgrades lately that have struck you?

Steve: Linda: You mean books that have come out recently?

LindaSm: Yes, newer releases...ones that have struck you as great

Steve: Linda: Hmmm...I like BAT 6 a lot, JUST JUICE is very good as well. I like Peggy Rathmann's new book a lot.

kimmer3: Steve, are you pretty familiar with all of the editors at the main pub companies you work with? So you'd know a good editor/author match? Or do you not get into that?


pearlsue: Steve, what do you think about all the nonlinear/nontraditional YAs that are getting so much attention? Megaboy, Bat6, Whirligig, Armageddon Summer? Is this a trend?

pearlsue: BAT 6 is wonderful. But did you find that with so many povs, some of the girls sort of blurred together...similar 'voices'...I kept having to flip back...

LindaSm: I agree Linda Sue...hard to follow..but unique

pearlsue: I've found them absolutely compelling, Steve. But I wonder about the actual writing of them. It seems to me...that one would have to 'set out' to write a story so nontraditionally. But is that just my own limited vision?

_Lyra: I haven't read that one, but another I read with multiple first person POV seemed too alike

ToniBuzzeo: pearlsue, I think that is part of the technique, though, creating that CUMULATIVE sense of the girls, thus the culture.

Steve: pearl: Good point. I'm not sure. I think it's nice because it allows people to write in any way they choose. Books they may not have been published before are now being pubbed. I recently sold a young adult collection of poetry (strong narrative thread) about a 13 year-old girl whose big sister goes crazy (true story)

ToniBuzzeo: Only a few of the voices NEED to be distinct.

ToniBuzzeo: But yes, it's a different set of expectations the reader has to bring to it, isn't it?

Steve: Anyway, this collection is fantastic and it's going to be a HUGE book! But, it isn't traditional.

ToniBuzzeo: I can\t wait to read it. When is the pub date, Steve?

Steve: Good point about BAT 6.

Steve: Toni: Probably next Fall (HarperCollins)

pearlsue: But Toni--that's just it. When we open a book, we bring certain expectations to it, of the way a story will be told. And if it's not, we pay as much attention to the structure as to the story. So it has to be QUADRUPLY well done to work...I think...

Steve: Very good point pearl

Steve: But, if it's done well, it can be incredibly effective and powerful

ToniBuzzeo: Yes. pearlsue, I agree. For me, though, BAT 6 was good enough to allow be to accept the changes in the rules.

LisaW1: Boy, Linda Sue. You are so smart. No wonder your books are so great. :-)

pearlsue blushes. Thanks, LisaW--but you haven't even read any of my books yet!

LisaW1: Beg your pardon...I did see the some of the first.

pearlsue: My goodness, that's right, LisaW--I'd forgotten!

LisaW1: So there!

pearlsue: It's interesting--these nontraditional YAs...and there are nontraditional picture-books, like Macaulay's Black and White. Do you think MGs will be next?

NOTE: YA = Young Adult

pearlsue: Or maybe not...because of where kids are at in the developmental stage of reading when they're into MG?

ClaraRose: pardon, but what makes them 'nontraditional'?

Steve: They might be. But, I don't think it works as well with picture books. I didn't like Black and White at all.

ToniBuzzeo: Well, MEGABOY really *is* MG, or that new category of very-young-not-YA YA :>

woolfff: Are you interested in the retelling of folktales?

pearlsue: I didn't like it, Steve, but it was interesting...

ClaraRose: or new folktales

Steve: ClaraRose: That's tricky.

- ClaraRose: tricky?

pearlsue: ClaraRose--the storyline is not 'straight'. Could be many different points of view, or playing with nonchronological time...just a story in which one event follows the next...

ClaraRose: oh.. that could be very powerful.. if it is done right.

woolfff: Do you expect the author to hang tight to the original premise of the folktale? Or do you want to see the author develop the story in his/her own direction?

Steve: woolfff: There's a fine line: You have to be faithful to the original, while putting a fresh spin on the story

ClaraRose: Pearl, I'm working on one that looks like it might have a parallel chronological time line.

pearlsue: Ooh--that sounds neat, ClaraRose! :-)

ClaraRose: what is 'tricky' about an original folk tale?

woolfff: Do you have many storybooks on your list?

Steve: Wolfff:Some. Not many

LindaSm: I asked if you have found office space yet

Steve: Linda: I think so

zzap: Steve, when a gag is part of a contract, is that always initiated by the publisher--and not the agent? Do you often insert them?

Steve: zzap: gag???

zzap: Steve, as when your contract states you can not disclose advance/financial....

Steve: zzap: It is usually not in the contract.

zzap: I thought a couple of your recent client had gags....

zzap: Steve, I'm guessing you do not want your clients talking to each other about particulars of their contracts; I'm guessing you feel it not to your advantage.

Steve: zzap: Like I said, when you have an agent, they should be able to tell you what fair market price is...therfore, I don't feel it's necessary for my writers to talk to each other about advances

zzap: thank you for that clarification.

BigJohN_: I do Steve it keeps agents honest.

BigJohN_: with us.

zzap: And just for the record, I don't feel advances are as important as the rest of the contract.

Steve: zzap: You're right.

Verla: hmmm. When an author is getting "normal" advances...then I see no problem in sharing THAT information. But if an author is getting very large advances or special concessions/terms, then I think it's best to keep it quiet..because THAT could make the "normal" advance people feel cheated or slighted.

Steve: Linda Sue: Who are your favorite YA and pic books authors?

pearlsue: Steve: Authors, that's hard for me. I think more in books, I guess...

pearlsue: I mean, in terms of individual books...

Steve: pearl: Any titles? You seem to have great taste...I'm curious?

pearlsue: Sorry, Steve, you asked about my favorite YA/pb authors? I was saying, I think more in terms of book *titles* than authors...

_Lyra: And I've always followed favorite authors...not titles

pearlsue feels frozen on the spot now ;-)

Harazin: (Hans Nolan pearl)

Verla pours boiling water over pearlsue to "unfreeze" her...

Verla: WEG (Wicked Evil Grin!)

pearlsue: OK...The Friends, by Kazumi Yumoto, first person MG. Philip Pullman's Golden Compass. Ella Enchanted, Levine...

Steve: Pearl: Good list!

_Lyra: I loved ELLA and COMPAS!!

pearlsue: What about you, Steve? Your favorites? (besides Wheeler and Smith, of course!) ;-)

Steve: Katherine Patterson, Susan Cooper, Virginia Euwer Wolff...

pearlsue: And I love many of the 'greats'--Paterson, Konigsburg--but not *everything* they write...

pearlsue: Susan Cooper! I've read The Dark Is Rising series at least a dozen times, LOL!

Steve: Love The Boggart

Verla: I loved the newest book by margaret Peterson Haddix

pearlsue: Running Out of Time, Verla?

Verla: No, her new one, pearl. I liked Running SO much I bought her new one in hardback!

Verla: The one about the door...or hmmm. I can't remember the name. Darn me and names!

Verla: lyra..YOU know the name of it

_Lyra: Oh--you're talking about RUNNING OUT OF TIME by Margaret Peterson Haddix--excellent

Verla: NO... the followup book to that one, lyra

Verla: Her NEW one.

_Lyra: what new one, V?

Verla: She wrote another one, lyra!

_Lyra: But her books are quite different--the new one didn't look as good as RUNNING

Verla: It is!

Verla: It's about a boy who is not supposed to exist.

NOTE: NAME OF THE BOOK IS: Among the Hidden

Steve: I love the new Harry Potter series!!!!!!!

pearlsue: Oh! I can't wait to read that, Steve! Are both of them out here now?

_Lyra: I haven't read the Potter series yet, but looks good

pearlsue: Best time slip book: Tom's Midnight Garden, by Philippa Pearce.

pearlsue: Steve--sorry, is another question OK?

Steve: Sure...

pearlsue: Would a children's agent be effective in submitting a manuscript for the adult market?

Verla: My agent also submits to adult markets, pearl...(OUR agent) Verla: She has a non-fiction HOW TO adult book she is submitting for my husband and I

Verla: She hasn't SOLD to it yet for me..but she is submitting for me.

pearlsue: Verla--Oh! She told me she'd like to...but didn't say she already HAD...

Verla: yup

Verla: How to Cut and Work with Window case you wondered. My husband has the knowledge and I wrote it so people could understand it. We make a good team.

pearlsue: Verla--what is your impression--that Ginger is 'plugged in' to the adult market to your satisfaction?

Verla: I didn't feel that she was "unplugged," if that's what you mean, pearl. But if you want to "major" in adult works, then I think perhaps another agent would be best. But for an occasional book? I see NO problem with her submitting it.

pearlsue: Oh, dear. I haven't decided what I want to 'major' in... ;-) I just keep writing and the story comes out like it does, and then someone *else* decides which market is best...I have no control, it seems!

_Lyra: My agent, Pearl, has more adult clients than kids--does both

Steve: It depends on whether the agent handles adult work. If they don't, you may be better off with someone else...or another agent at their Agency.

Steve: If they do, you're fine.

pearlsue: Another agent for adult work? Is that common?


LindaSm: But you do adult genres don't you steve?

Steve: Yes, I do Linda

kimmer3: Which adult genres, Steve? Just curious.

Steve: kimmer: My tastes are pretty broad. I just sold a huge book to Pocket Books. It's a Southern memoir in the vein of Midnight in the garden of Good and Evil

kimmer3: Oh, okay, thanks. :-)

zzap: And Steve, What do you consider to be the three top reasons you enjoy being an agent?

Steve: zzap: I feel lucky to be an agent. I love children's books...I really do, and I grew up around them, and around a lot of children's authors. So, I feel lucky to be working with people I admire so much...

Steve: zapp: And, I feel great that I can play a part in bringing these books into the world

kimmer3: Steve, how familiar are you with the editors at the publishers you submit to... do you help work on finding a good author/editor match?

Steve: kimmer: absolutely. That's very important.

kimmer3: Wonderful. Thanks. :-)

zzap: Steve, I have heard wonderful things about you, but I find it odd that more of your clients do not discuss contracts than clients of other agents and I was guessing (perhaps wrongly) that you had something to do with that. Forgive me. Perhaps i was wrong.

Steve: No problem zzap

LindaSm: some, it would be like shouting your salary to the world. So many of the writers I know, regardless of who reps them, won't tell. I see this across the board.

LindaSm: especially if you aren't a business person. thats the nice thing about having an agent. You can concentrate on writing

zzap: Big John, do you, like I, think it is much more to an authors advantage to be open/honest with his peers?

BigJohN_: There are some good books out there about that sort of thing.

LisaW1: Can I say something here? About the advance thing?

LisaW1: I feel as if earnings are a private thing. Just as you wouldn't...

LisaW1: go around telling everyone you know how much you get apid at your job.

LisaW1: It embarrasses me when people ask. I am just private that way. I think many people are.

pearlsue: LisaW--I agree. But when I go to my 'day job', I'm aware of what the 'going rate' is for my position. Otherwise I wouldn't take the job. Until I got an agent, I had no idea what that 'going rate' for authors was. So I sympathize with people who feel totally in the dark...

zzap: Thank you Lisa W. I (obviously) do not feel the same, so that seemed an foriegn viewpoint to me. Thank you for voicing it.

ClaraRose: zzap, I got burned big time in office politics at the first job I had by telling my salary... I got harrassed so bad I left the place (for a better job of course).. it has its disadvantages.

ClaraRose: I could have sued.. but I didn't. The harassement had a sexual air about it.

zzap: Thank you, clara rose.

BigJohN_: Being honest with your peers means joining a professional writing org. and sharing info.

ClaraRose: but honestly... I still ask peers on occassion.

ClaraRose: lol

Steve: I think people generally know what the going rates I don't think it's always necessary to ask your good friends, and risk putting a wedge in your relationship, especially when you have an agent

Steve: But, I see your point zzap...I really do

ClaraRose: most here do not necessarily have agents.

BigJohN_: Agents come and go.

BigJohN_: they move around a lot.

LindaSm: and you CAN continue to share other info, how are the important things

zzap: I guess I think that communication is ALWAYS a good thing--and when one CAN't discuss something THAT is the wedge in the relationship. Not the other way around.

zzap: Unless of course the author signed a contract with a gag--in which case he wanted the contract and would put up with the wedges it would cause.

Steve: zzap: I see your point, but I guess we'll agree to disagree on this point.

zzap: Sounds fair. I respect that.

pearlsue: Steve--do you feel the amount of the advance is important? I've had conflicting advice about that...

Steve: pearl: It really depends...

Steve: pearl: I believe that writers should be compensated fairly...

Steve: But zzap is have to take a longview and pay attention to all of the terms. Good point, zzap.

pearlsue: Do you think it's 'old-fashioned' to have loyalty to a particular house/editor? Also had conflicting advice about *that*!

Steve: No, I think loyalty is long as they treat you fairly and don't take you for granted. It

Steve: It's easy to get pushed around. You have to be careful.

Verla: I just want to be COMPENSATED! LOL. I'm still waiting to see the contract for Homespun still isn't here! And they offered for it two months ago.

ClaraRose: that must be a tough wait, Verla

Verla: Yes, clara

Verla: And I'm also waiting for the second half of my advance on Tattered Sails...

Verla: LOL

BigJohN_: Tap your foot a little Verla

Sammeow: Steve...Isn't it the agent's job to see that his/her writer doesn't get pushed around?

Steve: Sam: Yes. Exactly.

BigJohN_: If you are not a business person consentrate on learning contracts from a writers point of view.

Verla: Yes, it is, Samm

katrapp: Verla, when can we submit to Steve?

Verla: katrapp_ Steve hasn't got his office completely up and running yet and isn't ready to accept any submissions for a couple of weeks yet

katrapp_: well that will give me time to do the rewrites

--> katrapp_ GRIN

Verla: Hey, Steven...I got some good news to share

Steve: Yes Verla?

Verla: Putnam found an illustrator for Tattered Sails

Steve: Great Verla!!! Who?

Verla: Dan Andreason..he did some of the Little House books..

Steve: Congrats!!!

Verla: and I looked them up on the web and he is GREAT.

Verla: I'm very pleased with him for that book. :-)

pearlsue: Steve--sorry, repeat question. Is it common for authors to have one agent for their children's work and another for adult mss?

Steve: Linda Sue: At work on an adult book?

pearlsue: Steve--yes. I put it aside when Dinah asked me for a third book. But now I'm not ready to write another children's book, so I've gone back to the adult project.

Steve: pearl: What's the project?

pearlsue: Historical fiction, set in Korea. Like Memoirs of a Geisha, in my dreams...

ClaraRose: That is what I'm working on.. historical fiction.. it is so exciting! I love discovering new things lesser known.

Verla: grin. Like my "family" from the 1600's, clara?

ClaraRose: and yes.. your time frame too, Verla.

ClaraRose: a little earlier.. yes... about the time of William the Silent!

pearlsue: ClaraRose--you know my third book, the title is "A Single Shard"...partly because it's about the Korean pottery trade...but also because writing historical fiction is like being an archaeologist, don't you think?

ClaraRose: I do, it is exciting putting together different aspects of history and incorporating them into a book... as a twist of mystery and it is perfect.

kimmer3: Steve, just what exactly is a *slush* pile? Heard the term, assume it means ms. that you think need work but haven't outright rejected, or...??

Steve: kimmer: Kind of. It's usually a pile of manuscripts that are waiting to be read.

kimmer3: Ah, thanks.

ClaraRose: *sigh* the slush pile is where most of mine are... I am afraid.

kimmer3: :-)

kimmer3: Do you peruse all ms. right away, and some jump out at you so that they don't make it to the slush pile? Or is it kind of first come, first serve, chronological?

Steve: kimmer: I try to look at everything right away...but it depends on the time.

ClaraRose: Steve.. if you hold on to one for a long time... should one read something into that?


zzap: Was leaving your old agency hard?

Steve: zzap: Sure. Leaving a job is always hard.

kimmer3: Yep, I hear you there, Steve, so is jumping feet first into freelancing. :-)

DonaV: Steve, how often will you be going to NYC now?

Steve: DonaV: At my new job, probably 4-5 times a year

DonaV: Great!

pearlsue: LindaSm and LisaW...and whoever write for all ages, right? PBs, MG, YA...My picture books are going nowhere often. :-) I'm wondering if I should call it quits, just face up to the fact that the longer genre suits me better?

LisaW1: That depends, Linda Sue...

LindaSm: I like them all Linda offers me a break from the other. But I could never write an easy reader. I think it's all a matter of taste. And you do what you do SO well

LisaW1: Maybe use the PB's as play time. Maybe they won't sell. But maybe they'll help your other writing . Strenghten it

LindaSm: I use the novels as my "free" writing..So much easier than PB's

pearlsue: Oh! That's a great way of looking at it, LisaW. I dabble in poetry too, same reason...I'll 'readjust' my attitude toward picture books...

LisaW1: A few years ago, I would not even attempt MG. Now, I love it

pearlsue: My husband said, of course you can't write a good picture book--you can't do anything in less than 1,000 words. Ha very ha.

ClaraRose: I didn't know you wrote MG, Lisa!?

LindaSm: She has Clara...a great one

LisaW1: Thank you Linda

ClaraRose: thanks

pearlsue: MG felt like a lovely warm bath to coming home, where I was meant to be my whole life but never knew it...

LisaW1: That sounds so cozy Linda Sue

LindaSm: Lots of words are easier for me...fewer are harder

LindaSm: and characterization.

LindaSm: And girls with the last name Jean : )

LisaW1: I like less words. More dialogue. Less descriptive sentences. Yikes!

LisaW1: Did I say less descriptive sentences? I must be tired. Strike that...

zzap: Steve, do you feel that your policy of faxing submissions to publishers and simultaneous... aggressive marketing (which obviously has garnered your clients contracts) might put you in a bad light with publishers? Or do you think since you have fertile submissions, the publishers will just have to do it your way?

Steve: zzap: I don't think so. I feel that I only send out top notch material, and I expect it to be read very quickly. I don't think editors resent it at all...but I'm just trying to do the best that I can for my writers...I think writers have played by the publisher's rules for too long

ClaraRose: You seem to please the publishers as much as the authors.

pearlsue: Steve, I know you did the SCBWI conference in August. Did you enjoy that?

Steve: Pearl: I loved SCBWI. Loved it.

pearlsue vows that she'll get there one of these the Nationals...

Verla: It WAS rather heady, wasn't it, steve? (And Lyra and LindaSm and zap and everyone else who was there...)

zzap: What did you love best about the SCBWI conference, Steve?


*Steve zzap: I loved meeting some of my writers for the first time, and I loved the interaction with the different authors. I also just loved the fact that evryone came out for children's books. That was a great feeling - to see so many people truly dedicated to the field.

BigJohN_: well actualy Steve I am quite interested in the agency you work for and am going to find out more. I hope you will check into who handles Christion lit. If amyone does.

Steve: John: I will check into that, feel free to email me

BigJohN_: ok

woolfff: Do you enjoy new twists on cumulative pic books? I think the last one I read was "The Sleeping House".

pearlsue: She's great, zap. Sold her third book a couple of weeks ago.

Steve: woolfff: Yes!!!!!

woolfff: I get so caught up in a cumulative book. I rehearsed "If I Give a Mouse a Cookie" to every family member for a week!!

zzap: Marvy!

 zzap: Steve, what did you like best about National conference?

ClaraRose: Someday, I will make it to nationals.

Steve: I think I answered that question zzap...but let me know if it didn't post

LisaW1: It didn't Steve

Steve: Really???

_Lyra: I sure loved national...always so fun to talk BOOKS

BigJohN_: brb

LindaSm: I loved meeting all the people there

Verla: DID answer zap's question...but you accidentally sent it to ONLY me in a private message.You must have hit the wrong button. :-) Here it is:

Verla: zzap: I loved meeting some of my writers for the first time, and I loved the interaction with the different authors. I also just loved the fact that evryone came out for children's books. That was a great feeling - to see so many people truly dedicated to the field.

pearlsue: Imagine, a whole four days with people who want to talk about children's books!! Sounds like heaven, all right...

KarmaWilso: Big thanks to Verla.

pearlsue: Steve--that white rabbit website, what is it exactly?

Steve: pearl: It's a website for my mother's bookstore, the best bookstore in the world, The White Rabbit

Steve: One of the largest children's independent bookstores in the country

Sammeow: Where, steve?

Steve: La Jolla, CA

pearlsue: Oh my goodness. Sounds like the kind of place I could enter and never leave, Steve!

Steve: It is, Pearl

LindaSm: It is Linda Sue. and everyone there knows the books inside out

LindaSm: I heard there were only two big ones, White Rabbit being one...from the marketing people at Harcourt

zzap: Steve, I really appreciate your taking the time to come to chat and answer questions blasted at you. Many people wouldn't take the time.

Steve: It's my pleasure zzap. You asked some great questions!

woolfff: Goodnight, Steve and everyone else! You must come back for another workshop!

Steve: Thanks everyone...this is always fun!

Verla: He IS, woolffff

Verla: Already scheduled him for February

woolfff: Great!!!

Verla: Watch for it.

LindaSm: Thanks Steve. You were great

Verla: And .... We have the editor of CWIM coming in January

kimmer3: Yes, thanks Steve. I'll have that wonderful illustrator email you? Or just wait till you have your address set?

Verla: TWO big Peoples...

Verla: To start our new year with a BANG

pearlsue: Do you know what I want...I want a website for kids like this: If you liked Susan Cooper's The Boggart, then try...and suggestions for other books. NOBODY does anything quite like that...

Verla: Hey, zap.

Steve: Pearl: If you email the White Rabbit through the website, they can give you lots of recommendations

pearlsue: Steve--I'm doing a workshop Dec. 1--the title is "Reading to Write." I'd like to invite you--even if you can't come. NO agent talk, just reading, I promise! :-)

Steve: Ok, Pearl: Thanks.

zzap: Great title Pearlsue--wish I thought of it!

Sammeow: Great job, Steve and many people here tonight! WOW

pearlsue: thank YOU, Steve. And Verla too!

Verla: We had 46 in the chat room tonight.

Verla: Only four spaces left!

Steve: Thanks everyone...I'm off.

ClaraRose: good night Steve

Harazin: night Steve

kimmer3: Bye, Steve. Thanks so much.

DonaV: Thanks Steve. Great workshop!

_Lyra: bye Steve

pearlsue: I'm outta here, folks. Thanks so much everyone--happy writing!

BigJohN_: Thanks steve

Verla: night all

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