One of the many benefits of attending the New England SCBWI conference is that attendees are allowed to submit their revised manuscripts to the editors and agents who were at the conference.
Before submitting a manuscript, however, spend time researching the agents and editors. Google their names, go to their websites, read their blogs, or any interview in which they participated. Find out what they’re looking for and what books they’ve edited or agented.
One of the editors I researched was Molly O’Neill, Assistant Editor at Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins Children’s Books. She will accept unsolicited picture book manuscripts from conference attendees between June 15 and December 1, 2010. I intend to send Molly TIME OUT FOR GABE, my revised picture book story.
Molly has travelled extensively in the U.S. and Canada. She has been involved in youth ministry and looks for inspiring books about forming and building relationships, and seeing the deeper meaning in things.
She has worked on THE WEDNESDAY WARS by Gary Schmidt, THE YEAR THE SWALLOWS CAME EARLY by Kathryn Fitzmaurice, and she has worked with authors Anne Hoppe and Patricia MacLachlan.
Molly O’Neill is also looking for middle grade (MG) with vivid voice and inventive storytelling; young adult (YA)—a good romance; and stories with a ballet/theater/or other artsy backstage setting; and anything with orphans.
Some of her favorite books are BLUEBERRIES FOR SAL by Robert McCloskey; THAT RABBIT BELONGS TO EMILY BROWN by Cressida Cowell and illustrated by Neal Layton; DIARY OF A WOMBAT by Jackie French; LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY by Gary Schmidt; A NORTHERN LIGHT by Jennifer Donnelly; and I HAD SEEN CASTLES by Cynthia Rylant. The last three books listed Molly says she re-reads every year.
At our last critique group meeting, I read aloud THAT RABBIT BELONGS TO EMILY BROWN and everyone loved it. DIARY OF A WOMBAT received less enthusiastic reviews, and I discovered it makes a much funnier read-to-yourself book than a read aloud. Its humor seems geared more to adults or older children. My four-year-old grandson did not laugh when I read it to him. He loved THAT RABBIT BELONGS TO EMILY BROWN, however.
I have just finished listening to A NORTHERN LIGHT, based on the true story of 19-year-old Grace Brown, who was pregnant and drowned by her lover in Big Moose Lake in 1906. It’s a beautifully written historical account of life in the Adirondacks a hundred years ago, as the main characters deal with loss, poverty, racism and pregnancy.
Last year, one of my favorite books to listen to was THE WEDNESDAY WARS by Gary Schmidt. Now I’m listening to Gary’s LIZZIE BRIGHT AND THE BUCKMINSTER BOY, which I’m also enjoying.
By reading some of Molly O’Neill’s favorite books, I feel as if I know her better. I get her sense of humor, and love the books she loves.
Maybe she’ll like a manuscript I submit to her now or in the future. I know I’d really enjoy working with her.
Keep writing, reading, researching and