Agent, Jennifer Rofé of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, fired questions at us to stimulate our thinking:
“Question one: who reads in the genre they’re writing in?"
Several hands shot up.
Several hands began to waiver.
“Question 2: Who is studying?”
Our eyes darted about the room for a raised hand. Hm-m-m… Rofé’s technique was already working. We asked ourselves: What does studying look like? She gave us examples:
“Dissect published books . . .they were published for a reason."
"Don’t ignore books some people consider fluff.
Just like we don’t always eat healthily—we eat for entertainment, to be sociable…books are the same, some are purely for fun.”
Using 1st Pages, Jennifer demonstrated what stands out in MG and YA today.
This is what she loves: Mostly Middle Grade, a little YA, a lot of Multi-cultural, but not exclusively. Great Writing! Timeless stories with contemporary panache!!
These fantastic books are all by writers that Jen represents. She helped get them published. She believes in these authors. And wow! What stories!
Then You Were Gone, by Lauren Strasnick (Simon Pulse) YA
The Year the Swallows Came Early by Katherine Fitzmaurice (Harper Collins) MG
Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen (Harper Collins) MG
Suggestions to help make your first page stand out:
1) Go to Andrea Brown Literary Agency boot camp for writers. Details on the website.
2) Attend the SCBWI’s Working Writers Retreat in Encino.
Ask questions of Agents. Choose carefully. Ask before you sign a contract:
1) How do you communicate with the authors you represent and in what way?
2) What does a revision process with you look like?
Thank you, Thank you, Jennifer!! For a great Schmooze. And thank you to everyone who came and participated, asking such great questions. The energy in the room was intense, bustling with thoughts and ideas.
Schmooze will build on the theme of Representation when guest and Schmooze member, Bonnie Barry LaMon explains "A Few Things You Need to Know About Literary Contracts -- Even If You Have An Agent."
I am looking forward to this!
Also, you may bring a first page that you love that hooked you to share -- look on the wensite for details. And . . .
See you at the Schmooze!
Deborah Fletcher Blum and Jean Perry