Happy Tuesday, everyone! We are continuing with our series of pre-From Dreaming to Doing SCBWI Conference interviews as a way to let attendees get to know our many presenters. Here’s who we’ve chatted with so far!
- Leila Sales, Publishing Manager at Viking Children’s Books
- Laura Shovan, poet, author, editor, educator
- Thao Le, Literary agent
- Patricia Hruby Powell, author
- Alyssa Nassner, illustrator and designer
- Liz Kossnar, Associate Editor, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Susan Stockdale, author and illustrator
Today we have Andrea Morrison in the cyber chair!
Andrea is an agent at Writers House, where she started as an intern in 2009. She’s had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators in genres ranging from picture books to middle grade and YA to adult literary fiction and nonfiction. Having studied Literature/Writing at University of California, San Diego and having earned her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University, Andrea is hands-on editorially. She’s hungry for YA that blends crazy-beautiful language with characters navigating the nutty, magical, and hard parts of being a teen, middle grade that is whimsical and magical, laugh-out-loud funny, or heartbreaking, and picture books that, whether funny or sweet, will be read multiple times.
Andrea will be speaking at the following presentations:
Saturday, 1:00-1:50pm: Common Mistakes to Avoid
When you look for an agent, you’re looking for an advocate who will not only help you hone the first project that will be submitted to publishers, but who will hopefully be your career-long partner-in-crime. You want to make sure you’ve done your research, and you also want to be sure you submit your strongest possible work and pitch yourself accurately, with attention to guidelines and detail. This breakout session will cover the elements we look for in strong query letters and submitted materials, and common practices that are turn-offs, or that might prevent writers/illustrators from successfully getting to the next stage of the process.
Saturday, 4:15 PM-4:50pm: Agents, Editors, and Art Directors Panel
With Chad Beckerman, Liz Kossnar, Thao Le, Andrea Morrison, Alyssa Nassner, Leila Sales, and Jessica Sinsheimer.
Sunday Intensive, 9:00-12:00pm: Crafting the Perfect Query Letter
Jumping off of the Common Mistakes to Avoid breakout session: once it’s clear what not to do, how do you create the perfect submission package? What should a query letter look like? What information is most important, and what’s okay to leave out? How do you best pitch and frame your work? This intensive will help you transform material you have into a submission package that will impress readers.
And now on to the interview! First question, Andrea,
What was your favorite book as a child? As a teen? And now, as an adult?
A BARGAIN FOR FRANCES by Russell Hoban, illus. Lillian Hoban was my favorite, and then when I got a bit older, I loved P.S. LONGER LETTER LATER by Ann M. Martin and Paula Danziger.
During my high school years, the favorite was Janet Fitch’s WHITE OLEANDER.
Now? Yikes, there are so many titles I love. Also this is a dangerous question for an agent! I won’t pick a favorite, but one book I read recently that I adored: Yaa Gyasi’s HOMEGOING.
You’ve been locked in a bank vault Twilight Zone style, so you finally have time to read! What’s the first book you crack open?
I’m really excited to read Stephanie Garber’s CARAVAL.
If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?
I’d be a professor. But I didn’t know what literary agents were at the time! I’d never known anyone who had worked in book publishing. I knew I liked stories.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
Running, beaches (particularly reading on the beach!), exploring new cities, trying new restaurants.
Thanks for stopping by, Andrea, we’re looking forward to seeing you at the conference!