I'm also incredibly excited to be posting an interview I did with her agent (and original acquiring editor) Mark McVeigh.
PLUS... one lucky commenter here will win a 15 minute phone critique with Mark on 10 pages of their manuscript. I happen to think Mark is a fantastic critiquer (and please know that he has NOT loved all my work, so this isn't my ego talking. Oh, far from it!), so this is a great opportunity. More about the giveaway below. But now... to the fun!
You discovered Tina's manuscript during a conference critique (at a conference, by the way, where you coulda discovered me, but noooooo. Oh, sure, my manuscript was terrible, but can't we forget that part???). What makes a manuscript stick out to you when you read it? What was it in Tina's draft that made you know you had to buy it?
Tina's book is non-fiction, obviously, and a story that was personally interesting to her. To me, that personal passion seems important, but what do you think the keys are in writing a non-fiction manuscript that editors want to buy?
School standards are changing and non-fiction is more important than ever. Houses are interested in a book that crosses over to school curriculum. All your research needs to be well documented to show you are an expert. Then get creative.
Is there a story behind the non-fiction subject that no one ever told?
Tina, her book, and you have been on quite a journey... with you going from acquiring editor to her agent in the years since the manuscript sold. What's been the most interesting part of the process for you? The toughest?
|Tina and Mark on "dress casual" day|
Over the years we kept in touch and developed a great friendship. Tina was fun, upbeat, and a pleasure to work with. During her wait for publication she continued to grow as an author and became an expert on blog tours, cyber promotion and book trailers.
When I started my agency and found out she was unrepresented I knew I wanted her as one of my clients. Tina rocks. (GKP editorial note: this is true.)
We deal with a lot of rejection in our business. And whether we're just getting a critique or submitting for a sale, we're always hoping to get a "Wow! I'm buying!" rather than notes or a pass. What's your advice to authors and illustrators on how to deal with receiving feedback and rejection? Is it personal? Should we change the color of our paper or digital ink and try again?
There are many reasons for editors to reject manuscripts and some have nothing to do with the quality of the manuscript. Read between the lines. Are they rejecting it for some unknown reason or do they offer suggestions of a future path? Some houses might have something similar coming out or their list is full of picture books and needs middle grade.
But it is important for authors/illustrators to do their homework. Make sure they know what the house or the agent is looking for. All manuscripts should be thoroughly workshopped, critiqued and in the best shape to submit to an agent or a house.
The SCBWI is full of workshops year round that can help you make your manuscript undeniable and give it that “Wow” factor and find you a champion who will take it to acquisitions.
Big picture, now. Where do you see the children's book business going? Should we all toss away our pens? And what's next for you and The McVeigh Agency?
But a great story always sells, so I would tell authors to concentrate on getting the manuscript into shape before you submit. The McVeigh Agency represents a variety of authors for adult and children’s books and l look forward to many more years of success.
Thanks, Mark! And now, to celebrate Tina's release, we've got a giveaway, just cuz. One commenter will win a 15 minute phone critique (of 10 pages) with Mark. You only have until 10 PM Pacific time on May 15th to leave a comment... so why not just do so today?
You should also check out Tina's whole blog tour list. Not only do I hope you support Tina and her book, but there are great interviews AND prizes at every stop, not just here.
And finally... a personal note. I was there the day the manuscript sold, and I've loved watching every step of the process, from the agonizing waiting to the fantabulous successes. I am so happy to get to celebrate the release with Tina. In a word... YAY!!!
Now comment away, folks. Comment away!