Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Tina Nichols Coury's Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose Blog Tour is Here Today!

I am THRILLED to be today's stop for Tina Nichols Coury and the blog tour for her first release, Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose.

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?

It surprised me. Of course like everyone else I knew of Mount Rushmore, but I had no clue how or why it was built. I was amazed that a kid, the sculptor’s son, Lincoln Borglum, had a part in the creation. It was a unique angle on a well-known American icon that had not been done before.

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
The hardest part was when I left Dutton half way through the rewrites and production. I knew Tina was in good hands with editor Steve Meltzer but when editors switch houses you tend to lose touch with your authors. The most interesting part, of course, is Tina, an editor’s dream.

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?

The business is in an exciting phase of flux. With ebooks offering an additional way to publish and the form of interactive books still settling I think we have a few years of the industry redefining itself.

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!

46 comments:

tanita davis said...

What a FUN sounding story! I always loved non-fic like this when I was a kid, that gave me the scoop beyond the facts.

Barbara Jean Hicks said...

As this interview with Tina's editor-turned-agent shows, Tina has a knack for relationship--and really, isn't that what it's all about?! I've experienced her warmth and generosity myself, and I'm so thrilled to see Hanging Off Jefferson's nose out at last. Thanks for the interview, Greg!

Kimberley Troutte said...

I am so happy for Tina. What a great story all the way around!

Acra! said...

All great stuff...looks like a fantastic story! The picture on the cover is worth the price regardless.

cstewmax said...

Congratulations on the book, Tina!

Thanks for the tips, Mark!

C.

Janet Zupan said...

Great introduction to Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose; I particularly appreciate that Tina discovered and then revealed a child's connection to the historical genesis of the monument. In my own memories of reading books as a child, that link would have stayed with me forever. Bravo! Thanks, too, for Mark's astute and specific suggestions. You laid on the line (kindly but clearly) that a manuscript needs to worked to a fine shine before approaching an agent or editor.

Jenny S. said...

What a great spot! I will be sure to buy a copy of Tina's book because I have always been fascinated with Mt. Rushmore. Thanks for your interview with Mark McVeigh as well -- he sounds like a marvelous person to work with.
Jenny

Mary Malhotra said...

Exciting to see that Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose is out now, and fun to learn about the hook that makes it an exceptional story for kids (and an enticing read for an editor or agent...).

Thanks to Mark, Tina, and Greg for sharing this road-to-publication story.

Tina Nichols Coury said...

If you remember Greg. When Mark singled me out of crowd at that SCBWI Writer's Day I was terrified to talk to him. Now seven years later we are best buds. Waiting for publication has given me a chance to work on my editor/agent relationships. Thank you all for the kind words and thank you Darling (that's what I call Mark) for the wonderful friendship.

Rosalind R. Oliver said...

I can't wait to read this. My three boys are obsessed with Mt. Rushmore so it is a perfect book for us.

jenniferjabaley said...

Great interview!! And this story sounds great.

Ann Bedichek said...

What a great sounding book! I'm a former social studies teacher, and this would have been great to have in the classroom. The title and cover alone will draw kids in.

And, I would LOVE a critique by Mark!

Melle Amade said...

What's so clear about your interview with Mark, Greg, is that writing requires focused work. Whether it's dedicated research for non-fiction or the critique group for fiction... we've all got to dig in and put in the hours and effort to develop manuscripts that have a chance of wowing and editor or agent. I totally appreciate the reminder!

Mari Hunt said...

Greg, your interview shows that in this cyber world personal relationships matter. Great reading (as always). Thanks!

mary said...

Thanks for posting this interview, Greg. Love the details of Tina's journey and can't wait to get the book. I'd love to win the critique.
Mary

lynnb said...

Thanks, Greg. For your interview with MM and also for the great links you post to the scbwi listservs. There's not always time to click, but when I do, I'm not disappointed.

Gators in China said...

It's always exciting to read about an author's journey to getting published. It's very inspiring to those of us who are starting out and learning the ropes. Thank you for this interview. Congratulations Tina!

Gators in China said...

It's always exciting to read about an author's journey to getting published. It's very inspiring to those of us who are starting out and learning the ropes. Thank you for this interview. Congratulations Tina!

TL Sumner said...

I really enjoyed the interview with Mark. Today my 2nd grader had a small writing assignment about a symbol of our country and Mt. Rushmore was one of the examples. I can definitely see how this story can become a part of the curriculum. I loved hearing Tina's story from her agent's perspective as well. :)

Julie Dillemuth said...

Getting discovered through a conference critique - how awesome is that! Enjoyed reading this interview, and am excited about the prize potential. :-)

Judy Presnall said...

Fun interview, Greg. It is great to be discovered by an editor or agent at an event.

Barbara Bietz said...

Thanks, Greg! Tina's journey has been an inspiration to us all!

Kim Taylor-DiLeva said...

I hated history until college when the professor told it all like a dramatic story. I love that a lot of new non-fiction is narrative - telling it like a story instead of ho hum, just the facts ma'am. I'd definitely like to read this book and am looking forward to the day when my future agent is being interviewed about my manuscript turned published book!

Julie Musil said...

Tina's book sounds like a lot of fun. I love reading nonfiction from new angles. Thanks for the interview, Greg and Mark!

Jim Hill said...

Sounds like a fun non-fiction title, and that was great interview.

Yat-Yee said...

Thanks for the interview, Greg, and congrats, Tina! Love the title and imagery. Fiction or non, people just love good stories. Congrats again!

Author Amok said...

I've been following the progress of Tina's book through her blog. How exciting that it's coming out at last!

I have to agree that Mark is an *excellent* critiquer. I was lucky enough to have a critique with him at a local SCBWI conference. His suggestions were spot-on.

Dani Bowman said...

What a great story and this gives me hope! I'm a 17 year old animator and illustrator and have illustrated several books for others. My next jump in the book world is getting my own material published.

janie Emaus said...

Great interview. I'm looking foward to Tina's book.

Alisha Klapheke said...

Tina's book sounds intriguing. When I taught upper elementary, I loved finding books like these to get my kids pumped up about a Social Studies topic.

Tina, you are doing a wonderful thing for kids; you are pulling them into the history of their country. You rock. (If it wasn't so early, I'd have made that into some fantastic pun. Oh well.)

Way to go!

Kirsten Larson said...

As a fellow writer of nonfiction, I have to say, "Yay, Tina." I have heard about this book from multiple sources and definitely plan to pick it up.

jhunsickerwrites said...

Great blog tour! Not only am I finding our about you and your book, but I'm learning about your agent and the acquisition process and discovering wonderful blogs! I'm looking forward to reading this fantastic new book. Good luck!

Cheryl Mansfield said...

Wow, Tina the book sounds fabulous. Congratulations!

And Mark, thank you for your very valuable insight.

Laurisa White Reyes said...

Can't wait for the launch, Tina! And I've had the pleasure of meeting Mark once. Actually for an SCWBI critique at a conference once long, long ago. I'd love another shot with him. :)

Mother-naked said...

Thanks for the interview and what a wonderful book! Mark sounds like a wonderful person to work with. I keep hearing how it's all about the work. And this keeps me positive! Thank you!

Angela Russell said...

I can't wait to celebrate with y'all! The process has been such a ride and it's so fun to take part in its launch into the world.

LK said...

Fabulous!

Tina said...

The title alone is enough to make children sit up and take notice and then how fun it will be for them to tuck into this story and in the process learn about a part of this country's history.

S.Q. Eries said...

congrats to tina and thanks to mark and greg for the interview!

Sophia Chang said...

This has been a GREAT post Greg and what an awesome giveaway.

Anne Van said...

Congratulations Tina, what a great book! Thanks to Mark and Greg for an info packed post!

Cathy C. Hall said...

What a fun interview--

Gee, I can't wait to get a "darling" agent! ;-)

Jodell Sadler said...

Love the title, Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose, Tina. This attention-getting will have kids hanging their own inside books for sure! And an interview with Mark McVeigh, Greg? Wow!

Stephanie said...

I wouldn't mind a comment or two. Comments good or bad seem to be like a mythical beast. Wonder Why.

Joanna Cooke said...

Have to say, I love the pic of casual dress day. Maybe they were in Rio?

It was nice to get the reminder that rejections are not always a reflection of the quality of a manuscript - other factors such as the list come into play. It takes the pressure off a bit. But only a bit! :)

Thanks for the interview,
Joanna

Gregory K. said...

I realize that I never said "congratulations!" to cstewmax, the winner of the Mark McVeigh critique. And to thank you all for supporting Tina's new book. And, of course, to say the contest is closed!

Greg