The copy of my book published in France arrived Saturday, which is the cause of this irritating bit of braggadocio. I’ll keep it brief but what the heck, it’s my blog. Patricia Hermes reminded me of that recently. Thanks Pat. I needed that.
So here’s the cover. And on the inside the first thing I find is a list of authors selected to be featured in audios of their work. In order:
Simon Armitage recites his poem “You’re beautiful”
David Harrison’s poem “IT’S ME!”
William Carlos William’s poem “The Great Figure”
An extract from Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story
Shakespeare’s work — a BBC programme
George Orwell — a BBC rogramme
An interview of Isaac Asimov
An interview of American poet and novelist Maya Angelou — a BBC programme
An extract from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot
A book review about D. L. Sayers’ crime novel The Documents in the Case
Edward P. Jones reads the beginning of his short story “The First Day”
Truman Capote reads an extract from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
British author Neil Gaiman talks about horror versus gothic
I haven’t received the recording yet but can’t wait to hear my Marilyn Monroe poem recited with a French accent!
“It’s Me” was first published in a book edited by Jan Greenberg called HEART TO HEART and published by Harry Abrams in 2001. I wrote the poem inspired by a Warhol painting of cows. When, at the last minute we discovered that the cow painting was unavailable but one of Marilyn Monroe was, I switched my subject to her. In 2012 the poem popped up in an Everyman Library edition titled ART AND ARTISTS, edited by Emily Fragos and published by Alfred Knopf. If the poem has appeared elsewhere, I’m unaware of it. I don’t know how it wound up in either of these other books. I know I’m glad.
J. Patrick Lewis’s latest anthology is out. It’s called NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOK OF NATURE POETRY: MORE THEN 200 POEMS WITH PHOTOGRAPHS THAT FLOAT, ZOOM, AND BLOOM! Publishers Weekly says, “Few books make it clearer why nature inspires so many poets to reach for the pen.” It’s a highly entertaining and inspirational book and I recommend it. The poets who are in it have been sending high-fives to one another. It’s that kind of book.
My contribution reflects on the act of union between a stalagmite and stalactite that touch at last and join as one after eons of reaching toward one another in the dark.
You’ll find many of your favorite poets in this collection as well as several talented names you need to know better. Thanks, Pat!
BULLETIN: In case you missed Laura Salas’s question to agent Wendy Schmalz, here it is:
Thanks, Wendy, for your guest post. I wondered if you could share a few titles in both picture books and novels that you consider high quality and high concept. These could be either all by your clients if you want or none by your clients (so you don’t feel you have to choose favorites!). I have in mind what I think is high concept, but I might have it all wrong!
In picture books and especially in poetry, which I love, concept definitely seems to be the name of the game. Out of 50 mss, I’d guess that usually only 1 (or none) feels fresh to an agent/editor. So intimidating!
I sent Laura’s note to Wendy and here’s her response:
I just learned a few hours ago that one of my picture books is among Kirkus’s best books of 2009, so that would be a good place for me to start.
It’s called BILLY AND MILLY SHORT AND SILLY by Eve Feldman, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning. It’s a word play book and loads of fun.
I think Sandy Asher is a master at creating picture books. Her book TOO MANY FROGS illustrated by Keith Graves is on its way to becoming a classic. Their latest collaboration HERE COMES GOSLING is delightful.
As for novels, I think if you read some of the ones on the NY Times best seller list you’ll get a good idea of what publishers are looking for.
Everyone should read TWILIGHT so they can find out what all the hoopla is about. I don’t read much middle grade or YA fiction other than works by my authors, so the following suggestions are all by people I represent.
Amanda Marrone is a great example of a writer of popular paranormal teen novels. Her new book DEVOURED (Simon Pulse) is a present day Snow White story. Julie Anne Peters writes beautiful cutting edge novels dealing with gay and transgender issues. Her most recent book is RAGE: A LOVE STORY (Knopf). April Henry writes fast-paced thrillers. You might look at TORCHED (Putnam), as does Edgar-winner Robin MacCready (BURIED, Dutton).
For middle grade, Marlane Kennedy’s ME AND THE PUMPKIN QUEEN (Greenwillow), Sue Stauffacher’s DONUTHEAD (Knopf), and Dean Pitchford’s CAPTAIN NOBODY
(Dutton) are all popular.
In general, publishers are looking for high concept, fast paced and original works. As I said above, reading what’s on the best seller list for YAs will give you a good overview. For middle grade novels, I suggest reading the most recent books cited by the ALA.
I hope this helps.
INCIDENTALLY, SANDY ASHER IS PREPARING FOR HER GUEST SPOT ON THIS BLOG AS WE SPEAK. BE WATCHING FOR SANDY ANY DAY NOW. DH
Many of you are probably familiar with Alexandria LaFaye’s work. Her ten novels include the acclaimed The Year of the Sawdust Man; Scott O’Dell Award winning Worth; and Dad, In Spirit.
An entertaining speaker and creative writing teacher, Alexandria is tackling the slowdown in the publishing industry head on. In her own words, “This has caught me in a bind with my book The Primed Mind. I’m going back to the subscription days and asking folks who are interested in purchasing the book to help me raise the funds to subsidize it’s publication. Once the goal is met, the book would come out in about a year.”