28 July 2006

More on (trying to) find books of color.

I just ran into Wawa Moore's post about checking out the huge display of YA books at Borders and not seeing a whole lot for people of any color, and how glaringly obvious this need is.

Let's get to work, people!


tbrundage said...

In the form of the Junie B. Jones and Ramona Quimby's, I've written a middle grade novel for people of color entitled Chakeyra J. I Hate Thursdays. It's humorous and entertaining. I have yet to find a publisher or agent. Know any?

Melinda said...

Stacey Barney at Putnam seems to be a good editor. She was down in KC recently but I didn't go ... wish I had but finances have been short. Regina at Serendipity seems to be a good agent (she told me, "Girl, your synopsis is confusing as heck!")

Research these guys well before you submit anything, of course. I can't think of anybody else but I was up until 1 a.m. last night (Garth Brooks was in KC).

If you're having trouble finding a publisher, it might be because the MS isn't ready. I see good writers, writers who are better than me, working intensively on their MS for two years, or more, after the initial draft is written. It seems to help if you focus exclusively on your project for at least six months at a time. I've been working on my Symphonians novel since Janine O'Malley asked to see it in 2005. I work on it for six months, send it off, then get another editorial letter and work on it for another six months. I'm hoping the third time is the charm.

The second thing to do is to set a goal of reading 100 MG novels. I found that when I hit novel #30, I started having a pretty good idea why certain novels rose above the rest, and I started to want to do those things in my own work. Everyone talks about having an individual voice and excellent characterization, but when you see it working, or failing, in book after book, you get a better idea of what to shoot for.

Finally, Eileen Robinson at F1rstpages offers good critiques. She used to be an editor at Scholastic, very bubbly and full of energy, and she surrounds herself with other good editors.

I seem to have written a letter! Good luck.