Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 2, 2012

Writing Industry Kudos

tracey berglund and polka dots260One of the first things I tell everyone is they need to network, get out there and meet people.  This is the reason I started doing the Summer Networking Dinners with agents and editors.  Well, today I have good news and proof that attending dinners and events where you get to interact with Publishing industry professionals does work.  Author/illustrator Tracey Berglund just signed a contract for representation with Stephen Fraser from the Jennifer De Chiara agency. 

Here is the story explained by Tracey:

I attended the Cafe Centro Agent and Editor dinner in August, because Stephen was going to the dinner and I had a short list of agents I admired and he was at the very top. I had not prepared any marketing sound bites to share that evening and the room was very noisy so I felt a bit intimidated, but fortunately I was seated next to Christina Turgeau and other really nice people, so I enjoyed my dinner and some great conversations. Stephen Fraser was sitting opposite me, but the table was very wide so he felt far away. I remember thinking that he had an open and inquisitive face and a charming bowtie.

Luckily, at some point I reached over to his side of the table for a breadstick, he caught my eye and complimented me on my dress! I had just returned from a trip to India and bought it because it had radiant peacock colors which reminded me of a story I’ve been working on. Before I knew it Steve and I were deep in conversation about travel, favorite cities-his is Paris, mine Rio de Janeiro; subways, and a gamut of other things. When the dinner was over I gave Stephen some printed samples of my art and told him how pleased I was to meet him.

A few days later I sent him a thank you note and asked if I could send him some of my stories. He kindly said yes, and over the next few months we kept in touch via email. I sent him several manuscripts, more of my illustration and one completed picture book dummy. He praised my art and sense of story arc. A few weeks later he wrote and mentioned that he kept thinking about one of my stories. He asked if he could have some time to think about it a bit more. Naturally I said yes.

Several weeks ago I attended SCBWI’s agent event and; Steve was one of the three agents speaking. I went over to say hello afterwards and waited patiently as Steve conversed with other enthusiastic writers. Steve was friendly and we chatted a bit. Once again, he complimented what I was wearing which was a T shirt with an illustration of a some characters from one of my stories.

A few days later, I was standing on the platform waiting for a F train and read his email offering to represent. I was so happy and said yes and sent him a photo had just taken with my iphone of a bunch of pigeons in front of my corner deli going wild over some cheese crackers. Instead of saying how odd and incongrous that was, he kindly wrote, “Thanks for the cool photo!” I am very honored to be able to call him my agent.

Tracey we are all happy for you and you are right Stephen is such a nice man and a wonderful agent.

jpfront%20cover

Buffalo artist, teacher and illustrator Jane Marinsky published her first children’s book with esteemed publisher David R. Godine three years ago. With a text by her daughter, Goat-Faced Girl was a great success, earning strong reviews. Godine has just released Marinsky’s second book, Just Perfect, for which she has provided both text and illustrations.

Talking Leaves on Elmwood Avenue will host a book signing for the new book on Sunday, December 2, at 1 pm. The event is free; anyone wishing to have a book signed must purchase it from Talking Leaves, as an act of respect and support for the author and the bookstore hosting the signing.

http://www.marinskyillustration.com/  Jane, Good Luck with the book!

karen belliAnother great thing I found out this week is that Karen Belli who reads by blog, took the time and submit to the 2012 Scare The Dickens Out of Us ghost story contest that she noticed on this blog and guess what? She won Honorable Mention. 

Having someone recognizes you this way can be just the boast you need to continue down that road to publication, so keep that in mind future for contests.  Congratulations! Karen.  Thanks for letting us know.

Tip: Always check out the contest before sending something in.  Each contest likes different levels of writing.  If your writing is humorous, it might not be good for a heavy literary magazine.  Take a few minutes to see.  It will save you money and rejection.

terryjenningsTerry Jennings’ book, Gopher to the Rescue, A Volcano Recovery Story (Sylvan Dell, 2012) was named Outstanding Science Tradebook for Students K-12 by the National Science Teachers’ Association and Children’s Book Council. Terry says, “I’m thrilled. I’ll even get to put little gold seals on the books.”

Here’s the Amazon link. This follows the release, earlier this month, of her other book, The Women’s Liberation Movement, 1960-1990, (Mason Crest, 2013) a wonderful history of women’s fight for equality and an explanation of why it took  forty years from the time women finally got the vote until we began fighting for equality.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Congratulations to all!

    And Tracey, I like your polka-dot shirt! LOL. Now I want to see the other outfits!

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    • thanks Tara, it’s a Marimekko, I love polka dots!

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    • Tara,

      I forgot to remind people of PiBoldMo. Is it too late for writers to jump in?

      Kathy

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  2. Wow, congrats to everyone with all this good news!

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  3. Thank you Kathy, Anita Nolan, for all your advice and support, and members of NJSCBWI for all of your contacts, support, writing tips and cameraderie!

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    • Karen,

      One for all and all for one. Love when nice people have success.

      Kathy

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  4. wow, congrats, NJ tribe! And KAREN!!!! a special WOOT WOOT for you!

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    • Mary,

      Isn’t it funny how the New Jersey tribe is so much bigger than just New Jersey? I am so happy you are part of it. Oh, want to do a post of the illustrators I have featured, showing new work. I hope you have something to send me that we haven’t seen on my blog.

      Kathy

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      • Hi Kathy,

        Yes, this time i do have new work. I’m illustrating my middle grade novel as a way to find my voice. I’ll send you something.

        Mary

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      • Happy Birthday tomorrow, Mary 🙂

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  5. Wonderful stories – congrats to all!

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    • Betteynn,

      There you are, so happy to hear from you. Hope your house didn’t have any damage from the hurricane.

      Kathy

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  6. Thanks so much for sharing these outstanding accomplishments! It is great to hear about successes…that inspires all of us to keep on writing/illustrating/trucking along. 🙂

    And I totally agree about the networking! Of course, attending conferences/dinners does put you up-front and sometimes next to an agent/editor/publisher you might have been hoping to connect with.

    But even commenting on other blogs and linking with other bloggers can bring unexpected joy…in April, I linked one of my posts to a post by a picture book author in Singapore. We communicated back and forth by comments on each other’s posts and by email. I’ve been invited to speak at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content, an international literacy conference in Singapore which takes place every May…what an amazing opportunity!

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    • That’s fantastic!

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    • Wow, Vivian!!!! 🙂

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    • Vivian,

      So true. Other peoples blogs can end up opening doors, too. I’m so glad it paid off for you in a big way. The snowball is rolling, now.

      Kathy

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  7. Super story, Tracey and congrats! I’m already planning my next outfit for the next networking opportunity…perhaps a pair of snappy shoes:) Kathy you’re so right about getting out there and networking…I’ve so enjoyed and made great contacts from the Summer Conference and Craft Weekend.

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    • Jackie,

      Snappy shoes sound like fun and a different idea. Glad you have your thinking cap on.

      Kathy

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  8. Wonderful success story…and all this good news! Congrats to one and all!

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    • Elizabeth,

      I am going to do a post where I show off new things that my Featured illustrator have done since they were on Illustrator Saturday. Hope you can send me something not seen on my blog to use.

      Thanks,

      Kathy

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  9. Thank you, Kathy, for your comments. I wanted to mention that I met Stephen Fraser at the Princeton, NJ, SCBWI conference in one of the 5 minute contact periods. I left a dummy of my newest effort and within a few days he offered to represent me. He is a lovely person and I am hopeful that good things will come of our collaboration.

    Also, I want to say that the Princeton SCBWI conference is the best event I have ever been to for aspiring writers and illustrators. I wish I lived closer so that I could attend some of your amazing dinners. All of the events were useful and well presented.

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    • Wow, Congrats to you, too, Jane 🙂 You said you “left” a dummy with Stephen AT the conference? Had he asked you to leave it with him? I’m only asking because I know the typical protocol is to send submissions AFTER the conference. I’m figuring the protocol hasn’t changed which is why I’m wondering if he just really liked what he saw AT the conference and asked for the dummy during the pitch. What happened to you is rare, but encouraging!

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      • I showed it to him at the pitch and he asked if he could hold on to it. It also helped that I entered the illustration contest. Even though I didn’t win he noticed and liked my piece a lot. It pays to enter everything you can. That’s something I have to remind myself often!

        Kathy was so helpful in signing me up for different events at the conference. I hope to attend again this coming year. Many thanks to you, Kathy!

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      • Actually, I also think this shows that if an agent or editor REALLY likes your stuff, he/she WILL actually ASK to see it. Good for you! 🙂

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    • Jane,

      Isn’t that something – two of you both getting representation with Stephen. I have met so many great writers and illustrators during my years as a Regional Advisor and I am so happy that I can say, I had a little bit of helping a lot of them make the right contacts. I hope you continue to join us in the future, because even when you make it, you still need to keep making connections and there is also the little thing of paying it forward for another person still on that road to success. Many book sales!

      Kathy

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      • You have a LOT to be proud of, Kathy 🙂 That’s for sure!

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      • Kathy, I truly, deeply, gratefully appreciate your what you do for the community -the blog, your advice, your efforts, the inspirational and motivational and just fun to read updates…I initially thought I made a mistake when I went to the Princeton SCBWI as I’d been living in Manhattan, but now I know it wasn’t a mistake at all! big thanks for everything you do for us all!

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      • Tracey,

        I am glad you joined us, too.

        Kathy

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  10. Love hearing stories how people got their agents! Thanks so much!

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  11. Thanks so much Tracey for sharing such a nice story to read about! Stephen is such a gentleman and always friendly at the SCWBI events, way to go signing with him!!!! These events and dinners are so important to have, thanks again Kathy for contributing to yet another wonderful match in the book world 🙂

    Like


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