In honor of Geoff Rodkey, who will be leading a session of the Thalia Book Club Camp on Friday with a presentation on The Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise, I’m going to take a page from Symphony Space (where the TBBC takes place) and use this week’s post for some short topics. These aren’t long enough for full posts, but are very much what I’m dealing with these days.
- In many markets outside the US, children’s books are not sliced up as thinly as they are here. At the 82nd Street Barnes and Noble, there are different shelves for children in overlapping 4 (or so) year age groups. This differentiates kids who are just learning to read from chapter book readers from younger series to older, until we hit teenhood—at which time everything’s paranormal romance. Seriously, though, it’s made me force any number of my clients to change their characters’ ages in order to hit the slice where I feel their voices are most appropriate. And that’s the way I do it, incidentally—an author can claim that a kid is 15, but if it feels 12, we have a real discussion. Ultimately, I get more rejections from editors who tell me that the voice feels wrong for the age described than anything else, so it’s what I concentrate on most with clients.
- In the past, publishing seemed to shut down all summer—or at least slowed down considerably—because everyone went away simultaneously during July and August. In 2008, when the industry--like the rest of the US--went into crisis, nobody took a break in fear of coming back from Cape Cod to find their stuff in a milk crate on top of their desks. This year, for the first time in four or five years, I’m getting a bit of a slowdown as there are staggered vacations all over town. So rather than a full-on blackout, it’s more like rolling brownouts, with a slightly slower pace than the rest of the year. On some level this is OK—it means that we’re not all terrified that the industry is going to disappear while we’re away for a week. But it also means that editorial board meetings are a bit more intermittent around town.
- I’m getting a TON of submissions this summer, not necessarily coming from a particular place (not from a conference, not from referrals).
- We are a one-child house for the first time in ten years today, as we’ve sent both of our daughters to sleepaway camp. The remaining child, the 13 year old, is taking an historical fiction writing course at the fabulous Writopia, with teachers from the New York Historical Society. So he’s writing cartoon screenplays about Marshmallow the Dog in the Depression and Marshmallow the Dog VS the Nazis. He is the oldest teenager in the world.
There’s more, of course, and this has been a fascinating period of time for HSG. More, longer discussion next week.