Every other week the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency hosts small groups of writers to meet one on one with an editor from a major New York publishing house. We call it Meet The Editor Evenings
because that’s exactly what you’ll do. Join four to seven writers in a small conference room at the agency to hear your work individually critiqued by a top children’s book or adult fiction editor. Author/illustrators, children’s writers, tweens and teen writers, as well as women’s fiction writers, all have a rare chance to get their work in front of an editor. These intimate evenings provide a venue to have ten pages of your work reviewed (5 pages from two manuscripts or ten pages from one), after which you have a chance to make suggested revisions and then submit your manuscript to the editor for a complete review. There’s no guarantee that an editor will accept your final manuscript, but you will learn something about the way editors approach an author’s work and what it takes to move your book from your desk to an editor’s office. You’ll also see your work from the editor’s point of view and gain insight into improving your writing. Because each evening features a different editor from a wide variety of houses, you’ll have many opportunities to choose the editor and publishing house that could be a good fit for your book. Writers can attend more than one evening, which is a great way to hear different views of your work.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Andrea Spooner oversees the editorial development of the core Little, Brown Books for Young Readers hardcover and paperback list and acquires and edits a wide range of titles, including picture books, middle-grade chapter books, and young adult fiction. Her special interests include literary fiction, books with boy appeal, mystery and supernatural themes, fantasy, historical fiction, humor, and inspirational/gently religious themes. Some of her recent publications include Maximum Ride by James Patterson, The Foretelling by Alice Hoffman, Atherton by Patrick Carman, Wiley & Grampa’s Creature Features by Kirk Scroggs, and The Gulps Go Green by Rosemary Wells and Marc Brown. A graduate of the Radcliffe Publishing Course, Andrea joined Little, Brown in 2003 after having worked in publishing for ten years at Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, William Morrow & Company, and North-South Books.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Alvina Ling acquires children’s books for all ages (baby-teen), with a particular interest in books with multicultural themes, especially Asian and Latino. She is interested in genre and contemporary middle grade and young adult literary fiction and is a a fan of beautiful and/or funky picture books with unique illustrations styles, as well as trade nonfiction books. Some of her recent acquisitions include Eggs by Jerry Spinelli, Firegirl by Tony Abbott, In the Break by Jack Lopez, Year of the Dog by Grace Lin, Sound of Colors by Jimmy Liao, Flight of the Dodo by Peter Brown, and Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen Headley (the latter three were all Border’s Original Voices nominees). Before starting at Little, Brown in 1999, Alvina was a bookseller at Barnes & Noble, an intern at the Horn Book, and a life-long lover of children’s books. She also works in the children’s room of the Bronx Library Center (a branch of the NYPL) two Saturdays a month.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Connie Hsu has edited a wide range of books, from novelty to YA. She’s currently focusing on acquiring new licenses and novelty projects, picture books, early middle grade, and select illustrated YA. Her acquisitions include Happyface (fully illustrated YA), The Adventures of Nanny Piggins (hilarious middle grade), and a Booker T. Washington picture book to be illustrated by award-winning artist Bryan Collier. Her list includes works by Samantha Berger, Elise Broach, Rachael Hale, Kathy Jakobsen, Jim McMullan, Scott Menchin, Dan Santat, Karma Wilson, and Salina Yoon.
HarperCollins Children’s Books
Maria Modugno joined HarperCollins Children’s books seven years ago as a Vice President and Editorial Director specializing in picture books. She has edited a number of New York Times bestsellers, including Russell the Sheep, Splat the Cat, and Love, Splat by Rob Scotton, Bad Dog, Marley, A Very Marley Christmas, and Marley Goes to School by John Grogan, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey, Pinkalicious, Purplicious, and Goldilicious by Victoria Kann, and Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthan, illustrated by Jane Dyer.
Previously she worked at Little, Brown and Company in Boston with such luminaries as Marc Brown, David McPhail, and developed the Toot and Puddle titles by Holly Hobbie. She began her career in marketing at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in New York and San Diego.
“The first things I look for in a picture book manuscript are great writing, an engaging story, and appealing characters. I prefer to edit books that entertain kids instead of teaching them a lesson. I want kids to love reading, not dread it.”
Delacorte Press (Random House) Books for Young Readers
Our focus at Delacorte is almost exclusively on novels for ages 8-12 and 12 & up. To give you a sense of my taste, which often consists of books I would have loved as a 13-year-old, novels I’ve edited include The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants novels by Ann Brashares and her latest, 3 Willows; The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray; and the Magic in Manhattan books by Sarah Mlynowski. I edit plenty of books that aren’t part of series too, including these upcoming novels: Camille McPhee Fell Under The Bus by Kristen Tracy; Matisse on the Loose by Georgia Bragg; I So Don’t Do Mysteries by Barrie Summy; and Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell. I’m always looking for strong voices, great stories, and characters to care about. Literary fiction, quirky romance/paranormal, and humor are favorites. No nonfiction, no picture books, no easy-to-reads.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Books
Samantha McFerrin is an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books where she acquires and edits picture books and middle grade and young adult fiction. At the moment, she’s working hard to grow her fiction list. Some subjects that grab her attention are unusual love stories, authentic urban fiction, stories for boys (though not really sport stories), mysteries, magical realism, and stories told from a unique cultural perspective. She is the editor of the Geisel Honor book Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie; the Pura Belpre Illustrator Award winner Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by Yuyi Morales; and the Charlotte Zolotow Honor book In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck, illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Samantha previously worked as a children’s book editor for Chronicle Books in San Francisco.
Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Michelle H. Nagler is the editorial director of Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, where she is delighted to oversee the diverse and distinctive list that ranges from picture books to teen. An active acquisitions editor as well, she has a special fondness for commercial YA and middle-grade fiction, and is a passionate advocate for books that truly make children want to read. Some current projects include the paranormal teen breakout novel Need by Carrie Jones; The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry, a magical middle-grade by a lyrical new voice (also an IndieBound Top Ten Pick); the nonfiction teen style brand GirlForce; and a series of contemporary tween novels by Leslie Margolis that began with Boys Are Dogs. Michelle recently developed a crash picture book about the US Civil Rights Movement called Our Children Can Soar, featuring art from thirteen of today’s premier illustrators.
Previously, she helped establish the commercial teen list at Simon Pulse and launched debut authors Kristen Tracy, Lauren Barnholdt, and Allison van Diepen, as well as established bestselling authors, including R.L. Stine, Francine Pascal, and Robin Wasserman. She began her career at Scholastic, editing bestselling original paperback series and licensed properties.
Penguin/Putnam Books for Young Readers
Standout literary middle grade – contemporary, light fantasy, or historical with a real hook. Rita Williams-Garcia or Savvy are authors/titles that come to mind. Also standout commercial YA – E. Lockhart’s The Boyfriend List, something John Green- or Sara Dessen-like. I’d love boy YA as well. Marcelo and the Real World was a recent fave of mine. Contemporary paranormal with engaging and special writing are also things I’m looking for.
Disney-Hyperion Books for Children
Abby Ranger works on a broad range of genres and formats, from picture books through middle grade and young adult fiction. Previously, she was at Scholastic Press, a hardcover imprint of Scholastic Inc., where she had the good fortune to edit Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, and to assist on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, among other books.
At Disney-Hyperion, Abby is looking to acquire original and broadly accessible picture books, as well as contemporary chapter books and middle-grade novels (series and stand-alone titles) with distinctive voices and fresh perspectives. Debut YA novels are also of interest, especially ones with smart premises, strong emotion conveyed with a light touch, and riveting storytelling.
Before starting her career in publishing, Abby earned a degree from Yale University and had jobs as a journalist, a set designer, and a scenic painter. She grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, and now lives in Brooklyn.
The cost for one Meet The Editor Evening is $125. Meet The Editor Evenings are kept to no more than seven writers at a time to ensure that every attendee gets personal attention. For a list of upcoming evenings and to sign up for a Meet The Editor Evening, please click here, and Stacy Mozer, our workshop coordinator, will email you with details and answer any questions that you may have.