I am happy to share my notes from this superb panel discussion "The Word Lover's Publishing Panel," held Feb. 10, 2016 at NYU Bookstore; moderated by Professor Susan Shapiro:
What Editors & Agents Are Looking For
New York Times - Opinion
· A topic on current event or policy
· First person essay as an opinion piece
· Good, reliable story-teller
· A finished piece. Cannot respond to pitches.
· 1,000 words
Beacon Press Book (non-fiction)
· Proposal should include: overview of kind of book; an outline with brief paragraphs on each chapter; marketing section naming similar books that were successful, how this book is similar and how it is different; sample chapters - upto 3; author bio; and why you are qualified to write this book.
· Open to proposals for books on media and technology, race, class, women’s issues, crime and health.
· Make sure your substance is appropriate to the kind of book you are proposing.
· Op-eds on pop culture
· Prefer pitch. Will take full articles.
FSG’s Books for Young Readers
· Contact through an agent. Are open to direct solicitation as well.
· On fiction: if the writer is known, an unfinished novel is acceptable. Otherwise one runs the risk of not knowing what the ending is. Writing the ending is hard, and often after writing the ending, authors go back and revise the work to make it fit the ending, and that changes the script the publisher had accepted.
· On non-fiction: Submitting the proposal is the way to go. The editor then gets to help the author finish it.
· Wants to see the author as a business partner as well. Authors should present themselves as one. Editor needs to know that the author has smart thoughts of how it will sell.
· Asking for submissions for a Jewish and feminist audience, or content with a Jewish element. Writers of all faiths are welcome to submit.
· For fiction: submit the entire piece
What An Agent is Looking For
Janklow & Nesbit
· Fiction & Non-Fiction
· Author should have finished the book
· Can sell the book based on proposal
· A featured piece can lead to a book
Moderated by: Professor Susan Shapiro, author of WHAT'S NEVER SAID
NY Times editor Peter Catapano, author of The Stone Reader
Beacon Press book editor Rakia Clark
Janklow & Nesbit literary agent Kirby Kim
Lilith fiction editor Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of The House on Primrose Pond
Joy Peskin, editorial director of FSG’s Books for Young Readers
Rollingstone.com deputy editor Jerry Portwood
Putnam VP & executive editor Mark Tavani