The Manuscript Academy brings you conversations with agents, editors, and writers who can help you on your publishing journey.
Plotting, Pantsing, Vampires & Working With Multiple Agents With Author/Illustrator Whitney Gardner
We are so happy to welcome author, illustrator, and graphic novelist Whitney Gardner to the podcast!
In this episode, we talk about plotting, pantsing, graphic novels, optimizing art with your editor, and much more.
We also discuss working with multiple agents, succeeding against trend, and—we couldn’t help it—how to roast, grind, and perfect your own coffee.
Whitney Gardner is an author and cartoonist who spends most of her time hidden in the Pacific Northwest wrapped in a fuzzy sweater. She brings joy to those who happen to spot her and her suspiciously large feet. Before becoming an author she worked as an art teacher and school librarian where she fell utterly and completely in love with children’s books. In the rare moment Whitney isn’t writing or drawing, she’s likely to be reading comics, knitting, or roasting coffee.
You can find her at https://www.heywhitney.com/, and find her newest work, Long Distance, here: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781534455658
From Twitter To Book Deal: How Agent Cecilia Lyra + Author Kari Nixon Created Quarantine Life
We are so happy to tell you the story of how Agent Cecilia Lyra and author Kari Nixon met, became friends—and then officially started to work together.
Kari is a science writer with the style of an English Major. Her work, Quarantine Life from Cholera to COVID-19: What Pandemics Teach Us About Parenting, Work, Life, and Communities from the 1700s to Today, tells the stories behind the story of public health, vaccines, and the history of scientific innovation.
We discuss taking agents’ editorial notes and running with them, the etiquette of interacting with agents on Twitter, and balancing academic interests with storytelling to help make them accessible to more readers. Plus, we learn Cecilia’s strategy for selling a book that needed to reach the shelves ASAP.
We love their author-agent relationship, and are sure you will, too.
Check out Kari’s work here: https://bookshop.org/books/quarantine-life-from-cholera-to-covid-19-what-pandemics-teach-us-about-parenting-work-life-and-communities-from-the-1700s-to-today-9781797131603/9781982172466
You can find Kari on Twitter at @halfsickshadows
and at www.Mknixon.xom
You can find Ceci at @ceciliaclyra on Twitter and
@cece_lyra_agent on Instagram.
First Pages With Lindsay Maple: Writing Rom Coms, Increasing Tension & Grounding Through The Senses
We are so happy to welcome author Lindsay Maple, who generously offered to fill a last-minute opening in our first pages podcast (we love the last-minute stepping up!).
Today, we’re going over her romantic comedy first page, talking about her process, her research, and the things she’s learned along the way.
You can learn more about Lindsay on Twitter (@LindsayRaeWrit1) and on her website, https://lindsaymaple.com/.
Here’s her page:
I always had a plan. Always. The empty seat next to me was definitely not in the plan. Even worse, it was a painful reminder of the emptiness I was about to face for the entirety of my Mexican vacation weekend. Not that it was really a vacation. If it were possible to cancel, I would have.
Ah, who was I kidding. I’d take any excuse to get out of work for a few extra days and trade Vancouver’s incessant winter rain for some sun.
I fidgeted with my unclasped seatbelt. Travel anxiety. I’m usually more relaxed by the time I’ve boarded. I did, after all, get there an hour early and have a beer (or two) at the airport lounge. My anxiety was still high because of the unknown factor: who would be sitting in the row with me. Knowing my luck, I’d be stuck sitting next to the chattiest person in British Columbia.
If only I had the window seat. It’s easy to ignore people from the window, watching the landscapes fly by. Unfortunately, I was stuck in the aisle as people stuffed their winter coats into the overhead compartments and jostled their luggage past.
Now began the tradition of guessing who would be sitting next to me.
An old lady approached with her ancient carpetbag, sun hat already on her head, fake pastel flowers along the brim matching her blouse. She smiled at me, and for a moment I resigned myself to having to talk about all ten of her cats for the entire five-and-a-half-hour flight ahead. She checked her printed ticket, squinted at the numbers above her head, and kept moving.
Next was a young mother traveling alone with a rambunctious little boy, who was already whining and fighting with her. As much as I love kids, I don’t love being confined in a tiny space with them for hours at a time. Sitting next to a toddler would also make my empty seat barrier moot, and zero defense against the screams of tiny ears popping or the smell of dirty diapers. A relieved sigh escaped my lips as the mom worked her way past. I hoped whoever she sat next to would be helpful.
Oh no. Worst case scenario. An older guy approached, coughing into his hands and sniffling through his red, runny nose. It was too early in the season for allergies. It would be just my luck to leave on vacation and return home with the flu. I had sanitizer in my bag, but there wasn’t enough sanitizer in the world to help me here. Luckily, he kept moving, his germs some other unfortunate person’s problem.
My breath caught in my throat at the next passenger. Tall. Dark. Handsome. All of the clichés. His black hair shined, perfectly combed atop his head. His beard faded into his sideburns and expertly trimmed along his jawline, as if it wasn’t angular enough already.
Time slowed as he checked his phone, and then looked up at me. His gorgeous, deep brown eyes were pools of hot, sweaty summers and mysterious backstory. The quirk of his mouth hinted at various talents other than just containing his perfectly straight teeth, their pristine whiteness a stark contrast against the warm color of his skin. I couldn’t help but smile, warmth flushing my cheeks.
He said words.
He pointed past me. “That’s my seat.”
Creativity, Monotasking, and Finding Focus in a Chaotic World with Author Julie Falatko
We are so happy to welcome Julie Falatko, author of Snappsy The Alligator (Did Not Ask To Be In This Book) and all-around delightful human, to talk with us about her writing process, the transition from picture books to middle grade novels—and how to maintain your ability to concentrate and do “deep work,” even when living in a year that’s a dumpster fire.
We also talk about preserving your emotional openness and sense of the world (so you can write works that appeal to young listeners), nurturing your creativity, and scheduling in purposeful analog time to keep you (and your projects) vivid in all the right ways.
The wonderful post Julie references is Word Count Dracula by agent Jennifer Laughran: http://literaticat.blogspot.com/2011/05/wordcount-dracula.html
Julie is the author of the picture books Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) and Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably) illustrated by Tim Miller, (Viking Children’s), and Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go to School (Scholastic). More books are coming! Julie lives with her family in Maine, where she maintains the Little Free Library in front of their house.
You can meet with Julie here: https://manuscriptacademy.com/julie-falatko
You Don't Have To Be Perfect To Get Published: Six Writers on Mistakes and Success
It’s easy to believe that you have to be perfect to get published. Today, we bring you proof—hilarious, painful, honest proof—that things can go horribly awry and then end up great.
Whether it’s checking in too soon (and getting called out by an agent), writing a pitch without a conflict or stakes (and then booking back-to-back agent meetings) or having a typo create havoc in a room of 200 conference attendees, these writers have been through it all—and come out better for it.
They’ve since signed with agents, received multi-book contracts—and one even went to her release party just hours after we recorded.
2:15: Sending out a book with seven points of view
7:50: Pitching a book without conflict or stakes
13:24: Checking in with an agent much too soon
19:27: Querying work to just after typing “the end”
23:06: Sending out work personalized--for another agent
27:09: Submitting work to a panel without careful proofreading
Please welcome (in order of appearance):
Suzy Vitello is the author of three YA books and an adult speculative novel, FAULTLAND. You can find her at Suzyvitello.com, @suzy_vitello on Twitter, and @suzyvitello on Instagram.
Thalia Elie is the author of HAIR WE GO! : A Curly Girls’ Adventure series. As a multi-ethnic curly girl, she wanted to encourage readers’ curiosity about differing cultures. This book celebrates the curly girl! It’s an animated escapade that travels around Africa to laugh and learn that curls color the world. Each excursion is an adventure in diversity.
Learn more about Thalia’s FREE event, June 2 at 8pm ET, here: http://evt.to/ogiaoagw
Rachel Remick has had several short stories published in literary magazines, including Rosebud, Bluestem and The First Line, as well as women's magazine Sasee. Her short story The Favorite was published in a recent edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Listen to Your Dreams. You can follow her on Twitter @tampawritergirl.
Nicole Moleti resides in West Hartford, CT and is a co-author writing under the pen name Addison McKnight. Her debut domestic suspense comes out spring of 2022 with Lake Union Publishing. Follow her @nicoleandkrista on Twitter and @addisonmcknight on Facebook.
Juliana Savia Clayton writes Young Adult novels and picture books. She’s a member of SCBWI and serves as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Indiana Chapter. When not refreshing her inbox, she enjoys reading and spending time with her husband and two cats. You can find her on Twitter @kidlit_writer
Agentless in America is a soon-to-be veterinarian that is an editor for the Heroic Fantasy e-magazine. She often melds fantasy with reality and believes that there is always room for romance. She currently lives, eats and breathes veterinary medicine, but never fails to appreciate the little things--especially if those little things are semicolons. Twitter: http://twitter.com/thedragonvet
You Look Tired: An Excruciatingly Honest Guide to New Parenthood with Author Jenny True
When blogger Jenny True wrote a post called F%^ Your Baby Advice, she never expected it would go viral. Soon the offers came in—including an advice columnist post and, then, a book deal.
Now, with You Look Tired: An Excruciatingly Honest Guide to New Parenthood coming out May 4, she’s a powerful new voice of humor, support, and parenting insights. We discuss how she wrote her book proposal, balancing real advice with really funny examples, and becoming a responsible voice in the parental community.
Order a copy of You Look Tired: An Excruciatingly Honest Guide to New Parenthood here: https://www.runningpress.com/titles/jenny-true/you-look-tired/9780762473472/
Jenny is a longtime writer and editor and nationally recognized columnist for Romper. Her debut collection, At or Near the Surface (Fourteen Hills Press, 2008), won the Michael Rubin Book Award. She has published fiction in Boulevard, the Northwest Review, the Southwest Review, Salt Hill, and other journals and has written and reported for Guernica, Salon, and Bitch, among others. Her work has been anthologized and selected for publication by Steve Almond and Michelle Richmond, and she has been the recipient of fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation and the Tomales Bay Writing by Writers Workshop, a grant from San Francisco State University, and a scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Her story "Thieves" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Jenny has a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and an M.F.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State University. She has taught creative writing at the Bay Area's Writing Salon since 2009 and at San Francisco State University and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In a former life she was a fact-checker for Sunset and Dwell and an intern for Mother Jones and Ms.
As Jenny True, the voice of her blog and the “Dear Jenny” column, she has been recognized on the sidewalk by a mom driving by in a car, and a mom on a plane.
However, I’m not keen on the interviewer’s voice - too much of a drawl