2022 November Fall Conference                          

Frances Gilbert started her career in children’s books when she was still a child, working in the children’s department of her town library throughout high school. After graduating from university with a M.A. in English, Frances’s first job in publishing was as a Book Club Editor at Scholastic Canada in Toronto. She moved to New York in 2000 to set up a children’s editorial division at Sterling Publishing, where she stayed till 2012. Frances then moved to Random House Children’s Books, where she is VP, Editor-in-Chief of Doubleday Books for Young Readers.

Titles she has acquired and edited include the New York Times bestseller The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine by Mark Twain, Philip Stead and Erin Stead; I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty and Mike Boldt; the Happy Hair series by Mechal Renee Roe, Bunny’s Book Club by Annie Silvestro and Tatjana Mai-Wyss; and Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer and Dave Mottram.

In addition to editing Children’s books, Frances also writes them. She is the author of the picture books Go, Girls, Go!; Too Much Slime!; and I Will Always Be Your Bunny; the Step Into Reading Titles I Love Pink!, I love My Tutu!, I Love My Grandma!, I love Cake! and I Love My Teacher!; and an abridgment of The Secret Garden (Little Golden Books).

You can follow Frances on Twitter @GoGirlsGoBooks, where she posts about children’s writing and editing.                     

Rachel Orr is celebrating her sixteenth year at Prospect Agency, where she represents both authors and illustrators in projects ranging from picture books through YA. She previously worked for eight rewarding years at HarperCollins Children’s Books and uses those editorial skills to help prepare her clients’ work for submission.

Her clients include Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen and Leeza Hernandez (ROXIE LOVES ADVENTURE), Cathy Carr (365 DAYS TO ALASKA), Cori Doerrfeld (THE RABBIT LISTENED), Della Ross Ferreri (HUGGLE WUGGLE, BEDTIME SNUGGLE) and Robyn Wall (MY FIRST BOOK OF BEARDS and MY FIRST BOOK OF TATTOOS). Rachel lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, with her husband and two children, where she enjoys dancing, running and reading, or course.

Workshop title: STURDY BOOKENDS: Crafting Memorable Beginnings and Endings

A strong beginning will hook the right reader, and a solid ending will allow the book to linger long after the story is over. Together, we’ll look at a wide range of beginnings and endings from both picture books and novels—analyzing why they succeed, or why they fail. Writers will also have the opportunity to practice employing these techniques to their own manuscripts, thinking about where the story really begins (and ends), and playing around with strengthening flat beginnings and ending through exercises focusing on voice.

Our third presenter will be Talia Benamy, editor at Philomel Books. Her bio and workshop will be posted soon.

Our Q & A Panel discussion will consist of our faculty. Here’s your chance to ask the agent questions on acquisitions, contracts, first readers, do they share submissions, royalties – how are royalties split if there are multiple authors, if the client and agent part ways – what happens to future royalties and commissions, etc.

Ask the editor questions on submissions, do they operate independently or does the publisher make the final decision, how do they feel about self-published projects, can you get your rights back from a publisher, what happens if that editor leaves in the middle of your acquisition, etc.

Remember, there are no stupid questions only unanswered ones.