Sunday, 1 July 2012

What is the World Publishing? Key note address: Jill Corcoran, US Literary Agent

SCBWI's Roving Reporter, Lynda Calder reports on the Q&A session after Jill Corcoran's Key Note speech....

At the NSW Wrters' Centre
Saturday 30th June 2012

Welcome from:
Chair of the Board of NSW Writer's Centre
Susanne Gervay OAM

What is the World Publishing? Key note address: Jill Corcoran, US Literary Agent

Jill Corcoran is a USA Literary agent, author and poet with Herman Agency New York representing Picture Books, Chapter Book, Middle Grade and Young Adult authors. The Herman Agency also represents illustrators. She has an English degree from Stanford University and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from The University of Chicago and also has her own marketing company working on projects for Leo Burnett Advertising, Mattel, LA Gear.

Susanne Gervay, Conference and Festival Convenor introduced Jill Corcoran to the historic NS Writers Centre –

The Centre was full to overflowing with authors, illustrators and publishers as Jill shed light of the dynamic USA and world market for her relevant and entertaining talk.

See Jill’s blog for insights into publishing.

Q&A ....

How is Sci-fi faring these days?
Kind of comes out of dystopia. They are looking for it, if it is different. If you have the right one, it could be fantastic. Urban fantasy is good.

How hard to publish a book in USA set in Australia?
There is a book set in France that has done well in the USA. Some editors are looking for books set elsewhere so they can learn about other places.

What about the UK?
Brazil and Germany are booming. Not so much Greece.
Tough year in the UK with many staff changes. New publishers and people are looking to buy so things are looking settled, now. Domestic authors are preferred but Middle Grade projects sought after. YA looking for original. Books that are too American being turned down. UK publishers want to see Australian books 1 year before Australian publishers so they can get it here in according to the 14 day law. Australian and NZ sales tend to outstrip UK sales. USA and Australia have more in common than Australia and the UK.

USA Agents accept Australian submissions?
Yes, they do. It doesn’t matter.

Australian Illustrators?
Jill was blown away by the Australian Illustrators and she is sure many will get contracts.

Any interesting Historical fiction in YA?
Hooks - something that hooks into curriculum will do well. Mention all the hooks in query letters. It should still read as a great novel but then be filled with historical knowledge (not teaching it, though).

Australian Writers sending work to USA - contact with Australian publishers?
The world is smaller now, so Jill can contact anyone. But first she will go to USA publishers and the copyright issues in Australia have highlighted she needs to have contacts here simultaneously. Jill works though Rights Managers. It's not an issue that Australian's can tour in the USA but most aren't getting paid tours.

Enhance e-books and trans-media (multi-platform e.g. "39 Clues") books?
The rights for these are generally pulled out. Publishers aren't doing a lot with them, now, because they are not sure how to market them. Keep as many rights as you can but if someone wants to make an App, sell it and take it to your publisher. Everyone is looking at "sell through" and "discoverability" - the big words at the moment.

She wishes more writers had a business focus as well, rather than just selling their art.

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