JENNIFER ROFE is an associate agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. A graduate of the University of California at Davis, Jennifer came to agenting through teaching middle school. She considers herself an editorial agent in that she works with clients to develop and strengthen their manuscripts before presenting them to editors. Jennifer particularly enjoys multicultural literature, rebellious characters, and writers with a unique storytelling voice. One of her most recent sales is Las Mantas de Milagros (Henry Holt).
“Jennifer is everything I’d hoped for in an agent,” says Diana Greenwood. “She’s professional, has a terrific sense of humor, and responds to clients promptly. She’s incredibly patient and she knows the children’s publishing business inside and out.”
Jennifer’s advice: “Be open to revising. It is difficult for agents and editors to work with writers who are unwilling to revise.”
JOY NEAVES graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a degree in Literature and Language. Joy is a senior editor at Front Street Books, an independent publisher of books for children and young adults. Front Street welcomes fresh talent: “We believe in new voices; half our authors are previously unpublished.”
Joy has worked with authors and illustrators Andrea Cheng, Lindsay Lee Johnson, Judith Clark, Per Nilsson, Adam Osterweil, Charlotte Pomerantz, Craig Smith, Rob Shepperson, and others. The first thing she looks for in a story is a genuine voice, one that creates convincing immediacy and a compulsion to read on, to turn pages, not only from the need to find out what happens, but to hear and to see in a new way.
DEB NOYES WAYSHAK is an author and a senior editor at Candlewick Press, a house that “welcomes new talent.” Candlewick is one of the last independent publishing houses in the country that’s entirely devoted to publishing for children and young adults.
Deb works with authors Sonya Hartnett, Carolyn Marsden, Alison Croggon, Don Gallo, Stephen Mitchell, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and Printz Honor winner Carolyn Mackler, among many others. Her editorial obsession is Voice (with a capital V). Deb also loves to point out that “The word ‘act’ lurks within the word ‘character’... People behave a certain way and make the choices they do because they are a certain way. This means every plot is, or ought to be, ‘character-driven.’”
Deb’s tip: “Don’t take too literally the idea of writing what you know. If you know about love and grief, then you know enough.”
MARTHA ALDERSON, M.A., wrote the acclaimed Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple and two award-winning historical novels: Spirits at War and Parallel Lives. Known as the “Plot Queen” among her students, Martha teaches plot and scene development and historical novel writing at the University of California’s Santa Cruz Extension, at The Learning Annex, and at West Coast writers conferences. She writes a plot column for The Bulletin: Voice of the California Writers Club, and she has published in Writer’s Digest. Martha offers plot tips and consultations to writers worldwide.
Martha’s tip: “I challenge writers to experience the freedom of structure... Structure is inherently counter-intuitive for most writers, but once writers understand the structure of story, they are free to do anything they like with their writing.”