Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer 2011 SCBWI Pre-Conference Interview: Alessandra Balzer

The SCBWI Summer Conference in LA is just around the corner, and to give you more behind the scenes action, Team Blog is conducting pre-conference interviews. Today I'm here with Alessandra Balzer:

Alessandra Balzer is the Vice President, Co-Publisher of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books. She edits everything from picture books to novels for teens. Among the authors and illustrators she is fortunate enough to work with are Candace Bushnell, Doreen Cronin, Stephanie Hemphill, Gordon Korman, Patty McCormick, Bob Shea, and Mo Willems. Recent projects include the #1 New York Times bestseller Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion, the National Indie bestseller The Trouble with Chickens: A JJ Tully Mystery, and the New York Times bestselling Carrie Diaries series. (From SCBWI's website)

I got a chance to interview Alessandra Balzer about what you can expect from this summer's conference:

1.) What do you think authors can learn from editors when attending a SCBWI conference?

I think they can get terrific, straightforward feedback about the publishing and the editorial process. I also love hearing people’s stories about their experiences or their career paths—it can be so inspiring. Authors should come prepared with lots of questions. They’ll also learn about editors’ tastes and what they are looking for.

2.) What will be the focus of your workshop, and do you think it’s best suited for published or aspiring authors?

My workshop will reveal the key secret to publishing that has been protected by editors for centuries...kidding! Sadly there is no one secret. I’m going to debunk some myths that authors have probably heard about the publishing process and be very honest about the process that editors go through in-house for acquisition, and what my particular imprint (Balzer + Bray) is looking for. I’ll also leave lots of time for questions--that’s often the most useful part for writers. It’s probably best suited for aspiring writers and published writers who are just starting out.

3.) Is there any advice you can give writers on how to reach out to editors or agents they’ve met through SCBWI?

Most editors work in publishing houses that do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. But usually the presenters will be willing to accept submissions from attendees for a short period of time. They will normally detail that in their presentation and if they do not, authors should ask. I’m sure Lin, Sara, or Kim will have a good idea if you can’t find it out through your session.

So there you have it! Yet another reason to attend this year's conference!! You can check out more interviews and insights at the conference home page. Hope to see you this summer!!!

-Suzanne

1 comment:

Candie Leigh said...

Thanks for the fantastic interview Alessandra and Suzanne.

I can't wait to meet you both at the SCBWI conference!