Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SCBWI TEAM BLOG Pre-Conference Interview: Ginger Clark

How can it be that the SCBWI summer conference is only a few short weeks away? Is it that the weather has been so cold it doesn’t seem possible that the end up July could be that close? Okay, I suppose that only goes for those of us in the Pacific Northwest. But still! How excited are you to be there? Or…OR are you still deciding? There’s still time. You don’t want to miss the many fab agents attending and critiquing, like Ginger Clark.

From her conference bio: Ginger Clark has been a literary agent with Curtis Brown LTD since 2005. She represents science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, literary horror, and young adult and middle grade fiction. In addition to representing her own clients, she also represents British rights for the agency’s children’s list. She attends the Bologna and Frankfurt Book Fairs every year. Previously, she worked at Writers House for six years as an assistant literary agent. Her first job in publishing was as an editorial assistant at Tor Books. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and a member of the Contracts Committee of the AAR. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

You can follow Ginger on Twitter HERE.

Welcome, Ginger!!!

Jolie: Is this your first time on faculty at the SCBWI summer conference?

Ginger: Yes, first time on the faculty for the LA conference. I'm incredibly excited to be on it. What an amazing group of writers and professionals! I'm honored to be going. This will also be my first trip to California--I know, very late in my life to have never visited our most populous state.

Jolie: Well, we might just have to come up with some sort of Cali initiation for you!

It’s quite different from the New York conference. What are you most looking forward to? And, have you heard all about the poolside gala?

Ginger: I am looking forward to the critique sessions I'm doing with authors--because I've never done this before at a writers conference. I've never come with extensive comments ahead of time for writers, and I like doing something new. I'm also looking forward to having my own private "lanai" outside my hotel room, because the Golden Girls had a lanai, and I've always wanted one. And I know there's a poolside gala, but I don't know w hat to expect--will there be tiki torches? A swim up bar? Will someone get drunk and fall in the pool? Will there be synchronized swimming? Do tell.

Jolie: I hope your lanai overlooks the pool. As far as the poolside gala, just about anything could happen. AND, there has been synchronized swimming. I have pictures to prove it. I can guarantee there will be costumes galore, fun food and drinks, and a whole lot of dancing (so bring your dancing shoes).

Attendees will have several opportunities to hear from you during the conference. One of your sessions is titled How to Approach Agents Without Scaring Them Off (LOVE THAT!). Can you tell us a little bit about it without giving too much away? Perhaps a common offense.

Ginger: A common offense would be probably approaching agents and editors at writers conferences at inappropriate times. Examples that have happened to me and people I know would be approaching an agent while they are on the treadmill in the fitness room; while they are in the pool; while they are soaking wet having come from the pool and wearing sweatpants (that's from my own experience); while they are washing their hands having used the ladies room (also my own experience); and my favorite, the famous "the editor found a query letter waiting on her hotel pillow when she checked into her room" story. That's how you scare an agent off--approach at times we consider "private."

Jolie: Okay, I’ve never heard the query-on-the-pillow story.

This one’s a two-parter: What’s one piece of advice you have for writers who are having consultations? And, have you ever discovered a client at an SCBWI conference?

Ginger: Switch your brain into "business" mode and pretend you are talking about a book that isn't yours. You'll find it a little easier to absorb criticism and commentary. And no, I don't think I have, but I very, very much hope to.

Jolie: Great advice, Ginger. Thank you so much for sharing with us. We can’t wait to see you in LA!


Martha Brockenbrough said...

Great interview, Jolie!

Kiki Hamilton said...

Great interview Jolie and Ginger - thanks! I always love getting an insight into how editors approach these conferences. I'm sorry I'm going to miss LA!

Colleen Ryckert Cook said...

Great advice about switching brain into business mode to talk about your ms as if someone else wrote it. Looking forward to LA!

Martina Boone said...

Jolie, thanks for the terrific interview. I laughed at the part where she conveys inappropriate times to approach an agent/editor. Never heard the query on the pillow before! Hello, stalker much? :)


Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for the great interview! Now I wish I were going to the conference even more than I did before. I love some of Ginger Clark's clients, like Patricia Wrede. I mean, who comes up with titles like THE ENCHANTED CHOCOLATE POT? And her books are so funny!

kah said...

I'll be at RWA that weekend so I'm bummed I'll miss SCBWI. But I've met Ginger in person at another conference and she's AWESOME.

Hope everyone has a wonderful time in CA! :)

Michele Shaw said...

Pretending like you're talking about another person's book is one of the best ideas I've ever heard. Thanks!

Lisa Gail Green said...

Oh man! You mean I can't stalk the editors?? Seriously though, thanks for the great interview!

Molly Hall said...

Great interview. Now, thanks to Jolie's description, I'm even more excited for the poolside gala! Though I didn't plan a costume... oh well, there's still time! ; )

Cuppa Jolie said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Molly...I LOVE the poolside gala. And people do come costumed, from heavily to at least a nod to the theme. Start thinking Heart and Soul. Ah, that reminds me...

Caz Williams said...

Oh my gosh. How far will people go? It all sounds very embarrassing. Oh! By the way, I am talking about the agent-stalking business, not the poolside gala!!!
My bags are semi-packed for California and the SCBWI conference. I leave Australia in exactly one week - excitement!! I am stumped about the costume, but if all else fails I have the perfect red frock.