Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An 'Evocative' Editor's Panel

Evocative: bringing strong memories, images or feelings to mind. Adjective

Continuing with my sharing of some tidbits I picked up at the Pennwriters Conference last weekend, I've selected the above adjective as the most over used word by editors and agents during the two and a half days I spent in their company. I should have kept a tally because that's the kind of thing I do when I'm a little bored.

Three editors attended the Pennwriters Conference and they graciously formed a panel for a question and answer session.

Allison Janice represented Berkley Books and works as an assistant to Executive Editor Denis Silvestro. She's interested in memoir/narrative nonfiction and women's fiction. Allison was very quiet, not jumping in much but answering questions if directed just to her. She mentioned that Berkley books likes at least a year from contract to publication. Also she mentioned that they wouldn't be put off by someone who hasn't developed an online presence before contracting but would encourage them to get busy with it.

Leonore Waldrip is an assistant editor for Harlequin MIRA. She's on the lookout for projects with compelling voices, unique hooks and strong, relatable(her word, not mine) characters. Doesn't really narrow it down. I think she meant 'evocative.' She also encourages anyone wanting to get published to create an online presence. Lenore spoke briefly about the purchase of Harlequin by Harper Collins, claiming nothing had changed for her or any of their authors.

Jason Pinter represented his own publishing house, Polis Books. He actually did most of the talking during the panel, acting confident and knowledgeable. His press needs only six months to take a book from contract to publication. He doesn't respond to queries unless interested. His company is mostly a digital publisher and is interested in most commercial fiction though he is a successful thriller author himself. He made a point to a question that the YA genre doesn't do well in digital publishing compared to many other genres. Teenagers like books with paper.

I was shocked at the small number of people attending this panel. Two years ago when I sat on an agent panel, there were over fifty writers in the audience with endless questions. Was the poor attendance because people didn't care to hear those particular editors? Or are authors looking elsewhere on their writing journeys?

This panel provided little information of value to me. Jason Pinter also spoke at our Published Penns retreat luncheon. He comes across as intelligent and energetic. He's worked in the field since graduating college and knows his way around the publishing business. I would submit something to him if I had a manuscript ready.

Have you ever submitted to any of the above publishers? Why do you think the editors' panel was so poorly attended? What question would you ask any of the above if you had the chance? Do you use the word 'evocative' in your daily conversation?


  1. Sounds like the guy with the small press was the most on top of things. Maybe people just aren't looking at publishers who need agents as much anymore?

  2. Never use the word evocative, first time I've typed it in ages lol interesting that it wasn't so attended, probably has to do with looking elsewhere

  3. I don't know the answers to your questions. I do suspect that as self-publishing grows more people will opt out of these conferences/panels.

    Now I want to use evocative aloud just to see how someone responds. Yeah, I am quirky like that.

  4. You totally made me laugh, here -especially with "I think she meant 'evocative.'" Ha! They DO love that word, don't they?

    I wonder if people have attended this sort of panel in the past, and found it as unhelpful as you did? That might be part of it.

  5. Interesting! And yeah who doesn't want evocative?? Lol pretty vague.

    Thanks for sharing the info!

  6. Could be attendance was small because those are smallish publishers. Or maybe conference goers have heard it before, and as you said you didn't pick up much new info from the panel. *shrugs*

  7. Interesting. Wish I had a crystal ball. Thanks for this info, Susan.

  8. Interesting stuff. I find it strange so few people attended the panel - there's always so much to learn!

  9. Great post. I've never submitted to any of those publishers, and I think many writers want to hear more from other writers. I think an editor's advice is very valuable.

  10. no i have never submitted to those publishers---but i do believe i use the word from time to time

  11. I think you should have made the use of the word evocative into a drinking game. Makes for much more interesting panels.

    I'm interested to see what happens when HQN is sold in September.

  12. I found it interesting that teenagers, with their love affair for all thing electronic, prefer books on paper. I wonder why?

  13. Wow, the last guy really did have a lot to say and look, it worked. Anyone reading this post who might be writing what he wants, might contact him.

    Though it does sound like you're well past most of this stuff.

    If you gave a class or spoke right now today, what would you speak about?