LIVE EVENT: Google Hangout with Danielle Ellison, Asja Parrish, and Patricia Riley of Spencer Hill Press

Danielle, Asja, and Patricia are looking for specific manuscripts. PLEASE DO NOT PITCH DURING THIS EVENT IF YOUR NOVEL DOES NOT MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

  • -Only YA.
  • -Realistic (Contempoary) ONLY.
  • -Completed, revised MSs ONLY.

We will be TAKING YOUR PITCHES FROM TWITTER using the hashtag #wocshp. These are TWITTER PITCHES, meaning they must be 140 characters or less.

One of the cool things about the Google Hangout is that we can stream parameters into our feeds and thus, display them for our pros.  You’ll be ON TWITTER to pitch, once again using the hashtag #wocshp. We have it set so that all tweets with that hashtag come into our Hangout, where one of us will put the pitch on the screen for the pros to read.

You’ll then get to see their honest reactions. So be prepared! You’ll get to see their faces as they read, hear their voices as they react.

Watch on YouTube, or Google+.

Submission Questions with Molly Ker Hawn

Live Blog Submission Questions with Molly Ker Hawn

Keynote from Literary Agent Peter Knapp

There is an anecdote about the late editor Ursula Nordstrom that her posthumously published collection of letters, Dear Genius, has made popular among children’s publishing professionals. Ms. Nordstrom was the editor-in-chief and publisher of Harper & Row’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls for over thirty years, from 1940 until 1973. She worked with such authors as Margaret Wise Brown, Charlotte Zolotow, Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, Crockett Johnson, and E. B. White, among many others. She was a fierce advocate for authors, a devoted writer of letters, a defender of challenging subjects and important books, and a brilliant editor. She was, quite simply, a visionary.

The anecdote goes like this: Ms. Nordstrom was at an event when someone questioned her credentials, asking what qualified her—a “nonteacher, nonparent, and noncollege graduate”—to edit and publish books for kids. Ms. Nordstrom, quick on the draw, responded, “Well, I am a former child, and I haven’t forgotten a thing.”

Doubt can come from any direction, at any time. It was true for Ursula Nordstrom, and it’s true for the rest of us, too. In creative endeavors especially it can feel like building paper boats and setting them adrift in vast seas of uncertainty. Is the plotting good enough? Is the voice strong enough? Do I actually have something to say? When striving to make something that is both entirely new and inevitably personal, it’s easy to question the validity of your claims and the credentials that allow you to make them. It is easy to both hear and be the nagging voice asking: what are your qualifications, anyways?

Have faith. You have surely, at one point or another, hesitated to put a period on a sentence, to hit save on a new story idea, to email off a first draft or to tell someone that yes, you are a writer. Doubt is good: it is your ally and your instrument. Anne Lamott, whose collection on writing Bird By Bird is immensely popular, wrote about uncertainty when addressing faith in Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith: “I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me—that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.” It is not surprising, then, that Ms. Lamott has been so successful at writing about both faith and the creative process. In describing faith’s demand for uncertainty, she could just as easily have been describing the perquisites to write, for it too demands finding darkness and slowly shedding a light on it, sentence-by-sentence—word-by-word.

So what are the credentials that entitle you to attend a conference for writers? What qualifies you to be here is that you are here. Because you don’t just hear the nagging questions—you strive to answer them.

This is the spirit of WriteOnCon.

And when all else fails—when you find yourself facing down the darkest corner of the darkest room—just remember this: you are, in fact, a former child, too.

Live Event Instructions

Okay, so this is probably the most important post you’ll read from us this year. It’s going to give you ALL the instructions for how each of our 8 live events will go. PLEASE READ every word of it. Then read it again. Then again. Then ask any questions you have. Any pitches that don’t follow the rules will be disqualified.

Live Twitter Pitch Events (schedule below):

1. These will happen on Twitter, using the hashtag #writeoncon. We encourage you to follow along using TweetChat or something similar where you can watch that specific hashtag.

2. You submit your pitches for our Live Twitter Pitch Events through a Google form, as per the instructions HERE (given on August 21. Pitches will be taken through the form until 3 PM EST on Wednesday). NOT on Twitter. NOT during the event. ANY pitches tweeted to the #writeoncon hashtag during the event will be disqualified!

3. We have a moderator for each of the Live Twitter Pitch Events. They will be logged into the @WriteOnCon account, and our pros have been instructed to ONLY respond to those pitches that come from the @WriteOnCon account.

4. We love the setup of this, because for the past 5 days, you’ve been able to submit your pitch for one of these events, whether or not you’ll be able to attend at their scheduled time. If your pitch is selected and you’re not online, never fear! We will make a list of those pitches that got through for each Pitch Event and put it in our forum. Then you can check the #writeoncon hashtag stream for the feedback on yours — anytime!


Live Twitter Pitch Events:

Tuesday, August 26

Noon EST: with literary agent Katie Reed (taking MG/YA/NA and women’s fiction pitches)

2 PM EST: with literary agent Amy Stern (taking PB illustrators, MG, YA, and SFF pitches)


Wednesday, August 27

10 AM EST: with literary agent Annie Berger (taking realistic fiction and fantasy pitches)

1 PM EST: with literary agent Carlie Webber (taking all genres of MG and YA except for epic/high fantasy)

3 PM EST: with literary agent Victoria Marini (genres TBA)


So that’s 5 hours of pitch feedback! Even if yours doesn’t get selected, think of how much you can learn!!


Google Hangout Pitch Events:

We have one Google Hangout Pitch Event happening this year, with three editors from Spencer Hill Press. This event will take place on Tuesday night at 9 PM EST. We will broadcast this live Hangout via our website and YouTube.

1. For this event ONLY, you will submit your pitches live via twitter with the special hashtag #wocshp (WriteOnCon Spencer Hill Press). ONLY pitches with this hashtag will make it into our queue of pitches for the event. It will run similarly to the one SHP did last year. Check that out here.

2. ONLY YA realistic contemporary pitches. NO exceptions. (Well, you can tweet it, but we won’t put it up in the Hangout.)

3. Even if you can’t attend, if you can tweet, you can participate. The video will be available for you and your posterity. So hopefully you can get to a phone or tablet or computer to tweet your pitch with the appropriate hashtag.


Live Chats:

We have two live text chats this year, with industry professionals. These will be embedded in our website on THIS PAGE, and the transcript will be posted later and be available online for as long as this site is up.

Tuesday, August 26

4 PM EST: with literary agent Molly Ker Hawn on the submission process

Wednesday, August 27

9 PM EST: with literary agent Jenny Bent and editor Andrew Harwell on the general publishing industry


1. We will take questions during these events, using Twitter. You will tweet your question using the hashtag #writeoncon, and we will select the ones we think will have the widest audience appeal. (That’s a hint not to ask too personal and/or specific questions!)

2. This is a new chatting program, where our users can contribute to the chat. We have never done this before–we have always moderated the comments. But this year, we’d love to have you chat with each other for the few minutes before the chat starts.

BUT — once the chat starts, we’re going to ask you to keep your comments to yourself. The questions you have should go through the Twitter #writeoncon hashtag stream.

IF — we feel like you’re inserting too many comments during the chat, we do have the power to delete them and/or ban you from commenting in the chat. Please don’t make us do that!

3. Transcript available afterward if you can’t attend the event live.


And that’s it! Those are our 8 events, and we’re hoping to address hundreds of pitches, learn a lot about the publishing industry, and give you the best WriteOnCon yet!



WriteOnCon is an Online Children’s Writers Conference created by writers, for writers.