Week of January 27, 2013—Wisdom from FL SCBWI, Miami
Monday, January 28—Wise Words from Rubin Pfeffer
Rubin Pfeffer from East West Literary Agency was one of the featured faculty members at the FL SCBWI Winter Workshop. Rubin is my agent, so I always enjoy hearing him speak, spending time picking his brain, and hearing his latest insights about children’s publishing. Throughout the weekend, Rubin emphasized four words that stuck out to me. Today I'll share those words and my reflections on each.
RELATIONSHIPS—a connection, association, or involvement
Throughout the weekend, Rubin and others talked about the importance of relationships. That includes the relationships writers form with agents and editors they meet and eventually work with, the relationships agents have with editors, the relationship between author and illustrator (although we usually don’t meet or correspond with one another, we still have a working relationship), and so on. Our goal is to build relationships that are lasting and productive.
SYNERGY—the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions
The work between writer, agent, editor, art director, and illustrator takes synergy. Each component of the process adds more and more to what ends up being a picture book. We have to accept, embrace, and celebrate the synergy that goes into our work.
CIRCUITOUS— roundabout; not direct: a circuitous route
Many things in the writing and publishing process take a circuitous route. An editor mentions a topic that reminds you of a manuscript you put away years ago. A rejection establishes a relationship that eventually leads to a book deal. A project is delayed and in the meantime the perfect illustrator becomes available. Circuitous events are part of the daily life of a picture book author. While these round-about journeys may be frustrating, they can also be extremely rewarding when the path finally leads to publication.
REALISTIC—interested in, concerned with, or based on what is real or practical
Rubin spoke during the weekend about writers being realistic. I took away that he meant we have to be realistic about the work writing requires, be realistic about taking our craft seriously, be realistic about our chances of getting published, be realistic about whether writing will be a career or not, be realistic about the market and its demands, be realistic about the changes coming in publishing, and so on.