Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jen Besser: What Makes Your Work Publishable

Jen Besser is VP & Editorial Director at G.P. Putnam's Sons (Penguin).

The floor is open for Q & A during this session. I'll attempt to share some of the good nuggets Jen Besser gives.

-Putnum publishes picture books to young adult. A mix of literary and commercial work.

-Rhyming vs. non-rhyming: A great deal of manuscripts are submitted with bad verse, which is a pet peeve.

-What do you see too much of coming across your desk? Too much writing to the trend. It's been angels (following vampires). Now many twisted fairy tales. Chasing trends is a very dangerous thing.

-You can't underestimate the importance of humor in middle grade.

-Blogs are useful for the unpublished writers because agents are often looking at them.

-Putnam has a teen advisor panel. Nice! 


  1. Help! Jen said that seminar attendees could submit manuscripts directly to her for the next two months. She said we'd find the appropriate address and guidelines online. However, the Putnam/Penguin site does not seem to give this info -- it just says no unsolicited manuscripts. The same thing is true for Jeanette Larson at Harcourt.

    Am I missing something? Can someone give me a tip on how to find the guidelines?

  2. Yeah, I'm having the same problem as Anonymous above me. Where do you find the guidelines?

  3. I really think it would be helpful,if each presenter would give a hardcopy of submission information.


    Quite a few of the Penguin Young Readers Group imprints _do_ accept unsolicited subs. If you went to Penguin's main site and clicked on Contact Us, you get the general Adult guidelines with a link to the PYRG.

    All happy! :)

    Will Orser

  5. Well, actually -- There are a whole bunch of different submission possibilities, and no address at all given for Jen Besser. Someone at SCBWI told me to send 3 chapters to GP Putnam's Sons at 375 Hudson Street in NY. But the instuctions for GP Putnam's says send a maximum of 10 pages for longer works. Another imprint, Puffin, says to send a maximum of 30 pages for middle grade and YA manuscripts.

    I"m going to cross my fingers and send 10 pages to Jen at Putnam's in NYC, but I'm not feeling all that confident it's the right thing to do.

    As someone commented above, if they're going to invite us to submit, they should make this a lot clearer in the sessions (or on the website)! It would take all of 15 seconds to give us clear instructions and the proper address.

  6. The SCBWI Market Survey lists Putnam's address at 345 Hudson (although website says 375). Anyone know if the 345 is a misprint?