Sunday, February 12, 2017

Panel: The Current Landscape for Children's Literature: Carrie Howland

Carrie Howland worked an an agent at Empire Literary since 2016, after eleven years at Donadio & Olson, Inc. She represents young adult and middle grade, as well as the occasional picture book.

During a lively discussion, Howland spoke about change within the industry over the past decade or so, particularly with how agents can use various social networking platforms to connect with new talent—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. She stressed the importance of authors having a social networking presence, and even branding themselves across those networks. An idea she offered is that authors use a recognizable banner across various social networking platforms—that way industry professionals and readers can recognize a writer's brand.

In terms of branding as it relates to writing, Howland advises having conversations early on in the author-agent relationship, so to avoid confusion later on. Some writers will only want to write for middle grade—that will be their brand. Other writers will want to experiment with various genre. Your agent can help you to help your readers know who you are—your brand.

On the question about what to write, Howland advises authors to write what they want to write. And not to chase trends, because everything will change so quickly. At one time, every editor asked for contemporary YA. Now those same editors are looking at the next hot thing.

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