Friday, August 4, 2023

Editor & Agents Panel: Sara Sargent

Topic: The Current State of the Children's Publishing Industry

Sara Sargent is Senior Executive Editor at Random House Children's Books. Sara primarily acquires picture books, but also does some middle grade and young adult, both fiction and nonfiction. She’s been in the industry for about 14 years. 

Laurent asks if the shift of editors becoming agents has changed anything. Sara acknowledges there's a higher volume of work coming in now, but she offers an important and helpful note. Sara believes agents are valuable because a huge role they play is taking time to talk to editors. They are taking the time to call or see editors in person and know what they are looking for in order to expertly direct your manuscripts to the right editors. 

Laurent asks about the current issue of book banning. Sara shares that book banning creates an element of grief. Books bring kids the experience of not feeling alone in whatever there experience is. As editors, to the best of their ability, the intent is to continue to do what they have always done and bring books to kids. Book banning has not impacted any decisions to publish a book. They will continue to acquire books they believe are important and that  kids need. 

Myth busters! There are have been some great one shared by the panelists, and Sara shares a fantastic one. That there is a preference to find author/illustrators and that it's disqualifying to only be a writer. They absolutely acquire picture book text from writers who don't also illustrate. And, as is typical for the industry, it is not up to you to find an illustrator for your work. (This is a common misconception!)

Laurent asks the panelists to share one piece of advice a mentor has shared. One boss told Sara, "I want you to publish books that warm the cockles of your heart." It has stuck with her, and has stayed with her. It's about doing what she loves. Being guided by what lights her from within. 

Such great information was shared in during this panel. If you want to view this session to hear the full content, along with the rest of the conference, register at Replays of the conferences will be available until September 10, 2023. 

No comments:

Post a Comment