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Today I’m thrilled to have Jill Corcoran here to share about her new A Path to Publishing online interactive workshops. Jill is an agent at Herman Agency and represents primarily middle grade and YA authors as well as select chapter book and picture book authors.

She is also the anthologist of DARE TO DREAM…CHANGE THE WORLD, Kane Miller Books, winner of the 2013 International Reading Association 2013 Notable Books for a Global Society Award as well as a 2013 California Reading Association’s Eureka! Nonfiction Children’s Honor.

Hi Jill. Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about your new A Path to Publishing online interactive workshops and why you started this.

I started A Path to Publishing to give authors the ability to talk directly to editors, literary agents, film/tv agents, art directors, sales, marketing and publicity directors, and more.

A Path to Publishing is powered by an innovative interactive video chat platform that allows participants to not only watch presentations but also participate with faculty directly--as though everyone is in the same room. (think Skype on steroids!) Plus, ALL WORKSHOPS ARE LIMITED TO 20-23 PARTICIPANTS.

Participants can use a phone, ipad, tablet or computer with a camera and microphone if they would like to participate. If they do not have a camera or microphone, they can still watch and hear the workshop, but we can't see or hear them.

With A Path to Publishing, participants ask questions of the faculty live ... from the comfort of their own home. It's an efficient, affordable way to learn, make connections, and progress down the path to publication.

2. That sounds like a fantastic idea for those of us who can’t afford to go to conferences to meet these agents and publishers. What are some of the workshops you have planned over the next few months and who will be the presenters?

1. Friday April 19, 2013 2-3:30 EST Agent Sarah Davies: How to Write a Great Thriller (Or Any Exciting Story)
2. Friday, April 19th 8-9:30 EST POETRY FRIDAY FIESTA with Ellen Hopkins, Jill Corcoran & Joyce Lee Wong
4. May 8, 2013 8:30-10:30 pm EST EDITORS TURNED AGENTS-How I approach a new ms to ready for market with Sarah Davies/Greenhouse Literary + Alexandra Penfold/Upstart Crow Literary
Penguin/Nancy Paulsen + Macmillan/Christy Ottaviano + Random House/Wendy Lamb
6. May 6, 13 & 20 8:30-10:30pm EST or May 7, 14 & 21 12-2pm EST
You can do 1, 2 or all 3!

3. Your workshops sound fantastic. And one of our followers attended two of your prior workshops and told me they were really helpful. Share a bit about the faculty for A Path to Publishing and how you picked them.

A PATH TO PUBLISHING faculty have so far included editors and marketers from Hyperion-Disney, HarperCollins, Penguin, Random House, and Macmillan as well as Agents from the best children’s agencies. I chose editors and agents that are at the top of the profession, are good teachers and who are generous in spirit.

4. Who do you think can benefit from these workshops and why?

No matter where someone is in their publishing career, this program provides them access to top industry professionals. They get immediate insight and answers to all their questions, plus reliable advice they can act on immediately to take their career to the next level.

5. Your website says that the workshops will be interactive and that attendees will be able to submit to the presenters after the workshop. How does that work?

I have purchased an amazing technology that allows allows 25 people to video chat with no lag time in picture nor audio. It is like we are all in the same room! This is an intimate workshop where everyone has the chance, if they would like, to ask questions, get clarification, and really get to know the faculty.

For publishers that are allowed to receive unsolicited ms (some publishers are simply not allowed to receive any subs except from agents), attending an A PATH TO PUBLISHING workshops is like a free pass that gets you in the door.

6. That would be amazing to attend an online workshop and feel you’re in the same room as the presenters. I want to ask you a few questions about your role as an agent. You represent picture book, middle grade, and YA authors. What genres do you represent and what are you looking for in submissions?

I rep Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult and Crossover Young Adult (New Adult)

I want books, actually characters, that have legs. If you haven't heard the term "has legs" that is marketing shorthand to mean the characters can live outside the confines of your book. They can spark a series, be transformed to the big or small screen (Herman Agency is based in NYC but I live in LA and have close ties to the Film and TV industry.), possibly go outside the library/bookstore market to gift stores, grocery stores, etc, become a genre leader rather than just another book competing in a market where discoverability is becoming the most challenging obstacle to sales and sadly some of the best writing is not rising to the top of readers' buy lists.

All books must have excellent commercial plus literary writing. What I mean by this is an utter command of the language that is accessible to most readers--not just the brainy kids. The concept must be fresh, organic, break-through. Just another one is not going to cut it. Yes, lots of copycat books make the hit list, but I am an agent, a talent scout. I am not looking to sell copycats. I am looking to discover the next big thing.

I want complexity of character, multi-level plot and theme, believability even in the fantastic, and pacing that blinds me to time and space.

I am a fan of the underdog, but the underdog doesn't always need to be the nerd, the foster kid, the kid from the broken home. It is irritating when the popular kids are bad and the outcasts are heros. I think most kids are average. Some are more popular than others but being popular often takes a lot of work and that work spurs a host of insecurity. Many kids define popular in different ways. Some cherish their inner and outer geek. I want "normal" teens in extraordinary circumstances (I leave the definition of normal to you:) ).

Regarding romance, I want authentic vulnerability and innocence as well as hot, steamy yearning, and in some cases, more than yearning. I want to love your characters so I understand why your characters love each other. I want to be so enmeshed with your character that when his/her heart breaks, so does mine. When your characters are kissing, or doing more than kissing, I want to feel that pull in my body too.

To query me please send queries + the first 10 pages of your manuscript pasted into your email to queryjillcorcoran@gmail.com

7. Thanks for sharing so specifically what you’re looking for. That’s really helpful for those of us querying. What genres don’t you represent?

I do not represent poetry, screenplays, short story collections, academic or educational work, adult fiction (except New Adult).

8. I know some writers who will be glad you’re open to New Adult. What queries are you seeing too much of?

Dull concepts that do not stand out and make me jump up and want to read the manuscript. There are still too many dystopians coming in and other ‘trend’ books where the trend has already passed.

9. I’ve heard that it’s harder to sell dystopians. But as a reader, I still really like reading them so hope there are a few unique ones still out there. What’s a common mistake you see authors make in the querying process?

Most people that query me seem to do their homework, so I am lucky. It could be because I have a number of posts on my blog that explain how to write a query, how to look up comp books, how to research agents, etc. Here is a link to a post that has many of those posts: THE HOW’S AND WHY’S OF GETTING PUBLISHED http://www.jillcorcoran.blogspot.com/2012/02/what-makes-book-sell.html

Common mistakes are queries that talk more about why someone wrote the book than about the book itself, queries that do not have a clear pitch or indicate to me that the author is out of touch with what kids today are reading.

Thanks Jill for sharing about A Path to Publishing. It sounds fantastic.

You can find A Path to Publishing and Jill at:

Jill has generously offered a one-half off coupon to one of her Path to Publishing workshops to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment by midnight on April 27th. I’ll announce the winner on April 29th.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Next Monday I’m interviewing Lisa Rojany Buccieri and giving away a copy of WRITING CHILDREN’S BOOKS FOR DUMMIES. I worried a bit that this book might be too basic for many of you, but one of the things I liked about this book was that Lisa hit the key elements of each subject she presented, for example, developing engaging characters, plotting, and revising. And she had a few great tips I hadn’t thought about for many of these subjects. Lisa has a lot of editorial experience so I know you’ll enjoy her interview. And once you read this, you might want to pass it on to a newer writer to help them out.

Next Tuesday, I have a Tuesday tip by Judith Roth and a giveaway of SERENDIPITY AND ME, a middle grade contemporary novel.

Wednesday next week, I’m participating in the Shower of Books Book Giveaway Blog Hop. I’ve got a great choice of new YA books to choose from.

And don't forget our Tuesday Tips and Casey's Thursday agent spotlights.

Hope to see you Monday!


Stina said...

I've seen Jill tweet about her workshops but I've never checked them out. I might do that some time. They sound interesting.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Natalie,

Jill is so cool. What a fantastic concept! Such a great and inventive way to hold a seminar.

Such helpful information too! Both my novels may be a good fit for her. I need to get back to them so I can send queries to her.

Thanks for the hosting her.

And Jill, if you have the time and read these comments, I think what you are doing to help influence and inspire new writers is just wonderful. Thank you!

Theresa Milstein said...

Wow, what a great opportunity! I've been eyeing these workshops for some time, so I'm excited for the opportunity to possibly take one half off.

I like Jill's talk about the balance between literary writing and commercial. I like that she wants both.

Robin said...

I've been following Jill's new Path to Publishing workshops. I love the "Skype of Steroids." She's one smart woman with great connections. Thanks for the interview. I would be thrilled to win half off to one of her workshops.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Jill looks to be one savvy agent. I've got a character with legs heading her way...

Donna K. Weaver said...

This is such a great idea. I'm fortunate to live in a state with a rich writing community so I have many workshop/conference opportunities close by. But I've met writers online who have NEVER met another writer in person. Online resources are invaluable then.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Impressive workshops. These are things writers do need to know to make it.

I particularly like your point Jill, on the need to have the character stand out as well as dull concepts--meaning overused and nothing fresh and different being brought to the MS. There is nothing new under the sun but we can bring a fresh perspective to any idea.

Very interesting post, ladies!

Peter McCleery said...

I've been eyeing these workshops for awhile. They all look fascinating. Just can't decide which one I want to do.

BTW, I retweeted your mention of this interview.

PK HREZO said...

I LOVE what she said about what she wants in general and in romance. Noted it to remind myself regularly!

Alison K Hertz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alison K Hertz said...

I had the opportunity to meet Jill at the Springmingle SCBWI conference in Atlanta a couple of months ago and learned a bit about her workshops. They all sound fantastic! Thanks for this post - shares a lot of great details about the workshops coming up. I really like how specific she gets about her answers to the questions.

I already follow (and love Literary Rambles) and I shared this on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael G-G said...

I love this harnessing of new technology with a desire to teach. Fantastic. (I did attend Robin Mellon's (one of Jill's clients) class on writing comedy a few weeks back--and it was fun, despite the occasional glitches. We all had to turn our mikes off because of feedback/echoes. And I had my kids buzzing about anyway, so I never did connect my camera. The crazy energy in this house would have given another meaning to "comedy.")

Michael G-G said...

Tweeted about this interview too, Natalie.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The workshops sound amazing!

mshatch said...

Very informative, thanks to both Jill and Natalie :)

Laura Pauling said...

Thanks for the interview. :) Best of luck to Jill in her new endeavor.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Jill's workshops sound interesting. Best of luck to Jill.

Anonymous said...

I would love to attend one of these workshops! I heard Jill speak at SCBWI-LA and was amazed by her knowledge, connections and insights. Great interview, Natalie!

Margaret G. said...

I've really been wanting to take one of Jill's workshops. They sound fantastic. I tweeted this too.

Nora Lester Murad, Palestine said...

Ooooo, I wanna win. So many workshops and conferences are in the US and those of us who live overseas don't have access. Jill's sound like a great opportunity.

Cynthia said...

It's so awesome to know that a resource like this exists for people who want to meet industry professionals but can't always attend events.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic idea and a great alternative to in-person workshops. I'm able to go to workshops and conferences in my area, but because of travel issues there are some events I don't go to.

Diane Kress Hower said...

Thanks for sharing Casey & Natalie. I have been thinking about this. Thanks for the opportunity with having a coupon Jill.

Angela Brown said...

These workshops sound very appealing and offer a great opportunity for some in-depth inside scoop. Have to check it out more. Thanks so much to Jill and Natalie for sharing :-)

Hong said...

Thanks so much for this opportunity!

I have already registered for one of Jill's workshop and would love to win a one-half off coupon to register for another one :)

Anonymous said...

These workshops sound great. Thanks for spotlighting them and Jill.

Tyrean Martinson said...

The workshops sound wonderful!

nutschell said...

Hi Jill! *Waves* lovely to see her here. And what a great interview! I always learn lots from this blog. keep the great work up ladies!

Jocelyn Rish said...

Another really great interview. I'll definitely be looking into these workshops since we don't get many in my area.

Veronica Bartles said...

I'd love to be able to afford one of these workshops! They look like they'd be SO valuable!! (Going over my budget to try to scrape together enough cash...)

I shared the link for this blog post on my twitter feed and in all 3 of the Facebook writing groups I participate in, because I've had several people ask me about online writing workshops & opportunities lately, so I thought I'd spread the word. :)

Zoë said...

These are really cool, I'm definitely signing up for the poetry one but I would love to do another one... great opportunity :) Thanks for the interesting interview too!

Meradeth Houston said...

Great interview and the workshops sound amazing!

Laurie J. Edwards said...

Enjoyed the interview and thanks, Jill, for putting together such a great slate of workshops!

Mim said...

This was a great interview! Thanks for sharing.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Great interview ladies! I've heard of this a few times now. The workshops sound amazing. I must check it out. A half off coupon? What a fabulous prize!

kathrynjankowski said...

What a terrific idea! Off to the website to learn more. Thanks.

Liz said...

Great post. A truly interactive video seminar sounds like a great way to learn.


Hey, glad I just discovered this site--it looks amazing--and I would LOVE to take some courses from Path to Publishing. I tweeted about this contest!

Unknown said...

"Skype on steroids"! I love that! The workshop sounds amazing, and I'm delighted to see Jill (and more agents) are now looking for New Adult. Yay! :-)

Beth said...

I follow Jill on twitter and always enjoy what she has to say. The interview was great, and she sounds like an amazing agent. Thanks!

Cathy Ballou Mealey said...

I think online workshops and conferences are the wave of the future...I'd love to surf into one of these with the fabulous Ms. Corcoran!

Dana Atnip said...

Great post and what a great opportunity! Pick me, pick me! :-)

Laurisa White Reyes said...

Just enjoyed a chat with Sarah Davies and Jill. Definitely a good experience.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you discovered our blog, Heather. Hope you come back and still find it helpful.

Lydia Kang said...

Those sounds like fantastic workshops!

Dana Carey said...

Thanks for a very clear, informative interview and this generous giveaway. I've been looking at "A Path to Publishing" since it started. This interview has made it even more tempting so despite the time difference, I'd love to take a few!
(I've tweeted it: @danaFR and announced it on facebook.)

Anonymous said...

Just signed up to follow your blog and tweeted about this!
~Tina Cho

theartgirl said...

Sounds great! Love Jill!

Bryann James Almeda said...


Lakeside School said...

This sounds like such an amazing opportunity. I'm guessing courses will be accessible to aspiring authors from other countries too. That's great for me.

Lakeside School said...

Oh yeah, I'm just popping over to facebook now to post a message about this there too.

Unknown said...

Very intriguing concept, especially when there are so many conferences and workshops I would like to attend but can't (case in point: I won't be attending scbwi's summer conference as I'll be giving birth!)

Eisen said...

Very exciting! Thanks for having these giveaways! I am a follower and I tweeted it here: https://twitter.com/eisen5585/status/327935002828480512 Merci beaucoup :-)

Kiera Paul said...

What a cool concept! I dream about being able to attend a conference but with a toddler, a little one on the way and a full time j-o-b (outside of my writing) it's really tough. This sounds like a much easier fit for my life. I did mention this on my blog, though reluctantly, because I want other's to know about the upcoming dates - but I want to win the 1/2 off offer... lol ;)