Continuing with the “things I learned at the SCBWI-Iowa conference,” this installment focuses on the words of wisdom from Charlesbridge editor Yolanda LeRoy. Most Charlesbridge books are nonfiction, and about 90% are picture books, but they did start expanding into young reader, early chapter, and middle grade books in 2004. Right now, Yolanda is looking for quality, stand-alone nonfiction, which comprises about 70% of their list. Also, manuscripts with a social conscious or global perspective and books about the arts. We were treated to a special performance of “There’s No Business Like Book Business” at the end of her presentation, complete with choreography and we were all pretty impressed!

Yolanda’s Sunday talk focused on “4 Things Editors Want You to Know.” Some noteworthy pieces of advice:

  • Your manuscript is the element of publishing most in your control. Give it most of your time.
  • Pay attention to your intended audience and match the voice to the age.
  • Know everything about your character.
  • Know sales hooks.
  • Keep writing different things and keep getting feedback.

Any other attendees have anything to add?