Thursday, February 15, 2018

Required Reading on Sexual Assault and Harassment in Children's Publishing

As the #MeToo movement has continued to gain steam within the publishing industry, I haven't known how to address it. Though I believe and support the victims, I've had nothing new to add or personal to say. I've never been sexually assaulted or even harassed. I consider myself extremely lucky. But I've wanted to say SOMETHING, so I thought I'd pull together a link list:

"Facing Sexual Harassment Charges, An Exec Art Director at Penguin Workshop Resigns" from Publishers Weekly: As far as I'm aware, Giuseppe Castellano's resignation was the first domino to fall. This article, posted on December 5, details the allegations as well as Penguin Young Readers Group's response.

"Children's Publishing Reckons with Sexual Harassment in Its Ranks" from the School Library Journal: The conversation heated up when this article was posted on January 3. It mentions Mr. Castellano's resignation and details David Diaz's resignation from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' board. The comments section quickly filled with other allegations about prominent male authors (see below).

"Ishta Mercurio Goes Public as David Diaz Accuser," again from the School Library Journal: Dated February 5, this article updates the SLJ's initial post with Mr. Diaz's accuser's name. Along with Charlyne Yi, Mr. Castellano's accuser, Ms. Mercurio becomes one of the first victims to publicly identify herself.

"Sexual Harassment in the Children's Book Industry" by Anne Ursu: This post, dated February 7, breaks down the results of an anonymous survey Ms. Ursu took back in December. It's a lengthy read, but it highlights the anecdotal evidence underlying the SLJ's post.

"#metoo #ustoo Change Starts Now: Stand Against Harassment in the YA/Kidlit Community" by Gwenda Bond: Dated February 9, this post includes a letter penned by Ms. Bond that encourages conferences, festivals, and publishers to adopt and enforce stricter zero-tolerance policies regarding sexual harassment. You can sign your name by posting a comment at the bottom.

"Maze Runner author James Dashner dropped by literary agent" from the Associated Press: This article, carried by every major news outlet on February 14, includes a quote from Mr. Dashner's former agent, Michael W. Bourret. It also mentions that Jay Asher was recently dropped by Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Note that Mr. Dashner's and Mr. Asher's names came up multiple times in the comments of the SLJ's post.

"Sexual Harassment" by Dan Wells: Another prominent male author whose name came up in the comments of the SLJ's post was Dan Wells. The anonymous commenter later took her comment back, but Mr. Wells responds to the apology and the allegation in this post, dated today.

I'm sure I missed something, so if you're aware of another major contribution to this ongoing conversation, feel free to add it in the comments.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

What I've Been Up To Lately

Alternate title: "Has It Really Been Three Months Since I Blogged?"

The first thing you need to know is that I've scheduled another round of "An Agent's Inbox" for the last week in March (the week of March 26). I don't know which genres The Agent will be looking for yet, but I strongly suspect he or she will want to see various shades of YA and MG fiction, so if you've got a finished manuscript within one of those categories, get those queries and first pages polished up!

March's round of "An Agent's Inbox" will be the last round before the fall, as I'm going to be having a baby in April. Did you see that coming? I sure didn't. It's been a years-long process to get this baby here, and maybe I'll feel inclined to share the story of those years someday. For now, suffice it to say that we're extremely excited and a little overwhelmed. In some ways, it feels like we're first-time parents again, so we hope those instincts don't take that long to come back...

In book-related news, I've been revising, revising, revising for what feels like the last eight years (but was probably just the last eight months). EARTH TO DAD has a great cover that I can't wait to share, and DON'T SOLVE THE PUZZLE will be getting a new title soon, so definitely stay tuned!