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Top-Tier Children's Editors at PPWC
by Chris Olson, PPWC, April 22-24, 2005
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Top-Tier Children's Editors Share Advice on Getting Published at Pikes Peak Writers Conference

Tracy Gates and Nancy Siscoe
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.--The 2005 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, April 22-24, brought the New York literary marketplace to Colorado Springs.  In addition to editors and agents representing other genres, the 2005 conference faculty included two outstanding children's editors from New York: Nancy Siscoe, Associate Publishing Director and Executive Editor with Knopf Books for Young Readers and Tracy Gates, Executive Editor at Viking Children's Books. 

Nancy Siscoe let participants know ahead of time that she was interested in picture books to YA.  "I especially like middle grade and YA mysteries," said Siscoe.  She was also interested in humor and intelligent romance.  According to Siscoe, "Our website will tell people we don't accept unsolicited manuscripts.  But I will read anything sent by a conference attendee.  I prefer to see completed manuscripts rather than proposals." For more information on Knopf Books for Young Readers check out

Tracy Gates was interested in sports-themed, adventure, contemporary middle-grade and YA fiction, historical fiction, middle-grade, and fantasy.  For more information on Viking Children's Books check out

How does an aspiring children's writer become a published author?  Many writers work for months or years on a children's book or novel and then have no idea what to do next.  Attending a writer’s conference is one way for writers to hone their skills and network with other writers and industry professionals.  PPWC offered an extraordinary opportunity to explore the fiction writing process and find out what it takes to get published.  The 3-day conference also offered the opportunity to sign up for a 10-minute one-on-one appointment to pitch a manuscript to an agent or editor. 
Future conference details and on-line registration are available at the website: as the time for next year's conference comes up.

PPWC is a multi-genre commercial fiction writer's conference.  In addition to children's editors, the faculty included editors from Harper Collins, Random House, and Tor Forge.  Literary agents at the conference included Donald Maass (Donald Maass Literary Agency); Lilly Ghahremani (Full Circle Agency); Jessica Faust (Bookends, LLC);  Kathleen Anderson (Anderson Grinberg Literary Management, Inc.); Kristin Nelson (Nelson Literary Agency, LLC); Jim McCarthy (Dystel & Goderich Literary Management); and Lori Perkins (Perkins Agency).  Independent book editor Lisa Rector also participated on the faculty.

2005 PPWC conference brochureThe impressive list of authors on the faculty included:
Tony award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes; New York Times bestselling novelist Judith Guest (The Tarnished Eye and Ordinary People); USA Today bestselling author Leanne Banks; screenwriter/producer Marilyn Atlas; novelists Rebecca Hill and Stephen White; children's authors Michelle M. Adams and Denise Vega; and professional trainer Robin Perini.  Click to view the PPWC 2005 Conference brochure (PDF, 309kb) f
or a complete list of over 30 faculty members and registration details.

The 3-day conference registration fee included access to any of the 40 workshops and presentations, 6 meals, and various opportunities to meet with or read for an editor or agent.  PPWC also offered wonderful speakers and presentations during the opening ceremonies (Friday evening) and the three main meals (Saturday lunch and dinner, and Sunday lunch).

Conference attendees had the opportunity to sign up for one-on-one 10-minute pitch meetings with editors and agents on Saturday and Sunday.  The purpose of these meetings was to give conference attendees who have completed manuscripts the chance to pitch themselves and their work to a literary agent or editor.  These slots were filled based on receipt of conference registration.

The conference also offered a more informal setting for attendees to share their manuscripts with editors on Friday afternoon.  The purpose of these readings was to allow aspiring authors to read the first few pages of their work aloud before an audience and to receive critique and comments from a professional editor.  All conference attendees were welcome to sit in and listen to the readings and critiques, even if they were not slotted to read.  The Friday afternoon reading sessions provided a rare opportunity to get live feedback on participants' work from acquiring editors and agents.

Once more the conference was held at the Wyndham Hotel in Colorado Springs.  The registration fee covered all conference materials, the welcome buffet on Friday evening; all conference presentations and workshops; breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday; and the awards dinner on Saturday evening.  The registration fee before April 1 was $235 for PPW members and $260 for nonmembers.  Registration fee after April 1st was $300 for PPW members and $325 for nonmembers.

Pikes Peak Writers ConferenceThe Pikes Peak Writers Conference is a project of the Pikes Peak Writers, a nonprofit organization. This conference is underwritten by the Wyndham Hotel in Colorado Springs and sponsored by the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration. PPW offers a series of writers workshops throughout the year and will host the 14th annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference in April 2006.


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