Meet the faculty of the 2015 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We've asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.
Next in the series is Jill Grinberg.
Jill has worked in publishing for the past 20 years. She started in the publicity department at HarperCollins, where she serendipitously became publicist for (then) debut author Amy Bloom. Amy helped Jill recognize her passion for author advocacy and book development from the ground up and suggested agenting might well be her calling, for which Jill is eternally grateful. Jill went on to become a founding partner of Anderson Grinberg Literary Management, and formed her own firm, Jill Grinberg Literary Management, in 2006.
JGLM represents a diverse list of quality adult and children's writers, including a great many award winning and bestselling authors. Jill began to build her children's book list back in 1997 when Garth Nix came to her with his new novel (more on that below). Her list ranges from picture books to chapter books to middle grade novels to YA and teen crossover. Her authors include John Bemelmans Marciano, Jennifer Holm, Kirby Larson, Andy Griffiths, Jaclyn Moriarty, Catherine Murdock, Justine Larbalestier, Margo Lanagan, Melina Marchetta, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfeld, and Marissa Meyer.
What attracted you to children’s books?
I was a young agent representing adult books to start, and had the good fortune of having authors Garth Nix and Jennifer Holm approach me, in fairly quick succession very early on in my career, with new novels. I read and fell head over heels in love with each of their manuscripts and, though I wasn’t thinking in terms of “adult” vs. “children’s” categories at the time, I did have the distinct experience of connecting deeply with and falling into these novels in a way that reminded me of the books I had read and loved as a kid and that had meant so much to me in those formative years. Of course what we adults who are lucky enough to work in children’s publishing realize is the magic of those books transcends age, which is why the first novel I sold for Garth, SABRIEL—and the debut novel I sold for Jenni, OUR ONLY MAY AMELIA—are beloved by readers of all ages. I am still working with Garth and Jenni nearly 20 years later and in the meantime have built a full children’s list ranging from picture books to Young Adult crossover.
What’s the best part of your job?
My close relationships with my authors, being part of a community of like-minded and very talented publishing colleagues, and getting to be “on the ground floor” of the publishing process which has allowed me to be part of a great many extraordinary books.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I suppose the most challenging part of my job is navigating an ever-shifting industry and marketplace, but that’s also a large part of my job, so one has to be up for the challenge!
What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?
Trust your gut.
Come see Jill at the 2015 Austin SCBWI conference, March 7-8.