The How and Why of Acquisitions at Delacorte Press

Executive editor of Delacorte Press, Wendy Loggia, spoke at the 2009 SCBWI Conference and gave a special insight into the imprint. Read on for details about Delacorte, how to get on their list, and what Wendy Loggia hopes to find in her in-box.

A Bit About Delecorte Press:

  • Delacorte  is an imprint of Random House.
  • Delacorte focuses on middle grade and teen books. They do not do picture books.
  • Delacorte publishes books that are both literary and commercial. A good literary example is Hattie Big Sky. A good commercial example is Secrets of Bee. Delacorte is specifically looking for books that straddle both worlds (commercial and literary).
  • Delacorte has a great history and back list including Judy Blume.
  • Delacorte also likes to promote their new writers, so they don’t get lost on the list and overshadowed by the bigger names. They send out a nice glossy brochure promoting new writers each year.
  • Delacorte has an all female staff. They are always working 2 years in advance. However they can “crash” projects to give a book an earlier release date.
  • Delacorte has a writing contest every year where they publish the book of the winner. They have a middle grade and a YA contest. However, there is not a winner every year if the work isn’t up to par. Writers found through this contest include Joan Bauer and Christopher Curtis.

A Bit About Wendy Loggia:

  • Wendy Loggia is the editor of such books as: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, The Magic in Manhattan Series by Sarah Mlynowski, and Going Bovine by Libba Bray.
  • Wendy Loggia reports to Beverly Harrowitz. However Loggia has a lot of power and if she wants to buy a book she can. She doesn’t have to go through an acquisitions process.

Some of Random House’s Other Imprints Are:

  • Kpnof – Focuses on literary fiction such as works of Phillip Pullman, Eragon, and The Spiderwick Chronicles.
  • Random House – Children’s imprint (yes it has a confusing title). Mainly does licensed products like Disney, Thomas the Train, Dr. Seuss. They are starting to do more teen and YA.
  • Robin – Nitche books like pop-up books.
  • Lamb – Literary fiction like Gary Paulson
  • Schwartz and Wade – This is the home of picture books at Random House.
  • Delacorte – Teen and YA, some Middle Grade.
  • Delacorte has three hardcover imprints they are: Yearling (books for ages 8-12), Laurel Leaf, and Delacorte Trade (teen/YA).

Six Ways to Get on the List at Delacorte:

1) The Slush Pile. This is the pile of unsolicited manuscripts addressed “dear editor.” This is the most unlikely way to get published, but it does happen. Some houses do not read through the slush at all.

2) Slush addressed to a specific editor. This is a more effective way to get your work noticed, as the work is targeted. Look in the acknowledgement page in a book you like, they often than their editor. This is a good way to find out the Editors name. Publisher’s marketplace and Publisher’s lunch are good online publications that tell who is selling what and acquiring what.

3) Project with connections. Being referred by an author or a librarian that is active with the publisher.

4) Generated in House. These are projects created by the publishers and outsourced to an author.

5) Agented Submission. This is the best way to get on the list. Agented submissions always get the most attention and are read through more quickly. This is because agents really have a good idea of what is good for who.

6) Buy projects from packagers. Alloy is the best known project packager.

How a Manuscript is Acquired:

  • If Wendy likes the manuscript she can buy it. No acquisitions meeting needed. Her boss trusts her and her instincts. The flip-side of this is she can sometimes find herself to be the only advocate for the book. Wendy does not buy a book unless she loves it.
  • Wendy is not allowed to just buy a book if the advance is too large, say 6 figures. Then the book must go through a “Scramble” meeting where all the heads of the office read the book and make a decision on it.
  • Every book that they are thinking about acquiring gets a PNL (profit and Loss statement) created for it to see if the book is actually a viable product.

What Wendy is Looking For:

  • Wendy Loggia likes zippy language. Witty and fun projects.
  • She likes historical fiction with a twist. She is not interested in a straight historical fiction.
  • She likes coming of age stories.
  • She shy’s away from series. Advises one to create a standalone book, if it is meant to be a series it will happen on its own.

A Look at Book’s Wendy has Edited:

Matisse on the Loose – This book was an Agent submission by Macintosh Otis (??). She really loved the voice of the book. It had a boy protagonist and no sports or dragons. It was a nice slice of life book.

Autumn – Wendy found this book from an SCBWI critique. She gave the writer feedback and then the author resubmitted the manuscript four months later and Wendy bought it.

Puppet Pandamonium – Wendy met this author at a conference. She liked the timeless quality of the book, it was kid friendly, and simple clean fun. She knew it would do well in libraries. I also has a boy protagonist.

Green – This is the first middle-grade novel (Fantasy) by a published author who usually does contemporary girl YA. Came through the Slush pile addressed to Wendy (her first book was not Green).

Second Skin – This book was an agent submission. Commercial and Fun. Wendy really responded to the idea.

Camille McPhee – Wendy liked this book because it has a great quirky, fun, and charming voice.

Magic in Manhattan – Breezy Chick lit, fun voice, high concept.

Wendy is more cautious about taking on a book that is not as polished. She has been burned before when an author who could not deliver. Polish your work as much as possible!

Other Presentations by Wendy Loggia:

Wendy Loggia is executive editor at Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. Delacorte focuses almost exclusively on middle grade and YA novels. Loggia is the editor of many books including: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Going Bovine, and The Gemma Doyle Trilogy.

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3 responses to “The How and Why of Acquisitions at Delacorte Press”

  1. Beverly Griffith says:

    I have written a short, inspirational chapter book about a middle school special ed class. Not feeling that they fit in, they start a class newspaper that ends up making changes in the school, and ultimately in themsevles. This is a book for both mainstream and special ed kids, and just any middle school kid that has ever felt like they don’t fit in. Everyone has special gifts and talents that they can use to change themselves and those around them.

  2. Peter Li says:

    Please inform me of Delacorte’s timing for the next first YA novel contest. We are interested in presenting a YA novel by a new author but former screenplay contest award winner. The ms. working title POINT GUARD–young men, adolescent angst, hidden family secrets confused identity and surrounding tragedies set against the wild Norther Ca. Coast . Strong nature themes.

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