SCBWI Highlights: Nonattachment and Editor/Publisher Advice

Tim Ditlow of Amazon Publishing shared some gems with us including the importance of non-attachment. He grew up with his dad working in audiobooks and saw the rise and fall of records, cassette tapes, cds. He likes to believe that “it’s the coffee, not the cup.”


I think his point extends to not getting bogged down in debates over paper books versus e-books. Those are just the cups. Not the coffee. Not the content, just the method of delivery.

Arthur Levine had a workshop devoted to answering everyone’s questions. He gave some important advice about when authors submit to editors. If an editor wants to buy your book, DON’T start negotiating and then bring in an agent. If you have an agent, you should put the editor in touch with them to negotiate your contract.


If you get an editor’s interest, go with your good fortune. Ask yourself why did you pursue an editor if not ready to do a contract by yourself. He also stressed the importance of not always doing what others think you should. It’s about what you want for your manuscript. Just because someone tells you to cut it down, doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

With respect to genre, you told us not to worry about it because it is the publisher’s job to decide who to market the book to. That was an interesting piece of advice considering how important it is to identify your genre in the query letter. I do think he has a point though. Publishers categorize hundreds of books a year. How many does a writer categorize? Just their own.

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