Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sylvie Frank Interview and Contest Announcement

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sylvie Frank, Associate Editor at Holiday House, at the SCBWI FL summer workshop and she's agreed to judge a Middle Grade pitch contest here at YAtopia on August 3rd. Sylvie doesn't blog or tweet, so this is a rare opportunity to interact with her! I can assure you that she is definitely someone you're going to love working with and I'm totally jealous of all of her authors!

Check the bottom of this post for details about the contest.

Sylvie's Bio:

Sylvie Frank is the associate editor at Holiday House, where she has worked for three years. She has edited books for all ages and worked with esteemed authors and illustrators, including Russell Freedman, Marion Dane Bauer, and Emily Arnold McCully. Sylvie is always looking for original voices, relatable characters, and strong plots. As a child, her favorite books were Roald Dahl’s Matilda and William Steig’s Brave Irene.

What are you looking to acquire?

I am looking for middle-grade novels with strong, relatable protagonists; original premises; and plenty of heart. I love a book that makes me laugh and makes me cry. Most often I am drawn to contemporary, realistic fiction. I am not generally interested in high fantasy or sci fi.

What are some of your favorite books, both those you've worked on and those you haven't?

Gary Schmidt’s Okay for Now is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. As for books I’ve edited, I love Brianna on the Brink by Nicole McInnes (YA). It’s about Brianna, a popular cheerleader whose one-night-stand changes her life forever and makes her re-evaluate her priorities. Look for it in Spring 2013!

Can you tell us about any books you've worked on that are recently out or coming out soon?

In addition to Brianna on the Brink, I’m also excited about these books:

Fame, Fortune, and the Bran Muffins of Doom by Marty Kelley is a hilarious illustrated chapter book about a geeky fourth grader named Simon who is determined to win the school talent show by forming a boy band. Unfortunately, he has no talent, and his elderly neighbor is bent on taking down his band. It’s coming out in Fall 2012.

Whistle in the Dark by Susan Long Hill is a beautifully written novel about Clem, a boy who lives in a small Midwestern town in the 1920s. His twelfth birthday marks the day he must enter the mines for the first time, becoming part of his family’s long line of miners. This coming-of-age novel is about Clem reconciling his hatred of the mine with family responsibility. Look for it in Fall 2013.

Contest Details

The contest page will go live at midnight on August 3rd and remain open until 11:59 that night (as always, all times are EST). Post your pitches as comments on that post, not this one! Only the first 30 pitches will be accepted. We will try to close comments as soon as that happens, but there might be a delay. One entry per person.

This contest is for Middle Grade ages only! Your manuscript must be complete, polished, and ready for an editor to read!

Include the following in your pitch:
  • Title
  • Your name
  • Your email
  • Word count
  • Genre
  • 35-word pitch. (don't go over or you risk the chance of being disqualified!)
Sylvie will choose at least one winner to submit his/her full manuscript to her for consideration.

Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments of this post!

Note: If you have an agent, you can still participate, but please communicate with him/her before pitching.


  1. How do we find the contest page? Is there a link or URL that you can post?

    1. It will go up at on August 3rd.

  2. Good luck guys! This isn't my genre, so I'll just be watching from the sidelines. :)

  3. Thanks for doing this. I'll get right to work on my pitch!