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What do you need to do to get into publishing on the inside—as an editor, agent, or other publishing professional and what are those jobs like? What do those people do all day? Many VCFA grads do work in the industry, many of them have for years, and this panel explores the various behind-the-scenes roles and how to get there. From editing to agenting to marketing to production, this group has done it all and is excited to share their stories with you. Everyone on the panel is a VCFA grad, so they know what it’s like to write AND be on the other side of the proverbial desk.
Confirmed panelists include Winsome Bingham, editing; Val Howlett (‘12), marketing; Taylor Pitts (‘23), production; Linda Camacho (‘14), agent; Catherine Laudone (’23), editing; and Shira Schindel (’23), publishing
Moderated by Victoria Wells Arms (’19)
Moderator: Victoria Wells Arms is a literary agent at Hannigan Getzler Literary Agency where she specializes in children’s for all ages, as well as select adult fiction and food books. Before becoming an agent, she spent twenty years as an editor and was the founding editorial director at Bloomsbury USA’s Children’s Division, where she worked with many bestselling and award-winning authors. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Victoria lives in New York City and Ithaca, NY.
Winsome Bingham is an Acquiring Editor of children’s books, a soul food connoisseur, a master cook (at KidLit Dinner parties, reunions, and get-togethers), a U.S. Army wartime-veteran, and the author of The Connecticut Book Award Medal winner and one of The New York Times Best Books of the Year, SOUL FOOD SUNDAY. She received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and instructional technology. Years after leaving school, she returned to college and graduated with an MFA, concentrating on Writing For Children and Young Adults. She loves working and mentoring storytellers accompanying them on their publishing journey. She writes about family, food, community, and HOPE. THE WALK (illustrated by E. B. Lewis) is her second picture book which launched in September to rave and starred reviews and is on its fourth printing.
Linda Camacho is an agent at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency. She started out on the other side of publishing and held various positions at Simon & Schuster, Writers House, and Penguin Random House. She has an MFA in children’s writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and represents writers and illustrators across both the children’s and adult categories. To get a better sense of the projects she gravitates toward, be sure to check out LindaCamacho.com.
Val Howlett is a VCFA grad with ten-plus years experience in children’s book publishing. They cut their teeth in sales and marketing at Bloomsbury Children’s Books, and then worked their way up to Senior Marketing and Publicity Manager at Running Press Kids. Currently, they own Little Howl Media, a freelance business that specializes in integrated marketing and publicity services for authors and publishers. In their other life, they make flower arrangements based on characters from classic literature. Visit them at https://www.littlehowlmedia.com.
Catherine Laudone is a children’s book author and editor living in New Jersey. She works at Paula Wiseman Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. She has over ten years of experience editing children’s books, including New York Times bestsellers, Indie Kids’ Next Picks, Junior Library Guild selections, titles with starred reviews, and state award winners. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She Kept Dancing: The True Story of a Professional Dancer with a Limb Difference is her picture book debut coauthored with Sydney Mesher and illustrated by Natelle Quek. When not writing or editing, she enjoys traveling, drinking chocolate tea, baking, and playing with her cat, Biscotti. Learn more at catherinelaudone.com.
Taylor Pitts graduated from VCFA WCYA in January 2023 (Allusionists). Taylor has worked in the publishing industry for eight years, holding positions at Penguin Random House, Macmillan, and now Yen Press, where they’re a senior production editor. Their time in the industry has allowed them to work on a variety of books for all ages, from picture books to graphic novels to cozy mysteries to manga, and on titles from such authors as Jeff VanderMeer, Leigh Bardugo, and Dhonielle Clayton. On the author side, Taylor’s short-form writing has appeared in several literary magazines and anthologies, and they’re currently on submission with a middle grade fantasy.
Shira Schindel is a publishing professional with a background in subsidiary rights and a focus on audio for children and adults. She was previously the Head of Content Acquisitions (audio and print) at Blackstone Publishing and Senior Manager of Strategic Content Partnerships at Audible, where she managed audio partnerships with publishers such as Scholastic, McGraw Hill, and the New York Times. Shira’s publishing career has spanned roles at early-stage publishing technology startups, independent family-owned publishers, and major conglomerates. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Shira lives in upper Manhattan with her partner and 2-year-old daughter and is currently working as a publishing and audio consultant while preparing to launch two new original podcasts for children.
Photo credits: Sharon Shuur (Victoria Wells Arms); Zacker Images (Linda Camacho)