Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Very Good Excuse...

I would like to apologize to my readers for the recent drought at this blog. I hope after reading this post you will forgive me.

Now, I would like to do something a little uncharacteristic for this blog and talk about some personal news.

During my absence, I gave birth to my second son, Thomas. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 8 ounces. He has had a few bumps and had to take a few tests, but has come out of them healthy as can be. I must admit that I am still adjusting to life with a two-year-old son and a newborn. I continue to be surprised that we are now a family of four. My oldest son, Cole, has handled the newest addition well. He enjoys being the big helper, bringing us Baby Thomas' blanket and pacifier. He especially likes to hold his little brother. So far, there are no signs of jealousy, which I am thankful for. Thomas is feeding well and starting to sleep a little longer at night (which means I am getting a little more sleep, too).

I hope to be able to post a little more frequently going forward--maybe not two times a week as I was averaging during the Spring, but a month should not pass again without a post. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Link Slushpile #5

Thanks for joining me for today's The Link Slushpile or 'Hoops, Posts, Popularity, Comments, and Silliness.'

I apologize about the long absence. I have been traveling the past few weeks for work and though I have kept up with reading my regular blogs, I have not had the time for posting. But now that things are calming down, I should hopefully get into routine again. Thanks for your patience.

Some aspiring writers have expressed frustration at the feeling that agents are making them jump through proverbial hoops in order for their query to be respectfully considered. Literary agent Nathan Bransford addresses this by proposing instead that agents are really just trying to give writers some helpful hints on how to succeed.

If you are wondering what part (if any) of your manuscript is safe to post online, Editorial Ass has the answer.

Curious as to how popular your website or blog is, check out this website: Link Popularity Check. As mentioned in other posts of mine, Technorati is another blog popularity site.

Kathy Temean at Writing and Illustrating offers 10 steps to increase comments to your blog postings (hint: I'd love to have some this way, too). :-P

Finally, just for fun, here are 25 hilarious examples of analogies gone wrong (my favorites are: '#7--He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.' and '#20--The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.').

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Many Mistresses of My Nightstand #2--April 2009

Just a reminder from last month:

Reading (and reading widely, both within your genre and without) is crucial for writers, helping them to develop basic skills and to craft a personal style of writing.

In this thread, I include titles I have been reading throughout the month, from most recent backwards. Feel free to post yours in the comment section. Be sure to warn us if you were not satisfied with a particular read.

To make it easy for readers to check out your recommendations, please include a live, clickable link with your comment [Amazon links are great, because the provide both reviews and a means of purchase]. There are two ways to add a link: first, you can compose your comment as a new blog post, add the links in the usual way, then copy it, HTML and all, into the comments section here; or you can write it yourself like this:

[a href="http://paste.amazon.address.here"]write title of book here[/a]

Don't forget to change the web address and name the title of the book. Then replace those two pairs of square brackets [] with pointy ones <>, or the link won't work.

Here is my rather large feast from April 2009:
Okay. Only 8 of the 12 books I read this month are middle-grade novel length or longer (5 MG/YA fiction and 2 adult fiction); the remaining selections include one audio book (which I 'read'--listened to--in the car on the way to work) and three picture books.

I purposefully included a sample of the market research I have been doing within my genre (children's picture books). Each of the three I listed above stood out of the crowd of other PB titles I read this month. Reading within my genre allows me to objectively pinpoint what works (and what doesn't work) and helps me to tailor my own style of picture book writing. Don't neglect market research. It can be a valuable exercise to propel your writing to the next level.

So now that I've shared, what have you read this month?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Link Slushpile #4

Welcome to this edition of The Link Slushpile or 'What You Are Doing Wrong, Why You Don't Have an Agent, How Twitter Helps, and What to Blog About.'

Holt Uncensored offers the '10 mistakes writers don't see (but can easily fix when they do).' The list focuses on signs of poor writing and common errors in crafting a manuscript. This is a Must-Read article and would be especially beneficial for authors working on a first-draft or in the midst of a re-write. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Aspiring author Tara Lazar at Writing for Kids (While Raising Them) posted on 'how not to land an agent' based on what she learned from Twitter's #queryfail (see this link for comments on #queryfail from BookEnds agent Jessica Faust). Tara also summarized the informal agent Q&A at this week's #queryday event. Great info, Tara!

If you twitter (or have been debating whether or not to join the club) this one's for you. Jennifer Blanchard over at Copyblogger posted a short, but interesting piece on 'how twitter makes you a better writer.'

Are you sometimes at a loss at what to blog about? Check out Casey McCormick's quick list of blog topics for writers and let the inspiration flow.

Remember to keep track of what you have been reading this month for 'The Many Mistresses of My Nightstand,' which will be posted on April 30. I've already got ten titles on my list. How are you coming along?

Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Link Slushpile #3

Maybe this edition of The Link Slushpile should be subtitled 'Meet an Agent, Know What to Expect from One, and Why You Haven't Found One Yet.'

Aspiring writer and visitor to this site, Casey McCormick, started a regular feature on her blog Literary Rambles called 'Agent Spotlight.' Every Thursday she posts a detailed snapshot of an agent that represents middle-grade and/or young adult fiction (often along with other genres such as children's picture books or contemporary adult fiction). Casey supplements basic agent info with quotes, interview links, average response times, and personal feedback from blog readers. As of today, she already has six entries. If you are on the hunt, here is a good place to get some real meat.

While we are on the topic of agents, literary agent Rachelle Gardner dishes some dirt on her industry by providing writers with a list of 10 things you should expect from your agent (and 4 things you should not expect them to do for you).

Finally, writer Nicola Morgan at Help! I NEED a Publisher (And Maybe and Agent...?) posted four simple possibilities of why you have not been picked up by a publisher yet. The consensus is that 'You have not sent the right book to the right publisher in the right way at the right time.' The same principle can apply for why you have not been signed by an agent. Check it out to find out just what she means.

That's it for today!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

One-Year Blogiversary

Today is my One-Year Blogiversary! Cue the balloon-drop and minuscule confetti that I will still find next week in my brush.

Okay, okay. I admit that this is a bit of a weak blogiversary, considering that this blog got off to a rocky start only to enter the dark ages before emerging into the current time of plenty. Next year's celebration will be much better, I promise.

But for now, thank you readers, commenters, and followers for believing in this Little Blog that Could. More importantly, thank you for sharing this site with others. You're the best!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Art of 'Showing' Vs. 'Telling'

Show of hands--how many of you have received critiques (and/or rejections) stating that your manuscript felt plot-driven and not character-driven? That you were telling rather than showing? Now, how many of you don't know what that really means?

Thanks for the moment of self-reflection and honesty. It's okay; you can breathe again. Today I'm going to tackle the all-important dichotomy of 'Showing' versus 'Telling.' Bear with me, understanding this concept will revolutionize your writing and lead to stronger, more compelling manuscripts.

Let's first define what we are talking about with a simple example. Read the following sentence:

"Mmmm...pie," Rachel said hungrily.

Seems pretty straight-forward, huh? Yes and no. It does cut to the chase and tell the reader that Rachel is hungry, but it falls flat. In other words, it's rather boring and doesn't grab the reader and entice him to continue. Now consider this:

Rachel eyed the pie and zipped across the room to where it sat on the counter, tempting her with its sticky, sweet aroma.

A bit more exciting, right? There are a couple of things at work here. First, I took out the unnecessary dialogue (dialogue in itself is okay, as long as it is furthering the story, which the previous example was not). Second, I used interesting action verbs. Notice, I resisted the temptation to write 'immediately zipped,' because it would have been redundant ('zipped' implies quick movement). Third, I added detail. Now the reader knows it was the pie's aroma that enticed her to hunger for it. This version gives the reader a better sence of the main character. She yearns for the pie--lusts after it even--but she is withholding. Maybe Rachel's on a diet. Here is a way to show the readers she is on a diet without actually having to tell them she is. The revised sentence also helps the reader to visualize the scene. If you close your eyes, you can actually picture this happening (more so that the first draft).

Do you get it now? I'm beginning to see the lightbulb above your head. Let's take it a step further. In both versions, the same thing is happening (more or less)--the main character hungers after a pie--therefore, the subplot here is identical. It is the characterization that leaps of the page in the second example. This illustrates the connection between the show/tell dichotomy and the character-/plot-driven one. A novel that mostly tells will feel like a plot summary to a reader. But a story that shows action and details about the characters within scenes will come alive for the reader.

This is what agents and editors are looking for. The problem arises when we, as writers, assume we are doing this right, rather than take a reality check. Here's what you need to do: flip (or scroll) to a random page in your manuscript. Now look line by line. Are you showing or telling? Consider the following:
  • Count the number of -ly words on the page (in Word you can highlight the section and find for 'ly'). Could these adverbs be replaced with stronger action verbs? Are they redundant, as in the 'immediately zipped' example? Would your readers be able to gather the same information without that word (i.e., from another sentence)?
  • Is there dialogue that is unnecessary? Does each line of dialogue further the plot or add to a character in some way? Does the dialogue fall flat? Is there another way to express the scene using action verbs and no dialogue?
  • When introducing a new character, do you give a laundry list of character-traits (i.e., Rachel is bossy, mean, a know-it-all)? How can you show these traits throughout your novel without having to list them?
  • Are there places/opportunities to add quirky details about your characters (without telling)?
  • Are the scenes easy to visualize? How can you add detail and 'show' what's really happening in a way that comes alive for the reader?
Whew. Now you may think your done, but you're not. If you noticed a lot of 'telling' on your page and ended up rewording quite a bit, then I recommend an entire manuscript revision. Ouch, I know. But look at how much stronger that one page is and see what your novel can become. If your sample page excelled at 'showing' and you changed little to nothing, you're still not done. Pick another page at random. Repeat this several times and at different places within the text. If you are noticing the same quality of writing, give yourself a pat on the back. You're still not done. Tricked you, didn't I? Now take a really close look at your opening and closing chapters. These are the easiest places to make these kinds of mistakes--when you are setting up or wrapping up a novel. Don't feel forced to overly introduce or summarize details that could be incorporated at a different point in the manuscript. Still perfect? Then either you are lying or you are ready for submission.

Nope, just kidding. You've got one more thing to do. Gotcha again. Now you must look at your query with the same critical eye for 'showing' versus 'telling.' Agents want to read the voice of your manuscript in the query. After all that revising, why give them a query that summarizes your plot without 'showing' them your characters? Liven it up!

Here are some helpful resources to aid you on your way:

One of the best discussions on this issue can be found at QueryTracker. Several rules of thumb are given (with accompanying examples) and practice exercises are also included. Make sure to read their blurb at the end which mentions those times when 'telling' is appropriate.

Barbara Poelle wrote a great article entitled 'Traiting Up' about how to use quirks to create a deep, rich, and believable character. This is a MUST READ if you are receiving rejections from agents stating that your manuscript sounds plot-driven and not character-driven. Heck, this is a MUST READ for all writers.

The Fractured Keyboard details how to spot and avoid those pesky adverbs. She also goes into why they don't work and gives examples of how to rewrite without them.

Author Marsha Skrypuch gives her Five Word Rule for Dialogue, a great guide for cutting out unnecessary dialogue that might be slowing down your manuscript (and thereby committing the sin of telling, instead of showing). Note: not all dialogue is unnecessary--just the dialogue that does not further the plot or characterization of your cast.

This is a lot to learn, but once a writer masters this, it changes the way you write (and rewrite--which is just as important).

UPDATE (04/07/09): After creating this post, I started a new thread on the Children's Writers and Illustrators Message Board about 'Showing' versus 'Telling.' Several members of the site provided a great exchange on the topic. Check out this post's comment section to read some examples provided by Verla Kay, creator of CWIMB, and contributing member Harrietthespy.

UPDATE (04/09/09): Literary agent Rachelle Gardner posted an excellent article about why it is important to SHOW in your query and not TELL.

UPDATE (04/10/09): Writer Elle Scott over at Writing Advice for the Absolute Newbie describes when and how to use speech tags (i.e., "Mmmm...pie," Rachel said hungrily). Poor use of speech tags can equate to 'telling,' but when used appropriately (and sparingly) they can liven up a section of dialogue.

UPDATE (04/14/09): Blogger and aspiring author T. Anne (from White Platonic Dreams) summarized an article on '9 signs you're telling, not showing.' Examples are given for each symptom, as well as ways to switch the telling into showing.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Link Slushpile #2

Here's another round of link-worthy posts:

How do you know if you are a 'newbie' in the publishing industry? Publishing for Profit has several tell-tale signs. Check it out to see if you are making any beginner mistakes.

Have you dreamed of receiving the all-important call from an agent, offering you representation? In your fantasies, do you have a plan of what to say next? The agent call is an important time to find out if he or she is a good fit for you and your work. Don't squander this opportunity. Be prepared with a list of questions. QueryTracker interviewed four published authors about the questions they asked agents during 'the call.' Another great resource for preparing your list can be found on AgentQuery.

Lastly, in honor of today's date, Alice (editor of Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market) and Jennifer Jackson (literary agent) both provided a little April Fools humor. Jennifer gave some tongue-in-cheek updates to her submission rules. Be warned, Alice's Ten Tips for Effective Queries should also be read with an eye for sarcasm. Thanks for keeping it light, ladies!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Many Mistresses of My Nightstand #1--March 2009

Today I am starting a new monthly thread, entitled 'The Many Mistresses of My Nightstand.'

Reading (and reading widely, both within your genre and without) is crucial for writers, helping them to develop basic skills and to craft a personal style of writing.

Each month I will include titles I have been reading throughout the month, from most recent backwards. Feel free to post yours in the comment section. Be sure to warn us if you were not satisfied with a particular read.

To make it easy for readers to check out your recommendations, please include a live, clickable link with your comment [Amazon links are great, because the provide both reviews and a means of purchase]. There are two ways to add a link: first, you can compose your comment as a new blog post, add the links in the usual way, then copy it, HTML and all, into the comments section here; or you can write it yourself like this:

[a href="http://paste.amazon.address.here"]write title of book here[/a]

Don't forget to change the web address and name the title of the book. Then replace those two pairs of square brackets [] with pointy ones <>, or the link won't work.

Kicking it off was quite a diverse group of books:
I'm eager to read your lists!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Painful Value of Critiques

Call me a scientist. I have recently embarked on two experiments: Book Roast's March 17th 'Luck' Pitch Party and the Public Query Slushpile, which I have commented on before here. I submitted a 68-word pitch on one of my picture book manuscripts to Book Roast's Pitch Party and its corresponding full-length query on the Public Query Slushpile. I received positive feedback and constructive criticism at both locations. Commentators forced me to address several issues related to my manuscript. The process was not easy, as we all want to believe our work is flawless, but it was empowering at the same time. I had to contemplate my reasonings for certain aspects of my writing with as much of an objective eye as I could muster. While I did not place in the Pitch Party, I consider both experiments to be great successes, as they provided ongoing dialogues that will only strengthen my manuscript.

Miss Snark's First Victim recently posted on the rules of listening to critiques, which includes these sage words: 'Never love your manuscript more than you appreciate your critters.'

Editorial Anonymous also expounded on this issue at her Anonymati site: 'It is not the willingness and ability to write well that separates the amateurs and hobbyists from Real Writers. It is the willingness and ability to rewrite well that makes you Real Writers.'

These experiments have been two more examples of the power of networking with other authors.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Marketing Yourself as a Writer

I have posted on the importance of following publishing blogs, but what about hosting one? In this technological age, writers have seemingly endless possibilities to market themselves and their work. Consider some of the following online options:
  • Author website (a general website about you as an author, which could be personal or strictly professional)
  • Book website (a separate site created for each of your published titles)
  • Agent's/Publisher's website (request that your agent updates his website to include your book after publication)
  • Author blog (again, depending on your audience, this could be more personal a la Sarah Dessen or informative, such as this blog)
  • Book review websites (submit your book for consideration at sites such as: Goodreads, etc.)
Then there are the numerous social networking sites (some of which I have linked to before):
  • JacketFlap (children's/YA publishing blog reader/networking site)
  • Technorati, (online blog directory with networking features)
  • Facebook (social networking site)
  • MySpace (social networking site geared towards a younger, school-age demographic)
  • Twitter (micro-blogging site with the ability to network)
  • Linked In (professional networking site)
In the blogosphere, there have been a few useful posts on these topics recently. QueryTracker offers a pros/cons list of several major social networking sites, a 'how to' guide on creating a writer blog or website, and a helpful list of what to include in your website. Writer/blogger Shelli interviewed Sarah Davies from Greenhouse Literary on how authors can help market their books. Shelli also posted several helpful links on 'Friday's Marketing Round-up.' Finally, literary agent Jessica Faust from BookEnds gave her thoughts on what authors can do to sell books.

Please comment with any important online market avenues that I have left out.

UPDATE (03/28/09): Jane Smith wrote a great post on how to write a press release.
First-time picture book author, Kim Hutmacher, created a terrific article on steps to maximize the publicity her debut manuscript.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Link Slushpile #1

Taking my own advice, I found several interesting posts on the literary blog front this week.

First, literary agents assistant Tracy Marchini offered some helpful hints on 'How (and When) to Follow-Up with Agents and/or Editors.' This is a must-read for all submitting authors. Don't let unprofessionalism stand in your way to publication!

Writer and blogger Emily Marshall over at Author2Author provided the next juicy tidbit: a guide to getting organized as a writer.

Finally, literary agent Nathan Bransford linked to a new peer-reviewing query site called 'The Public Query Slushpile.' This will definitely be a resource to watch. I'm interested to see if: a) the comments are constructive, and b) if it draws the attention of other literary agents/editors. Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Place, Same Musings (Part II)

My blog can now be found on Technorati, an online blog directory of sorts. As a relatively new blogger and, as yet, unpublished author, it is important for me to establish a presence within the online community of children's authors and bloggers.

Please, look me up and let me know what you think. Fellow bloggers, be sure to "Fave" me or include links to any posts of mine that you found helpful (which will improve my blog's authority). Thanks for the help!

The Importance of Reading Agent/Editor Blogs

My husband, a fellow writer, told me recently that he doesn't understand the importance of staying current with agent and editor blogs. He does, however, check his favorite political, news, and sports websites/blogs more than once each day. While I have tried to share with him my thoughts, I am thankful that literary agent Jessica Faust at BookEnds has put in her two (more credible) cents on why publishing blogs are important for authors to read. Here is a summary of what I consider to be the top five reasons:
  1. Many writers do not understand the industry. Agent/editor blogs are tremendous resources for new authors just stepping into the publishing world. Everything a writer needs to know on how to be published is waiting to be accessed (see my post 'Do you know what you don't know?').
  2. Beginning writers can and do receive inaccurate (and often down-right bad) information from well-meaning-but-poorly-informed fellow writers on social networking sites or from self/subsidy-publishing companies attempting to lure authors to their 'services' by portraying themselves as traditional publishers (realize that all of their 'information' represent a conflict of interest). Any advice a writer receives should be checked against what successful people in the industry say (i.e., credible agents and editors). In addition, before proceeding with an agency or publisher, authors should research it on Preditors & Editors and Writer Beware.
  3. Writers can see into the mind of an agent or editor and perhaps discover what he or she is looking for in a query or manuscript. Let's face it, in this industry it is a challenge to get published. The burden is on you, the writer, to prove your worth to the agent/editor. Why not give yourself all the edge you can--by researching the agent, reading his blog, and following his query advice?
  4. Agent/editor blogs are a great place to network with said agents/editors and their readers (fellow writers). If you find a blog posting particularly helpful, leave a comment. If you have a question, leave a comment, then check back for the answer. Better yet, read other's comments and be a part of the already existing dialogue. Learn from your peers who are just as committed as you.
  5. Other writers are asking the same questions and the answers can often be found by regularly following the publishing blogs or by searching the blogs. [As an example of #5, how many of you children's book writers have wondered how to get your book to be included in the Scholastic Book Clubs? If I didn't subscribe to Editorial Anonymous' blog, I would have missed this valuable information.]
For those of you interested in blogging, I highly recommend beginning with Editorial Anonymous and Nathan Bransford, although all of the agent/editor blogs listed on the right of my page are worthwild. Each of the blogs also links to other publishing blogs. As your blog reading grows, you will find which bloggers suit your taste. Just make sure they are credible before you bank on their information.

Remember, even if you have a full-time job, if you are pursuing publication for your manuscript, agents and editors are going to expect that you treat writing as your career (and rightfully so). They want to know that you have taken the time to understand the industry, even before you are a part of it. It shows them they can expect you to put the same hardwork and initiative into editing your manuscipt and promoting your book once it is in print. It does require a sacrifice of your time, but one that I have found very rewarding. One final word of caution: do not go off the deep end and spend so much time blogging that you sacrifice the time that should be spent honing your craft. Balance is key.

UPDATE (03/16/09): Literary agent, Jennifer Jackson, also chimed in on this topic. See her regular blog series 'Letters from the Query Wars' on the importance of doing your homework. Also, published author Justine Larbalestier offered her experience on why writers need to know and follow agents' individual rules and submission requirements, which are usually posted on agents' websites and blogs.

UPDATE (03/28/09): The Guide to Literary Agents Editor's Blog posted their Top 5 Agent Blogs to Follow. I have to admit, they chose well. I personally follow four of the five blogs and the fifth I have visited from time to time. If you are looking for a place to start, here it is!
Also, when you feel confident enough to contribute to the literary dialogue on the agent/editor blogs, Grammar Girl has some excellent advice on how to write a great blog comment--definitely a must read post.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Positivity on the Blog Front

As a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, I am greatly enjoying agent Nathan Bransford's Positivity Week. As a part of his current endeavor, he has written a very encouraging post on reasons to be optimistic about the future of books. He also has included the Ten Commandments for the Happy Writer.

Last week, Editorial Anonymous posted another interesting blog, encouraging readers to name small publishing companies that represent reputable children's books. The response was large and informative. Several writers also included which publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts (for those of my blog readers interested in seeking publication without an agent). However, most publishers still do give preference to submissions from agents. In addition, agents offer writers more than just access to publishers.

I continue to have meaningful communications with fellow children's book authors on JacketFlap. Thank you for the encouragement and fellowship! Keep it up!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Do you know what you don't know?

Welcome to all of my new subscribers! I appreciate your interest in my blog. Feel free to actively participate--I love hearing your comments and will be sure to respond!

Over the past several days, I have enjoyed meeting fellow writers and illustrators through JacketFlap in various stages of publication. One thing has stood out to me--many of the aspiring authors I have met through JacketFlap do not know what they don't know. Several have asked me questions on how to begin seeking publication or where to find an agent (or if they even need an agent).

If you have stumbled across my blog and are seeking direction, take heart! All published authors began as you have, not knowing where to begin. Let this post serve as your roadmap.

Now, don't take that to mean, I think I know it all. On the contrary, I know I am not the best suited to describe all the intricate ins and outs of the publishing industry. That is precisely why I will direct you to those more established agents and editors of the field. I'm not going to bother reinventing the wheel (or in this case, the printing press). Rather, I will lead you to several great resources for your forray into children's publishing.

The information will be grouped into topical questions. Be sure to check back on this post periodically, as I will update it as I find other useful links.

What is the submission process?

What is a literary agent and do I really need one? or What should I expect from an agent?

How do I find an agent?
Other resources for finding an agent:
What is a query and how do I write one?
Other useful guides to writing a query:
How do I format my manuscript?

What word count should I have for my children's book manuscript? and How should I format it?

Do I need to find an illustrator for my children's book text? No.

What do I need to know about the audience and competition for my children's book?

What are my rights as an author?

How do I separate the good agents from the bad?
or How do I avoid a scam? or How can I tell if an agent is legit?

What is self-publishing? or Is it a good idea for my manuscript/writing career? or Is it a 'magical highway' to bypass the difficulties of the publishing industry? (For those of you who do not know, the answer to the two previous questions is 'no.' See the links for the professional opinions of Nathan Bransford--Literary Agent and Editorial Anonymous--Children's Book Editor.) Still considering it? What are the sales record of self-published/print-on-demand (POD) books?
or What does an agent/editor think my previously self-published book? or Are articles on self-publishing telling me the truth, free from bias?

Is there a publishing dictionary out there to help me understand all this industry lingo? (courtesy of Editorial Anonymous--Thank you!!)

Are there any blogs I should be aware of as an aspiring children's or YA author?
Are there any organizations I should be aware of as an aspiring children's or YA author?
Are there any websites I should be aware of as an aspiring children's or YA author?

Well, that should get you started on the right path. Please post comments or questions. If I don't know an answer, I will research it for you.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Place, Same Musings (Part I)

My blog can now be found on JacketFlap, a well-known Children's Publishing Blog Reader. As a relatively new blogger and, as yet, unpublished author, it is important to establish a presence within the online community of children's authors. Please, look me up and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where are Picture Books now?

It should be a relief to know that Picture Books are alive and well!

I know this article is about 2 years old, but I found it while doing some research on the picture book market. Another, more recent, but still refreshing taking on the state of children's publishing can be found here. It is always encouraging to see other authors succeeding in the field. In this environment of closing imprints and freezing backlists (see the Boston Globe or Nathan Bransford's more recent update), I am bolstered to read of children's books that are being sold.

Storytime is crucial to young children's early literacy skills. I am currently reading an excellent reference book on the topic: "Much More Than the ABCs: The Early Stages of Reading and Writing" by Judith Schickedanz.

Let me know what you think.

On the hunt again...

It's been a while since I've posted on this blog. Be assured I have continued my literary efforts. After a year, I am parting ways with The View Literary Agency. JD and I have amicably split, after she recognized that she does not have enough contacts with children's book publishers to adequately represent my work. Throughout the past year, I have received some positive feedback from editors on the picture book manuscript that JD submitted. However, in the intervening time, I have composed what I feel are stronger pieces. I am currently seeking representation for these newer picture book manuscripts. I still avidly read several agent/editor blogs (see the links posted to the side), which I recommend to all those seeking a writing career. Keep checking back for more regular updates--I will try to make at least one a week. Thanks for your interest.