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October 2014 Issue
Free Writing Downloads
Workshops Starting September 4th
- Essentials of Science Fiction and Fantasy
- The Art of Storytelling 102: Showing vs. Telling
- 12 Weeks to a First Draft
- Grammar and Mechanics
- Fundamentals of Nonfiction
- Advanced Novel Writing
Workshops Starting September 11th
- Essentials of Science Fiction and Fantasy
Is Your Manuscript Ready for Publication?
Is Your Manuscript Ready for Publication?
After an evaluation of your submission, one of the professional 2nd Draft critiquers will provide feedback and advice. You’ll not only learn what’s working in your writing, but what’s not, and—most important—how to fix it.
2nd Draft provides a high-level review of your writing, pointing out reasons your work may be getting rejected, or may not meet the standards of traditional publication.
Picture Book Agents
These literary agents represent picture books for children. Writers can query these agents for their kids stories or for illustration work.
She is seeking: She is excited about representing all genres of young adult and new adult fiction, as well as adult romance. While she is looking for all sub-genres of romance, she is especially interested in romantic suspense and urban fantasy. She is also on the lookout for fun picture books. She’s a fan of dual POVs, loves both print and ebooks, and has a soft spot for marketing-savvy writers. Read more
How to Write a Picture Book That Sells — Feb. 27 Webinar (with full book critique!) by Agent Jennifer De Chiara
Are you thinking about writing a picture book and don’t know where to start? Have you written several but haven’t been able to interest agents or editors? In this new live webinar on Feb. 27, 2014 called “How to Write a Picture Book That Sells,” you’ll learn everything you need to know to not only write a picture book, but also write one that sells.
Literary Agent Jennifer De Chiara has more than fifteen years’ experience working with picture book authors – helping them create story ideas, editing their manuscripts, and selling their work to major publishers. She’ll share with you the tips and tricks of her trade to help you become a published picture book author, whether you only have a story idea you’ve always wanted to develop or a finished manuscript you don’t quite know what to do with or have had trouble selling to a publisher. It all happens at 1 p.m., EST, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, and lasts 90 minutes. All attendees get a full picture book critique. Don’t forget that at least 4 agents who have taught WD webinars have signed clients afterward from the event. Read more
5. Keep drawing and writing for yourself. While you’re working on projects that involve collaboration or a need to respond to and incorporate feedback, make sure you keep some creative time or space for just doing whatever the heck you like, for making things that are ‘just yours.’ Doing that can help diffuse any creative tension that may arise when you feel you’re having to negotiate with other agendas. Getting something published is a collaborative process involving compromise and negotiation: keep yourself some creative space where you can continue to be entirely selfish.
GIVEAWAY: Sam is excited to give away a free copy of His book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks. Since Sam is based in the UK, he is happy to open the contest to writers there, as well as writers in Canada/US. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to appear; this is normal). (UPDATE: Casey James won.) Read more
She is seeking: women’s fiction, southern fiction, multicultural literary fiction, upmarket African-American fiction, steam funk, romance (all kinds except category, military and espionage thrillers, historical fiction, non-fiction with a strong platform and academic assessments of popular culture. Additionally, Nikki seeks graphic novels, Manga, YA, MG and children’s picture books.
Nikki is especially interested in time travel, reincarnation, mythology, ancient civilizations, magical and animist realism, Japan, American history (especially hidden African-American history, interesting women in history, as well as the antebellum period, and the Civil and Revolutionary wars), the military (all branches, but especially the U.S. Marine Corp, Army and all Special Forces), espionage, martial arts, narrative nonfiction about food and beverage (especially organic food, wine and coffee), travel or expat life, international relations and foreign policy,and prescriptive nonfiction on spirituality, parenting, health and well-being. Read more
The 2014 Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market Is Out — And Here Are 8 Darn Good Reasons to Buy It (and Naturally I’m Giving Away Books!)
The new 2014 edition of the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market is updated and packed with info. Now in its 26th year, the newest edition still provides great market and submission/contact information for book publishers, art reps, international publishers, literary agents, contests, magazines, conferences and more. Read on to hear from several best-selling authors who endorse the book, including Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries), Jay Asher (13 Reasons Why), and many more.
THE GIVEAWAY! Comment on this post and just say anything nice about any element of Writer’s Digest you enjoy — from a blog post to a class or a book or anything else. In two weeks, I will pick 3 winners randomly to win a copy of the book! It’s that easy. (UPDATE: zippydoodah, Sheryl Davis-Troller & authoralyssamayley won.) Read more
She is seeking: Lara is a fan of smart and raw young adult fiction, character-driven middle grade fiction with a totally original, hilarious voice, and so-adorable-she-can’t-stand-it picture books, preferably with some age-appropriate emotional heft. She’s a sucker for a great mystery and is passionate about stories that teach her new things or open up new worlds. More than anything, she has a soft spot for the wonderfully weird, the idiosyncratic, and the entirely unexpected. Read more
She is seeking: Clelia is very interested in the emerging New Adult genre. Having faced an early life career crisis, she really relates to characters who are confronted with the challenges of entering adulthood. She is also interested in young adult and middle grade books. She is seeking to represent writers whose protagonists have strong voices and whose plots are original. Clelia never wants to let go of her favorite characters, so she particularly loves trilogies and series that can be adapted to the screen.
Clelia also has a special spot in her heart for picture books. She especially loves ones that are funny or quirky, ones that feature minority and multicultural characters, and ones parents won’t mind reading over and over again to their children. Read more
My friends who know me, I mean really know me, keep asking where I got the idea to start writing picture books. “Where did you get the idea for a monster needing a costume?” They would ask. In a bit of a condescending way I might add, which I kind of deserve. Like I said they really know me. And I would tell them; I stole it.
It’s true. From the mouths of babes, like candy from a baby, I plagiarized my 4 yr old daughter. Plagiarized might actually be a bit strong she can barely write her own name. But to be honest the idea came from my daughter.
GIVEAWAY: Paul is excited to give away a free copy of his book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: nrtomasheski won.) Read more
Maria is seeking: Maria is looking for literary and commercial fiction, new adult, young adult, middle grade, high-concept picture books, and nonfiction proposals in the pop culture, pop psychology, design, and lifestyle categories. She has a particular interest in magical realism, fiction with visual components, and nonfiction inspired by online culture. Read more
Literary agent John Cusick recently switched agencies. He left his position at Scott Treimel Literary and is now with Greenhouse Literary. When I heard he moved, I asked him if he had time to answer a few questions so writers could catch up with him. Here’s what he had to say. Read on to learn if John is a good fit for your work! (Also, I should mention that John is also an author, and he just had a book released in Sept. 2013: CHERRY MONEY BABY, a young adult novel from Candlewick that got a starred review in Publishers Weekly.) Read more
Meet Ripple Grove Press, they’re a publishing house actively seeking picture book submissions. Check them out and see if they’re a good fit for your work.
ABOUT RIPPLE GROVE: Ripple Grove Press is a family-owned children’s picture book publishing company started in 2013. “Our mission is to create picture books that come from life experiences, elegant imagination, and the deep down passion in our hearts. We want each Ripple Grove Press book to enlighten a child’s mind with fun and wonder. Ripple Grove Press searches for a powerful ‘timeless’ feel in each book we publish. Our stories will make you laugh or think or keep you guessing and dreaming. We hope our books find their way to the cozy spot on the floor and are the last ones read at bedtime.” Read more
About Anna: Anna Olswanger has been an agent with Liza Dawson Associates for eight years. In addition to being a literary agent, Anna is the author two children’s books: Shlemiel Crooks, a Sydney Taylor Honor Book and PJ Library Book, and Greenhorn, an illustrated novel for middle grade readers. In 2011, a family musical based on Shlemiel Crooks premiered at Merkin Concert Hall in New York. Anna lives in the New York metropolitan area. You can read more about her at her website www.olswanger.com. You can also find her on Twitter.
She is seeking: She focuses on adult nonfiction and children’s books from picture books to YAs, and especially enjoys working with author-illustrators. Although she rarely takes on novels, she’s intrigued by historical fiction (especially mysteries), stories with animals as the protagonists, Southern settings, Judaica and Israel. Read more
New Literary Agent Alerts: Jodell Sadler and Loretta Caravette of Sadler-Caravette Children’s Literary
Jodell is seeking: Jodell is interested in YA, MG (especially funny) , fiction and nonfiction, book proposals, and picture books. She will also coach writers wanting to self publish. She simply loves a well-paced story that moves her between joy and tears.
Loretta is seeking: Loretta specializes in MG fiction and early readers, and will focus on film rights management. Her academic article, Portrait of the Reader as a Young Child, was published in Children & Libraries: the Journal of the Association for Library Services to Children. Read more
“How I Got My Agent” is a recurring feature on the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, with this installment featuring Natasha Yim, author of pictures books, including SACAJAWEA OF THE SHOSHONE. These columns are great ways for you to learn how to find a literary agent. Some tales are of long roads and many setbacks, while others are of good luck and quick signings.
GIVEAWAY: Natasha is excited to give away a free copy of her picture book to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (UPDATE: burrowswrite won.) Read more
She is seeking: “I am looking for all kidlit categories from picture book to YA. I’ve been a publisher in all these areas and my enthusiasm for all categories continues! For picture books, I’m especially interested in talented author/illustrators. In middle grade and chapter books, I like stories that make me laugh, or real children in magical circumstances (Savvy by Ingrid Law) and I love animal stories; In YA, above all else I look for a captivating and distinctive voice. I’m also happy to look at both literary and commercial fiction. I love a great piece of chick lit. I’m not looking for rhyming picture book texts, poetry, faith-based stories, or vampires, paranormal or sword-and-sorcery fantasy.” Read more
The sketchbook is filled with pictures and possibilities of what the story can be. I leave it up to my Editor and Art Director to pick out the things that they think our audience will respond to. Then I start figuring out what is going to happen inside this wonderful 32-page picture book I get to create. Some writing will take place at this point but only of plot points or beats I want to hit in the story. Sometimes a line or a phrasing will appear. Read more
She is seeking: “Danielle is currently looking for picture books, early readers and chapter books with characters that embody the true essence of what it means to be a child. She’s not afraid to represent all that this encompasses whether it be vibrant joyous stories to darker and harder to tackle subjects such as bullying, loss and death. She would also love to find a great new MG novel and/or graphic novel author/illustrator with a flair for great humor that doesn’t involve devaluing others in order to be funny. More than anything she would love to represent authors who are passionate about getting children to love reading and are able to execute that in a way that both children and parents can love.” Read more
Kathleen is seeking: Kathleen loves all things YA and is also actively looking for adult science fiction, fantasy in all its varieties, historical fiction, and horror novels. She enjoys quirky middle grade tales with captivating adventures and original voices, and will also accept picture books. Kathleen has a special place in her heart for sweeping love stories, magical realism, inventive world-building, repurposed folklore, dark comedy, and genre-bending novels. Read more
Christa is seeking: She seeks young adult, middle grade and picture books. Within Children’s, Christa is interested in fantasy (urban and high) horror, thrillers/mysteries, steampunk and contemporary fiction, but is open to exploring other genres. Christa is a fan of novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists. Within fantasy, she is looking for something that pushes the boundaries of what’s currently on the shelves, perhaps a new take on this popular genre that has yet to be seen. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys humorous contemporary, adventure and magical realism for boys and girls. Read more
1. Write down every book idea you have as soon as you have it. Otherwise, you’ll forget what might have resulted in your (first) Caldecott, Newbery, or National Book Award. Keep a pencil and paper nearby – in your purse, your briefcase, your car. Transfer your ideas to a “book idea” folder in your computer or journal. Then when you’re searching for your next book topic, you’ll have many choices at hand.
GIVEAWAY: Susan is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: missnelso04 won.) Read more
3. Please yourself as a reader. I have the highest standard and expectation as a reader, like you do. When I walk into a bookstore, I want to be surprised to find a new picture book that will astonish me. I want to fall in love. I want to feel jealous because I didn’t come up with it first. I want to be surprised by a book because of its artwork or its touching story or the playfulness of the book. When I loved a book I have to own it. There is something magical in those special books which make me buy them…
GIVEAWAY: Y.B. is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Update: Sylliu won.) Read more
2. Picture book language is often more sophisticated than the first chapter books that children read, and therefore an excellent way for children to learn language. It is here that children, and others, can learn vocabulary, imagery, rhythm, shape, structure, conciseness, emotional power.
3. The picture book is the most flexible of all literary formats. You can do almost anything in a picture book. This flexibility encourages creativity, in both writer and reader. It broadens the mind, and the imagination. And given today’s challenges, we desperately need more creativity, broadened minds and imagination. Read more