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How to Write and Publish Children's Books

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  • 11/02/11--05:30: Query Formatting
  • This is probably the most common question I get asked about queries at conferences, and it comes from Lyla: I’m putting some final touches on my query and I have a question on format. Many of the agents whose blogs I subscribe to have mentioned that they prefer the ‘hook’ first and then personalization later [...]

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  • 11/09/11--04:30: Query Personalization
  • Long story short: Just like with citing comparative titles, if you’re not going to do it well, don’t do it at all. Long story: It’s great when you take the time to personalize your query. Think of all the time you spent writing and revising. That was months, maybe years, or your life. Put some [...]

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    Thank you to Susan who, in the comments for my last post 10 Questions to Ask When Offered Representation, wanted to know the opposite: What questions might an agent have for a potential client? There’s no way I can speak comprehensively for everyone in the industry on this one, but here’s what I’m often curious [...]

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  • 04/09/12--05:34: POV in Queries
  • This isn’t going to be a meaty post, but it’s a little issue that comes up every once in a while in slush: write your queries in first person. It’s a very small tweak and, honestly, it’s not going to make or break your query letter by any stretch of the imagination, but in case [...]

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    When writing your bio paragraph in your query letter, keep it short. Please. This is another quick post to answer a specific query question, and it follows on the heels of my advice to not write about yourself in the third person. For the bio paragraph, where you went to college, how many kids you [...]

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    Today’s question comes from Peter: I’m submitting simultaneous submissions (only when they say it’s OK, of course). I know it is common courtesy to let agents know the submission is not exclusive and inform the others when I receive representation from one. But what of the time in between? If I query two agents, and [...]

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    We all know the feeling–we’re about to do something really nerve-wracking, and all we want to know is whether or not it went okay. This applies to every nervousmaking thing in life: proposing marriage, going in for a job interview, giving an important sales presentation, pitching your book at a conference. While a marriage proposal [...]

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  • 09/05/12--08:31: Writing Emails
  • Kirstin asked about writing emails on the blog on Monday, and here’s her answer…and a reminder that there are no dumb or simple questions! I was wondering about setting up email accounts. I have a personal one (family, friends). Should I make a “writing” email separate ? (i.e have that ONE email devoted to exchanges [...]

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  • 10/08/12--05:30: Bullies in Kidlit
  • Let’s get this right out of the way: bullies are horrible, bullying is universal, and a bully plot or subplot is a great way to establish an underdog character. They’re also a very important topic for kids to read about. After all, who doesn’t want to comfort a bullying victim or see a bully change [...]

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  • 01/14/13--04:30: Situation Queries
  • One of my favorite notes to give because it make so much sense to me is “A situation is not a plot.” (Though Stephen King is quick to absolutely disprove me by giving the opposite note here, ha! Proving once and for all how subjective writing advice can be. As the author of a book [...]

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  • 10/14/13--11:38: Agents vs. Editors
  • I’ve had a few writers recently come to me with questions similar to this one (summarized): Help! I am querying agents and publishers simultaneously and I’ve noticed something strange. All of the agents seem to say complimentary things about the writing but reject my idea. Some have even said that they wouldn’t know how to [...]

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  • 06/02/14--05:30: Secrets to a Good Logline
  • When I talk about a logline, I mean a quick and effective sales pitch for your story. It is the same as the “elevator pitch” or your snappy “meets” comparison (Harry Potter meets Where the Wild Things Are!). However, not everyone’s book fits the “meets” way of doing this, so they’re left with constructing their […]

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  • 07/28/14--05:30: Building a Portfolio Website
  • If you are an illustrator, I highly recommend having a simple portfolio website that you can use to display your work. When you’re querying, instead of attaching images (most editors and agents don’t accept attachments anyway), you can just send a link to your collection. Add new things, change out images in your rotation, and […]

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  • 11/10/14--04:30: Managing Eagerness
  • I tell clients all the time that my job is to manage expectations. Part of working with a freelance editor is expecting to be pushed outside of your manuscript comfort zone a little bit. Most writers come to me with the thought, “I am excited by my idea but I know there are several things […]

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  • 10/25/15--17:16: Author Notes and Backmatter
  • I received a question the other day (thanks, Kate!) about author notes in picture book manuscripts. Great stuff. Let me give you some information on the topic so that you can move more confidently forward with your picture book submissions. First of all, you see author notes more frequently in non-fiction work. After the topic […]

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    Many of you who are familiar with my writing have heard me express surprise and frustration at the idea that so many writers are obsessed with the pitch that the product (in our case, the manuscript) seems almost an afterthought. Back when I would speak at conferences, I would get maybe 8 questions out of […]

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    A lot of writers hear the well-meaning advice that, in order to break in more easily, they should have some writing clips and credits to their resume. It’s good advice, and I especially don’t want to disenfranchise the many writers who have been actively pursuing this strategy with my answer, because it is a very […]

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  • 03/28/16--05:30: Picking a Category
  • A note: This post was written in February and programmed here to fill a hole in my programming. Normal blog posts will resume in the next few weeks, but I just wanted to put some fresh material online! Recently, I worked with a client who had written, by all accounts, a middle-grade novel. It has […]

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    Recently, an editorial client of mine wrote in with the following awesome question about submitting multiple queries to multiple agents: Is it ok to query two books at the same time to different agents? A novel and a picture book? An agent I want to work with is accepting queries for both picture books and …

    The post Submitting Multiple Queries to Multiple Agents appeared first on Kidlit.


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    The revision process for writing a book can be extremely intimidating. I completely understand. There are some really great points in the comments about why this situation arises, but that doesn’t change the fact that writers are still often too intimidated by revision to give it the time it deserves. Read on. There’s More to …

    The post Learn to Love the Revision Process for Writing a Book appeared first on Kidlit.


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