DIY Picture Book Query Letters

When it comes to picture book submissions, editors and agents nearly always ask for the entire text. For novels and nonfiction, they generally ask for a synopsis, the first three chapters, and/or a proposal and outline. It’s a no-brainer that one should write a query for novels or nonfiction to get the prospective publisher interested…

Sock-sock-shoe-shoe? or sock-shoe-sock-shoe?

I had this discussion recently with a Millennial, who felt that the first option was the only answer that made any sense whatsoever, and, he didn’t want to hear any discussion about the alternative. The discussion recalled a hilarious scene in one of the best sitcoms ever made, All in the Family, which aired in…

Judging a Cover by its Book?

A few years ago, a friend, who was about to self-publish a nonfiction book, asked for my opinion of the title and cover design since I was a published author. I commented that it was lovely, but I knew nothing about the book by its cover. The title seemed odd to me, the font almost…

BUG! Publishing News

It began last October with a semi-desire to learn how to do scratchboard while tinkering with a story idea. As usual, my brain firmly resisted this new task that sounded messy, time consuming and difficult to learn. So, after buying all the materials and watching a few tutorials, I tried creating the scratchboard effect using…

Texting While Driving: a Writer’s Tip

We all know that sticking our nose in a device to read and answer messages while we drive is akin to driving while impaired, or worse. But safe texting while driving is something I’ve done for years. A lot of writers talk of their routine of “Butt in Chair” (BIC) from something o’clock to whatever…

Don’t over-pluck your picture book

If you write picture books, you know it’s a lot easier to tell your story in more words than probably anyone wants to publish. It used to be that 1,000-1,200 words was the limit. Now, it’s more like 700. Or even shorter! But that does not mean you cut all but the first 700 words…

Can you handle the truth?

In the world of publishing we (hopefully) agonize over a project until it is perfect and present something we believe in our hearts is an incredibly awesome work of art. So it’s never any fun when our projects are rejected by an agent or publisher. In 30+ years of publishing children’s books, here’s my take…

Are You Done Yet?

Wow, it’s been thirty years since my first children’s book contract. So… what have I learned in thirty years? I’ve learned that people often don’t respect or understand just how long it can take to accomplish a task that might appear, to the one not doing it, to be easy. I think everyone has experienced…

Evolving Stories

How does a story evolve? aka Where do you get your ideas? We’ve heard lots of answers, and they all sound pretty convincing. However I think the honest answer from most authors and illustrators (and perhaps the other creative sorts) is that we really have no idea where ideas come from. For me, the only…

And Then it Hit Me…

We walk the same 1-1/2 mile path system on our place every day, and just like the mail carrier, nothing keeps us from our appointed rounds. There are a lot of trees along the way, most less than 25 years old, but a few areas have some huge older maples and Oregon ash. An ash…