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…

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…

More about bats.

I worked with the third spread for my book idea about opposites and this is how far I got. Lots of tweaking yet to go, but it’s so fun to carve out some time to illustrate. Now it’s time to get back to writing. I’ve put one client off for three weeks, so I better…

All in a Day’s Work

This week I finished a pretty horrifying but interesting proposal that was requested based on a query. Here’s how it works much of the time for nonfiction projects: you pitch an idea to a publisher that is accepting queries only. First you make sure they haven’t done anything like it and yet you feel it…

Sharing Our Stuff

Some of us are old enough to remember what a lonely job this is: creating stuff while sitting in a dark attic using a single candle for light. The family occasionally tossed up a bone and told us to sell something soon or we’d all starve to death. We’d send off our latest brainstorm in…

Biding Our Time

A big brown bat appeared in our bathroom. Okay, it didn’t just appear, it flew around the room to let us know whose domain we had entered that evening. We figured the little guy came in through the vent fan from the attic and got to the attic via the roof vent, though we’re not…