Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Enjoying the Earth

My cabin in the woods in Shasta.
So, I took a break. A vacation even! I drove from Washington State to California and back armed with only my iphone. No laptop, just a tiny little screen to check in on things with. Dana and Lisha took care of all the Sub It Club business while I was gone. (Love those girls!) I preset all the social media posts for the business pages I manage. With the exception of a few things I pretty much got a break from the online world. And I didn't suffer from withdrawal!

Monterey Bay, at the end of the street where I used to live.
Of course there was stuff I *should* have been doing. Blogging this. Checking in on that. Facebooking. Tweeting. And revising. Yes, I really should have been revising.

But I didn't do anything besides a few quick checkins and picture postings. And It was good. Sometimes you just need a break. I hung out. Saw stuff. Did stuff. But most of all I didn't worry about what I might be missing online.

As writers, especially writers trying to break in, it can be easy to can get caught up in the mission of needing to stay on top of things. Knowing what the market wants. What agent is looking for what. What new contests are open. The list can go on and on. Honestly, it is great to be informed but you can't know everything. Sometimes a break can help you see things with a fresh perspective. And a break from the screen can be a rare commodity these days, but you can do it! Get out of your usual life, enjoy the beauty(and even the ugliness) that surrounds you, and be reminded of the other things there are out there in the world. Whether you do this by just taking a walk in a new part of your neighborhood or by going on a little vacation, it's good to get out of your usual zone. It can also make you really long to get back to those revisions!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Monster List of Picture Book Agents - Tracey Adams of Adams Literary

Tracey Adams has a wealth of experience in the field of children's publishing. You can see the agencies and publishers Tracey worked for before co-founding the well respected Adams Literary in 2004 on her about page. Adams Literary exclusively represents children's through young adult literature, including illustrators. Adams Literary has an extensive list of clients.They also talk about managing careers and what types of clients they have on the client page. Be sure to check it out.

At Michelle4Laughs there is a great 2013 Query Questions with Tracey. You will want to read how many queries Adams Lit gets in a week and how many manuscripts they usually read. Make it good people!

There's a quick 2013 post at PubSmart where Tracey tells what kinds of books she's looking for.

There is a really informative interview with Tracey at Humor Me.

Tracey did an interview at Multiculturalism Rocks! where she talks about editorial and how involved after a book is published.

At this interview at Dreams Can Be Reached she tells the piece of advice she gives most to writers.

Suite 101 has an interview where Tracey talks about the types of children's books she does not represent. And rhyming.

Here's a quick read at the SCBWI blog with Tracey's thoughts on smaller publishers.

Cynthia Leitich Smith interviewed Tracey for SCBWI Bologna 2008, I know that's a while about but the information is still relevant. Tracey tells how she got her start as an agent, cover letters, and the realities of children's book publishing.

At Literary Rambles you can read some information straight from Tracey regarding sales numbers and query tips.

Learn more about Tracey's work life at A Day in the Life of Adams Literary on Carol Baldwin's blog.

You can find Adams Literary on Publishers Marketplace, Twitter, and Facebook.

Submissions to Adams Literary are accepted only through their online submission form. Be sure to download and read the submission guidelines on the right hand side of the form.

This post is part of the Monster List of Picture Book Agents. If you have any changes that you think should be made to this listing, please contact me or leave them in the comments. Thanks!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Cutting

Cutting words is important. You know it's true.

I understand that it can sometimes be hard to do, but cutting can be a big part of revision. Yes, I know it might hurt. They're your words and ideas. You don't want to do cut them and no one can make you!

Well that's true too. You don't HAVE to take your words out. But sometimes, maybe many times, cutting words can make your story better. This may especially be true in the case of picture books where trends are skewing to shorter texts that let illustrations take a huge role in telling the story. I made a list of unnecessary words, but cutting can involve so much more.

I recently revised (okay, re-re-re-revised) a picture book. I loved the characters. The dialogue. The jokes! But I realized I needed to focus on the main character and his story. The other characters were taking away from that focus. So, as much as it hurt I had to chop the princess, nix the cat, and banish the bird. Oh, and take out the gumballs. (My son wasn't too happy about that!)

Is the story more focused? I think so. Is it shorter? Definitely. But in taking away I added new elements, stronger conflict, and a stronger arc. Sure, I miss the old characters a little but I like the new direction the story is heading.

Don't be afraid to cut your words or even entire characters. Cutting can take your manuscript to new places you hadn't thought of before. And don't worry, you can always put the words back if you need them. That's what cut and paste is for!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Writers Need Love Too!

I know that writing can be a tough and solitary calling. It takes guts and dedication. So I wanted to take a moment and remind you all that making the time to write, taking the time to learn your craft, and sending out submissions makes you amazing. No matter what stage of the writer's game you're in, you are full of bravery just for giving it a go! I wrote more about it today on the Sub It Club blog in my post, Show Yourself Some Love. But wanted to send some love out to my writer friends here as well.
Happy Valentine's Day! Here's to you!
*raises a chocolate covered bon bon*

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Monster List of Picture Book Agents - Erica Rand Silverman of Sterling Lord Literistic

Sterling Lord Literistic is a successful, established literary agency that has been in business for over 60 years. Erica Rand Silverman is one of the many agents there. She joined Sterling Lord in 2008 and represents, "authors and illustrators of children’s literature, picture books through YA, and nonfiction about children, parenting and education." You can read Erica's bio on the Sterling Lord Literistic website. (scroll down)

You can read a 2012 interview with Erica at the Writer's Digest Guide to Literary Agents blog.

Couldn't find a date on this, but there is a report by Emily Goodman at SCBWI Metron NY of "A Night with Three Agents" that Erica participated in where she gives some excellent advice about making your agent decision.

There is a 2/9/2012 report at Publisher's Weekly of a panel Erica participated in, How to Navigate a Changing Business? Children's Agents Shed Some Light.

Erica wrote an article published 8/15/13 for Well Rounded NY titled Baby Books by Stages where she recommends a number of books for little ones.

She also is part of the educational consulting company, Room 228 and has an informative bio there.

Erica's professional profile can be found on her page at Linkedin.

You can follow Erica on Twitter @ericarsilverman

At Sterling Lord Literistic they only take snail mail submissions. Please read the submission guidelines on the website.

But here's the thing. Although in her bio at Sterling Lord Literistic it says that Erica Rand Silverman represents picture books, I could not find any picture book author that she represents. Of course, she is highly selective and has many wonderful clients. And just because I couldn't find one doesn't mean they aren't out there or that she wouldn't take one on. We can only go with the information we can find when submitting manuscripts and from what I have seen I would be happy to give Erica Rand Silverman a try.

This post is part of the Monster List of Picture Book Agents. If you have any changes that you think should be made to this listing, please contact me or leave them in the comments. Thanks!

Friday, January 24, 2014

A One Year Celebration!

A year ago I, along with my friends Dana Carey and Lisha Cauthen, launched an idea that had been rolling around in my brain for some time. I may be a classifiable introvert but I wanted to be able to talk queries and submissions with writers. Lots of writers. Because when you're sending out submissions there is lots to talk about! It's been an amazing year and I have to say that not only has it been great to have writers to talk to about submissions, but starting a club has really helped me to break out of my little writing shell that I live in here behind my computer. I mean, I haven't turned beet red from posting something in quite a long time. And yes, that used to happen a lot!

Anyhow, Sub It Club is one year old now and I wanted to let readers of my blog who aren't a part of the Club that we're having a celebration with some great prizes from agents and authors! Come on over  to www.subitclub.wordpress.com and check out the prizes. I added as many options as I could think of so hopefully everyone can find a way to enter. And if you're up to it, join us at the Club (we are all over the web but the private facebook group is our main place for member discussion.) But I warn you, I can get a bit chatty.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Once Upon a Time a Writer Found the Perfect Agent

Once upon a time there was a girl who liked to write. The more she wrote, the more she liked it. The more she liked it the more she wanted to see something she wrote turned into a book. And when that actually happened she then wanted to see something else she wrote turned into a book because, as she had learned, writers are never finished, they just move onto the next project.

Many times she felt all alone and like she needed advice. Along her travels she made many writing friends. She liked them so much she started a club where they shared writing secrets with those who knew the secret handshake. But she longed to find that one brave knight who would help her find her way through the publishing forest.

One day, when she was wallowing in the depths of the murky river of writing woe, the knight magically appeared telling her how wonderful her writing was and that he was there to help her make her way through the forest and…

WAIT A MINUTE!

Whose story is this? Well, it’s mine. Sort of. But it didn’t happen quite that way.


I did (and do) write. A lot. I’ve had a bit of success along the way.






And now I do have the perfect agent for me. I found him the best way I knew how—by querying him!

Was there magic involved? Perhaps a little. I wrote a story I really liked. I got it critiqued. Revised it. A lot. I studied agents, made a list of what I thought were the best matches, and queried them. Guess who was my top choice? Sean McCarthy. And amazingly enough he was busy starting his own agency when I was ready to query.

When I read the news about Sean McCarthy Literary Agency I got my submission ready immediately. But I didn’t send it. What if he didn’t like it? Was I ready to be disappointed? Apparently I talked about it quite a bit because my daughter finally said, “Mom, just send it to him already! He's going to love it!” (When your daughter rolls her eyes at you because you’re being childish it can really help you do the things you need to do.) So I did. Click. Done. Wait.

I didn’t have to wait too long.

You want the fairytale ending? Sean did like my manuscript. And he read a bunch more of my work and liked that too! Plus he’s thoughtful, understanding, concerned, informed, open, honest, helpful… all those things you hope to find in an agent. Heck, look at his fabulous list of recent books! So yes, now I can say,

I am represented by Sean McCarthy of Sean McCarthy Literary Agency! 


As for the rest of the tale? It has yet to be written. 

But I think I'll end this story with... 
                                                       ...and they lived happily ever after.