Saturday, November 26, 2011

Monster List of Picture Book Agents--Susan Hawk, The Bent Agency

For this month's addition to The Monster List of Picture Book agents I've chosen to feature Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency. As with many agents, there isn't a ton of information on what she's looking for with regards to picture books, but according to Susan's submission guidelines she represents "authors who write for children of all ages, babies to teenage". That combined with the fact that she's part of a great agency sounds to me like a great opportunity for any children's book writer!

Susan introduced herself on Jenny Bent's blog: Bent On Books and she has recently stated her own blog, Susan Says.

You can find out a bit about Susan's background on her Linkedin profile.

There is a great interview with Susan on Mother. Write. Repeat.

Susan talks about marketing at Market My Words. She states that, "it's important for authors to have some sort of online presence." (If you don't have any online presence and are getting ready to query, this is certainly something you want to consider getting together in my opinion!)

At Writing and Illustrating, Kathleen Temean posted some tips from a First Pages session that Susan participated in.

You can find Susan Hawk on Twitter @susanhawk.

Update 2/21/2012: To find out more about Susan and what she looks for, especially in regards to picture books, read the interview she did with me.
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, November 25, 2011


This past month has been a crazy adventure. My family moved from one mountain to another. Of course, all the moving took place during one snow-stormy week. Funny how things happen like that. We moved into an inn to care take it. It's a beautiful place but the previous occupant had left it quite a mess. My husband and I have been cleaning it for the past two weeks! It's now back to being clean and beautiful so, of course, we had the family over for Thanksgiving and tonight we've invited some friends over for a music party. (There are lots of musicians around these parts it seems.)

I've been trying to do a bit of writing, but the inn really had to take priority for a while. Starting tomorrow I'm hoping to get back to my normal writing life. I've even quit my accounting job and am going to get back to doing things I love to do--especially writing. It doesn't hurt that I've even have had some good writing things happen amongst all my daily chaos. Makes me know that writing is what I need to focus on.

Anyhow, just wanted to check in and let you all know that this month's Monster List of Picture Book Agents post will be a little late. Hopefully I'll have it up tomorrow. I have the post partially done, but the party starts in about a half an hour and I should at least brush my hair. Don't want to become known as the crazy writer around here. At least not too quickly.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Write Like I Pack

As many of you know, I live on a mountain. It's pretty secluded, especially in winter. We have to maintain about two miles of road. It's not your average straight, flat road either. There's a couple super steep parts, a little dam, and lots of twists and turns. But really, that's not so bad. It's the wind--it makes it really hard to keep the road open so we usually end up snowmobiling, or skiing, or just plain walking, which can be really fun and sometimes not so fun when it's freezing cold and the snow is tearing into your face like little shards of glass and you have kids and groceries to bring safely home from your car you've parked miles away. It also makes you write run on sentences. So, this year my husband and I decided that it would make life easier (and maybe my writing would improve) if we moved for the winter to somewhere that the roads are plowed by someone other than ourselves. Brilliant, aren't we?

I've been packing for the past couple of days. I'm not very good at it. I wander from room to room and look at stuff. I stand around and think things like, do I need to bring this jar of loose change? It is money. Everyone needs money. Every once in a while I put something in a box, and after a ridiculous amount of rounds I am happy and even relieved to find that a box is finally packed and ready to be added to the huge stack of boxes my family has packed. (Amazingly quickly, by the way.)

I realized that this is how I write picture books too. I wander from story to story. Stare at them a lot. Read them over and over. Add some words. Wonder if I need them. Let them sit on the page for a while. Come back and look at them again. Take some words back out. Put in more new ones. I do this over and over until eventually I'm happy and even relieved to find that I have an actual story. Sure, there may still be stuff I don't need or stuff I should add. But it has really shaped up and is ready to move somewhere new--like my critique partners inbox.

Now, for my family's sake we should all hope that I am faster with the packing than the writing. Unfortunately I'm starting to wonder. I'm hoping I'll at least have some stories figured out by the time winter is over. If I don't they'll wait patiently for me to come back to them. So will my jar of change.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Haven't Had an Idea for Picture Book Idea Month Yet? It's Okay!

As all of you fellow PiBoIdMo'ers know, yesterday was the day to come up with your first picture book idea. (Don't know what PiBoIdMo is? Click here to learn about Tara Lazar's Picture Book Idea Month.) My entire day zipped by. It was a busy one (as I'm sure days are for most of us.) I got the kids ready for school, went to work, ran errands, did the laundry, cleaned up around the house, did some work on the new business I'm launching, made the bed, then finally--laid down! Phew. Still, I couldn't rest. I hadn't come up with a single picture book idea all day! Worse yet, I'd barely even had time to think about anything having to do with picture books or writing.

I told myself it was okay, a person can only do so much in a day. I gave up on the idea of having an idea and started reading a nonfiction book, which is what I tend to do when I'm not writing. But I couldn't concentrate. I'm a writer and I felt like I had to write! So I flipped through my notebook and read over a bunch of my old ideas and partially written stories. Man, there are SO MANY stories I need to finish! (These things take time!) I fooled around with a couple. Then I started composing this little blog post here in my head about how it's okay to not have an idea, when out of nowhere I came up with a new idea! I was definitely not even trying. And maybe that's where it's at. It's hard to pressure creativity.

All this is said because I want to send out a little support to those of you who see people posting that they are doing great or have 26 ideas or whatever fabulous picture book idea happening and perhaps feel a little bad. It's great, don't get me wrong. But it's also okay to not have had an idea yet. Sometimes we are just tired, or trying too hard, or just plain and simple haven't had an idea! Some days are like that. Some weeks are even like that.

Tara does have lots of great guest posts coming up to get our creative juices flowing which will definitely help! I really like Karma Wilson's reminder to ask the magic question, What if? It's the same I've heard from other writers including Gordon Korman when I saw him speak to a group of students recently. These are authors with many, many books to their credit. What if? does seem to be a magic question for writers. I'm certainly going to give it a try.

Hang in there my writing friends. The ideas will come, one way or another!