Friday, February 28, 2014


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

7/26/2016 Update: Erica Rand Silverman has moved to Stimola Literary Studio.

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." Read Erica's bio on the Sterling Lord Literistic website. (scroll down)

I found 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

Updated 5/6/2014 via Erica Rand Silverman herself, here are some of the picture book authors and illustrators she represents:

They Lydia Freeman Foundation (CORDUROY)
David Goldin
Todd Goldman, aka Todd H. Doodler
Tim Miller (illustrating books to be published through Viking and Enchanted Lion in 2015 and 2016)
Joyce Hesselberth (SHAPE SHIFT Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano Books 2015)
David Weinstone of Music for Aardvarks (MUSIC CLASS TODAY/Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2015)

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

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!