Tag Archives: children’s writing

25 Kit Lit Agents You Need to Follow

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Find Kid Lit Agents on TwitterBecause the big house publishers are only accepting submissions through agents, it is more important than ever to keep up with agents in a rapidly changing industry. Although their websites will usually give a better clue as to what they are looking for, in general, following agents on Twitter will give you up to the minute information. It’s also a great way to get a feel for their personality and style. Here are 25 kid lit agents to follow on Twitter (in no particular order).

Steven Malk Writers House

Katherine Fausett  Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Bree Ogden D4EO Literary Agency

Louise Fury The Bent Agency

Kristin Miller Vincent D4EO Literary Agency

Bob Diforio D4EO Literary Agency

Gemma Cooper The Bent Agency

Michelle Andelman Regal Literary

Kelly Sonnack Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Danielle Chiotti Upstart Crow Literary

Elizabeth Harding Curtis Brown Ltd.

Jen Rofe Andrea Brown Literary Agency

Ginger Clark Curtis Brown Ltd.

Marietta B Zacker Nancy Gallt Literary Agency

Mandy Hubbard D4EO Literary Agency

Sarah LaPolla Bradford Literary

Kate McKean Howard Morhaim Literary Agency

Sara Megibow Nelson Literary Agency

Jill Corcoran Jill Corcoran Literary Agency

Joanna Volpe New Leaf Literary Agency

Michael Boureet Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency

Rebecca Sherman Writers House

Laura Bradford Bradford Literary Agency

Debbie Carter Waverly Place Literary Agency

Sara Crowe Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Which agents are your favorites on Twitter? Who did I miss?

You can follow me @loishoffmande

Getting started in social media for Newbie Writers

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Many new and aspiring writers express anxiety about starting out in social media. We’ve all heard about the need for writers to have a platform. If you are like me, this may feel overwhelming. I recently heard the question, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer, of course, is one bite at a time.

Be visible

Set up an author page on Facebook. It’s ok to have a personal profile on Facebook, but an author page, even if you are not published yet, is essential. The same is true for Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or other social media platforms that speak to what you write about. Why do you need separate accounts? While it seems like twice the work, your followers don’t want to hear about your child’s recital and your family doesn’t want to be inundated with writing tips. You don’t have to be everywhere. Pick a couple of places to start and be consistent whether it’s once a day or once a week.

Give something of value

What do your readers want to know? Is it writing advice, party tips, or insight into how you picked the setting for your novel? Choose an angle and be known for it. It’s ok to stray from your primary purpose, but you will find consistent followers if readers know what they are signing up to read. Unless your book is about cats, don’t waste your time posting pictures of adorable animals. You don’t have to create all of the content yourself. Follow 10 (or 20) blogs, websites, or other sources of information and share that information and/or link with your readers.

Be present

If you want to be noticed, go out and introduce yourself. Comment on blog posts, like Facebook posts, follow and retweet interesting people and information on Twitter. Social media is about being there. You are hanging out around the proverbial water cooler. Listen as much as you talk and others will listen to you more when you do.

Be authentic

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It’s ok that you have faults, misgivings, and unsightly warts. In fact, it’s what will make people trust you more. People want to hear that you struggle and celebrate just like they do.

Learn from the pros

Keep learning. Follow people who give advice that speaks to you. If you are new to social media, you don’t need HTML optimization tips for your self-hosted blog. Find writers, editors, agents, and bloggers that take you to the next level, whatever level that may be. Here are a few interesting places to start:

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/

http://janefriedman.com/blog/

http://www.writingforward.com/blog

http://www.litkicks.com/

In children’s writing try these:

http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/

http://bluerosegirls.blogspot.com/

http://taralazar.com/

http://www.underdown.org/blog.htm

What are your main social media hurdles? Where do feel most comfortable? Let me know. I would love to hear from you.

SCBWI MD/DE/WV Spring Writers Conference 2014

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Writing for childrenDespite the snow and frigid temps outside, the SCBWI MD/DE/WV Spring Writers Conference is gearing up with some great speakers and events for children’s writers and illustrators. Whatever your stage of writing, newbie to experienced author, this conference will have something for you. Speakers will include editors, agents, published authors, and an art director. Here is the info about each taken straight from the conference announcement on the MD/DE/WV SCBWI website:

Alex Arnold
Editorial Assistant, Katherine Tegen Books (an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books)
Twitter:  @AlexYArnol

Giuseppe Castellano
Art Director, Penguin Group USA
Twitter: @pinocastellano

Sara D’Emic
Associate Agent, Talcott Notch Literary
Twitter: @SaraDEmic

Rori Shay
MD/DE/WV SCBWI Member and Author of The Elected Series
Twitter: @RoriShayWrites

Alyson Heller
Associate Editor, Aladdin, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing
Twitter: @EditorAlysonH

Christa Heschke
Agent, McIntosh and Otis, Inc. Literary Agency
Twitter: @ChristaHeschke
Blog:  http://christaheschke.blogspot.com

Debra Hess
Author, Senior Editor, Highlights for Children, and faculty, Highlights Foundation

Shelley Koon
Writer, artist, MD/DE/WV Critique Group Coordinator

Tara Lazar
Author and PiBoIdMo Creator
Blog:  taralazar.com
Twitter: @taralazar

Lesléa Newman
Author
Web site: lesleakids.com
Twitter: @lesleanewman

You will have an opportunity to get a critique on your polished manuscript, listen to some sage advice from the pros, and meet other writers and illustrators who share the same ambitions and struggles. It’s worth the time and money from the motivation alone. Do your career a favor and sign up.

The conference is scheduled for Saturday, March 29th from 8am-5pm at the Claggett Center near Frederickburg, MD. Registration opens on January 27th.

If you have been to a SCBWI MD/DE/WV conference before, please share your thoughts. We would love to hear from you!

Every Word Counts

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I’ve been revising the same 25 words for 3 weeks. As a picture book writer, I’m forced to care, forced to be precise.  Every word counts.  With only 500 words to tell an entire story, every word must develop the character, define the plot, and move the story forward.  If it doesn’t, it’s out.

While it may be easy to tell a child a story that they like to hear, it is quite another to write a manuscript that an editor wants to publish. Picture book publishing is trending toward spare language. Most are now fewer than 700 words and the greatest percentage of those are under 500. A walk through a bookstore will reveal this reality.  Wordy picture books are out.  That is a little disheartening for those of us who have a passion for words.

At the same time, using fewer words creates a fantastic challenge.  It’s a game.  In the same vein as Name That Tune, I can write that story in 300 words or 200 or 100.  Can you?

Many of us write a free flowing style of draft and then chop words off to get to the desired (or tolerated) length.  Try this:  Write your story from the least amount of words and add a few as you need them. For example – Harry. Beach. Scared. Sharks. Jellyfish. Crabs. Teddy bear drowning. Harry saves him. Harry loves water.

OK.  It’s not a good story, but an illustration of how few words you need to convey a story.  I bet your mind even filled in the description of the scene and the characters. If each of you used this template for a story, we would end up with dozens of different stories.  And if each of those stories were given to different illustrators, the variations would become even greater.

Go ahead.  Take the challenge. Then let me know how you do.

Know the Writing Market

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Writing PublicationsI met with my new critique group last month. There was lots of lively conversation, inspired critiquing, and snacks. I shared a couple of things with the group about an editor moving to another publisher or an agent that was looking something specific. It was met with, “How do you know this stuff?”  I told them I would share what I read about the writing market.  I’ll share it with you, too.

Before I do, it’s important to know why you should read these publications.

  • If an editor moves to a different publisher, they are likely going to be looking for new manuscripts.
  • Editors and agents may reveal what they are looking for.
  • You know what is selling and what is struggling to sell.
  • You don’t waste your time writing what has just been written.
  • You’ll get an idea of how the marketing end of the business works.
  • You’ll get valuable tips and techniques for writing the best manuscript you can.
  • You get to know the players in the publishing industry. This is important to know when you rub elbows at a conference, send your manuscript, and want to market your published book.
  • You don’t waste you stamps on publishers that have shuttered their doors.
  • Agents and editors want to know that you not only can write, but understand the business of writing.

In no particular order, here are some publications that I read. I am a children’s writer. You’ll see some of those listed here, too.

I also read tweets and blogs whenever I get the chance.  That’s for another post.

Don’t let all the reading get in the way of good writing. A great manuscript will always trump great market knowledge. But, set a little time aside for reading about writing and the business of writing. Don’t let lack of knowledge keep you from getting published.

What publications do you read to keep you informed?

Using Pinterest for Inspiration

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Just a week into using Pinterest, I’ve found it to be not only another way to suck time from busy day, but also to be a great source of inspiration for writing. Considering I’m a very visual thinker, Pinterest’s visual format is like coming home. Each picture has a story to tell. Listen closely and you’ll hear it, too.

Inspiration for Characters

Main Character

From Leotine de Hollander

Inspiration for Scenes

Setting or scene

From Nikoletaa Argirova

Obstacles for Characters

Obstacles for main character

From Umah

Inspiration for Villains

Villains

From Marlene

Have you found inspiration using Pinterest? I love hearing comments.

Why Go To A Writer’s Conference?

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Why spend the time, the money, and the energy to go to a writer’s conference? Is it really worth it? I believe the answer is yes. Here’s why.

Writers Conference

Improve your writing

Writers at any level can improve their skills. While some conferences offer hands on classes, others talk about technique. But, simply listening to how different writers approach the writing process from brainstorming to outlining to revision can jar you loose from bad practices or just set you on a better course. Methods of building memorable characters or clarifying plot lines can move your manuscript from good to great. While there may be diminishing returns if you have been successfully published, the path to continue to get published is to keep growing in your craft.

Learn the business

Although writing is a craft, publishing is a business.  If you don’t know the game you are playing, you probably won’t win. At the recent SCBWI Conference, we were told that it is best sellers market. Over and over, the message was to put out the best possible work you can produce.  (See reason #1) But, the question is what is that exactly? The publishing industry is facing a time of immense change.  Find out the current trends, the open avenues, how to submit, what to submit, and how not to piss off an editor. Once you are published, even before you are published you need to learn how to market your work so that your book will do well. Fail at that and your next book might not get sold at all.

Network with others

It’s been said that you are 6 people away from the person you need to know in the publishing industry. It’s a little like the Kevin Bacon connection, but a lot more important. Your job at a conference is to meet people, talk with people, and suck up as much knowledge as you can. You will meet others in your genre or local area and have lunch. You’ll talk about writers you know, classes you know and they will tell you in return. Every contact at a conference is incredibly important to you as an author. You can’t afford to wait until you are published before you start making connections.

Energize yourself

The one things all conferences have in common is the energy you bring home.  You’ll have new tricks and technical knowledge that you’ll want to try on your own writing. You’ll have made connections you would like to foster.  But, maybe most importantly, you’ll have seen writers who have “made it.”  The ones that were once writers just like you. Now they are published authors, held on high with awards and accolades. You have dreams that it could be you someday. You are home and truly inspired.

Are you ready to go? Here are 2 writers conferences for children’s writers:

MD/WV/DE SCBWI Spring Conference March 31, 2012
Conference Website

NJ SCBWI Annual Conference – June 3, 4, 5, 2012
Conference Website

What do you think? Have been to one or more? Is it worth it?