Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Am I Writing a Picture Book?

Not every children’s book with illustrations qualifies as a picture book. Picture book is a unique format, distinct from chapter books or illustrated novels. Picture books are designed for pre-schoolers and elementary school readers, and while the latter may be able to read independently, these books are intended to be read aloud — which is a unique craft challenge, meaning […]

Are You Ready to Crack the Picture Book Query?

For writers seeking representation, the query has to do a lot of heavy lifting: It’s your first impression to an agent or editor. It has to make the agent feel like you’ve done your homework. It has to be intriguing enough to get someone to read your manuscript without giving away the whole plot. It has to show […]

What’s Your Biggest Question About Doing School Visits?

I’m putting the final touches on School Visit Wizard, a step-by-step, customizable kit to help authors book, plan and deliver A+ author visits in schools. I want to make sure I’ve covered everything, so if you’re willing to help by answering one quick question, I’ll send you a FREE report outlining The 7 Essential Documents […]

Free Video Series Answering Your Picture Book Submission Questions

For those of you who write picture books, here’s some great news! My friend and colleague Julie Hedlund and I recently ran a survey asking for questions about picture book submissions. We received SO MANY great questions – literally, hundreds – and we were amazed by how many people asked the same questions. Julie and I are both dedicated to […]

What’s your biggest question about writing children’s books?

Happy New Year! As a children’s author, editor and writing coach, I spend a lot of  time talking about writing and/or publishing books for children and young adults. I feel so blessed to do the work I do, and to belong to such a warm, supportive and buoyant community of fellow readers, writers and children’s […]

Reader Resonance

The middle grade and YA sections of your local bookstore and/or library these days are teeming with genres, styles and subject matters for teens and ‘tweens to explore.  Some offer up fantastical and imaginative worlds, others deal with gritty topical issues – and there’s a vast range in between. But no matter what genre or […]

Pay No Attention to That Writer Behind the Curtain!

One of my favorite speakers at the 2013 SCBWI winter conference was Mo Willems. No surprise, he’s also one of my favorite writers, and illustrators. Among the many witty, wise and irreverent pieces of writing advice he shared was this: “Be Invisible.” Hard to believe, but apparently, Mo once received a review that spoke of […]

The “Common Core” – Crisis or Opportunity for Children’s Book Writers?

There were several recurring themes that emerged at the wonderfully inspiring SCBWI 2013 Winter Conference this past weekend.  One was brightening and enriching the lives of children – our readership. (Seems obvious, but sometimes one loses sight of the forest for the trees.)  Another was the new frontier that publishing in the digital age represents […]

Support Your New Year’s Writing Resolutions!

Here’s a fabulous way to jumpstart your writing goals for 2013! My friend and colleague Julie Hedlund launched the first 12×12 initiative in 2012. Members were challenged to write a picture book draft a month, so as to conclude the year with 12 completed manuscripts. The idea took off like wildfire, with hundreds of members […]

The Series Series, Part 5: Tracking Settings

In the last post, we looked at building, developing and maintaining the continuity of characters within a series. Now let’s look at the same thing with respect to setting. The key to creating an evocative setting – whether real or fantasy – is to incorporate the senses. Many writers describe only what can be seen […]

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