July 17, 2012

Formatting a Picture Book

Ever see a slush pile in an editor's office?  We hear the horror stories - so how does one get their manuscript to stand out?  With so many manuscripts waiting to be read, it doesn't take much of a reason for an editor to reject a manuscript.  The wrong manuscript formatting shows a lack of professionalism and an editor will be quick to set it aside.  So if you're new to the field, how do you know the proper format?  Kathy Temean has this post on her blog that gives us the expert's knowledge from Simone Kaplan of The Picture Book People.    Check out the post and set your worries aside!

July 9, 2012

April Showers, May Flowers, and June Writing!

Wow - June is normally filled with graduations, end-of-school parties, report cards, track and getting ready for the beach.  But this year, in addition to all those happy events, June was filled with two fantastic writing events.  I had the pleasure of attending the Highlights Foundation "Concentrated Course in Nonfiction".  Peter Jacobi led a terrific workshop packed with information on how to interview your subject, bibliographies, writing magazine articles and much more.  The three days were filled with wonderful meals, meeting the Highlights staff, discussing ideas, country living, and long walks through the woods.  We each had our own cabin surrounding the "Barn".  This is country living at its best!  Everyone I know who has attended on of the various Highlights workshops has all good things to say about the experience.  And I can't say enough about the Highlights folks - every one of them is gracious, professional and down-to-earth.  Kent Brown has built a great new facility to encourage and develop aspiring authors and those perfecting their craft.  Check out the Highlights writing workshops and put it on your bucket list for this year. 

The next weekend I jumped right into the SCBWI-NJ conference in Princeton, NJ.  Kathy Temean, Regional Advisor, really knocked herself out this time!  Over 300 attendees, 30 editors/agents, numerous publishing houses and literary agencies and scores of workshops.  Keynote speaker was Kate DiCamillo, author of Because of Winn-Dixie.  Workshops ranged from the basic "How to Write a Query Letter" to "Developing Your Book Into an App". I followed the nonfiction track and participated in workshops on What is a Book Packager?,  Making a Living as a Freelance Writer, Creating Apps for Your Book, and Meeting Academic Standards.  Check out Kathy Temean's blog for interviews with the editors/agents who attended the conference and a summary of the workshops.  We all left feeling inspired and spent the rest of June writing!

April 26, 2012

So You're Writing a Picture Book? Um, That Might Be a Magazine Article

In this post by Institute of Children's Literature author Christine Kohler gives us all the important details on how to tell if your work is a picture book or magazine article.  The line can be vague and authors can spin their wheels marketing a picture book that might be a fantastic (and contracted quickly!) magazine article.  But how do you know?  Kohler's article gives us specific pointers:  how many illustration possibilities?  Are the illustrations moving your manuscript forward?  Is it horizontal or vertical?  What is the word count?  After reading the post, you'll look at your manuscript with new eyes and more possibilites.   Check out the post here.  And thanks to Mentors for Rent for posting the article on Facebook. 

March 29, 2012

Freelance Writing? Check out this site!

You might be doing a lot of freelance writing and editing, like yours truly.  Freelance covers everything from submitting to magazines, authoring a book for an educational publisher or perhaps copywriting for the business arena.  The advantages of freelance include quicker pay and a variety of topics.  Brian Scott, http://www.freelancewriting.com/ provides constant updates on available jobs.  As an added bonus, Brian recently posted a flowchart titled "How I Find Freelance Jobs".  It's excellent!  Check out the flowchart here.  Thanks Brian!  

February 28, 2012

Looking for a Picture Book Agent?

If you are writing picture books, there is a good chance that you are feeling frustrated in today's market.  But here is the good news - the picture book market is turning around!  Sure, the competition is stiff, but doesn't that make you write a BETTER picture book?  We all benefit.  With downloadable apps, school visits, and interactive books, the picure book market is developing better opportunities for creativity. And if you want to start with an agent, SCBWI NJ Regional Advisor Kathy Temean has this agent list on her blog that directs you to the folks that are accepting picture book manuscripts.  Go for it! 

February 12, 2012

SCBWI Winter Conference - Get In On the Action!

Miss the annual SCBWI winter conference in NYC this year?  Lucky for you, updates on the fabulous editors, agents and authors are available on the SCBWI link.  Live bloggers gave us the details, interviews and action happening on stage and behind the scenes.  Check out the page for what's happening in the industry.  Are you writing what is marketable?  What will help YOU get published?

February 2, 2012

Highlights: Writing for Magazines, Fiction and Non-fiction

I love writing for Highlights Magazine, and with over 2 million subscribers, who wouldn't want to get their name in print with this well-known magazine?  So how do you craft articles that Highlights, National Geographic Kids, BabyBug and Cobblestone will accept?  What do they want to see?  How about their current needs?  Highlights has the answer for you with their March workshop: Writing for Magazines, Fiction and Non-fiction.  The all-star cast includes editors from National Geographic Kids, Highlights, and the Cobblestone Publishing Group.  Mark your calendars and get ready to submit!

January 3, 2012

December: A busy month of school visits!

When you author a Christmas book, you have to expect a crazy month of school visits, Christmas bazaars and book signings, right? December 2011 proved to be just as busy as past years - and that's good news for me! I'm blessed with all the new friends I met through my school visits. The kids asked great questions, I lunched with budding authors, teachers/principals/parents were extraordinarily gracious. Thanks to all who shared their Christmas season with me. You've brought me great joy. Below are two of the school reviews:

St. Catherine of Sienna, Reading, PA - Jeannine told the story in such a beautiful, poetic way....I felt like Mary was talking to me! What a wonderful gift she brought to all of us with her soothing voice, wonderful story and the amazing illustrations. I wish that all children could be as lucky as ours were to "hear" Mary's story!

Our Lady of the Assumption, Strafford, PA -

What a wonderful way to start the holiday season. Mrs. Jeannine Norris came to our school and introduced the children to her beautiful book, Tonight You are My Baby: Mary’s Christmas Gift.

The children were riveted as she read the story and it was projected large than life on the whiteboard. Mrs. Norris kept them engaged in the story all the while sharing her experiences with them.
Many of the teachers commented that Mrs. Norris had such a beautiful “way” with the children, just as she has a beautiful way with words. This book and this author are both truly a gift from God.
Patty Welsh Principal, Our Lady of the Assumption Preschool and Kindergarten”Strafford, PA