Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good Advice

Also, I like to think that chalk came up with this on his own. 

Like, it was late, and chalk was bored / couldn't sleep, and the sign said 
something super lame about oil changes and so chalk wrote this instead.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


According to their website: "Children’s books play a vital role in every Jewish home, classroom and library. Hachai Publishing is dedicated to producing high quality children’s literature with Jewish themes. Our books promote universal values such as sharing, kindness and charity, and teach Jewish history and tradition. We feature the work of exciting new authors and artists to create books that you and your child can enjoy over and over again."


Mildly related sidebar: My four year old daughter asked if we could carve our Christmas tree into a dreidel. Her request is under review.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Book Advent Calendar

How cute is this idea? I totally stole it from my friend Denise. 

As described on the http://www.instructables.com website: "The Christmas book advent calendar is a collection of 24 Christmas books to read each day during advent. Select books based on your family's age and interest… Once you've made your book selections, you could wrap them up and open one each night during advent. You could display them on a shelf or mantle, or choose to collect them in a special basket."

You mean I get to buy picture books AND a special basket? I'm so in. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

All Broken Up

This past weekend I learned about kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold tinted resin. Right then I had a deep-person moment. Like, Gandhi deep.

I am the bowl.

I have cracks – many from writing-related rejections. Rejections have shredded my confidence, confirmed my worst fears, and sent me spiraling down into three-day Nutella binges*. And you know what? I am better for them. My drafts are cleaner, my characters are richer, and my heart is stronger. So march on baby writers. Be the bowl.

(* I actually don't mind the Nutella part)

Monday, December 16, 2013

How To Get An Agent

First, find a large wooden box and about ten feet of rope.

Ha, ha! Just kidding! That’s creepy. Don’t do that.

There is no clear path to agent-hood, just like there is no clear path to publication, thin thighs or well behaved kids. This stuff takes time and effort, and above all else, PERSISTENCE. 

However, as my one year agent anniversary is approaching, it seems like a good time to share how I signed with my agent, Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She is such an amazing lady. And friend. She is my lady friend. I digress.

When I began querying agents, I only had nine names on my list. Right up at the top was Kathleen. She passed, but offered to review my work in the future. This is agent code for “I think you can do better with more practice.” And, as always, Kathleen was right. I kept writing and editing and writing and editing and writing and editing and, well, you know. 

I subbed poems to magazines, sent stories to blogs, and collected rejections like my grandmother Mimi collected buttons.I also sent a manuscript out to a few slush piles. Then (drum roll please) I got an email from Sterling Publishing! They liked my book. I responded by running out into my driveway screaming and sobbing. That’s normal, right?

Anyway I eventually calmed down and contacted Kathleen with the news. She offered to read more of my stories. And then more. And a couple more. That same day we talked on the phone. She was brilliant. I was babble-y. She offered representation. I accepted.

Kathleen then worked with Sterling on my behalf (seriously, she swooped in there like some literary paratrooper, all business and awesomeness), and obtained a wonderful contract for me. We are now working on a second book.

For you numbers people, it took about six months to find an agent. I queried nine of them. Two showed interest. And one was perfect. 

And for you list people, here are some tips that helped me:
(1) Research your agents - my list was short but solid. (Like me!) I used Verla Kay's Blueboards and Publisher's Weekly, and did many, many Google searches.

(2) Pass the time between rejections WRITING. Not weeping. Well, you can weep a little, But write too.

(3) Join groups like Julie Hedlund's 12x12 and PiBoIdMo to get motivated and build your portfolio of work.

(4) Have at least five polished manuscripts before you query.

(5) If you are subbing to publishers while querying, don't use the same manuscript.

(6) Be prepared to actually to speak to an agent. Thankfully I had a list of questions for Kathleen that I'd compiled from Blueboard posts. The list kept me (slightly) calm and on track.

(7) Do. Not. Give. Up. If your short list doesn't work out, find more agents. Write more. Research more. Send out a few more magazine subs. Revise your query. Do. Not. Give. Up. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Best Books of 2013

Thank you dear Kirkus for giving me a list of books to buy (for myself) this holiday season. I am especially looking forward to: 

And yes, the list IS in a special order. A very special super secret order that has great significance.
(Ok, not really)

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's A Done Deal!

It is official - I signed my contract with Sterling last week! I wanted to get a picture of myself at the Fed Ex place when I sent it back, but I was afraid the employees would think I was insane. Not everybody understands us creative people.

A big mushy thanks to my uber agent Kathleen Rushall and many, many thanks also to my editor at Sterling.

Friday, October 25, 2013

What to Read to Your Kids

This website is a good reminder that we write for wonderful, little readers (and their slightly larger parents). The blogger, Melissa LaSalle, is a professional book buyer / seller turned stay-at-home mom. Her reviews are spot on, and provide insight into what does and does not work in today's children's books.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Picture Book University

How did I not know about this? This is awesome. This is amazing. This is Palm Calvert's Picture Book University. The website offers a free lessons in a mini-workshop format. It covers key topics such as genre, thinking in pictures, and style elements. You read the posts and complete the assignments at your own pace. Such a clever idea.

For more information: http://wwwpamcalvert.blogspot.com/p/picture-book-university.html

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Rate Your Story

This is NOT a publisher but rather a free critique service provided by published authors. I've been very happy with their assessment of my work. They also just started offering low, low membership rates with extra perks like multiple submissions and quicker turn around times. I signed up for the Pro Membership. Anyone else?


Friday, October 18, 2013

Albert Whitman UPDATE

Heads up happy subbers - According to AW's website, they "will be temporarily closed to unsolicited and unagented submissions until the end of 2013* As of October 31, 2013, we are no longer reading unsolicited queries and manuscripts sent through the US Mail. When we resume open submissions in January 2014, we will provide an email address for queries and manuscripts. In the future, all unsolicited submissions must be sent via email.

For more details visit: http://www.albertwhitman.com/content.cfm/editorial-guidelines-for-writers

If this news bums you out, please consider this alternative: 

Sunday, October 13, 2013


According to their website: "...(middle-grade and YA novels) between 90 and 200 pages. We’re looking for full-length fiction. We do not consider picture books or poetry collections for young readers. Please submit a query letter with three opening chapters of the novel."

The re-open to submissions in July 2013. They are a not-for-profit organization. 


Friday, October 11, 2013

Xist Publishing

According to their website: "As the digital-first publisher for children, eBooks are our top priority. But we also know that parents love to snuggle up with their kids and flip through a picture book—so we do that too... Xist Publishing accepts submissions from authors and illustrators interested is sharing well-crafted stories with young audiences."


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Overmountain Press

According to their website: "Although we have published a few exceptions, we are now accepting regional (Southern Appalachian) titles ONLY. In reviewing a children’s manuscript for publication, we prefer to have copies of the illustrations at the same time we review the text. Very few publishers review in this way."


Monday, October 7, 2013

Just Write Books

According to their website: "We publish a few books each year. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a book that you think fits with our current theme of Maine authors, Maine books and Maine stories; call or email to start a conversation."


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Spinning Moon Press

According to their website: “Spinning Moon Press is always looking for fresh, new voices for the Young Adult market.”

I could not find a logo for this company so I ... what? He's reading. It counts.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Ripple Grove Press

According to their website: "We are a children's picture book publisher. We are looking for picture driven stories for children aged 2-6. Please do not send early readers, middle grade, or YA manuscripts. No religious or holiday themed stories. We want something unique, sweet, funny, touching, offbeat, colorful, charming, different, creative."


They also have a facebook page where they sometimes post how many submissions they have received. No I'm not going to tell you the number. You'll have to go look it up :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Islandport Press

According to their website: "We do accept and review unsolicited completed manuscripts. We will not accept or review a project based on a query only. Please read our catalog closely when considering whether to submit a book. We publish books about Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. That does not mean books that are just set in those states; they need to be about those states and characterize their culture and people... For children's books, we will consider picture books, story books, middle grade chapter books, and young adult titles. For middle grade and YA titles, you must submit a completed manuscript as well as a one-page synopsis of the book.."


Also check out: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/islandport-press

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Floris Books

According to their website: "Thank you for considering Floris Books for your manuscript. We publish a wide range of books including adult non-fiction, picture books and children's novels. You can find information about how to submit your work to us below."

Note: books must have a Scottish theme


Friday, September 27, 2013

All Classics Books

According to their website: "We are interested in fine writing of most genres. For 2012 we are most interested in the following: (YADA YADA) Children’s Literature, Young Adult Fiction, (OTHER STUFF)..."


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cupola Press

According to their website: "Our mission is to produce unique books that inspire readers to seek truth and celebrate life."


Monday, September 23, 2013

On the Verge Contest

I am wary of many things - spiders, vegetables, writing contests that require a high entry fee and post your work on public websites. But you don't get much more legit than the SCBWI and they run some wonderful contests. Here is one that's happening now for "writers or illustrators who are from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America"


The Deadline is November 15, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Two Contests, One Deadline

Lee & Low is hosting a New Voices contest that is open to writers of color who are residents of the US and who have not previously had a children's book published. Click here for details:


The Florida chapter of the SCBWI is also having a contest for the following categories: Non fiction, PB, and MG/YA. You can only submit ONE entry so choose wisely my little dears. And for more information, visit http://www.scbwiflorida.com or click here:


The deadline for both contests is SEPTEMBER 30, 2013. So chop, chop.

Child's Play

According to their website: "Our programme is extremely diverse; although in the main it is focused on the under fives. We publish a large number of board books for babies and toddlers. Board books are generally 12 pages and reflect experiences relevant to the age group. They have very few words. Many of our books contain an element of interaction, lift-up flaps, pop-ups, dials etc. When this interaction is tactile it is always an integral part of the story. Picture books are highly illustrated; generally they are 32 pages with a maximum of 1,500 words of text."


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Milk + Bookies

A little birdie just told me about Milk + Bookies, an organization that helps people - children in particular- organize "book-rasiers" for needy kids. They provide the tools, resources and instruction for setting up a Milk + Bookie parties where children select, inscribe and donate books to the less fortunate.

So easy that even I, Captain Super Lazy Weekend Pants, could do it. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Auryn Inc.

According to their website: "Auryn is a premiere digital publisher focused on creating award-winning interactive children’s stories for the iPad and other tablet devices. We collaborate with authors, illustrators and publishers to turn their stories into educational, engaging and entertaining experiences."

Click on the "Contact" link for submission information

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Workman Publishing

According to their website: "Thank you for your interest in Workman Publishing. We are an independent publishing company that publishes adult and children's books as well as calendars. We look for strong writing, an original approach, and intelligence in concept and execution. We do not publish fiction, poetry, memoir, or narrative non-fiction.."


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Short Kid Stories

According to their website: "If any you would like your work showcased on the site when it is launched, we’d be delighted to evaluate any children’s author submissions. In return, accepted authors will have a profile page with bio and links to any other material they wish to promote. This will ultimately result in significant author exposure to tens of thousands of unique visitors per month visiting the site from all over the world.As a special thank you, all authors who submit work,  will receive this complimentary eBook series on how to create, illustrate, format and upload a children’s picture book onto Amazon Kindle."


Little Bahalia Publishing

According to their website: "Little Bahalia publishes children’s literary fiction and nonfiction in a variety of media, with a focus on iPad apps... We look for strong writing, and contemporary artwork that works well when animated."


Monday, September 16, 2013

Eggplant Literary / Spellbound

According to their website: "Spellbound is a children’s fantasy e-zine for 8-12 year olds. Each issue will be published in EPub format, and available from Amazon.com, B&N.com and other online vendors."


PS How pretty is this cover? So pretty.

StarWalk Kids Media

According to their website: "StarWalk Kids Media is a leading provider of high quality, engaging eBooks for Schools, Libraries, Families, and Caregivers."


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Accent Press

Though they are closed for submissions right now, but I included them because (1) they will open shortly and (2) they call themselves "feisty." They accept Young Adult.


Do Life Right

According to their website: "Do Life Right, Inc. is accepting manuscript submissions for publication. We have published children’s chapter books and YA books about realistic homeschoolers in all settings."


Abidan Books

According to their website: "We are only accepting submissions of finished manuscripts for children’s books that include illustrations and adult Bible study guides."


Brilliant Publications

According to their website: "In addition to publishing books for teachers, we also publish reading books to support and encourage reluctant readers – children aged 7–11 who have already grasped the basics of reading, but are reluctant to practise their reading and so get better."

Note: NO PICTURE BOOKS. (Awwwww...)


Black Rose Writing

Remember when I used to post links to smaller publishers? Yea. Let's do more of that. Here is Black Rose Writing. They publish all genres of fiction - including children's books.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Staying Busy

As posted before, I have a real, official, swear-it's-true, book deal. But that sort of thing takes awhile to come to fruition so - no problem - I've been keeping up with magazine submissions. Which led to this:

Which is AWESOME!! I can see my name in print! (Just as good as "in lights" if you ask me). Thank you Turtle Magazine. I heart you.

Blogger Jail

I belong in blogger jail. The charge? Failure to post anything, even a really boring post about, say, navel lint, for months. The sentence? Catching up - big time. So brace yourself writer-bees, and let the posts flow! (Okay, that might be setting the bar kinda high - but I will try to be better)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Big News People, BIG.

As reported in Publisher's Marketplace: 

Catherine Bailey's MIND YOUR MONSTERS, in which a boy's quiet life is politely interrupted when monsters come to town, to Zaneta Jung at Sterling Children's, in a nice deal, by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency (World).

So there it is. I have a deal for my first picture book manuscript. I could not have done it without the help of my ridiculously talented critique partners, supportive family and genius agent. And let’s not forget the super awesome folks at Sterling. Thank you. 

I want to post “how I got published” and “how I got an agent” stories, but I keep slipping into giggle fits. I’m sure that will wear off soon. Tee-hee.

Friday, April 5, 2013

EarlyLight Books

According to their website: "EarlyLight Books publishes children’s and adult books that celebrate the intersection of science and fun. We only do nonfiction, so if you have written a story about talking worms, it won’t work for us no matter how cute or funny it is."


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Red Camel Press

According to their website: "Query with letter. Include word count, a one-sentence description of the book…, and your target audience/age group. If this is your first book, say so. If you have published before, please list the works.”

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dawn Publications

According to their website: "Dawn publishes 'nature awareness' titles for adults and children. Our picture books are intended to encourage an appreciation for nature and a respectful participation in it."


Sweet Earth Flying Press

According to their website, a Submission Request Packet must be completed prior to manuscript submission.


Greenleaf Book Group

According to their website: "Greenleaf Book Group is always looking for great new books Of course we must be selective; our company and our clients enjoy success in large part due to Greenleaf’s excellent reputation. However, we welcome all submissions and encourage first time writer’s to send in their work.”