Sunday, February 10, 2008

Vampires and French People Agree-- Communists Suck

Is your inbox tired and lifeless? Has it lost its bounce and lustre? If you've been distracted with work and some high-conversation posts, your inbox may have developed a dulling build-up of miscellaneous questions.

Do editors ever put non-agented (but contracted) authors on the back burner for agented ones?
Not unless the agent is doing a better job of prodding the editor than the unagented author. Both agented and unagented authors should have a failure-to-publish clause in their contracts, so if you've been waiting a long time, you may want to remind your editor (carefully, diplomatically) of the points agreed to in the contract.


I'm working on my first picture book.The books script is actually a poem I wrote to my Adult daughter before she left for her year in the Americorp. The book though is about Libraries and how, like roads, they take us everywhere and to everything in the world. They show us how ro fullill our dreams through the inspiration of other peoples stories I also wanted to add another dimension to the book and that is to hide a word several times in the illustrations with a number on each page to inform the reader how many times the word is hidden there. Like Schoenfeld did with his work. ( Sorry if I didn't get the name right). This would not be an emphisis of the book but something that would only be mentioned at the very end so people could go back and go over the illustrations..
This is a theme I'd like to run through all my picture books. What do you think? Too Much?
Unless you're the illustrator, you don't get to decide this. You can suggest it, but it isn't going to add a hook to the book, so don't be surprised if it's low priority for the other members of the team. Also, planning to feature this in all of your books is thinking a bit too far ahead. Focus on doing what's best for this book.


I have an offer for my multicultural picture book from a foreign publisher. At the same time, an editor at a publishing house in NYC is seriously considering it after requesting a revision, but I don't expect a decision for at least a few weeks and of course it could go either way. Is there a way that I can have the book published by both publishers by negotiating which rights they take? Or would the NYC publisher probably be reluctant to give up any rights? Should I inform the two publishers of the situation? I hate to lose either opportunity. Any advice would be appreciated.
The NY publisher is going to want foreign rights, no doubt. And having sold some of the rights away before the NY publisher even acquires the book is likely to irritate them. I would recommend not doing this. Instead, if they want the book, they'll be pleased to hear that you already have interest from a foreign publisher. And remember that the publisher may be able to get a better deal at a better Korean (for instance) publisher than you can.


After an agent or editor has rejected a submission (either personally or by form letter), when, if at all, is it appropriate to send another submission to that same agent/editor? Assuming that this person was selected because they represent work like yours (in style/tone/subject/etc.) and in general seem to be a good match, is it ok to try again with a different manuscript? Or is one rejection to be taken as an implicit never?
Don't be silly. A "no" is a "no" only for that manuscript.

So "Buy this book for a chance to win a free trip to paris!" is a gimmick and not a hook.
It's a gimmick, and it sounds like an effective one, so that makes it a hook.

"After she wins a free trip to Paris, Beth is lost in the famous Parisian sewers and meets a vampire who thinks that it's still 1848" --- hook?
Yes.

Special lazer-3D cover of a vampire in front of the Arch de Triumph surrounded by ghostly communists laying in pools of their own blood at the foot of a barricade -Gimmick and hook?
Gimmick, yes... but it's only a hook if the special laser-3D cover makes people buy the book.

Hi there!! LOVE your blog! I have a question...I am a new writer and I have had GREAT feedback on my stories. They are geared towards 2-5 year olds...short and sweet. I am not sure where to even start to submit. I have thought about self-publication but even then, where do I go and what do I do? There is so much information online and I just don't know where to start. I am sure you get many questions like this...I can tell you how much people in my situation must appreciate your answers!!!
Get Harold Underdown's book and Writer's and Illustrator's Market. And listen to the advice of my readers, who will post more tips in the comments section. They've been where you are.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm working on my first picture book.The books script is actually a poem I wrote to my Adult daughter before she left for her year in the Americorp. The book though is about Libraries and how, like roads, they take us everywhere and to everything in the world. They show us how ro fullill our dreams through the inspiration of other peoples stories I also wanted to add another dimension to the book and that is to hide a word several times in the illustrations with a number on each page to inform the reader how many times the word is hidden there. Like Schoenfeld did with his work. ( Sorry if I didn't get the name right). This would not be an emphisis of the book but something that would only be mentioned at the very end so people could go back and go over the illustrations..
This is a theme I'd like to run through all my picture books. What do you think? Too Much?


Gentle suggestion -- do learn to punctuate (and double-check your spelling) before subbing anything to anybody. I know people take it easy on message boards, but frankly, writers do so at their peril. Editors visit this blog, and reading this with their morning coffee could remind them afresh why they hate slush and why maybe that possibility of closing their office to unsoliciteds in the future sounds pretty good . . .

Anonymous said...

Hi there!! LOVE your blog! I have a question...I am a new writer and I have had GREAT feedback on my stories. They are geared towards 2-5 year olds...short and sweet. I am not sure where to even start to submit. I have thought about self-publication but even then, where do I go and what do I do? There is so much information online and I just don't know where to start. I am sure you get many questions like this...I can tell you how much people in my situation must appreciate your answers!!!

You need a way to separate good advice from scam advice. After you get the books EA mentioned, also check out these sites:
www.underdown.org
www.verlakay.com
www.institutechildrenslit.com -- especially look at the articles and the interview transcripts.

These aren't the only good sources of info, but between them you can get literally any question about the industry answered accurately. They won't steer you wrong.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Don't forget "Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market"

It's a good place to start looking for publishers and a good way to get an idea for what's out there.

**start gratuitous library plug here**
You can probably find a good selection of books on writing and submitting at your local library-- always a good place to start! You could even ask the reference librarians for help finding sources -- it's what they do for a living. They actually LIKE helping people find useful books and websites --It's the whole reason they took out student loans and got Master's Degrees!!!

**end of plug. =) **

ChristineEldin said...

Anon 7:41--ease up! The question was asked and answered. I would call this a success.

To the last question--Have you been to the Verla Kay boards? They offer a great section on agents and publishers. I also highly recommend joinging SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators). Good luck!!

Kimberly Lynn said...

Definitely join SCBWI!

Then go to one of their conferences in your region. It is there you will find some serious children’s book writers. Join or form a critique group, and run your manuscripts by them several times before sending them out. The worst thing a writer can do is be in a rush. Take your time and learn. Also, don’t let criticism spoil your passion for writing. It is meant to make you a better writer.

pudders said...

Shouldn't it be "Communists and French People Agree-- Vampires Suck"?


Sorry, I couldn't resist.

jimmer in southwestern France said...

Hey! My next door neighbors are registered members of the French Communist party and they're sweet as pie. No vampires though, but we do have a sorcière....

NRO fan said...

Maybe EA is revealing her secret neo-con tendencies! Maybe she's actually the person who edited the NR collection of children's stories!

=)

LindaBudz said...

New writer ... listen to Kimberly Lynn. Her advice was spot on.

storyengineer said...

I've been a lurker on this blog for several months. I just wanted to say that I gave this blog an award. I love the submission tips given with a bit of snark here. Even though I'm not a children's author, its been very helpful. So thanks for all your work!

Charlie said...

Why is it that agents want you to include a self adressed stamped envelope with your query letter? Is getting your query letter mailed back to you, that big of a deal to authors?

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