Tuesday Tips: 5 Tips on How to Find an Agent

5 tips on how to find an agent5 Tips on How to Find an Agent

Finding an agent is no small feat. Trust me. I’m struggling on this very subject, like many of you. So why do I feel qualified to give out hints??? Because, I’ve learned from my mistakes and would like to pass on some helpful information to hopefully save you from getting your hopes up OR going down the wrong path.

So here are somethings I have learned along my winding, bumpy, often full of boulders path:

  • RESEARCH
    There are TONS of reasons to do research. Go to the agency’s website to:
    a) Make sure the acquire the same genre as you.
    b) Make sure they are open to submissions.
    c) To see how to format your submissions.
    BUT I want you to take your research a step further.  Look them up on other outlets like Preditors & Editors, Absolute Write, QueryTracker. Each of these websites will show you if the have a reputation (bad or good), and Absolute Write has discussions on some of them too. Or go to forums such as the Blue Boards and see if there is any information on them and/or ask about them yourself.
  • TALK
    Talk to other writers and illustrators about agents. Talk to the agents themselves!!! (They are really nice people.) There are groups who are focused solely one editors/agent information.
  • FOLLOW
    Stalk… Follow them on Twitter/Facebook/Blogs/Tumbler/you get the picture.
    You will get to know them as a person… their likes, dislikes, #MSWL!!!, and more.
  • ASK QUESTIONS
    Some agencies are open to hearing your questions. Fuse Literary Agency is one of them. #AskFuse is a popular hashtag on Twitter on Fridays. What better way of finding out thoughts and feelings that by asking. *note: these parties are usually NOT for pitching ms*
  • GUT FEELING
    In the end, go with your gut.
    If something doesn’t feel right, sound right, look right, whatever, LISTEN to that voice and follow through.

So why am I writing this post? Because I have had friends get burned by not-so-great agents. I have friends who have been lifted up by some awesome agents. I myself have had to run away when something wasn’t right. Through research I have found some lovely people, and even if they don’t represent me, I know are wonderful agents who will champion their right people.

Just remember this:

No agent is better than a bad agent.

Happy hunting.   😉

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Do you agree with my advice?
Is there something I left out?
Do you know of any other great research websites?

Until next time,

Happy writing.
~t

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www.Wednesday… KidLit TV

KidLitHeader

KidLit TV, which will launch in the fall, will be the online video resource for the greater KidLit Community.

So why am I telling you about this web site now? There has been a FB group created for KidLit TV. This group will be your place to post videos or links to videos! Share your book trailers, news videos, interview videos, school visits, book signings, how-to advice on everything from creating awesome picture books to making animated presentations. You can also share others that you have found helpful, even if you have not created them. This is your video group in the KidLit world. 

I spoke with Julie Gribble, the creative brains behind KidLit TV and here’s what she had to say about it:


ABOUT KIDLIT TV


Our exciting new venture, KidLit TV, will leverage our experience with other forms of media to help parents, teachers, and librarians learn more about the world of children’s literature. It will feature interviews with children’s book authors and illustrators and will be an online visual resource for the greater KidLit Community.
The KidLit TV website and YouTube channel will be launching in fall 2014!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL THIS FALL TO PARTICIPATE THOUGH!
Remember the FB Group Page I mentioned earlier. There is a ‘soft’ launch going on TONIGHT! Julie and I will be online at 8 pm est to answer your questions and take suggestions.
If you haven’t received an invite to the virtual launch, let me know you would like to be invited. We’ll have to be friends on fb. You can friend me on my page. Also here is the page for the KIDLIT TV FB GROUP PAGE.

Hope to see you all there. Now, get those videos going!
`t

 

 

DON’T FORGET…

Only three more days to sign-up for

image

There’s a line up full of great advice, story sparks, and some prizes scattered throughout.

So go to this JUNE 1st POST to SIGN-UP!

***Sign-up is June 1st through June 14th.  You MUST comment on the June 1st post, complete the challenge, and comment on the last post to be eligible for prizes.***

Thinking Thursday: How to Critique

So you written a story and would like a fresh pair of eyes… in exchange for you doing the same.

ideasBUT how do you critique a story?

While there is no Do THIS and DO THAT instructions, I have found people give the same advice and this is what I tend to do when critiquing a picture book manuscript:

  1. Read the story through twice
  2. Put it down for a day
  3. Read story out loud, while making notes
  4. Read again to myself, while making additional notes (if any)

What notes do I make you may ask?

  • flow pattern
  • pov shift
  • grammer
  • spelling
  • suggestions on how to improve
  • comments on what I think (love this line, etc)
  • add or delete word(s) or phrase
  • anything I think will help improve the manuscript

How do I format my critique? I like to think of  it as a sandwich. You get two pieces of bread and then the good stuff in the middle.
The first piece of bread is me giving some basic instructions and an overall feel of the story. *I make a point to stay positive. FIND something you like*
The middle is where I include my notes, suggestions, and comments. *This is the meaty part. Yes, there will be constructive criticism here, but you are wanting it to get better. VERY rarely will you run across something that is absolutely ready with nothing to comment on*
The last piece of bread is where I go into  my overall comments of the story. I may also comment about marketing, submitting possibilities, and other things that may pop into my head.

Critiquing is like writing though. You get better with practice. BUT even someone who is new can see things that others may overlook. The best thing is to take the plunge, jump in feet first, and enjoy the water.

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know if you have some other great tips when critiquing.
ALSO… I offer a critique service for non-rhyming pbs. You can click on the tab at the top of this post to read what my fees are and how to contact me.

 

DON’T FORGET:

SUMMER SPARKS Writing Challenge sign-up is still on going. Click HERE to comment on the correct blog post to be eligible to win some great swag!

Happy writing!
~t

 

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www.Wednesday: KIDLIT411.COM

Are you struggling trying to find information on the internet about children’s writing? Let me direct you to a great resourceful website that is FULL of information:

 

KidLit411

KidLit411

I spoke with the owners,  Elaine Kiely Kearns &  Sylvia Liu, about the website. It is so full of information and I wanted to give some great highlights. They mention the following interviews:

Good interviews:

Debbie Ridpath Ohi- Author-Illustrator- http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/04/kidlit411-debbie-ohi-author-illustrator.html
Jodell Sadler- Agent- http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/05/Kidlit411-Agent-Spotlight-Jodell-Sadler.html
Drew Daywalt – Author- http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/03/kidlit411-Drew-Daywalt-Author-Spotlight.html

 

AND here are some of their Most Popular Pages: Most visited

Submissions: Agents & Editors –http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/01/kidlit411-submission-how-to.html
Contests & Awards- http://www.kidlit411.com/2013/12/kidlit411-contest-awards.html
For Writers- http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/01/kidlit411-for-writers.html Picture Books- http://www.kidlit411.com/2014/01/picture-books.html

As you can see not can you find things about agents and editors, and writers and illustrators, but you can find contests, links, and you can learn more about the writing craft, tips, and and … okay, I’m getting tired here. GO! Click on the picture link above to go check out the website!!!

 

DON’T FORGET

Only 4 more days to sign-up for the SUMMER SPARKS writing challenge!

 

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know what you thought about this website! Are there others you would like seen highlighted here? Do YOU have a resourceful website and would like to be highlighted?

Happy Writing!
~t

 

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www.Wednesday… 12×12 and Julie Hedlund

 

 

12-x-12-new-badge

I wanted to remind everyone about this great writing challenge.  ^^^^^ Yep, that one. The 12×12 Writing Challenge is currently underway aaaaaand it’s not to late to join in. Buuuuuuuuut time IS running out! Friday, February 28th, is THE LAST DAY to register to officially participate in this years’ challenge.

What Is It About

12×12 is all about writing. You have 12 months to write 12 picture book first drafts. Seems pretty easy, right. *cue evil laughter in the background* Believe it or not, writing is hard, life gets in the way, and sometimes your muse takes a vacation without telling you.
With the 12×12 writing challenge you get the added benefit of a community of writers who all are trying to do what you do… in the same genre! You can bounce ideas off of each other, ask questions, express concern, post exciting details, and rant. hahaha. Even when someone else is asking a question, it may trigger an idea with you and you are off and running with an idea yourself.  The group is mixed with newbies, mid-range, and experienced writers. This is an added benefit. You get experience, you get the ones digging in, and you get the ones who are struggling and may see something in a different way that you haven’t thought of.

How To Join

You can click on the 12×12 picture above or click here.  There are 3 different levels and different fees that go along with them.

What To Do After You Join?

W-R-I-T-E! Put your butt in that chair  (BIC)  and get to business! That is part of the job description. You have to write, type, scribble, BLEED those words out and get them down.
There is a forum with 12×12 as well as a Facebook page where you can ask questions, post events, introduce yourself, find critique groups, post the first 250 words of your ms, and MORE!

 

Why am I posting about something that someone has to pay for? Because I use this challenge myself! This is my 3rd year doing 12×12 and I believe the motivation and people keep me accountable and moving in the right directions.
Does it work? Yes, if you put work into it.
Will it guarantee a sale? No, that is up to you. YOU have to work at this writing business. YOU have to research publishing houses. YOU have to submit and get those rejections. YOU have to not get discourage and decide that YES, THIS IS WHO I AM AND WHAT I WANT TO DO!
But… you will have a whole slew of people behind you. Rooting you on! And enjoying it when that sweet success does happen. 🙂

There are other writing challenges out there too. I participate in quite a few. hahaha. I like challenging myself to become a better writer. How about you?

:::LEAVE ME A COMMENT:::
Let me know if you are participating in the 12×12 Writing Challenge. Or what writing goals do you have? How are you going to keep yourself accountable and achieve those dreams?
I’d love to hear from you!!!!

Happy Writing!
~t

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Marketing Monday: Twitter

twitter

 

Who wants to feel like a twit when they tweet?

Not this girl.

So why shy away from this social media outlet? It’s different… It’s scattered… I don’t know what I’m doing. Well you SHOULD use twitter, especially if you are a writer! WHY? It will help you with word count, keep you updated in the field, have at-the-scene at conferences, make friends, have some laughs, OH and MARKET YOURSELF!

WORD COUNT

You have 140 characters (including spaces) to say what you have to say and let that baby fly! Picture Book Writers… this is for you!  Not a picture book writer??? WELCOME TO MY WORLD.   >:-}   Every word counts. Cut, tighten and hit send.

UPDATES IN THE FIELD

Follow editors, houses, agents, and other authors/illustrators. You find out what is being published, who may be open to submissions, where someone might be speaking at, contests, and and and… you’re getting the picture right?

LIVE BROADCASTING

OK, so we all can’t make it to conferences. BUT you can feel like you are there. Really! There are tweeters using hashtags in their posts so you can search for them and read all about it.

LAUGHTER & FRIENDS

Follow your friends and see what they are up to, there are different chats that you can attend and some spoofs of those chats can get hilarious! You will get a glimpse into lives and some may shock you at how funny, sarcastic, amusing, and boring they can be.

MARKETING

Yes, you can market yourself on Twitter. Post news about your books, appearances, blogs, and on. One thing I would suggest though. Don’t over market yourself. No one wants to feel like they are being spammed. I try to participate in chats, promote other people, post pictures of my pets, scenery and nail art, and well anything else that might interest me. Keep it versatile and interesting. I really try not to put too much thought into it. I try to be me… the good, the bad, and the ugly.

 

–CHATS & HASHTAGS… OH MY!–

One way to totally throw yourself into the Twiterverse is to join a chat. Chats can easily be followed by using hashtags (#). There are chats on every subject you can think of (legally), I bet. Two I like to follow are #pblitchat & #kidlitchat. There are ‘specials’ too. Where agents and editors let you ask questions or you can join a pitch chat and hope to catch the attention of an agent or editor.

 

Lots of good things… so much I can’t even cover it all! I want to give you a few links to keep reading though:

Both of these are worth the time (and money) to read through.

Now go on and spread your wings… before you know it you will be soaring through Twitter and not feeling like a twit at all!

Happy reading!
~t