Tuesday, November 26, 2019

November 2019 Self-Editing Workshop

Our Children's Writers of the Hudson Valley fall event was a self-editing workshop focusing on query pitches led by Katherine Jacobs, a Senior Editor at Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. Katherine was engaging, informative and a pleasure to spend the afternoon with.

The first free writing exercise was to describe your work in progress and then using that writing sample, find words or phrases that get to the core of your story. We discussed what is the most important thing your reader needs to know about your story on the first page followed by another writing exercise.

We examined the first page of two published works and discussed the important information that we learned from them. Katherine then explained the written pitches for those two published works, one for a picture book and one for a novel.

Katherine Jacobs

Using information from our prior writing exercises, we worked on our own pitches.

There was a discussion about competitive titles and agents. Everyone left with a handout with more advice for their work in progress.

We look forward to seeing Katherine again!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

SOME DAYS and I WISH YOU MORE

SOME DAYS by Karen Kaufman Orloff illustrated by Ziyue Chen is a mood book. Children, just like adults, ride an emotional roller coaster. They get stressed (“Feeling all alone days.”), they get disappointed (“No kickball for us days.”), they have happy, sad and mad days. The situations in this picture book are kid-friendly and relatable (playing in the snow, playing dress up, making a water mess to name a few). The child listening to the story may not be able to label the different emotions on the pages, but they will understand they’ve felt that way, too. And it’s okay.

The art is vibrant with varying perspectives. Although, we do not know the relationship between the girl and boy, the girl is light skinned and the boy is browned skinned, this reflects the world we live in. Many of the children’s emotions depicted on the pages are not stated. The expressive faces on the characters assist the reader in identifying the emotions. Children will learn a new skill, feel a sense of mastery in reading facial expressions and feel a little more secure in their world that can seem chaotic at times.





I WISH YOU MORE by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld is a book about wishes. Some wishes are about friendship, inquisitiveness, sharing and time for me moments. Some of the sentences show contrast (“…more pause than fast-forward.”) and some show a relationship (“…more umbrella than rain.”). Other sentences show determination (“…more can than knot.”). Love the word play! The situations depicted are also kid-friendly and relatable (swimming, collecting treasures, blowing a dandelion and others).

The art is engaging and sweet with plenty of white space to encourage the child to think about the wish or focus on the character. The characters are different ethnicities, making the reader feel welcomed and more able to identify with the wishes. My favorite page is a double page spread of a boy reading his book under the covers with his alligator slippers under the bed. The scene is quiet and peaceful with warm shades of blue that lead us to the lovely ending.










Thursday, September 26, 2019

Hybrid Publishing: Is it for You?

Hybrid publishing is similar to self-publishing in that the author pays for some or all of the services. They are like traditional publishing in that the hybrid business model mirrors traditional publishers – a submission process, using book designers, editing manuscripts and making the business decisions.

The benefits of hybrid publishing are the author is seen as a business partner, and because they are financing their project, they keep the majority of the profits.

There are four classes of hybrid publishing:
1. Traditional publishers who hybrid publish, but keep it a secret.
2. Partnership publishing models
3. Agent-assisted publishing models
4. Other assisted publishing models

Authors have choices and must make the choice that is right for them. Some authors are comfortable converting their files and uploading their work, doing book design, editing, marketing and promotions. Others don’t have the desire or interest to learn self-publishing and want someone else to turn their manuscript into a finished project. Others want a little of both.

Click the link to find my source and read the distinctions between different hybrid publishers. The article also names publishers in the last three categories.

 




Friday, August 23, 2019

Agents: Where to Find Them and What to Say

What would be better than winning millions of dollars on your one dollar investment? For some, the answer would be getting a call from your dream agent.

You've polished your manuscript as best you can, maybe even had it professionally critiqued several times; you've considered the market and your hook, what makes your story unique; you've done your research and submitted to the appropriate agents. It's only a matter of time before the phone rings.

I've included several links below so you can be prepared for that glorious phone call!

The first link is written by Cynthea Liu.

http://www.writingforchildrenandteens.com/agents/how-to-interview-an-agent/


This link is a treasure trove of agents, who they work for and what they represent.

https://mswishlist.com/agents

Bonus link: This link, written by Tracy Marchini, tells you what not to say to an agent during a face to face critique and what not to write in your query letter. This information it transferable to an agent phone call.

http://tracymarchini.com/2019/07/08/tell-agent-critique-submitted-earlier/

Good luck and best wishes!






Wednesday, June 26, 2019

June 2019 CWHV Conference

We were honored to have Alvina Ling, Vice President and Editor-in-
Alvina Ling
Chief of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers as our opening keynote speaker. She spoke on her publishing journey and the importance of goal setting. Five steps for attaining your goals: do your research, outline a step by step plan, work hard and preserve, network like crazy and believe and hope in your goal and abilities. As Abe Lincoln said, “A goal properly set is hallway reached.” I love that!

Her workshop session reviewed the basics of novel structure: voice, character, and plot. Voice: Who is the main character? Points of view: multiple or single. Tense, past or present. Prose or verse. Tips on making your character’s voice distinct was discussed. Character: learn about your character through physical descriptions, action, self-discovery and dialogue. Plots: the seven basic plots and three simple plots were explored.

Eve Adler
Eve Adler, Senior Editor at Sterling Children’s Books, picture book workshop talked about how to hook your readers with the right voice. Unfortunately, I was not in this workshop and can not give any specific details.

Emma Sector
Emma Sector, Literary Agent at Prospect Agency, discussed the difference kinds of chapter books. Some are like graphic novels in the structure and art style, some are episodic with three or four different stories using the same main character and others are one story line. Usual word count is 10,000 to 12,000 words with ten chapters. For a series potential, you need different characters with a structure that can be repeated. Think Magic Tree House.


Kat Brzozowski
Kat Brzozowski, Editor at Feiwel & Friends and Swoon Reads, discussed your writing voice in novels. Your writing voice is influenced by your tone, diction, sentence length and access into the character’s head.

David Neilsen 
Our closing speaker was David Neilsen, storyteller and author of creepy, funny middle grades. He described methods to build the mood so the reader can be scared, why the reader has to identify with the character, and why children want to be scared and discussed some dos and don’ts when writing to scare young readers. He closed his session by entertaining us with a reading.
                                                                                                                    
We want to thank all of our attendees, without their support  our conferences would not be a success! Thanks to our fabulous speakers: Alvina Ling, Eve Adler, Kate Brzozowski, Emma Sector, and David Neilsen. A special thanks to Merritt Bookstore for all their heavy lifting to provide us with a bookstore, Panera for delivering our delicious  lunches and finally, to our dedicated CWHV committee members.
                                                                                                       
For my live tweets during the conference, search #CWHV.     

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Hybrid Publishing: What Is It?

Hybrid publishing is similar to self-publishing in that the author pays for some or all of the services. They are like traditional publishing in that the hybrid business model mirrors traditional publishers – a submission process, using book designers, editing manuscripts and making the business decisions.

The benefits of hybrid publishing are the author is seen as a business partner, and because they are financing their project, they keep the majority of the profits.

There are four classes of hybrid publishing:
1. Traditional publishers who hybrid publish, but keep it a secret.
2. Partnership publishing models
3. Agent-assisted publishing models
4. Other assisted publishing models

Authors have choices and must make the choice that is right for them. Some authors are comfortable converting their files and uploading their work, doing book design, editing, marketing and promotions. Others don’t have the desire or interest to learn self-publishing and want someone else to turn their manuscript into a finished project. Others want a little of both.

Click the link to find my source and read the distinctions between different hybrid publishers. The article also names publishers in the last three categories.

 




Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Identify Your Character's Love Language

Whether your character's relationship with other characters is a friendship or a long term commitment, identifying their love language will give more depth to your characterization.

The same holds true for your personal life. Recognizing your partner's love language will galvanize your relationship bonds.

1. Affirmation. Simply stated, this is giving recognition. It may seem silly to thank an adult for picking up his own socks or putting her own dish in the dishwasher, but giving praise or recognition says their actions are appreciated.

2. Service. What have you done for me lately? Talk is cheap. If this is your character’s or significant other’s love language, they don’t want thank yous; they want deeds. Bringing them chicken soup or ice cream when they're sick or sad or washing their car means more to them than saying you love them. Show them.

3. Gifts. If this is their love language, they want to receive gifts, cards, flowers, notes. Giving them something tangible says to them you care about them and you love them.

4. Quality time. Spend time with your significant other, but that doesn’t mean being in the same room, but doing different things. It means actively listening, eye contact and giving them your undivided attention. Put down the phone or remote and really listen to them. Hear what they are saying.

5. Physical touch. Touch can be anything from hand holding to sex. Physical toughing is therapeutic. It lowers our blood pressure, reduces our stress hormones and releases dopamine and serotonin (the feel good hormones) and oxytocin (the bonding hormones). Physical touching tells our partners they are important and fosters feeling of safety and security.

What's your character's love language? Does it clash or complement your significant other? For example, if your main character enjoys hand holding and hugging and the recipient doesn't want to be touched. This could be a source of conflict or frustration for one or both characters.