Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books Course

Writers and Illustrators join awesome Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers and Clarion Books Associate Art Director Sharismar Rodriguez  and the Picture Book Whisperer Herself, Dr. Mira Reisberg (AKA the Fairy Godmother, AKA Clear Fork Publishing/Spork Art Director and Editor), for our highly interactive Illustration Course complete with fab fresh Submission Opportunities! Once you register, you’ll be able to Start Today with Some of Your Many Bonuses!

REGISTER NOW for our Sept 25th – October 30th 2017


See Dreams Become Real: The New Updated Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books 

5 week highly interactive e-Course/Talent Search with Golden Ticket opportunities to submit to awesome editors and agents.

If you want to illustrate children’s books or learn how illustration works, this is the best value course that you can find to successfully get published. It’s the original five week interactive picture book illustrating course with industry experts and a multi-award-winning best-selling faculty. It’s also the only course with a phenomenal proven track-record of published, contracted, and now agented former students. No other course gives this level of focused attention to each student who participates and it’s the only one with a money back guarantee for folks who do the work and still don’t think that they learned a tremendous amount after a year. The course is also the only one that provides fantastic submission opportunities and empowers students to do all sorts of extraordinary things. This single children’s book course has been described as the equivalent of 20 conferences and better than graduate level university programs from students with kid lit masters degrees. Plus it’s fun and comes with a ton of bonuses including bonus courses in building an author or illustrator platform and building your own website, an e-book of course content, and the brand new fully illustrated Little Big Book of Children’s Book Illustrating Techniques and Terminology.

This industry leading children’s book illustration course is co-taught by two industry experts, both of whom are acquiring art directors with many years of experience in the industry. Mira is a also an editor and former children’s literary agent with extensive connections in the industry.  Sharismar is just plain brilliant! There are also fantastic topic-specific contributions from editors, agents, and rock star illustrators.

Here is the link for the Children’s Book Academy to check out all the details. Also they give a 100% money back guarantee, plus don’t forget about the scholarships I told you about this past Sunday.

You can see Sharismar in action right here on Writing and – every Sunday for the next five weeks, so stop back.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 22, 2017



On the third Tuesday Christina or Christy Ewers Tugeau of the Catugeau Artist Agency will answer questions and talk about things illustrators need to know to further their career. It could be a question about an illustration you are working on, too. Please email your questions to me and put ASK CAT in the subject box.


Here’s Chris:

Here we are half way through summer already! and Fall and our ‘new school year’ beginning is fast approaching. So we want to use this time to sharpen up our skills, refresh the portfolio, and make a Business Plan for autumn. Part of that BIZ PLAN is trying to make up our budget for income and expenses looking to the new year. We got 2 great questions along these lines, both probably on MOST artists minds, but not sure they should ask. ASK!

1.) “How does an illustrator get paid? Is it according to detail in art style: Amount of time estimated to do the job? Established vs. un-established?”

2.) Are there average payment amounts – some “guide” to give an idea as to what to expect as an unestablished illustrator.

These are a number of questions actually. I believe the overall question is ‘how is the COMPENSATION PRICE determined generally’ A big topic, as it depends on so many things as indicated here. First is what market is it? and I will then try to give you an idea of ‘typical’ pricing. Do check with the Graphic Artists Guide Pricing Book….fair resource. And the SCBWI THE BOOK also goes into a lot of these issues.

If it’s educational the price is based on number of pieces, size printed, complexity (how many characters and things going on in the piece), type of program (some pay better) and deadline time. (If it’s a RUSH you should add more $, but all educational seems pretty rushed!)

Watch the ‘sub rights’ – most Education are WORK FOR HIRE, which means you sell ALL rights to the publisher…even have to ask for permission to show it. (and never before publication!) See if you can get ‘School Rights Only.’

The prices for educational work have not gone UP in over 20 years! The industry all but vanished just before the ‘crash’ in 2008 and hasn’t come back like it was at all. But they still need new illustrations especially for the reading programs…new manuscripts = new art. The pieces are priced by size…1/4 page ($150+), 1/3, 1/2 page ($250+) , 3/4, full page ($500 if you are lucky) and spreads – one image on double pages ($500++) Be sure a KILL FEE is in the contract (50% at sketch, 100% at finish if no fault of artist) Also there should be “AA” fees (stands for Authors Alterations) ….where they pay you more if they ask MORE of you…or change something after sketches were approved. we negotiate at $75 an hr.

If it’s educational book publisher (these can be imprints of trade houses, or more “mass market” publishers) it well might be billed as a total ‘Flat Fee’,( may or may not be WFH…ask) depending on number of pages, complexity, size, and deadline time again. These books do pay less than trade and vary a lot. I will guesstimate from $2500-5000 or more or less, depending on the publisher size and the distribution expected etc. SO HARD TO SAY.

If it’s a trade publisher (generally a royalty situation, but not always!) it will vary due to these same specs, but also whether or not the house is a small, medium or large publisher. The BIG FIVE pay bigger advances on royalties, but often if the book doesn’t ‘earn out’ (pay them more than they paid you in advance) by the first year or two, the book is allowed to go ‘out of print!’ Medium and small presses tend to really work their Back Lists (older list’s books) in spite of the first year’s record. Then the royalty might ‘earn out’ even years later….and that is a lovely bonus, and good for your record. (note: MOST i’d guess do NOT ever ‘earn out.’ Shocking but true)

Some trade projects (board books, novelty books, elementary and middle grade chapter books) will be flat fee or smaller royalty if any. it’s the pricing point mostly that determines this of course on their end. Often if a series does well, you can negotiate for a royalty later.

As to compensation on PICTURE BOOKS… WOW! We have 32 page picture books done for $5000 (rarely as we hate to take our agency commission on that price) or over $25,000. Probably an average price for us is $8000-$15,000.

6 months is a ‘normal’ preferred time frame, but some are faster and some artists need a year. All negotiable -maybe. Now here is where complexity of style or medium can come into play. It takes longer for a realistic oil painter to do a 32 page pic. bk than a more cartoony digital line style. (tho’ not always!)

Ideally the realistic oil painter should be paid more! But that might not be the case again because of size of publisher, and how established an artist is. A more well known and sought after artist will of course be negotiated higher than a ‘first timer’, or less well established artist. And they might have to wait for him or her! But here is where the artist’s Sales Record can come into play. If the books an artist has illustrated do NOT sell well, this can really hurt even a more established artist. This is why huge advances aren’t always the way to go oddly. If the advance isn’t ‘earned out’ the sales record looks bad!! hmmm.

I’ve thrown a lot at you all here. Maybe come more questions will pop up! Happy summer and Fall refreshing! New adventures ahead…..

Do send on more questions about our wonderful industry!!


Christina A. Tugeau Artist Agency LLC is the first mother/daughter agency in the business! A trained artist herself with a BA in Fine Art, Chris Tugeau has been in the children’s illustration industry for over 25 years. Since opening her own agency in 1994, Chris has enjoyed representing many talented artists, and has been an active part of the illustration community; writing and presenting for SCBWI regions around the country. She is also the author of SCBWI Illustrator Guidelines. A veteran artist and rep, Chris is an advocate for ethical fairness and the bright future of children’s publishing. She’s also a mother of 3, a grandmother to 8, and best friend to husband, Bill.

Chris and Christy, Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer questions and helping everyone trying to build their careers in the children’s publishing industry. This was a terrific questions and a terrific answer. – Great article.

Please help keep this column going by sending in your questions.

Thank you Chris and Christy for more great answers.



Hope this illustration by Nina Mata will inspire everyone to send in a question to Chris and Christy. Nina was featured on Illustrator Saturday March 3, 2012. Take a look.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 21, 2017

Book Giveaway – Come With Me by Holly McGhee

Talented agent and author Holly McGhee has a new book COME WITH ME coming out on September 5th. You can pre-order now. Holly is giving away a copy to one lucky winner.

Here is my review on Goodreads: This picture book reminds us how terrorist attacks and the hatred projected on TV can cause anxiety and fear in our children. The story shows a little girl asking her parents what she can do to make the world a better place. The papa says, “Come with me.” Her Mama says, “Come with me,” and little by little she begins to understands her part in making the world a better place. She says, “Come with me” to the little boy next door and they start to change the world. Come With Me is a wonderful story and message that will help calm the hidden the fears in our children.

If you would like to win a copy, please leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about COME WITH ME on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


A lyrical and timely story about a little girl who learns the power of kindness, bravery, and friendship in the face of uncertainty.

When the news reports are flooded with tales of hatred and fear, a girl asks her papa what she can do to make the world a better place. “Come with me,” he says. Hand-in-hand, they walk to the subway, tipping their hats to those they meet. The next day, the girl asks her mama what she can do—her mama says, “Come with me,” and together they set out for the grocery, because one person doesn’t represent an entire race or the people of a land. After dinner that night, the little girl asks if she can do something of her own—walk the dog . . . and her parents let her go. “Come with me,” the girl tells the boy across the hall. Walking together, one step at a time, the girl and the boy begin to see that as small and insignificant as their part may seem, it matters to the world.


I first met Belgian artist Pascal Lemaitre in 1999—and our friendship has grown closer with each passing year . . .
In the days after 9/11 Pascal expressed his empathy and love and worry by sending me and my daughter a beautiful drawing of a frightened, grieving man planting a flag on empty ground, the flag bearing a bright red heart . . . I’ve always kept this image close in difficult times.

My way of coping with 9/11 was to buy a miner’s headlight to carry in my purse . . . never leaving home without it.
Several years in though, New York seemingly at peace again, I no longer brought the light along.

In the winter of 2016, watching the aftermath of the attacks on Paris with my children—we wondered what to do, all of us feeling so helpless. Shortly after, we watched again as CNN played and replayed an ISIS video targeting Herald Square, the target being the very spot I walk through on my way to work.

So I bought a new flashlight for my purse. This gesture made me feel brave and ready somehow.

Then came the Brussels bombings and lockdown, right where Pascal lived. I reached out to him, just as he had to me all those years before. We emailed every day—he’d tell me what they were doing: walking the dog, continuing to take the subway to his daughter’s school, shopping in the Moroccan grocery store that other people were avoiding.

We talked about how everybody, even the tiniest among us, has a part. There are things we can do, for ourselves and our children, especially when the world seems so full of hate.

We can refuse to live in fear & we can be kind.

Come With Me is written in honor of friendship, bravery, and the fact that we aren’t powerless, no matter how small and insignificant we may feel.
—Holly & Pascal


Holly M. McGhee grew up in the Steuben Valley of upstate New York. Her aspirations varied over the years, from wanting to be a gas-station attendant (she liked the big roll of dollars they usually carried and the smell of gas), to meteorologist (she spent many hours watching the weather channel on her grandmother’s television) to gymnastics. She was especially passionate about being a gymnast, and she built a balance beam in her backyard, from a 4 X 4 piece of lumber and two sawhorses. She eventually gave up that dream, after growing too tall and getting too many splinters.

She started writing in 2007 under pen name Hallie Durand when the character Dessert Schneider barged into her life one morning while she was pleasantly reading on New Jersey transit. Dessert demanded that her story be told, in her own words, and so Holly obliged. She has written three chapter books about her in all (Dessert First, Just Desserts, and No Room for Dessert). Under her pen name, she has also written three picture books, two about a boy named Mitchell who likes to drive and knock things down (Mitchell’s License and Mitchell Goes Bowling) and one about her son Marshall who believes that gingerbread men can run (Catch That Cookie!).
When her first middle-grade novel was sold, she decided to integrate both sides of her publishing life, as a writer and literary agent and founder of Pippin, and from here on you can find her books under her given name Holly M. McGhee.  Matylda, Bright and Tender in Spring 2017 from Candlewick Press and Come with Me, a picture book for all ages, illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre, on September 5, 2017 from G. P. Putnam’s.


Pascal Lemaitre is the illustrator of several books for children, including Who’s Got Game? The Ant or the Grasshopper? (Simon & Schuster, 2003), Who’s Got Game? The Lion or the Mouse? (Simon & Schuster, 2003)—both New York Times bestsellers—as well as Who’s Got Game? Poppy or the Snake? (Simon & Schuster, 2004), and The Book of Mean People (Hyperion, 2002), all by Toni and Slade Morrison. Pascal also created the artwork for Supercat (Workman, 2002), Supercat to the Rescue (Workman, 2002), and Baby Goose (Hyperion, 2004), all by Kate McMullan, Do Not Open This Book! by Michaela Muntean (Scholastic, 2006), and the Doctor Ted series by Andrea Beaty (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2008). Pascal’s more recent books include Hush Baby Ghostling by Andrea Beaty, Always by Alison McGhee, Let’s Get a Checkup by Alan Katz, Bulldog’s Big Day by Kate McMullan, Goodnight Dragons by Judith L. Roth, and a retelling of Pinocchio by Kate McMullan. He also illustrated Come With Me by Holly McGhee, to be published in fall 2017.

Thank you Holly for sharing your book and its’ journey with us. It is a much needed to remind us that we aren’t powerless, no matter how small. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



Kristi Veitenheimer won Second Grade Holdout by Audrey Vernick
Maria Marshall won National Wildlife Federation’s World of Birds by Kim Kurki

If you want to illustrate children’s books or learn how illustration works, you should take a look at the Children’s Book Academy’s five week highly interactive illustration on-line course – The Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books, which starts September 25th.

I will have more information about this later this week, but I didn’t want you to miss out on the opportunity of applying for The Rafael Lopez and Pat Cummings Merit Scholarships.

Applications are OPEN NOW!  Applications end September 5th! Simply click this link to fill out a short form to apply.

The Children’s Book Academy is proud to offer merit scholarships for writers and illustrators who identify as being of color, or LBGQTI, as having a disability, who are currently underrepresented in the children’s publishing industry. In addition, we are offering scholarships for low income folks who might not be able to take this course otherwise as well as to SCBWI Regional Advisors, ARAs, and Illustrator Coordinators or children’s librarians who may or may not identify as being of any of these communities above but who do so much to help our field. To have a peek at the Craft and Business of Illustrating Children’s Books course click here.

Here’s all that you need to do:

1. Using your funniest or most lyrical language, tell us  something lovely about yourself
2. Describe how you meet our scholarship criteria
3. Include your website if you have one
4. Talk about how you are going to help your fellow students
5. Talk about how you are going to share about the course and the Academy so that we can stay in business

Associate Art Director for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers and their imprint Clarion Books, Sharismar Rodriguez is working with Dr. Mira Reisberg and will share her expertise with the class. Sharismar at HMH designs and art directs children’s books for all ages, from Picture Books to Middle Grade and YA novels, including Non-Fiction books. She will also be a guest on Writing and Illustrating for the next five Sundays, so stop back to find out more about Sharismar and learn from her illustration observations.

Dr. Mira Reisberg is a multi-published award-winning children’s book illustrator and author whose books have sold over 600,000 copies. Besides running the Children’s Book Academy, she is also an acquiring editor and art director at Clear Fork Publishing’s children’s book imprint Spork. Mira is also a former children’s literary agent, a university professor teaching kid lit writing and illustrating courses as well as teacher ed. She has a PhD in Education and Cultural Studies with a focus on children’s literature and has helped MANY writers and illustrators get published. Her new job at Spork will allow her to help even more people.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 19, 2017

Illustrator Saturday – Rachel Dougherty

Rachel Dougherty is a Philadelphia-based illustrator, children’s author, and lifelong knowledge-hunter.  She works in acrylic paint, ink, and pencil smudges, using humor and color to inspire curious young minds. Rachel is passionate about US history, scruffy little dogs, and board games.

Clients Include: Simon Spotlight, Roaring Brook Press, Sterling Publishing, Capstone Publishing,  Flamingo Rampant Press, PREIT/Portfolio Marketing Group, Resource Real Estate, The Bryn Mawr School, University of Pennsylvania. Woman to Woman Magazine.


1. Sketch in graphite on paper

2. Start laying in flat ground/background color

3. Finish background flats, begin some ground detail

4. Develop ground detail, add some background detail

5. Lay in character flat color

6. Add in character detail

7. Fill in additional details, from back to front – button and flower/flower dirt

8. Paint thimble – the most frontal object

9. Tidy up any smudges, add any last minute details

How long have you been illustrating?

My first paid illustration gigs cropped up while I was still in art school, so I guess it’s safe to say it’s been close to ten years now.

What and when was the first painting or illustration that you did where someone paid you for your artwork?

My first book illustration was for a self-published picture book by a local writer – it was a warm, goofy, rhyming picture book called On the Chair in My Underwear inspired by the author’s family.

What made you choose to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art?

On recommendation from my high school art teacher, I attended a pre-college summer program there. Before that point I wasn’t even sure about pursuing a career in art, but after that summer I knew I couldn’t give up on it. I remember loving that the illustration department showed so many examples of illustration – editorial, children’s books, comic books, advertising art. I wanted that freedom to explore.

What types of classes did you take?

Primarily illustration classes – I took electives in drawing, painting, and even animation – though I think I was mostly looking for other ways to strengthen visual storytelling, not so much to explore other avenues of making art. I’ve always been very focused on illustration.

Do you think art school influenced your style?

Definitely. Especially because it gave me the time to learn and focus on what came before me in a structured way. I don’t think it’s possible to create art that’s entirely new – we’re all standing on the shoulders of artists and illustrators who came before us. I think the goal is to collect images and patterns and gesture from art you love with your eyes and your mind. That way it sort of seeps into your work in a way that feels organic and not derivative. Also, hundreds of hours drawing figures makes your people look a lot more human and a lot less lumpy – can’t deny that either – thanks, figure drawing!

What type of job did you do right after you graduated?

Right after graduation I worked as a press finisher at a photography laboratory making photo books and albums. It wasn’t the most fun, but it paid my rent for a while and I could go home and paint at night.

How did you come up with the idea for the illustration that you showed at the NJSCBWI conference?

What medium did you use?

The theme of the show was ‘Now run along, and don’t get into mischief’ – a line from Beatrix Potter. I liked the idea that it was a line that you might say in parting. So I worked out a scene where a woman was leaving home, tossing a ball back inside to her dog, and the phrase was lettered onto the bottom of the image. I was thinking it created a nice ambiguity as to whether the lady was going to get into mischief, or the dog was. I painted the illustration, to size, in acrylic and gouache on watercolor paper.

In 2012 you illustrated Your Life as a Pioneer on the Oregon Trail (The Way It Was) and Your Life as a Cabin Attendant on the Titanic (The Way It Was) for the same publisher how did those contract come about?

I was contacted by the art director at capstone at the time and offered the Oregon trail contract. I never asked him specifically how he found my work, but the pieces he referenced in his email were those I’d featured on a recent mailer, so that’s my best bet. I’d gotten through the sketch phase of the Oregon Trail book and was waiting for revisions, when they offered me the contract for a second book in the same series – Your Life as a Cabin Attendant on the Titanic, with the same pub date. Even though I was in a panic about trying to illustrate two books at once (my first two books!) I figured I couldn’t possibly say no. It was a crazy, stressful time, but it kind of made me feel invincible after.

In Fall 2014, Sterling Children’s Books published The Twelve Days of Christmas in Pennsylvania (The Twelve Days of Christmas in America) how did that contact come your way?

I’m pretty sure this one came through a postcard mailer as well, actually. I know that for the Twelve Days of Christmas in America Series, Sterling used authors and illustrators from the states that were featured, and I suppose stating my hometown on my postcard mailers never helped me out more than here!

How difficult was it to work on two different books at one time?

It was definitely scary – especially for what felt like my first major projects. I think one of the toughest things about illustrating is that the work seems to be like a hurry up and wait kind of pace. You sprint sprint sprint and submit. And then you wait wait wait for revisions/comments. What I tried to do with those two projects was hustle really hard on one and then work on the other while waiting for comments. It meant a long chunk of time where I couldn’t experiment with any personal work, but I think it was worth it.

You illustrated IS THAT FOR A BOY OR A GIRL? Was that a self-published book?

Is That For A Boy or a Girl was published by Flamingo Rampant Press – which S. Bear Bergman, the publisher and also the author of Is That For a Boy or A Girl, calls a micropress. They’re a sort of start-up publishing house, initially funded by kickstarter and other donations as well, trying to fill a void in children’s publishing for gender-nonconforming kids and LGBT families.

How many picture books have you illustrated?


When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I think somewhere midway through my sophomore year of art school.

Have you done any book covers?

Only for books that I’ve illustrated, but I’d certainly be open to it – it seems like really challenging, interesting work with a quick turnaround.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate your own children’s book?

Definitely. I’m wrapping up first author/illustrator project right now – I’m working on a picture book biography of Emily Roebling that will be published by Roaring Brook Press in Winter 2019. I’ve also got an easy-to-read book coming out with Simon Spotlight in summer 2018 about Calvin Coolidge’s pets – but I’m only the author on that, not the illustrator. And I’ve got more hopeful manuscripts in the cooker! The author/illustrator thing is definitely more of a recent dream of mine – I never tried writing until the past few years. It seemed too scary, since there was so much to chew with just the art to focus on. But honestly, it’s been amazing to have so much control over my images, and the way I want the story to unfurl.

Would you be open to illustrating a book for an author who wants to self-publish?

I’d definitely never say never – and the work I’ve done in the path with authors self-publishing has been valuable and great – but I’m really trying to focus on creating my own stories now, and trying to be choosier about what kinds of illustration work I’d take on.

Have you worked with educational publishers?

Not yet, no.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines?

No, I haven’t – but that certainly seems like a great time!

Have you tried to illustrate a wordless picture book?

I haven’t, no.

Do you have an artist rep. or an agent? If so, who?

I have a literary agent – Laurie Abkemeier with DeFiore and Co.

How did you connect with them and how long have you been with them?

I queried Laurie with the first dummy I’d ever written and illustrated in Spring of 2015 – she took me on as a client and she helped me edit the story into a pitch-able state. I’ve been working with her ever since.


What types of things do you do to find illustration work?

Lately I haven’t been soliciting any, since I’ve been trying to focus on writing my own picture books, but in the past I contributed to group shows, sent out postcard mailers and email blasts, and did whatever I could to splash artwork around the internet.

What is your favorite medium to use?

I used to work strictly in acrylic paint, on illustration board or sometimes paper. Lately I’ve been trying to work a little looser on watercolor paper, and letting in more media (gouache, colored pencil, ink), and trying to find more opportunities for hand-lettering as well.

Do you have a studio set up in your home?

I do – we have a second bedroom in my apartment, where my two desks (one for painting, one for computer/scanner), flat file, picture book collection, scanner, computer, and paints live.

What is the one thing in your studio that you could not live without?

It seems too obvious to say my computer – we all need that! But I guess for the sake of originality, I’ll say my scanner, since I’m still painting old-school.

Do you try to spend a specific amount of time working on your craft?

Oh, I wish. I so admire those people who are strict enough with themselves to allot an hour a day. But with me it’s always feast or famine. I get into an obsessive cycle where I’m working all the time and I’m reading all the time and I’m talking about it all the time, and then I have weeks where I need to play and reset.

Do you take pictures or do any types of research before you start a project?

So much research! That’s definitely part of the obsession. I collect folders and folders of reference photos and read as many relevant books as possible and create color palette studies and character sketch studies and take reference photos. I’ve read that illustrators used to call these reference collections their “morgues.” I think the morgues are my favorite parts. Sometimes I think it gets to be too much, but it all goes into the primordial soup that makes your work more authentic.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Undoubtedly – I really can’t fathom what it would have been like to walk into a publishing house and leave my portfolio on the art director’s desk and then wait by the phone for a call!

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

For final art, I use it very little. I use Photoshop to color-correct my scans and make sure the digital image matches the original painting. But in the sketch phase, I use a lot of Photoshop – I like to make sketch revisions in Photoshop, either by scanning in a patch, or drawing right on top of the original.

Do you own or have you used a Graphic Drawing Tablet in your illustrating?

Yes, I use a Wacom Intuos Pro, and it’s a total dream for sketching. I rarely, if ever, use it for final art, but it saves me so, so much time in the sketch revision phase.

Do you have any career dreams that you want to fulfill?

I’m on my way to fulfilling my dream to write and illustrate! I’d like to keep rolling with that dream. Maybe someday I’d like to try and write some fiction? I’ve been really immersed in the nonfiction picture book world for the past couple years.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on a picture book bio of Emily Roebling, which I mentioned above. The title is a little bit in limbo at the moment. I’m so crazy excited about it, though! I’ve really never been so enthusiastic about a project.

Do you have any material type tips you can share with us? Example: Paint or paper that you love – the best place to buy – a new product that you’ve tried – A how to tip, etc.

Rives BFK is my favorite paper to work on, hands down. Whether I’m drawing in ink or painting in acrylic – it’s tough and durable but silky-soft. It doesn’t warp under acrylic or watercolor, and doesn’t puncture under a sharp, hard pencil either. I never draw in charcoal anymore, but it makes your charcoal drawings practically glow.

Any words of wisdom on how to become a successful writer or illustrator?

Just keep showing up – meet other illustrators, go to conferences, read as many books as you can. I think the better you know the market, the better you can find your place in it.

Thank you Rachel for sharing your talent, process, journey, and expertise with us. Please make sure you keep in touch and share your future successes with us. To see more of Rachel’s work, you can visit her at her website:

For more frequent updates and artwork, follow Rachel on Twitter and Instagram!

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Rachel. I am sure she’d love it and I enjoy reading them, too. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 18, 2017

August Featured Agent – Larissa Helena Part Two Interview

When Larissa Helena finally announced her decision to major in Literature, her family and friends were too polite to reply “duh”. But everyone already knew, even then, she had no choice but to keep exploring the magic of words. A few diplomas, translations and years working as an editor later, she packed her suitcases and ended up in a city so nice they named it twice. Larissa found her new literary home at Pippin, where she is now Associate Literary Agent & Manager of Subsidiary Rights, and feels lucky to be surrounded by words and people who understand and share her passion.

Larissa Helena, Agent, Pippin Properties. Larissa Helena’s passion is fiction: between Brazil, France and the United States, her only certainty is that she wants to be around books. Larissa has been an Executive Editor, a Translator, a Researcher, a Foreign Rights Manager and an Agent. She’s open to books for all ages, and wants diverse narratives of all kinds. Voices rarely seen in literature, unconventional stories, quirky characters. Her favorite kind of book doesn’t try to follow a pattern or play by the rules. Favorite genre? Genre bending.

For submissions, e-mail your first chapter along with a synopsis and query letter to Twitter: @larilena


Do you let people know if you are not interested in what they sent?

I get an enormous amount of submissions, and it’s really hard to find the time to read everything… to individually let everyone know what I am not considering is almost impossible, especially because I like to give personal notes as much as I can, so I save my replies for the special cases.

How long does it usually take to respond to requested material?

I also double as a sub-rights agent, so it really depends on what’s happening on that side of things. I aim for something between a couple of weeks to a month.

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

Believe it or not, a few your instead of you’re and its instead of it’s and vice-versa.

Any pet peeves?

I really dislike when someone tells me “You’re going to love this”. I much prefer when people tell me why they think their story is different and worth telling, why they’re in love with it!

Do you give editorial feedback to your clients?

I do! I was an editor for years before I joined Pippin, so I can’t help myself.

Do you have an editorial style?

Yes, editing through dialogue. I honestly believe writers have the keys to their own stories. I will let them know what isn’t working, and we’ll talk until we can figure something out. It’s worked wonders until now, and the perk is that the authors always still recognize themselves in the final manuscript of the work.

How many clients do you have or want to build up to?

Pippin is a boutique agency, with a very select list of clients. I still haven’t found the one I’d like to represent, but I’m actively looking through my submissions in the hope that will happen soon!



In the subject line, please write “August 2017  Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page). REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: August 24th.
RESULTS: September 1st.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 17, 2017

Book Giveaway – At Waves End by Patricia Donovan

Author Patricia Perry Donovan new book AT WAVES END came out this week. Patricia sent me a copy a few months back and I really enjoyed reading the characters who have to struggle with the aftermath of a hurricane that hits the Jersey shore. Something many of us on the East Coast also suffered through. During this dark time the main character discovers things that were missing in her life. A nice story of survival and hope.

All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


After a childhood as unpredictable as the flip of a coin, Faith Sterling has finally found her comfort zone in the kitchen of an upscale Manhattan restaurant. A workaholic chef, at least there she’s in control. So when her free-spirited and often-gullible mother, Connie, calls to announce that she’s won a bed-and-breakfast on the Jersey Shore, Faith’s patience boils over. Convinced the contest is a scam, she rushes to Wave’s End to stop Connie from trading her steady job for an uncertain future.

When a hurricane ravages the coast, Faith is torn between supporting the shore rescue and bailing out her beleaguered boss. But the storm dredges up deceptions and emotional debris that threaten to destroy the inn’s future and her fragile bonds with her mother.

As the women struggle to salvage both the inn and their relationship, Faith begins to see herself and Connie in a new light—and to realize that some moments are better left to chance.


My journey to AT WAVE’S END began several years ago, when a friend told me she was thinking of entering a ‘Win a New England Bed and Breakfast’ essay contest. Ultimately, she did not enter, but the thought of taking a life-changing risk like that intrigued me.  What would it be like to be handed the keys to a whole new life? 

Although I did not know it then, this contest would provide the framework for my second novel, fueling Connie Sterling’s thirst for adventure and her desire for the fictional Mermaid’s Purse inn. The contest also would spark conflict between Connie and her adult daughter Faith. 

At the same time, I had become fixated on a lovely, tarnished gold locket that had languished in my mother’s jewelry box since I was a child.  It had belonged to one of her aunts, she told me. (My maternal grandmother was the eldest of 18 children.)  My mother gave me the locket several years ago, and I began to wear it.  Its unique design prompted frequent comments, so I decided to use it as a talisman for Faith and Connie’s relationship in the book. 

By now, the structure and conflict for my as-yet-untitled second novel had begun to gel. Then, Hurricane Sandy struck our Jersey Shore community in October 2012. When Sandy hit, I was in the midst of polishing my debut novel, DELIVER HER. Our home was spared, but we lost power for nearly two weeks.  During that time, and for months that followed, we volunteered wherever we could.  I wrote a few short stories based on my experiences or those I heard about. Some of these ultimately inspired events in AT WAVE’S END. 

In the storm’s aftermath, survivors suffered long delays for insurance adjustments and funding. In the meantime, however, they needed to eat. Churches in town became information and support centers where those affected could gather, eat and recharge.  Food provided sustenance and comfort. It seemed only natural, then, to make both the protagonist Faith and the secondary character David chefs, and to give them ample chance to show off their culinary skills. At last count, there are more than sixty references to food in the book! 

Having safely delivered DELIVER HER to my publisher, I returned to book two, which still lacked a setting. But with the storm’s devastation fresh in my mind, I knew there was no other place for Connie’s ramshackle inn than at the Jersey Shore.  

The fictional Mermaid’s Purse seemed the ideal shelter for this cast of disparate characters to recover—and for Connie and Faith to repair their relationship.



Patricia Perry Donovan is an American journalist who writes about healthcare. Her second novel, AT WAVE’S END, arrives in August 2017 from Lake Union. Her fiction has appeared in Gravel Literary, Flash Fiction Magazine, Bethlehem Writers Roundtable and other literary journals. The mother of two grown daughters, she lives at the Jersey shore with her husband. Connect with her on Facebook at and on Twitter at @PatPDonovan.

Thank you Patricia for sharing your book and journey with us and allowing one lucky winner to enjoy your book. A wonderful follow up book to DELIVER HER.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 16, 2017

Why Poetry by David L. Harrison

Evan Robb at his educational site posed the question – “Why poetry?” to David Harrison. If you want to know, asking a great poet is the way to go. Here is what David wrote for his site.

“Why poetry?” the response may be a surprised look, the sort you’d expect if you’d asked, “Why do you breathe?” Perhaps it’s better to ask, “Why poets?” Who are these passionately dedicated people who throw themselves into the slow, tedious business of making poems? Good poetry is hard to write, selling poetry is next to impossible, and poets rarely make much money. So why poetry, why poets, and why should you care?

I can’t speak for other poets (although I bet they’d all answer in much the same way), but I love the challenge of beginning with an idea and facing all those decisions that must be made before I wind up with a finished poem. In music, the same notes in different combinations produce jazz, Dixieland, blues, marches, and symphonic works. In poetry, the same words in different combinations produce a marvelous variety of verse. Most days I work twelve hours, much of it writing poetry. I’m a freelance writer. No one is going to pay me if I don’t produce. Few would care or notice if I stopped. I work alone. If I spend hours trying to decide between one rhyme or another, struggling with a stubborn meter, seeking a stronger noun, searching desperately for just the right simile – who cares? Well, first of all, I care. No poet worth his salt is ever going to stop working on a poem until he reads it aloud one more time and loves what he hears.

Ask a teacher who has learned that poetry is one of the best tools in the toolbox for teaching fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and love of language, “Why poetry?” You might hear, “Couldn’t do without it!” At least I hope that’s what you hear! Teachers who routinely use poetry in their classrooms know that the rhymes and cadences of structured language make it easier to remember than prose and more fun to read repeatedly. Teachers who invite their students to write poems of their own know that children’s poetry offers a wonderful opportunity to share the rich diversity of our people.

But someone else cares too. Ask a third grader who has had positive experiences with poetry at home and/or school, “Why poetry?” You might hear, “I like poems. Sometimes they’re funny and they make me laugh.” What that third grader or first grader or fifth grader doesn’t realize is that poetry’s nuances, metaphors, echoing sounds, song-like qualities, rhymes, and cadences are providing much more than entertainment. Young readers have no idea how hard the poet worked to make them laugh or think or see something in a new light or provide them with examples of language used beautifully. Why should they? It’s their right to read good poems.

Why poetry? Ask a poet or a teacher if you want to. I’m going with the third grader.

© David L. Harrison

David Harrison has published ninety-two titles that have earned dozens of honors, including the Christopher Award for The Book of Giant Stories. His work has been translated into twelve languages, anthologized more than one hundred eighty-five times, and appeared in over eighty magazines and professional journals. In Springfield, MO, David Harrison Elementary School is named for him. His poem, “My Book,” is sandblasted into The Children’s Garden sidewalk at the Burton Barr Library in Phoenix, Arizona and painted on a bookmobile in Pueblo, Colorado. David’s poetry inspired Sandy Asher’s popular, award winning school plays, Somebody Catch My Homework and Jesse and Grace and has been set to music performed for numerous live audiences. In 2007, the Missouri Librarian Association presented David with its Literacy Award for the body of his work. David holds science degrees from Drury and Emory universities and honorary doctor of letters degrees from Missouri State University and Drury University. He is poet laureate of Drury. David lives with his wife, Sandy, a business owner and retired guidance counselor. He is working on many new books.

If you like poetry check out David blog and participate in his “Poem of the Month.”

Website: http://www.David L.

EVAN ROBB is an author, principal, and speaker. He is a middle school principal in Clarke County, Virginia. He is a committed educator, progressive thinker, author, speaker, and fitness enthusiast.

He says, “All learning begins with a question.”

The Robb Review Blog contains his thoughts and thoughts of his guests about preparing our students for their future. His blog is focused on looking ahead, not looking back.


Twitter: @ERobbPrincipal

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 15, 2017

SCBWI Emerging Voices

The SCBWI established the On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award in 2012 with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books. SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year.

Applications accepted between September 15 and November 15, 2017 only.

Two writers or writer/illustrators will each receive:
– A paid trip to the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles (transportation, and hotel shared with other winner as appropriate)
– Tuition to the SCBWI Summer Conference (Excluding Portfolio Showcase. Intensives depending on availability)
– Manuscript Consultation at the Summer Conference
– A press release
– Publicity through SCBWI social media
– Manuscript included on our secure website for a selected list of publishing professionals to view
– Guidance available from SCBWI staff on professional career development during the winning year.

Any writer or writer/illustrator from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America. (Including but not limited to: American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, Pacific Islander)
The manuscript must be an original work written in English for young readers and may not be under contract.  The applicant must be over 18, be unpublished (self-published is not considered published for this award), and should not yet have representation.

All applications will be accepted via e-mail only between September 15 and November 15 at and must include the following:
In the body of the e-mail:
1. An autobiographical statement and career summary in less than 250 words.
2. Why your work will bring forward an underrepresented voice in less than 250 words.
3. A synopsis of your manuscript in less than 250 words.
Attached to the e-mail:
4. A PDF of your entire manuscript.  If the manuscript is not complete, it is not eligible.
The winners will be announced January 25, 2018 and the award presented at the 2018 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles.  The Winners will also be mentioned at the New York conference, February 2-4, 2018.
When your work is published the author/illustrator should include in the acknowledgement “This book was made possible in part by a grant from SCBWI”

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 14, 2017

Book Giveaway – Chicken Wants A Nap by Tracy Marchini

Agent and Author Tracy Marchini has a new book CHICKEN WANTS A NAP hits the book shelves tomorrow. Tracy is giving away a copy to one lucky winner.

If you would like to win a copy, please leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about CHICKEN WANTS A NAP on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


The sun is up, and a happy barnyard chicken is looking forward to a comfortable day—preferably one that includes a relaxing nap. However, every time she tries to find a good spot, something goes wrong. The sun disappears and is replaced by rain. She is driven out of the warm barn by obnoxious noises and smells. The dog is too curious for her to stay on the porch. Finally, the rain stops, and the worms come out. This is good news for the chicken—but bad news for the worms!


I guess Chicken’s story starts in 2012, when I was working part-time and earning my MFA in Writing for Children full time. My professor, Anna Staniszewski, had assigned us to write about a character’s best or worst day. I was absolutely exhausted that evening, and the best thing in the world to me at the time (and plenty of times since!) was a nap. So out popped this line – “Chicken wants a nap.”

I started to write about this chicken who was in desperate need of a nap, but kept being disturbed by the barnyard around her.

(Years before, I had attended a talk by Brian Selznick, and he mentioned that one of his inspirations for The Invention of Hugo Cabret was Remy Charlip’s Fortunately – where it looks like the character will be okay, and then a page turn delivers a new impending disaster. I loved this idea at the time, and I feel like it must have been sitting there in my subconscious while I drafted Chicken.)

So it was good news, bad news, good news for Chicken, depending on the page turn. And when I finished, Chicken was about 166 words.

It wasn’t like my earlier picture book manuscripts, but it felt like there was something there.

But, I was in grad school and had to keep working on other projects. So Chicken stayed on my laptop for three years.

When I saw a call for submissions from Amicus Ink, a sister company of Creative Editions, I reached back out to Tom Peterson (who I had previously worked with and sold a book to as a literary agent’s assistant back in 2008) and sent him the manuscript for Chicken in November 2015. In January, I received an offer!

So, after doing a very, very annoying song and dance that went something like this:

Me: Guess what?

:::Doesn’t wait for an answer from her loved ones:::

Me: I sold a booooo-ook!  I sold a booooo-ook!

I accepted the offer, finalized the contract and went to work on edits with my editor, Amy Novesky.

We switched Chicken Wants a Nap from first person to third and worked to tweak the refrain to make it just right. (As I’m sure all my fellow picture book writers can attest, it’s amazing how much time you can spend working on just a few lines!)

Once we finalized the manuscript, it was time to move forward with the art. It was so exciting to get the digital proof and see what Monique Felix had done with the story – and even better to get a box of author copies a few weeks ago and flip through the physical pages.

The book is so beautifully produced – the pages are nice and thick, I love the ‘hidden’ spot art on the hardcover under the jacket, and everything about it just looks and feels pleasing to me as a fellow picture book aficionado!



Tracy Marchini is a Literary Agent at BookEnds Literary, representing fiction, non-fiction and illustration for children and teens. Prior to joining BookEnds, Tracy worked as a freelance editor, a Literary Agents Assistant, a children’s book reviewer, and a newspaper correspondent.

Tracy’s debut picture book, Chicken Wants A Nap, is forthcoming from Creative Editions (August 2017). She holds an M.F.A in Writing for Children and can be found at or on Twitter at @TracyMarchini.

Thank you Tracy for sharing your book and journey with us and of course, participating in the book giveaway. It looks like so much fun. I am sure it will be a big success.

Talk tomorrow,


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