Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 16, 2020

SCBWI Opportunity: Work-in-Progress Awards

Work-in-Progress Awards
SCBWI Grant and Award

The SCBWI Work-In-Progress (WIP) Awards assist children’s book writers, illustrators, and translators in the publication of a specific project currently not under contract. SCBWI reserves the right not to confer this award in any given year.

2020 submissions accepted in March 2020

The Work-in-Progress Awards showcase outstanding manuscripts from the members of the SCBWI. One winner in each of the following 7 categories will be selected.

-Picture Book Text

-Chapter Books/Early Readers

-Middle Grade

-Young Adult Fiction

-Nonfiction (Anna Cross Giblin Nonfiction Award)

-Multicultural Fiction or Nonfiction

-Translation

Award: The works submitted by winners will be made available on a secure webpage and presented to a hand-selected group of editors for their consideration. Although this is not a guarantee of publication, the opportunity to have your work presented to acquiring editors, along with an SCBWI endorsement, is a unique opportunity.

Deadline: Submissions will be accepted March 1 – March 31, Midnight PDT 2020 only.

Eligibility:

1. You must be a current SCBWI member when your work is submitted and when the award is announced in September.

2. You may not submit a work that is under contract. If the work becomes under contract before the award is announced, you will become ineligible.

3. Each member may submit only one manuscript to the WIP awards each year. (The Cushman grant is an exception, you can apply for this grant in addition to the primary WIP)

4. Illustrators can apply for one of the Don Freeman Grants. You may not apply for both the Don Freeman and the picture book category of the WIP Award.

5. Applying to the Cushman Grant? Simply send TWO email submissions. One with Cushman in the subject line and your name and one with the WIP category you choose and your name. That’s it! You will not receive an automated confirmation.

6. If you are self-published you may submit to the WIP.

7. Translators should apply in the Translation category of the WIP. Submit a translation into English of a text that fits one of the following categories: Picture Book, Chapter Books/Early Readers, Middle Grade, Young Adult Fiction, Nonfiction. As part of your cover page/synopsis, identify the text’s category. In addition, give its genre, original author and language, original publisher and publication date (if published), and rights status (if known). Please also describe why this text needs to be translated into English now. What is its relevance for the market?

Submission Guidelines:

PLEASE FOLLOW THE BELOW INSTRUCTIONS COMPLETELY.

1. Please submit your application via email ONLY. Please include all info as ONE PDF ATTACHMENT. We will NOT accept a Word Document.

YOUR PDF ATTACHEMENT MUST INCLUDE:

1. A cover page that contains:

Your name

Manuscript Title

Grant Category

A double-spaced synopsis, max 250 words

2. The first 10 pages (US letter size) of your completed manuscript with page numbers in the bottom corner. You must have a complete draft to submit. Please include your name (First_Last) in the upper corner of your 10 pages.

Your manuscript sample must be double-spaced and cannot exceed 10 pages. WE DO NOT NEED A SEPARATE TITLE PAGE. YOUR COVER PAGE DOUBLES AS A TITLE PAGE. Please use 12 point, Times New Roman font. Your submission with total 11 pages: Cover page + 10 mansucript pages.

3. Please label your PDF as Category First Name_Last Name (example: MG Mary_Ford)

4. Please put the category you are applying to in the subject line of the e-mail with your First and Last Name (example: MG Mary_Ford). E-mail your completed application to: wipgrant@scbwi.org

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Please read the FAQs before contacting us.

Winners will be announced in September.

Questions? sarahdiamond@scbwi.org

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 15, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – Yevgenia Nayberg

Yevgenia Nayberg is an illustrator, painter, and set and costume designer. Her illustrations have appeared in magazines and picture books, and on theatre posters, music albums, and book covers; her paintings, drawings, and illustrations are held in private collections worldwide. As a set and costume designer, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts/TCG Fellowship for Theatre Designers, the Independent Theatre Award and the Arlin Meyer Award. In 2018 she received a Sydney Taylor Silver Medal for her illustrations for Drop by Drop by Jaqueline Jules. Her debut author/illustrator picture book, Anya’s Secret Society, came out in 2019 and received a Junior Library Guild Selection Award. Her new books, Typewriter and Mona Lisa in New York, will be published in 2020. She lives in New York City.

Yevgenia Nayberg was born in Kiev, Ukraine. After graduating from The National School of Art in Kiev, she began working as a freelance illustrator and an assistant art director for, UkranimaFilm, an animation studio. Yevgenia moved to the United States in 1994, where she studied theatre design at Carnegie Mellon University. At the age of 23 she received her MFA degree in Theatre design from California State University, Long Beach. She has since enjoyed a successful career as a painter, scenic – costume designer, and illustrator. Yevgenia’s dedication to theatrical arts is clearly manifested in her illustrations which rely on color intensity, fantastic landscapes, and dramatic light and shadow to tell a story. When illustrating, she likes to look for a visual equivalent of a word, for metaphorical translation into the language of visual art.

HERE IS YEVEGENIA DISCUSSING HER PROCESS:

I am going to share the process for my upcoming picture book, Mona Lisa in New York.

This book turned out to be very technically complex, because I had to combine Renaissance art with graffiti while keeping everything cohesive.  It is very tricky, if you don’t want to end up with a chaotic kaleidoscope of colors. I also had to constantly change Mona Lisa’s expression, but in a very subtle way, so that was another challenge.

I will show my work on one of the spreads—Mona Lisa dancing salsa on the High Line in New York City.

 

  This is my first stage. It may seem cryptic, but to me it is crystal clear!

Here I’m testing different dancing positions for Mona Lisa and her partner as well as other dancers. I love to dance salsa and I think about my real life salsa friends- the way they look and dance.

Next, comes the final sketching phase. I have decided on the dancers’ position and the composition of the page.

The next stage is acrylic painting. I will add the rest of the elements digitally.

Now I am adding the body of Tag, the graffiti man, animation style, creating each body part separately. I am using my graffiti collection and making a collage out a many different graffiti samples. I drew his face beforehand and added it digitally. You can see that I’ve added Mona Lisa’s face and slightly changed her expression. I am also aging” her clothes, giving her a new neck and adding delicate hands.

This is the final illustration.

I have digitally created the cityscape of New York, the plants, added (and edited) the Old Man’s Grandson by Domenico Ghirlandaio. Last came the text placement. Overall, I have about Photoshop 40 layers in this image.

And that’s all to it!

Interview with Yevgenia Nayberg:

How long have you been illustrating?

I illustrated my first book when I was four years old. It was a long, wordless book about cats!

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

I was in tenth grade. The assignment was a coloring page for a children’s magazine. I had a hard time maintaining a consistent line with my ink pen and had to redo that page many times.

What did you study at The National School of Art in Kiev?

I studied classical drawing and painting but wanted my thesis project to be illustration series. My professors reluctantly agreed.

What types of classes did you enjoy the most?

I preferred painting classes. Overall, it was a very formal education. I loved homework because we got to experiment in any way we wanted, but in class we had to follow the strict rules of Academism.

Do you feel school helped you develop your style?

I am glad my school gave me a solid traditional foundation. It allowed me the freedom to experiment with new materials with confidence. I am sure it was my school’s environment more than its actual art program.

Did the school help you get the assistant art director for UkranimaFilm, an animation studio when you graduated?

It was my mother, who was a Production Designer there, who helped me to get that job.

I was a frequent guest at the animation studio growing up and knew it and many of its artists.

What made you decide to move from Ukraine to the United States?

I came with my family as a part of the Jewish refugee program.

Was it the art director job with UkranimaFilm that inspired you to study theatre design at Carnegie Mellon University?

Indirectly yes, because I was fascinated by the transformation of a text into a visual story.

Did you start working on theater sets and doing costume design while you attended California State University in Long Beach?

I did. CSULB had a professional theatre company as a part of their MFA program.

When did you decide you wanted to illustrate children’s books?

I loved illustrating since I was a girl, but I’m equally interested n illustrating for children or adults.

THIS BOOK WAS FEAYURED LAST YEAR: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/book-giveaway-martin-and-anne-by-nancy-churnin/

Was The Wren and the Sparrow your first book illustrated book?

It was my first traditionally published illustrated book.

How did you connect with Kar-Ben Publishing for that contract?

I sent my portfolio to them and they reached back rather quickly.

How exciting was it to receive a Sydney Taylor Silver Medal for your illustrations in Drop by Drop?

This was my second Sidney Taylor, first being a Bronze Medal for The Wren and The Sparrow, so naturally, I was excited to get promoted!

Did you sign a two book deal with Kar-Ben Publishing when contracted you for The Wren and the Sparrow?

They were independent projects, and very different in nature.

FEATURED BOOK LAST MARCH: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/book-giveawy-anyas-secret-society/

I love your book Anya’s Secret Society, which came out in 2019. Was this the first book you wrote and illustrated? How long did it take you to complete the book?

Anya’s Secret Society is my debut as an author. The idea came to me spontaneously and I wrote the story quickly. I spent a lot of time on the illustrations and the dummy. Once my agent submitted the project it took about 8 months to find the publisher. This is where things really slowed down. The hardest part was to keep working on manuscript edits and not being able to get to illustrations. When the story was finally approved, it was a pure joy to illustrate! It took two years to publish Anya.

How did you get Charlesbridge interested in your book? Did you send a full dummy to them?

My agent submitted a full dummy to several publishers and we ultimately went with Charlesbridge.

Anya’s Secret Society received a Junior Library Guild Selection Award. What inspired the story for you?

Anya’s Secret Society is based on my childhood memories. I grew up in the Soviet Union were, at the time, lefties were quite rare. It is a story about being different, but also about creativity and secret imaginary worlds.

CHECK BACK THIS COMING TUESDAY FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THIS BOOK. 

Now you have Numbers in Motion by Laurie Wallmark coming our March 3rd. How did you get that contract? Did Laurie point out your illustrations to Creston Books?

I illustrated Martin and Anne by Nancy Churnin for Creston Books in 2019. I was still in the process of working on that book when the publisher asked me to illustrate Numbers in Motion. I am sure it was her call and I hope Laurie was happy with that decision.


I can’t wait to see your new book Typewriter that you wrote and illustrated when it come out on February 25th. I am not familiar with Creative Editions. Are they a UK publisher?

Creative Editions is a part of The Creative Company, a Minnesota based publisher. I’ve really lucked out with them. It was a wonderful, truly collaborative process and I will work with them again in a heartbeat.


Have you ever tried illustrating a wordless picture book?

Yes, as a four-year-old! Jokes aside, I might do it one day, but right now I am excited about developing my voice as a writer, it is a fascinating and scary new territory.

 

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate more picture books?

I do and I am working on it as we speak.

Do you have agent representation? If so, who represents you? How long have you been with them? How did you connect? If not, would you be interested in finding an agent that fits?

I’ve been represented by Anna Olswanger of Olswanger Literary for about three years. I approached her about representation before I was writing my own texts and she was the one who encouraged me to write.

Tell us a little bit about Mona Lisa coming out later this year. Who is the publisher? Have you finished the illustrations?

Mona Lisa in New York is my latest author/illustrator picturebook and a love letter to NYC. It’s a story of, naturally, Mona Lisa, a tired know-it-all, who experiences New York for the first time and finds art, love, and inspiration in unexpected places. It’s coming out this fall from Prestel Books. I had finished my illustrations already and it was, by far, the most challenging and thrilling experience.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I hope it is ahead of me.

What is your favorite medium to use?

A 2B graphite pencil.

Has that changed over time?

Yes. It used to be a ballpoint pen.

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

Yes, I am a die-hard fan of my beloved Cintiq Tablet. It changed my life.

What materials and/or tools do you use to create your work?

I use pencils, ink, acrylic, oils… it’s hard to name them all. Whatever fits the concept of a project best. I often use Photoshop on top of everything else.

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

I work all the time. If I’m doing dishes it doesn’t mean I am not simultaneously working.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

I love researching and always try to avoid anachronisms and other historical inaccuracies. The most exciting research was for my latest books: I got to look at a thousand typewriters for Typewriter; I photographed graffiti and visited the Met Museum for Mona Lisa in New York.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

Absolutely. It accelerated my communication and gave me access to far-away clients.  But nothing means more to me than discovering the works of genius artists all over the world every morning I go online. It is  the most humbling and inspirational experience.

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

I’d like to continue to do what I’m doing as an illustrator and theatre designer. My dream is to broaden the circle of my creative allies. And, perhaps, to work in animation again.

What are you working on now?

I am writing and illustrating two new picture books and starting on a graphic novel.

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.

I use Photoshop extensively for my daily work, so lately I’m really into the “ancient” materials, like traditional inks and yarn. Recently I was able to get my hands on some carbon paper. I often use it to transfer my sketches. Carbon copy creates an interesting line.

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

I don’t think one can control her success. My technique is to look into the future with more curiosity, fewer expectations.

Thank you Yevgenia for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure to let us know your future successes. To see more of Yevgenia’s work, you can visit her at: 

Website: http://www.Nayberg.org

Behance:  https://www.behance.net/nayberg

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ynayberg/

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Yevgenia. I am sure she’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too. 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 14, 2020

Agent of the Month Alexandra Levick – Interview Part One

I am very happy to announce that Alexandra Levick at Writers House is February’s Agent of the Month. Scroll to bottom for how to submit a first page and maybe win a critique with Alexandra.

Alexandra Levick earned an M.S. in Publishing: Digital and Print Media from New York University and a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Rochester. She is a former bookseller with training in both the children’s and adult markets and has experience working on the house side of publishing in publicity. She is an agent at Writers House.

Writers House was founded in 1974 and since that time has become one of the largest full-service literary agencies in the world. They pride themselves on providing an extraordinary amount of individual client attention, combined with the benefits of full foreign rights, subsidiary rights, and contracts departments. They house an accounting department equipped to provide forensic royalty and financial analysis, as well as a digital department focusing on the ever-changing technological landscape of the publishing world today.

Alexandra started at Writers House as an intern for Brianne Johnson and was quickly pulled from the program to begin working for Senior Vice President, Merrilee Heifetz. Later, she covered senior agent, Stephen Barr’s, paternity leave and began working as an assistant to senior agents Brianne Johnson and Rebecca Sherman. In 2015, she graduated from New York University with my Masters of Science in Publishing: Digital and Print Media, with a specialization in Media Content Development.

Alexandra is actively growing her picture book, middle grade, young adult, and adult lists.

***

What am I looking for?

Picture book author-illustrators, a wide range of middle grade and YA, and more speculative-leaning or genre-bent upmarket adult works. I’m committed to working with writers from diverse backgrounds and am looking to put forth a list of outstanding creators who will be able to provide windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors (thank you, Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop) into all kinds of experiences. I’m particularly looking for own-voices stories about historically underrepresented characters, identities, and cultures.

No matter the genre or age-range, I crave a distinctive voice and strong thematic point behind the work—I want to run screaming to my friends and family about your book because there is so much to discuss. I love character-driven stories that revolve around BIG topics (discussing things like mortality or grief in a new and hopefully somewhat uplifting way is always an instant lightbulb!). Upon further consideration, I’m not looking for ‘issue books’ per se, rather I’d like to represent authors and stories that stand for more than just a good yarn; I’d like to represent authors who provoke conversations around important and necessary topics in our world today. I don’t just want contemporary versions of these stories, either. Send me your fantasy, your sci-fi, your genre-bender!

So please, send your work over to me. I can’t wait to give it a read.

*******

Below is  Part One of my interview with Alexandra

What happened while you were getting your B.A. in Creative Writing that made you decide to go for your M.S. in Publishing?

I was taking an International Fiction course with Joanna Scott (who is, incidentally, a Writers House client) at the University of Rochester and she had invited Chad Post, the Publisher of Open Letter Books, to come in to give a presentation on the publishing industry and specifically about literature in translation. Despite working in a bookstore for several years up until that point, I had never truly considered where books came from and all the people who worked on them, but as Chad spoke, I knew this was the right career for me. I was sure this was something I should do.

When did you know then that you wanted to become an agent?

This was in another class presentation! (Can you tell I really love learning?) In my Introduction to Book Publishing course in my Master’s program, my professor had Julie Barer of The Book Group speak to us about agenting. She inspired me immensely. As soon as I knew what an agent did, I was 110% certain it was the perfect job for me. I delight in a fierce negotiation and have a keen eye for detail; I also love brainstorming and working on the creative aspects of the process. It is truly the most perfect combination of responsibilities for my personality.

How did you get the job with Writers House and long have you been with them?

I was interning for Brianne Johnson at Writers House and had the opportunity to interview with Amy Berkower and Merrilee Heifetz. Merrilee hired me on the spot. Happily, I’ve been here ever since! (Almost 5 years!)

Do you have a limit on the number of clients you will represent?

I don’t. It just depends on whether I honestly feel I can work to my fullest for all of them. I would not take on a client if I did not feel I had the bandwidth to represent them to the best of my abilities.

Any story or themes you wish someone would submit?

I always love themes of grief and growth. Those are always the overarching topics I found myself drawn to again and again.

Which do you lean more towards: Literary or Commercial?

I think I lean ever so slightly more literary than commercial, but my projects are always a healthy combination of both.

Do you think it is okay for an author to write novels and picture books? Or do you feel it is better to focus on one age group and genre?

I think any career needs to be carefully thought out and planned strategically business-wise, but I don’t think that necessarily means you can only write in one age (or genre) category.

What do you like to see in a submission?

Voice! If I can’t clearly hear a character’s voice in my head, it’s hard for me to connect with them.

How important is the query letter?

It is important, but I don’t think it’s the end-all, be-all.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

There’s no trick for me, it’s simply a combination of strong, evocative writing and an incredible, indelible plot.

Do you let people know if you are not interested in their submission?

Yes, I respond to every query I receive.

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

I aim to respond under 60 days but that can sometimes vary given what client work I have on my plate. My clients always come first.

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART TWO OF MY INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRA.

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR FEBRUARY 2020 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “FEBRUARY 2020 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: 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).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2020 FEBRUARY – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

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: February 21st. – noon EST

RESULTS: February 28th.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Kirsten Larson has written a new picture book titled, WOOD, WIRE, WINGS: EMMA LILIAN TODD INVENTS AN AIRPLANE , Illustrated by Tracy Subisak and published by Calkins Creek. Kirsten has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helpingKirsten and Tracy!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

This riveting nonfiction picture book biography explores both the failures and successes of self-taught engineer Emma Lilian Todd as she tackles one of the greatest challenges of the early 1900s: designing an airplane.

Emma Lilian Todd’s mind was always soaring–she loved to solve problems. Lilian tinkered and fiddled with all sorts of objects, turning dreams into useful inventions. As a child, she took apart and reassembled clocks to figure out how they worked. As an adult, typing up patents at the U.S. Patent Office, Lilian built the inventions in her mind, including many designs for flying machines. However, they all seemed too impractical. Lilian knew she could design one that worked. She took inspiration from both nature and her many failures, driving herself to perfect the design that would eventually successfully fly. Illustrator Tracy Subisak’s art brings to life author Kirsten W. Larson’s story of this little-known but important engineer.

Book journey:

If there’s one takeaway from my book’s journey, it’s that writing a picture book is a lot like inventing: a small dose of inspiration and bucketloads of perspiration.

The idea for Lilian’s story began with Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (now Storystorm) in November 2013. One of the last  ideas I jotted down that month was “Rosie the Riveter.” In January 2014, I began researching the idea, and grabbed Andrea Beaty’s best-selling fiction book, ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER, from my public library. At the end of the book is an illustration of female firsts in aviation created by illustrator David Roberts. Here’s what caught my eye: “E. Lillian Todd, first woman to design an airplane in 1906.” That’s just three years after the Wright Brothers first flew.

Now, I’ve lived and worked around airplanes my whole life, and I had never heard of Lilian Todd. Neither had my husband, who’s quite the aviation history buff. I was instantly hooked by the detective work required to find traces of this long-forgotten inventor. There were no adult biographies about her. There were no journals, diaries, or letters I could get my hands on. I scoured historic newspapers and magazines and talked with fellow researchers to find each and every detail I could. Every fact I uncovered felt like a tremendous victory.

I wrote my first draft in Susanna Hill’s Making Picture Book Magic class in March 2014 and continued to research and tweak the text with my writing groups. Three months later, my eventual editor, the fabulous Carolyn Yoder, first critiqued a draft at a conference. But just like Lilian’s plane, my book was far from ready for lift off. I was still learning my craft.

It would take another two and a half years: another critique from Carolyn at a different conference, revisions with my insightful agent, and ultimately a revise and resubmit request from Calkins Creek before the book sold in January 2017. And that wasn’t the end of the tinkering. There were still more revisions and fact checks of the text and Tracy Subisak’s sensational art before the book went to the printer more than two years later.

So what’s the takeaway from this journey? Writing picture books requires us to stay flexible. Problem solve. To keep tweaking and tinkering with a book’s design, trying new structures, a new point of view, or perhaps a different voice. Ultimately, passion and perseverance will give your work wings.

KIRSTEN’S BIO:

Kirsten W. Larson used to work with rocket scientists at NASA. Now she writes books for curious kids. She’s the author of WOOD, WIRE, WINGS: EMMA LILIAN TODD INVENTS AN AIRPLANE, illustrated by Tracy Subisak (Calkins Creek, February 2020), CECILIA PAYNE: MAKING OF A STAR (SCIENTIST), illustrated by Katherine Roy (Chronicle, Fall 2021), along with 25+ nonfiction books for kids. Find her at kirsten-w-larson.com or on Twitter/Instagram @KirstenWLarson.

TRACY SUBISAK’S BIO:

Tracy studied industrial design in school, subsequently working in the field internationally for seven years, designing computers for the future, before turning her focus to freelance illustration and design.

She is the illustrator of several picture books including Grizzly Boy, Cy Makes a Friend, and Shawn Loves Sharks, which received a starred review from Kirkus, was a Junior Library Guild selection, and received a 2018 Washington State Book Award. Upcoming nonfiction picture book title Wood, Wire, Wings by Kirsten Larson is a bio of Emma Lilian Todd, the first woman to successfully design and engineer a working airplane.

Tracy is the proud daughter of a Taiwanese mother who was a Chinese language instructor and art teacher, and an American father, son of Polish and Slovakian immigrant parents, who is an engineer. She was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, has lived in Taiwan, South Korea, NY, and San Francisco, and now makes her home in the PNW in Portland, OR. She is always eager to go adventuring and is a true believer that experience begets the best stories.

Thank you Kirsten for sharing your book and journey with us. I’m sure kids will love reading and seeing how Emma’s mind soared and solved problems. I would think it will inspire some minds to do the same. The whole book looks great! Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 12, 2020

OPPORTUNITY IS KNOCKING!

OPPORTUNITY IS KNOCKING!

Every year acquiring editor and art director Dr. Mira Reisberg and a special acquiring editor co-teach the Craft & Business of Writing Children’s Picture Books e-course at the Children’s Book Academy. The course is highly interactive with much personal interaction, many bonuses, and fantastic feedback and submission opportunities from the co-teachers PLUS a range of editors and agents. And every year, more and more students get published and/or agented directly from this course. Right now over 375 books have been published or contracted from former students.

This year the Academy is extremely excited about their action-packed course because Mira is co-teaching with super smart Stimola Literary agent Allison Remcheck who will be able to offer even more guidance from both an editorial and submissions perspective.

Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced author or illustrator – Don’t miss this unique opportunity starting April 6th through May 18th. Click here to find out more: http://bit.ly/CBWPB-Yes

In addition, the Children’s Book Academy also offers full and half scholarships for this course to those who identify as being diverse (race, disability, LBGTQ) Low-Income, Children’s Librarians, SCBWI RAs, ARAs and ICs, Aussies & More.

Here are the links to find out more about the scholarships: http://bit.ly/YuyiMScholarships

Or here to apply directly: http://bit.ly/PB-Schol2

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

David Harrison has written a new picture book titled, AFTER DARK: Poems about Nocturnal Animals, Illustrated by Stephanie Laberis and published by WordSong. David has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. 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 do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping David & Stephanie!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This collection of twenty-two poems explores the fascinating lives of North American nocturnal animals.

When the sun goes down, many animals come out. Crickets chirp their crickety song hoping to attract a mate. Cougars bury their leftovers for later, leaving few clues for others to follow. Armadillos emerge from their dens to dig for worms, leaving holes in the lawns they disturb. This collection of poetry from acclaimed children’s author and poet David L. Harrison explores the lives of animals who are awake after dark. Stephanie Laberis’s beautifully atmospheric illustrations will draw in readers, and extensive back matter offers more information about each animal.

BOOK JOURNEY:

Shedding Light on After Dark

After Dark is a collection of poems, with accompanying back notes, featuring creatures that stir about their business after the sun goes down. It’s my 97th book and set for publication on February 25. It is beautifully illustrated by Stephanie (Steph) Laberis.

I formally presented the proposal to Mary Colgan, who was at that time my editor at Boyds Mills Press, on May 9, 2015. She chose it as her favorite from among half a dozen ideas we’d recently discussed in a phone call.

But After Dark started long before 2015. After Dark has always been with me. It was with me when I was six years old, camping in a tent with my parents beside White Horse Lake in Arizona, listening to bears not so far away banging on metal trash cans in futile efforts to get a free meal. With me in third grade, camping in the back yard beside a sheet draped over the clothesline and illuminated from within so I could capture night moths that came to the light. With me as I walked in the dark up a streambed looking for frogs but catching a water moccasin instead. Later, much later, I wrote Goose Lake, a book about the lake behind the house where we’ve lived for thirty years. It included this passage.

Morning News

Dusk has just enough time to pull a blanket over the day crew before full dark summons the night shift. Toothy yawns and yearning bellies greet another evening of chance. At one time or another I’ve met all the players: foxes sniffing for hidden ducklings; skunk families strolling my yard, raccoons that should be arrested for repeatedly breaking into my attic; light-blinded opossums who lose lopsided duels with cars. Deer . . . coyotes . . . stray cats . . .  they’ve all appeared on the hooded stage between my back door and the lake. Their visits are rarely marked. Only snow gives them a slate on which to write their dramas. Even then they tell you no more than they must.

So in some ways After Dark is the book I was supposed to write all along. Maybe the first 96 books were warm-ups for this one. When Mary Colgan left Boyds Mills Press, Brittany Ryan took over. When Kane bought Boyds Mills Press, Rebecca Davis became my editor. And now, dear readers, it’s in your hands. I hope you like my cast of moonlight characters.

DAVID’S BIO:

David L. Harrison’s 95 books for children and teachers have received dozens of honors, including Society of Midland Authors award for best children’s nonfiction book, 2016; Missouri Pioneer in Education Award; and Missouri Library Association’s Literacy Award. His work has been widely translated and anthologized more than 185 times.

His poems have been set to music and sandblasted into a library sidewalk. He has been featured at hundreds of conferences, workshops, literature festivals, schools, and colleges. David holds two science degrees and two honorary doctorates of letters. He’s Drury University’s poet laureate. David Harrison Elementary School is named for him.

STEPHANIE LABERIS BIO:

Steph has loved drawing for as long as she can remember, and was raised on a healthy diet of cartoons, video games and getting muddy in the New England woods. She also loves crafting, particularly needle felting, and loves to bring her drawn characters to life with real, tangible materials. She attended RISD and has a BFA in Illustration, and currently enjoys working in many artistic fields; illustration, character design for animation and toy design.

She works out of her home studio in the San Francisco Bay Area. She also enjoys tending to her small army of pet rats (who are also her official muses), sampling the best coffees and chocolates of the Bay Area and obsessing over what her next side project will be. When she grows up, she wants to be a real artist. Or be a unicorn! Current clients include Random House Golden Books, Henry Holt/Macmillan, Holiday House and Simon & Schuster. Website: https://stephlaberis.carbonmade.com

Thank you David for sharing your book and journey with us. The text and the illustrations make every page sing. What a great way to teach children about nocturnal animals. Good luck!

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 10, 2020

Agent Amy Stapp at Wolfson Literary

Amy Stapp received her BA from Samford University and MA from Georgia State University before beginning her publishing career at Macmillan, where she was an editor for seven years and had the privilege of working with bestselling authors such as Katie McGarry, Shelley Noble, and Amber Lynn Natusch, among others. Amy joined Wolfson Literary in 2018 and is actively building her list, with interest in women’s fiction, mystery, suspense, historical fiction, young adult, and select nonfiction.  She is particularly drawn to well-paced prose and smart, multidimensional characters.

Adult Fiction

Commercial book club fiction
Lighthearted mysteries with a touch of romance
Historical mysteries
Gritty psychological thrillers
Domestic suspense
Women’s fiction (from beach reads to upmarket women’s fiction)
Magical realism
Historical fiction (particularly 1910s-1950s)
WWII fiction
International setting/Small-town setting/Unique regions
Multigenerational/Relationships between women
Family drama/Family secrets
Southern Gothic
Sophisticated horror with a high-concept hook

I am most eager to find high concept, commercial, book club fiction, and sharp, tightly woven thrillers/suspense.
I’ve lived in the Midwest, South, and now the Northeast, and I have a fondness for small-town settings (either with an endearingly quirky cast of characters, or a more sinister, closed-in, suspicious feel), and a particular interest in the unique Southern voice.
I need multidimensional, complex, nuanced characters that feel like real people (even the villains and bullies).
I will inevitably pick up any book set in Paris, but truthfully I love any unique international setting.
I tend to shy away from women’s fiction where the central story involves a woman learning to live again after divorce and an empty nest.

Nonfiction

Health/Wellness/Fitness
Family/Parenting
Unique cookbooks
Minimalism/simple living
Feminist/female-focused
Faith
In nonfiction, I’m looking for an established platform, an approachable tone, and a unique perspective.

Young Adult

Mystery/suspense
Contemporary romance
Contemporary coming-of-age
Historical fiction
Southern Gothic
In YA, I almost always prefer a more mature protagonist and stories with adult crossover potential. I tend to gravitate toward stories that take place outside of the traditional high school setting. (I’m not a fan of clichéd high school cliques, stereotypical mean girls, or “why doesn’t the boy notice me, I’m so plain”-type outdated tropes.)
I’d love-love-love to find a fast-paced, twisty YA mystery or thriller that keeps me guessing.
I come from a long line of Midwestern factory workers, and I want to see more stories about kids from blue-collar families, farming communities, small towns, or a unique region I’ve not seen before.
I want all of the YA romance; I can’t get enough of it; but I’d also love to see more friendship stories, where girls aren’t jealous, insecure, or in competition.
I love learning something new or being challenged in some way when I read a great book (of any genre or age range), but it needs to come from being fully immersed in a character’s story rather than from an obvious agenda (teens can smell didactic a mile away).
I’d love to find a YA Indiana Jones, or a story with an international adventure.
I have a soft spot for vintage Hollywood, and I’d love to find a historical that captures this romance.

Middle Grade

High concept adventure stories
Traditional mysteries

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to amy@wolfsonliterary.com
Please put “Query: [Title of your book]” in the subject of your email.
Please paste your query letter and the first FIVE pages of the manuscript in the body of the email. Include word count.
Attachments will not be opened and will be automatically deleted.

SNAIL MAIL WILL NOT BE OPENED

Website: https://wolfsonliterary.com/

Talkk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 9, 2020

SCBWI Opportunity: Don Freeman Illustrator Grants

Don Freeman Illustrator Grants

Don Freeman was a renowned illustrator and an early supporter of SCBWI. He established this award to enable picture book illustrators to further their understanding, training, and work in the picture book genre.


View the winners of the 2019 Don Freeman Grant

Award: Two grants of $1,000 each will be awarded annually. One grant to a published illustrator and one to an pre-published illustrator. The money may be used in any way to help you complete your project. Acceptable uses include: purchasing art supplies, enrollment in workshops or conferences, courses in advanced illustrating or writing techniques, travel for research or to expose work to publishers/art directors, or childcare.

Deadline: March 1 – 31, 2020

Eligibility: The Don Freeman Work-In-Progress Grants are available to all members of the SCBWI, regardless of membership level, who are working on a picture book or their portfolio. They are not available for projects on which there is already a contract. If the dummy you submitted to the grant does receive a contract, please contact Sarah Baker to be removed from the grant.

Application Procedure:

All submissions must be digital. Your submission must be sent as a single PDF.

Requirements for published illustrators: A rough picture book dummy that includes the entire text of the story, fully illustrated with sketches, and two finished illustrations in place (Not seperately or at the end). The dummy should show your ability to convey the mood of the story, show action, illuminate characterization and indicate an understanding of story pacing.

Requirements for pre-published illustrators: Ten finished illustrations that would make a suitable portfolio presentation expressly intended for children’s picture books. At least 8 illustrations must be in color. Images provided should represent your personal illustration style. Or a rough picture book dummy that includes the entire text of the story, fully illustrated with sketches, and two finished illustrations in place (Not seperately or at the end). The dummy should show your ability to convey the mood of the story, show action, illuminate characterization and indicate an understanding of story pacing.

Send ONE of the above as a single PDF titled with your name to: Sarahbaker@scbwi.org. The naming format is as follows: first name_last name.pdf  (The pdf must be an attachment, we will not accept links to files.)

Put “Don Freeman Grant” and “Published” or “Pre-published” in the subject line of your email.

PLEASE FOLLOW THESE PROCEDURES CAREFULLY.

ENTRIES NOT IN COMPLIANCE MAY BE DECLARED INELIGIBLE.

Contact Sarah Baker (sarahbaker@scbwi.org) if you have any questions about the submission process.

Commonly asked questions about the Don Freeman Grant:

Q. I illustrated a book that another SCBWI member wrote. Can we both submit to the Don Freeman Grant?

A. The Don Freeman Grant is just for illustrators. The author can submit the manuscript to the SCBWI WIP picture book manuscript grant.

Q. I illustrated a self-published book. Which category do I fall into?

A. For general SCBWI purposes, self-published counts as published. But, for the specific purpose of this grant, we consider you “published” if you’ve been published in the children’s market and the project had a professional editorial process. So usually we do not count self-published as published. Ultimately, it is up to you which category you enter yourself in. But that is our guideline.

*If you have questions about the format of a digital book dummy, please refer to our article in The Book: The Essential Guide to Publishing for Children on How to Create a Digital Book Dummy.

In any given year, the SCBWI reserves the right to withhold either or both of the grants for that year.

VIEW THE 2018 WINNERS

VIEW THE 2017 WINNERS

VIEW THE 2016 WINNERS

VIEW THE 2015 WINNERS

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 8, 2020

Illustrator Saturday – Kayla Stark

Kayla is a freelance illustrator currently living in Nashville, TN, staying up late, and working on numerous fun projects. Most of her work is illustrated using a combination of traditional and digital media. Most often she uses gouache and colored pencil, but she love experimenting with different media and adding new techniques to her toolkit. 

She typically incorporates animals and nature into her work one way or another and enjoys finding humor in the small nuances of life and in human interactions with nature. In her personal life, she loves spending time planning fun trips and game nights, bird watching, camping, hiking, and relaxing by a fire.

Kayla is represented by T2 Illustrators andAuthors 

HERE IS KAYLA DISCUSSING HER PROCESS:

1) This is the digital sketch I did in Procreate on my iPad Pro. I use the 6B pencil to sketch and will add some shading and value into the sketch using the hard edge watercolor brush by Vivibrush. I love sketching on the iPad, it’s easy to quickly move things around and resize as needed.

2) When I worked on this page I didn’t have access to my light box so I did the good old fashion sketch to watercolor paper transfer with tracing paper. I put the tracing paper over the sketch, traced the line work, flipped it over onto my watercolor paper, and lightly traced over the lines again to give myself a faint guide. 
 
3) Once the sketch is transferred I start laying out base colors with watercolor (My favorite brand is Schmincke). I’ll also use color pencil at this point to mix in textures and start building up structure and detail. You can see my swatches and where I figured out my colors at the bottom. I had already chosen my color palette well before this point, but I needed to ensure I was getting consistent shades and mixes.
 
4) For “Bread For Words” I did half traditional, half digital–meaning after a certain point I would scan my painting and add finishing washes and details in Procreate. I also make the colors richer, but still maintain the texture I got with the watercolor and colored pencil. I used a mix of the default 6B pencil and the Vivibrush brushes made for Procreate.

Interview with Kayla Stark

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

I believe it was a commission for an anniversary gift. I drew the scene where the couple had their first date and did custom lettering of their names and the date. I remember being so nervous when working on it and just hoping that they liked it.

How long have you been illustrating?

Professionally and full time for 3 and half years.

Did you study art in college? What did you study?

I did—I studied graphic design in college but my work always leaned heavy into the illustration world. My school didn’t have an illustration major, so it wasn’t until years after graduation I realized illustration could actually be a full-time job.

What school did you choose?

I attended UTM, (the University of Tennessee at Martin).

Did art school help you get illustrating work when you graduated?

No, not really. Since I studied graphic design in school, I wasn’t prepared for what being an illustrator entailed or how to go about finding clients/agents/jobs. I slowly learned what I know now through being around other illustrators at my shared studio space and doing a lot of research and trial and error.

What type of work did you do when you started your career?

My first real jobs were all in the children’s industry. (picture books, children’s magazines, educational illustration, etc.) Before those jobs came in, I was slowly trying to build up a surface design and licensing portfolio.

When did you decide to illustrate children’s books?

Pretty much as soon as I decided I wanted to be an illustrator full time. When I took a good look at how I draw and the subject matter I’m most interested in, children’s books were the obvious route. I kind of just draw what I like and that’s where it fits best.

Was Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants That published in October 2018 your first published book?

It was! I’m so thankful to have that experience because I think it led to me finding my agent!

How did Blossom Books discover you?

I believe Marcus Ewert, the author of “Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants That”, saw my work on the Women Who Draw website and asked the publisher to reach out to me.

Last January you illustrated The Fox and the Crow (Classic Fables in Rhythm and Rhyme) by Emma Carlson Berne. It includes music with the book. Is this something that Cantata Learning is known for?

Yes, I think most, if not all, of their books have music associated with the story. The reader can follow along with the song as they read which helps them retain and recall information.

In August 2019 you illustrated another book Trying Again (My Feelings, My Choices)Emily Arrow with Cantata that included Music was this a two book deal?

No, it wasn’t a two book deal. I used to share a studio with Emily Arrow, the author, and was brought on again to work on that project with her. The Cantata Books are fun and pretty quick to do as they are shorter than a typical 32 page picture book.

Then you started out 2020 with a beautiful book, Bread for Words that was published by Sleeping Bear Press. How long did it take you to do the illustrations?

All together the illustrations (from sketch to final) took about 4-5 months while working on other projects at the same time.

On June 2020, Friends at the Firehouse: Double Booked: 35 lift-the-flaps inside! (Firefighter Board Books; Firetruck Books for Toddlers) lists you as the author, but then it sounds like it is a collection of board books. I know you illustrated it, but did you do any writing for the book?

Yes, I did! Friends at the Firehouse is the third book in the Double Booked lift-the-flap series and all were authored by the illustrator. In “Friends at the Firehouse” I created the story of a parade and looking for a lost puppy to lead the reader around the parts of a firehouse.

Did you have a hand in designing the 35 lift and flaps inside the book?

I did! I was given total creative freedom on the shape of the book, and the shape, location, and artwork of the flaps. The printer and the rest of the team at Chronicle were wonderful in helping me understand the complex page margins and any limitations for production.

Are you still open to illustrating a picture book for an author wants to self-published?

Sure I am! It would have to be discussed with my agent, but if it worked both financially and time wise I’m open to any good story!

How many picture books have you illustrated?

6 so far!

I see that you are represented by Nicole Tugeau at T2. How did the two of you connect and long have you with them?

Yes, I’m so proud to be a part of the T2 team—since September 2016! I had known about the T2 agency for years and had it at the top of my list as a dream agency. Once I decided to go full-time in the illustration world I gathered up enough courage to submit my work to T2. A couple of weeks later I had signed on!

What do you feel influenced your illustrating style?

I think a lot about design when illustrating—keeping a balanced composition, balancing color, and evoking a specific mood. I definitely lean into the stylized side of illustration and choose not to draw too realistically. It’s hard to pinpoint who or what exactly influenced my style. I have a collection of older children’s books and kids science-y type books that I look to when I feel stuck. But a lot of the times I’m chasing a specific feeling or texture when working.

Do you work full time as a free-lance illustrator?

Yes, as of mid 2016 I’ve been doing illustration full time!

Do you have a studio in your house?

I do—I have a small area upstairs with angled ceilings and a nice little view. I just reorganized the space to include a bookcase and research/reading area. It feels very cozy. (I even have a little spot for sewing and more crafty projects.) It is also sometimes my exercise area. It’s become very multifunctional and I love it!

I also share a community studio in East Nashville with 11 other illustrators. I try and work there 2-3 times a week; it’s so important for my social life and mental state.

Do you have any desire to write and illustrate a book?

Absolutely! I have a few ideas and manuscripts in the works right now!

Have you ever illustrateda book cover?

Yes, I’ve illustrated 3 book covers. None are YA or middle grade…yet. 😉 I really enjoy book cover projects. It’s a quicker job to break up the longer picture book timeline and it’s a fun challenge to convey the book in one image.

Have you done any illustrating for children’s magazines? Which ones?

I have, I’ve worked with Bravery Magazine twice (the Bessie Coleman and the Mary Anning issues) and I just finished a piece for Highlights.

Have you ever thought about illustrating a wordless picture book?

It seems like such a challenge, but I have thought about it. I love that ideally anyone could pick up a wordless picture book and understand the story regardless of language or reading level.

What do you think is your biggest success?

I am very proud of “Bread For Words” and how it turned out. I learned a lot about myself and my process (or rather how my process changes) while illustrating that book.

What is your favorite medium to use?

Watercolor, colored pencil, and gouache right now!

Has that changed over time?

Definitely—it’s always changing depending on the project at the time. I used to work solely digitally but I realized I needed a balance of both digital and traditional media in my life.

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

I try to carve out a few hours every day to work and experiment. Some days I get more hours and some days I get less, but my goal is to be more regimented about my drawing time.

Do you take pictures or research a project before you start?

Yes and this is my absolute FAVORITE part of the process! For “Friends at the Firehouse” I scheduled visits to 2 different firehouses in Nashville. I took tons of photos, asked questions, went for a ride in the firetruck and slid down the fire pole. The research phase is always so fun and where all the possibilities live.

Do you use Photoshop or Painter with your illustrations?

If I’m illustrating with traditional materials I’ll use Photoshop to help with layout, cropping, and touch ups/final details. But if I’m illustrating solely digital, I’ll usually stick with Procreate on the iPad Pro.

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

I used to use a Wacom Bamboo tablet + Photoshop. I never absolutely loved that set up, but it worked fine. Once the iPad Pro + Procreate came along I was completely converted.

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

Getting an author/illustrator book deal is at the top of my list. And I would like to have a gallery show in the future (either group or solo). Traveling is one of my favorite things to do—having travel opportunities through illustration would be an absolute dream!

What are you working on now?

At the moment I’m working on fleshing out my own manuscripts and book dummies to pitch. I’m also developing products to start an online shop.

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.

I switch between brands but I prefer using a heavyweight smooth paper—usually a hot press watercolor paper. The Faber Castell polychromos colored pencils are my favorite as they don’t have as much of a waxy build up. One of my friends turned me on to pan pastels, they are great for laying down large areas of color fast, but it can be a little troublesome to put wet media on top of it. The iPad Pro is so useful for working remote and making edits—I highly recommend it and Procreate as an illustration tool.

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

I think this is probably a very common answer, but make a A LOT of work and take notes on what is successful and what isn’t. I keep a notes app open in my phone while I work and will type in a specific technique that worked out or something that I’m having trouble with so I can reflect on it later. It’s helped me feel like I’m having a purposeful practice time. Also meet up with other illustrators and writers! Having a great friend group and support system of other artists and writers makes all the difference. If I’m struggling with something or looking for a specific opportunity, most of the time someone at my studio has been through it already and can offer advice and support.

Thank you Kayla for sharing your talent and expertise with us. Make sure to let us know your future successes. To see more of Kayla’s work, you can visit her at: 

Website: http://www.kaylastark.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kayla_stark/?hl=en

Blog: https://kayla-stark.tumblr.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kayla-Stark-Illustration-133595390423863/

If you have a minute, please leave a comment for Kayla. I am sure she’d love to hear from you and I enjoy reading them, too. 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 7, 2020

February Agent of the Month – Alexandra Levick

I am very happy to announce that Alexandra Levick at Writers House is February’s Agent of the Month. Scroll to bottom for how to submit a first page and maybe win a critique with Alexandra.

Alexandra Levick earned an M.S. in Publishing: Digital and Print Media from New York University and a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Rochester. She is a former bookseller with training in both the children’s and adult markets and has experience working on the house side of publishing in publicity. She is an agent at Writers House.

Writers House was founded in 1974 and since that time has become one of the largest full-service literary agencies in the world. They pride themselves on providing an extraordinary amount of individual client attention, combined with the benefits of full foreign rights, subsidiary rights, and contracts departments. They house an accounting department equipped to provide forensic royalty and financial analysis, as well as a digital department focusing on the ever-changing technological landscape of the publishing world today.

Alexandra started at Writers House as an intern for Brianne Johnson and was quickly pulled from the program to begin working for Senior Vice President, Merrilee Heifetz. Later, she covered senior agent, Stephen Barr’s, paternity leave and began working as an assistant to senior agents Brianne Johnson and Rebecca Sherman. In 2015, she graduated from New York University with my Masters of Science in Publishing: Digital and Print Media, with a specialization in Media Content Development.

Alexandra is actively growing her picture book, middle grade, young adult, and adult lists.

***

What am I looking for?

Picture book author-illustrators, a wide range of middle grade and YA, and more speculative-leaning or genre-bent upmarket adult works. I’m committed to working with writers from diverse backgrounds and am looking to put forth a list of outstanding creators who will be able to provide windows, mirrors, and sliding glass doors (thank you, Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop) into all kinds of experiences. I’m particularly looking for own-voices stories about historically underrepresented characters, identities, and cultures.

No matter the genre or age-range, I crave a distinctive voice and strong thematic point behind the work—I want to run screaming to my friends and family about your book because there is so much to discuss. I love character-driven stories that revolve around BIG topics (discussing things like mortality or grief in a new and hopefully somewhat uplifting way is always an instant lightbulb!). Upon further consideration, I’m not looking for ‘issue books’ per se, rather I’d like to represent authors and stories that stand for more than just a good yarn; I’d like to represent authors who provoke conversations around important and necessary topics in our world today. I don’t just want contemporary versions of these stories, either. Send me your fantasy, your sci-fi, your genre-bender!

So please, send your work over to me. I can’t wait to give it a read.

*******

Check back next Friday for Part One of my interview with Alexandra

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR FEBRUARY 2020 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “FEBRUARY 2020 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUE” Example: 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).

PLEASE name the Word document file by putting 2020 FEBRUARY – Your Name – Title of first page. Thank you.

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: February 21st. – noon EST

RESULTS: February 28th.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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