Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 28, 2015

Marketing Your Book on Goodreads


Dow Phumiruk, she is a pediatrician who has found her passion in art. Over the past few years, she has been able to focus on her love of illustrating for children. I love seeing how her artwork has grown in the last few years. She is definitely someone to enjoy watching.

Dow I love the dappled light, the colors, the lights and darks, the folds in the dress, the hands, the fingers, the toes and the story ideas that this illustration inspires.

With more than 30 million members, Goodreads is the world’s largest community of readers. Even better, Goodreads’ mission is to help readers find and share books they love. For authors, it provides a platform to interact with readers in a way not possible just a few years ago.

Here are some ways to effectively integrate Goodreads into your marketing campaign, whether you’re a debut author or an established one, traditionally published or self-published:

Claim your author profile.

This is necessary for you to access the tools available to you to promote your work and connect with readers. Search for your book via ISBN or ASIN, then click on your name; scroll to the bottom of the profile page and click on “Is this you? Let us know!” and complete the information. You’ll receive a “Welcome” email once the request has been approved and get access to your author dashboard, where you’ll see many of the promotional tools you’ll use on Goodreads.

Edit your author profile.

Give readers the chance to learn as much as possible about you with a robust profile. Once you’ve claimed your profile, complete it with as much information as possible. Upload your author photo, include a detailed bio, and provide information about your Twitter, Facebook, and blog accounts. For the bio, avoid the corporate-sounding bio and use your writing talent to create something personable! Some good examples to check out are Patrick Rothfuss, Nalini Singh and Liane Moriaty.

Switch on “Ask the Author.”

This is a new feature that allows readers to ask authors questions. It’s a great way to create content that will delight and engage readers. Again, we encourage you to make the most of this opportunity to connect with your readers and let your personality shine through! Think of each question as a writing prompt, and give thoughtful answers. Some good examples of authors using this feature are Michael Cunningham, Anne Lamott, and Chuck Wendig.

You have complete control over which questions to answer. Questions are sent directly to the author dashboard and it’s only when you answer a question that the question and its answer are shown. To get you started, Goodreads provides some initial questions for you to answer, such as “Where did you get the idea for your latest book?” These questions will remain until you choose to answer them.

We recommend including a message that specifies when and how often you will be answering questions. Your answers show up in the news feed of your followers, are archived on your author profile and also on the unique landing page for Ask the Author. One question answered per day or every day or two is a good rhythm, but find what works best with your schedule.

Review some books, not just your own.

Readers love finding out what their favorite authors love to read. Help them learn more about you by sharing your thoughts about the books you’re currently reading, or the ones that inspired you to become a writer. You can also rate your favorite children’s books, or comment on the classics. Don’t worry about writing a full review – simply shelving and rating books is fine, too.

Schedule a giveaway.

Giveaways are a great way to generate reviews, but also awareness of your book. Here are some tips on making the most of your giveaways:

* Remember that you are not limited to one giveaway per book. You can run giveaways for your older books too! You can run as many giveaways as you want for any book. Of course, you will want to spread them out so you reach different people. Also, you are not limited to just your latest book. You can also run giveaways for your older books to reignite awareness and interest.

* Run at least one giveaway in advance to your publication date. This will help build advance buzz for your book, as even readers who don’t win the book may add it to their To-Read shelf for consideration at a later date.

* Run the giveaway for at least a month. This will give you time to promote the giveaway, and allows more readers to discover it as they see their friends entering.

* Include a short description, and ask readers to follow you on Goodreads. A paragraph or two should suffice in describing your book, and you should also state whether the books will be signed or not. If you want to offer special deals to winners after the giveaway has ended, you can do so by posting that information on your blog, which your followers will see.

* Promote the giveaway. Spread the word about your giveaway via your newsletter, Twitter account and website.

* Send books to winners. This seems like an obvious one, but you never know what things come up to prevent you from sending the books to winners. If you have any questions or delays, let the Goodreads Support team know. Giveaways are for print books only. Some authors who are only selling e-book editions of their books will use a print-on-demand service to create print copies for giveaways.

Participate in groups.

Groups provide the opportunity for in-depth conversations about topics of interest, whether that’s “History and Medicine” or “Vampire Love Stories.” It’s very important to understand that groups are not the place for a sales pitch, but rather for getting to know readers and discussing books with them. Remember to read the rules of any group you join to learn about the etiquette of how and where things are discussed. If your goal is purely to promote your books on Goodreads, joining a group is not the right strategy for you. If you are interested in slowly building up long-term connections with readers interested in the same topics as you, it’s worth investigating some groups.

Here is the link to read the rest:

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 27, 2015


harold underdown

Harold Underdown – NJSCBWI 2015


By Shiela Fuller

I recently attended Harold Underdown’s workshop, “Editing without an Editor: Tips, Techniques, and Tools,” at the NJ SCBWI conference.

Both new and experienced writers may find a few of his “big picture” techniques helpful as they edit their own work.

Referencing Sandy Asher’s book, Writing It Right, Harold suggested that the writer ask these questions (and more) of their manuscript before beginning the editing process. 

Here are four:

1. Who stands to gain or lose the most by the action in the story? 

2. What does the main character want?

3. What are the obstacles to reaching the goal?

4. Is the story driven forward by the main character’s actions?

The writer could create a scene-by-scene template. The template is a detailed grid used to keep track of scene type and can include additional information such as character traits, plot events, action, dialogue, etc.

Line-edit your work. Reconsider each sentence, line by line, and ask these questions: Is the sentence necessary? Could it be improved upon, and is it in its right place? According to Harold, “You can speed up the pace by writing short sentences,” and conversely, “slow it down by describing a character, object, or location in detail.”

Put the final polish on your manuscript using the following tools and tips. Read each of your sentences, backward, word-by-word, slowly, and enunciating each word.  This isolates each word and helps to identify spelling errors.

Run your manuscript through your computer’s spell check; however, do not depend on it. Spell check only checks spelling not usage.

Read the manuscript out loud and have others read it out loud to you. Doing this may uncover problems in sentence structure such as fragments, run-on sentences, and awkward tongue twisting alliterations.

Harold said, “Look for clichés, dead metaphors, and exaggerated or overblown language,” and suggested using to search for words or phrases that may be overused.

Employ some of these tips, tools, and techniques to get the manuscript ready before you take it to your critique group.  Use them again once the manuscript has been read by others and before you begin the next round of revisions.

Put the manuscript in a drawer for a few days. This gives you a much needed separation from the emotionality of the changes you’ve made and those that still may need to occur.

After a few weeks you’ll be ready to look at your manuscript with new eyes.  Read it all the way through.  You are now ready to begin the revision process again. Editing is the yielding to where the real story lies beyond what is in front of you on the paper.

Write, revise, and self-edit.  Your writing will bring you full circle many times over.  Try not to get discouraged.  Most writers have traveled on the same path.

For more information about the “Editing without an Editor” workshop, conference sessions, online tutorial services, and more, please visit

Harold Underdown is the author of THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING CHILDREN’S BOOKS.  His website is

Shiela Fuller is a picture book writer, yogi, avid wildlife photographer and birder, supporter of non-GMO, legacy keeper, and steward of domestic and wild animals.  Her first picture book is ALL NIGHT SINGING. She lives on a farm with her husband, children, horses, chickens, rooster, dogs, cats, snake and bird.

Thank you Sheila for taking such good notes during Harold’s keynote at the New Jersey SCBWI Conference and thank you Harold for sharing your expertise with all of us.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 26, 2015

Non-Fiction: Publication and Prize Money

vesper stamper Oma painting

Children’s illustrator, Vesper Stamper sent in this whimsical summer illustration. I just love how she captured the awe of being outside watching the stars. Vesper was featured on Illustrator Saturday

Arcadia Magazine announces their first ever nonfiction contest. 

A prize of $1,000 and publication in the spring issue of Arcadia is given annually for a work of nonfiction. Submit an essay, memoir, or other piece of creative nonfiction of less than 8,000 words with a $15.00 entry fee between May 15 and August 15. All entries will be considered for publication in Arcadia, and all finalists will receive a copy of the spring issue. The editors will judge and a winner will be announced in September.

They’re looking for the best in literary nonfiction, which they believe can take a variety of forms, including essays, memoir, lists, letters, as well as forms we haven’t thought of yet. They are simply looking for precise writing that tells something true. 

Fee: $15 entry fee

Deadline: August 15th


Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 25, 2015

Illustartor Saturday – Wallace West

west self portraitWallace West is a writer/illustrator who has studied with The School of Visual Arts in New York City and Parsons School of Design in Paris and am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and The Children’s Book Illustrators Group (CBIG).

He says, “Apart from a rather lazy beagle-mix named Sammy Joe, my influences span the spectrum from Quentin Blake to Edith Head. With a measured mix of ink, gouache, honesty, humor (both dark and light) and a little irreverence, my work is created to attract and encourage a non-restrictive audience.” 

Wallace is represented by Marietta B. Zacker of Nancy Gallt Literary Agency

Here is Wallace explain his process: Working Girl is one of my favorite films so it’s no wonder that I am always referencing one of the lines as a creative mantra: You never know where the next big idea is gonna come from.

This illustration was sparked by a spread in a piece about dolphins in National Geographic. In the reference photo, the dolphins have little scraps of plant matter on their fins. According to the writer, the dolphins have adorned themselves with the plants, kind of like jewelry. So I thought, you know, there’s bound to be some glittery treasure on the ocean floor that some dolphins have tried to wear, right?


After an idea is sparked, I like to let it sit and marinate for a day or so, getting the gesture and feel of movement just right in my head. Where do I want the action to enter and leave the page? Who is going to be central? Is it going to be sweet, sassy, up to no good, or all of the above? Once I feel that click of decision, I set to paper with a 3B pencil to get the shapes and movement down. Then I look at the paper and say, man that’s terrible. And rudimentary. And awful. How did it look so good in my head?

After a few more rounds it begins to get life in it and with an HB or slightly harder pencil I start to throw in details of expression and texture. I don’t go overboard with details in a sketch because I find the pressure of replicating a precise sketch drains it of its life and also adds unnecessary restrictive pressure.


Once the sketch and composition are decided upon, I do color testing. This happens one of two ways. I either scan in the sketch and do some rough blobs of color in Photoshop to see if the tones are right or I lay a piece of tracing paper over the sketch and color the shapes with marker until I find a palette I like.


Then comes the illustration board. Using a lightbox to trace over is impossible with board, so I shade the backside of my sketch paper with graphite and then transfer the sketches (very little detail, just the main body contours, expression, etc) to illustration board.


After erasing as much graphite as possible with just a very faint outline visible, I begin to add color via gouache. Here’s where one of my favorite tools of organization comes into play. I rarely use a straight gouache color. Mixing is way more fun. I do so in recycled mini-honey and jam jars from hotels (I’m sure there have been some concierges watching me and thinking there’s no way he needs that much jam).



Once the color is laid down, I move back to the sketch to work out the textures and patterns I want to include. I’m crazy about textures and patterns. I’m always on the lookout for new hashmarks and ripples and plaids in magazines, on buildings, on some fashionable gamine in Soho. Using the sketch and a whole lot of tracing paper I find patterns that intermingle well with each other and add them and any line work to the final illustration with waterproof ink just in case I need to add some more gouache.


I’m also very into simple, simple backgrounds (spot illustrations are one of my favorite things) so this love of textures came from wanting to make sure that even though there wasn’t a bustling city saturated with activity behind my character, the image was still visually dynamic via unconventional detailing. I work in layers so each of the dolphins and their jewelry are all different layers that I merge in Photoshop. This is profoundly helpful when someone wants a spot from a main or if I want the tiara and the pendant necklace to switch from one dolphin to the next (which is exactly what happened). Once the composition is complete, I add pops of white and alter the tones and shadows if I need to in order to get the mood just right.




Then I sleep on it. If I wake up, look at it and smile, I’m done. If not, I grumble, groan, question my ability, breathe, shift what I need to and then share it with a varied audience of family and friends who I know have discerning eyes and won’t be over-complimentary. When I’m finished, I watch Working Girl again and wonder where the next idea will come from.

wallace west dolphin thievery 300 pixels

How long have you been illustrating?

I’m a neophyte professionally but have been drawing since before the dawn of the Internet.


What was the first thing you painted where someone paid you for your work?

A pared down, monochromatic take on Little Red Riding Hood. I loved it so much in large format that I recreated it for myself, sold it again without trying then re-recreated it. It has a prominent spot above my coffee making station at home now.


Where did you go to college?

Southern Methodist University (alma mater to Aaron Spelling and Kathy Bates) and continuing education at School of Visual Arts.


What kind of art and classes did you take at The School of Visual Arts in New York City?

The first class I took was geared toward revamping a portfolio, which helped focus and inspire me immensely. There have been many graphic design, figure drawing and picture book creation courses since then.


How did you end up going to Parsons School of Design in Paris?

When studying with SMU in Paris I was able to double up with courses at Parsons. Paris is the city for everything—art, food, fashion, conversation, casually stalking Catherine Deneuve—and if you have the chance to draw sketches for an Issey Miyake exhibit in Paris and get academic credit for it, you’re a nitwit to pass it up.


Do you feel College helped develop your style?

College helped encourage the pursuit but life developed my style.


What type of work did you do after you got out of school?

I made a lot of lattes then I did a lot of event planning (highlight: photographing Emma Thompson for an invitation cover and then taking a selfie with her before selfies were even a thing). All throughout I was as creative as I could be with my work, designing website landing pages, art directing program books, copywriting, and generally promoting myself as a multi-faceted creative person adept at conquering last-minute deadlines.


Did the college help you get work?

Directly, no. Indirectly, yes. What I mean is the life experience of being away from home, being more independent, being able to study film and French and art without anyone dictating that I should be pragmatic and study business was empowering. And scary as hell sometimes.


When did you decide you wanted to illustrate for children?

I don’t remember deciding so much as just knowing. There hasn’t been a question of whether or not to, just when. I began being more practical than dreamy about it and shopping my work around after working as an editor with many illustrators on an ed pub job. I thought, you know, I’d rather be drawing than asking someone else to.


What was the first illustration to get published?

An article about winter produce for Chickpea magazine. Lots of blood oranges and grapefruits and a vintage wool ski cap.


Have you ever worked with any educational publishers?

As a writer and editor but not an illustrator. I wrote an ed pub story about an elephant saving her friends from a flood that I would have loved to illustrate though. I’m pretty sure she would have a 60’s era neckerchief.


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

Add an ‘s’ to ‘book’ and end the sentence with ‘in the French countryside with a pack of dogs sleeping at my feet’ and the answer is yes, yes, a million times yes.


Do you have an artist rep.? If so, who and how did you connect. If not, would you like to find someone to represent you work?

I am represented by the incredible Marietta B. Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. When I shared my portfolio with Lucy Ruth Cummins she really dug a piece of mine with animals on bicycles. She suggested I create a dummy around it and submit it to Marietta. A few months later, said dummy was complete, I submitted it and it turns out matchmaker Lucy Ruth was spot on.


Have you ever thought about trying your hand at a wordless picture book?

At least once every other day. Talk about a true test in illustration. It takes a profound amount of trust to give an illustrator the reigns to tell a story visually. I’d love those reigns. Bluebird and Where’s Walrus? still get me.


What type of things do you do to promote yourself and get your work seen?

I think a lot of writers and illustrators are by nature introverted. I’m a social person who conversely really digs holing up and drawing and writing and forgetting anyone else is out there. That doesn’t really work in terms of getting seen so I remove myself from the comfort zone of seclusion, gouache, annoying my dog at home, and a committed relationship with Netflix and instead attend events and workshops and tell everyone I meet that I am a writer and illustrator.


Have you ever worked with a self-published author?

Would you be open to working with one? I have but the project never came to fruition and it burned me a little bit on the process. I don’t know that I would do it again. Unless Kristen Wiig or Tina Fey was said self-publishing author.


What types of illustration do you do, other than for children books?

Commissioned pieces for personal art collections, food illustrations, stationery, anything to make an envelope look better than plain in my personal correspondence, and whatever my nieces and nephew in Texas tell me to.


Do you have a favorite medium you use?

3B pencils have so much life in them. I am a total sucker for just ink and 80lb white paper. I have Edward Gorey to thank for my love of textured, patterned black and white. I’m suddenly embarrassed to say that my portfolio doesn’t include black and white! Note to self…

If I don’t take them I image search online. I think it’s part of not being stale and still. Some people like Quentin Blake draw from memory. I need to see anatomical rules before I can bend them in order to put a purple hippopotamus on a Victorian unicycle.


Do you use Photoshop with any of your work?

Always. I am left-handed and inevitably smear. Plus I work in layers as I feel more liberated doing so, kind of like electronic collage.

sharksDo you have a studio in your house?

I live in approximately 3 square feet in Brooklyn which also serves as my studio as well as showroom for the 9,000 decorative pillows I own. I like to think of it as part gallery, part Moroccan textile bazaar, part apartment. My dog likes to think of it as his own and grunts when I interrupt his naps.


What are you working on now?

A picture book and a YA novel and trying not to lose my mind in the summer heat.


Any exciting projects on the horizon?

After NJSCBWI ignited an idea, I have been working on a picture book about a very sweet character who is oblivious to why she is alone for a certain special occasion.


What do you consider to be your biggest success?

Signing with my agent was a landmark. Leading up to that, the first portfolio review I had that didn’t result in a ‘keep working it at it’ but rather a ‘I like your style and it’s consistent’ was inspiring. Believing myself when I say ‘I am a writer and illustrator’ is a success as well as compliments from the peers whose work I admire.


What are your career goals?

Writing and illustrating picture books, incorporating illustrations into YA, illustrating for another author (spots, books, covers), illustrating for magazines, character design, more gallery shows, licensing, and never having to work in an office that isn’t mine again.


Are there any painting tips (materials, paper, etc.) you can share that work well for you? Technique tips?

Illustration board is a dream for multimedia. Tracing paper is invaluable in trying to get gestures just right. Pens that aren’t as smeary for left-handers are out there (Micron pens have a healthy representation at my desk).


Any words of wisdom you can share with the illustrators who are trying to develop their career?

A lot of great ideas come from just being around other like-minded people. Take advantage of resources around you (SCBWI national and local chapters, librarians, local booksellers, book launches), and practice and learn and dare. Also see no. 23. Get out of your way and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. And you’re kidding yourself if you think you don’t have to work on your craft at least 6 days a week (Sundays are for pigging out and watching so many bad sci fi and horror movies). pigs

Thank you Wallace 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 Wallace’s work, visit his Web site,

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

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 24, 2015

Free Fall Friday – Kudos


Robin Newman has received the cover artwork for her next picture book titled, HILDIE BITTERPICKLES NEEDS HER SLEEP – Illustrated by Chris Ewald – Published  by Crestock Books and coming out next Spring. Congratulations Robin!

Carol MacAllister’s  short script, THE ALAMO, placed in the Princeton US #1 newspaper Summer Fiction issue.  Congratulations, Carol!

Jennifer M. Brown will join Random House Children’s Books on August 24 as vp, publisher Knopf Books for Young Readers.

At Ten Speed Press, Emily Timberlake has been promoted to senior editor.

Lauren Wein has been promoted to executive editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Former publisher of Egmont USA Andrea Cascardi has joined Little, Brown as executive editor for the Jimmy Patterson imprint.

At Katherine Tegen Books, Melissa Miller has been promoted to senior editor while Alex Arnold moves up to associate editor.

Check back next Friday to read the four first pages critiqued by Alex Slater.

Talk tomorrow,


stargirlAs most of you know, I’ve been Jerry Spinelli’s webmaster for the last 12 years. It’s been a fun journey with Jerry and Eileen (her webmaster, too). I’ve read and enjoyed all their award winning books (which is all of them).

I have always been amazed at the love readers have for Stargirl. Everyone sees a little bit of Stargirl in themelves. Even 55 year old women have written Jerry telling him how much they appreciated the book and how it helped validate their time in high school.

But now, we have gone to the next level. The movie rights were sold years ago, but last week Variety announced that ‘Twilight’s’ Catherine Hardwicke is on board to direct an adaptation of the bestselling YA novel “Stargirl.”

When Jerry told me about how Eileen and him drove up New York City to convene “Team Stargirl” with producers and publishers around a big table at Random House. The first thing I thought of was Jerry’s story about how he got his first book contract.

He had won a night with George Plimpton from a PBS auction, so Jerry made sure he took his manuscript and Eileen and him drove up to NYC to meet at George and his wife at his Manhatton Apartment. The first thing George said to Jerry was, “Okay, where’s the manuscript.” I guess he was used to people wanting him to look at their work. George took Jerry and Eileen to Sardi’s for dinner, which was a favorite spot for publishers and editors at the time and introduced him around. He even met Woody Allen, but most importantly he met the future editor of his first book, Space Station Seventh Grade published by Little, Brown BFYR in 1982. The rest is history. I thought of that story when I heard from Jerry and Eileen about the movie. I felt that Jerry had now come full circle, but actually it’s more like a spiral, an upward spiral.


Catherine Hardwicke Director of Stargirl

Kristin Hahn has adapted Jerry Spinelli’s Stargirl and will produce the film, along with Gotham Group and BCDF Pictures. BCDF is financing the movie with plans to start filming in New Mexico in October.

Sources tell Variety that Hardwicke was quick to sign on for the project after reading Hahn’s script.

First published in 2000 by Random House, the critically acclaimed Stargirl story follows a homeschooled teen who enrolls in an Arizona high school, altering the ecosystem of the student body with her nonconformity.

“This is one of those stories and characters that stir your imagination and steal your heart and just stick with you forever. I am thrilled to have the chance to adapt this beloved novel and I can’t imagine anyone more uniquely equipped to bring this story to life than Catherine Hardwicke, a Stargirl in her own right,” Hahn said.


Jerry Spinelli author of Stargirl

The New York Times in a review said it was a simple but poignant and enduring story. “a poetic allegorical tale about the magnificence and rarity of true nonconformity.” And while I love the post-apocalyptic themes that ring through many young adult series that are adapted to screen — The Hunger Games, Divergent — it’s the ringing reality of Stargirl that makes it so brilliant. At times the book can be harsh, and I think that’s what makes it great; that Spinelli doesn’t try to romanticize the utter pain of being a teenager.


To celebrate this wonderful news, Jerry has agreed to provide an autographed book of Stargirl to winner of this Book Give-Away. Want to win? Leave a comment. Want to increase you chances? Then reblog, talk about and provide a link to this post on facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, but remember to let me know how many things you did so I put in the proper amount of tickets with your name on them in the basket.

You have until next Thursday to spread the word, before I put all the name in my basket and pull the winner.

If you haven’t read Stargirl, you should run out and get it. It was dominated by Entertainment Weekly as one of the best YA’s of all time, plus you will zip through the book.

PS: I have probably butchered Jerry’s story, which he has told the story at many conferences. Believe me, nothing is better than hearing it told by Jerry. I made editorial cuts.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 22, 2015

Online Picture Book Summit

A one day, live online event on October 3rd with superstar picture book authors:

picture book event

emmaEmma Walton Hamilton “Your Manuscript Truly Submission Ready?”

You have just one chance to submit your picture book to an agent or editor – don’t squander the opportunity by hitting “send” before it’s truly submission ready! Emma will give you the tools to polish your manuscript until it sparkles… empowering you to submit (or self-publish) with confidence.

A little bit about Emma: Best-selling children’s book author, editor and educator. With her mother, actress/author Julie Andrews, Emma has co-authored over 30 children’s books, with seven NY Times Bestsellers, including ‘The Very Fairy Princess’ series (#1 Bestseller).

lauraLaura Backes “How to Write the 500 Word Picture Book”

Picture book texts are getting shorter. In fact, many agents and editors have put a 500-word limit on new picture book manuscripts. But how do you write a story — complete with fully-developed characters, a plot with a beginning, middle and end, and page-turning action — in 500 words?

A little bit about Laura: Publisher of Children’s Book Insider, The Children’s Writing Monthly. A former agent and editor, she’s edited & critiqued thousands of picture book manuscripts. Among her vast credits are ‘Best Books for Kids Who (Think They) Hate to Read’ (Random House), Writer’s Digest and The Writer.

julieJulie Helund “Picture Books in the 21st Century

No longer are there only two paths diverged in a wood (traditional or self-publishing) when it comes to publishing picture books. Enterprising picture book authors have a multitude of options to get their work into the hands of children. What are these options, and how do you know which one is best for your story

A little bit about Julie: Award-winning picture book author, 21st century publishing expert and founder of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Julie’s picture book credits include ‘My Love For You is the Sun’ and ‘A Troop is a Group of Monkeys’.

KatieKatie Davis “How to Get Your First 1,000 Followers”

How can you actually connect with your prospective readers? Get your books into more hands? It’s a challenge, especially when 3,500-odd books are published every day. Fear not — Katie Davis is here to help you build your author platform and sell books.

A little bit about Katie Davis: Acclaimed writer/illustrator whose credits include 10 books for children, which have sold more than 755,000 copies. She’s also authored two marketing guides for writers, including the #1 Amazon bestseller, ‘How To Promote Your Children’s Book’.

COST: $197 – Early Bird pricing up until August 9th

Regular price – $297

Time: 10am to 7pm October 3rd, 2015


Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 21, 2015

Agent Looking to Build List


Laura Mamelok Literary Agent

Laura is seeking: Agent Laura Mamelok at Susanna Lea Associates is primarily interested in literary fiction, high-end commercial fiction, women’s fiction, literary crime/thrillers, and young adult fiction with crossover appeal. On the nonfiction side, she is looking for narrative nonfiction, current affairs/journalism, memoir, and humor. She’s drawn to international stories and settings, in both fiction and nonfiction. Above all, she is on the lookout for fresh voices, strong storytelling, and original ideas.

About Laura: Laura Mamelok is a literary agent at Susanna Lea Associates, where she also sells foreign rights. SLA, which has offices in New York, London, and Paris, represents a range of fiction and nonfiction, both commercial and literary. Laura is French-American and has lived in both Paris and New York. She obtained her BA in comparative literature at Barnard College and her MA in comparative literature and film at Columbia University and the University of Paris 7. Prior to joining SLA in 2009, she worked as a literary scout for Maria B. Campbell Associates. She lives in Brooklyn.

Submission guidelines for Laura: Queries by email only to lmamelok [at] Please send a concise query letter, including email address, phone number, and any relevant information (previous publications, etc.), a brief synopsis, and the first three chapters and/or proposal. Please include the word “Query” in the subject of your email. She considers all queries received, but will respond only if interested.

Susana Lee Associates is always on the lookout for exciting new talent, but as we receive a large number of submissions, please help us by following the guidelines:

  • We do not consider poetry, plays, screen plays, science fiction, educational text books, short stories or illustrated works.
  • We are environmentally friendly: we only accept submissions by email. Please do not send manuscripts by post.
  • We do not accept queries sent by fax.

To submit your work, please send us the following by email:

  • a concise query letter, including your email address, telephone number, and any relevant information about yourself (previous publications, etc.)
  • a brief synopsis
  • the first three chapters and/or proposal

Text should be double-spaced and font size 11 or 12. Reading time is generally between 6 to 12 weeks. Due to the number of submissions we receive, we cannot acknowledge receipt, offer editorial advice on material that we decline, or guarantee a response. We do not charge a reading fee.

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 20, 2015

Tension With A Tease & Reminder


Summary of agent Alex Slater’s suggestions for writers.

By Gayle C. Krause

At the NJSCBWI conference last week, agent Alex Slater from the Trident Media Group, led a seminar titled, More Than the Hook: Building Tension Throughout Your Manuscript at the NJSCBWI conference in June.

To grab an agent’s attention, you must have a creative hook. 

Alex defined this well-known query technique as “two to three sentences in the writer’s query that unlocks a new part of the mind.” That being said, the writer must develop a unique hook. But most queries suffer from rote formulas and therefore the tension or emotional connection isn’t strong enough.

Alex also stated that when preparing a manuscript for submission, “a writer should treat each act as a separate story. In other words, Act I-II, and III should be strong enough to stand alone.” 


A way to do that is to “let stories create themselves. In order to write a compelling story, a writer MUST create tension. Alex discussed ways to do that:

  1. Say “NO” to your characters to create an immediate conflict.
  2. Plant seeds of information rather than painting full pictures.
  3. If you make bad things happen to your character, make it worse.
  4. Always end chapters with cliffhangers.
  5. Be succinct in your writing.
  6. Reveal more to the readers than to the characters.
  7. Allow characters to face consequences.
  8. Don’t outline your story. Let characters reveal their desires.
  9. Kill characters if they become boring.
  10. Let your characters act first—explain later.
  11. Give the characters phobias or play on their fears.
  12. Hurt a main character.
  13. Raise the stakes.
  14. Let characters make powerful choices. 


  1. The characters MUST face transformation.
  2. Provide empathy so the reader worries about the characters.
  3. Write economically and trust the readers to follow the story.
  4. Perfect people are boring . . . Horror is beheading! Suspense is guillotine!
  5. Make promises, raise the stakes, and keep the clock ticking.

Alex inspired me to trim my current manuscript and listen to my characters. In fact, my MG protagonist wrote his own query two nights ago. I just changed the POV from 1st to 3rd and the query is much stronger. Now, to submit it to the world!

Keep your ears open. Maybe your character’s voice will inspire you to follow Alex’s suggestions, too. 

rat girlGayle C. Krause is a published children’s author. Her picture book, ROCK STAR SANTA, is available from Scholastic Book Clubs and her YA novel, RATGIRL: Song of the Viper is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Website: Blog:

Thank you Gayle for sharing this information with everyone. I am sure it will help a lot of people who missed Alex’s workshop.

REMINDER: You have until the end of the day to leave a comment, provide a link on Facebook, reblog or twitter about last weeks post about Dianne Ochiltree’s new book, IT’S A SEASHELL DAY and enter the book give-away. Here is the link:

Talk tomorrow,


Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 19, 2015

The Hudson Review – Submit Your Short Stories

hudson reviewbanner

Since its debut in 1948, The Hudson Review has represented a serious platform for the work of emerging writers and for the pursuit of new progressions in literature and the arts. The journal has a notable history of publishing obscure or unknown writers, many of whom have emerged as important literary figures. Each issue consists of a variety of content including: poetry, fiction, essays on literary and cultural subjects.

The Hudson Review, a quarterly literary journal of culture and arts, is sponsoring a short story competition to curate stories for a special fiction issue. The journal does not concentrate on publishing any specific “type” of writing; the editors’ main requirement is literary excellence.

First prize is $500, second and third are $250 each.

10,000 words and under.

Submissions accepted between 6/1/15 and 9/1/15.

No submission fee.

Please submit hard copies to:

The Hudson Review
33 W. 67th St.
New York, NY 10023

THREE GOOD BOOKS AVAILABLE on sale at Amazon for Kindle at $1.99:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and two of my very favorites:

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi and

Loser by Jerry Spinelli (a must read Middle Grade novel)

Talk tomorrow,


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