Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 16, 2016

Free Fall Friday – Kelly Delaney – Part two Interview – Plus Winners

Our next set of Holiday Book Extravaganza winners are:

Julie Phend won Heather W. Petty‘s LOCK & MORI

Mimi Cross won Cheryl Klein’s MAGIC WORDS

Nancy Kelly Allen won Wendy Lynn Decker’s SWEET TEA

Carol Jones never got back to me with her address in order to mail Natalie Zaman’s MAGICAL DESTINATIONS – I will pick another winner on Saturday if I do not hear from Carol.

REMEMBER: Email me your address to receive your book.


Kelly Delaney is an Associate Editor at Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, where she acquires and edits picture books and middle grade and young adult novels. She has a master’s degree in Publishing: Digital and Print Media from NYU and has been at Random House Children’s Books for six years. In that time she has been fortunate enough to work with many esteemed authors including R.J. Palacio, Markus Zusak, Anita Lobel, Eileen Spinelli, Kevin Hawkes, and Norton Juster, among many others. She is always on the lookout for quirky humor, bright characters, and writers that don’t underestimate their readers. You can follow her on Twitter at @kellyunderwater.

Kelly Delaney Interview – Part Two

How far do you normally read before you reject a submission?

For picture books, I read the entire manuscript. For novels, it varies, but in some cases it doesn’t take long to see that it’s not for me. 

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

Yes, I reply to all submissions whether or not I want to acquire the project. 

Would you be willing to work with an author on an interesting manuscript that needs changes?

Yes! It’s often in the best interest of the author and the book to do some revising before acquisition, because when I bring the manuscript to my publishers to discuss moving forward, it will be that much stronger. It’s also helpful to know before the contract stage how open an author is to edits, and how adept they are at implementing them. And of course, there will always be more editorial work to do together after the manuscript is acquired—I’ve never seen a manuscript that needed no editing at all.

Would you lose interest in a submission if the writer’s manuscript has a few misspelled words?

If the voice is strong and I connect with the story, I won’t toss it out for a few typos. That being said, a sloppy submission doesn’t send a good message about what working together might be like. Always proofread your submission before sending it into the world! 

How long does it usually take to respond to a submission?

[I hope it’s OK that I amended this question—“requested a full manuscript” doesn’t apply to picture books or agented submissions so I thought this might make more sense for readers]

I try to respond to agented submissions within 6 weeks, though if it’s something I am able to read right away and fall in love with, it can go much faster! For unsolicited and conference submissions, it usually takes me 3 to 6 months to respond. 

Have you noticed any common mistakes that writers make?

The most common mistake I see is not knowing what else is out there. You should know what books are popular both in the market and on the current list of the publisher you’re submitting to. Demonstrating a working knowledge of what’s out there will help ensure that you’re submitting something timely and original. Part of being a writer is being a reader!

Any pet peeves?

I always confirm receipt of submissions, so I don’t love repeated emails to update the submission or check in on it. I know it’s hard know to send out a submission only to realize that you wish you’d done something a little different, but that’s part of the process. Have faith in what you sent out, and only follow up if the update is to inform of interest from another publisher or agent.


Don’t miss working with Kelly during the 5 week, time-flexible e-course, she is co-teaching with Mira Reisberg at the Children’s Book Academy, click here for the information about this course that features tons of individual attention, bonuses, and submission opportunities with agents and editors. This course has a proven track record of now published and award winning students, plus a money back guarantee. The first live training start January 9th!

Check back next Friday for Part Three of Kelly’s Interview and read the first page results on December 30th.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Congrats to all the winners! So generous of so many authors to give the gift of books for December!


  2. Congrats to the winners! And I hope Kelly attends one of our NJ conferences 😀 😀 😀


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