Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 13, 2021

Andrea Brown Literary Agency: Paige Terlip

PAIGE TERLIP: Associate Literary Agent at Andrea Brown Literary

Paige has worked at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 2017, an agency consistently ranked #1 in juvenile sales by Publishers Marketplace. First as an Assistant for Executive Agent Laura Rennert, then as an Assistant Agent, and now as an Associate Agent.

Prior to joining ABLA, she worked at Candlewick Press and Charlesbridge Publishing. She has also worked in a variety of jobs outside of publishing, from communications and marketing at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to scooping horse poop at a ranch in the Rockies. She has an MA in Children’s Literature and an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University. If she is not reading, you’ll find her practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, rewatching the Great British Baking Show, or hiking with her pup.

Paige Terlip represents all categories of children’s books from picture books to young adult, as well as select adult fiction and nonfiction. She is also actively building her list of illustrators and is especially looking for author-illustrators and graphic novel illustrators.

Across age categories, Paige is drawn to high concept novels with captivating hooks, snarky characters with hearts of gold, creative magic systems, complicated relationships, and found families. She loves well-plotted twists, being a little bit scared, and stories that explore the fluidity of gender and bring queer experiences to light. Regardless of genre, she is seeking inclusive, intersectional voices and gorgeous line-level writing with emotionally compelling narratives.

On the adult side she is open to thrillers/psychological suspense, fantasy/sci-fi, upmarket fiction, cozy mysteries, as well as narrative nonfiction and self-help that centers the mind, body, and spirit. She loves stories that make her feel a range of emotions, even if that means she ugly cries while reading. She wants a narrative that will stick with her long after reading.

Prior to becoming an Associate Agent, Paige was a Senior Assistant for Executive Agent Laura Rennert, and has been with ABLA for over three years. She comes to agenting with a background in marketing, design, and freelance editorial. She’s worked at Charlesbridge Publishing, The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and a ranch in the Rockies. She has an MA in Children’s Literature and an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons University. If she’s not reading, you’ll find her practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, re-watching the Great British Baking Show, or hiking with her Husky-Shepherd mix.

WISHLIST:

CHILDREN

Picture Book
Whimsical
Clever wordplay
Ugly-cute animals
Wry humor
Narrative nonfiction
​Unexpected expository nonfiction
Single father stories
STEAM themes
​Puns

Early Reader
Graphic novels
Characters to carry a series
STEAM & creative problem solving

Middle Grade
​Humor & heart
Hijinks & adventure
Spooky & moody
Series potential
Quirky girl detectives
All types of fantasy
Outdoor adventures
​Campy horror
Animal-human friendships
Awesome sidekicks
​Cooking
​Horse stories
Mysteries & puzzles

TEEN

Fantasy
Fractured fairy tales
Black Girl Magic
Dark & twisty
Warrior girls
Anti-heroes
​Heists
​Witches
Creative worldbuilding

Contemporary
Romantic comedies
Complicated friendships
Transformation
​Snark & sarcasm
Social justice
Survival stories
​​
Historical Fiction
Little known feminist figures
BIPOC perspectives
LGBTQ+ history
​​
Thrillers & Psychological Suspense
Unpredictable twists
Perfectly paced action & reveals
Boarding school settings
​Cults

ADULT

Fantasy/Sci-fi
Mythology
​Accessible high fantasy
Badass women
Innovative technology
​Hackers
Ancestral magic

Upmarket Literary
Mother-daughter friendship Generational stories
Unexpected friendships
Love through food

Commercial Fiction
Cozy mysteries
Romantic comedies

Thrillers & Psychological Suspense
Domestic suspense
Female-driven crime procedurals
Martial arts
Authenticity & street cred
​Forensics
Gothic

Historical Fiction
BIPOC perspectives
LGBTQ+ history

Nonfiction
Memoirs
Non-white travelers & explorers
Mind, body, spirit
Herbalism

Bottom line: I am looking for captivating stories, a strong voice, and authentic characters. An exciting premise hooks my interest, but characters and voice keep me reading. I am also open to being surprised. If you think we’d be a good fit, give it a try!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Please submit your query to Query Manager: QueryManager.com/PaigeTerlip

Follow the directions on Query Manager to submit your query. If I am interested in reading more, I will request the full manuscript. Per ABLA policy please only submit to one ABLA agent at a time.

For illustrators submitting art samples only (not dummies), please put “SEEKING ART REPRESENTATION” in lieu of a title. And “0” or “1” for Word Count. In the sample section, simply write “n/a.”

Please be patient! I personally read each and every query, and will respond as soon as possible.

QUERY PAIGE
You can find her on Twitter @pterlip and Instagram @pterlip.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 12, 2021

Book Giveaway: SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS by Rajani LaRocco

Rajani LaRocco has written a new picture book, SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS, illustrated by Rajani LaRocco and published by Lee & Low. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Rajani and Archana.

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:

In this clever, convivial picture book, an Indian boy untangles a mathematical conundrum to win a place at the Rajah’s court.

In ancient India, a boy named Bhagat travels to the Rajah’s city, hoping to ensure his family’s prosperity by winning a place at court as a singer. Bhagat carries his family’s entire fortune–a single coin and a chain of seven golden rings–to pay for his lodging. But when the innkeeper demands one ring per night, and every link snipped costs one coin, how can Bhagat both break the chain and avoid overpaying? His inventive solution points the way to an unexpected triumph, and offers readers a friendly lesson in binary numbers–the root of all computing.

Booklist’s starred review noted that it “succeeds both as an entertaining read-aloud and as a teasing introduction to the binary system.” Publisher’s Weekly, in their starred review, called SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS “a deft and engaging introduction to a sometimes flummoxing subject.

BOOK JOURNEY:

Kathy, thank you so much for having me on your blog! I’m thrilled to be here today talking about my book journey for my debut picture book, SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS: A TALE OF MUSIC AND MATH, published by Lee & Low Books!

I loved books from a very young age and wrote creatively through childhood and into college. But I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, and I didn’t write much at all when I was in medical school and residency. Then I had my children, and I was busy balancing my career and family life.

Around 2011, I decided to come back to writing. I enrolled in writing classes and met fellow writers and joined critique groups, and around 2013, I decided to pursue publishing in earnest. SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS was one of the first picture book drafts I ever wrote.

I first drafted SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS in October 2013. The story was born from my memory of a logic puzzle I’d heard when I was a kid visiting my family in India. I took that puzzle, made it more complicated, and created a character who loved music and math (like my son) and who needed to solve this puzzle in order to save his family. I dreamed up a poor but clever boy named Bhagat (the name means “devoted” in Sanskrit) who wants to change his family’s fortunes by winning a place with the rajah as a singer. But Bhagat who finds himself faced with a math puzzle that stands in the way of his success.

I revised this story almost seventy times over four years, sometimes taking up to six months between drafts because I was working on other projects or working at my day job and raising my kids. I couldn’t find the right ending for this story. But I kept trying.

It wasn’t until three years after I first drafted SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS that I recognized the connection between the solution to Bhagat’s puzzle and binary numbers. So I wrote an author’s note that explained this connection, and why we care about binary numbers at all.

And the right ending to this story finally came to me almost four years after I first drafted it.

I’m so grateful that this story ultimately found the perfect home with Lee & Low and the perfect editor, Cheryl Klein, who helped me make it even better. And the brilliant illustrator, Archana Sreenivasan, brought Bhagat’s story to life more beautifully than I could have ever imagined.

It took about five years between the first draft and selling SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS, and another two years until it published in October 2020, but it was well worth the wait.

RAJANI’s BIO:

I was born in Bangalore, India and immigrated to the U.S. as a baby. I spent most of my childhood in Louisville, Kentucky.

I attended Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, and trained in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. I’ve been working as a primary care physician since 2001. I live in eastern Massachusetts with my wonderful husband, our two brilliant kids, and an impossibly cute dog.

I’ve always been an omnivorous reader – cereal boxes, comic books, fortune cookie fortunes, magazine articles, and, of course, novels. The books I read as a child helped shape who I am today in ways that I’m still discovering. Books inspired me to pursue medicine as a career; books made me yearn to live in different worlds; books helped me consider what it’s like to walk in someone else’s shoes. I still love realistic fiction with puzzles or riddles (like The Westing Game), realistic fiction with a touch of magic (like A Wrinkle in Time), and full-blown sci-fi and fantasy (like The Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter series). I also love anything to do with Shakespeare. I believe that promoting diversity in children’s literature leads to empathy, and empathy makes the world a better place.

One of the best things about writing for kids is meeting other people who write for kids. I’m a member of SCBWIGrub Street in Boston, The Writers’ Loft in Sherborn, MA, and the 12 x 12 picture book community. I’m a proud Pitch Wars 2017 alum and 2018 and 2019 mentor! I’m a member of as incredible group of debut middle grade and young adult authors, the Novel Nineteens, a powerhouse group of debut picture book writers and illustrators, the Soaring 20s, as well as a group of awesome authors who write about STEAM topics, STEAMTeam2020!

I’m represented by the marvelous Brent Taylor of TriadaUS Literary Agency.

I write middle grade novels and picture books. Some of my books reflect my experiences as an immigrant, book nerd, and foodie; some explain medical topics to kids. And some are just ideas that pop into my head and won’t go away.

And that’s only the beginning of the story…

ARCHANA’S BIO:

Archana Sreenivasan is a freelance illustrator based in Bangalore, India. Her illustrations have been published in magazines, children’s books, book covers and comics. She finds the natural world and people watching most inspiring and engaging.

Archana Sreenivasan : Illustrator | DesiCreative

She is an alumna of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. In 2015 she attended the Summer Residency in Illustration at School of Visual Arts, NY.

Archana is represented by Stephanie Fretwell-Hill at Red Fox Literary. For children’s book enquiries, contact stephanie@redfoxliterary.com. For all other queries, contact hello@archanasreenivasan.com.

Rajani, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. I don’t know if this story is an old India folktale, but if it isn’t I can see it becoming one. Love that you included Math and music. It is sure to keep children interested and learning while reading this tale.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Open to un-agented writers worldwide, the First Pages Prize 2021 invites you to enter your first 5 pages of a fiction or creative nonfiction manuscript.

The Judge

This year’s judge is acclaimed author and director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Lan Samantha Chang.

The Prize

For 2021, FIVE winners will receive US $5,000 total in cash awards, a developmental edit to support the completion of their manuscript, and an agent consultation for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

Cash awards are as follows: 1st US$2,000, 2nd US$1,250, 3rd US$750, 4th and 5th US$500 each.

Full guidelines and terms & conditions are on our website. Prepare your pages and in the meanwhile, join our mailing list for updates.

Key info

Submit the first FIVE pages (maximum 1,250 words) of a longer work of fiction or creative non-fiction.

Double space your pages and kindly use Times New Roman 12-point font.

No alteration may be made once your entry is submitted.

Your full name must not appear on your document (do check your header and footer) to ensure judging anonymity. You must be currently un-agented to enter and your entry must not be previously published, even on a blog or Wattpad.

Submission dates

Entries open: January 1, 2021

Entries close: February 7, 2021 at 23:59 p.m. Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Extended entry deadline: February 21, 2021 at 23:59 p.m. Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Please check a time zone converter to avoid disappointment and inability to enter, e.g.: https://www.thetimezoneconverter.com

Entry Fees

The fee per entry is US $20.

The fee per entry for the extended deadline is US $35.

Entry fees for submissions that fail to observe submission guidelines cannot be refunded.

More about entries

Simultaneous submissions are possible, however, if your entry wins 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in another competition — or if you gain representation with a literary agent — you must withdraw from the First Pages Prize by emailing info@firstpagesprize.com. Your entry fee will be refunded (minus processing + transaction fees).

Entries (or drafts of entries) that have already won 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in another competition are not eligible to enter.

Entries (or drafts of entries) that previously entered the First Pages Prize and did not place 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th ARE eligible to enter.

By entering this competition, each entrant agrees to the full competition guidelines, terms and conditions: https://www.firstpagesprize.com/guidelines-and-termsconditions

Please remember to read the full guidelines and terms & conditions before entering.

How to Enter

1) Click the “link below

All submissions must be made through the Submittable platform. https://firstpagesprize.submittable.com/submit

2) Click “create account and continue” to create a Submittable account or log in if you are already a member.

3) Fill in the form. Please be assured that any information you enter about yourself on the form is not seen by the reviewers or judge. All entries are blinded. Reviewers ONLY see your story’s TITLE and its GENRE (fiction or creative nonfiction). Your full name must not appear in your story’s title.

4) Enter payment details by credit / debit card or PayPal.

5) Upload your pages as one file. PDF, Word, Docx, Doc, TXT, RTF, ODT, WPF or WPD files are accepted.

6) Click “Submit”

7) You will see a screen that says, “submission successfully submitted” and receive an email acknowledging receipt of your entry. You will be directed to join our mailing list, please consider joining if you haven’t already, to hear the latest first.

Winners will be notified in April 2021.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 10, 2021

Opportunity: Clavis Publishing


In 1978, Philippe Werck opened a children’s bookstore in his hometown of Hasselt, Belgium. Shortly thereafter, he decided to publish the books he wanted to place on his shelves. This is how Clavis Publishing originated. Now, thirty years later, with over two hundred titles published annually, Clavis, meaning ‘key’ in Latin, has unlocked the doors to their divisions in Amsterdam (2001) and New York(2008)  as well.

Submit your work!

Clavis Publishing is always looking for new talent! Your manuscripts or illustrations are always welcome.

Do you think your story or art is right for Clavis’ list of books for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers? We want to hear about it! Submit your manuscript or artwork and we will gladly take a look.

You can send your work via e-mail to submissions@clavisbooks.com

If you want to send in multiple pieces of work, we recommend that you first make a selection yourself and only send us your best work. If we are interested, we will ask you for your other work anyway.

Make sure to add the following info to your submission:
– Specific target audience (age indication)
– Main theme and synopsis
– Strengths of your story

It’s best to send the attachments via pdf, pcloud or dropbox as they can be opened quickly. Onedrive or protected files should be avoided. WeTransfer is possible, but the link does expire after a while: keep in mind that we might not open it in time and we will have to request it again.

We prefer to receive complete manuscripts, this allows us to better assess the work. Based on a few chapters, it’s more difficult for us to form a well-founded opinion. As a picture book illustrator, it’s not necessary to send a fully detailed picture book. We recommend that you submit a storyboard, a separate text and 2 to 3 detailed illustrations, so that we can get a good idea of your picture book concept.

Our publishers will review your work with care. However, since we do receive a lot of manuscripts and illustrations and review these on top of the daily work load, this may take some time. Keep in mind that it can take a while before you hear from us. Our aim is to handle manuscripts within 3 months. In any case, everyone will receive an answer, whether the work is selected or not.

Questions or remarks? Send an e-mail to eva@clavisbooks.com

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 9, 2021

Illustrator Saturday – Pablo Ballesteros

Pablo is a 28 year old full time illustrator who lives in Spain. Like all his family, he studied classic music at the conservatory, but also illustration at the Art School in his city, because drawing has been his passion since he was a child.​

In 2015 he started to combine small jobs with comic and illustration projects. In 2017 he published his first comic, and in 2018 his first illustrated book. Both for small local publishers.

In 2019 he made the jump to a major publisher: Random House, and started his journey as a freelance illustrator!!

Currently he is illustrating “The Fantastic Hormiguets”, a series of children’s books for Beascoa, Spanish Random House imprint.

He is currently represented By Christy Ewers of “The Cat Acency Inc.”

​Here is Pablo discussing his process:

intro: It has been a little challenge to get a step-by-step of some of my illustrations, since I usually work in photoshop and have a bad habit of not saving almost any sketches. However, I have found quite a bit of documentation for this illustration. It is a commision I made for a website about videogames and e-sports.

1.- ideas: The website offers a tracking and statistics service for gamers to improve their scores. They use an almost black blue background and their corporate colors are orange and light blue.
Since I had to use such a limited and contrasted palette, I decided to use it in a narrative way to give strength to the elements of the image. Therefore, I assigned orange to the player, “the user”, And the light blue to the web, “the service”. So I began to develop several ideas until I found the one I liked the most, representing the web service as a super powerful and improved avatar of the player himself, avery obvious message: “using this service makes you stronger”

2.- sketch: after finding the idea and making a small thumbnail with it, I put it on a canvas with the right size and make a sketch of it as detailed as possible. I start with basic shapes and add details layer after layer. In this image it was important to highlight the “gamer aesthetic” with elements of futuristic  fantasy.

3.- lineart and flat colors: In this illustration it’s not very visible because the background is dark, but my next step is usually “inking”, that is, to make a final lineart that I use as a guide for applying the colors. First I add flat colors, and later I add some shadows and shades.
Finally I back to the line. I erase it in some areas, and color it in others.

I inherited this phase of the process from my years as a comic book artist.
I am currently modifying my creative process and I try to do without the lineart whenever I can.

4.- light effects and foreground elements. This is almost the last step. When the line is already colored and the colors and shadows are in place, I add the complementary elements to the image. Illuminations, effects, etc. In this case there are floating screens in front of the character, which have to illuminate him and are also a bit translucent, so I work them in a group of layers separately.

5.- final corrections: Finally, I apply the last details and color correction so that everything looks uniform, and voila!

How long have you been illustrating?

I’ve been drawing my whole life, but only since 2017 in a professional way.

What and when was the first piece of art you created for money?

The first drawings I made for money were commissions for close people, at least 8 years ago. Some friends asked me for a drawing to give away, portraits of their pets, small labels for products they sold in their stores, etc. At first I did it for free, but when it got to be too many, and it consumed too much of my time, I decided to start charging for them. Not only did it serve as a filter, but I also amortized my time by earning extra money.

Did you study classical music and study art in college at the same time?

My parents are musicians. They both studied classical music, and they oriented me towards the same profession. During high school, I combined high school with the professional music studies, and after finishing high school, I studied the degree of music at the conservatory. During all that time, I kept drawing as a hobby.

However, over time I realized that music was not for me, and the next day after graduating I took the entrance exam for the art school in my city, and began my illustration studies. I don’t regret having studied music. I have been able to work as a musician in many places and have had very enriching experiences. But when I started my art studies I knew right away that I would never go back to music.

What did you study in art school?

I studied a 2 years illustration degree. In Spain they call it “professional training”. It’s like a technical college in the US, I think.

Did you take any children’s illustrating courses?

I’ve studied several illustration courses, both online and offline, but none focused on children’s illustration. Children’s illustration is what I work in now, but I don’t want to specialize in just one job for now. There are jobs in many other artistic fields that I would like to explore in the future, so I try to take courses in a broader and more transversal way, especially by focusing on the bases of language and visual narration, and on improving my communication tools as an author.

I’ve also taken courses in relation to working as a freelance (invoices, laws, contracts, learning to show and sell your work, etc.). These are basic topics that are often not covered in “official” illustration studies (college, school, etc) and that can save you a lot of trouble..

What do you think help you develop your style?

My current style has a lot to do with comic books and grapic novels. I’ve been a comic reader my whole life and between 2014 and 2018 all my art work was drawing comics. It was at this time that I laid the foundations of my style and my workflow.

Currently I’ve left the comic in the background, and I dedicate myself more to illustration. That is why I’m trying to take my style one step further. Tried new techniques and processes that help me evolve and adapt to new media.

Did the art school help you find work when you graduated?

Not at all. That is common in private art schools, but I studied in a public school, which was the one in my city.

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

I spent some years mixing small illustration commissions with another job as a music teacher in a small school. The commissions were mostly gift portraits and other little things for friends and family. Later I got in touch with a small local comic book publisher with which I did my first published works collaborating on several books with other authors.

Do you feel doing comic illustrations in 2015 was the spark that set you on the road to publication?

Yes, definitely. Drawing comics for me was the beginning of everything.

On the one hand, they were the first works that I shared online, for me it was a new experience, people from all over saw my art and gave their opinion about it.

On the other hand, they were my first experiences with publishers. “The Rocketman Project”, a small publishing house in my city, gave me the first opportunities to see my work published, and also put me in contact with my colleague and friend Fernando Llor, fantastic comic book writer. With him I developed several comic projects that, although unfortunately they were never published, were a great training and learning for me.

Finally, it was Fernando who put me in contact with the publishing house “Ediciones El Transbordador”, which offered me my first contract to illustrate a children’s book.

How did you connect with the publisher who published you first comic?

The publishing house (“The Rocketman Project”) had a character that identified them. I wrote them an email attaching a drawing of their character that I made, and asking them to call me for future publications. And they offered me to participate in a magazine that they published annually. Later I did several comic book projects with them. Like Sangre en el Suelo, that was published thanks to a successful kickstarter campaign.

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

It was not something I decided. I wanted to be a comic book artist. It was the publishing house “Ediciones El Transbordador” which offered me to illustrate a children’s book: La increíble historia de Mara y el sol que cayó del cielo. I accepted without thinking and I am very glad I did.

I was a little burned out from comics after a bad experience with a French publisher. And After draw the book for “El Transbordador” I fell in love with children’s books, and I also saw the differences between working on graphic novels or children’s books. It was clear to me that if I wanted to make a living from my drawings, I had to focus on illustration and leave a bit of the graphic novels / comic-books

  

Was MARA your first illustrated book?

Yes! La increible historia de Mara y el sol que cayó del cielo was my first illustrated book. I did it at the request of the publishing house “El Transbordador”

How did that contract come about?

I contacted “Ediciones El Transbordador” through Fernando Llor. My writer friend who I was developing a comic project with. He told the editors about me, they liked my work and asked me to illustrate the cover of one of his books. They were very happy with the result and immediately offered me to illustrate La increíble historia de Mara… a fantastic book by Abel Amutxategi that I fell in love with from the first moment.

Have you illustrated any books in English?

Not for now. I trust Christy (The cat Agency) to make this happen in the coming months.

What was the title of the Book you illustrated for Random House?

It’s a series of books: Las fantásticas Hormiguets, a super fun job.

The series is written by Silvia Abril, a well-known comedy actress here in Spain.

In the books she narrates the adventures her own 7 years old daughter goes through with a group of friends she has, they are stories with many adventures and funny moments based on real life.

It has been an incredible experience working on this series. It’s my first job with a large publisher, Random House (it is published by an imprint they have in Spain: “Beascoa”) and it’s the series that has allowed me to become a freelance. So I’m very happy to have had this opportunity. I recently finished Book 4, the last in the series at the moment, due out in March.

 

How did you connect with your agent Christy Ewer at The Cat Agency?

Since I started working as a freelancer, I’ve wanted to publish my work in the US. All my colleagues and friends by profession recommended me to look for a representation agency, so I set out to find an agent who wanted to represent me.

I emailed a few agencies and Christy was among the first to express interest in my work. It was a great joy for me, because I love The Cat Agency, and I loved the idea of being in a boutique agency.

However, although Christy had interest in my work, she was unable to offer me representation at the time. We kept in touch, and after a few months we talked again about the possibility of establishing a professional relationship, and this time we were able to sign an agreement. A story with a happy ending! (or a happy beginning)

Have you done any illustrating for children’s Magazines or any other magazines? If so, who?

My first published work was for “The Rocketman Project” annual comic-book magazine. A short 8 page story. But it wasn’t for kids.

Do you have a studio in your house?

Yes! I work from home. It is one of the great advantages of this profession. On my instagram @pablo.balles (shameless self promo) I have a section of highlighted stories with pics from my studio, you can come and see it!

Have you ever tried illustrating a wordless picture book?

No, and the reason is simple: I don’t like that kind of book at all!

Just kidding, let me explain: As a reader, I don’t like picture books without text. Therefore, I am not interested in developing a book without words as personal work. Although I would do it without problem if someone hired me for it!

Was it scary to decide to become a freelance illustrator?

Oh sure, it was a tough decision. In Spain there are poor working conditions, especially in artistic work. Becoming freelance has been a risky bet, since I left my part-time job as a teacher that guaranteed me a monthly income to dedicate myself exclusively to illustrating.

So far It went well, and I’m very happy to be able to make a living from my job even if the income is small. Also, shortly after leaving school they closed due to the pandemic for months, so working from home has helped me not to become unemployed, I think I made a good decision.

Is working with a self-published author to illustrate their book something you would consider?

Sure, as long as we reach a mutually beneficial agreement, I would have no problem doing so.

I know you will have many successes in your future, but what do you think is your biggest success so far?

It is difficult to answer, because we can measure “success” in many ways. But if I had to say one, I think if I look at where I was 3 years ago, and where I am now, I could consider the whole journey of small decisions that have led me here as my greatest success, both personally and professionally. In other words. I am very proud of how I have managed and used my resources in these years to be able to become a freelance illustrator in such a short time and with so little experience.


What is your favorite medium to use?

I always work with digital media, not because I like them more, but because they are much more practical to work with.

Has that changed over time?

Yes, when I was a student, I felt a certain rejection of digital media. I thought they were “less authentic”. Over the years those prejudices have disappeared. Also, once I started trying to make a living illustrating, the digital medium seemed much more convenient and efficient.

However, I still use traditional techniques when drawing for fun, especially watercolors and colored pencils, I love mixing wet and dry techniques to achieve eye-catching, eclectic finishes.

During these last months, I’ve began to practice more with these types of techniques, and also with gouache, since I would like to find myself comfortable enough to be able to do professional work with traditional media in the future.

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

Yes, I use my old Wacom intuos pro M for work. I’ve also bought an iPad Pro recently so that’s my new toy.

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

As I said, I mainly use digital tools.

My setup:

– Wacom intuos pro M + imac + photoshop

– iPad Pro + procreate.

When working with traditional techniques I usually use Windsor & Newton watercolors and Polychromos pencils.

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

I dedicate between 5 and 8 hours a day from Monday to Friday. I like to get up early in the morning and work according to a normal “office” schedule, although my hours are quite flexible depending on the projects I’m working on. There are times when I’ve less work, and other times I’ve to spend even weekends working all day.

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

I don’t usually take specific photos for each project, but I do like to take photos when I go out, and some of them are useful for projects later.

Usually the first thing that happens when I’m commissioned with a project is that I start to form an idea in my head of how I want the project to look.

This idea is based on my personal sensitivity, my tastes, the things that excite me, my experiences, etc. We could call it artistic look or author’s look.

Then I start to do my research to refine that idea: first I find out well what has been done lately in similar projects and then I look for photographs and illustrations that inspire me or serve as a reference. I do not usually take direct references, but perhaps I use the color palette of one photo, one type of plant from another, an idea of composition from another, etc.

In the end, all that documentation shapes the initial vision and makes it something solid to start working on.

Do you think the Internet has opened doors for you?

I couldn’t work as an illustrator if the internet didn’t exist. For me, the internet is everything professionally speaking. I Developed my portfolio and connected with all my clients through the internet. Literally from my own home.

In the past, you could count the spanish illustrators with the fingers of your hand, and they almost necessarily had to live in a big city like Madrid or Barcelona if they wanted to get a piece of the scarce and badly paid job that there was. Today we are thousands of illustrators and we work for all parts of the world thanks to the internet. It is a wonderful tool that allows us to be part of a global market. It is mindblowing that now you don’t even need to publish a book, or work on a movie, or in a design company to make a living from drawing. Many can make a living by selling their own original art through platforms like etsy or patreon, or even their own online stores, without intermediaries, just with an internet connection.

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

I don’t like to talk about “dreams”, I prefer to talk about “goals”, psychologically we understand a dream as something ethereal, without a definite form, unattainable. However, a goal is something tangible, that you can write on paper, that you can achieve if you meet the requirements.

My main short-term goal is to start publishing in the US or Canada. Whether in children’s books, magazines, etc. For this I’ve already taken some steps, such as becoming part of “The Cat Agency”.

In the long term I’ve a goal that I would be very excited to fulfill: to work in animation, in the design department of a film or animated series. It’s something very different from what I do now, and I will have to study and make a suitable portfolio, but I think I’ll get it in the future.

Finally, as a personal goal, I would like to develop my own voice as an author much more, to put more of myself in each work. I am also taking action for it, although this may be the most difficult goal, since it has to do with overcoming my fear of exposing myself through my work.

What are you working on now?

I have just finished book 4 of Las fantásticas Hormiguets and I’m taking a few days off for the Christmas holidays. In 2021 I have 3 books already signed with a Spanish publishing house called “La Galera”, and I hope that some more will come in the future, but my priority at the beginning of the year will be to develop my portfolio to the fullest together with Christy in order to get a contract in English.

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.

An advice that I’ve learned the hard way: do not save money on material. It’s hard to say, but there’s a BIG difference between good and bad products. Painting with color pencils from Aliexpress is a very different experience than painting with Polychromos, or  Caran d’ache pencils, for example. (I used to think I didn’t like colored pencils, simply because I’ve never had good ones. Now I LOVE them)

I’m not saying that you have to buy the most expensive brands, but inform yourself well before buying, read about which are the best brands, and pick one that is at least competent.

When I was a student, I didn’t give it much importance, I thought there wasn’t much difference, and there is. It’s worth waiting and saving money to buy something good, than suffering the terrible experience of trying to create something with the materials fighting against you.

The same thing happens with digital media. Save money and invest in good and reliable components instead of buying the cheapest ones.

Any words of wisdom for new illustrators?

When they ask me this I always like to send a message of optimism but also of prudence:

I am very optimistic because I think that we live in the best moment in history to be an illustrator. I said it before, the internet has opened the doors and windows of the industry wide, and if you work well, there will be a place for you.

BUT, first of all, GET INFORMED. Just because you like to draw doesn’t mean you have to be an illustrator.

Talk to professionals, read interviews, ask everyone what exactly the different creative or artistic professions consist of. Find out about the ways to earn money,  the good things and the bad, what skills you need, etc. Do not decide your future based on an idealized vision, because that way you will avoid the unpleasant surprise of find that your dreamed job or dreamed career was not what you thought.

Pablo, thank you for sharing your time to answer the interview questions and showing us your process. I really enjoyed viewing your illustrations. Please let me know your future successes so I can share them with everyone.

To see more of Pablo’s work, you can visit him at:

WEBSITE: https://www.pabloballes.com/
Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/pablo-ballesteros-85a61b18b/?originalSubdomain=es         
The Cat Agency: http://www.catugeau.com/pablo-ballesteros-1
INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/pablo.balles/?hl=en

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 8, 2021

January Agent of the Month: Jim McCarthy

Jim McCarthy

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management

Jim McCarthy interned for Dystel, Goderich & Bourret while studying urban design at New York University. Upon graduating, Jim realized he would much rather continue working with books than make the jump (as he had originally intended) to the field of city planning. Eighteen years later, he remains at DG&B as a VP and agent.

Action/Adventure, Children’s, Commercial, Family Saga, Fantasy, General, Historical, LGBTQ, Literary, Middle Grade, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult.

Non-Fiction: Biography, History, Journalism, LGBTQ, Memoir, Pop Culture

As an avid fiction reader, his interests encompass both literary and commercial works in the adult, young adult, and middle grade categories. He is particularly interested in literary fiction, underrepresented voices, fantasy, mysteries, romance, anything unusual or unexpected, and any book that makes him cry or laugh out loud. In addition to fiction he is also interested in narrative nonfiction whether it be memoir, historical, science, pop culture, or just a darn good polemic.

I’m always looking for fresh voices–whether that means authors from underrepresented communities, new takes on old tropes, something that hasn’t been seen before, or all of the above. I love a great humorous novel, but I’m also not afraid of anything that’s extremely dark. I’m always on the lookout for great fiction of any stripe but do gravitate towards YA and the fantastical–still, that doesn’t mean I’m not very open to realistic adult fiction and anything in between.

At this exact moment, I would particularly love to find fantasy or sci-fi in non-Western settings, sagas of family or friendship in the vein of Mary McCarthy’s THE GROUP or J. Courtney Sullivan’s MAINE, queer stories of any kind (particularly if yours has an asexual, non-binary, or intersex lead), and a super fun mystery.

Jim wants to see more

Children’s nonfiction

I’m probably NOT+ your go-to for political or medical thrillers or police procedurals or stories involving time travel (with very rare exceptions). And while I love YA fantasy, I have a strange aversion to stories about fae/faeries.

Fun facts about me:I’m a giant theater geek, so if there are any other nerds out there that these names mean anything to, these are the current playwrights whose work is, for me, unmissable: Lynn Nottage, Annie Baker, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Amy Herzog, Stephen Karam, Suzan-Lori Parks, Samuel Hunter. If you can compare anything you do to anything they’ve done? Please send my way.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to jmccarthy@dystel.com

Please send your query in the body of an email along with the first 25 pages of your project (either in the body or as a Word attachment).

Guidelines & Details
jmccarthy@dystel.com
@JimMcCarthy528

Website

CHECK BACK NEXT FRIDAY FOR PART ONE OF MY INTERVIEW WITH JIM.

HERE ARE THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES FOR January 2021 FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES:

In the subject line, please write “JANUARY 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 2021 January  – 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: January 22nd. – noon EST

RESULTS: January 29th.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 7, 2021

Book Giveaway: STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY by Moira Rose Donohue

Moira Rose Donohue has written a new picture book, STOMPIN’ AT THE SAVOY, illustrated by Laura Freeman and published by Sleeping Bear Press. It is available for pre-order and is coming out on January 15th. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Moira and Laura.

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:

Though a disability stunted his growth and left him with a hunched back, William Henry “Chick” Webb did not let that get in the way of his musical pursuits. Even as a young child, Chick saw the world as one big drum, pounding out rhythms on everything from stair railings to pots and pans. His love of percussion brought him to the big time as an influential big band leader. This picture-book biography details the life of black American jazz drummer Chick Webb, who in the 1930s led one of the big bands of the swing era, earning him the nickname the “King of the Savoy.”

BOOK JOURNEY:

A few years ago, I was watching a re-airing of the Ken Burns documentary on jazz music. I was especially interested in the evolutionof swing because, although it was before my time, I have always loved big band music. I recognized the bands that were discussed with the sole exception of Chick Webb’s band. It irked me that I had never heard of him, so I did a little research. When I saw his life-loving grin and learned that he had to face the challenges of an affliction that left him no taller than an average eight-year-old boy, I was hooked. I wanted to know more.

Researching Chick was not easy. Not a lot has been written about him, and what has been written generally relates to his discovery of the great Ella Fitzgerald. But with the help of some librarians, my superheroes, I found some videos of his nephew and of Lindy Hop dancers who knew him and I gleaned some precious bits from watching those.

I felt a real connection with this man. Chick was from Baltimore—my son is a long-time Baltimorean. Chick was a drummer—I raised a percussionist daughter and learned a lot about drums!

But there was something else that really spoke to me. Chick was competitive. Very competitive. And he didn’t let his size stop him from taking on the best in the big band world. And me? Well, I love nothing more than a good contest! I knew I had to write about him—it was one of those things that I couldn’t help.

Stompin’ at the Savoy is not a chronicle of Chick’s life. Instead, I wrote about his resilient and competitive spirit because that’s what struck a deep chord with me. And that’s why the climax of the book is his legendary band battle with 6-foot-tall Benny Goodman, the King of Swing—a contest so exciting that almost 10,000 people showed up, inside the Savoy and outside on Lenox Avenue. You’ll have to read the book to find out who won!

I am so grateful that my agent, Jennifer Unter, saw the inspiration in Chick’s story and agreed to take on the book and that Barb McNally, my editor at Sleeping Bear Press, worked so hard to make the book really tight and taut and so much better than what I gave her. And best of all, Laura Freeman captured the world of swing bands and the Savoy with her sparking, exciting, magical art. It turns out that she had a special connection to the Savoy–her father danced there!

MOIRA’S BIO:

Moira Rose Donohue is the author of over 35 books for children, mostly nonfiction. She began writing for children after her defection from the practice of banking law. Her most recent release is Lions & Cheetahs & Rhinos, OH MY! with co-author John Platt, published by Sleeping Bear Press. Other titles include Tree Frogs: Life in the Leaves (starred review from Booklist and a Junior Library Guild selection); The U.S. Constitution: Why it Matters to You, and two books about Gettysburg National Military Park, all with Scholastic Children’s Press, and Making Smart Money Choices with ABDO. She has published several books with National Geographic, including Little Kids First Big Book of the Rain Forest and Dog on a Bike. Her books The Invasion of Normandy (North Star Editions 2017) and Great White Sharks (Scholastic Children’s Press, 2018) are Junior Library Guild Selections. Coming later in 2021, National Geographic will release her book Little Kids First Big Book about Rocks, Minerals and Shells.

Moira is the co-Regional Adviser of the Florida SCBWI. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her dog, Petunia. Learn more at: http://www.moirarosedonohue.net.

LAURA’S BIO:

Laura Freeman received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts and began her career working for various editorial clients. She has illustrated over thirty children’s books, including Hidden Figures written by Margot Lee Shetterly, the Nikki & Deja series by Karen English and Fancy Party Gowns by Deborah Blumenthal.

In addition to illustrating books and editorial content, my art can be found on a wide range of products, from dishes and textiles to greeting cards. Originally from New York City, she now lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two children.

Thank you Moira for sharing your book and journey with us. I love the whole thing. It is a gorgeous book with a wonderful success story. The movement and color of Laura’s illustrations make you feel the music on every page. I expect this book to win many awards. I’m so glad I have a copy. Good luck with the book. 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

 

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 6, 2021

Picture Book Pitch Idea

Carol Woodson

A small boy insists that the moon is really his lost balloon. After many warnings and subsequent mishaps, he finally reaches the moon. It’s not his balloon. Is he disappointed? Not at  all! From now on he’ll always be known as “the first kid on the moon.”

MIRA:

Hi Carol, this looks really fun.You’ve indicated that you understand the structure of plot-driven picture books, although you might want to establish why being famous is important to him early on to make that ending more satisfying. So your job is really focusing on the language and wonderful lyrical and fun word play. Former student, Marcie Colleen’s Penguinaut! would make a great mentor text.

Rewrite:

In {title}, {name of main character} insists that the moon is his lost balloon, and he is determined to retrieve it. Despite dire warnings and subsequent misadventures, {name} finally reaches this destination. But the moon is not his balloon. Is he disappointed? Not at all! {Name} knows that from now on, he’ll always be known as the first kid on the moon!

*******

 Robin Currie

Laying the groundwork for reading starts with the first board book. In Peek and See: Creation, share God’s story in two line rhymes with the final word hidden under a flap:

God made the strawberries, carrots, and peas

God made the ladybugs, spiders and

            BEES.

 MIRA:

Hi Robin, this sounds really sweet and fun but as you know there’s a big separation between church and state in education, which would limit traditional publishing sales (although there are always exceptions). However there are lots of Christian publishers, as well as publishers like Zonderkidz and Beaming Books that would be interested in this story. SCBWI.org has a fantastic resource for members called The Book, which you can download and I’m pretty sure they have a great section on Christian Publishers. If you’re a member, you could just download The Book as a PDF and do a search for Christian Publishers to find them. Here’s my rewrite. 

Rewrite:

In Peek and See: Creation, a novelty board book, rhyming couplets tell the story of earth’s creation through a Christian lens. The final word of each charming couplet is revealed under a flap sturdy enough for lifting by curious young fingers.

Sample rhyme:

God made the strawberries, carrots, and peas

God made the ladybugs, spiders and

            BEES.

******* 

Dr. Mira Reisberg. AKA, Mira the Picture Book Whisperer, is the founder of the Children’s Book Academy, a fabulous international, online children’s book writing and illustrating school that she created in 2012 after leaving academia. Mira is also an acquiring editor and art director at Clearfork/Spork. She is incredibly excited that she is co-teaching The Craft and Business of Writing Picture Books course with acquiring BookEnds assoc. agent James McGowan and acquiring Penguin/Random House/Dial asst. Editor Rosie Ahmed. To find out more click here: https://bit.ly/2021CBWCPB

 

Thank you Mira for doing this. Enjoy the rest of this year and have a great, mentoring workshop.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 5, 2021

Book Giveaway: FROM HERE TO THERE by Vivian KirkField

Vivian Kirkfield has written a new middle grade non-fiction book, FROM HERE TO THERE, illustrated by Gilbert Food and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. It is available for pre-order and is coming out on January 19th. They have agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Vivian and Gilbert.

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:

Celebrating the invention of vehicles, this collective biography tells the inspiring stories of the visionaries who changed the way we move across air, water, and land. Perfect for fans of Mistakes that Worked and Girls Think of Everything.

In a time when people believed flying was impossible, Joseph and Etienne Montgolfier proved that the sky wasn’t the limit. When most thought horseback was the only way to race, Bertha and Karl Benz fired up their engines. From the invention of the bicycle and the passenger steam locomotive, to the first liquid-fuel propelled rocket and industrial robot, inventors across the world have redefined travel. Filled with informative sidebars and colorful illustrations, this collective biography tells the story of the experiments, failures, and successes of visionaries who changed the way the world moves.

BOOK JOURNEY: FROM HERE TO THERE

Thank you so much for the opportunity to be on your blog, Kathy. I’m excited to be celebrating the launch of my newest book, a nine-story compilation of nonfiction picture book biographies, illustrated by the brilliant Gilbert Ford and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. And it’s definitely been a journey…FROM HERE TO THERE.

WRITING JOURNEY:

This writing journey for this book checks all the boxes of an adventure of a lifetime. It started in 2016. My sister mentioned that a friend of a friend was the granddaughter of someone famous. My ears perked up because I’m always ready for a story. It turns out that in 1905, a young Swedish immigrant arrived in New York City with only $60 in his pocket. He worked as a logger and then as a miner, and finally he opened a car dealership, but when he couldn’t sell even one car from his showroom, he bought it himself and started a shuttle service. Driving miners from the town to the mine for 15 cents a ride or 25 cents for a round trip was so popular, Eric had to stretch the car by cutting it and adding extra seating…but even that wasn’t enough. So, he built a bus! And then another. And another. And the Greyhound Bus Company was born.

That felt like such a great story to me. I did some research and was able to speak with the granddaughter who was extremely helpful. When the story was ready, my agent sent it out on submission – and in the summer of 2017, the amazing Ann Rider at HMH let us know she loved it. However, she had a concern because Eric Wickman is pretty unknown and she wondered if the bus was a popular enough vehicle to merit a stand-alone picture book. Would I be willing to write a few more narrative nonfiction bios about inventors of other things that go?

PUBLICATION JOURNEY:

And this is where the writing journey merges with the publication journey. When an editor asks if me if I can do something…I almost always say YES! Here’s my original email to her.

And here are some ideas for the other three or four things that go, but I am open to any ideas you have and can research and write on any topic you prefer.

COMPUTER-DESIGNED SUBMARINE: of great interest because it gives the collection some diversity (Raye Montague is an African-American woman, one of the hidden figures, not of NASA as portrayed in the movie, but of the Navy during the 1950’s).

SKATEBOARD: originally created by surfers in California to use when stormy oceans prevented them from riding the waves. They screwed roller skate wheels onto their boards and surfed the city streets. And in 2020, skateboarding will debut as an official sport of the Tokyo Olympics.

HOT AIR BALLOON: has a fabulous aha moment and was invented by two brothers working together as a team – the creative genius with ADHD, and the practical scientist who kept the project on point. (I wrote this as a stand-alone picture book, but can tighten it for the compilation).

CAR: might never have left the workshop of Karl Benz if not for his wife’s secret plan to promote the car by taking the kids on a road trip to grandma’s house. (there is a stand-alone picture book coming out in October from Charlesbridge)

We decided against the skateboard and moved forward with the others. Over the next few months, I researched and wrote. In October, Ann decided that instead of targeting Grades K-2, we were going to gear the stories to Grades 3-6. In addition, she suggested we change the title to THINGS THAT MOVE so that we could include robotics. By December, I had a better idea of what I wanted to do and had already written a few of the stories although I still didn’t know how many stories there would be. I reached out to Ann again with a list that included the train, bike, hot-air balloon, robot, car, and submarine.

At this point, Ann let me know that she really wanted 7-10 stories…and she definitely wanted one about the rocket. I felt we needed more diversity as well – and I suggested doing a story about the folding wheelchair, which opened doors for mobility-challenged individuals. She loved that idea!

The editor wanted all the stories to have the same structure as the BUS story and include:

  1. Engaging opening lines.
  2. Child main character who has a dream/goal.
  3. AH-HA moment.
  4. Fun language/great rhythm/excellent pacing.
  5. Legacy paragraph that shows how the invention impacts us today.
  6. Satisfying ending that echoes the opening lines.

The biggest challenge was finding certain pieces of information…the AH-HA moment and childhood incidents…those took a huge amount of digging. And sometimes I had an inventor chosen, but had to pick a different one because I couldn’t find those pertinent pieces of information. For each visionary, I wrote a rough draft and revised and then gave the manuscript to one of my critique groups. While they read that one, I moved on to the next story. When I received feedback on a previous manuscript, I’d revise that. Working with a short deadline can be stressful…but it can also give you clarity in knowing what needs to be done. And somehow, with the help of my amazing critique partners who were always ready to look at a new draft or a revised one, I did it!

The editor requested the manuscripts be delivered to her inbox by May 1st. After that, she brought on Gilbert Ford as illustrator. Ann had given me the link to his website and I was thrilled – I knew he was the perfect artist to bring these stories to life. While he worked on the project, copyeditors and factcheckers went through each page, each line, each word of the manuscript, even making sure links in the bibliography were correct. It was such a good feeling to know that the HMH team was working together to create the best book possible – a book I hope will spark the curiosity of young readers and perhaps inspire those children to embark on new journeys of their own.

VIVIAN’S BIO:

Writer for children—reader forever…that’s Vivian Kirkfield in five words. Her bucket list contains many more than five words – but she’s already checked off skydiving, parasailing, banana-boat riding, and visiting critique buddies all around the world. When she isn’t looking for ways to fall from the sky or sink under the water, she can be found writing picture books in the picturesque town of Bedford, New Hampshire. A retired kindergarten teacher with a masters in Early Childhood Education, Vivian inspires budding writers during classroom visits and shares insights with aspiring authors at conferences and on her blog where she hosts the #50PreciousWords International Writing Contest and the #50PreciousWordsforKids Challenge.

She is the author many picture books including Sweet Dreams, Sarah (Creston Books); Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe (Little Bee Books); From Here to There: Inventions That Changed the Way the World Moves (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and the upcoming Pedal, Balance, Steer: Annie Londonderry, First Woman to Bike Around The World (Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane, Spring 2023).You can connect with her on her websiteFacebookTwitterPinterestInstagramLinkedin, or just about any place people with picture books are found.

GILBERT FORD’S BIO:

Gilbert Ford holds a BFA in illustration from Pratt Institute and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author and illustrator of The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring, named a Best STEM Book of 2017, and has illustrated many middle grade jackets, as well as the award-winning picture book Mr. Ferris and His Wheel. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Visit him online at GilbertFord.com.

Vivian, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. This 96 page book is jam packed with interesting fun information that will capture the interest of children, teachers, and adults. Gilberts illustrations add the finishing touch to make this a standout winner. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

Posted by: Kathy Temean | January 4, 2021

Cardinal Rule Press

Cardinal Rule Press (CRP) is a traditional publisher. CRP has a traditional royalty payment schedule, marketing plan, and distribution process. We are located in southeast Michigan.

We publish children’s books at this time and our imprint Violet Street Press produces parenting non-fiction titles. We are known for our aesthetically pleasing books. We know what it takes to edit a story that is up to the industry’s top standards. Several of our titles have won awards and are well known in the market.

If your manuscript is deemed a good fit for us, we’ll reach out to you about a contract. Authors receive a writing advance as well as royalties on book sales once the book is released. We seek illustrators that work on a work-for-hire basis.

Cardinal Rule Press open submissions until February 1st, 2021.

We will not read submissions outside this time period.

Please become familiar with our titles and follow the list of guidelines below before submitting your work.

Our focus is on children’s picture books that empower children through meaningful stories for readers, age 4-11 and non-fiction books for parents and educators.

Cardinal Rule Press considers unsolicited manuscripts. We accept agented submissions. We do not require exclusive submissions.

Please note: Only submissions sent through the methods listed in these guidelines will be considered. We do not accept illustrator submissions.

  • Children’s realistic fiction picture books (word count up to 1,000)
  • Non-fiction books for parents (word count up to 70k)

Email submissions only.

  • Send directly to: submissions@cardinalrulepress.com
  • Please send the complete manuscript (picture books) and a summary with first three chapters (non-fiction parenting books).
  • You will get a confirmation email when we receive your manuscript.
  • We will respond to all submissions within four weeks after the submission period closes.

Email Instructions

The subject line should read:

  • “SUBMISSION (story title) by (author name)”

Cover letter (query):

The cover letter should not be an attachment, but rather included in the body of the email. It should include:

  • A brief description of the story.
  • Short bio of the author, mentioning publishing history or relevant background information.
  • Two to three sentences telling us the inspiration for your story.
  • A listing of three comparative picture books published in the last five years and a few sentences describing how your book is different.
  • Contact information along with social media links.

The manuscript:

  • Should be attached as a WORD document, Google Doc or .PDF file.
  • Manuscripts should be typed double-spaced.

Please do not:

  • Call or email about the status of your submission. We will respond to all submissions within 4-6 weeks after the submission period closes. We will not respond if directions are not followed.
  • Include artwork or photographs along with your manuscript.

Cardinal Rule Press

P.O. Box 930237 • Wixom, MI 48393
info@cardinalrulepress.com

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy

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