Welcome to the Bookshelf Detective, a site packed with tricks and tips for readers and writers of children's literature. Thank you for visiting!
Kim Tomsic

Friday, October 6, 2017

Publishing 101

Hello, Authors!

If you are visiting this page, you may have attended my Publishing 101 session at the Rocky Mountain SCBWI regional conference. Thank you for stopping by to pick up additional resources. It shows you're serious about your publishing career!  If you landed on this page by accident and you're interested in writing children's books, stop what you're doing and join SCBWI www.scbwi.org!

Before reading further, here's the most important thing you need to know: to be a good children's book writer, you need to be a avid kid lit reader first. What's on your bookshelf?

FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT: A properly formatted manuscript is an important step in the submissions process. From Keyboard to Printed Page on the SCBWI website https://www.scbwi.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/From-Keyboard_2014.pdf

Craft Tips:  

Interview with Richard Peck:  Here he talks about his writing process.

Dream Team: Nick Healy, Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown, Jennifer Mattson, Melissa Manlove
Craft tips from agents and editors:  Great advice from a writing workshop weekend offered by a panel of Agents and Editors who served on faculty at Big Sur in the Rockies. Article title: "What Agents and Editors Think When Reading Your First Page". The highlights from this article include (1)Don’t rob readers of experiencing the emotional state of a character.
SHOW don’t TELL: Don’t write, “George was upset about his report card.” Write, “George wadded up his report card and shoved it to the bottom of his backpack.”
(2)PB writers: Watch out for clause-filled sentence structure
(3)Avoid over choreography, didactic intentions, and characters with stuff happening to them rather than the protagonist making stuff happen. For the full article, click Craft tips from agents and editors

You can find more craft tips in my 2011 Interview with Matt de la Pena:  The interview begins with me gushing over one of his novels. Dig in further, because within the interview, you will find some gems and inspirational writing and working tips. My favorite piece of advice, "I think voice is WAY easier if you’re 100% honest."  And "Don’t fake it. Don’t chase trends. Be real. If it hurts, it’s gold. If it embarrasses you, it has to go in. If it shames you, it’s the most important ingredient."

Querying Tips beyond my regular tip of sticking with three paragraphs (the hook, the book, and the cook), I advise you visit ASK DAPHNE at KT Literary: KT Literary allows authors to submit to "Ask Daphne" for query feedback. Learn from one another's mistakes!

Agent Interviews:  Reading interviews with agents is one key step to discovering if he/she is the right agent for you. When querying agents, open with why you chose to query them. here are a handful of interviews for your review (you'll find more at Writer's Digest, Absolute Write, and other blogs):

An upcoming webinar Query Workshop:
Professionally Personal: How to Compel Agents in One Page or Less. (Webinar) October 10, 2017 7:30-9:00 PM Eastern time, Hosted by MD/DE/WV SCBWI. ADDITIONAL QUERY CRITIQUE SLOTS NOW AVAILABLE. Agent Hannah Mann of Writers House discusses what to stress for success when it comes to querying agents, including how to stay brief and be heard without coming off as generic, how to strike a balance between broad appeal and agent-specific, and choosing the perfect comp titles. A recording of the webinar will be available for one month after the live event. The recording will be for registered attendees only, so if you can't make the live event, you can register to view the recording. Cost: SCBWI Members: $15 for webinar only; $30 for webinar + query letter critique with Hannah Mann of Writers House or Carrie Howland of Empire Literary; Non-members: $25 for webinar. https://mddewv.scbwi.org/events/webinar-with-agent-hannah-mann-professionally-personal-how-to-compel-agents-in-one-page-or-less/

Important places to turn for information:

KiteTales:  this is the quarterly publication put out by editor Shelly Steig with the RMC SCBWI. To access KiteTales, you must be logged in to your SCBWI account. Here you will find agent interviews and writing and/or illustrating tips.  To enjoy current and past issues of Kite Tales, visit RMC.SCBWI.ORG ( https://rmc.scbwi.org/ ) Log in to your account first (access denied until you log in) and click on the side bar items called "FOR OUR MEMBERS" and then select KiteTales.

EVENTS:  Also under FOR OUR MEMBERS (log into your SCBWI account first) you can follow the Good News, Contests, and Upcoming events link to find out about free events as well as fee-based workshops. 

Insights:  This is an online publication put out by SCBWI headquarters. Every issue of Insights features an agent or editor interview.

The Bulletin:  This is a quartly publication put out by the SCBWI, you can choose to receive it via email or snail mail.

Writer’s Digest:  sign up for their free email newsletter. They regularly feature new agents who are hungry for submissions.

Publisher’s Weekly: stay informed with this publication and agent deals.

Publisher’s Lunch: Free newsletter and a great place to read about new deals. Here you will see one-liners (log lines) about recently aquired books. When reading the one-line logged lines, you might find inspiration for how to word your "hook".

Agent Query:  good place read about agents and possibly vet them. Keep in mind, this is not a fool-proof vetting source, but it's a great place to get started. Here's how they describe themself: "AgentQuery.com offers one of the largest searchable database of literary agents on the web—a treasure trove of reputable, established literary agents seeking writers just like you. And it's free (not because there's a catch, but simply because not enough things in this world are free)."

Preditors and Editors: Another online forum to vet which agents are following best practices.

Follow RMC SCBWI on our closed Facebook page (members only page, so you'll request to join when you first arrive. Here, we post regularly about industry news and upcoming webinars and events.

Follow RMC or me on Twitter:

@SCBWIRockyMtn  this is the RMC SCBWI account

@Bkshelfdetectiv (this is me, Kim Tomsic)

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