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 on: November 06, 2014, 09:32:38 PM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by jfields
Right, don't sound one way in the letter and another in the bio.

 on: November 06, 2014, 07:08:44 PM 
Started by Mikki S - Last post by jojocookie
Thank you for sharing that.

 on: November 06, 2014, 10:14:30 AM 
Started by Mikki S - Last post by Mikki S
Hi, I've been missing-in-action for awhile, due to family issues, but I hope you don't mind if I add something to this conversation.

Here is my query letter to an editor who contacted me:

Dear Ms. Hamilton,

In response to our previous emails, I’m very happy to be sending you a query, synopsis, and the first three chapters of my paranormal/historical/mystery, Beneath the Possum Belly: Night Cries.

Sixteen-year old Gabriela Gaudet, daughter of the owners of a traveling carnival, is struggling to learn about her psychic powers. She hears the cries of three small girls begging her to find their killer. When the carnival breaks down in their town, she is determined to do just that, despite the fact the town has covered up any mention of the children’s deaths. She enlists the help of a young man, Remi, who seems to know a great deal about her even before they meet. When dangerous incidents begin happening at the carnival, Gabriela knows there are forces within the town working to keep her from further investigation, but this only makes her more determined. The vicious high school bully, Melvin McAllister, attacks her; the World History teacher, Mr. Rutherford, who is not who he seems to be, kidnaps her; but neither they, nor the gargoyles who come to life at night, nor the veiled threats of witches, cause her to quit. However, when Gabriela and Remi find the murder weapon, with the same dragon on it that is on a ring Gabriela’s father wears, her pursuit of the truth becomes unsure.

Beneath the Possum Belly: Night Cries is set in 1935 in the town of Dead Man’s Crossing, Iowa, and is a young adult novel of about 65,000 words.

I have published about 30 short stories and articles in national and online children’s magazines. My debut novel for middle grade, The Freedom Thief, was published in November, 2013; my second novel, for middle grade girls, Cheers, Chocolate, and Other Disasters in April, 2014; and my third novel, also for girls, Lily Leticia and the Book of Practical Magic, is scheduled to be published in the spring of 2015, all by MuseItUp Publishing.

Thank you very much for your time. I have attached a synopsis and the first three chapters of the manuscript, and the full manuscript is available if you are interested.

Marienne K. Sadil, writing as Mikki Sadil

Frankly, my 'bio' is pretty cut and dried...not an "interesting" quirk in it anywhere! I'm not sure if making yourself interesting is what editors are looking for. My experience has been that they usually just want to know what your qualifications are for publication, and if you have had any of your work previously published.

However, I don't write-for-hire, nor for educational publishers, and I stopped writing non-fiction so I could concentrate on my novels, so maybe it is different for those kinds of editors. I don't know about that kind of query, so I don't want to lead anyone down the wrong path.

I just thought I'd share the kind of query I normally write, but it might not be what you all are looking for.

 on: November 06, 2014, 09:00:05 AM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by jojocookie
What do you mean by stylistically a switch?

Meaning the voice of your query matching the voice of your MS? Then doing a complete U-turn in the voice of your bio?

 on: November 06, 2014, 08:48:26 AM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by jfields
If you could do it in few enough words, it might be interesting. Just don't let it "take over" the letter and don't let it be stylistically a complete switch from the rest of the letter. Both would be bad.

 on: November 06, 2014, 07:37:42 AM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by jojocookie
I already know what the answer is. This style is for those who don't have much in the way of publishing credits.

Sorry, I posted too soon.

I just read the about page of an agency and was enthralled. They too gave the 'who they are' in a story format. Thought I would copy the idea. I mean if it got me...anyway. It got me.

 on: November 06, 2014, 07:23:54 AM 
Started by jojocookie - Last post by jojocookie
In the bio section of your query, how can you make it interesting? I mean other than just a short summary and or list of what you've accomplished, and where you have been. Something that would make them remember you. Put a dent in their brain. While still sounding professional.

I don't mean that it should be long or anything like that.

How about something original?

Not boring.

Like a story format?

Is that concept too out there?

 on: November 06, 2014, 06:06:43 AM 
Started by jfields - Last post by jfields
Children's Writers eNews
November 6, 2014
"The Write Words to Read"
The Institute of Children's Literature
Editor: Jan Fields --

Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.
-- A.A. Milne
1. News
2. Online in Rx
3. At the Writer's Retreat
4. What's New at Kristi's?
5. Market
6. Cool Site
7. Essay
8. Good News
1. It's November. How did that happen?
2. In the Rx
Book Proposals, the Key to Selling Nonfiction
A master of the book proposal, Terry Whalin shares how to sell nonfiction by proposal.
3. Are You On The Writer's Retreat?
Come and check out the November discussion on writing proposals and synopsis.

And for all visitors whether registered or not, you'll find plenty of helpful information: get help for student lessons. Learn to build solid plots. Share your ups and downs with fellow writers. It's all there.
4. What's New at Kristi's?

Friday, Oct. 31: "3 Ideas to Give Your Writing a Boost"
Here are three articles that will help you in your writing. Pay particular attention to the third one--it will help you every single writing day.

Tuesday, Nov. 4: "Set Your OWN Course"
You don't want to reach the end of your writing days and realize you're clear off course. Chart your own course and determinedly stick to it.

5. Writing for Children's Magazines
Ev has updated her excellent ezine (and I don't just say that because it has an article by me in it!) For everyone checking out the magazine writing option, be sure to think of Ev when you want to share what you're learning with other writers. We all get better as we share what we know. As always, Ev's Tidbits are full of great marketing information and you should check out the links to all the magazines!
6. Know What A Magazine Wants
Tips from Andy Boyles, science editor at HIGHLIGHTS magazine -- these are part of a speech from Andy at a Chautauqua conference in 1997, but they're equally true today.
7. So You Want to Sell A Story?

I see a lot of writing that isn't publication ready. One of the problems is that many writers start right out of the gate looking for reasons NOT to write a saleable story. I'm not sure why. But I see a lot of it. For example, the following are not salable stories today, no matter how much fun you had writing it:
* the drive over to see grandma/grandpa
* a description of your dog (with or without a cute thing the dog did)
* a list of things you should be grateful to your parents about
* a list of things to like about your grandmother/grandfather
* a grandmother/grandfather telling a funny thing their grandkid did from grandmother/grandfather's viewpoint
* a list of things you find in a kindergarten classroom
* a list of stray things beginning with the letters of the alphabet
* counting to ten in steps (one-two, one-two-three, one-two-three-four, and so on)

If you look at these items (and they are VERY VERY VERY commonly submitted items to publishers of picture books or stories for young children), you might notice they have two things in common. One is "the incident." A common incident doesn't sell. Even if you enjoyed experiencing it. The other is "the list." A list of items doesn't sell.

BUT, you say, I've seen things in publication that were common incidents or lists. You probably have and if you trotted on out I could probably tell you why it was published despite being an incident or a list -- it was because of something else it did. Something you probably didn't notice when making your own incident or list. So really, if you're trying to break into publication, just start by setting aside your incident or list and writing a STORY instead.

But picture books and magazine stories for little kids are so short, how do I do a story at that length? It isn't easy, but it's worthwhile. See, there's a secret to writing. It isn't easy. It isn't always fun (though I most always find it enjoyable). It's challenging, sometimes it's hard, and sometimes it's frustrating. But if you want to SELL a story for very young readers, you're going to SELL the story far more quickly if it's ACTUALLY A STORY.

So what is a story? At it's heart, it's this:

[Main character] wants/needs [important thing TO THAT CHARACTER] but [this makes it hard] so he/she [does something about it.]

How does that work in a story you probably know. Let's go with WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE...

Max wants to be a wild thing, but his mother sends him to his room without supper, so he leaves to live with the wild things...and he learns something from it. That last bit is not necessarily essential to a story for very young children, but it will make a story just that much more delectable to an editor IF IT'S DONE RIGHT. Right means, not preachy, not lecturey, not moral-of-the-story-ish.

So let's try our little story plan on another classic story that is actually just one little mini-story within a middle grade novel, one about a character named RAMONA by Beverly Cleary.

Ramona wanted to wear her cozy pajamas to school but her mom wouldn't let her so she wore them under the clothes...and learned something from it. [Namely that wearing two layers of clothes is a hot, sweaty miserable business.]

Honestly, this little story structure can produce an infinite number of publishable stories if you just play around with it. Make a list of all the things a kid might want passionately -- a new friend, a new puppy, to get over his/her cold, to fly, to train a goldfish -- and then think of something that would stand in the way of every single one of those. Then have the character do something about it. This is the point where you need to think outside the box -- have the character do something really kid-like but really creative. Even wacky. Something that is sure to lead to some kind of interesting result, because that result will be where the characters grows and changes. That will be where your story becomes something unusual, unexpected, and amazing.

8. Good News

Christine Collier: I have two new books to announce. A Christian romance novella, “A Heartfelt Christmas,” and a book for middle graders and tweens, “That Recycling Kid.” Both are available on Amazon. Each book has humor, and a touch of mystery. Also, my craft article, “Star of Wonder,” will be in the December issue of Sparkle magazine. My essay, “Blizzard in the Music Room,” will be in the December issue of Prairie Times.

Diane Jones: My news is that my story "Pilgrim's Proof" is in the latest Chicken Soup for the Soul book, subtitled Touched by an Angel. It's in book stores & now

James J. Deeney: The Little Princess Santa Claus Forgot, is out now on Amazon, just in time for the holiday season..
Six lovely short Christmas stories kids will enjoy reading and being read to.

What's Your Good News? Send to -- be sure to put "good news" in the subject line since I get a lot of book announcements due to the review work I do. So I don't want your good news to slip through the cracks.

9. For All Subscribers

Many of our enews issues are being blocked from getting to all of our subscribers. It can be difficult to convince your email provider that you truly want to receive this enews. Therefore we've created a list of directions to make it easier for you find the exact steps to ensure the enews always makes it to your inbox.

Please, check out this link for specific directions to ensure you get every issue of the Children's Writers eNews.

To Unsubscribe from the email version of Children's Writers eNews, go to
NOTE: I can add you, remove you, or change your address manually and will be happy to do so.
To have your address changed, email and do the following:
1. TELL ME that it's a change of address for the enews. I handle a lot of things so if you don't tell me what you want me to do, I may not do it.
2. TELL ME your OLD address as well as the NEW one. I cannot search by your name. I need the old address.
3. DO NOT send me a mass mailing that you sent to everyone in your address book that just tells me your new email. I won't know what you want me to do or if it's really for me at all. And I'll probably just delete it.

 on: November 05, 2014, 01:40:15 PM 
Started by judyr - Last post by KatieC
Hi Judy. When I started sending packets to educational publishers and packagers, I had no experience and no huge education to offer. I did have a few magazine credits, and I had graduated from ICL. That was it. I can only think it MUST have been my writing sample that led that first publisher to pick me to work on a project. So don't despair! If this is something you're interested in, don't give up!

 on: November 05, 2014, 11:28:08 AM 
Started by judyr - Last post by judyr
As it turns out, clear communication is a lot more difficult than I thought.  Grin

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