First Impressions: What Makes or Breaks a Query

I recently had the pleasure of hosting an open call for submissions through the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). In one month, I received over 800 submissions for picture books, middle grade, and YA.

I wanted to make sure I gave each book the proper time and attention, but 800 is a lot! I usually know within a few sentences of the email submission whether or not I am going to keep reading, which means first impressions are absolutely vital. In the end, I only brought about 10 manuscripts before my acquisitions board. For those of you with math skills like mine (meaning I had to use a calculator), that’s just 1.25 percent.

So how do you get into that 1.25 percent? How can you get your query to stand out to an agent, an editor, or a publisher? Well, look no further. I’ve created a handy, five-point system to help you get past the inbox and onto the acquisitions table. Continue reading

Writers Associations: The top groups and how to join

There are dozens of writers groups and associations in genres ranging from children’s books to science fiction. For active members, these organizations can be great ways to connect with writers and industry professionals, enter contests, attend conferences, and more. But how do you know which one is right for you?

I’ve outlined several of the top groups below in the general categories of nonfiction and fiction, as well as genres of children’s books, mystery, romance, and science fiction. You’ll get all the key facts and costs as well as links to membership pages and other pertinent information. And if none of these catch your eye, peruse even more options at the end of the post!

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The New Year, Old Year, All Year Resolutions Every Writer Should Have

Some of us make New Year’s Resolutions…and some of us make All Year Resolutions (after we’ve stopped going to the gym in February). Whether you’ve stuck to this year’s promises or not, resolve to try these 10 things within the next calendar year. Below are the top 10 resolutions for writers, from setting writing goals to keeping your website fresh to making meaningful connections with other authors. A happy, productive writing year to us all!  Continue reading