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1. YA Books for Adults and Adult Books for YA Lovers

As writers and illustrators the holiday season provides an opportunity to support the publishing industry by buying a few books as gifts for friends and family.

Goodreads announced their 2014 Readers Choice Awards. Click the picture below to review the nominees and the winners in all categories.


Here are 25 YA books that Epic Reads suggests for Adults. How many have you read?


Out of the books pictured above I have read 7 and have 4 bought and ready to be read.

Out of the 25 Adult Books for Fans of YA I have read 4 and 3 are waiting to be read.

From the books pictured above, I have read 23 and 12 are bought and waiting.

There are so many more wonderful books I have read this year. How many of these books did you read? Did you have a book that was your favorite? It doesn’t have to be pictured. I’d love you to share.

Oh, don’t forget the picture books: Each time you buy a picture book you support an illustrator and a writer with your purchase and the book you buy might be the book that puts a child on the path to enjoying books for the rest of their life.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, inspiration, list, Middle Grade Novels, picture books, Young Adult Novel Tagged: 2014 Goodreads Best Books, Adult Book for YA Lovers, Goodreads, YA Books for Adults

0 Comments on YA Books for Adults and Adult Books for YA Lovers as of 12/4/2014 1:05:00 AM
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2. Thirteen Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition

Thirteen Scary YA Books (diverse edition)
Halloween is right around the corner. There’s no better way to celebrate than by reading books that will scare you to pieces! Here’s a lucky thirteen list of our favorites (all featuring diverse characters or by diverse authors):

  1. Half WorldHalf World by Hiromi Goto – Melanie Tamaki lives with her mother in abject poverty. Then, her mother disappears. Melanie must journey to the mysterious Half World to save her.
  2. Vodnik by Bryce Moore – Sixteen-year-old Tomas moves back to Slovakia with his family and discovers the folktales of his childhood were more than just stories.
  3. The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa – Allie Sekemoto survives by scavenging for food by day. She hates the vampires who keep humans like cattle for their food. Until the day she dies and wakes up as a vampire.
  4. Liar by Justine Larbalestier – Micah is a liar; it’s the only thing she’ll tell you the truth about. But when her boyfriend Zach is murdered, the whole truth has to come out.
  5. Battle Royale by Koushan Takami – A group of junior high school students are sent to an island and forced to fight to the death until only one of them survives.
  6. Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall – Odilia and her sisters discover a Wolf Mark coverdead man’s body while swimming in the Rio Grande. They journey across Mexico to return his body in this Odyssey-inspired tale.
  7. Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda – Zombies, ghouls, and vampires all make appearances in the story of Bilquis SanGreal, the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar.
  8. Panic by Sharon Draper – Diamond knows better than to get into a car with a stranger. But when the stranger offers her the chance to dance in a movie, Diamond makes a very wrong decision.
  9. Ten by Gretchen McNeil – Ten teens head to a secluded island for an exclusive party…until people start to die. A modern YA retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
  10. Wolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac – Inspired by the Abenaki skinwalker legend, this YA thriller is Burn Notice with werewolves.
  11. The Girl From The WellThe Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco – A dead girl roams the streets, hunting murders. A strange tattooed boy moves to the neighborhood with a deadly secret.
  12. 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad –  Three teenagers win the vacation of a lifetime: a week-long trip to the moon. But something sinister is waiting for them in the black vacuum of space.
  13. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake – Cas Lowood is a ghost hunter, called to Thunder Bay, Ontario to get rid of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, who has killed every person who has stepped foot in the house she haunts.

What else would you add to the list?

Filed under: Diversity in YA, Diversity, Race, and Representation, Lee & Low Likes, Tu Books Tagged: African/African American Interest, Asian/Asian American, Book Lists by Topic, diversity, halloween, Joseph Bruchac, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican, list, Multiracial, Native American, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Teens/YA, Tu Books

3 Comments on Thirteen Scary YA Books: Diverse Edition, last added: 10/17/2014
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3. How to Spot a Great Picture Book

dilysDilys Evans has been providing advice to young artists since 1978, when she founded Dilys Evans Fine Illustration.

Below is a summary of that advice—10 characteristics that she believes all outstanding picture books have in common.

Use it as a guide as you evaluate the picture books in your collection.

1. In the Beginning Was the Word
The pictures must be truly inspired by the story.

2. Preparation Is Paramount
The artist knows his or her characters, subject, and the setting inside and out.

3. A Great Cover Is a Great Start
If the cover art is compelling, it will make the viewer pick up the book and turn the pages.

4. The Artist Sets the Scene before the Story Begins
The inside flap offers a great opportunity to set the stage for the story or introduce a character.

5. The Endpapers Involve the Reader
Endpapers are another opportunity to add to the story or overall design of the book.

6. The Medium Is the Message
The perfect choice of medium to illustrate the text should convey every mood and nuance.

7. Every Picture Tells the Story
Every image is central to the story and moves it forward to the next page.

8. The Book Is a Form of Dramatic Art
Every scene must be carefully chosen to dully illustrate the drama and excitement of the story as it unfolds.

9. Art and Type Should Be a Perfect Marriage
The typeface should seem to be almost an extension of the art itself.

10. White Space Rules!
White space is a compositional element and not just a background to present the art.

Printed by the School Library Journal, September 2005

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, How to, list, picture books, reference, Tips Tagged: Dilys Evans, Guide to Evaluate a Picture Book, How to Spot a Great Picture Book

5 Comments on How to Spot a Great Picture Book, last added: 9/20/2014
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4. YA Authors are amoung the Top Earning Authors


This fun fall illustration was sent in and created by Lisa Fields.  She is an illustrator based out of New York City, who is represented by CATugeau Artist Agency.  She says she loves to focus on facial expression and color in her work.  LisaFields.com

Seventeen World’s Top-Earning Authors: Veronica Roth, John Green And Gillian Flynn New on List

Young adult author Veronica Roth‘s ranks 6th on account of her “Divergent” trilogy which sold a combined 6.7 million copies in 2013, earning her around $17 million from print and ebook sales between June 2013 and June 2014. She also benefited from the book’s 2014 film adaption, which grossed $270 million at the global box office. At just 26, Roth is the youngest newcomer on the ranking, and one of seven women on the 17-person list.

37-year-old newcomer John Green’s ”The Fault in Our Stars” propelled him to an estimated $9 million yearly paycheck before taxes and fees. The YA love story, which follows the trials of two cancer-stricken teens, has sold well over 1 million copies in the U.S. and spawned a weepy summer blockbuster.

Green is tied for 12th place with Gillian Flynn, who joins the rankings for the first time due to the continued success of 2012′s “Gone Girl.” While not a YA book, it is a New York Times bestseller that sold 1.2 million copies in 2013; a movie version starring Ben Affleck hits cinemas this year.

A 2012 Bowker Market Research study suggested 55% of YA books are bought by people 18 and older. Adults aged between 30 and 44 accounted for 28% of all YA sales, and the books are purchased for their own reading the vast majority of the time.

“The category has reached adult audiences and really become okay to read,” said Lori Benton, VP Group Publisher at Scholastic Trade Publishing. “Harry Potter was the very first one to reach that audience – it was quickly embraced by children, and just as quickly by adults.”

With $14 million in earnings, the original young adult tour de force, J.K. Rowling, ranks 8th on our list. She continues to earn from back sales of her iconic Harry Potter series, while Pottermore – a proprietary website she setup to sell Harry Potter ebooks – makes her a pretty penny. Unlike most authors, Rowling never signed over the digital rights to her books, so she sells directly to readers, earning far more from these digital sales than most authors do through ebooks.

READ FULL ARTICLE by Natlie Robehmed for Forbes:



Here’s the List:

ALEX CROSS and MICHAEL BENNETT series: James Patterson 90,000 million. His books account for one out of every 17 hardcover novels purchased in the United States.

INFERNO: Dan Brown 28 million

JEWELS OF THE SUN: Nora Roberts 23 million due to paperback and e-book sales.

A PERFECT LIFE: Danielle Steel 22 million

POWER PLAY: Janet Evanovich 20 million

WIMPY KID: Jeff Kinney 17 million

DIVERGENT Series: Veronica Roth 17 million

SYCAMORE ROW: John Grisham 17 million

DOCTOR SLEEP: Stephen King 17 million

HUNGER GAMES: Suzanne Collins 16 million

HARRY POTTER: J.K. Rowling 14 million

GAME OF THRONES: George R.R. Martin 12 million

KING AND MAXWELL: David Baldacci 11 million

THE HEROS OF OLYMPUS: Rick Riordan 10 million

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: E.L. James 10 million (Sold 29 million copies in 2012 the U.S. alone. Sales dropped off in 2013 to a combined 1.8 million, but an upcoming movie could boost 2015.

GONE GIRL: Gillian Flynn 9 million

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS: John Green 9 million

You too can join the list. All you need to do is write a great book, get a great Agent, how finds a great publisher, make all the Best Book Lists, sell it to a Hollywood Studio who brings it to the big screen then becomes a blockbuster hit and repeat year after year. So keep writing, because you don’t have a chance to make that happen any other way.

Talk tomorrow,



Filed under: Hollywood, inspiration, list, News, Publishing Industry, success, Young Adult Novel Tagged: CaTugeau, Lisa Fields, Six YA authors in top selling Book list, Top Earning Authors

1 Comments on YA Authors are amoung the Top Earning Authors, last added: 9/12/2014
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5. Pledge This Before Starting a Thriller Novel

For my next manuscript I plan to write a thriller, so I bought
How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters by James N. Frey to study.


I thought you might be interested in James Frey’s list of what to pledge before starting your novel.

A thriller is a pulse-pounding supsense. In the US, mysteries are not considered thriller, though they share some common elements.

In a mystery, the hero has a mission to find a killer.

In a thriller, the hero has a mission to foil evil.

To write a damn good thriller, you need a killer attitude. Pledge to yourself to do the following:

  1. Commit yourself to creating strong conflicts in every line of every scene.
  • Decide you will have fresh, snappy dialogue and not a single line of conversation.
  • Decide to write quickly when drafting. Fast is golden.
  • Give yourself production quotas of at least a thousand words everyday, even if you have a tough day job like kissing up to bad bosses. Three or four thousand would be better.
  • If your significant other complains your thriller writing is taking up too much of you time, get a new significant other.
  • Commit yourself to this: You will not have any major characters that are bland and colorless. They will all be dramatic types, theatrical, driven, larger than life, clever.
  • Create a step sheet for the whole novel or screenplay. You might start your first draft if you know your opening and have an idea for the climax.
  • Trick the expectations of the reader and create nice surprises from time to time.
  • Have your character in terrible trouble right from the beginning, and never let them get free of terrible trouble until the climax.
  • Have powerful story questions operating at all times.
  • End each scene or section of dramatic narrative with a bridge, a story question to carry the reader to the next one.
  • Always keep brainstorming and think about what’s happening off scene.
  • Make charts for the major characters that tell you what they’re doing when they’re not on scene.
  • Try to be fresh. Don’t use the same old cliches.
  • Be sure your prose is colorful and sensuous.
  • Keep the clock ticking and the excitement mounting right to the climactic moment.
  • Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Advice, Author, Book, demystify, How to, list, Writing Tips Tagged: How To Write A Damn Good Thriller, James N. Frey, Writing a thriller novel

    0 Comments on Pledge This Before Starting a Thriller Novel as of 9/9/2014 2:23:00 AM
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    6. Pledge This Before Starting a Thriller Novel

    For my next manuscript I plan to write a thriller, so I bought
    How to Write a Damn Good Thriller: A Step-by-Step Guide for Novelists and Screenwriters by James N. Frey to study.


    I thought you might be interested in James Frey’s list of what to pledge before starting your novel.

    A thriller is a pulse-pounding supsense. In the US, mysteries are not considered thriller, though they share some common elements.

    In a mystery, the hero has a mission to find a killer.

    In a thriller, the hero has a mission to foil evil.

    To write a damn good thriller, you need a killer attitude. Pledge to yourself to do the following:

    1. Commit yourself to creating strong conflicts in every line of every scene.
  • Decide you will have fresh, snappy dialogue and not a single line of conversation.
  • Decide to write quickly when drafting. Fast is golden.
  • Give yourself production quotas of at least a thousand words everyday, even if you have a tough day job like kissing up to bad bosses. Three or four thousand would be better.
  • If your significant other complains your thriller writing is taking up too much of you time, get a new significant other.
  • Commit yourself to this: You will not have any major characters that are bland and colorless. They will all be dramatic types, theatrical, driven, larger than life, clever.
  • Create a step sheet for the whole novel or screenplay. You might start your first draft if you know your opening and have an idea for the climax.
  • Trick the expectations of the reader and create nice surprises from time to time.
  • Have your character in terrible trouble right from the beginning, and never let them get free of terrible trouble until the climax.
  • Have powerful story questions operating at all times.
  • End each scene or section of dramatic narrative with a bridge, a story question to carry the reader to the next one.
  • Always keep brainstorming and think about what’s happening off scene.
  • Make charts for the major characters that tell you what they’re doing when they’re not on scene.
  • Try to be fresh. Don’t use the same old cliches.
  • Be sure your prose is colorful and sensuous.
  • Keep the clock ticking and the excitement mounting right to the climactic moment.
  • Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Advice, Author, Book, demystify, How to, list, Writing Tips Tagged: How To Write A Damn Good Thriller, James N. Frey, Writing a thriller novel

    1 Comments on Pledge This Before Starting a Thriller Novel, last added: 9/8/2014
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    7. Ten Tips to Juice Up Your Protagonist

    Most writers know every story needs a protagonist with a problem, but your MC also needs to be interesting, compelling, and sympathetic to keep the readers wanting more. We want our characters to jump off the page and grab our readers by the throat. Plus, we want our readers to remember and think about our characters and our story long after they close our book.

    Here are ten ways to make your protagonist do just that: 


    1.  MC has a problem that needs to be solved

    Make sure your protagonist is the one with the problem and no one else can solve this problem (or solve it as well as he or she can. The MC has to be central to the entire issue.

    2.  MC has the ability to act

    Don’t let your protagonists go around just reacting to things when they happen. Your MC should make things happen and move the story along through his or her choices and actions. A protagonist who knows what she wants and makes the story happen is a far more compelling character than one who sits around and waits for the story to happen. Make sure your protagonist is more than just someone in the middle of a mess.

    If this is not happening in your book, you need to adjust your story in order to get your protagonist in a position where they can affect the change.

    3.  MC needs reasons to act

    You can always give your MC something to do, but they need to have good reasons for their actions or your story will start to stretch credibility as to why they would get involved in something that clearly don’t care about. If you want to have your protagonist risk their life or happiness, make sure it’s for a reason readers will understand. NOTE: This is where a critique group comes in handy.

    4.  MC needs a compelling quality

    Like I said in the beginning, we want to make our MC interesting. Maybe they’re funny, smart or twisted. Maybe your MC has an unusual talent, skill, or quark. Whatever you choose, there needs to be a quality that makes a reader want to know more. Most times the thing that is compelling is also contradictory, making the reader want to know how these two things work together, thus hooking the reader.

    5.  MC has something to lose

    Just having a reason to act isn’t enough, so think about having your MC lose something that matters. This is a powerful motivating tool that will enable you to force your protagonist to do what he normally wouldn’t. You can have them take risks they would never take if there are consequences hanging over their head. This will make readers worry that your MC might suffer those consequences and lose what matters most to him.

    6.  MC should have something to gain

    An important aspect of the story’s stakes that’s sometimes forgotten or not thought through well enough is giving the MC something to gain. Readers want to see a protagonist rewarded for all their hard work and sacrifice, and a reason for your protagonist to keep going when everything says give up.

    7.  Give Your MC the capacity to change

    The sole of the story is character growth. It’s what turns it from a series of plot scenes to a tale worth writing. Giving your protagonist the ability to learn from his experiences and become a better (though not always) person will deepen your story. Your MC shouldn’t be the same person as they were when the story began.

    8.  MC needs an interesting flaw

    It is the flaws that make your MC interesting. Flaws let you show character growth and give your protagonist a way to improve themselves. Maybe your MC knows about this flaw and is actively trying to fix it, or perhaps he or she hasn’t a clue and change is being forced upon them. This flaw could be the very thing that allows your MC to survive and overcome the problems. Of course, it could also be the cause of the entire mess.

    9.  MC has a secret

    You don’t want your MC to be predictable – boring. A good way to keep your protagonist interesting is to have your MC hide something. Readers will wonder what that secret is and how it affects the story. Having your protagonist be a little cryptic, will keep your readers dying to find out.

    10. MC needs someone or something interesting trying to stop him

    Don’t forget that your protagonist needs an antagonist standing against him. The stronger the antagonist is that goes up against your MC, the more tension, suspense and victory you will provide for the reader. Give the reader a villain they will love to hate. The payoff will be keeping your readers turning the pages and reading into the wee hours of the morning.

    Do you have another tips for juicing up your characters? We’d love to hear it.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Advice, article, How to, list, Process, revisions, Writing Tips Tagged: Juice Up Your Protagonist, Ten character Writing Tips, Writing compelling characters

    9 Comments on Ten Tips to Juice Up Your Protagonist, last added: 9/3/2014
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    8. Agent Talk: 7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With

    carly-watters-p-s-literary-agencyA few weeks ago, Agent Carly Watters on her blog talked about after you write a great manuscript, how does an agent decide to work with someone after that? She has seven tips.

    7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With by Carly Watters:

    1. Open to revisions

    Right away, I know if an author is going to be a fit for me based on how they react to revision ideas. Agents are looking for writers that are open to feedback and collaboration. If I gave you an R&R did you connect with my notes? Did you ask questions that take my notes from suggestions to big picture changes that make the novel better?

    2. Always wants to get better

    A line I like to use is “trust your future self.” What that means to me is if you can write good novel, you can write many more. Getting defensive about your novel means you are holding on to it when really you should be willing to let it go and work on the next. Agents are looking to represent authors for the long term, so what we need is the faith that you want to be the best writer, every time you write a new book. We know there will be ups and downs, but it’s that drive to succeed that will separate many writers from the ones that don’t make it.

    3. Treats assistants and senior industry members alike

    From time to time we get people who respond to our query letter auto-response with condescending and mean emails. It doesn’t matter who is on the other end of those emails, our principal agent or our assistant, you have to be friendly to everyone–not just the people who influence your career. Those mean emails just reinforce our decision to pass without a second thought.

    4. Asks questions

    I love it when authors want to know more about the process. Don’t be shy about wanting to know how the business works. Whether it’s a Twitter #askagent session or when you’re on ‘The Call’ with an agent, make sure you ask the important questions that help your understanding.

    5. Trusts us

    The number one way to work with an agent for a long period of time is trust. I know this isn’t built over night, but you have to trust your agent to have your best interests at heart. This is one of the most important long-term author/agent relationship requirements. Only query agents that you see yourself working with and that you already trust (whether it’s a referral, their taste or client list).

    6. Communication

    This is part of trust, but authors have to be up-front with agents. Did you self publish before? Have you had an agent before? Can you share your sales numbers from your previous book? It’s the little things that add up when it comes to communication. We need to know everything if we’re going to represent you well.

    7. Professional on social media

    As easy as it is for authors to Google agents to see if we might be a fit for you, when we fall in love with a query or manuscript the first thing we do is Google you back. What agents love to see on social media is a personality (not just link blasts). You don’t have to have a ton of followers (but points if you do!) to get our attention. It’s all about the balance between promotion and personality. We love it when authors are part of writing communities and support other authors. That means, when the time comes, those other published writers will support you too.

    You should check out Carly’s Blog: http://carlywatters.com/blog/

    PS Literary is looking for an intern. Carly has information about working remotely for them. If you have any aspirations to become a literary Agent, this would be something to consider.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Advice, Agent, article, authors and illustrators, list, opportunity, Social Media, Tips Tagged: 7 Ways to Make Yourself an Easy Author to Work with, Carly Watters

    3 Comments on Agent Talk: 7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With, last added: 8/10/2014
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    9. Amazon Strategies: Sales Page


    If your book is up on Amazon, you can have an Author Page. This is another opportunity for you, so use it. Here are a few tips:

    1. Think of your book’s Amazon.com page as a ¼ page ad in a glossy magazine. You want to build excitement, hype, and the urge to buy rather than dutifully explaining your product.

    2. Watch out for typos and grammar, so you put your best foot forward. Make sure what is written makes sense. If you can’t write a good Author Page, most people will think you can’t write a good novel, either.

    3. Include review quotes. You want to draw someone into buying your book.

    4. Put up book trailers, interviews, and videos on your Amazon page.

    5. You can show recent blog posts and twitter entries.

    6. List places your events and the dates.

    7. Another thing you can do is to encourage a discussion with your fans on this page.

    Let’s take a look at Yvonne Ventresca’s Author Page:


    Yvonne has included a lot of the tips on the above list, but I’d like to see her add a few quotes from reviews of Pandemic, a book trailer, and to work on getting a video interview she can put up on the page. Adding these things will maximize the free space Amazon has given her and help increase the sales of her new book.

    Good job, Yvonne!

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, Book, list, Marketing a book, Publishing Industry, Tips Tagged: Amazon Sales Page, Maximize Book Sales, Pandemic, Yvonne Ventresca

    2 Comments on Amazon Strategies: Sales Page, last added: 8/6/2014
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    10. Amazon Ranking vs. Daily Book Sales

    Thought you might be interested in the information I presented at the “How to Sell More Books” Workshop I gave at the NJSCBWI Conference in June. You might want to use it as a general rule of thumb when checking out your book (on other books) on Amazon.
    amazon rank

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, demystify, How to, list, need to know, Publishing Industry, reference Tagged: 2014 NJSCBWI Conference, Amazon Ranking vs. Daily Book Sales, How to Sell More Books

    4 Comments on Amazon Ranking vs. Daily Book Sales, last added: 8/2/2014
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    11. YA Digital Book Publishers

    Here is a list of publishers who look to publish digital books. I thought you might like to keep this list for future reference, a good list to research. Note: The number of deals are only the ones reported to Publishers Marketplace.


    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: list, Places to sumit, publishers, Publishing Industry, reference, Young Adult Novel Tagged: 2014 State of the Market Report, YA Digital Publishers

    3 Comments on YA Digital Book Publishers, last added: 7/22/2014
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    12. Fun – Cool – Interesting Words

    Author Tara Lazar posted a list of Fun Words on her blog. I have done a number of Word Lists on this blog, so as not to reinvent the wheel, I copied Tara’s list and deleted some words so you would have to visit her site. To the right of the column, I added some of my own fun words. I’m sure you have a bunch of words you could add. If you do, just leave them in the comments.

    Rainbow coloured swirl background

    All writers love language. And we especially love fun words, don’t we? Some have funky spellings, tongue-twisting turns, a satisfying “ooh”…and some sound too hilarious to be true! So I’ve put together a list of favorite fun words that I’ll add to periodically. Have fun, lexicon lovers!

    1. aficionado
    2. akimbo
    3. alfresco
    4. ambrosial
    5. anemone
    6. aplomb
    7. apoplectic
    8. appaloosa
    9.                                                  Arietta
    10. avuncular
    11. balderdash
    12. bamboozle
    13. barnstorming
    14. befuddled
    15. berserk                                    Bilge
    16. boffo
    17. bombastic
    18. boondoggle
    19. bozo
    20. braggadocio                            Brewski
    21. brouhaha
    22. bucolic
    23. buffoon                                    Buffoonery
    24. bulbous
    25. bumbledom
    26. bungalow
    27. cacophony                               Caboodle
    28. cahoots
    29. candelabra
    30. canoodle
    31. cantankerous
    32. caterwaul
    33. catawampus                             Chameleon
    34. chichi
    35. chimichanga
    36. claptrap                                    Clairvoyant
    37. clodhopper
    38. cockatoo
    39. codswallop
    40. comeuppance
    41. conundrum
    42. copacetic
    43. cornucopia                                 Coquette
    44. cowabunga
    45. coxcomb
    46. crestfallen
    47. cuckolded
    48. curlicue
    49. demitasse
    50. diaphanous                                 Diatribe
    51. digeridoo
    52. dilemma                                      Dilettante
    53. dirigible
    54. discombobulated
    55.                                                      Donnybrook
    56. doohickey
    57. doppelganger                            Drivel
    58. ebullient
    59. effervescence
    60. egads                                           Enchantress
    61. extraterrestrial
    62. finagle
    63. fandango
    64. festooned
    65. fisticuffs
    66. flabbergasted
    67. flapdoodle                                  Fledgling
    68. flibbertigibbet                           Floozy
    69. flummoxed
    70. fortuitous
    71. fracas
    72. frippery
    73. froufrou
    74. fussbudget
    75. gadzooks
    76. gallimaufry                                   Garantuan
    77.                                                         Giddy
    78. gibberish                                       Ginseng
    79. gobbledygook
    80. gobsmacked
    81. gorgonzola
    82. gossamer
    83. guffaw
    84. haberdashery
    85. harrumph                                     Harlet
    86. highfalutin
    87. hijinks
    88. hippocampus
    89. hobbledehoy                               Hobgoblin
    90. hodgepodge                                Hoedown
    91. hogwash                                      Hooey
    92. hooligan
    93. hootenanny                                Horsefeathers
    94. hornswoggle
    95. hubbub
    96. hullabaloo
    97. humbug
    98. humdinger                                  Huzzy
    99. huzzah
    100. hyperbole
    101. idiosyncrasies
    102. indubitably
    103. jabberwocky                               Jibber
    104. jitney
    105. juggernaut
    106. juxtaposition
    107. kaleidoscope
    108. kerfuffle
    109. kerplunk                                      Killjoy
    110. kismet
    111. knickerbocker
    112. knickknack
    113. kumquat
    114. lackadaisical
    115. lambasted
    116. lampoon
    117. limburger
    118. logjam
    119. logorrhea
    120. lollapalooza
    121. lollygag                                 Ludicrous
    122. lugubrious
    123. magnificent
    124.                                                 Magnum
    125. malarkey
    126. mayhem
    127. mellifluous                           Mealymouthed
    128. menagerie                            Melee
    129. milquetoast                          Mincemeat
    130. misanthrope
    131. mishmash
    132. mojo (character in THE MONSTORE) Motormouth
    133. mollycoddle                          Monkeyshine
    134. mulligatawny                        Niggle
    135. nincompoop                          Nitpicky
    136. nomenclature
    137. onomatopoeia
    138. oxymoron
    139. pachyderm
    140. palindrome                             Palooka
    141. panache
    142. pandemonium
    143. pantaloons
    144. parallelogram
    145. persimmon
    146. persnickety
    147. pettifogger
    148. phantasmagorical
    149. phylactery
    150. plethora
    151. pollywog
    152. pomposity
    153. poppycock
    154. potpourri
    155.                                                      Prattle
    156. quixotic
    157. raconteur
    158. ragamuffin
    159. rapscallion
    160. razzmatazz
    161. rejigger
    162. rendezvous
    163. resplendent
    164. ricochet
    165. rigmarole
    166. riposte                                       Rotund
    167. ruffian                                       Ruckus
    168. sabayon                                     Rumpus
    169. sassafras
    170. scalawag
    171. schadenfreude
    172. schlep
    173. scintillating
    174. scrofulous
    175. scrumdiddlyumptious
    176. scuttlebutt
    177. serendipity
    178. shenanigans                             Shindig
    179. skedaddle
    180. skullduggery
    181. smorgasbord
    182. sojourn                                     Soothsayer
    183. splendiferous
    184. squeegee
    185. squooshy
    186. staccato
    187.                                                     Stiletto
    188. superfluous
    189. Svengali
    190. swashbuckler
    191. swizzlestick
    192. synchronicity
    193. syzygy
    194. talisman
    195. taradiddle                                Teetotaler
    196.                                                    Teenybopper
    197. telekinesis                                Tenderfoot
    198. thingamabob
    199. thingamajig                             Tirade
    200. tomfoolery                               Tootsie
    201. trapezoid                                  Twadle
    202. usurp
    203. uvula
    204. verisimilitude
    205. vermicious
    206. vertigo
    207. verve
    208. vivacious                                      Voodoo
    209. vuvuzela
    210. wanderlust
    211. whippersnapper
    212. wigwam
    213. woebegone
    214. zaftig                                              Yakkity
    215. zeitgeist
    216. zenzizenzizenzic (yes, this is a word! look it up!)
    217. zephyr
    218. zeppelin
    219. zigzag                                             Zombie

    Here is the link to Tara’s list:


    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: inspiration, list, reference, writing Tagged: Additional Words on List, Fun words, kathy temean, Tara Lazar

    6 Comments on Fun – Cool – Interesting Words, last added: 6/25/2014
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    13. Kudos: Kirkus Review 2014 Nominees

    Last week, Kirkus Review put out a 27 page list of their 2014 Young Reader Book Nominees. They did a really good job of putting all the information about each one in an easy to use display. The link is at the bottom of this page. I took the books from the list that were written or illustrated by people I know for this post, but it is a great list to use to find books you might want to read.

    Kudos to all my friends who made the list below:

    SLEEPYHEADS by Sandra J. Howatt
    Released: May 6, 2014
    Reviewed: March 17, 2014

    Kirkus StarSLEEPYHEADS
    by Sandra J. Howatt, illustrated by Joyce Wan

    “A superb execution of soporific shapes and sounds perfect for the bedside table. (Picture book. 2-6)

    Sleepyhead readers explore a hushed woodland at dusk, where they discover animals nestled in their cozy places at bedtime. Read full book review >

    TEA PARTY RULES by Ame DyckmanReleased: Oct. 3, 2013
    Reviewed: Sept. 1, 2013>
    Kirkus StarTEA PARTY RULES
    by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by K.G. Campbell

    “Strong storytelling, pacing, emotive illustrations that match the deceptive plot and an exuberant sense of fun make this little gem a winner. (Picture book. 3-7)

    What stops a bear cub from gobbling down a plateful of delicious cookies? Tea Party rules, of course! Read full book review >

    PETEY AND PRU AND THE HULLABALOO by Ammi-Joan PaquetteReleased: Oct. 8, 2013
    Reviewed: Aug. 21, 2013

    by Ammi-Joan Paquette, illustrated by Joy Ang

    “Here’s hoping that there are more kerfuffles and shenanigans in the future for this undeniably delightful duo. (Picture book. 4-8)

    Quiet Petey and his devil spawn of a best friend indulge in a little chaos propelled by gleefully sesquipedalian writing. Read full book review >

    KING FOR A DAY by Rukhsana Khan

    Released: Jan. 1, 2014

    Reviewed: Aug. 31, 2013

    Kirkus StarKING FOR A DAY
    by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Christiane Krömer

    “This story soars. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

    Set in Pakistan during Basant, “the most exciting day of the year,” this story focuses on the strength and resourcefulness of a child in a wheelchair as he navigates the skies at the spring kite festival. Read full book review >

    PANIC by Lauren Oliver

    Released: March 4, 2014

    Reviewed: Jan. 4, 2014

    Kirkus StarPANIC
    by Lauren Oliver

    “The only thing more terrifying than the game itself is not getting the chance to play it. (Thriller. 14 & up)

    Oliver makes a white-knuckle return to realism that will have readers up until the wee hours. Read full book review >


    Released: Feb. 11, 2014
    Reviewed: Nov. 20, 2013


    by Lin Oliver, illustrated by Tomie dePaola

    “A tenderly crafted collection that captures the joyous individual moments of infant discoveries. (Picture book/poetry. 6 mos.-2)

    Twenty-three original, first-person poems for the very young. Read full book review >

    BEAUTY AND THE BEAST by H. Chuku Lee

    Released: Feb. 1, 2014
    Reviewed: Nov. 20, 2013
    by H. Chuku Lee, illustrated by Pat Cummings

    “This lovely reimagining of an old tale affirms the browning of American’s contemporary young readership. (Picture book. 4-8)

    A brown-skinned Beauty—what a refreshing change! Read full book review >

    THE TORTOISE & THE HARE by Jerry Pinkney
    Released: Oct. 1, 2013
    Reviewed: Aug. 14, 2013


    by Jerry Pinkney, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
    Released: Oct. 1, 2013

    “A captivating winner—start to finish! (artist’s note, design notes) (Picture book/folk tale. 3-6)

    With luminous mixed media pictures, a short, carefully meted-out text and a Southwestern U.S. setting, Pinkney (The Lion and the Mouse, 2009) takes on another of Aesop’s fables—marvelously. Read full book review >


    Released: April 1, 2014
    Reviewed: Feb. 26, 2014


    by Emily Jiang, illustrated by April Chu

    “From the booming paigu to the delicate strings of the ruan, the lutelike pipa and the yangqin, or hammered “butterfly harp,” a lively medley that will expand the musical boundaries of most young audiences. (bibliography) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-9)

    Thirteen young musicians of diverse ethnic background ready themselves to play their traditional Chinese instruments on stage in this informative and gracefully illustrated twin debut. Read full book review >

    THE GRUDGE KEEPER by Mara Rockliff

    Released: April 1, 2014
    Reviewed: Feb. 19, 2014

    by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

    “Wordplay and humor provide an effective vehicle for a valuable moral. (Picture book. 5-8)

    “No one in the town of Bonnyripple ever kept a grudge. No one, that is, except old Cornelius, the Grudge Keeper.” So begins this original fairy tale that provides a literal illustration of the idiom “holding a grudge.” Read full book review >

    Released: Oct. 1, 2013

    Reviewed: Aug. 14, 2013

    by Susan Jeffers, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
    Released: Oct. 1, 2013

    “A whimsical, magical interpretation of a holiday classic, improved by the additional storyline and the charming narrator. (artist’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)

    Jeffers has created a lovely story incorporating the words of the old folk song with one important change: a clever substitution of Santa as the giver of all the gifts instead of the narrator’s “true love.” Read full book review >

    FIREFLY JULY by Paul B. Janeczko

    Released: March 11, 2014
    Reviewed: Jan. 15, 2014


    edited by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

    “Scintillating! (permissions, acknowledgments) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

    Choosing from works spanning three centuries, Janeczko artfully arranges 36 elegant poems among the four seasons. Read full book review >

    TWO BUNNY BUDDIES by Kathryn O. Galbraith

    Released: March 4, 2014
    Reviewed: Feb. 19, 2014


    by Kathryn O. Galbraith, illustrated by Joe Cepeda
    Released: March 4, 2014

    “Learning how to navigate the path of friendship is an important part of life, and these bunny buddies learn a lesson that is gently, beautifully shown rather than told. (Picture book. 2-7)

    In this simple but insightful story, two rabbits discover that lunch with a pal is more fun than eating alone. Read full book review >

    Don’t miss the full 27 page list. CLICK HERE FOR FULL LIST.

    Have you read any of the books? Do you know anyone whose book is listed? If so, give them a pat on the back.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, Kudos, list, Publishing Industry Tagged: 2014 Young reader Nominees, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Amy Dyckman, Joyce Wan, Kirkus Review

    2 Comments on Kudos: Kirkus Review 2014 Nominees, last added: 6/9/2014
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    14. The best and worst things about journalists

    By Tony Harcup

    Journalists are heroes to some and scumbags to others but the truth is that most are somewhere in the middle, trying to do as good a job as they can, often in difficult circumstances. That, at least, is the view of Tony Harcup, author of A Dictionary of Journalism. We asked him to tell us about some of the good – and not so good – things that journalists do. Do you agree with the below?

    The nine best things about journalists:

    1. We tell you things that you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
    2. Our default position is healthy scepticism.
    3. We know that there’s no such thing as a stupid question.
    4. Our way with words translates jargon into language that actual people use.
    5. We juggle complex intellectual, legal, commercial and ethical issues every day, simultaneously and at high speed, all while giving the impression of being little deeper than a puddle.
    6. Our lateral thinking spots the significance of the dog that didn’t bark (noting in the process that Sherlock Holmes was created by a journalist).
    7. We speak truth to power (or, at least, we say boo to a goose).
    8. Our gallows humour keeps us going despite the grim stories we cover and the even grimmer people we work with (perhaps the most literal exponent of the art was journalist Ben Hecht who wrote the movies His Girl Friday and The Front Page about hacks covering a hanging).
    9. We identify with other journalists as fellow members of society’s awkward squad (which is why even those of us who have left the frontline of reporting and become “hackademics” still can’t stop saying “we”).

    Meet the press

    The nine worst things about journalists:

    1. We have a tendency to tell young hopefuls that all the quality has vanished from journalism compared to when we started out (journalists have been harking back to a mythical golden age for well over a century).
    2. Our scepticism can sometimes become cynicism.
    3. We routinely demand public apologies or resignations from anyone accused of misbehaviour (except ourselves).
    4. Our way with words is too often used to reduce individuals or communities to stereotypes.
    5. We have been known to conflate a popular touch with boorish anti-intellectualism.
    6. Our collective memory lets us down surprisingly often. (We won’t get fooled again? Don’t bet on it.)
    7. We are in danger of viewing the world through the eyes of whoever employs us, forgetting that, while they might hire us, they don’t own us.
    8. Our insistence that we are something of a special breed is a bit rich given that most journalistic jobs have more in common with The Office than with All The President’s Men.
    9. We eviscerate politicians for fiddling their expenses while celebrating hacks from the golden age (see no. 1) for doing exactly the same.

    Tony Harcup is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Journalism Studies, University of Sheffield. A Dictionary of Journalism, first edition, will be published 15 May 2014. It covers over 1,400 wide-ranging entries on the terms that are likely to be encountered by students of the subject, and aims to offer a broad, accessible point of reference on an ever-topical and constantly-changing field that affects everyone’s knowledge and perception of the world.

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    Image credit: Meet the press. By stocksnapper, via iStockphoto.

    The post The best and worst things about journalists appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on The best and worst things about journalists as of 5/12/2014 5:14:00 AM
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    15. Top Self published Books


    This high flying chick was sent in by illustrator Barbara DiLorenzo. Barbara was featured on Illustrator Saturday April 14th 2012. Click here to see her artwork and interview.

    Publishers Marketplace Reveals the Top 35 Self-Published Books

    1. The Fixed Trilogy, by Laurelin Paige  (Laurelin Paige; ISBN: 9780991379644)

    2. The Will, by Kristen Ashley  (BNID: 2940045582384)

    3. Reasonable Doubt, by Whitney G. Williams  (ISBN: 9780990317005)

    4. Mud Vein, by Tarryn Fisher  (BNID: 2940149516117)

    5. Ask More, Get More, by Michael Alden  (ISBN: 9781937110611)

    6. 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, by JJ Smith  (Adiva Publishing; ISBN: 9780982301821)

    7. Agnes Barton Senior Sleuth Mysteries (Books 1-3), by Madison Johns  (BNID: 2940148574064)

    8. Dangerous Dozen, by Charity Pineiro, Tina Wainscott, Maureen Child, Paige Tyler, Tawny Weber, Nina Bruhns, Virna DePaul, Karen Fenech, Kristin Miller, Gennita Low, Joyce Lamb, Maureen A Miller  (ISBN: 9780615971216)

    9. Chances, by Jackie Collins  (BNID: 2940014780711)

    10. Tempting Fate, by Vi Keeland, S.E. Lund, Penelope Ward, J.L. Mac, Julie Richman, Kahlen Aymes  (BNID: 2940149456109)

    11. Rebelonging, by Sabrina Stark  (BNID: 2940149195107)

    12. Unbelonging, by Sabrina Stark  (BNID: 2940148275213)

    13. Lost In Me, by Lexi Ryan  (ISBN: 9781940832920)

    14. Obsessed, by Deborah Bladon  (ISBN: 9780993721601)

    15. Obsessed: Part Three, by Deborah Bladon  (ISBN: 9780993721625)

    16. Obsessed: Part Two, by Deborah Bladon  (ISBN: 9780993721618)

    17. All Roar and No Bite, by Celia Kyle  (ISBN: 9781311031419)

    18. After the Ex Games, by J. S. Cooper, Helen Cooper  (ISBN: 9781940218175)

    19. 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse, by JJ Smith  (ASIN: B00I6W7O5S)

    20. Rook and Ronin, by JA Huss (ISBN: 9781936413393)

    21. Out of the Shallows, by Samantha Young  (BNID: 2940149401222)

    22. The Billionaire’s Obsession, by J. S. Scott  (J.S. Scott; ISBN: 9781939962010)

    23. When I Break, by Kendall Ryan  (BNID: 2940148290902)

    24. Lucky 7 Bad Boys, by Charity Pineiro, Sophia Knightly, Tawny Weber, Nina Bruhns, Susan Hatler, Virna DePaul, Kristin Miller  (Lucky Romance Authors; ISBN: 9780615955032)

    25. The Nelson Touch, by Christopher G. Nuttall  (ASIN: B00J6DKWSM)

    26. Plain Jane, by Carolyn McCray  (CreateSpace; ISBN: 9781452854342)

    27. Fated Mates, by Adriana Hunter, Liliana Rhodes, Lynn Red, A.T. Mitchell, Michelle Fox, Eve Langlais, Skye Eagleday, Tabitha Conall, Alexis Dare, Molly Prince, Georgette St. Clair, A.E. Grace  (Excessica; ISBN: 9781609827885)

    28. Mystery Spring Fling, by Gemma Halliday, Sibel Hodge, Kathleen Bacus, Christina A. Burke, Leslie Langtry, Aimee Gilchrist, Jennifer Fischetto, T. Sue VerSteeg, Maria Grazia Swan, Traci Andrighetti  (BNID: 2940045768450)

    29. Ultimate SEAL Collection, by Sharon Hamilton  (BNID: 2940149309016)

    30. Love and Danger, by Amy Gamet  (ISBN: 9780988218253)

    31. Dare to Desire, by Carly Phillips  (BNID: 2940149343454)

    32. The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife, by Darlene Schacht  (ASIN: B00HZFSVLI)

    33. Knox: Volume 1, by Cassia Leo  (BNID: 2940149395767)

    34. Hardwired, by Meredith Wild  (ISBN: 9780989768429)

    35. Alphas After Dark, by Vivian Arend, Deanna Chase, Marie Hall, Crista McHugh, M. Malone, SM Reine, Roxie Rivera, Kit Rocha, Mimi Strong  (Bayou Moon; ISBN: 9781940299136)

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: authors and illustrators, Book, list, News, Publishing Industry, Self-publishing, success Tagged: Publishers Marketplace, Top Self-published Sellers

    2 Comments on Top Self published Books, last added: 4/24/2014
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    16. Tracking Submissions


    erikaphoto-45Tracking Submissions

    by Erika Wassell

    Polished manuscript?

    CHECK – one I’m proud of.


    YUP – Found a few agents who are a perfect match.

    Query Letter?

    WRITTEN – Pitches my manuscript and myself.

    There it is …


    My finger hovers on the mouse. Hesitation. I KNOW this is a worthy story but maybe I shou—– ACK! I’m doing it!

    CLICK. Message sent.

    So that’s it right? Wave goodbye and cross my fingers?  Not exactly.

    While I definitely support leaning back and letting out that breath you may have been holding, you still have another important step… tracking your submissions.

    First, the top three reasons WHY:

    1) So you don’t query the same agent without realizing it: How long to wait before submitting to an agent again is another topic. But you certainly don’t want to do it by accident! Repeat submissions can look very unprofessional.

    2) Follow Up: For many agents, no response, means it’s not for them. But in the research stage, you may find others that say at a certain point, it’s okay to reach out. Following up at the appropriate time shows that you’re dedicated and serious.

    3) In case you get a yes! The best reason of all!! If an agent or publisher is interested in your work, you will want to inform everyone else it’s currently out to. (A) Because it’s professional courtesy. And (B), it can drum up additional interest and lead to the sort of “bidding war” that every author dreams of!!

    Okay. So what exactly do I track?

    Here’s the HOW:

    My suggestion is use Excel. It’s easy to set up, and gives me data that is simple to keep track of, look back through and actually use – more so than the stack of scribbled on pieces of paper that form an ever-growing precarious tower next to my computer.

    Here are the eight column titles that I use when tracking submissions:

    First come the four most obvious: 

    Who: The name of the actual person I addressed the query letter to.

    Where: The name of the agency/publisher, including its website for easy reference.

    What: What manuscript did I send them?

    When: Exact date that I hit the all-powerful SEND BUTTON.

           These next four are not as obvious, but they’re JUST as important! 

    Why: A few notes about why the agent is a good fit for my manuscript, what interviews I read or what specific things made me query them.

    Wait time: What their estimated timeline is. Most places give you an idea of how long it may take them to look over your query and whether or not they will necessarily respond. I note things like “no means no, 6-8 months” or “will respond within 10 weeks”.

    Follow up: Often times, no response means not interested. But if I know someone is open to follow up, I make a note as to when to do that, and where I got the information. This way, in my follow up, I can say something like, “As per your interview with ____, I’m following up on the query I sent you three months ago.” IMPORTANT: When following up, I make absolutely sure that I don’t come off irritated. These agents work hard, and receive thousands of queries. I love when I’m able to follow up, so I make sure they know I appreciate the opportunity.

    Response: If I get a rejection, or any sort of response, I make a note of when I got it and what was said.

    It’s really just eight little columns in a spreadsheet, but it allows me to treat my writing professionally. I know what I’ve done, why I did it, and what I’m waiting on. And that’s really the best way to prepare for what I’ll do next.

    When I hit that at-times-OH-so-unnerving SEND BUTTON, I’m comforted in knowing that my manuscript still has a tie to me, right here in my tracked submissions and is not just disappearing into the world of Ethernet cables and fiber optics.

    I know your manuscripts deserve the same professional attention.

    Thanks Erika for the valuable post. Erika has agreed to be a regular Guest Blogger for Writing and Illustrating.

    Erika Wassall is a writer, a farmer and a liver of life. She is a member of SCBWI and a proud Mad Scientist, bringing science experiments right into children’s classrooms, and hearts. She has a small farm in New Jersey with sheep, chickens, pigs and vegetables. Check out her new website at www.TheJerseyFarmScribe.com where as a first generation farmer, she often takes the long way, learning the tricks of the trade on The Farm. On her website is also The Shop page with tips and a free Q/A from her husband’s mechanic shop, and The Writer page where she shares stories, experiences and characters from the heart. Follow her on Twitter at @NJFarmScribe. She’d love to hear from you!

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Advice, article, list, Process, submissions, Tips Tagged: Erika Wassell, List of tips, Tracking Submissions

    6 Comments on Tracking Submissions, last added: 4/17/2014
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    17. Reference Links to Help With Query Letter Writing


    This illustration of the cute girl with pink glasses above was sent in by Carol Schulman. She is the author of two books on art, both now represented by Schulman Literary in NY.  The first, “The Creative Path: Process and Practice” is a look at creativity from philosophical, psychological and practical points of view.  The sequel: “Art Smarts: A Book to Help You Become a GR8 Artist” is a sequel for children. See more at: http://www.carolynschlam.com/Art_Pages/Illustration/Illustration_info.html

    Leslie has been focusing on querying agents and looking for places that had good information about navigating this process. She decided to share some resources she gathered from various writing friends on her blog “Rear in Gear”. She says, “I’m always thankful for their help, and thought I’d pay it forward in a small way.”

    Queries Not Questions

    by Leslie Zampettis at Rear in Gear.

    Here is Leslie’s list, in no particular order:


    Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents

    Successful Queries (a subsection of the above guide)

    Preditors and Editors

    Publishers’ Submission Guidelines


    SCBWI BlueBoard

     8 Steps to Finding the Right Agent

     Critiquing First Pages and Queries

    10 Questions to Ask an Agent

    Kidlit.com – Queries

    How to Write the Perfect Query Letter

    Query Shark

    Query Tracker

    Writers Market  *This is a subscription service. IMHO, well worth it.

    Children’s Writer Newsletter  *Another subscription service. Articles often contain market bib biographies, and every issue contains market profiles. Also well worth it.

    • lesliezLeslie Zampetti has had stories published in online children’s magazines and is now querying agents for her middle grade fantasy novel. A childhood spent in Florida has this transplanted New Yorker frequently dreaming of sunshine – but she enjoys the whirl of the city and its riches, not least of which is the New York Public Library.

      According to most successful authors, the best way to succeed is to plant your tushy in your seat and write. Leslie’s been doing that for some years now and is beginning to see the seeds of her labor blossom. Interested in knowing more? Stop by her blog, “Rear in Gear,” at http://zampettilw.wordpress.com.

    Thank you Leslie to sending this to me. It is nice to have a list and it is nice that you were willing to share the wealth. I am sure everyone will bookmark this one.

    Talk tomorrow,



    Filed under: demystify, How to, list, reference, Writing Tips Tagged: Carol Schulman, Leslie Zampettis, Links to resources, Queries, Rear in Gear

    3 Comments on Reference Links to Help With Query Letter Writing, last added: 4/15/2014
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    18. The Little Magic Box for School Visits and Signing

    Debbie 2My Little Magic Box by Debbie Dadey

    It took me about twenty years to figure it out, but making a magic box to take with me to book events was a great idea! Okay, it’s not magic but it does have everything I need to make a book signing or school visit go smoothly. What does my little plastic container have inside? Here’s what I’ve collected for my little 6.5 by 4.5 inch box (a left-over from my teaching days):

    1. Business cards (Because the minute you don’t have one, you need one.)

    2. Tissues (Because boogers are not pleasant with 200 kids watching!)

    3. Book plates (Someone will always cry because they forgot their book.)

    debbiebox2004. Award winning author stickers (Which I bought in a silly moment, but kids like stickers.)

    5. Sticky notes (Because kids have the strangest names these days and it’s better to write it first on a note than ruin the book-better yet have the school or bookstore do it for you while the kids are waiting in line.)

    6. Tic Tacs (Bad breath is not an author’s friend.)

    debbiecontent2007. Protein bar (Let’s face it, sometimes school lunches are horrible.)

    8. Candy (see above)

    9. Cough drops (A coughing fit really doesn’t work well with my presentation.)

    10. Hand lotion (It makes me feel better!)

    11. Hand sanitizer (It keeps me from catching every illness because schools are breeding grounds!)

    12. Chap stick (I am prone to fever blisters and they aren’t pretty.)

    13. iPad adapter (I started taking my iPad on school visits instead of my laptop and I love it.)

    14. Clips to hold up something (Just a handy thing to have for posters.)

    15. Memory stick with presentations (Some schools have their computers far away. I also have a clicker to advance slides. There is an app available to advance Keynote-the iPad version of PowerPoint. PowerPoint will convert to Keynote, but there are always a few adjustments to be made.)

    16. Slips for information (These are leftovers from a giveaway and everyone likes free stuff.)

    17. Rubber band (These come in handy for keeping my rolled up posters tidy.)

    18. Markers or ink pens (Some people like Sharpies to autograph with, but I’m not picky).

    Missing from my box are my fun red Author pin, camera, book signs, bookmarks, a bottle of water, and school visit brochures. Not all of them will fit inside my box, but I have them listed in marker on the inside of my box so I don’t forget them. Something I’ve been wanting to get is a tablecloth with my logo and maybe some book covers on it. On my scheduling page (http://www.debbiedadey.com/Events/Scheduling/index.php)

    debbieDream of the Blue TurtleI have an Author Visit Checklist that lists everything I could think of to help a school prepare for my visit. Click Here to View. 

    Perhaps there is something on it you can adapt for yourself. Do you have more suggestions for my box? Please let me know, I have more book events coming up soon!

    Check www.debbiedadey.com for one near you.

    My newest book is Dream of the Blue Turtle (Mermaid Tales #7) with Simon and Schuster. Treasure in Trident City (#8) comes out in May. I hope you’ll like me on Facebook.com/debbiedadey. I’m hoping it doesn’t take me twenty years to get the hang of Facebook!

    Thanks Debbie for sharing your idea for having a handy box that you can grab whenever you do a book event. It will definitely help everyone who has a hard time juggling everything that has to be done in our busy lives.

    I love the idea of getting a table cloth made with your logo and covers. They don’t cost very much and it really adds to making you look exciting and professional.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Advice, Events, inspiration, list, Tips Tagged: Debbie Dadey, Dream of the Blue Turtle, Simon & Schuster, Tresaure of Trident City

    4 Comments on The Little Magic Box for School Visits and Signing, last added: 4/8/2014
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    19. Agent Jenny Bent Wish List

    jenny_bentJenny Bent is the founder of The Bent Agency. There is no reason why you shouldn’t try to snag an agent who has been in the industry for over 20 years. Just make sure that what you want to submit needs to be revised and polished and you feel the writing is at the top of your game, before sending a query letter.  I thought you might like to read about her and what she is looking for. The Bent Agency has seven other agents working with Jenny. You should check them out, too. 

    To send Jenny requested materials, please review our submissions guidelines Then email queries@thebentagency.com

    Jenny Bent represents literary and commercial adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction. She also represents nonfiction in the areas of memoir, humor and select narrative nonfiction.

    I was born in New York City but grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia in a house full of books where I spent many lazy afternoons reading in a sunny window seat. I went on to England to get a BA/MA with first class honors from Cambridge University, but I began my career in publishing as an undergraduate, with jobs at Rolling Stone and Ladies Home Journal. I then worked with prominent agent Raphael Sagalyn and with Michael Cader, the force behind the website Publishers Marketplace, before establishing a successful career at several boutique agencies. In 2003 I joined Trident Media Group, where I was promoted to Vice President before leaving to found the Bent Agency in 2009. I now live in Brooklyn in an apartment full of books and while there are not quite so many lazy reading afternoons, I manage to fit one in now and then.

    My list is varied and includes commercial and literary fiction as well as memoir and select humor titles.  In adult fiction, I particularly enjoy women’s fiction and crime/suspense.   I also love novels—for grown-ups or children—that have an element of magic or fantasy to them or that take me into a strange and new world, whether real or imaginary.   All of the books that I represent speak to the heart in some: they are linked by genuine emotion, inspiration and great writing and story telling. I love books that make me laugh, make me cry, or ideally do both.

    Please send me:

    • Literary fiction
    • Women’s fiction
    • Commercial fiction, including romance
    • Young adult and middle grade fiction
    • Memoir
    • Humor
    • Suspense/crime

    I’m not currently considering queries in the following genres:

    • Science fiction
    • Poetry
    • Picture books
    • Serious nonfiction
    • Reference
    • Sports
    • Self-help/how-to


    1. A classic YA fantasy with at least one female lead, like the upcoming LARK RISING by @sandrajwaugh

    2. In general, I love strong, feisty female characters with a purpose

    3. Non-genre fiction with a paranormal, fantasy or otherworldly element to it, like DISCOVERY OF WITCHES or NIGHT CIRCUS or GHOST BRIDE

    4. Historical fiction based on a famous real life person

    5. Women’s fiction or YA with a strong gothic feel.

    6. Here’s some of what I am looking for: stylish psychological crime/suspense with at least one female lead (not cozy mystery, thanks).

    7. Women’s fiction with a strong hook or premise and lots of plot and emotion.

    8. Definitely would love some YA horror.

    Follow on Twitter: @jennybent

    Filed under: Agent, Editor & Agent Info, list, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Agent Wish List, Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency

    3 Comments on Agent Jenny Bent Wish List, last added: 3/6/2014
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    20. Tips on Writing A Synopsis


    Doris Ettlinger sent in this gorgeous illustration reminding us of how March comes in as a lion and goes out like a lamb. Doris graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and received an MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  She was featured on Illustrator Saturday in 2010: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/illustrator-saturday-doris-ettlinger/ 

    After talking about formatting your manuscripts, it was logical to receive a few emails asking about how to format a synopsis. That lead to adding other things you need to consider when writing one for your novel.

    How to format your synopsis.

    Use a one inch margins on the top, bottom and sides. Justify text at the left margin only. Use Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Type your name, address, phone number, fax number and e-mail address, each on a separate line single-spaced at the top left margin on the first page of your synopsis.

    If you can fit your synopsis on one page, then you can single space the text with a space between paragraphs . If it goes over one page, then double space your text. Editors generally want one or two pages, but if you must go longer than you must – just keep it tight. You should always check a publisher’s submission guidelines, just to make sure you are following their rules before submitting.

    Here are some things to help guide you through the synopsis writing process:

    • You want to briefly tell what happens. This is one place you can ignore Show, Don’t Tell.

    • Your goal should be to give an escalating series of turning points, a strong central crisis, a dramatic climax and a satisfying resolution.

    • Introduce your main character first. Type a character’s name in all CAPS the first time you use it in the synopsis. Why? It helps the editor remember or find your character names.

    • Remember your synopsis should showcase your unique voice.

    • The synopsis should reflect your story. If it is humorous, be funny, etc.

    • Start with a hook.

    • Use present tense. This gives the story immediacy.

    • Write the high points of your story in chronological order. Keep these paragraphs tight.

    • Always answer basic who, what, where, when, why–early in the synopsis.

    • Don’t waste words or time describing settings, unless crucial. Sometimes it’s enough just to put the date and place at the top, then start your synopsis.

    • Omit unimportant details.

    • Only include backstory if it is necessary to give the editor the information they need about the character’s motives.

    • Always resolve the external plot question before you resolve the internal and/or relationship question.

    • If it’s not a turning point, it doesn’t belong in the synopsis.

    • Don’t use secondary characters in your synopsis, unless they are absolutely critical to the emotional turning points of the relationship. Even then, try to get by with the using the secondary’s relationship to the major characters (sister, teacher, boss.) They are too hard to keep up with and only add clutter. Only name them when necessary.

    • Clearly convey the central question of the story, and what the resolution looks like. And resolve it at the end — don’t leave the editor guessing. They hate that, so spell out the story, including the ending.

    • Rewrite your synopsis until each sentence is polished to the point of perfection. Use strong adjectives and verbs. Make every word count.

    Check back tomorrow for a synopsis checklist you can use when drafting one for your manuscript.

    Talk tomorrow,



    Filed under: demystify, How to, list, Process, reference, Tips Tagged: Doris Ettlinger, Rhode Island School of Design, Synopsis Format, Synopsis Guide

    3 Comments on Tips on Writing A Synopsis, last added: 3/21/2014
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    21. Synopsis Check List

    CeciliaClarkcherry blossom

    This illustration my Cecilia Clark gives us a glimpse of what awaits us after this long cold winter. Cecilia is a budding writer and illustrator from Australia. Her writing and illustrating has been published in anthologies. She is a member of SCBWI Australia and New Zealand(Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) the Fellowship of Australian Writers (FWA) and Romance Writer’s Australia(RWA).  http://ceciliaaclark.blogspot.com.au

    Synopsis Checklist:

    1.   Is your synopsis between one and three pages?  Double spaced if more than one page?

    2.   Does the opening paragraph have a hook to keep the editor or agent reading?

    3.   Did you use capital letters the first time you introduced a character?

    4.   Did you show your characters goal, motivation, conflict, and growth?

    Your synopsis should give a clear idea as to what your book is about, what characters we will care about (or dislike), what is at stake for your heroes, what they stand to lose, and how it all turns out.

    5.   Have you hit on the major scenes, the major plot points of your book, and include the ending?

    6.   How you gotten to the who, what, where, when and why in your synopsis?

    7.   Do you keep the interest level up throughout the synopsis?

    8.   Is there good flow between  paragraphs.

    9.   Have you avoided all grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes?

    10. Do you think you captured the flavor of your manuscript?

    See yesterday’s post for synopsis details.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: demystify, How to, list, Process, reference, Writing Tips Tagged: Australian Illustrator, Celcilia Clark, Synopsis Checklist, Synopsis evaluation

    0 Comments on Synopsis Check List as of 3/20/2014 3:13:00 AM
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    22. Ask Kathy

    Children’s book illustrator and writer Nata Romeo sent in this stylize iguana for today’s post. She says, “Art is my passion.” I recently completed illustrations for a book titled ‘Wildlife Animals A to Z’, which she intends to self publish. Her preferred medium is a combination of watercolor and pen and ink. www.artistadonna.blogspot.com/
    www.ArtistaDonna.ebsqart.com  www.facebook.com/artistadonna.nata 

    This coming weekend I will be meeting with Agent Sean McCarthy and Publishing Executive Director and Managing Editor, Steve Meltzer. Some of you have sent in questions for me to ask so I can relay the answers to you. Please email me if you would like to add to the list.

    Here are the questions sent to me:

    1.  What do you think of prologues? Use them or lose them?

    2.  When formatting a manuscript: Do you know of any rule that says you must NOT indent the first paragraph of a new chapter? What do you think?

    3.  What’s the best way to label a manuscript/book that falls on the borderline between middle grades and young adult? (Think ages 10 to 14. For example, I’m talking about a horsey book, and that is the age at which the most girls are the most horse-crazy, and the best time to market such a book to them.) Would agents/editors want to see it called upper middle grades? Tween?

    4.  What is the preferred word length for a book aimed at the upper middle grades/tween reader?

    5.  Are there any conventions for labeling manuscripts/books that mix genres? (For example, a series that is historical/science fiction/fantasy.)

    6.  Because agents now often don’t respond if they aren’t interested in a query, that certainly makes it acceptable, almost imperative, to send simultaneous queries (although with each obviously tailored to a particular agent/agency). Is ten to a dozen too many to send out at once?

    7.  Underlining makes it clearer to copyeditors and typesetters what needs to be italicized, but do agents have a preference whether the manuscript uses the italic or the underline function of the computer to indicate what will ultimately be italicized?

    8.  I read on your blog to only use one space between each sentence in your manuscript. I had someone tell me they have asked editors and were told it was okay. Would you double check with Sean McCarthy and Steve Meltzer on this?

    9.  I never heard of using capital letters the first time a character is mentioned in a synopsis. Would you ask about that at your retreat?

    10. I have been told not to use any “ing” words in my manuscript. Is there a rule about this that I have missed?

    11.  What amount of books do you need to sell to have a publisher think your book was successful?

    12.  How hard is it to get your rights back on a book you that has gone out of print? Do you have any words of wisdom or steps an author could take to get the rights back?  

    13.  What do you think about using the real name of a media or entertainer in your book? Is that okay or should you make up a similar name?

    14.  I am an illustrator and writer. Is it okay to send in a picture book dummy?

    15.  What is speculative fiction?

    16.  If you want to write a book from two character’s POV, using alternating chapters, is it okay to scatter in a few chapter’s from a third character’s point-of-view?

    17.  If you are writing a book using two character’s POV with alternating chapters, could the main character be in first person and the second character be in third person?

    18. Do you have any thoughts on when to give up on a manuscript your have completed and has gotten rejected?

    Talk tomorrow,



    Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editors, list, opportunity Tagged: Agent Sean McCarthy, Ask Kathy, Publisher Steve Meltzer, Questions for Answers

    10 Comments on Ask Kathy, last added: 3/24/2014
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    23. Agents Wishlist

    Brooks Sherman at The Bent Agency


    Brooks Sherman represents picture books, fiction for young adult and middle-grade-readers, select literary and commercial adult fiction, and nonfiction in the areas of humor, pop culture, and narrative nonfiction.

    Prior to joining The Bent Agency, he worked as a literary agent at FinePrint Literary Management and in the managing editorial department of Henry Holt and Company. He is a hands-on, editorial agent who delights in developing projects with his clients before bringing them to the attention of publishers.

    Before starting his career in publishing, he spent several years working in the entertainment industry (in both New York and Hollywood), and two years with the Peace Corps in West Africa. Having bounced around all over the world, he is delighted to be back in Brooklyn—although he looks forward to his next Transylvanian backpacking expedition with great anticipation!

    He is seeking projects that balance strong voice with gripping plot lines. Stories that make me laugh earn extra points! My interest in adult fiction runs the gamut from literary to speculative (particularly contemporary fantasy rooted in realistic settings, horror, and magical realism), as well as historical and crime fiction. On the children’s side, He’s looking for middle grade fiction of all genres (but particularly fantasy adventure and contemporary), humorous projects from author-illustrators, and young adult fiction of all types except paranormal romance. He would love to get his hands on a creepy and/or funny contemporary young adult project. 

    Here are a few more detailed things that Brooks says he is looking to read.

    On the MG side, I’m still looking for someone to send me this generation’s THE WITCHES. Are you my Dahl?

    On the YA side, I’d love to find some projects with realistic settings and a speculative twist. (See: NOGGIN; GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE)

    Still looking for a historical project set in or around the WWI era to sink my fangs into. Speculative elements encouraged!

    I would love to work on some alternate history projects — MG, YA, or adult. A fantasy element (a la BARTIMAEUS) would be just dandy.

    “I desperately want to find the next JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL—eerily beautiful crossover fantasy”

    And of course, I’d love to get my hands on a dark adult psychological thriller, or historical or speculative thriller (a la THE ROOK).

    I’m also keeping an eye out for MG stories that are either funny/contemporary or fantasy/sci-fi adventure!

    I’m looking for contemporary YA fiction, in the vein of ELEANOR & PARK or ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE.

    MG with sweetness and wit (not necessarily snarky).”

    I’d love to see a twisted adult thriller like Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL or William Landay’s DEFENDING JACOB.


    I will be talking about Query Letters this week, so you might want to read that to make sure you are doing that to the best of your ability. Brook will still be there, so their is no need to rush something out.

    To query Brooks, please review The Bent Agency’s submissions guidelines
    Then email brooks@thebentagency.com

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Agent, authors and illustrators, Editor & Agent Info, list, opportunity, Places to sumit, Publishers and Agencies Tagged: Agents Wishlist, Brooks Sherman, The Bent Agency

    1 Comments on Agents Wishlist, last added: 3/29/2014
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    24. Books Edited By…

    Are you using all your SCBWI member benefits? I bet there are a lot of busy writers who are missing a lot of things that the SCBWI provides to help you sell your manuscripts. Did you know if you are a member and login to www.scbwi.org, you can find a list of editors and what books they edited? This is valuable information when trying to find the right home for something you have written. 

    A smart writer or illustrator (they list picture books with the illustrators) would save this file and every time they read a book, they would look in the author credits to see if they mentioned who helped them make their book shine. If they are smart, they will mention the editors at the publishing company as a way to thank them for their expertise. We can use that information to hone our submissions and use that information in a query letter or when we run into an editor. This is called, “doing your homework” and makes you appear as someone who knows the industry.

    Below is just part of one page to give you an idea of what it looks like.


    Hope you take the time to check out all the benefits your SCBWI membership provides.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Advice, authors and illustrators, Editors, list, need to know, opportunity, organizations, Publishing Industry, reference Tagged: Books by Editor, SCBWI Benefits

    8 Comments on Books Edited By…, last added: 4/1/2014
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    25. Strategies for Pricing Your Illustrating Work



    You may know Joann Miller over at the Directory of Illustration. Well, she asked Friend + Johnson (illustration representation agency) if she could share the best advice they had about pricing that they would give an illustrator. I thought I would share the part about how to come up with a price for a potential client. It is quite good.

    Here is a list of questions to ask your potential client to help create an accurate estimate that fulfills both their expectations and your needs.


    1. How did you find out about me? Is there something in your portfolio that inspired them to think of you for this project? Make sure you understand exactly what they’re referencing so you can make sure you’re comfortable executing it, and are clear on what they’re hiring you to do. This will also help you determine the level of complexity of the illustration they’re looking for.

    Project Description

    2. Do you have a layout? How complex are the illustrations? Are they single-spot illustrations or more complex scenarios? Are they providing any references for you to use? Are they looking for you to concept illustration ideas with the creatives, or are you working from a pre-approved layout that will not allow for much change? Is this black-and-white or a four-color piece? Are you working in layers?

    3. What is the timing for the initial pencils and the final illustration? Usually, you should have three to four days for the initial pencils, and after client approval, another five to seven days to deliver the final. Two rounds of pencils are standard; anything more should have an additional charge.

    Usage, Licensing and Copyright

    4. Usage is very important in helping you price your project. Note that consumer advertising will be priced much higher than illustrations for a children’s book or direct mail.

    Does the client want national, regional, international, web or worldwide uses? How long is the usage? What is the media use: consumer ad, trade ad, packaging, direct mail, billboards, brochures?

    5. If clients say they want unlimited use, you should explore if this is really what they need and offer alternative licensing to match their budget. Often times, clients are not “educated” in this area of rights-based pricing; they will be much more understanding if you take the time to outline that they will ultimately save money by purchasing just the usage they need. For example, if they see the difference in cost for a two-, three- or five-year use, this may be more in-line with what they really need vs. unlimited use/time. 

    Most clients aren’t planning on a consumer magazine campaign or any out of home use, they may just want unlimited collateral (direct mail and consumer or trade brochures and inserts) use. Find out specifically what they’ll use the artwork for and tailor your pricing to match.

    6. If at all possible, never do “work for hire,” give buyouts or sell your copyright. You’re essentially giving away all of your rights as the creator of the artwork and giving ownership to your client. They in turn can reuse and resell the artwork in any way they want.

    You can still retain your copyright even if it’s unlimited use, worldwide for an unlimited time and exclusive to them. If they feel they may need the artwork for other uses down the road or for a longer period of time, these extended uses can be renegotiated or factored into the original contract as well.

    Remember, they want to use you and you want to work with them. This is a negotiation to give them what they need and pay you fairly for the creation and use of the work. You’re working together to create a fair contract for both parties.

    7. Will this image have resale potential in stock or other markets? Does your licensing give you this option?

    Keep Budgets & Other Paperwork in Mind

    8. Editorial and book clients usually have a predetermined budget. Sometimes you can renegotiate if you feel it’s too low for the amount of work they’re requesting. You should always get a credit line for editorial or pro-bono work.

    9. Do they have an allotted budget already in mind? If not, when do they need numbers?

    10. Is there a contract? You should have your own contract in addition to anything they supply.

    Hang Up

    11. Never give an estimate while you’re on the phone with your client. It’s best to hang up and think about what you’re comfortable with.

    12. Review your estimate before submitting it. A great source for guidelines for estimating various projects is the “Graphic Artists Guild Handbook” at www.graphicartistsguild.org/handbook/.


    13. After you have submitted your estimate and it’s approved, make sure to have it signed and sent back to you.

    14. After the project is confirmed, you should bill 50% of the job. This is important for cash flow since illustration projects can stretch over a number of weeks with the back-and-forth for approvals. This is also important with a new client that you don’t have a payment history with.

    15. In addition to billing upon confirmation AND having a new client sign your contract, you may want to get a purchase order from you client as it is a contract to purchase your services from your buyer.

    To read all the other helpful information use this link: http://joannsartadvice.blogspot.com/2014/03/take-charge-of-pricing-your.html

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Advice, Agent, article, authors and illustrators, How to, illustrating, list, Tips Tagged: Directory of Illustration, Freelance Pricing, Friend + Johnson, Joann Miller

    2 Comments on Strategies for Pricing Your Illustrating Work, last added: 4/1/2014
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