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Monday, August 18, 2014

How Do You Figure Out What to Send to Who?

Dear Readers,

If you submit very much, I am sure you have received a rejection letter at least once or twice in your lifetime.

Do you often wonder exactly what a publisher is wanting or needing.

I have received rejection letters that read 'Sorry, but your story isn't right for our list' or 'we feel it does not quite lend itself well to our list,' or 'after careful consideration, we have decided to pass on your manuscript,' or, sometimes the letter will say 'your story isn't quite there yet,' or 'it is charming, but.'


I have gone to their sites. I have gone to Amazon and 'looked inside' their published books, I have read them at the library, etc., to get familiar with what they publish.

But, some publishers publish such a variety of books for children - all quite different - that I have a hard time figuring out just what is 'right' for their list. I don't see a pattern.

Although I very much appreciate getting a rejection letter, since some publishers do not send them out any more if they are not interested in your book, I wish I understood more what the publisher wanted.

Anyone out there with a crystal ball?
How do you work your way through the maze of publishers and figure out what to send to who?

Maybe one answer is to make our story so special that a publisher cannot turn it down, even if it isn't right for their list?

So, until I can do that, I will keep writing, keep revising and keep submitting.


Janet Smart  of the Blackberry Patch

Confused, But Still Love to Write

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Getting My Writing Room Organized - with my Little Library

I have a bookcase!

Well, actually, I have lots of bookcases. But, I now have one for the little walk-through room I call my office.

My office is really our old laundry room where we have a small upright freezer, a pantry, a Hoosier cabinet and other old kitchen stuff ---- and a little enamel top table that I use for a desk.

my bookcase (that I am still getting organized)

shelf filled with various 'writing' books

shelf filled with my 'idea' and reference books

Now, whenever I need to look up anything, all I need to do is roll over in my chair and browse through my little library of helpful books.

Titles of some of my getting idea books are: The Book of Bizarre Truths, Inventions That Changed the World, Kids Say the Darndest Things, Sears Roebuck and Co. 1909 Catalog, Scholastic Book of Lists, American Nicknames, Garfield's Book of Excellent Excuses, Going to School in 1776, What Your 5th Grader Needs to Know, The Quotable American, Mistakes that Worked, 97 Ways to Make a Baby Laugh, American Folklore and Legend, Great Thoughts and Funny Sayings and The Book of Answers, etc.

Some of my writing books are: Various books on writing poetry, Nothing Rhymes with Orange, Writing in History, Writing From Personal Experience, Write your Life Story, Thesauruses, Writing Picture Books, From Inspiration to Publication, Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market, various Dummy and Idiot books, Creative Writing, Painless Writing, Write Right!, etc.

It was a learning experience just putting the bookcase together :o)

It must be helping, since doing this a few days ago, I have sent in two submissions!

Clutter hurts creativity and output! So I challenge you to get uncluttered.

Are you organized? Do you have your helpful books all in one easy place to get to?

Happy Writing!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Word for the Week

DRABBLE: A short piece of writing consisting wholly of 100 words - no more, no less.

EXAMPLE: I think I will write a story - a very short story. Hmmm, I'll write a drabble.

QUOTE: "A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it." Edgar Allen Poe

Until recently, I never knew what a drabble was. In fact, I had never heard of a drabble. Have you?

You would think that as a writer of picture books, writing a drabble would be a piece of cake. Pardon the overused cliche. But, as I have told people many times, just because the story is short, does not mean it is easier to write. In fact, it is hard to tell a story with few words.

You have to be more careful about using adjectives, useless or overused words or lazy words. Cut, cut, cut and choose your words carefully. When in doubt, leave it out.

Mark Twain once said, "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead."

Learning to write short pieces comes in handy when writing blog posts, a synopsis, pitches or a blurb to go on the back cover of your book. In all these instances, you need to use few words and the best words to get your point across. It takes practice.

My book, Fun Through the Seasons, Recipes, Crafts and Fun Facts for Kids, is filled with short writings. Fun articles under 500 words, short poems, short stories, short - and easy - recipes, short activities and crafts.

It is great for short attention spans of kids - and adults. When you have a little free time, open up the pages and read an article, make a fun recipe or read a poem.

It is available on Amazon and there is a short, five star review to help you decide if you or a child you know will like the book. 

The above promotion of my book is a drabble of exactly 100 words!
See, writing short comes in handy.

I challenge you to write a drabble, if you have the time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What's New?

I just attended the West Virginia Writer's Conference. 
Along with lots of writers, there were an abundance of geese, lakes and other wildlife.

I attended work shops on children's writing, writing short stories, beginnings and endings, marketing yourself and your books, etc.

I enjoyed the workshops and learned info that will help me with my writing. Plus, I met old writing friends and made new ones.

At the Saturday Night Banquet, I excitedly accepted awards for three of my children's manuscripts that I had entered in their annual West Virginia Writing Competition.  I received 2nd, 1HM and 3HM in the children's category.

Now, I need to start sending out my MG to publishers. I checked my records and I haven't sent it to anyone this year.

If you write, you must submit or your work will never get published.
Just make sure it is ready to submit.

Let other eyes see it, let other writers critique it and edit it until you are happy as you can be with your finished product.

I have been working on my author's page. It is still under construction, but it is on the web.

You can go here to visit it.
There is also a page above that has a link to it.
Check it out. If you have any ideas for my page or questions, contact me on the contact gadget. I'd love to hear from you.

What have you got planned for this summer? Any conferences? Any submitting?

Happy Writing!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day

Father’s Day

We have Sonora Louise Smart Dodd to thank for creating the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day. The idea came to her while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909.

She wanted to honor her father, William Jackson Smart. Her dad, a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife died giving birth to their sixth child. He raised his children all by himself on a rural farm in the state of Washington.

He was a special father and Sonora chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration on the 19th day of June 1910. The holiday continued to be 
 celebrated, but it was not made an official national holiday until 1972.

A Father’s Life

A father’s life is cluttered
With tools and nails and stuff.
He works with them each day.
He’s very rough and tough.

A father’s child is special
No matter what the gender.
He plays with them each day
He’s very sweet and tender.

This post is a small excerpt from my book, Fun Through the Seasons.

I don't know if my husband is a descendent of Sonora or not, but I'd like to think that he might be.  

I'm wishing all my readers  a wonderful day and hope you have a nice time celebrating with your family.

My father is gone now and I miss him very much.
But he will always be alive in my heart.

I don't know who tried to enhance this picture with color. 
But, I'm innocent until proven guilty.
Maybe I was meant to be an illustrator, too.