Friday, August 29, 2008

Children's Book Queries

I recently dove into the world of a new sort of rejection: children's books. Now, before you start calling me out on being an eternal pessimist, I'm just being realistic. Rejection runs rampant; acceptance seems to hide out until the last moment of despair, then, donning a cape and undies on the outside, swoops in to rescue you from the evil guy in every writer's brain that at some point says, "Hey, you're not good enough. You should just quit and go get a real job." Deep down, I'm an optimist. It's my darkest secret. Fluffy bunnies and sunshine abound up there in my head, yessirree.

I did my homework and came up with one single agent who might be a good fit (and allows email queries and submissions). Once I hear from her, I will branch out to the good ol' reliable, forgettable snail mail. The children's book market's not exactly begging for submissions. I have two stories on my computer right now, though, so I might as well try.

Here are some tips I found while preparing my query:
*Not many people want rhyming books
*Picture book? Good luck.
*Don't try to illustrate it yourself. They prefer to find someone to do it. You may never even meet the person who illustrates your book.
*Drop them right into the action in a query letter. And don't pitch the personal (or pity) stories. What's the book about? Why might it be a hit? It's not because your kids and their friends like everything you write. It's also not because this is your last shot at your dream to publish a children's book "because as soon as you finish that last can of beans, you're going to have to re-enter the workforce as a salesperson."
*Keep queries short. Check submission guidelines to see whether they prefer email or snail mail queries with SASEs. Most agents and publishers tend to prefer queries first these days.
*Make sure you check to see if they even accept unsolicited manuscripts. What a waste of postage and hope if they don't!
*Read lots and lots and lots of kids' books. You'll need to present the target age group in your query letter.

That about sums up what I learned. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Need a Blogger?

I've found that blogging is something I truly enjoy. I haven't even come close to running out of steam yet, and there's not an end anywhere in sight. It thrills me to glean little bits of information here and there throughout the day and then determine how I could best sculpt that into a blog post that will rake in some comments. (I haven't mentioned yet that I absolutely love comments and can't wait to reply to them as soon as I get them...yes, I'm a nerd.)

I'm always trying to think of new blogs I can start, actually. Which brings me to the point of this post: Need a blogger? I'm your girl. Just contact me or comment here.

Since the topic of today is blogs, here are some questions for my fellow bloggers out there:
*How do you measure the success of your blog?
*Are you writing for a company or doing your own thing?
*How many hours a day would you say you spend blogging? What about thinking about blog posts (while you're driving, for example)?
*On a scale of one to ten, how much do you love it?
*How long have you been blogging?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Getting It All Done

I've wanted nothing more for most of my life than to write a novel. I have a loose outline in my head and some big chunks completed, yet I find myself putting it off constantly. Here are a few reasons I think I do it:

1. Other projects for clients take priority.
2. By the time I'm done with those other projects, I'm too pooped or have too many household chores to finish up.
3. It's "me" time. As people with families--especially small children--know, "me" time is often a scarcity. And if there's time, I feel guilty taking it anyway.

How do you deal with procrastination? Taking "me" time, guilt-free? Working on your own projects that may very well pay off in the end, but aren't putting food on the table right now? I need help getting the discipline it takes to finish something just for myself. And then maybe I'll get around to decorating these stark white walls with paintings...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Some Links to Past Work

Currently, my main job is writing and editing over at I take on extra projects here and there, though, so if you have something in mind you would like for me to work on, please contact me. I am most interested in copywriting lately.

Here are a few examples of work I've done in the past: This one was fun because it was a humor piece. The editors over at FlakMag are great to work with and full of good ideas. This article takes the love of chocolate and deep fried foods to a whole new level.

Looking for Clues: Here's one about working out. If you ever wanted to know how to achieve a long, lean look, here's a starting point. (Scroll down a bit to get to my article.)
Another one from Looking for Clues is Could You Find Your True Love Online? which was easy and enjoyable for me to write because, well, I did.

Writers Weekly: When I first started out, I did a lot of research about billing (obviously, since the point of writing as a career is to be able to buy a second can of beans...), so here are the results of some of my findings. Writers Weekly is the "highest-circulation freelance writing ezine in the world." This piece was later listed at Media Bistro, an online job search site.

I was a guest blogger at Freelance Writing Gigs, where I discussed personality types and work habits.

I used to work with ClientTell importing patient files and updating their blog. Those guys were so much fun to work with.

Here are a few of the articles I've written for LoveToKnow:
Is It Worth Keeping Old Magazines? Interview with Cliff Aliperti of
Big Sunglasses
Nude Camping (yep--nude!)
Hipster Panties
Transformers Movie Review
Boy Short Tankini
Fake Diamond Rings

I write for a number of channels and I'm the site editor for LTK Lingerie, Sunglasses, Movies, and Buy.

Other places where you may find my work:
Birmingham Hair and Beauty Magazine
Happy News
Southern Arts Journal
ComCore21 product descriptions
Real Sex Ed Facts, a site that teaches teens the merits of safe sex
Moultrie Magazine

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Freelance Life

After leaving my job to become a full-time freelance writer in 2005, I'm finally creating a page. I had a domain name for a while but I never did anything with it, so now's the time.

I'm living a version of the dream I always had for myself. I get to sit around and write all day--and get paid for it. Meanwhile, I'm caring for my daughter and two dogs, and looking forward to the time when my husband will walk through the door and relieve me of a small slice of the insanity, at least.

It's not exactly what I planned out, but hey, what good stories come from the events you plan?

I do a little bit of everything when it comes to writing. I love working on poetry and fiction (I have a novel I've been working on for a while, but it's nowhere near done), writing for magazines, and weaving wit and facts with keyword counts online (SEO and all that jazz). There's almost no type of writing I won't take a crack at.