Friday, February 8, 2019

Picture Book Party 2019

Edit: Just to clarify this isn't a twitter pitching contest. Instead your entries are sent to the hosts by email and we pick a variety of genres for the agents/editors to read on my blog. What happens on the twitter hashtag #PBParty is an actual party, where we celebrate our writing and picture books with a variety of topics to talk about. Topics change each day. Examples include: share your favorite picture book. Share where you get your writing inspiration. And so on.  

We are doing it again! Spunky. Adorable. Heartwarming.

Those are some of the words that describe picture books and chapter books. I'm happy to join with Sharon Chriscoe and Mindy Alyse Weiss to do a little something for a group that is left out of most contests. This mini-contest is for you!

Tell your friends and please post on Twitter, Facebook, and in your writing groups. Spread the word, help aspiring authors, and celebrate picture books! The Twitter party will be for everyone, so I hope to see you there under the hashtag #PBParty. There will be daily topics that apply to all writers during the submission week. I'd love for you to suggest some topics in the comments. It's going to be a fun week!

The agent round will be Wednesday, March 27th - Friday, March 29th. The submission day is TuesdayMarch 19th at 4:00 pm Eastern time

The window will stay open at least one hour. That way no one has to rush. 

Then Sharon, Mindy and I will go through the entries and pick our 20 favorites. We just might add a few additional ones--the amazing submissions make it hard to narrow down our final choices!  

The Rules:

Please be a follower of this blog. You can click the "Join this Site" button in the left sidebar. Or if that is stubborn and won't work, you can subscribe to my newsletter or follow @Michelle4Laughs and @MindyAlyseWeiss on twitter. We will be tweeting hints and advice as well as partying!

You may send two entries for different manuscripts. That's two and only two, whether you have multiple pen names or multiple email addresses. Please be honest and not send more. Only one entry will be chosen per person. If you send two, still only one will be picked. Any attempt to cheat will result in entries thrown out (and sadly it has happened in the past.) 

On March 19 at 4:00 pm Eastern the submission window opens. Do not send early or your entry will be deleted. You may resend at the correct time if this happens. I'm recycling an email address as I already have too many. Please send your entry to SunversusSnow at yahoo dot com

You should receive a confirmation email. If you do not, please contact me or Mindy on Twitter before resendingPlease note that your second submission will likely NOT receive confirmation. That does not mean it wasn't received. Just that our vacation notification only works once. Chill. If we got your first, we got the second. 

Remember: We want to get a good count of entries and duplicates make that harder. The window will stay open at least one hour in order to avoid the crush of entries and flooding us with requests to check for entries.

This contest is for unagented writers and writer/illustators with finished and polished manuscripts. They must be ready to submit if requested by an agent or editor. 

The Format:

Subject Line of your Email: PBParty: Title

Example:  PBParty: Hot Tub Santa

Inside the email please bold where bolded in my example. Single space with spaces between paragraphs. Use Times New Roman or equivalent font and the size should be 12.

(Here's a trick to keep your paragraph spacing: copy and paste your entry into your email and then put in the line spaces. They seem to get lost when you copy and paste. It may look right but sending scrambles the spacing. Note: We will still read your entry if you mess up the formatting.)

Name: Sharon Chriscoe
Twitter Handle: @extracleansanta (optional)
Genre: (Here please tell us what type of picture book this is) Example: Board Book, Bedtime Rhyme, Nonfiction, Biography, etc. or List Chapter Book If this is OWNVOICES, please say so here!
Word Count: xxx (round to nearest ten, hundred for chapter books)


Your entire query letter here. Include your comps, bio, greeting, closing. Please be sure to note diversity and ownvoices in the query as well. (You may use whatever you want for a greeting. Dear Agent. Dear Michelle, Sharon, and Mindy.)

Here is your chance to make your entry shine and make the agent fall in love with your words.

First 50 Words:

Include your first 50 words for a picture book, 100 words for chapter books. Do not stop in the middle of a sentence. You may go over by one or two words to finish a sentence but not more than five. Single space and put spaces in between paragraphs. You may center or tab if appropriate.

Edit: For short picture books, less than 50 words may be submitted. Any count under 50 is allowed.

Also I will delete parts of entries after the contest ends, if requested. For those writers uncomfortable with their work being out there for all to see. 

Bonus: You may attach one illustration to your email to show an example of your artwork. We love artwork. If you don't have artwork, don't worry.

That should cover about everything, but you may leave questions in the comments or on Twitter. Please no DMs or emails. Don't forget the #PBParty hashtag.

And don't forget to leave your suggestion of a topic for our twitter party!

We can't wait to see all the heartwarming cuteness on March 19th! 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Cover reveal: BUTTERFLY GIRL by Sarah Floyd + Giveaway!

I have followed Michelle Hauck for many years. I admire her dynamic writing style—her books are fantastic—and her contests, blog posts, and endless support of the kidlit community has helped so many writers, including me! Thank you, Michelle, for welcoming me to your blog to share the cover of my debut MG novel, BUTTERFLY GIRL.

Michelle suggested that I mention some thoughts about how I found my agent. I wish I could offer a quick and easy formula for “how to wow an agent and land a publishing deal,” but that’s not how it happened for me . . .

When I first started writing, I was eager to query my picture books, confident that an agent would soon snap up my stories. I was a strong writer in high school and college, and loved children’s books, so the long and painful journeys I read about from other writers seemed like something I could avoid . . . but over time I learned that the skills needed to write academic papers do not line up exactly with the skills needed for writing books.  

Like many before me, much of my journey was difficult and discouraging. Mountains of form rejections and long stretches spent hanging out in Cricket Land can leave any aspiring author feeling stuck in place and frustrated—but with the help of amazing friends and critique partners I met at the SCBWI Blueboards, my early enthusiasm turned into a focused, serious commitment to learning the craft of writing for publication. After several years of writing and querying picture books and my MG novel (BUTTERFLY GIRL), I finally began to make progress in the form of personal rejections, and a few requests.  

As my confidence grew, I began entering contests, like Michelle’s Sun vs. Snow (short-listed by one of the mentors) and Query Kombat (winner in the picture book category). I continued workshopping my projects with critique partners, and then jumped into the online conference WriteOnCon, where I met my first agent, Danielle Smith. (This was about two years before she abruptly closed her agency and disappeared from social media.) I was elated when Danielle said she loved the first few pages of BUTTERFLY GIRL and requested the full manuscript, along with any completed picture books—and I literally danced with joy when she offered representation a few weeks later. A book deal was right around the corner, or so I thought . . .

After six months with little communication and nothing on submission, I lost faith in the partnership and decided it would be best for me to move on. I took a month off to decompress and gather my courage, and then started querying again, although I privately worried that other agents might have unspoken questions about why the relationship had ended, and my formerly agented status would be a mark against me. Incredibly, all the agents I queried sent personal responses that were encouraging and kind, and four of them asked for additional material . . . and thankfully, one of those agents was Essie White of Storm Literary, who cares deeply for her clients and is exceptionally hardworking, supportive, communicative, and honest. She’s also super savvy about the industry and has a fantastic editorial eye. Signing with such a phenomenal agent was a moment of pure relief and happiness—she truly is the perfect agent for me.

Essie submitted BUTTERFLY GIRL to Callie Metler-Smith of Clear Fork Publishing—and we received an offer of publication! Working with Callie and her team has been a great experience. After writing a second stand-alone novel (going on submission soon), I asked Callie if I could re-read the manuscript before she created the final proof. I wondered if the things I had learned from drafting that second novel might also apply to my first, since I hadn’t read it in a very long time, other than copying and pasting the first 5-10 pages to query agents. After re-reading I found that I still loved the story, but I noticed places where the writing could be improved. Callie agreed with my thoughts, which meant delaying the release so I could revise, and so she could read the new version and approve it or offer additional feedback. I’m grateful to have landed with such a wonderfully collaborative and supportive publisher!

It’s a fantastic feeling to arrive at this point in the journey where I can finally share the cover for BUTTERFLY GIRL . . .  

By: Sarah Floyd

Release date: March 26, 2019    
Publisher: Clear Fork Publishing                          
ISBN: 978-1-946101-64-8
Available for Preorder Soon

About the book:  

In the summer before seventh grade, Meghan McCoy-Lee discovers there’s magic in the sap of her family tree. She follows instructions in her great-grandmother’s journal . . . and grows leathery wings! Meghan’s story goes viral and her mother, who abandoned Meghan at Grandpa’s Oregon farm six years earlier, swoops back into town with superstar plans for her Winged Wonder Girl. Grandpa says stay on the farm and ignore the paparazzi, but her charismatic mom wants her to leave for Hollywood and start a new life together. The popular girls at school want Meghan gone, like yesterday—she’s getting way more attention than they are.

One thing is certain: Meghan’s going to make up her own mind, and the designer divas aren’t part of the equation. With the help of her brainy best friends, there may be a way to make the queen of the mean girls stumble and fall off her throne. Now Meghan must decide if a glamorous life with the mother she dreamed of is worth moving away from the friends who stood by her—and from Grandpa, who loved her before the whole world knew her name.                    

About the author:

Sarah Floyd was born in Carmel Highlands, California, where she and her friends explored, built forts, and acted out magical adventure stories in the woods that surrounded their homes. When she was in first grade her family moved to San Francisco, and then to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She always brought her favorite books, wherever she moved, and she always found new friends who loved to read. Now she writes books for children and teens—for her, it’s the best job in the world!

Sarah is also the author of the picture book, TEN CLEVER NINJAS, which will be released later this year by Clear Fork Publishing. She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and lives in Florida with her husband and teenage son. To learn more, please visit, and follow her on Twitter @kidlitSarah

Giveaway details:


THANK YOU for celebrating with me today!! Please comment below with your answer (and include your Twitter handle or email) for a chance to win a signed ARC.

Michelle will randomly select a winner to receive a signed ARC, along with a query and first chapter critique (MG or YA), or a query plus full PB manuscript critique. Entry ends February 2nd. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Fall Fiction Fest Agent Round 2018

WELCOME to the first Fall Fiction Fest agent round!  It's the first time for Amy, Marty and I to square off and have a friendly competition! Many success stories have come out of our other contests over the years and we all look forward to even more of them! 

So while I'm pulling for the Saucy Cranberries, every request is to be celebrated. There are 12 Saucy Cranberries for the agents to read, but they can also make requests for Team Sunshine over at Amy Trueblood's blog and Team Merry over at Marty Mayberry's blog!

action sports bog GIF

As the agents move through the entries, please remember that contests are subjective. Our agents have a definitive idea of what they would like for their list. If they do not request, it DOES NOT mean the entry was not worthy. No matter what happens, you’ve got to keep querying and NEVER GIVE UP!
Before the Cranberries squeeze the competition, here are some guidelines to remember:
There is no commenting in this round except for agents. Sorry, but no cheerleading as this may lead to an unconscious bias.

burgers GIF
We are happy to see and retweet your thoughts and cheers over on Twitter under the #fallfest tag! That’s the place to hang out and have fun! I hope to see my Saucy Cranberries present in all their tangy glory! I'll try to shout out when new requests arrive. 

Agents will consider entries at all the blogs regardless of team and they might respond with a fall themed request. Amy, Marty and I are hoping the agents go crazy with the requests! There is amazing talent on all the teams!
Good luck to all! 

Image result for cranberries


Genre: MG STEM Mystery 
Word Count: 49,000

Saucy Cranberries 11: UNDERCURRENTS, MG Speculative Fiction

Genre: MG Speculative Fiction
Word Count: 46,000

Saucy Cranberries 10: FAKING IT: A RECIPE FOR DISASTER, MG Contemporary OV

Genre: MG Contemporary Ownvoices
Word Count: 42,000

Saucy Cranberries 9: WRITTEN IN THE STARS, YA Space Opera OV

Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Space Opera Ownvoices
Word Count: 89,000

Saucy Cranberries 8: THE SECRETS THAT DIVIDE US, YA Mystery

Genre: YA Mystery 
Word Count: 65,000

Saucy Cranberries 7: WE COULD BE, YA Contemporary

Genre: YA contemporary
Word Count: 81,000

Saucy Cranberries 6: PROJECT: YGGDRASIL, YA Science Fiction

Genre: YA science fiction
Word Count: 71,000

Saucy Cranberries 5: PANDORA REBORN, YA Fantasy OV

Genre: YA Fantasy Ownvoices
Word Count: 106,001

Saucy Cranberries 4: THE DEFENDER AND THE THIEF, Adult Japan-Inspired Fantasy OV

Genre: Adult Japan-inspired fantasy + #ownvoices LGBTQA
Word Count: 116,000

Saucy Cranberries 3: MOTHBALL MAGIC, Adult Contemporary Fantasy OV

Genre: Adult Contemporary Fantasy, Ownvoices (LGBTQ)
Word Count: 78,000