Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Querying Advice: Nudging (without an offer)

I've seen this asked over and over: when and how should a writer nudge a literary agent about a full or partial request (if they are without an offer). Writers are in awe of agents. Afraid of making a pest of themselves and somehow ruining their chances to get an agent. They don't want to be a bother. Writers tend to tip-toe around nudging as if they don't deserve to reach out to an agent.

You were so happy just to get a request. You don't want to mess it up.

Be unafraid!

Without writers there are no books. It's a writer's talent that opens new worlds for people who love to read. This is your manuscript. You worked hard on it. You have every right to inquire about it.    

Agents understand. After all, they use nudges all the time with editors. During submission, they may need to follow up with an editor on material the agent has sent. Sometimes they have to ask for an answer on a pitch letter. How can they fault you for doing something they have to employ? As long as you are sensible, there is no problem with politely asking an agent the status of your request.  

Though I don't recommend you nudge about a query letter unless the agent's website specifically says to nudge after a certain number of weeks. So many agents use a no response policy now. Is your query lost or just not right for that agent? It's better to leave well enough alone with a query that goes unanswered and assume the letter has been rejected. There are plenty of agents to query that you don't need to worry about every letter going astray. Chances are it hasn't. (There are exceptions and the choice is yours, but I'd think twice about nudging for a query letter.)

Now if your material has been requested it's a different story. Perhaps you've been patient for a long time and you want to know what's happening.  Before you take action, though, consider the timing.

It's very important not to let your natural impatience get out of hand. Everyone is ancy when material is being considered. Important decisions are being made that could get your baby in front of editors from the Big Six. But has a reasonable amount of time passed or are you just anxious? Publishing is notoriously slow. You have to give the agent plenty of time to read as things always come up. 

So first, check their website for a clue of when to nudge. If their website says nothing, then a solid guide is never to nudge until it's been three months. My own guide was to go a week or two past three months just to be on the safe side.

Then you'll want to use the email chain you've created with the agent (Yes, save the email asking for pages in your email provider so you can reply to it.) A RE in the subject line is more likely to catch their eye and prove you have had communication in the past.  Be short and to the point. No need to waste more agent reading time by being long winded. 

Dear Agent so and so,

I'm checking in to see if you had time to read TITLE which I sent as requested on DATE. Thank you very much,


That's really all you need to nudge. Have you had time to get to it? It's called X and I sent it on Y. Agents will get back to you with a yes or no. Usually they need more time, but now you have reminded them. Hopefully, the nudge will lead to a faster read and a quicker final response.

Occasionally, a nudge receives no response from an agent. In that case, wait a week or two more and send a second nudge just like the first. Give them time to get to your first nudge just in case they are out of the office or very hectic. 

If the second nudge goes unanswered, then you have to put it out of your mind and set that request aside as a no. It's hard to do that, but let's face it-- Do you really want an agent who doesn't find the time to reply to two nudges? It's like the movie; he's just not that into you. Good communication with an agent is crucial. Take the agent off the pedestal. Time to move on and show some pride. Don't go for a third nudge. 

So there you have it. It's really not that scary if you make sure you give the agent plenty of time to consider before you nudge. Be polite and to the point.

Good luck and profitable nudging! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Getting the Call with Kristin Wright

Choices, choices! We all love to have choices, though sometimes it's not that easy. Lucky for Kristin she had options and her heart told her where to go! Congrats Kristin, and I'm glad you found a CP through Query Kombat. 

Getting the Call for me managed to be BOTH the super-fast fairy tale and the end of a long querying slog through the trenches. How? I queried two manuscripts at once.
I wrote and polished my romantic women's fiction novel TWENTY MILES IN just in time to submit it to last August's PitchWars. I did a little midnight dancing when I saw I'd been chosen as an alternate, and then settled in for the wait. PitchWars is excellent practice for the professional waiting that writers sign up for. The entries are posted in early November, two months after selection, to allow time for edits.  I edit fast (my mentor, Kara Leigh Miller, went way above and beyond for TMI), and still had enough time to write another manuscript .
I got requests in PitchWars, though none that panned out. I queried it through November and December, with a short flurry at the beginning of January when agents re-opened after the holidays. I sent the last query for TMI on January 6. Meanwhile, I'd been editing my other manuscript, FARB, and was ready to query that one by January 21.
With FARB, I got the fairy tale. Within two weeks, I had six full requests. On day 14, I sat in a work meeting with my iPad, and an email arrived from Agent A, who wanted to chat about FARB, which she'd requested only the day before. I read the email ten times. I contemplated escaping the meeting by yelling "Fire." I restrained myself and suffered through. Agent A's call, though, turned out not to be The Call. She wanted some minor revisions before offering. She did offer, though, a week later. That email came while I sat in the car, about to embark on an afternoon of driving my kids around to lessons with no computer handy. 
While my kids sawed away on their violins, I sent my flurry of emails to all the agents with either requested materials or open queries on either manuscript--on my phone. And then I checked my email at stoplights. Yes, I know. Bad. The blizzard of responses came quickly, and from agents with queries on both manuscripts. When it stopped, I had 12 agents reading one or both fulls.
The next day, Agent B emailed asking to "chat" about FARB. (I don't know why they like this word so much. They do.) Agent B offered in the first two minutes. Then came the really draggy part. I'd given a nine-day period. Nothing at all happened for seven days. The night before the deadline, I got an email from Agent C. She'd liked TWENTY MILES IN and wanted me to extend the deadline for her to read FARB. I chose not to, because I didn't think it was fair to Agents A and B, but I hated writing that email.
Minutes before I went to bed, I got an email from Agent D, who'd been the recipient of the very last query I sent for TWENTY MILES IN because she'd been closed. She wanted to chat the next morning. She'd "love loved" my work, and I loved her back just based on her interviews and Twitter feed. During the call, we talked about the book. She'd stayed up late reading it, and already had a submission list in mind. She was ready to go--with this book, with my other manuscripts, and with any other books I might write in the future. I emailed several of her clients, and within the hour, got back long love letters about her. I really liked the other offering agents and would have been very happy with either of them, but the decision was made.
Now, I'm delighted to say I'm represented by Sarah E. Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency!


I live in Virginia with my family, our stinky beagle, and our elderly guinea pig. I'm an attorney now, but I've been a Civil War reenactor, an ice cream scooper, a telemarketer, and a U.S. Senate intern. I'm a veteran of both Query Kombat and PitchWars, both in 2014, and will tell anyone who asks that contests are absolutely worth it because that's how you meet your critique partners. I write women's fiction and romance, and dream of a day when someone magically shows up at my door to manage my website and Facebook page for me.  The website is www.kristinbwright.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Upcoming Contests

There are two big contests taking submissions next week.

I'll be a co-host of Pitchslam which takes submission on April 3rd. You can find all the details at L. L. McKinney's blog. (follow Elle at https://twitter.com/ElleOnWords) It's theme this time around is Classic Hollywood.

As a director I'll be casting for my Western. (Not that that means I'm only looking for westerns. Actually I'm looking for all age categories and genres, though as usual I lean toward fantasy/speculative fiction.) John Wayne is my team's leading man. I'll be looking for entries that show True Grit.

The nice thing about PitchSlam is getting feedback before you send in your final entry. That lets you revise before the team Directors make their picks.

Also taking place next week and going through a variety of judging is Nest Pitch. Their window opens on April 1st and they have a great line up of agents. Follow Nikola Vukoja for more details about this contest- https://twitter.com/Nik_Vukoja

Monday, March 23, 2015

PBParty Agent Round!

I don't have enough words to say how much I've enjoyed this contest. The entries just blew Sharon and I away. They are beyond adorable, heart touching, hilarious, sweet and informative. I don't know about Sharon, but I felt like I was in the middle of a group love hug while reading them. I wish I could highlight all of them on my blog.

Please remember that contests are so subjective. Some entries attracted me more than others, that's just the nature of publishing. We had over forty more entries favorited in the maybe folder or starred as something special. The entries in this contest are just that good. I'm sure there will be much success for this group, whether your entry is picked today or not.

Commenting on entries is for agents only. If you'd like to cheer or rave about a favorite, please hop over to twitter at the hashtag #PBParty. The party continues there as we celebrate and support our fellow writers.

Thanks to everyone who entered. I hope to have another PB contest this summer. Stay tuned to the blog for future news.  


Genre: Realistic Fiction/Special Needs
Word Count: 498

          Dear Michelle and Sharon,
Adelaide dreams of stardom, but she can't sing, dance, or remember her lines like other kids can. However, she has something special. She has a sparkle, and it makes her shine like the star she truly is… But is it enough to get her on stage? 
In my 498-wordpicture book, ADELAIDE’S SPARKLE, you will witness the perseverance of a girl who does not allow her disability to slow her down.  Adelaide has Down Syndrome, but that is only seen in the illustrator notes, and not preached through the manuscript.
My picture book, Waiting for James in a Sea of Pink, was published in early 2012 with MeeGenius. It was a Golden Owl Award recipient, and spent several weeks as a best seller among MeeGenius’ listings. I am a SCBWI North/Central CA member, volunteer for the Epilepsy Foundation, active 12x12 member, volunteer for the We Need Diverse Books campaign, and graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature.
I very much look forward to hearing from you.


Genre: Fiction Picture Book
Word Count: 540


Dear Michelle and Sharon,

Winner of the 2014 SCBWI–Los Angeles Writer’s Days Contest, QUICO HELD TIGHT is a multicultural picture book for ages 4–8 in 540 words. It’s filled with mayhem, mishaps, and, ultimately, bravery.

When Ana’s pet gecko, Quico, lands smack on Tía Marlina’s spectacles, the colorful characters from Ana’s Mexican village try to get the gecko to let go–but they only make matters worse. Ana knows how to release the reptile, but first she’ll need to work up enough courage to speak out over the rapidly growing crowd. She’d better do it quick, though, because a snake is lurking nearby with his own plans for Quico.

Like THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED by Samantha R. Vamos, QUICO HELD TIGHT unites an Hispanic community around a common goal. Instead of cooking up a delicious casserole, however, the characters of QUICO cook up one calamity after another–all at poor Tía Marlina’s expense. The slapstick humor of QUICO HELD TIGHT resembles that of DUCK DUCK MOOSE! by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, but where DUCK DUCK MOOSE! is about friendship, QUICO is about courage.

I am an SCBWI member and former preschool teacher, currently teaching Internet search strategy classes to homeschoolers of all ages. My writing has appeared inFamilyFunThe HomeschoolerThe Los Feliz Ledger and other publications. 

Thank you for your time.


Title: The Not-So-Silent E
Genre: Picture Story Book
Word Count: 640

Dear Agent,
In The Not-So-Silent E, Little E has a problem all children can understand: He just wants to be heard! He knows he should follow the rules, but it’s no fun and so hard. This 638-word picture book for ages 4-7 will appeal to young readers familiar with Little PeaSpoon,Little Hoot and Little Oink—readers who will recognize Little E’s plight and will celebrate with him as he discovers that being a Silent E can actually be magical. I have included the first 54 words of the manuscript below for your consideration.
The Silent E concept is a staple of kindergarten and first grade reading curriculum, so young readers will be familiar with the idea. The book should also find an eager audience among teachers and librarians. For as the School Library Journal pointed out in an article, educators are always looking for books that teach grammar and writing skills through fun and inspiring stories.
As a freelancer who has written for children’s magazines for 18 years, I’ve had the challenge of introducing young readers to a wide range of topics and the thrill of hooking their attention with writing that’s both educational and entertaining. For Boys’ Life andNational Geographic Kids, I’ve covered everything Sent from my iPhone funny money facts to amazing animal pals. Several of my stories are included in the 2010-2015 editions of the National Geographic Kids Almanac as well as National Geographic Kids 125 True Stories of Amazing Animals.
Over the past two years, I’ve been fortunate to expand into the children’s book market. I wrote “Angry Birds Explore the World,” the 96-page safari-themed bookazine for National Geographic Kids that published in July 2013. I’ve also written two nonfiction books for National Geographic Kids Books:
*Weather, a Level 1 easy reader, which debuted in July 2013
*From Seed to Plant, a Level 1 easy reader, which debuted in January 2014
My third National Geographic Kids Books title will publish this summer. It’s titled Coral Reefs and is a Level 2 easy reader.
I also have written hundreds of profiles, travel stories and book reviews for such grown-up publications as People, American Way, Family Circle, Sunset and Yankee, among many others.
Thanks so much for your time and consideration. 


Genre: Fiction, Humorous
Word Count: 350


Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my picture book manuscript, MILTON'S NAUGHTY PARENTS, and would very much like to work with you.

Written for ages 4-8, MILTON'S NAUGHTY PARENTS is 350 words in length. In a zany role reversal, little Milton must play the adult to his comically juvenile parents, who try his patience with their annoying antics. Milton's attempts at disciplining his mother and father are futile. Only after a stray dog appears does Milton find a way to transform his parents into responsible caregivers.

In addition to MILTON, I have several other picture book manuscripts that are ready for submission, including FERGUS FALLS UP, SNERKLE'S SLEEP EMPORIUM, and THE GREAT GOGGLEMOG.

My debut picture book, Otto Grows Down, was published in 2009 by Sterling with illustrations by Scott Magoon. My YA novel, Crashing Eden, was released in 2012 by Solstice Publishing. A TV pilot based on the novel just made the semi-finals of the Pilot Launch TV Script Contest.

I'm a clinical psychologist and have also published in the field of mental health. A Curious Calling: Unconscious Motivations for Practicing Psychotherapy was a main selection for America’s largest psychotherapy-related book club, and was released in 2007 as a paperback. I also edited A Perilous Calling: The Hazards of Psychotherapy Practice, published by Wiley.

I have pasted the first fifty words of MILTON'S NAUGHTY PARENTS below, and would be happy to send you the full manuscript. Most grateful for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.


Genre: Chapter Book – Historical Fiction Mystery
Word Count: 9,500


Dear Michelle and Sharon,

As the 1920s roar through New York City, no one enjoys them more than 10-year-old adventuress Pooky Thursday. She dances the Charleston, explores the wilds of Central Park, and reads her way through the library at Banner Court, the city's most fabulous mansion. As the cook's daughter, Pooky must navigate not only the mansion's nooks, crannies, and secret passageways, but also the worlds of the downstairs staff and the upstairs swells.

One day, Pooky discovers a kid-size, lizard-shaped painting peeking out of the library's trash. What's a mystery but an adventure with a question mark? Pooky puts on her detective hat to question everyone from the butler to Commodore Banner himself, research reptilian facts in the chronicles of great explorers, and search for answers on what the painting means and who it belongs to.

Pooky is up to her knee socks in clues when Frank, the Banners' spoiled and stinky son, demands that she turn the lizard painting over to him. When Pooky refuses, Frank threatens to out her as a sneak thief to the Banners and, even worse, her mama. Now Pooky must find the mysterious owner of the painting and fast. Otherwise, she'll be branded a no good robber forever, and Frank will get his grubby little hands on the treasure.

POOKY THURSDAY INVESTIGATES! THE LIZARD IN THE LIBRARY is a 9,500-word chapter book. Please find the first 100 words pasted below.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Title: The Root of the Cube
Genre: Non-fiction Picture book Rhyme
Word Count: 350

Dear Michelle and Sharon

I hope you will consider my picture book The Root of the Cube for your Picture and Chapter Book Party. It is written for children ages 7-10 and is 350 words of comic verse. I have included the first 50 words at the end of this email. 

It starts when an ice cube's thrown out on the breeze.
It's the tale of the trip that he makes to refreeze.
From solid to liquid to gas - H2O no! 
From the ground to the air, it's the Water Cycle Flow. 

This is a good physical science manuscript (the water cycle) that is balanced with a cute ice cube (the “cuddle factor”).

I have been writing for children for years. I attend two critique groups and love nothing better than getting my next story idea.  About five years ago, I started writing in comic verse. Last spring, I joined an online critique group specializing in rhyming picture books. I currently have a picture book app on Demibooks Storytime entitled Police Hens which I wrote and illustrated. Here is a link to more information about Police Hens, and a link to my youtube booktrailer.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.


Genre: Fiction Picture Book
Word Count:


Dear Michelle & Sharon,

In 160 words, ALIEN HUNT is a lyrical picture book that keeps readers guessing, “Quirky neighbor or… alien?”

Brie, Ben, and Bigglebee set out to explore, convinced an alien lives down the street. While the curious group makes new alien-like discoveries, readers are privy to an insider’s view that looks nothing out of the ordinary… Are imaginations running wild, or does an alien live there?

I have included the first 50 words below and attached an illustration sample. For more examples of my work, please visit sheriroloff.wordpress.com.

I am a member of SCBWI and have been a full-time copywriter since 2009. Beyond writing, making art and music have been an important part of my creative pursuits. I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my husband, a growing assortment of art supplies, and an untrustworthy but handsome cat.

Thanks so much for hosting the PB Party event and taking the time to consider ALIEN HUNT. I look forward to hearing from you.


Genre:  Picture Book Biography
Word Count:  500

This entry pulled on request of author. 


Genre: fiction PB
Word Count: 615


Dear Sharon and Michelle,

I’m pleased to offer you my 615-word picture book, OPERATION BREAKFAST IS SERVED, for ages 4 to 8.

When the zoo food truck breaks down, three animal Picky Eater Agents plan the perfect op to rescue breakfast before their cover is blown. OPERATION BREAKFAST IS SERVED includes optional nonfiction back matter about animal picky eaters, known as food specialists.

I am the author of SCIENCE FAIR SUCCESS! and USING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD for Rourke Educational Media (2014).  I’ve written 13 more books for the school and library market, which will appear in 2015-2016. I am a member of SCBWI and the 12 x 12 Picture Book Challenge.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time.


Title: Just a Duck
Genre: Picture Story Book; Humor
Word Count:430

Greetings, Michelle and Sharon!

Using whimsical language, JUST A DUCK is a 430-word character-driven story where an arrogant alien, Kruck, learns a lesson from humble duck, Druck. But is Druck a humble duck or a humble alien instead? You guessed it. It’s the latter in this fun romp where Druck gets fed up with Kruck’s arrogance and incessant offensive comments. Druck fixes Kruck’s spaceship and then steals it, proving that he is infinitely more than “just a duck.” 

As a certified elementary teacher and active member of SCBWI, I am aware of the market and enjoy fun, contemporary books like, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the BusI Want My Hat BackDuck! Rabbit!, and even Quack, Quack, Moo Moo. I believe that JUST A DUCK has a similar feel and appeal. I am the forthcoming NE Area Representative for SCBWI-Wisconsin. 

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Genre: Chapter Book
Word Count: 5400


Dear Agent,

I am pleased to send you this query for my chapter book SUPERHERO REJECTS: THE RETURN OF SCORPIUS, which is complete at 5400 words. Fans of CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS are likely to relate to this other set of unusual superheroes.

Morphus is ashamed that his superpower is morphing into pathetic objects like rubber bands, fishing line and hairnets. At ZITS (the Zapps Institute for the Training of Superheroes), he and the other rejects are the school’s only hope when Scorpius attacks and puts everyone but them in a trance. Could it be the world does have some use for a superhero who can morph into a rubber band?

 My published writing includes award-winning picture books TURKEY TROUBLE and TURKEY CLAUS (Two Lions Press, 2009 and 2012) and JUST ONE MORE (All About Kids Publishing, 2002) as well as several other picture books (including the upcoming TURKEY TRICK OR TREAT). I have also published more than a dozen emergent readers and numerous stories in prominent children’s magazines. I have a B.A. in Early Childhood Education and, in addition to teaching for 11 years, I have done considerable writing for the educational market. I am a member of SCBWI, a 2013 Picture Book Champion, and the Featured Author for February 2014 in Julie Hedlund’s 12X12 picture book challenge (writing about character-driven picture books).

I have been writing for many years without an agent, but have found that I am ready for one now, as more and more houses are closing to unsolicited manuscripts, and I have less and less time to deal with the business side of things. I desire to spend my time writing, doing school visits and presentations at events. I am hoping that you might be that agent.

I would mention also that I have a number of submission-ready picture book manuscripts, should you be interested in reading more of my work.

Thank you for your time in considering my query. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


Title: Shiloh the Kid Whisperer
Genre: Rhyming Social/family Issue
Word count: 450


Dear Agents,

When a little girl’s play date arrives, she hides under the bed watching him cause havoc in her room. Growing more tense and unable to speak up, Shiloh the Kid Whisperer, pops up to help! In a burst of excitement, her play date gets too close and she curls into a ball, wishing she wasn’t so shy. With Shiloh’s support, the little girl must find her quiet voice to make herself heard, or hide under her bed forever. 

At 450 words, SHILOH THE KID WHISPERER, is a rhyming picture book for 4-8 year olds, and is part of a series of “Monster Troubles.” It is told through the eyes of a little girl struggling to find her voice in the company of a louder, energetic child. As an Arts Psychotherapist, and a mother of a cautious child, I help families to recognise strength in a watchful approach. I am also an artist and have attached an illustration of Shiloh. In addition to the "Monster Troubles" series, I have a middle grade, dark fantasy, complete at 41,000, which I am happy to send upon request.

Thank you for your consideration.


Genre: Picture Book - Multi-Cultural Fractured Fairy Tale
Word Count: 550


Dear Agent,

Mongoose prepares for a Holi party, but her friends Mor, Langur, and Hathi have plenty of colorful, exasperating excuses when Mongoose asks for help, that is until a band of mischievous monkeys strike. It’s Little Red Hen with an Indian twist.

MONGOOSE'S HOLI PARTY is a 550- word picture book for children ages 4-8. The story introduces the Indian holiday of Holi while re-telling a colorful tale about friendship. A short glossary and an author's note is included.

I am an SCBWI member and have been a judge for the Cybils Book Awards in 2011 and 2012 (Early Reader and Fiction Picture Book categories). I recently finished a picture book mentorship with Kathi Appelt. I run a children’s book review blog, Flowering Minds (https://floweringminds.wordpress.com/) with an active following of mommy bloggers, writers, and librarians. I am actively involved with critique groups and writer circles including, Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Ideas Month (PiBoIdMo) challenge and Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 Picture Book Challenge. I have taken many picture book courses on-line and via local SCBWI events.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in the PBParty.


Title: Stickies for Nickie
Genre: Realistic, Fiction, Inspired by a True Event
Word Count: 850 words

Dear Michelle and Sharon:
Shake it off? No way. Bullying cannot be shaken off, ignored or punished. Fortunately my protagonist Sarah has a unique action plan that not only empowers victims and bystanders, but also embraces bullies and stops school bullying. Maybe forever.
 It may sound implausible, but Stickies for Nickie is based on a true event that occurred in a small town in Canada.  In my manuscript, as in real life, handwritten stickies like “You’re awesome” allow everyone to feel good about themselves, help bystanders find their courage, help victims renew their strengths and guide bullies toward kindness. Stickies for Nickie is the magical and realistic place where The Juice Box Bully. Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Each Other meets Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun.
I believe that my manuscript not only helps bystanders and bullies but also helps victims feel less isolated. As a newly retired teacher with 39 years of experience, I know that bullying will stop only when bystanders find the courage to speak up and become up-standers, and when we fix what’s broken in bullies. I also believe that Sarah’s creative plan to combat bullying is a first in anti-bullying literature. 
Many of my comments and op-eds were published in The Canadian Jewish News, The Montreal Gazette, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Calgary Herald, The Christian Science Monitor, parade.com, and The Miami Herald. I have written extensively about children, bullying, parents and the reasons why public schools are failing. My non-fiction book School Selfies: Teachers,Parents,Students and Bandwagons will be published in summer 2015.
I believe that Stickies for Nickie is unique because it offers readers the unusual tactic of using positive stickies to combat bullying, an issue that always needs a spotlight shone on it.  Thank you for the reading.


Genre: Fiction Picture Book
Word Count: 370


Dear Agent,

When Bailey’s big brother goes away, she wears his combat boots to cope with the loss. At first it is almost impossible to “walk in her brother’s footsteps.” But after creating craters, setting off earthquakes, and scaling the tippy tallest tower, Bailey discovers how powerful she really is and soon her brother’s footprints are following her.

Many children experience loss and grief when an older sibling leaves the home. In 371 words, BAILEY’S BROTHER’S BOOTS validates these feelings while also celebrating the tremendous strength we have inside of us.

I am a former elementary school teacher and reading specialist, as well as a West Chester University Writing Fellow. I am actively involved with SCBWI, multiple critique groups, and various online writing forums.


Genre: Nonfiction PB
Word Count: 520


Dear Agent,

 Willard’s throat is tight. His skin is dry. Willard needs water. When his toad family accidentally leaves him behind to go in search of a pond, Willard must overcome his fear and head to the pond—in the dark—all by himself.

On his journey, he encounters a ferruginous pygmy owl, a coati, and a boa constrictor—all who want to eat him. Alone and scared, he hops on until he reaches his destination. Sinking into mud in the cool pond, Willard croaks a happy song and reunites with his family.

Willard’s Journey is a 520 word nonfiction picture book, based in the jungle that addresses the childhood fear of being scared of the dark. The story also introduces children to some interesting jungle animals with cool fact sidebars and the concept that a person can accomplish anything they work hard enough for—even if they’re afraid.

The author is the owner and director of a large childcare center in Grand Junction, Colorado. As a prekindergarten teacher, she regularly addresses the fears that children encounter and teaches them the only way to overcome fears is to face them head on. She is an active member of SCBWI, RMFW, and belongs to several critique groups.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Title:  Mirabelle's 100-Balloon Party
Genre:  Contemporary/Friendship/100th day of school PB
Word Count:  530 words


Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation for my 530-word picture book, MIRABELLE'S 100-BALLOON PARTY. The story ties in well with the 100th day of school activities in elementary schools, as well as having commercial appeal as a story of friendship, fun, and a little bit of magic, with great illustration potential.

Mirabelle loves balloons. All shapes. All colors. All sizes. All the time. For Mirabelle, the only thing better than getting a balloon, is sharing a balloon with a friend. And that’s why Mirabelle knows her 100-balloon party to celebrate one hundred days of school will be the best party ever. She decorates the house and plans party games like pass-the-balloon, balloon-ping-pong, bob-for-balloons, and pin-the-balloon-on-the-donkey. 

But on the day of her party, Mirabelle’s bubble is burst when she can’t round up any balloons. When her friends arrive for the party, Mirabelle can hardly believe her eyes! This is no 100-balloon party...but it is the best party ever!

I am a moderator on the SCBWI message board, AKA “The Blueboards,” and my recent credits include Highlights for Children, Highlights High Five, Hopscotch for Girls, and Ladybug magazines. I was honored to be named the 2013 First Runner Up (North America) in the Greenhouse Funny Prize contest for one of my picture books.

I have several other completed manuscripts available. Thank you for your time and consideration!