Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Query Questions with Michael Carr

Writers have copious amounts of imagination. It's what makes their stories so fantastic. But there's a darker side to so much out of the box thinking. When a writer is in the query trenches, their worries go into overdrive. They start pulling out their hair and imagine every possible disaster.


Here to relieve some of that endless worrying is a new series of posts called Query Questions. I'll ask the questions which prey on every writer's mind, and hopefully take some of the pain out of querying. These are questions that I've seen tossed around on twitter and writing sites like Agent Query Connect. They are the type of questions that you need answers for the real expert--agents!

If you have your own specific query question, please leave it in the comments and it might show up in future editions of Query Questions as I plan to rotate the questions.

I am happy to end September with a fresh Query Questions interview with Michael Carr of Veritas Literary Agency. He seeks Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy, and also Nonfiction.

Is there a better or worse time of year to query?

There are better and worse times to query, but they aren’t seasonal, and so sadly, they can’t be predicted by writers. When I’m busy with client manuscripts or have just taken on a new writer, there’s no question that queries are going to be read more quickly and with a jaded eye. My bandwidth at those times is narrow.

Does one typo or misplaced comma shoot down the entire query?

No, but it certainly doesn’t help. A query should be one page, and if that one page is sloppy, poorly written and edited, you can bet I’m expecting a manuscript that reads like a rough draft.

Do you look at sample pages without fail or only if the query is strong?

If it’s in one of the categories I represent, I almost always take a glance at the writing. If the query is weak, it might be only that, a glance. A good query earns more of my attention.

Do you have an assistant or intern go through your queries first or do you check all of them?

That depends. We have in the past, or we’ve had agents take turns with the entire slush, weeding out most of them in an initial pass. Right now, I’m reading all of my own queries, but managing workload by being ruthless about not responding to people who are querying me about inappropriate projects. It’s hard enough staying on top of the well-targeted queries.

Do you keep a maybe pile of queries and go back to them for a second look?

Yes, occasionally. Most mornings, I expect to reject all of my queries. The simple math says that in a given year I can only take on a couple of new clients, so I have to be very selective. Every once in a while, the quality of queries will surprise me, and I’ll have to give a couple of them more thought when I’m not comparing them to a whole batch of others.

If the manuscript has a prologue, do you want it included with the sample pages?

Sure, if it’s good enough to hook me. If it’s not good enough to hook me, maybe the book doesn’t need a prologue in the first place. And if it’s a great hook, why not call it “Chapter One?”

How important are comp titles? Is it something you want to see in a query?

Doesn’t hurt, but doesn’t really matter to me personally.

Some agencies mention querying only one agent at a time and some say query only one agent period. How often do you pass a query along to a fellow agent who might be more interested?

I pass along queries that are more appropriate for one of my colleagues. Query one agent, please.

Do you prefer a little personalized chit-chat in a query letter, or would you rather hear about the manuscript?

Get to the point! There’s plenty of time to chat and get to know each other if I connect with the writing. In fact, I’ve seen writers shoot themselves in the foot with the chit-chat when it’s clumsy or awkward. It’s usually bragging (“I’m going to make you rich!”) or inappropriate comments that make me think this writer is going to be difficult to work with.

Most agents have said they don’t care whether the word count/genre sentence comes first or last. But is it a red flag if one component is not included?

I prefer category and word count up front, but location doesn’t matter all that much. I do like to know both of these things, of course. I can’t sell a 45,000 word epic fantasy or a 375,000 word historical. Round to the nearest thousand words. “86,437 words” gives off an amateurish vibe.

Writers hear a lot about limiting the number of named characters in a query. Do you feel keeping named characters to a certain number makes for a clearer query?

Absolutely. Your job is not to tell me about every character and subplot, it’s to hook me into reading your pages with increased attention.

Should writers sweat the title of their book (and character names) or is that something that is often changed by publishers?

A good title can help attract interest, but they’re hard to do right. I get that. In fact, my two most recently signed clients submitted with titles that we brainstormed into something better before we went on submission.

How many queries do you receive in a week? How many requests might you make out of those?

This really varies. The high point of the year might be the flood of queries I get about two weeks after NaNoWriMo ends. Many weeks I request nothing. I probably request 15-20 manuscripts for every author I sign, so if I sign one or two authors a year . . .

Many agents say they don't care if writers are active online. Could a twitter account or blog presence by a writer tip the scales in getting a request or offer? And do you require writers you sign to start one?

Nah, this doesn’t matter to me. In my mind, the best promo for a writer is more high-quality writing. I’m speaking largely of fiction, which is 99% of my queries and 90% of my clients. If you love social media, go for it. If not, keep your head down and write.

Some writers have asked about including links to their blogs or manuscript-related artwork. I’m sure it’s not appropriate to add those links in a query, but are links in an email signature offensive?

I don’t think it matters all that much. I’d leave them out, I guess, since you’re trying to avoid distraction.

If a writer makes changes to their manuscript due to feedback should they resend the query or only if material was requested?

Absolutely only if requested. If I want an R&R (revise and resubmit), I will be explicit.

What bio should an author with no publishing credits include?

The best “bio” for a fiction writer is an excellently written book. Don’t worry about impressing me with your accomplishments. In most cases, they either sound unimpressive or they are impressive in non-writing ways. Either way, that doesn’t help. Just hook me with the query and write a book I can’t put down.

What does ‘just not right mean for me’ mean to you?

It’s a polite phrase. Sometimes it means just that, like going to a bookstore and taking a book off the shelf and then putting it back. You’re not making a value judgment about that book, you’re choosing to buy something else with your limited time and money.

Other times—and let’s be honest here—it means the writing is wretched. But why would I say that? Not only would that be unkind, but bad writers sometimes become good writers. If you want to be a writer, I advise setting aside the rejections when they come and keep working on your craft. Obsessing over them won’t help.

The number one difference I’ve seen between writers who make it and those who don’t is word count. Don’t compare your output to other aspiring writers, compare it to working professionals. I can’t emphasize this enough: you’re probably not writing enough.

Do you consider yourself a hands-on, editorial type of agent?

I can be. It depends on the writer. I definitely give feedback, and I try to pay it forward when I can. For this reason, I like teaching at two or three conferences every year.

What’s the strangest/funniest thing you’ve seen in a query?

Oh, good heavens. There’s weird stuff on a daily basis. I was asked on a date in a query once. That was . . . unexpected. Don’t do weird stuff. Please.


Associate Michael Carr is a literary agent with a background in editing and writing, working from a home base in the Northeast. He works carefully with clients to produce the cleanest, most professional manuscripts and enjoys teaching at workshops and conferences to help develop emerging writers. Michael speaks Spanish and conversational French and before joining Veritas had professions as diverse as programming simulators for nuclear submarines and owning an inn in Vermont.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Editing: Check your Ellipses and Em Dashes

This is just a short note on ellipses and em dashes. I've sometimes seen ellipses used where an em dash is needed and vice versa.

Ellipses are those three little dots ... They are used to indicate an omission or something is missing from a long direct quotation, if for example you are only using part of a quote and leaving off a few words. The ellipse goes at the point of omission.

More often in novel form, the ellipse is used to indicate hesitation or loss of concentration in a character's dialogue. Or perhaps a character trails off and doesn't finish a sentence of dialogue or thought. The sentence will then end with ...

I usually see these handled with a space before and after, such as:

"I wish I could tell you about ... I just can't."

"Look at his abs. They are so dreamy and ..."

Why did I ever start this post? It's so hard to think of examples when I should be cleaning. I wish ...

"Um ... where do I go from here?"

An em dash, on the other hand, indicates an insertion that isn't quite on topic. An aside by the character or narrator. It can also be used in dialogue when a character is interrupted while speaking. It is not a hyphen, but two hyphens typed side by side with no spaces around them. Word will automatically connect them into a longer em dash when done correctly.

“I love eating tacos—the extra-loaded kind from that quaint Mexican place—when I’m studying for finals.”

“Is that my—”
“Yes, it’s your dress. I borrowed it.”

“Today, I found the best sale—all the best sales happen this time of year—on shoes.”

An em dash is also used when inserting a tag in the middle of dialogue.

“My cat got”—he dashed at his eyes to wipe away tears—“run over by a truck.”

(No cats were harmed in the making of this post.)

So that's a little about the differences between ellipses and em dashes. Always be careful not to overuse them and tire out the reader.

How about some examples of how you've used them in the comments? Here's your chance to be fun and creative. It's not so easy to make them up on the spur of the moment, is it?

Edit: Em dashes are becoming more popular and are often used in place of semi-colons now. My Harper Voyager editor prefers this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Picture Book Party 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 sixty 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. Stay tuned to the blog or sign up for my newsletter for future contests.


Title: Baby Sloth’s Big Adventure
Genre: Fiction + Non-fiction back matter
Word Count: 513 words in text + 430 words Fun Sloth Facts


Title:  Playing Hide and Seek with Bigfoot
Genre:  Fantasy Children’s Chapter Book
Word Count:  5300


Genre: picture book
Word count: 580

PBParty 4: BALL OF FIRE, Character-Driven PB

Genre: Character Driven
Word Count: 699


Genre: Easy Reader 
Word Count: 1350

PBParty 6: LADIES FIRST, Character-Driven PB

Genre: quirky, character driven PB
Word Count: 525

PBParty 7: DIAMONDS ARE FOR BOYS, TOO!, Chapter Book

Genre: Chapter Book
Word Count: 9,100

PBParty 8: DISCO BARN, Humorous PB

Genre: Humorous
Word Count: 430

PBParty 9: CONSUELITO, Nonfiction Diversity PB

Genre: Creative Nonfiction Diversity
Word count: 630

PBParty 10: ANBU, PB

Title: ANBU
Genre: Picture Book
Word Count: 580

PBParty 11: BABANNE'S BASKET, Multi-cultural PB

Genre:  Multi-cultural picture book
Word Count: 550

PBParty 12: DIAMOND MAN, Biography PB

Title: Diamond Man
Genre: Biography
Word Count: 730 

PBParty 13: HOME WITH LEILA, Realistic PB

Title:  Home with Leila
Genre:  Realistic Picture Book
Word Count: 920

PBParty 14: I AM NOT A BUTTERFLY, Humorous fic/info PB

Genre: Humorous/"fic- informational" picture book
Word count: 517 words


Title: Kinzie's Kinventions - Spaced Out
Genre: Young Chapter Book
Word Count: 5,300


Genre: Picture Book
Word Count: 580


Title: Beach Blast with Rock Star Santa
Genre: (Seasonal Rhyming Picture Book)
Word Count: 380


Title: George Washington Wants Ice Cream
Genre: Historical Fiction
Word Count: 400

PBParty 19: WILLA'S FLYING STARS, Character Driven PB

Genre: Character driven, fiction picture book
Word Count: 510

PBParty 20: CUPCAKE WARS, Read Aloud PB

Title: Cupcake Wars
Genre: Fictional Read Aloud
Word Count: 931

PB Party 21: HOLA MEANS HELLO, Realistic Fiction PB

Title: Hola Means Hello
Genre: Picture Book, Realistic Fiction
Word Count: 626


Genre: Humorous Picture Book
Word Count: 390

Monday, September 21, 2015

Picture Book Party Picks

I built in extra time between submission and agent round this year just in case it was needed, what with helping my Pitch Wars mentees and my own writing. But Sharon and I got done pretty quickly! You can attribute this to Sharon and her drive to read and find the best entries. She really led the charge!

Before the reveal, I just want to remind everyone that contests are for fun and meeting other writers, building contacts. In no way are they a reflection on a story. Maybe people have entered contests and gotten no love, only to get an agent from the query slush--like me. For one thing, we are limited to the number of picks we can showcase, while an agent is not. So keep querying, keep writing those adorable picture and chapter books.

I know the disappointment. Use it to keep going.

Now for the surprise! We've added two extra picks to the numbers. Instead of 15-20, we have 22 spots! 

So here are the picks, in no particular order, that will be in the agent round on Wednesday.

Baby Sloth's Big Adventure
Playing Hide and Seek with Bigfoot
Ball of Fire
The Guinea Pig Who Ran For President
Ladies First
Diamonds Are For Boys, Too
Disco Barn
Babanne's Basket
Diamond Man
Home with Leila
I Am NOT A Butterfly
Kinzie's Kinventions - Spaced Out
Too Tired To Tell A Story
Beach Blast With Rock Star Santa
George Washington Wants Ice Cream
Willa's Flying Stars
Cupcake Wars
Hola Means Hello
Baby Albert, Evil Genius

Congrats to the winners! Hugs to those who will be watching! See you Wednesday for the agent round.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Getting the Submission Call with ME!

Everything is finally settled and today's my birthday, so it's the perfect day to put up this post!

Not all successes happen overnight. You really can't compare your journey to others. That's why I like to give a variety of interviews, so everyone gets an idea of the variables. Some paths to the end are smooth sailing and some are full of mile-high waves. My story is somewhere in the middle.

It took me four manuscripts before I landed an agent. My second book did sell to a small press, but I wanted to go bigger than that. I wanted the whole fairy tale with agent and big publisher, so I kept querying. With my fourth manuscript, I switched it up and wrote a humorous middle grade instead of my usual young adult fantasy. This book had started from a short story I wrote for a contest and was loaded with voice and personality. The query letter breezed out after only four revision. All my friends said this was THE ONE.

It was in that it got the attention of Sarah, and suddenly two years ago this August, I had an agent. Sarah thought my manuscript needed very little revision. My silly hamsters went on submission two weeks later in the first week of September 2013. I was excited to say the least to see the big names reading my manuscript. But months passed, and rejections came in, and we did other rounds of submission all to the same results. No editors asked for revisions or offered, though they thought it funny and had great voice.

I was a Pitchwars mentor last year and surrounded by eighty other mentor who all seemed to be having better luck than me. They had books for sale and big deals with big publishers. While I celebrated their success, all I had was silence or rejection. I felt very down on myself, even knowing many people don't sell their first book to go on submission.

I came to realize the fault was mine. I hadn't read many middle grade books at that point, and what I'd written hovered in between a middle grade and a chapter book. It was, for all purposes, unmarketable. By that time, a year had gone by, and I had nothing to show for it. My next book wasn't even finished yet because submission plays with your head. Sarah and I decided to end submission almost a year after we started. Knowing the MG story's problems were my doing made the empty feeling of failure much worse.

I had so much doubt, it was hard to concentrate on writing or really love the work in progress. It's hard to push yourself when you don't think it will do any good.

If you think querying is intense and hard, wait for submission. It's an out of control roller coaster on steroids. All you can do is wait and drive yourself crazy with wondering. It was a nightmare I was eager to revisit, however.

I finished my YA epic fantasy in November of 2014, sent it to my readers, and then off to Sarah. To my horror, she said it sounded more adult than young adult. Most of the characters were adult. The two main characters, who are teens, had a strong control on their emotions so the voice didn't feel YA. 

My agent doesn't represent adult works. I panicked.

But Sarah said not to worry and that she reps all my works. I breathed a sigh of relief and then got to work on the revisions. Unlike the first book we subbed, this one needed some revision to move three of the points of view to earlier in the book. That meant adding three scenes and we also cut a point of view and changed one over to another character.

GRUDGING ended up going on submission in February of 2015 to both young adult and adult editors. I noticed something different right away. I wasn't near as crazy because of this submission. I could focus on other things. I didn't spend every minute thinking about who might be reading it and whether anyone had sent a response. I knew what to expect and had a better handle on my emotions this time. In other words, I didn't get my hopes up. I never expected fireworks and amazing results.

Sarah started off with just a few editors and then added a couple more after a month. A few reading editors said it wasn't for them. We got a couple of rejections but most hadn't gotten back to her. Then low and behold, I got an email from Sarah in May saying don't read anything into this but an editor asked if GRUDGING was still available.


That was new. What did that mean? I, of course, read everything into it, and then quickly convinced myself that good things didn't happen to me. It was an editor quirk and nothing more.

The next week on a Friday, Sarah called and left a voice mail to call her back quick. I stole some time away at work and had a coworker cover for me. The editor wanted to talk to me on the phone, could I talk on Wednesday! My mind went blank and I'm not sure how I made it through the rest of the day, let alone an entire weekend. Another call with Sarah after work still had us guessing. The editor didn't specify what he wanted to talk about. I'd already taken that Wednesday off work as it was my wedding anniversary. We set up a time for a call.

I was so nervous. Talking on the phone isn't one of my favorite things (actually pretty shy) and this was a conference call that included Sarah. We didn't know what to expect. I think I had major deodorant fail that Wednesday morning, if you know what I mean. And this wasn't just a regular editor, this was the top editor at the press, the head guy. Yikes!

I prepared for all kinds of questions from the editor, or possible requests for a major revise and resubmit. I wasn't prepared to talk just a little about my book and the future sequels, and have the editor spend most of the call telling me about their imprint! He was trying to sell me on them! A big six!

He told me they needed to crunch some numbers and he'd get back to us next week.

Knowing publishing, I wondered how long that would be. He was prompt to the minute on calling, but didn't a week actually mean a month? They sent a deal memo by email on Monday! They wanted the whole trilogy! And apparently, GRUDGING was in such good shape they wanted to publish in November of this year! No long year and a half or two year wait.

Could this be happening to me?

I guess it could. Because the contract is signed with Harper Voyager for a three book, digital-first deal of my epic fantasy! Now my new challenge is attempting to write sequels!

Thanks everyone for supporting me through this process. I know it's not done yet, but with the help of all the friends I've made, I'm halfway there.


(GrudgingGoodreads or preorder from Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  Sorry there's no cover or blurb yet. Thank you!)  

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cover Reveal for INCONCEIVABLE

This great story was one of my picks in a contest last year. I also got the meet the author at a writer conference last fall. Now I get to share the cover reveal! I just love the perks of this job!

A popular, young royal couple can't produce an heir? INCONCEIVABLE!

When Ozarks native Hatty goes “whole hog” during karaoke, she catches the eye of Prince John. He isn’t what she expects the heir to a small European nation to be: he's affable, witty, and isn’t put off by her tell-it-like-it-is demeanor. Their flirtation should be short lived, but a force stronger than fate—Hatty’s newspaper editor—assigns her to cover the royals. After spending time together, she and John soon begin dating, and Hatty finds herself making headlines instead of writing them.

But challenges loom that are even more complicated than figuring out how to mesh Hatty's journalism career with life at Belvoir Palace. Hatty and John soon find themselves embroiled in an unusual sex scandal: they can't produce an heir. Tabloids dub Hatty a “Barren-ess,” and the royals become irate. Hatty politely tells them to shove it. But beneath her confident exterior, she struggles to cope with a heartbreak that invades her most intimate moments with John. Pressured to choose between invasive medical procedures and abandoning John’s claim to the throne, the couple feels trapped until a trip to Ethiopia shows them happy endings sometimes arrive long after saying “I do.”


The best compliment Tegan Wren ever received came from her sixth grade teacher: “You always have a book in your hand!”

Guided by her love of the creative process, Tegan grew up acting in theatre productions and writing poetry, short stories, and plays. She turned her eye to writing about real life when she worked as a journalist, producing reports for various radio and television stations in medium and large markets in the Midwest and also filing some stories for a major national news network. Wren has both a Bachelor’s of Journalism and a Master of Arts in Communications. After completing her graduate degree, Tegan had the opportunity to teach journalism courses at a major state university. She absolutely loved training the next generation of journalists.

Tegan’s thankful that she’s had the opportunity to travel overseas, and uses those adventures to inform her writing. She also draws inspiration from her own struggles, joys, and life experiences. Tegan and her husband, Patrick, experienced infertility for five years before becoming parents through adoption.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Release Week for HOOK'S REVENGE

I am so excited that THE PIRATE CODE by Heidi Schulz releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an awesome giveaway!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful series by Heidi Schulz, be sure to check out all the details below.

This blitz also includes a giveaway for copies of both HOOK’S REVENGE books! US only. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About The Book:

Author: Heidi Schulz
Pub. Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover, eBook

Fresh off a fearsome encounter with the Neverland crocodile, Jocelyn Hook decides the most practical plan is to hunt down her father's famous fortune. After all, she'll need the gold to fund her adventuring in the future. (And luckily, Hook left her the map.)

But the map proves to be a bit harder to crack than Jocelyn had hoped, and she's convinced that the horrible Peter Pan might be the only one with the answers. Of course, he doesn't really feel like helping her, so Jocelyn takes the only reasonable course of action left to her: she kidnaps his mother. Evie, though, is absolutely thrilled to be taken prisoner, so Jocelyn's daring ploy doesn't have quite the effect she'd planned for.

Along with the problem of her all-too-willing captive, Jocelyn must also contend with Captain Krueger, whose general policy is that no deed is too dastardly when it comes to stealing Hook's treasure. And with the ever-shifting Whens of the Neverland working against her as well, Jocelyn, Evie, Roger, and the rest of the Hook's Revenge crew have their work cut out for them.

In this rambunctious showdown between characters new and old, Jocelyn puts her own brand of pirating to the test in a quest to save her future and those she loves.

About Heidi:

Heidi Schulz is a writer, reader, and giraffe suspicioner. She lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband, co-captaining a crew made of their teen daughter, a terrible little dog, and five irascible chickens. Her debut novel for middle grade readers, HOOK’S REVENGE, published by Disney•Hyperion, was a Bank Street Best book, among the New York Public Library’s Top 100 Titles for Children in 2014, and an OCTE Oregon Spirit Honor Book. A sequel, HOOK’S REVENGE: THE PIRATE CODE, will follow in September 2015. Bloomsbury Kids will publish her picture book debut, GIRAFFES RUIN EVERYTHING, in Spring 2016.

Connect with the author:

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive both HOOKS’S REVENGE Books. US Only.

Ends on September 25th at Midnight EST!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 14, 2015

Picture Book Party Submission


Today is the day! Submission opens at 4:00 pm Eastern. (If that time is not good for you, try Letter Me Later)

The Rules:

Please be a follower of this blog. You can click the "Join this Site" button in the left sidebar. Please follow myself and Sharon on twitter. I imagine we will be tweeting hints 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. THEY MUST BE SENT AS SEPARATE EMAILS. 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 September 14th 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 by accident. 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 on twitter before re-sending. The window will stay open until we get 250 entries. However long that takes. It could be minutes or it could be days. Likely it will go fast.

This contest is only for finished and polished manuscripts. It has to be ready to go out to agents.

The Format:

Subject Line: 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.)

Name: Sharon Chriscoe

Twitter Handle: @schriscoe_
Genre: (Here please tell us what type of picture book this is) Example: Board Book, Bedtime Rhyme, Nonfiction, Biography, etc. or List Chapter Book
Word Count: xxx (round to nearest ten, hundred for chapter books)


Your entire query letter here. Include your comps, bio, greeting, closing. (You may use whatever you want for a greeting. Dear Agent. Dear Michelle and Sharon.) 

Here is your chance to make your entry shine and make the agent fall in love with your words. You do NOT need to include contact information in your query.

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.

Comments about artwork are part of the 50 words.

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. If you don't have artwork, don't worry. 

Now for the twitter party fun! Visit daily under the hashtag #PBParty to meet and greet and scout out slush hints.

Monday, September 14th         Tell us what genre you write and when you entered.

Tuesday, September 15th        What is your favorite place to write? Share your writing quirks.

Wednesday, September 16th    What is your favorite picture/chapter book?

Thursday, September 17th       Animal, vegetable, mineral. Tell us if your MC is human or something else.

Friday, September 18th            What picture/chapter book author would you like to meet, living or dead?

Saturday, September 19th        What picture book character would you like to be?

Sunday, September 20th          Take a day off and relax. 

Monday, September 21st            What's your best writing advice?

Tuesday, September 22nd          Look for CP partners and make more friends.

Wednesday, September 23rd     Hang on because here we go!

Sharon and I are so excited for the fun to start. As you've probably noticed we have a great group of agents and editors.

Good luck everyone!