Saturday, March 16, 2019

Frequently Asked Picture Party Contest Questions

We get a lot of questions. Here's a selection of the ones I see the most. They are in no particular order. 

When do I post my pitch?

You don't. This isn't an online twitter pitch event. Picture Book Party requires a query and your first fifty words. Entries are sent to us by email. See our announcement post for more details. Selected finalists will be posted into an agent showcase on my blog during specific dates. Agents and editors will then make requests. You decide whether to send the requests so research our agents and editors. Writers can watch my blog for a list of those finalists selected before the showcase.

But it's called Picture Book Party. Where the party?

The party is on twitter under #PBParty. But it isn't a pitching party. It's more of a get to know you party. We have daily topics to tweet about and get to know other writers and make friends. Maybe agents will be stopping by. It's a place to hang out and have fun while the hosts read the entries. 

Do I have to limit myself to 50 words; Can I go over or under? What if I have a chapter book?

You may post less than 50 words. You may go over by two or three words to finish a sentence only. Entries can't be more than 55 words. Chapters books may include 100 words. Single spaced. Space between paragraphs. 12 point font. Times New Roman or equivalent. 

Do art notes count toward the 50 words?


Can I send more than one entry?

Yes, you can. Each person may send two different manuscripts in two separate emails. Do not send more than two. Pick your two favorites, the ones that are the most polished, the ones that are the most original, the ones you've queried the least--in other words, you decide. Only one entry will be picked per person. You do not have to send two. You can send one.

Can I send an illustration?

Yes! We encourage you to do so. You may attach one illustration per entry to your entry email. We have something special planned for illustrations this year.

I just learned about PB Party and missed the window. Can I send my entry late?

No. We stay open one hour and that's it. We have a feeling there will be a ton of entries this year. It wouldn't not be fair to those who followed the rules.

If you send early you will also be deleted, but you can resend at the proper time. 4:00 pm EST on March 19th.

My formatting messed up. Am I disqualified?

No. We will read even with wonky formatting. Now if you forgot your 50 words or sent a pitch instead of a query, you will probably not be selected. And we have too many entries to allow redos. Please send the correct info the first time. Check and double check your entry.

Will my name and twitter handle be up for everyone to see?

No. If selected, we will not include your name or twitter handle on the blog. That info is private for us only. Note: We do nothing with your info. Not add you to our newsletters or give your info to anyone.  

Do I have to be on twitter to enter?

No. I do suggest it as great place to learn and where we will be tweeting out hints and tips. Also a great community to make friends because you need friends in this industry.

I didn't get a confirmation email when I sent in my entry. Should I resend?

Big no. Check your spam folder. Then contact Mindy @MindyAlyseWeiss or myself @Michelle4Laughs on twitter with the title of your ms. We will check for you. We'd rather not read duplicate entries. Most of the time the entries are there. If you aren't on twitter then reply to the Submission day post with your title and name. 

I got a confirmation on my first entry but not on my second. Resend it?

Big no. Our vacation reminder/confirmation email will only go out once in most cases. If the first went through than the second one did.  

What greeting do I use in my query?

Whatever you want. Dear Michelle, Mindy, and Sharon. Hi gals. Dear Agents. Have fun with it. 

Should I include a closing?

You can include thanks, but no need to put your name, address, personal info. Those will be stripped out if posted to the showcase. If you want to include links to your illustrations or other identifying info in your query bio, that is up to you. We will assume you want us to leave any info in your bio. 

Those are some frequent questions off the top of my head. Feel free to post others in the comments. 


  1. Just to make sure I understand: picture book entries should be single-spaced? I ask because the entries you published last year appear to be double-spaced. Thank you.

    1. Single spaced, spaces between paragraphs. Most of the paragraphs in the PB seem to be very short, maybe only a single line.

  2. I have one illustrator note in my first 50 words - do I need to remove to keep all words under 50?

    1. Either remove it or cut some of the words. Your choice.

  3. Hi,
    Should the first 100 words be literally the first words direct from the story, or a 100 word pitch covering the main gist, if the former, do I include a 1 page synopsis with the query?

    1. Your query is where you describe the story. The 100 words (for a chapter book only/50 for a picture book) should be the first words of the ms.

  4. Within the query, should we offer a synopsis type description with spoilers or more of an enticing, blurb summary? Or both?
    Thankyou :)

    1. More like the back cover of a book or inside the book jacket. It shouldn't tell the ending.

  5. In my first 50 words, a character names 9 letters of the alphabet. Each is counted as a word by Microsoft Word. How should I count them if I enter this ms.? I am looking forward to the PARTY.

    1. Tough question. Not sure how to answer that in a way to be fair to all. I'm going to wing it... do a Solomon and divide it in half. If you have just letters or just numbers you can half the word count they give you. You have nine letters, count it as 4.5 words. If it was 10 letters then count it as 5 words. All 26 would be 13 words.

  6. Does the title count as part of the word count?
    I am new to things like Twitter. My grandchildren are teaching me how to text - and even that is a challenge sometimes! As for Google, it doesn't want to recognize me even though I recently downloaded Google Chrome. So I hope you get this.
    I'm excited to have a place to send my stories that my critique group thinks is ready for submission. Karen Bard

    1. If you include your title with the 50 words than it counts. It's not really needed there. It's in your subject line and at the top of you entry already.