(That makes us 27 if anyone is counting... :))
My truly heartfelt thanks to all of you who took time out of your weekend to send me birthday wishes and read Eric's Happy Birthday Author post - you are all the BEST and I feel so lucky and grateful to be part of such a wonderful group of people! Thank you, thank you, so very much!!!
Now (lest I become overly sentimental :)) we'd best move right ahead to Straight From The Editor!
You will recall Miranda's winning pitch:
Working Title: Reef Stew
Age/Genre: Rhyming Picture Book ages 4-8
The Pitch: When a shipwreck destroys their reef, the shellfish grow selfish and every creature’s a crab. Can Whale stir up happiness with a single piece of stony coral? Filled with slurps, burps, and spicy sargassum, this quirky version of a classic tale will send ripples of laughter through any school of young guppies.
Here is editor Erin Molta's comment:
I actually don’t have anything to say about this except for one thing: What you have written is lyrical and inviting and gets the point across, but if you’re pitching a rhyming picture book then it would be great to show some rhyme -- something to give an editor an idea of how you rhyme. Rhyming is not looked upon favorably, so either don’t tell them it’s rhyming because that might turn them off unnecessarily or show them example of how you rhyme.
Pretty interesting, don't you think? Looks like y'all picked the right winner :) and I thought Erin's comment about the rhyme was intriguing. I hope we all learned something!
Moving right along, let's jump on into Oh Susanna. Today I'm actually going to answer two questions because they're pretty short.
First, Laura asked, "In regard to Children's Board Books - Is there a magical number of pages required? A minimum or maximum number (i.e. 32 pages for picture books)?"
My answer to this question is that it depends on the publishing house/line you are writing for. Board books have fewer spreads than picture books, as a general rule - they will not be 32 pages. But I have seen them anywhere from 6 or 8 pages up to about 20. So go to your local library or bookstore and look at a selection of board books. Count the spreads/pages and make yourself a chart - for example, Little Simon's board books tend to be about 8 spreads/16 pages. This will help you on two levels: one, you will end up with a list of publishers who publish board books (many of them do not so it's important to know who does), and two, you will have a good idea of the length each publisher/imprint leans toward so you can appropriately target your manuscript.
Second, Kirsten asked, "Can you ever approach a publisher more than once with the same piece. For example, if Publisher A rejects the piece, can you resubmit the same piece to Publisher A after you've made substantial rewrites and a substantial period of time has elapsed? Or is it "one strike and you're out" for each manuscript?"
Hmmm.... this is a bit tricky. I would say "one strike you're out" as a general rule. If you've submitted and your manuscript has been read and passed on (that's the euphemism for rejected :)), your work there (with that particular MS) is done and it's time to move on to another publisher.
The exceptions to this rule would be:
1. You submitted to Editor A at Publishing House A. After some time and substantial rewrites that make your MS much stronger, Editor A leaves Publishing House A and is replaced by new Editor B who has never seen your MS. If you still feel Publishing House A is a great fit for your book, you could try Editor B. (This is not the same as resubmitting your MS to another editor in the same house. Presumably you selected Editor A because s/he was involved with the imprint most suited to your work, so you wouldn't resubmit to editors of other less well-suited imprints of the house just to get another editor's eyes on your MS. For example, you submit to the editor at Little Simon. If she turns you down you wouldn't turn around and resubmit to another editor at Little Simon or to an editor at Beach Lane (another S&S children's imprint.))
2. When you submitted to Publishing House A, they rejected your MS but indicated interest, saying they would like to see it again if you change X, Y, and Z. In that case you could make changes and resubmit as soon as you comfortably could.
That is what I think, Kirsten, but I would be very interested to hear what some of you other experienced writers think about this subject, so please share your wisdom with all of us in the comments!
Kirsten or Laura, if you have follow up questions or anything I said wasn't clear, please pursue it in the comments!!
Finally, in Phyllis Tour Update News, I'd like to point you all toward Kathy's brand new blog where Phyllis visited Vermont, and Julie's blog which posts about Phyllis's visit to Colorado! Please stop by when you have a second and share the love :)
Also, Phyllis took the liberty of posting a picture of her Kiwi Bird friend on Face Book (he arrived on Blueberry Hill all the way from New Zealand courtesy of Diane!) and Donna, being an alert sort even at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning, immediately suggested we have a contest to decide on a name for the bird. You all know how I can't resist a contest, so later today (or at some point when I get around to it) when I have had my coffee and we are all feeling as alert as Donna, I will post the contest on Phyllis's FB page and everyone can put in their 2 cents :) You may put your two cents here in the comments as to what you'd like the prize for the winner to be!
Now, I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something (you see, this is what happens when advanced age sets in :)) but since I can't think what it is, off you all go to enjoy your Mondays. Have a lovely day! :)