Ask an Editor: Is Querying an Agent Different Than Querying a Publisher?


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“Ask an Editor” is a forum wherein SCBWI members submit questions that are answered as part of our quarterly Kite Tales blog.

Dear Editor – I’m getting ready to query my book for the first time and am confused. Do I query an agent or a publisher?

—Jackson, Los Angeles

Dear Jackson – Congratulations on having finished a manuscript! To pursue traditional publication, a writer “queries” (sends a query letter to) a literary agent or a book publisher. At a publishing house, it may be the acquisitions editor’s job to find new talent so, sometimes, you will hear a writer saying they “queried an editor”—this is essentially the same as querying the publisher. Whether you choose to query an agent or publisher, check online submissions specifications to see whether they are accepting queries and, if they are, how to do so. Continue reading

Toot Your Horn!


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TOOT HORNSCBWI members’ publishing news is something to celebrate here atKite Tales! Check out whose book is coming to a platform near you or around the world. Horn-tooting and digital hi-fives welcome in the comments! Continue reading

SCBWI CenCal Writers’ Day 2019: What’s Next?


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by Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

Kari Sutherland, Charlotte Wenger, agents, Rachael Stein, editor (1)

After numerous wildfires and road closure scares, we had a lovely, informative, and inspiring Writers’ Day on Saturday, October 12. Faculty included Kari Sutherland from the Bradford Literary Agency, Charlotte Wenger with Prospect Agency, and Rachael Stein, editor at Sterling Children’s Books. We also heard emotion-filled, inspiring speeches from three spotlight speakers: Nikki Barthelmess, Karen Jameson, and Karol Ruth Silverstein. After speeches, first page panels, and a writing contest, what’s the next step or steps a conference attendee might pursue? Continue reading

Interview with Middle-Grade Author M.G. Hennessey


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Local author and SCBWI member M.G. Hennessey’s new middle-grade book, The Echo Park Castaways, addresses LA’s child-welfare system. The four main characters share the same foster-care home and the story is told from three viewpoints.

CHRISTINE VAN ZANDT: Welcome to Kite Tales! This is such an important topic but you convey the issues in a way a middle-grade reader can understand. Did you write it in an alternating fashion as it’s published, or did you write each character’s piece separately?

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What Are Kids Reading? Here’s What They Wish We’d Write


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by R. S. Mellette

LA Comic Con 19On the last morning of the 2019 Los Angeles Comic Con, Sarah Parker-Lee saved the day. She handed out fliers to every kid in sight, begging them to attend our panel, “What Are Kids Reading? What Do You Wish We’d Write?”

Out of fifty or so invited, four kids showed up, along with a handful of adults. A fifth kid had to come because she was a friend of Andrea J. Loney, who was on the panel. The idea was, we authors would switch places with kids in the audience, to make them the panelist. If no kids showed up, I didn’t have a B-plan – so hats off to Sarah!

Once we had the bright, talkative, reading, kids on the panel, everyone knew we had to share their thoughts with Kite Tales readers. So, what are kids reading? What do they wish we’d write? Continue reading

Finding An Audience at L.A. Comic Con


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by Chris Robertson

Spiderman… Batman… Superman… Elephant and Piggy…Paddington Bear…The Very Hungry Caterpillar? What the…?

5 Comic Con LA (1) (1)You may think that kid-lit does not have a place at L.A. Comic Con, right?  Well, maybe 10 – 20 years ago you would’ve been right. But now, given the overwhelming popularity of Comic Cons, there certainly is a place for kid-lit authors and illustrators.

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The 1, 2, 3’s of the SCBWI-L.A. Working Writer’s Retreat


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by Jennifer Rawlings, 2019 Sue Alexander Grant Award Winner

Jennifer Rawlings photoI remember where I was sitting, red club chair in my living room, when I opened the email from SCBWI-L.A. letting me know that I had won the Sue Alexander Grant. I cried when I read the email. I was so happy that someone liked the words that I had typed in secret. I had not told anyone, not even my husband, that I was writing a YA novel.

Needless to say, he was pretty surprised when I told him I had won an award for a book he knew nothing about. Continue reading

Attention PAL Novelists: Be an SCBWI Mentor in 2020!


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by Karol Ruth Silverstein, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator

MENTORSHIP1The SCBWI-L.A. Mentorship program alternates between picture book writers, illustrators and novelists. And this year, it’s the novelists’ turn again.

Many folks can attest to the value of having a mentor—but there’s tremendous value in being a mentor as well. From learning more about your own craft to reaffirming your love of storytelling to the simple satisfaction of giving back to the SCBWI-L.A. community, being a mentor can be incredibly rewarding.

We caught up with the SCBWI-L.A. 2019 Mentor Bethany Barton, currently mentoring author/illustrator Emily Asaro, and asked her the following:

KAROL RUTH SILVERSTEIN: What motivated you to be an SCBWI-L.A. mentor? Continue reading

Creating Magic with Juxtaposition


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by Jessica Chrysler

FairyMom_and_BabeFall brings fond memories for me. Even though I grew up in sunny Southern California, there were a few special trees in the neighborhood that would change color and drop their leaves. I’d dreamt about how endless forests of these trees would look and had read fairytales about how spirits would change the colors of the leaves. I’d wonder how they’d lived with all the other creatures in the wood, and if they would all gather into little caves, sleeping together through the long, cold winters. For a kid that never experienced the seasons, this magic seemed so real, even if just beyond my reach. But I was able to capture some of that magic when it came time for Halloween. Continue reading

Great News!



GREAT NEWSSCBWI loves celebrating our members’ successes and noteworthy news, and there are many! Read on to find out who’s got something to shout about. Digital high-fives welcome in the comments!  




I Am a Thief! by Abigail Rayner, illustrated by Molly Ruttan, received a starred Kirkus review: “Hilarious and sweet, with a gentle, affirming moral.” Published by NorthSouth Books, it is now available. 




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