Author Catherine Linka on Getting an Agent: It’s All About Fit

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By Catherine Linka, author

Getting an agent is about finding the right fit, because the agent who will sell your work successfully is the person who loves to sell what you love to write. 

Agents champion books they believe in. They work unpaid until they get you a book contract.

And they are also human beings. They may love rom coms, but not horror. If you write rom coms and they love to read rom coms, they’ll be more likely to read your submission. They’ll be more likely to have sold rom coms and to know which editors are fans of rom coms. They will be more aware of the other rom coms in the marketplace.

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Toot Your Horn!

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SCBWI members’ publishing news is something to celebrate here at Kite 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!

 

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2019 Mentor Bethany Barton Has Selected Her Mentee!

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By Bethany Barton, author/illustrator

Have you ever gotten a restaurant menu where everything looks so delicious, it’s nearly impossible to decide? That’s what it felt like going through the applications for SCBWI’s 2019 Mentorship contest! Too much good stuff!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who applied. It’s not always easy to share our artwork with the world, and so many of you were willing. I feel privileged to have gotten my eyes on what you create. I was blown away by the talent on display in every one of this year’s mentorship applicants. The passion for the craft of visual storytelling for children could be seen (and often felt!) in every image that popped into my inbox and I was oh-so-inspired to see the gifts you have to offer young readers. Please keep drawing, please keep painting, please keep telling stories with your images. You must. We didn’t work together this time, but I look forward to seeing your books on shelves, hearing about your successes, and high-fiving you at SCBWI events.

And now, without further ado, I’d love to introduce the world to my mentee: Continue reading

Seven Things I Learned After Publishing My First Book

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by Helena Ku Rhee, Author

Helena with her muse Sherwin

EDITOR’S NOTE: Helena Ku Rhee grew up in Los Angeles, but has also lived in various parts of the U.S., Asia and Europe. Currently, Helena works at a movie studio by day and as a writer by night and weekends. Her debut picture book, The Turtle Ship (Lee and Low), is available now! Today, she shares seven things she learned after publishing her book and you’re going to want to learn them, too!

I’ve always loved learning about a writer’s journey — especially about the path of a debut author, with his or her very first book out in the world. Now that almost a year has gone by since the release of my debut picture book, I wanted to share seven learnings to help writers who are journeying towards their own exhilarating debut.

  1. Your dream will keep expanding and evolving.

During what I refer to as the “Rejection Years,” I used to think I’d be so happy to get just one book published. Continue reading

#KT250 Winning Entries, 2nd Quarter 2019

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#KT250 is a Kite Tales quarterly community contest! We’re proud to announce this quarter’s winners and share the first 250 words of their unpublished manuscripts. We encourage agents, publishers, and mentors to reach out to any they find intriguing!

To find out how YOU can enter for next quarter, check out contest info hereEntries are now being accepted for next quarter!

GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Continue reading

Sue Alexander Grant is Open for Submissions! Here’s Why You Should Apply!

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By Julia Edwards 

If you are thinking about applying to SCBWI-LA’s Sue Alexander Grant, JUST DO IT! It was the best thing I could have done for my middle grade manuscript — twice! In 2017, I applied with a very early draft of Anno Catti: In the Year of Our Catand was lucky to be the first runner-up. Then, in 2018, after major rewrites, I applied again and received top honors and a free ride (!) to the coveted Working Writers Retreat weekend.

For those who have never been to WWR, here’s the deal: Continue reading

Writers Day 2019: Tenacity, Writing with Respect, and Other Takeaways

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By Charlotte Offsay

On March 9, writers swarmed the Skirball Cultural Center for SCBWI’s annual L.A. Writers Day conference. The day was packed with wisdom, tips, and motivation. Here are some of my favorite takeaways from the event.

The publishing industry is subjective, do your research and don’t give up!

Doubleday Books Editor Frances Gilbert cited being bored, an overly complicated plot, or an over-published topic among her reasons for rejecting manuscripts. She shared her own journey as an author and highlighted the subjective nature of this business – one of her manuscripts was called too specific by one publisher and too vague by another. She encouraged authors to do their research before submitting to find the right home and champion for their manuscript.

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Achieve Book Nirvana with SCBWI-L.A. at the L.A. Times Festival of Books

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by Jerry Mahoney

If you’re like me, your main problem with books is that there are never enough of them. Libraries and bookstores are nice, but can’t there be more books? Lots, lots more? Well, prepare yourself, because there’s a place where squijillions of words will surround you in a warm, wonderful embrace that will satisfy all your literary cravings.

Yes, it’s just about time for every Southern California book lover’s favorite weekend: the L.A. Times Festival of Books! Meet some of your favorite authors, sit in on panels, and network with professionals from all over the publishing industry.

With tons of exhibitors, A-list authors in every genre, and over 150,000 visitors every year, the L.A. Times Festival of Books is the country’s largest literary festival, and it’s free!

As always, SCBWI will be there in force. Continue reading

Break In with Work-For-Hire Webinar

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By Ann Rousseau Smith, SCBWI CenCal News Liaison

Wouldn’t it be nice if editors approached you, asking if you’re available to write a book? That’s the reality of the work-for-hire market, for fiction, nonfiction, or illustration. If you’d like to learn the secret to breaking in through work-for-hire, what to send and how to be successful, SCBWI-CenCal and Capstone Senior Managing Editor, Curriculum Strategy Christine Peterson have a webinar made just for you!

Capstone is a publisher of K-8 children’s books and digital solutions for libraries, classrooms, and consumers headquartered in Mankato, Minnesota. Christine has been with Capstone for 16 years, and has specialized in nonfiction content for K-5 students, including supplemental nonfiction texts, guided reading and literacy support materials, and curriculum instruction. They need writers and illustrators for their projects, but what are the benefits to you? Continue reading

#KTWriteOn with Editorial Assistant Stephanie Guerdan: Mixed Media Storytelling

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Welcome to the Kite Tales Writing Prompt: #KTWriteOn. Each writing challenge is crafted by a kid-lit publishing professional to help spark ideas and creative energy. This prompt was created by Stephanie Guerdan of HarperCollins Children’s Books. Stephanie acquires and edits middle grade and teen books. Some of the books she has worked on include the acclaimed debut We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia and the Soldier Dogs series. She likes queer fiction, weird science, and Star Wars.

By Stephanie Guerdan

There are so many different ways to tell a story — even if you narrow that down to just the format of a book. From traditional prose novels to full-color graphic novels, from highly illustrated to photographic, and everything in between.

Stephanie Guerdan

One format that’s particularly close to my heart is mixed media. This kind of storytelling eschews traditional prose and instead tells a story through a collection of various kinds of media. In a way, it’s taking Marilyn Cram Donahue’s collaging prompt to the next level.  Instead of using your collage images as inspiration, you’re creating your own media and using them to tell the story itself.

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