If you’ve finished a project and you are about to query an agent or editor, here’s a great article linked from Harold Underdown’s blog. If you don’t know about him and you write for children, keep his site handy. It’s a terrific resource.
Before you send, a checklist:
Did you research your recipient?
Did you spell their name right?
Are you sending a manuscript they said they didn’t want?
Did you include your social media information? (If you have it.)
Did you include your contact information?
Is your letter brief and to the point?
Does the tone of your letter catch the spirit of your story?
Did you include the character and the stakes? (If you don’t know what stakes are, look it up.)
Did you include only relevant biographical information?
I love the Children’s Book Academy. I just finished a month-long workshop on writing picture books and learned so much. Some manuscripts I need to revise one more time are humorous and that is important, because everyone loves funny stories (especially me,) but the best humorous tales offer a deeper layer, like the finish on a fine wine.
Click on this link to read what it means to create a picture book with both humor and heart.
Interested in writing for children? Don’t miss this great post on literary agent Jill Corcoran’s blog. While you’re there, check out other useful information for writers. I have heard her speak at conferences. Writers who have her as an agent are very lucky. She is warm, honest, and experienced.
The heart of a great story is a great character. A rose may be a rose may be a rose, but a character’s name is very important. Consider how much Harry’s name tells us about young Potter. Here’s a handy guide for naming characters.