Monday, May 30, 2011

Get Busy

"Nobody got anywhere in the world by simply being content."
-- Louis L'Amour

What amazing words! As we start this new week (and I try to find the balance between writing and kids at home for the summer), strive to be the best you can be. Don't be content to sit back and just get by. Work hard during your work times and enjoy the relaxing times as well for it is only in taking care of oneself that one can push past the content to accomplish the great many things he/she is meant to achieve.

"Oh, the places you'll go" by not simply "being content."

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Children's Writer Contest

Have you seen the new Children's Writer Contest information?


The rewards are publication in Children’s Writer,
cash prizes, winners’ certificates, and valuable
training in disciplined writing.

If you like writing for children and contests, read on . . .

We constantly hear from editors that the vast majority of the manuscripts they receive are rejected because they were not written to the editor’s specifications. Few editors will consider a story or article that does not meet their specs—precisely.

Writing contests also have exact specifications. That’s why we encourage writers—all writers, new ones and old pros too—to enter contests. They’re excellent professional training experiences and, if you win, they can get you published and pay healthy prize money.

The winners in this contest will be published in Children’s Writer, the monthly newsletter that goes to almost 1,300 children’s book and magazine editors in North America. Along with the winning pieces, we’ll publish an article about the top-ranked entries and their authors. There are also cash prizes. The cash prizes alone are a lot of good reasons to write a piece and enter.

Current Contest: Poetry

The contest is for a single poem, collection of poems, or verse story for children of any age, to 300 words. Entries may be serious or humorous, and take any poetic form. Winners will be selected based on quality of verse—including rhythm, meter, word choice, wordplay, imagery, and the use of other poetic devices (rhyme, alliteration, assonance, or others). Above all, the winning entries will have appeal for young readers.

Entries must be received by October 31, 2011. Current subscribers to Children’s Writer enter free. All others pay an entry fee of $15, which includes an 8-month subscription. Winners will be announced in the March 2012 issue. Prizes: $500 for first place plus publication in Children’s Writer, $250 for second place, and $100 for third, fourth, and fifth places.

Now warm up your computer and write a $500-winning poem or verse story!

The contest rules are important. Please read them carefully.

Obtain Official Entry Form or make online submission
You may submit your entry either online, using our safe and secure entry page, or by regular mail. If you choose to submit online, you'll need to complete your manuscript and save it to a file on your computer.

If you need to pay a reading fee you will be directed to the payment section first.

Children's Writer Subscribers (online submission):
To submit a free entry online, you will need your Children's Writer account number, which is located in our email to you or on your Children's Writer mailing label in the name/address block. For subscribers who are students, it is the same as your student number. Please Click Here to continue.

You will be directed to the Free Entry section.

Non-subscribers (online submission):
If you do not subscribe to Children's Writer, your online entry is welcome. Please click here to continue.

You will be directed to the section requiring the payment of a $15 reading fee.

For Mail-in Entries:
To submit manuscript entries through the mail, please click here to obtain an entry form.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring SCBWI Dakotas Conference

I attended the Spring SCBWI Dakotas conference this past weekend in Sioux Falls, SD. It was a terrific conference with great speakers and many kudos go out to Chris Rylander (RA) and Mary Scarbrough (ARA) for organizing such a great conference. Presenters were Kerry Sparks, Agent; Chris Rylander, Author; Jacqueline West, Author; Emilia Rhodes, Editor. There was also a breakout session in which one could take in a first pages sessions with a panel of authors or hear from Nathan Gassman, Art Director at Capstone. While there was a great deal of information shared and many lessons learned, there were a few nuggets of information I thought many of you could benefit from as well.

Kerry Sparks, Associate Agent at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, represents picture books, middle grade and YA. She was a wealth of information and said a really good hook is essential as well as anything that makes you stand out.

Chris Rylander is the author of the newly released MG novel, THE FOURTH STALL. I purchased my copy at the conference and am anxious to read it as I've heard wonderful reviews. Chris is one cool guy, and it is a blast to listen to him speak. He's learned a great many lessons throughout his writing and publication process and says the driving force behind publication is to be obsessed (though not creepy:-)) and be persistent (but not hound). I couldn't agree with Chris more when he says you must "commit yourself and give it everything you've got."

Jacqueline West is the author of THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, a MG fantasy series, that sounds awesome. Volume One: The Shadows debuted in 2010. I look forward to reading my autographed copy of that as well. Jacqueline discussed the challenges in writing a series and said it is imperative to consider deadlines, plot construction, character development and the recap.

Emilia Rhodes is an editor at Alloy Entertainment. She discussed YA trends and said publishing is highly subjective, so it is all about finding the right person with the same vision for your particular project.

Thank you all for your words of wisdom and expertise. I believe I can speak for all when I say I came away from the conference with a renewed sense of motivation and focus.