Monday, November 20, 2006

Tips for writers

I attended a local SCBWI meeting last week and heard Tanya Dean from Darby Creek Publishing speak (who pointed out that one of their books Cryptids has been nominated for a Cybil Award). She had some interesting advice for writers that I thought I would pass along.

First the DON'Ts:
  • Don't innundate an editor with calls and letters and emails once you've submitted something. Wait patiently then followup gently with an email or postcard. She said she likes it when an author follows up with a letter and includes a postcard with postage paid that has boxes that she can check off to let them know where she is with their manuscript i.e. I'm not interested, this manuscript is still in consideration, I did not receive this manuscript please send it.
  • Don't tell an editor, "This still needs work, but that's what you are for." You better be sending your very best work and consider hiring a freelance editor before submitting if you need help with spelling, grammar, etc.
  • In a picture book every word better matter.
  • When you're writing a query don't be a robot, be a person and let your personality shine through.
  • Don't be afraid to cut before you send a manuscript to an editor.
  • Don't depend on secondary sources, talk to experts and view the primary sources yourself.

Now the DO's:

  • Create a loveable, memorable character.
  • If you're getting specific feedback from an editor keep sumitting your future work as your writing improves.
  • Remember non-fiction shelf life is longer than most fiction.
  • Know what's going on in schools and how your writing might support current curriculum
  • Find a fresh way to approach your topic.

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