Dear Future Picture Book Author,
“If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down.” I love this quote from Kevin Spacey. And while I don’t consider myself at the top, I have been very fortunate since signing with my agent, Lori Kilkelly, two and a half years ago. In 2016, I have six books coming out (three picture books and three chapter books). Those books will be followed by six more picture books in the following years. Call it fortunate or lucky or blessed, my dream of a career writing for kids has come true.
Now it’s my chance to send the elevator back down. I’d like to offer a (free!) mentorship to an unpublished picture book writer.
What: I’ll assist one writer with his/her PB manuscripts. I will also answer questions about the industry and help with query letters and pitches.
When: Over a six month period (approx. January-June 2016)
Who: I’ll be the mentor. The mentee should be someone who has been writing PB manuscripts for at least a year. Must be over 18, living in the USA (so we can talk on the phone), and serious about writing. This is for those who write picture books—no novels, no easy readers, no chapter books, no magazine articles. I prefer to work with fiction or a combination of fiction and non-fiction, and I’m not the ideal mentor for an author who writes in rhyme.
How: The writer will email me PB manuscripts for critique. I will write my suggestions, send them back, and then allow for a follow-up phone call. We will work on a maximum of three manuscripts and one query letter. The writer may also send me questions at any time.
Why: I actually like to critique. (Warning: I can be brutal!) And see Kevin Spacey quote above. Also, I expect the writer to send the elevator back down when he/she reaches his/her goal.
Cost: Free! No purchase necessary. You don’t even need to “like” me on Facebook or Twitter.
Please Note: While I’m willing to help a new author with craft and share my industry experience, I am not offering to recommend the writer to my agent or to any of my editors. And there is absolutely no guarantee of success. Working with me will not land you an agent or get you published.
I reserve the right to change these guidelines at any time.
How to Apply:
Simple. Send me an e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and tell me why you’re interested in working with me. (Subject line should read: Future Picture Book Author) And I need to know the answer to these two questions.
- How long have you been writing picture books? (Minimum one year.)
- How many picture book manuscripts have you written? (Minimum of 8.)
And here are some other questions you might want to answer.
- What organizations do you belong to? SCBWI? 12×12? PiBoIdMo? WOW?
- Why do you want to write for kids?
- What have been your struggles so far?
- What interests you?
- What’s your favorite dinosaur?
I’ll be accepting emails until December 30th. I may follow-up and ask to see a sample manuscript. I will make the final decision in January. This final decision is mine alone and will be based on my opinion of who I think I can best assist.
Feel free to send questions by email (or comment below).
This same post also appears on Stacy’s blog. Stacy first posted on Writers’ Rumpus during her Dear Santasaurus blog tour two years ago. Dear Santasaurus was her debut picture book. Here are three of the six books she has coming out in 2016. Congratulations, Stacy!