Last Sunday New Zealand time of 12.30pm which was around 8.30pm Saturday Eastern time in the USA, I sat down to zoom in on a free webinar through the Children’s Book Academy hosted by Dr Mira Reisberg Editor/AD of Clear Fork/Spork Publishing. The topic of the webinar was “The Top Five Mistakes That Editors and Agents Most Commonly See in Submissions and How to Avoid Them.” Also on panel with Mira was Rachael Stein Editor of Sterling Children’s Books and Hillary Homzie, Award-Winning Author. Justine Lawson was roped in to help read out the pitches, bio’s and queries appearing in the chat screen.
Being Mira, this webinar was backed with information for new and seasoned writers wanting to attract the attention of Agents and Editors to get their stories published. Once the webinar got under way I found after covering three pages in scribble I wasn’t able to keep up and used “screen save” so I could have time reading all the juicy info and resource links popping up as they gave their presentations. Thank goodness for replay!
Rachel Stein went first:… Do You Have What you Need to Submit – Your query… How does it fit into the market place?
Ist Pitch – What is your book abou
Make pitch short and to the point
Do your research.
Comp titles – within 5 years
2nd Bio – Who are you?
What is your background?
What writing experience?
Why you wrote this particular book?
Your online presence?
Anything else that is relevant.
3rd Submission Materials – Your query must be engaging and grabs attention.
Be a strong sample of your writing and style.
Free of typos
How to submit and follow up – Read Submission guidelines and follow exactly what they say.
When you have interest let other agents know.
Be patient – consider waiting a few months before follow up. Check again submission guidelines.
Be polite and respectful.
Hillary Homzie went next:… Mistakes found in submissions…
Plot -Overly complicated.
Characters should have one burning need or goal.
A premise is not a plot.
Premise + activated goal = plot.
Inappropriate plot line for a genre. Ie: too old for preschool age.
Charactization – Too flat –known for only one character trait.
-consider multiple interests.
-relationships and friendships.
-consider relationships between children and elders, animals and characters with differing abilities and constraints.
Lack of emotionality filtering from main character pov.
-react to an event or action, not only to people.
Telling can sometimes be okay.
Extend the line of description in certain areas
Extend short Verbs toad weight to emotion.
Emotion through eyes, hearts, lung and stomachs are over used.
Rely more on Internalization/Interiority to give more depth for emotion.
Both presentations came with great examples and easy to read screen info.
Mira followed with Formatting, Research and Resonance.
This was full of information and wonderful links and examples
Basic formatting for Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade and YA.
Resource links such as.. Publisher Weekly, SCBWI, MSWL, Pitching Contests, and many more.
The webinar was finished off with reading and critiquing some pitches, bios and query letters which was really insightful and interesting.
If you’re looking to get your money’s worth then Children’s Book Academy is your one stop shop!
Check out Mira’s Children’s Book Academy for courses, resources, and much more, here… https://childrensbookacademy.teachable.com/p/about-us
So glad I took time out to tune in.