Lynn Harris Won an Interview on My Blog and a 15-Minute Phone Call


Dear Readers,
There were 10 people who left a comment before July 31, 2015.
1. Widdershins
2. Lu Ann Cooley
3. Sandra Warren
4. Linda Martin Andersen
5. Martha Robinson
6. Sue Scarella
7. Carol Baldwin
8. Kristina Stanley
9. June Phyllis Baker
10. Lynn Harris

I had Random.org to choose a number between 1 and 10. It chose number 10 which means that Lynn Harris won a blog interview on my blog and a 15 minute phone call. Congratulations, Lynn.

Thank you to all of you for reading my blog and for leaving comments.

Never Give Up
Joan

Take These Steps before You Sign with an Agent


Before You Sign with an Agent Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

Before You Sign with an Agent Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

“Take These Steps before You Sign with an Agent” by Joan Y. Edwards

Linda Andersen, a member of my PubSubbers Yahoo Group,  asked me to write a blog about the steps to get an agent. She asked, “Why should a writer get an agent?” When a writer has a good, respected, dependable agent, it opens up more opportunities for the writer’s work to get published. Many publishers do not accept work from writers they do not know or were not recommended to them. However, these same publishers will accept work from agented writers.

A query is not the same as a letter that accompanies a manuscript submission. A query is only a letter giving the pitch and asking for permission to submit a manuscript to see if an agent would be interested in representing the author with publishers.

Before you query an agent, do the following:

  1. Make sure you have a completed quality manuscript that has been critiqued and proofed. Follow the PubSubbers plan to help you in detail. Pub Subbers, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4.
  2. Hollywood Script Express suggests that you give your screenplay to a friend or relative and ask them to read it in one sitting. If they can’t finish your screenplay in less than 2 hours, you probably need to trim some fat.
  3. Do Your Homework. Research to find out information to prove the agent/manager is the right one for you. Find three agents who meet your needs and they represent writers/illustrators in the areas where your manuscript fits. says it’s a good idea to make a list and rank them according to which ones meet your criteria best. Here are places I recommend that you look:
  4. Check the Agent’s website and current submission guidelines. Chuck Sambuchino also says, “Research the agent’s website to confirm that he is indeed still seeking “electronic queries for romance novels,” etc. Also, remember the frustratingly sad reality that the publishing industry is constantly in flux. Agents quit; they switch agencies; they suddenly stop representing fiction and move completely to nonfiction.
  5. Before you query the prospective agents on your preferred list, find out which authors/illustrators he represents and how many books he’s sold in the last three years and the last six months. If this information isn’t on the Agency website, ask for it.
  6. Follow the Guidelines. Follow the Guidelines. Follow the Guidelines.
  7. Write a great simple query letter. Chuck Sambuchino says that if you don’t have a good opening for your query, give the facts: “I am seeking literary representation for my 75,000-word completed thriller, titled Dead Cat Bounce.” Sambuchino says to follow opener with the pitch and a little biographical information.

Before You Sign on the Line, Ask Questions. Get answers.

  1. Take 3 days to consider the agent’s offer. Sarah Ockler suggests that you take a few days to think things over and prepare your questions before accepting representation from an agent. I know you’ll be so excited to get the offer. BE SMART. BE WISE. Get all the facts before you sign. Research and ask questions. Then honor your gut feeling
  2. What are the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of three of their signed authors/illustrators? You’ll want to ask them a few questions. As Michael Hyatt like President Reagan says to “Trust, but Verify.” He says, “If possible, talk with the agents clients on the phone. People will tell you things on a phone call that they will not put in writing.”
  3. What are your fees? How often will I receive my earnings? Before you sign, find out what fees they charge and how and how often you’ll receive your earnings. Sarah Ockler says that most agents take the standard 15% fee from the monies earned from your books. Publishers send your advance and royalty money to the agency; the agency sends you a check less their 15%. Are there hidden fees? If there are charges for mailing? Printing letters? Then these are probably not sure-fire agents. They might be a service similar to Writer’s Relief, a fee-based author’s submission service – not a literary agency.
  4. Do you have time for me? Felice Prager says to ask, “How many other clients do you represent? Do you plan on expanding or will this number stay about the same? Will you or another member of your staff be handling my work?” You want an agent that doesn’t have such a large number of clients that he doesn’t have time for you.
  5. What makes you the right agent for me? How do you see my career? Wendy Lawton says to ask, “What will you offer that other agencies don’t?”
  6. How can I tell you’ve submitted my manuscript to a publisher?  Will I receive copies of the submissions? Will you let me know each time you’ve talked with a publisher? Wendy Lawton says to ask: How often will we be in contact?
  7. What is your preferred form of communication? Wendy Lawton says to ask:  “How do you like to communicate? Email? Phone? If you like to talk on the phone and an agent prefers emails, then you might have a problem.” Remember to organize your questions so that your agent doesn’t receive 3 or 4 emails from you in one day. When a person gets overwhelmed with too many emails or too many phone calls, it hurts the communication lines.

While you are pondering all of these questions, you will probably think of others. Victoria Strauss gives many great links to posts with more questions about agents at “Questions to Ask Your Prospective Literary Agent:

References:

  1. Chuck Sambuchino. “10 Submission Tips for Querying an Agenthttp://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/get-published-sell-my-work/10-submission-tips-for-querying-an-agent
  2. Felice Prager. “Ten Questions to Ask an Agent before You Sign:” http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/10-questions-to-ask-an-agent-before-you-sign
  3. “What Every Fiction Writer Should Do Before Submitting A Book to an Agent:” http://www.writersdigest.com/tip-of-the-day/what-every-fiction-writer-should-do-before-submitting-a-book-to-an-agent
  4. Hollywood Script Express. “How to Get a Screenplay Agent:” http://www.hollywoodscriptexpress.com/how_to_get_screenplay_agent.html
  5. Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents. (E-book is less expensive than the paperback. You can copy and paste links and click on them.)
  6. Joan Y. Edwards. “22 Literary Agents Who Are Looking for You:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/22-literary-agents-who-are-looking-for-you/
  7. Michael Hyatt. “Before You Hire a Literary Agent:”
    http://michaelhyatt.com/before-you-hire-a-literary-agent.html
  8. Preditors and Editors – Agents and Lawyers
  9. Pub Subbers, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, and Week 4.
  10. Query Tracker.com has information about agents.
  11. Sarah Ockler. “Literary Agent Offers: Don’t Settle:” http://sarahockler.com/2008/07/05/literary-agent-offers-dont-settle/
  12. Scripts and Scribes. Listing of Agents and Managers for Books and Screenplays. http://www.scriptsandscribes.com/agentsmanagers/.
  13. Victoria Strauss. “Questions to Ask Your Prospective Literary Agent:” http://www.victoriastrauss.com/2014/02/26/questions-to-ask-your-prospective-literary-agent/  (This has many great links to posts that will help you find more questions to ask an agent.)
  14. Wendy Lawton. “25 Questions to Ask Your Potential Agent:”
    http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/questions-to-ask-your-potential-agent/

To have a chance to win a free critique of a query letter to an agent, please leave a comment on this blog post between now and midnight Saturday, August 8, 2015. Random.org will choose the winner. I will upload a new post to announce the winner on Sunday, August 9, 2015.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

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Thank You for 250,000 Views!


Women Shopping 3

“Thank You for 250,000 views!” by Joan Y. Edwards

Oh my goodness. I started out with one view on October 9, 2009. Yesterday morning, July 13, 2015, there were more than 250,068 views.

Blog began on October 9, 2009

50,000 views May 18, 2013

70,000 views October 1, 2013

140,000 views July 10, 2014

250,000 views July 13, 2015

I am very excited.  Average of over 3,600 a month for 69 months.  250,000 is a big number. Indianapolis Speedway Stadium is the only speedway that will hold that many people.

I’m running to this blog post because I’d like to do something fun with you to celebrate with you.

Walk. Walk. Walk.

I’m running to meet you on this virtual page to celebrate with you!

What are your ideas?

Ask me questions! Tell me what kind of free prizes do you cherish as a writer or illustrator?

Let me know your favorite blog post or what you like about my blog. I’ll put all the names of the people who leave a comment on this post between now and July 31, 2015  in a virtual hat and have Random.org choose a winner. I’ll announce the winner on August 1, 2015.

What you’ll win: a blog post about you and your writing or illustrating on my blog highlighting ten writing or illustrating tips that have helped you the most.  I’ll also give you a 15 minute phone call in the United States consultation on: blogging, writing, or submitting, If the winner is out of the USA, I’ll Skype you for 15 minutes. You can email me your questions ahead of time so we can make the best use of your fifteen minutes.

Celebrate you!
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

Connect with me. I’d be honored.
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Make a Picture Book “Smarty”


Make a Picture Book "Smarty"  Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

Make a Picture Book “Smarty”
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

“Make a Picture Book “Smarty”

I’ve changed the name. Instead of a picture book dummy – it should be a picture book smarty. It’s smart to make one, not dumb as the name would lead you to think. After I told Linda Andersen that I think they should be called “Smarties” instead of “Dummies, ” I saw a post by Sarah S. Brannen called “Dummies for Smarties.

What is a picture book dummy (smarty)?

Merriam Webster Online says that a dummy is:

a :  a mock-up of a proposed publication (as a book or magazine)

b :  a set of pages (as for a newspaper or magazine) with the position of text and artwork indicated for the printer

So before you can make a “smarty” for the picture book you’ve written or  another person’s picture book, you need to put the text for the story on pages that represent the book. They don’t have to be full-sized pages, but large enough for you to see how the text and the pictures are going to blend together and flow from one page to the next.

A picture book “Smarty” will help you see in a flash that there is too much text which leaves you no room for an illustration. Or that there isn’t text that makes you want to  turn the page on the odd-numbered pages. You want great page-turning text on the odd numbered pages! You can do this!

Cover Page (back of it is end paper glued to front cover)

1 – title page

2 – copyright page 3 – dedication page

4 -Blank or an illustration leading into the story 5 – FIRST PAGE OF Text STORY (No words on page 4),

6 and 7 (two-page spread1)

8 and 9 (two-page spread2)

10 and 11 (two-page spread3)

12 and 13 (two-page spread4)

14 and 15 (two-page spread5)

16 and 17 (two-page spread6)

18 and 19 (two-page spread7)

20 and 21 (two-page spread8)

22 and 23 (two-page spread9)

24 and 25 (two-page spread10)

26 and 27 (two-page spread11)

28 and 29 (two-page spread12)

30 and 31 (two-page spread13)

32 LAST PAGE OF TEXT in Picture Book.

End Paper (which is glued to back cover) Back Cover

You may choose to copy text and images and paste them into program that prints them out on regular 8 1/2 x 11 paper and staple together as a book.Or do half pages. Many people make their dummies smaller than the book. This helps cut down the cost when you print copies to send publishers or others. As long as the pages are in proportion to the finished book, you’ll be fine.

I laminated 18 pages of the size paper I wanted and bound them together with plastic coils at a local print shop. Then I taped the text and illustrations to it, including the front and back cover. When I finish one book, I can scan the pages, take them off and start again. Or laminate 18 more pages.

Do what sounds fun and will do the job! Good luck with your picture book “smarties!”

Please tell me what you think of this idea!

Resources

  1. Dulemba. “Storyboard:”http://dulemba.com/FreeTools/Storyboard.jpg
  2. David Huyck. “How to Make a Picture Book Dummy:” http://www.craftsy.com/blog/2014/08/how-to-make-a-picture-book-dummy/ 
  3. Kathy Temean. “How to Craft a Book Dummy:” https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2012/05/15/crafting-a-book-dummy/.
  4. Joan Y. Edwards. “So You Want to Write a Picture Book: “https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2015/04/19/so-you-want-to-write-a-picture-book/ 
  5. Joan Y. Edwards. “What Are Picture Books?”  https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/what-are-picture-books/ 
  6. Wisegeek. “What Is a Picture Book?” http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-picture-book.htm
  7. Meghan McCarthy “An Illustrator’s Guide to Illustrating a Picture Book:” http://www.meghan-mccarthy.com/illustratorsguide.html
  8. Patrice Sherman. “A Few Picture Book Basics,” http://www.writingpicturebooksforchildren.com/a-few-picture-book-basics.html
  9. Patrice Sherman. “Kinds of Picture Books,” http://www.writingpicturebooksforchildren.com/types-of-picture-books.html
  10. Sarah McIntire. “Picture Book Dummy Sample” http://jabberworks.livejournal.com/76688.html
  11. Sarah S. Brannen Tutorial: “Dummies for Smarties”
    http://www.yellapalooza.com/tutorials/dummies.html
  12. Scott E. Franson. “What Is a Storyboard?” http://www.scottefranson.com/publishing-2/publishing-for-children-101-what-is-a-storyboard
  13. Uri  Shulevitz. “How to Make a Storyboard:” http://www.mightyartdemos.com/mightyartdemos-shulevitz.html
  14. Wendy Martin. “Book Dummy.”  http://wendymartinillustration.com/wordpress/tag/book-dummy/
  15. Wendy Martin. “Storyboard for Wendy Martin’s Rabbit’s Song:” http://wendymartinillustration.com/wordpress/rabbits-song-rough-thumbnail-layout/

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright  © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright 2015 © Joan Y. Edwards                          

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I Love America


“I Love America,” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you, God for creating America so I can roam where I want. I love America. It’s the land of my birth. Many people protect it and others on earth. It’s fun to see people, animals, plants, skyscrapers, houses, cars, planes, and trains there.

People can take the word “God” out of the pledge of allegiance. They can make laws saying prayers out loud isn’t allowed. However, people can’t take God out of America. They can’t take God out of the world. You can’t take God out of the people. God is in each of us, no matter what country we live in. Our God is good and gave each of us a homeland. I’m proud that mine is America, home of the free.

Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright 2015 © Joan Y. Edwards

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Put Quotation Marks after Periods, Commas, and Question Marks in America


Quotation Marks Copyright  © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

Quotation Marks Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

“Put Quotation Marks after Periods, Commas, and Question Marks in America,” by Joan Y. Edwards

Quotation marks are tricky fellows. They can drive you up the wall if you let them. Usually, quotation marks go after periods, commas, and question marks in America. In England, they may be put before the periods, commas, and question marks. If you are submitting to American publishers and editors, my advice is format it the American way. If you’re submitting to a publisher or agent in the United Kingdom, they would probably understand that you would use the American way. In the revision process, you could change it to the format they prefer.

Here are examples:

  1. Jane said, “Come back.”
  2. “Come back,” said Jane.
  3. “Did she come back?” asked Sam.
  4. Sam asked, “Did she come back?”

If you do not understand the correct way to punctuate it as you wrote it, rewrite it. Put it in words and punctuation that you know is correct.

For instance, number 5 below. I’m not sure what the correct punctuation would be as it is now.Which punctuation is correct?

5.Did your sign say “For Rent” or “For Sale”? or Did your sign say “For Rent” or “For Sale?”

If you can’t figure out which one is correct, reword it. One correct way is: Did you put “For Rent” or “For Sale” on your sign?

There are many websites and books with grammar rules and punctuation:

Guidelines for Using Quotation Marks Effectively;
Block QuotationsDirect SpeechLogical PunctuationPlease, Don’t “Quote” MePractice in Using Quotation Marks CorrectlyQuotationScare Quotes

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Image Copyright © Joan Y. Edwards

Image Copyright © Joan Y. Edwards

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