How To Find an Agent:  Six Questions for Picture Book Writers

by Laura Sassi

As an aspiring picture book author, I had high hopes for breaking into children’s publishing. I worked on my craft, joined a critique group, revised and polished my picture book manuscripts, then sent them off to publishers, hoping my dream would soon be reality. That’s when I encountered two seemingly impossible hurdles: the slush pile and, worse […]

~ 2019 Write2Ignite Picture Book Contest ~ PART I

Write2Ignite Conference September 20-21, 2019 is launching a new contest to find the best unpublished picture book manuscript! That’s right, it’s contest time, and there are two categories!
FICTION PICTURE BOOKS (age 4-8)
NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOKS (age 5-10)
PRIZE PACKAGE: Each winner will receive a free detailed critique from Write2Ignite, a plaque, free admission into our September conference, bragging rights, and a boost of confidence! Prize valued at $200. We will announce the winners’ names and story titles on our website, Facebook, and Twitter. All entrants will receive free access to a live instructional writing webinar hosted by Write2Ignite planned for July.
Entries will be judged based on the following criteria: proper age range, 1000 words or less, professionalism of editing and formatting, creativity, language, marketability, stellar writing, and a Christian worldview.
CONTEST RULES: Any original, unpublished piece not accepted by any publisher at the time of submission is eligible. An “unpublished piece” means not published anywhere including nothing posted on your own blog or someone else’s, or published in a magazine or book. We want you to write, stretch, and learn how to carefully follow submission guidelines!
Each entry must be accompanied by a non-refundable entry fee of $20.
• You can enter as many times as you wish, but each manuscript must be entered individually with its own reading fee.
• Entering this contest means you acknowledge and agree that Write2ignite may read aloud and (kindly) critique all winning entries during the webinar held after the deadline. In addition, any positive comments made in the chat or about the webinar may be used as testimonials.
• The contest is open to writers 13 years old and up.
• Current and past leadership team members are not eligible.
All manuscript submissions must be submitted by MAY 31, 2019.
• Manuscripts should be text only and may not include illustrations or photographs.
• We cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to proofread your entry. Carefully go over everything. Make sure you’re following these rules, just as you would have to follow a publisher’s submission guidelines!
• We reserve the right not to award a prize if an insufficient number of entries has been received.
JUDGES: All entries will be read by faculty and editorial staff members of Write2ignite, TBA. Winners will be notified by email by July 1 if not sooner.
Once the winners are announced, all entries are released for submission elsewhere.
More details will follow! Get started writing your picture book manuscripts, and watch for PB Contest Part II: Submission Guidelines and Payment of Entry Fee!

Speaker Spotlight: Kim Peterson’s “The Language of Children’s Picture Books”

Picture books foster language development and stimulate the imagination. In Kim Peterson’s workshop “The Language of Children’s Picture Books,” attendees will learn how to launch a child’s love of books and awaken the joy of discovery by using words, sentence structure, and figures of speech to write picture books children will treasure.

Kim mentors aspiring writers. She has taught writing for twenty-five years, working extensively with both published authors and those seeking careers in writing, editing and publishing. Currently, Kim teaches in the online professional writing program of Taylor University (Upland, Indiana). She also leads two productive online writers groups—one for mixed genres and one for writers of children’s books and articles.

Kim, who is a regular conference speaker, previously served on the writing faculty at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, and mentored writers through the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. A long-time professional book reviewer, Kim reviews novels for CBA’s Christian Market magazine. She recently concluded more than eight years as fiction reader for the Les Stobbe Literary Agency until Stobbe’s retirement.

Working as a freelancer for forty years (she started young!), Kim has written for Indiana newspapers and various periodicals and websites, including AppleSeeds, Encounter, Evangel, Vista, and devotional markets. Her work has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Rocking Chair Reader, the Moments series, and other anthologies. She blogs about nature and loves writing for children.

Kim says of her childhood, “My mom made reading a priority. She surrounded me with books. When my morning chores were finished, she let me disappear up our cherry trees with a good book and a thermos of juice. I don’t climb trees to read anymore, but I can still disappear into a great story.”

You can learn more about Kim on Facebook and on her blog, Nature Walk with God.

Write2Ignite Conference Celebrates Success Stories!

Conference connections that helped launch authors' careers!

Maria Bostian: author of What Should Daisy Do? and Firefighters’ Busy Day As Write2Ignite Conference 2018 approaches, we want to highlight what we’re calling “Success Stories”: stories of past participants whose attendance at W2I led to specific contacts, published work, and even jobs! We often emphasize the benefits of attending a writing conference—benefits that include […]

Speaker Spotlight: Jean Matthew Hall’s Workshop “Definitions of Children’s Book Genres and Categories”

  Foundational to writing successfully for children is a clear knowledge of children’s literature, including the distinctions among book genres and the different categories of books for children. How is a “picture book” different from an “early reader,” when both include common audience ages and plenty of illustrations? What tips can a writer who has spent her whole professional life introducing children to books bring to an understanding of these definitions?

Jean Matthew Hall, well known to longtime followers of Write2Ignite Conference as the first director of this group, returns to W2I in 2018 as a presenter. Her first workshop (see the “Bonus” early session in the conference schedule) will help writers establish a fuller understanding of how book genres and categories work and why it’s important to get them right for writers creating their stories, describing them, and pitching them to agents or publishers.

Professionally, Jean has taught “almost every grade level kindergarten through high school” and served as a Christian school principal and administrator as well as director of early childhood development. These experiences, which helped her develop connections with “the hearts of teachers, children, and parents,” inform her goal of creating books to” communicate “values and truths about God” and “encourage and edify both children and the caring adults in their lives.”

Jean’s workshop will combine the nuts and bolts facts of definitions with her lifelong experience and development as a writer in this genre she loves so much—plus Q & A time for the audience!

To learn more about Jean, visit her website and blog, https://jeanmatthewhall.com/.

A Case of Grace at W2I!

Kristi Butler and Samantha S. Bell collaborate on Groundhog Day in Amazing Grace Acres

In this post, author Kristi M. Butler shares how her new books about Groundhog Day and groundhogs emerged from attendance at Write2Ignite Conference, a vacation cabin, and meeting illustrator Samantha S. Bell. Write2Ignite is one of my “happy places”! Perusing the website and blog brings back sweet memories and never fails to bring a smile […]

Pitch Your Picture Book through a Twitter Party!

“For what event would you pack an ax, a vial of serum, and dog booties? Racing in the Iditarod! Find out what else mushers pack. #PBPitch #NF” “Jersey wishes she had spots like the other cows, so she knits herself a spotted sweater, and all the other cows want one too. #PBPitch #H” The above […]