SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Recent Posts

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91
Thanks for all the great tips. I do have some other stories written for children and I've already submitted one of my short stories, titled 'The Card Game,' to Alfred Hitchcock Magazine. I'm working my way around the Blueboard and I hope to establish some relationships and get  my stories and ideas critiqued. I've got some time now to really put in the work and I really want to be a good writer.
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You've gotten good advice already. I'll just chime in to say picture books come in series far less regularly than chapter books for young readers. You mentioned Diary of a Wimpy Kid which is a a bit of a bridge between chapter books and middle grade. Chapter books aren't written in rhyme. I suppose there might be one out there, but I can't think of any that rhyme. If something like Wimpy Kid is your model you might consider prose and chapter book format.
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Debbie gave you fantastic advice! Pitch the first picture book in a query. You can say it has series potential, but if an agent/editor thinks you have an entire series ready to go, it might scare them away for a few reasons.

*There are often changes in the first book that will cause large changes throughout a series
*Publishers typically need to see how well a book does before offering to buy more in a series, so the book needs to stand alone (but series potential is fine).

And yes--definitely have polished manuscripts outside the series to share if an agent wants to see more work from you.

I'm sending loads of good luck vibes your way.  :star2 :star2 :star2
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It's all in your execution of the story. In general, you pitch the first book. Then you state that there are others for a potential series once you get a positive response to book one. Be aware that if book one doesn't sell well, a publisher may not pick up book two. It's also good to have manuscripts that don't fit the series. An agent will want to know that you can do something else if the series idea doesn't pan out. Picture books are rarely sold as series by new writers. Make each book the best you can and go from there. Good luck.
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: PB Whats Best Past, Present or Future Action
« Last post by Debbie Vilardi on December 27, 2022, 09:42 PM »
Past tense is more conventional, but the truth is you have to do what each particular story needs. The story is everything.
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IMPORTANT BOARD ANNOUNCEMENTS / Re: Continuing the Blue Boards!
« Last post by Nora on December 27, 2022, 12:12 PM »
Thank you!

Hi Blue Board users and SCBWI members,

We’ve heard from you that the Blue Boards are a valuable resource and we have decided to keep them running. We are building a new SCBWI website and investing in newer technologies and better ways for you to connect with other SCBWI members and publishing professionals, and I hope in the future those will be helpful and valuable for you as well. For now, you have spoken up and communicated the value of this platform with us at SCBWI Headquarters, and we are listening.

I apologize for the short notice and timing of my announcement on Friday, and for any disruption it caused. I hope you will all continue to take advantage of the Blue Boards, and I hope all of you have a peaceful and joyful holiday season.

In community,
Sarah Baker
(she/her)
Executive Director
scbwi.org

97
Picture Books (PB) / How To Pitch A One CharacterBook Series In A Query Letter
« Last post by aaron-riser on December 27, 2022, 09:47 AM »
I'm working out the concept of  PB series, written in rhyme, about the experiences of a gregarious young boy. I've already written 6 shorts and I need to know the best way to approach this concept in a query letter and are publishers interested this kind of writing. I know this is not a new concept -Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, etc. Am I tilting at windmills?
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: PB Whats Best Past, Present or Future Action
« Last post by aaron-riser on December 27, 2022, 08:59 AM »
Thanks for the advice. I've dabbled in writing lyrics for musician friends and now I'm learning how to marry the principles I learned there to PB writing.
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: Feeling lost? I am!
« Last post by christina-alexandru on December 27, 2022, 08:15 AM »
"I'm a firm believer of free-writing not only to clear the cobwebs but for allowing oneself to wander into interesting directions."

Hi Vijaya - Thank you so, so much for your thoughtful reply. I love the way you said that - and yes, that's something so true and positive to focus on - starting small! Thanks for the resources, as well. Have a happy new year, and triple cheers to getting back into the writing groove!!!

I'm reading through everyone's posts - by the way - You are all amazing! Thank you, Mindy, dewsanddamps, Debbie, and Rebecca!!!!!!
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Picture Books (PB) / Re: PB Whats Best Past, Present or Future Action
« Last post by JodyJS on December 27, 2022, 05:41 AM »
Hi Aaron,

I think that most, though not all, PBs are written in past tense. Maybe try it both ways and see which you like better. Also, if you're brand new to writing for children, go to your local library and read 100 PBs published within the last five years. That will give you a sense of topics, tenses, and treatments (structures).

Good luck!

Jody
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