- The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators website is a one-stop shop for everything you need to know to get published. Seriously! I could do infomercials for them. “SCBWI will make your manuscripts shinier, fuller, more amazing than they have ever been!”
- The Purple Crayon is editor Harold Underdown’s incredible publishing resource. Includes dozens of useful articles and links, updates on editorial comings and goings, and much, much more.
- Publisher’s Marketplace is an industry deals website: who’s buying what, who’s working where, etc.
- The Usual Suspects–Book Review Sites: Publisher’s Marketplace, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Horn Book Magazine
- Verla Kay’s Blueboard forum
- SCBWI’s member forums
- The comments section of blogs by industry professionals. Remember: think twice, post once! Be professional (use your real name; practice good grammar; remember that you never know who’s reading) and courteous (you’re a guest of the blogger).
Picture Book Dummy Templates
When I am having trouble with the pacing or length of a picture book, I will often make a thumbnail dummy to help me picture page turns and how long a reader would linger on a particular block of text. I make stick figure sketches to help me make sure there are opportunities for visual variety in my text, but I am not deciding how the pictures should look — that’s the illustrator’s job. Making a dummy is just an exercise for me. Unless you are a professional illustrator, don’t send your dummy along with a submission. No matter how cute it is. Really. I mean it. (If you find yourself wanting to explain why this particular book needs a dummy so an editor can visualize it, chances are you haven’t really captured the story wioth your writing. A couple of art notes are okay, but that’s it!)
- 1-page PB text dummy template (teeny, tiny boxes)
- 2-page PB dummy template (room for little sketches if you really must!)
There are many paid critique services available. These are some people whose work I’m familiar with:
- Kathleen Duey
- Jill Esbaum
- Laura Purdie Salas (online courses and critiques)
- Lisa Wheeler (occasional Bootcamp workshops, too)
If you are a children’s book-a-phile, you need to read Collecting Children’s Books, Peter D. Sieruta’s blog. A librarian, Peter knows all kinds of fascinating stories behind the stories. I love this thoughtful, informative blog!