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A call for submissions: New Voices in Children’s Literature

Monday, October 17th, 2011

When I first started out as a writer, I steeled myself for rejection. I knew it could take a while before anything I wrote was published. But as months rolled into years, and the rejections piled up, my confidence began to flag.

Tassy Walden Awards: New Voices in Children's LiteratureIn 2001, word got around of a new children's book contest: the Tassy Walden Awards, New Voices in Children's Literature. It was juried by reputable agents and editors from large publishing houses, and winners were given a small cash prize. Why not, I thought.

My manuscript for a young adult novel came in as a finalist. I submitted a middle grade novel the following year, and that also came in as a finalist. Two years later I submitted a third novel, and that one didn't even place.

Now you'd think that would have soured me—three novels, three rejections. But it didn’t.

See, coming in as a finalist meant that the agents and editors who read my manuscripts thought they had promise. The criteria they were using was whether the submissions were of a professional quality. Winners were the best of the bunch—and some years they decided not to chose any winners because no one reached a high enough standard for the category. That I had placed two years in a row meant that I should keep going. That I didn’t place two years later meant I needed to put more work into what I was doing.

And more work is what I did. The result: one of the manuscripts that came in as a finalist became No Castles Here. The one that didn’t place at all became Come Fall. Both have received starred reviews, and I have a third novel ready for release in February, 2012.

The Tassy contest does something many contests don’t: it makes you step up to a publishable level. Winning doesn’t guarantee that what you write will be published, but submitting forces you to reach a professional standard. That is no small thing.

The 12th annual Tassy Walden Awards: New Voices in Children's Literature is now open for submissions. The competition is open to unpublished Connecticut writers and illustrators. This year has five submission categories: picture book (text only), illustrated picture book, children's book illustrator's portfolio, middle grade novel, and young adult/teen novel. The deadline for submissions is February 3, 2012.

For more information, an entry form, and the …

The greatest compliment

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Cover for Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One

Over at Write Up Our Alley I blogged about the greatest compliment an author can receive. (And yes, it does have to do with Kate Duke’s Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One).…

Perseverance

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Over at Write Up Our Alley I blogged about the daunting publishing odds for new writers. My conclusion: don’t give up. You can get your work published, if you persevere. You can read the whole post here.…

Second printing!

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

ComeFall_cover.JPG

I have some very exciting news from Random House. Apparently Come Fall has gone into its second printing.

Squeeee!…

The Big Idea and book birthdays

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

ComeFall_cover.JPG

John Scalzi kindly allowed me to blather on (at length) about how I came about the ideas that led me to writing Come Fall. You can find my essay here, as part of his ongoing The Big Idea columns.

I also posted a much shorter piece for Write Up Our Alley about book birthdays — what they are and aren’t.…

Come Fall is for sale!

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

ComeFall_cover.JPG

Today is the official release date of Come Fall. Happy birthday! You can now order it at your favorite bookstore or online outlet.

I’ll be throwing a book party on Saturday August 28, at The Alphabet Garden Bookstore in Cheshire, Connecticut to celebrate its release. Come join us!…

Resources for writers seeking publication

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I’ve recently updated my website to include resources for writers who are seeking information on how to get their works published. The list is a work in progress, and I’ll be updating it from time to time. You can find the current version here.…

Available for pre-order

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

ComeFall_cover.JPG

Come Fall is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com. I am getting very excited!…

Library Thing shelftalker

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Elizabeth Bluemle wrote an insightful piece for Shelftalker: A Children’s Bookseller’s Blog (for Publisher’s Weekly) asking us Where’s Ramona Quimby, Black and Pretty? She took issue with the publishing canard that white readers aren’t interested in characters of color. She also called on writers, editors, publishers and booksellers to send her titles of modern books with main characters of color where the book isn’t primarily about race. The result was an outpouring of information, which she detailed here. She decided to pull together the suggested books on a Library Thing list.

There are many lists and sources of information on the web, like Cynthia Leitich Smith’s website; The Brown Bookshelf; American Indians in Children’s Literature; Oyate; Celebrating Cultural Diversity Through Children’s Literature. But the more shout-outs for books with characters of all colors, the better.

Bravo Elizabeth!

[And thank you to Nicole Tadgell for the links.]…

 

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