Sunday, June 30, 2013


There are ups and downs in the publishing industry. I started writing children books about nine years ago…and have had my share of both. On Saturday, I had a party to launch my first picture book – WORST CASE OF PASKETTI-ITIS. The day ranked up there as one of the best.

WC of P has had its own shares of ups and downs. I wrote it seven years ago for my daughter who was the pickiest of picky eaters. It went through countless revisions. It’s been workshopped and critiqued and almost retired to the depths of hard drive purgatory. Three years ago, I discovered 4RV Publishing and they seemed like a good fit for my little story about a picky eater. Lo and behold, they agreed!
The book went through a bit more revision and finally, yesterday, we celebrated. I still can’t believe that the room was standing room only for me and my little book.
My family pitched in and helped with sales. My Mom and Dad brought cake and balloons. My Sister brought crafts. It was the strangest mixture of family, local friends, and writer friends. My boss came. My daughter’s classmates came. Members of my Girl Scout troop came. My daughter’s godfather and his family came up from Connecticut.

I did a reading and signed copies of the book. It was surreal to say the least. And wonderful.
Thank you to everyone who read drafts through the years. Thank you to my critique group, the team at 4RV, and my illustrator (LuisaGioffre-Suzuki). It’s extraordinary to finally see my words attached to illustrations. She did an amazing job capturing my vision.
The book has been getting some great reviews on Goodreads…and the contest to win a book is ongoing until July 12, so check it out (click on the link at the right). Or you can buy it here.
My writer peeps, Alicia Gregoire, Heather Kelly, and Ansha Kotyk

The inspiration for the story

Friday, June 28, 2013

Secrets of the Query Process


It’s something that’s near and dear to my heart. I’ve been through it twice. Both of my agents were awesome…but life happens and each of them left their positions. Yes, I was agent-orphaned twice. 

So now, I’m querying for the third time. Back in February I was mortified to admit it. I’d made it to “the next level.” I’d been agented. To use a Chutes & Ladders analogy, I’d climbed up a bit of the ladder, only to slide down the chute at the next turn. I kept my querying secret…but gradually, as time passed, I’ve been wanting to share my story more and more. And of course, through twitter contests when you’re pitching like crazy, it’s hard to keep it a secret (“why is she pitching? Doesn’t she have an agent?”)

So here’s what I’ve learned from the Query Process:

  1. It’s truly subjective. The agent may list your genre on her wishlist, but it’s still may not be the right fit. It’s not you.
  2. Or it could be you…the book may need more revision…or better pacing…or something hard to pinpoint. You can spend years analyzing a rejection. But don’t. Cry to your CPs, dust yourself off, and keep on keeping on.
  3. Agents are people, too. Sometimes they are busy. Or on vacation. Or dealing with their lives. In your communication with them be polite, be professional, and above all follow submission guidelines. And let the process work.
  4. It’s okay to send a thank you note for a Full or Partial request rejection.
  5. Trust your gut…if it doesn’t feel right, don’t force it. This might be the hardest lesson...because you want it to feel right sooooo badly.
  6. I’ve heard of authors arguing or pushing back rudely to agents who gave them a personal, helpful rejection. Don’t. Please don’t. Because you ruin it for all of us if they decide to stop giving personal feedback.
  7. I’m a scattershot queryer. That doesn’t mean I don’t do my research. But I don’t overthink it. If it looks like my book might be in someone’s wheelhouse, I query. But I’ve done a lot of querying, I trust my query letter and my ability to be professional. I’m not bragging, but my request rate is at 42% this morning. Okay, I’m bragging, I’m proud of that request rate, but all that really means is my rate of rejections on Full manuscripts is higher than someone with a lower request rate.
  8. Those can sting. But again, back to #1. It’s truly subjective.
The thing that surprised me most is the number of people I’ve met with similar stories. People who’d been agented before and were querying again for a variety of reasons. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to share my story…to tell someone out there who might be the same situation that it’s okay. You’re going to be okay. It’s not the end of the world.

I’ve seen the ups and downs of the query process. I’ve had “the call” twice. It’s an amazing feeling that I hope to have again. But you know what else I’ve learned? It’s not the end of the world. This is a business…you have to treat it that way. As long as you conduct yourself in a professional manner, and don’t burn bridges, you’ll be fine. 

On a really positive note…my first picture book is finally out. Published with small press 4RV Publishing, it’s been under contract since before I signed with either of my agents. I’m doing a Goodreads contest here:

So tell me about your querying process?

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Blog and a Contest--Huzzah!

I am so excited about being involved with a new group blog. It's called Sporty Girl Books and it's unlike anything else out there. I've joined forces with Stacy Mozer, Anna Boll, and Robin Hall and we're focusing on books for girls who love and play sports. 

Here's our press release:

In June 2013, a new blog for girls who love sports will kick off. For too long girls have heard comments such as, "Girls can't play" or "You play like a girl." will be a site devoted to girls (and the people who love them) who love reading, writing, talking, watching, and playing sports.

At SPORTY GIRL, we want to give all girls the chance to love, watch, play, read, and write about the sports they love. We look forward to the day when the words, "You play like a girl," is the best compliment anyone can receive.

The blog is currently operated by four authors—Stacy Mozer, Robin Hall, Anna Boll, and Kristine Asselin. While not all of them are athletes, each of the women write in a variety of genres, and all love to read and write about girls who play sports.

We are looking for ideas about content, so please visit We are celebrating the launch with a giveaway so check the blog to see the awesome prizes.

You can also follow us on twitter @sportygirlbooks or email them at