The links and documents below are nowhere near exhaustive, but they do provide useful (we hope!) pointers on the craft and marketing of your work.
"Write a thousand words a day!" is advice many writers hear. In this post, Michael breaks down precisely why 1,000 words is a good benchmark, and what such goals achieve for a writer.
A few decades ago, Michael taught a class at the Writing Center in San Diego devoted entirely to dialogue. This handout was part of that class (and has since been used in college classes).
Are there truly "rules" about publishing and submitting? Not hard-and-fast rules—quality always outs—but flagrantly turning up one's nose at an agent or editor's reasonable requests (double-spacing, for example) reveal a lot about the person behind the submission. And that's important, too.
Query letters shouldn't be instill dread in a writer! In this post, Michael breaks down a very basic query letter and provides a model for how to create one.
Precisely as described, these are a list of questions Little, Brown editors pose of manuscripts they are considering publishing.
Another long-ago talk of Michael's, this one focused on pinpointing the differences between teen and middle-grade.
A written-out version of an SCBWI talk Michael gave some years ago about the particular challenges agents face in representing picture book manuscripts.
Agent emeritus Chris Richman talks about why Upstart Crow requests only the first twenty pages of a manuscript, and why we feel that is enough for us to determine whether or not we want to see more of a book.
Agent emeritus Chris Richman explains why it can be useful for a writer to boil down a story into a twenty-five word summary.
Decades ago, Michael created this handout for a class he taught at the Writing Center in San Diego. He still stands by these ten pieces of advice.
There are tricks one can use to push one's creativity past the lowest hanging fruit—the Rule of Twenty is one such trick.
A terrific message board full of snark, and support, and answers to questions you never thought to ask.
Inventive and exhaustive searchable database of agents and publishers. Many questions you may have—or may not have yet thought of—will be answered among the many conversations documented here.
Full of fabulous interviews with agents, editors, and writers from a children’s books writer—and imprint head!—herself.
#DVPit is an annual event on Twitter hosted and moderated by Beth Phelan. In this event, un-agented, self-identifying historically marginalized authors and illustrators are invited to pitch editors, agents, and publishers with their work. Many of the pitches have led to deals and enormously successful books; but more importantly, this is one of the unabashedly wonderful efforts that has led to greater representation in children's publishing—and a stronger literature for every reader, no matter their identification.
Still the best place to write reviews and share recommendations of books with friends.
Yes, the Na(tional) No(vel) Wri(ting) Mo(nth) is a real thing that takes place every November. No matter how you feel about the books that come out of that month of fevered composition, there is no doubt that completing (or very nearly completing) the writing of a novel in a single month has been a boon for a good many writers. It demystifies process and is a proof-of-concept that writing a set number of words each day is one method to amass a draft.
This site provides tons of support for that month of work, as well as links to various tweet threads and places where writers can find each other as they toil away in the compositional trenches.
Another great database tool to help writers track their submissions to agents.
For more than fifty years, the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators has been the first and best support and information sharing group for creators of children’s books. If you hope to write or work in children's books, you need to be part of SCBWI.
We Need Diverse Books is a non-profit, grassroots organization of children’s book writers, readers, editors, agents, publishers, and friends who advocate essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people. This entails not just publishing a more diverse list of books, but also changing hiring practices to bring in more diverse voices, choosing representative writers and artists for works about marginalized groups, and doing everything possible to make publishing better reflect the world readers navigate.
Now sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Writer Beware is a website started more than twenty years ago by the late, great A.C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss. This invaluable site specializes in exposing shady corners of publishing and has a useful roster of disreputable agencies and presses whose sole goal in life is to scam and fleece authors.
Read the requirements on our submissions page.submissions