Five Lessons from 100 Published Picture Book Authors – A Guest Post by Hannah Holt

The Official SCBWI Blog
Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I saw Hannah talking about this research on social media, and invited her to blog about it here. I’m so glad she took me up on it…

Earlier this year, I joined Epic Eighteen—a group of picture book authors and illustrators with 2018 debuts. It’s been great rubbing shoulders with other almost-authors, and it’s made me think deeply about the practical aspects of this beautiful yet challenging career.

For example, everyone in the group has another source of income besides writing. Are any picture book authors living solely on writing? Also, some authors have agents. Others don’t. How essential is an agent? To answer these and other questions, I created an anonymous survey. So far, 135 published picture book authors have participated, and I’ve learned things, like…

1. You don’t need an agent to break into the picture book trade market. 

Almost half (48%) of the authors surveyed sold their first book without an agent.

2. However, having an agent is advantageous. Really advantageous. 

Overall, agented authors sold books to larger houses for more money than authors pitching their own stories. Average advances were 500% higher for authors with agents. Authors were also more likely to have sold multiple books with an agent.

3. Picture book advances range from $0 to $50,000+. 

The most common picture book advance for a small house falls between $1,000 to $4,999, while the most common advance for a Big Five publisher is between $5,000-$9,999.

Here’s the spread.

Advances at small houses:

Advances at large houses:

4. You don’t need a regular writing schedule to become a published author. 

About a third of published picture book authors don’t have a set writing schedule.

Also, those earning the largest advances tended to be authors without a schedule. In contrast, picture book authors working 40+ hours a week earned smaller book advances (<$5,000).

“Butt-in-chair” doesn’t necessarily translate into more dollars in your pocket in the short-term.

However, the more years an author had been writing, the more likely she would have a sizeable annual salary. Two picture book authors in the survey earned more than $100,000 last year. They have both been writing professionally for 20+ years.

So find a writing groove that works for you, and settle into it for a decade or two.

5. Rejection is normal. 

Picture book authors are usually rejected at least ten times before signing a book deal. Fifteen-percent of authors are rejected 100+ times prior to selling a book. Also most picture book authors write six or more stories before selling anything.

Keep calm and query on!

(Bonus) 6. There is an exception to every rule. 

Perhaps you’ve heard about overnight successes and wildly successful authors without agents. These things happen. They are just outliers.

Three-percent of published picture book authors sold a book on the first query. The first query! Oh, those lucky (and talented) ducks.

Also having an agent doesn’t guarantee success. While most authors love their agent, ten-percent hate theirs. No agent is better than one you don’t trust.

Finally, many authors find success with a regular writing schedule. In fact, the majority of published authors have some kind of consistent writing routine. Good news for me because I’m one of them.

I’ll publish a full summary results in the fall. Until September 15th, I’m still collecting data. If you’re a traditionally published children’s author, please consider taking my survey: Picture Book Author Survey 

I also have a survey for chapter book, middle grade, and young adult authors. I’ve had over 100 replies so far and am still taking more: Chapter Book, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Author Survey 

A HUGE thank you to all the authors taking the survey! Here’s to demystifying a career as a children’s author!

Hannah Holt is an engineer by training and a picture book author by trade. Her first two books, Diamond Man (Balzer+Bray 2018) and A Father’s Love (Philomel 2019), showcase science stories with heart. You can find Hannah chatting on Twitter, working on her website, and eating chocolate chip cookies with total abandon.


Posted in audio books, authors, blog, books, children stories, contests, creative writing, picture book, picture books, research, self publishing, short stories, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , ,

5 Most Common Mistakes with Dialogue
Editor, Writer, Person Extraordinaire


As an editor, I’ve been thinking about how I need to do a post on some of the most common mistakes I see in dialogue. Many are a matter of fine-tuning, moving from a great writer, to a professional one.

Dialogue Tags Don’t Match the Dialogue

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not wholly against alternative dialogue tags(“groaned,” “cried,” “yelled,” “lamented,” etc.), and I think they can be particularly effective when the dialogue and the context of the story can’t portray the way that it’s said. For example:

“That’s great,” Melody groaned

But sometimes the dialogue tag honestly doesn’t fit the way it’s said. It’s hard to give an example of this in a blog post, because often whether or not the tag fits the dialogue depends on the context of the story. But look at this:

“Elephants use their skin folds to crush mosquitoes,” Milo whined

The direct dialogue doesn’t sound like whining. The content doesn’t sound like something to whine about, and the structure doesn’t sound like whining. But that is the chosen dialogue tag. It doesn’t fit.

“Elephants use their skin folds to crush mosquitoes,” Milo said matter-of-factly.

But sometimes you get weird combos like this:

“Elephants use their skin folds to crush mosquitoes,” Milo whined matter-of-factly.

I don’t know about you, but “whined matter-of-factly” sounds like something that’s pretty difficult to pull off.

Here are some more examples:

“I need to lose weight,” Taz wondered.

“Can I check into my hotel room now?” Kelly raged.

“Want to pick up the groceries?” Katie exclaimed.

Sure, grammatically, they are fine, but other than very rare occasions, the tags aren’t appropriate for the direct dialogue. Make sure what you write matches.

Modifiers Don’t Match the Dialogue

Some people really love using modifying phrases (participial phrases) with their dialogue tags. Again, I’m not against this, but like anything, it can be overused, and more than that, it needs to make sense. A modifying phrase after a dialogue tag is adding information to the dialogue tag.  It works as an adjective. Here is a fine example.

“Do you ever sunburn?” Manny asked, squeezing sunscreen into his palm

“Squeezing sunscreen into his palm” is a modifying phrase–it adds information to “Manny asked.” Because it functions similar to an adjective, it’s also saying that Manny squeezed the sunscreen into his palm at the same time he asked “Do you ever sunburn.” Not after. The same time.

Here is a problem example:

“Grab the gun!” I yelled, holding my breath as a cloud of smoke came our way.

You cannot yell and hold your breath at the same time. So this is a problem. But you can easily fix it:

“Grab the gun!” I yelled, then held my breath as a cloud of smoke came our way.


“Grab the gun!” I yelled. I held my breath as a cloud of smoke came our way.


 “Grab the gun!” I yelled, and I held my breath as a cloud of smoke came our way.


“Grab the gun!” I yelled, holding my breath as a cloud of smoke came our way.

Other times, the participial phrase doesn’t match because it doesn’t fit with the dialogue (usually it doesn’t logically match in length).

 “Yes,” she said, putting her dress, socks, and pajamas in a suitcase and then the luggage on the floor.

You can’t tell me she put her dress, socks, AND pajamas in a suitcase AND then put the luggage on the floor the same time she said “Yes.”  Unless she’s Quicksilver from X-Men, it’s not possible to do all those things during a one-syllable word.

You can fix it like this:

 “Yes,” she said, putting her dress in the suitcase. She added her socks and pajamas, and then placed the luggage on the floor.

Some writers say you should try to leave out participial phrases like this altogether, since cognitively it is difficult for the reader to imagine both things happening at once. I’m personally okay with it and don’t think it’s a big deal. They just need to make sense.

Improper Punctuation

I think probably every writer struggles at some point with figuring out how to punctuate dialogue. Let’s be honest, to a beginner, it’s not that clear-cut, and if you don’t know the rules, it might seem somewhat random. For example, all of these sentences are punctuated properly:

“All I was wondering,” Jill said, “was if you would like to go to the movies.”

“I caught a fish once,” Heber said. “It was a big fat trout.”

“I can’t believe this!” Arnie said. “You wrecked my car?”

“I can’t believe this!” Arnie said, “You wrecked my car?”

“Was it a squirrel?” Daisy asked. “I do love squirrels.”

Here are the same sentences handled improperly:

“All I was wondering,” Jill said. “Was if you would like to go to the movies.”

“I caught a fish once,” Heber said, “it was a big fat trout.”

“I can’t believe this,” Arnie said! “You wrecked my car?”

“I can’t believe this!” Arnie said, “you wrecked my car?”

“I do love squirrels,” Daisy asked, “was it a squirrel?”

For a complete rundown of how to punctuate dialogue, you can follow this link. But here are a few things to keep in mind.

“All I was wondering,” [part of a sentence] Jill said, [dialogue tag] “was if you would like to go to the movies. [rest of the sentence]”

– When the dialogue tag interrupts a sentences, separate it by commas.

“I caught a fish once, [complete sentence]” Heber said. [dialogue tag] “It was a big fat trout.” [a separate complete sentence]

– When the dialogue tag comes at the end of a complete sentence, use a comma inside the end quotes and then a period after the tag. If there is more dialogue, capitalize the next letter as you would the start of a sentence.

“I can’t believe this!” Arnie said. “You wrecked my car?”

– When the dialogue tag follows an exclamation point or question mark, you simply add the dialogue tag with a period. You don’t need an extra comma (“I can’t believe this!,” Arnie said–no)

“I can’t believe this!” Arnie said, “You wrecked my car?”

– In this example, the dialogue tag is technically preceding the dialogue “You wrecked my car?” so you can put a comma.

Notice how these actually read differently:

“I can’t believe this!” Arnie said. / “You wrecked my car?”


“I can’t believe this!” / Arnie said, “You wrecked my car?”

The slash denotes that extra bit of silence. The way the dialogue tag is placed and punctuated tells us how the beat goes.

Now, some people say you should never start with a dialogue tag: Arnie said, “You wrecked my car?” I’d argue that it’s the best choice in some scenarios. Also, some say you should never flip the speaker and tag: “You wrecked my car?” said Arnie.

I personally don’t have a problem with it as long as it’s used sparingly and not the go-to choice. When you are describing who is speaking, because we don’t know the name, it’s often a great choice: “You wrecked my car?” said a man with a long beard and a silver umbrella.

“Was it a squirrel?” Daisy asked. “I do love squirrels.”

– Same explanation as my exclamation point one. If you end on a question, put the question mark before the end quotes, add the dialogue tag, and put a period. Notice how this example is wrong:

“Was it a squirrel?” Daisy asked, “I do love squirrels.”


“Was it a squirrel?” / Daisy asked, “I do love squirrels.”

Daisy is not asking “I do love squirrels.” So again, the tag does not match the dialogue.

Making Actions into Dialogue Tags

I could have probably put this in the last section, but it happens so much that it really needs its own category.

Sometimes writers make the dialogue tag a physical action:

“Let’s go to the store,” Amy smiled.

“I do love pudding,” Luna scooped some pudding on her plate, “When is the next match?”

“The last thing I need,” Mom yanked the car into reverse, “is for you to back talk me!”

Dialogue is something audible. You can’t smile audible language. You can smile while you say it, but you can’t smile it.

“Let’s go to the store,” Amy said, smiling.


“Let’s go to the store.” Amy smiled.

In the second example, it is implied that Amy is the speaker, simply because of the structure of the line/paragraph. You can absolutely imply who is speaking. But notice that “Amy smiled” is not punctuated as a dialogue tag.

Here is how to fix the pudding one:

“I do love pudding.” Luna scooped some pudding on her plate. “When is the next match?”

Keep the action separate from the dialogue–its own sentence.

The third wrong example is tricky. But is here is how you handle it:

“The last thing I need”–Mom yanked her car into reverse–“is for you to back talk me!”

Now, in some cases, I’m guilty of just doing the commas to set off the action, because I feel it suits the tone more than the dashes. If dashes don’t suit the moment, you can also play around with the dialogue and find (correct) alternatives. Now, is it wrong if I stylistically choose to use commas? I’ll leave that to my editor. 😉

Maid-and-Butler Dialogue

Sometimes an author is trying to get information to the reader through dialogue. And it’s obvious. And feels contrived. Maid-and-butler dialogue is a term that originates from stories where the maid and butler would tell each other things they already both know. For example:

“Voldemort was a very dark wizard who killed Harry’s parents,” Dumbledore said to Snape.
“Voldemort was one of the most powerful wizards in history, as you know, and he went to school here, at Hogwarts,” Snape replied.

Dumbledore and Snape both know these things probably better than anyone, but they’re talking this way solely for the benefit of the audience. The reality is, as a writer, you often do need to convey information to the reader through dialogue. One way this is handled is by having a character speaking to another character who doesn’t know this information.

” ‘Arry, I dunno how t’ tell ya this,” Hagrid said, then paused. “Yer mum and dad didn’ die in a car crash. It was a dark wizard who done it. You-Know-Who–one o’ the darkest wizards in history.”

(Yeah, I know, I can’t get Hagrid’s dialogue quite right without the book in front of me.)

But in this example, we have someone who knows telling someone who doesn’t.

Sometimes though, you just can’t work that into your story. In that case, the info itself should not be the sum of the dialogue, but often the subtext.

Here is a great example that would have worked fine (although, it of course works better in where it is actually placed)

(Major spoiler alert–since I know some of my followers haven’t read or seen all of Harry Potter yet and they want to)

“You said you would keep her safe,” Snape said.
“Lily and James put their faith in the wrong person, Severus, rather like you,” Dumbledore said. “The boy survives.”
“He doesn’t need protection. The dark lord is gone!”
“The dark lord will return. And when he does, the boy will be in terrible danger,” Dumbledore said. “He has her eyes.”

And then as the scene goes on, you could subtly fill in more info the reader needs.

Straightforward Dialogue

Often the most powerful dialogue is indirect. In the spoilery example above, one of the many reasons it was so powerful was because of all that it implies–it’s indirect. It has subtext. Notice how a very straightforward version takes out some of the power:

(Still spoilery )

“You said you would keep her safe,” Snape said.
“I did my best to keep them safe. Voldemort killed Lily and James when they trusted Peter Pettigrew as their Secret Keeper. Their son survived Voldemort’s attack. He will need protection.”
“He doesn’t need protection. The dark lord is gone!”
“The dark lord will return. And when he does, he’ll want to kill the boy,” Dumbledore said. “I know how much you loved Lily, so you must do all you can to keep the boy safe.”

Sure, the dialogue is okay, but it’s lost some of its power.

Other times, the straightforward is not so lucky:

“Jennifer, I love you! I love you so much! I love you more than the moon and the sun,” Cole said.
“I didn’t like you at first, but I guess over time I came to like you too,” Jennifer said. “Maybe we can be friends for now though.”

Straightforward dialogue releases tension. It has a place in storytelling for sure (like when it’s time for the tension to be released). But most of your dialogue should not be so straightforward. In life, people often speak indirectly about things, and their words reveal more than what they are actually saying. Good dialogue does too. It says more than what’s on the page.

Posted in authors, blog, books, children stories, creative writing, history, poetry, self publishing, short stories, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our new addition to the farm…

20170815_153518 (1).jpg

Image | Posted on by

What is a Synopsis and How to Write One

By: Angelique Caffrey – Updated: 4 Aug 2017


A book synopsis is simply a very short description of the main theme of a nonfiction work. The synopsis deals with the novel’s central characters, their conflicts and their relationships. However, it does not get into any subplots unless they directly affect the central plot.

The book synopsis is typically used by editors to determine if they want to work with a new (or seasoned) author. Though editors (and agents) will probably read a sample chapter or two of a novel first, they’ll then want to skim the synopsis to get a feel for the whole work.

Note: If you’re having difficulty visualizing this definition of a synopsis, consider that the synopsis is acting in lieu of a book jacket or marketing device. Consequently, your synopsis should be action-oriented, written in the present tense and interesting enough to cause someone to say to him- or herself, “I have to read this book!”

When Do I Need a Synopsis?

Have you written a book? Are you contemplating writing one? If so, you’ll sooner or later want to write a synopsis.

Some authors actually prefer to write a synopsis before starting their books; that way, they can have a “game plan” for their novels before the weeks, months and – quite possibly – years of writing begin. Other authors wait until their books are finished before sitting down to write a synopsis. Either way allows a writer to have a synopsis that he or she can use in the future.

When Don’t I Need a Synopsis?

You don’t absolutely need a synopsis for your book if a) you’re planning on keeping your book for your own eyes and never want to become published; or b) you’re going to self-publish your novel, thereby eliminating the need for an editor or agent.

With that being said, writing a synopsis is still an exceptional exercise for authors and shouldn’t be avoided simply because it’s difficult. (Who ever said the easy route was the best one?)

What Should Be Included in a Synopsis?

As mentioned previously, your book synopsis should focus on:

  • The Main Characters
  • The Main Plot
  • The Main Conflicts

Anything superfluous should be jettisoned from the synopsis.

Not surprisingly, for most writers, it takes quite a long time to pare down a novel into a pithy synopsis. Some authors even request help from trusted writing companions to get them through the process or pay others to help them construct their synopsis. (And why not? After all, a strong synopsis could mean the difference between snagging an agent or having your work languish in the slush pile.)

How Long Should My Synopsis Be?

There’s no one acceptable length for synopses; in fact, editors and agents will probably have their own requirements when it comes to how long they expect synopses to be.

With that being noted, a general target is anywhere from two to twelve pages, but that definitely varies. It’s probably best to trim your synopsis down as much as you can without losing the intensity, action and flavour of your work. When you’re ready to send it to an editor or agent, find out what length he or she requests.

Should My Synopsis “Give Away” My Book’s Ending?

A synopsis should tell the entire plot of your book from beginning to end, and that includes your “shocking ending.” Many authors bristle when told to reveal their books’ “secrets”, but to an editor or agent, knowing how a novel concludes is critical.

Remember that the synopsis isn’t for the public’s eye; it’s for the eyes of someone who has the potential to bring your work to the public. So don’t hold back anything that’s important to the central theme of your book.

Will a Book Synopsis Help Me Sell My Work?

It’s a fact – a well-written, gripping book synopsis that holds the reader’s attention is more likely to win kudos than a poorly written one. With that being said, your entire book manuscript has to be just as wonderful. In other words, the synopsis and the full text work hand-in-hand… so start polishing them both!


Posted in authors, blog, books, children stories, creative writing, money, self publishing, short stories, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , ,

What Belongs on an Author Website Homepage? 4 Key Elements


author homepage

Whether you’re an emerging author or one that is well-established, it can be challenging to figure out what belongs on your website’s homepage and what to say about yourself on the front door to your online presence.

Knowing how to craft your homepage starts with knowledge of two things:

  • clarity about your readership or audience—or who you’re addressing
  • a focused and clear message you want to get across to that audience

If you don’t know your readership that well or your message is fuzzy, that will likely be reflected on your homepage. Since visitors to your site may not linger for more than 7 seconds at your site, it’s important to focus on what visitors should remember about you (or your work) after they leave. This requires careful consideration of your homepage copy and accompanying visuals; together, they should convey the most important aspects of your work (or your “brand”, if you want to think of it that way—but you don’t have to).

Here are the key elements of any author homepage that need to distill your message and appeal to your readership.

1. Clear identity

For authors, a clear identity equates to the name you publish under and what you publish (or who you publish for). This clear identity should be at the top of the page and the first thing that people see. Ideally the visuals tie into the work you publish (e.g., book cover designs, themes in your work, any official branding you use).

Here’s an example from novelist Barbara Freethy’s website.

Barbara Freethy homepage

She has three very effective elements here:

  • An image that ties into her book covers and series
  • Social proof: #1 New York Times bestselling author
  • A clear statement of what she writes: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance & Romantic Suspense

If you’re not a bestselling author, that’s okay. There are other forms of social proof, such as book awards, excerpts from great reviews, or praise from well-known writers or publications. Review your official bio statement for the accomplishments you’re most proud of; they might belong on your homepage as social proof.

For unpublished or emerging writers, you may not have anything yet that qualifies as social proof. That’s also okay. Your website (and homepage) is always a work in progress and evolving alongside your career. When you have something worthy to put there, add it.

Multi-genre authors, or authors who have multiple types of audiences, usually face difficult choices about what to prioritize and what messaging to use. Your homepage will typically be more effective if you focus on appealing to the audience that you want to grow or focus on the type of work that you want to be known for. Other types of work may have to take a backseat, at least as far as the homepage is concerned.

2. Your latest book or books

Visitors should see or be introduced to your most recent book (or the book most important to you) on the homepage, without having to scroll or click around to find it. Ideally, visitors can click straight to their favored retail site to make a purchase.

Again, using Barbara Freethy as an example, she shows us the cover of her latest book, with a quick summary (basically back cover or marketing copy), then links to all the retailers at the end.

Freethy latest title

Some authors will put covers of all their books on the homepage, which is fine (here’s an example from author Andrew Shaffer), but don’t assume people will scroll down a long homepage. Make sure you have a “Books” tab in your menu/navigation so people can quickly jump to or scan all your titles without scrolling.

When you’re featured in the media or online in a way that might bring people to your website, don’t hesitate to play to that on the homepage and direct people to where they can find out more information about whatever you were featured for. Don’t make people look; take advantage of their attention while you have it.

3. Links to social media sites where you’re active

If you have an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, or elsewhere, include clear icons somewhere on the homepage where they can be found quickly. Usually that means putting them in the header or footer. It’s OK to link to just one site if that’s the place where you prefer readers engage with you. Avoid linking to social media sites where you have an account, but don’t engage or actively post.

4. Email newsletter sign-up

You should have a dedicated spot for email newsletter sign-up on your homepage, or you should use a pop-up. (I discuss using pop-ups here.)

The most important part of your sign-up is the language you use when asking people to subscribe. Avoid a generic call to action, such as “Sign up for my free email newsletter.” Instead, craft the copy in such a way that no other author could use the same language. Make it unique to you and what you send.

If you also blog

Some authors who blog will put their blog front and center on their homepage. This can be a mistake unless your blog is current, popular, and compelling. For most authors I work with, it’s far better to have links to their most recent blog posts apparent on the homepage, and use the homepage to more prominently focus on their books.

If you decide to have your blog take up most of your homepage, I recommend that you not show the full text of each post. Instead, show an image + excerpt and make people click through to read, so you have room to feature a range of latest posts (without making people scroll forever), plus reserve the sidebar for some other things—like thumbnail images of your book covers.

Note what I haven’t recommended so far: a welcome message

For novelists, usually welcome messages on the homepage take up space and don’t say anything meaningful. However, such messages tend to be popular when you’re an online entrepreneur and need to state upfront what you offer a potential client or customer. (See Tara Gentile for an example.)

This approach can feel stilted and less effective for novelists especially—unless you’re trying to turn yourself into a personality and/or have the celebrity status of John Grisham. Most authors I know want to put the focus on the books, not themselves—unless they’re nonfiction authors who are also thought leaders, speakers, or otherwise public figures.

None of the above means you should avoid having a picture of yourself incorporated into your homepage design—quite the contrary—and you should do so if you’re comfortable with it.

Parting advice

Be focused in what you present on your author homepage—avoid a carnival of images, boxes and buttons. Keep it clean, with some kind of clear hierarchy or structure. Don’t expect people to linger, read, or scroll through lots of material. Most visitors will be very task-oriented; make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for, which is most likely information about you and your books.

Now it’s your turn: What has been a successful strategy for your website’s homepage?

Posted in audio books, authors, blog, books, children, children stories, creative writing, self publishing, short stories, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

SM Ford, Author – Best Words


I keep seeing other “clean” writers asking, “Where or how can I get reviews on my books?” It’s a tough question. Many of my reviews on Amazon come from people who know me, read my book, and took the time to write a review. I’ve submitted my book to some places who offer reviews as well as other book publicity sites. Perhaps it would be helpful for others to see the results.

Review Sites

Highlighted Author
Submission to review – a month and a half. Site is evidently closed now.

Long and Short Reviews
Submission to review just under 3 months.

Readers Favorite
From time of submission to review being published took 6 months.

In addition, I had a number of sites where I filled out the information and nothing happened with it. Some even included an offer of book giveaways.

Book Listing Sites – these usually show the cover, blurb and bio. Some you can request specific dates.

Book posted in a month.

Book of the Day
Submission to posting was one week. Now 9 months later can’t find the listing.

Discount Bookman
Book posted less than a month after I requested it.

Book listed for a week the same month I requested listing. Small images of covers that are clickable.

Under a week before my book was posted. I’m also in their author directory with links to my website and my book on Amazon.

Readers Gazette
Didn’t keep accurate records of submission time, but they tweeted about my book for months, plus did a book quiz.

As you can see, I had better luck with these sites.


I met other writers, mainly through my publisher’s Facebook page, and some other Facebook groups, who were looking for someone to write topics, or to interview, or who did cover releases. Each time, of course, I could include info about my book and my bio. Often, purchase links and a link to my website were included. At the current moment, I’ve been on twelve different blogs.

Promotion Service

I also used a promotion service and they got my book listed on various sites for a Promo Tour. Here’s one of the sites where they sent my info: These often included an excerpt.

Newspapers and Magazines

My local newspaper has a place for “Local authors’ recent offerings”—these are very short listings, but they did print my info.

InDtale Magazine


One last resource I want to share—a post titled “Review Gathering: The Good, the Bad, and the Morally Gray” by H. L. Burke.  It’s definitely worth a read.

Maybe this info will be of help to you. If you have any tips to share or questions, feel free to comment.

7/25/2017 11:52:23 pm

Thank you for this info.


7/26/2017 10:52:35 am

I didn’t mention that I have done some paid listings. Fussy Librarian was one of those and I started a little over a month from when I wanted my sale to be announced. Hard to know how much it helped as my publisher was also doing pushes on the book at the time. In any case, I did have an upswing in the ranking of my book on Amazon during the sale.



Posted in audio books, authors, blog, books, children stories, creative writing, family, murder, poetry, self publishing, short stories, Uncategorized, work, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

A Visit from Children’s Author Eve Culley

Eve Culley, author

Today I have as my guest another jubilee writer, children’s author Eve Culley. Her love of storytelling bloomed after her children were grown. I am encouraged you followed your passion, Eve. Please, share with my readers a little about your writing journey.

I started writing while I was in grade school. I continued writing through high school and then I allowed marriage children, college, and missionary work to slowly push my writing aside.  Instead I told stories to my children and grandchildren. There were sporadic times of writing but they were few and far between. The need to put words on paper surfaced when I retired. My joy as a writer and a storyteller bloomed again.

What is your latest published project?

My second book, Further Adventures in Barn Town, is due out the end of Aug. to the first of Sept. 2017. It is to be published by Clean Reads.  Adventures in Barn Town, was published Feb. 2016 by Clean Reads.

How do you research for your childrens book?

I research my stories in several ways. I pick peoples brains about the subject. I read, read, read either on the internet or in books about the subject and I “people” watch for the interaction and resolving of issues.  I say “people” watch when actually I am watching the animals I write about.

What inspired you to write your books?

I have all these story lines bouncing around in my head: main story lines, back stories of the characters. I write more fluidly, I think, than I speak and the stories push/demand to be let out. When the story is on paper, the characters are fleshed out, then there is room for the next story to push to be let out. But you asked what inspired me to write. Hmmm. It would have to be the interaction between my characters. I hear them speak in their own voices and they tell me their stories. I just write what they tell me.

Eve Culley -adventures in barntown cover

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

I have always been told that I needed to be quiet, that I talked too much.  So I created worlds where I was in control, where I was safe. Writing, putting words on paper did that for me allowing that need to be fulfilled. I write for me, not so much the world. I am very thankful to the good Lord that people like to read my work, but truth be told, even if they didn’t I would still write.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

Carve out a time between schooling, marriage, kids and continue to write.  What you need, what you desire is just as important as the rest of things.

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

My hubby is great about picking up my slack when I am writing, but I have to say that it is the work itself that keeps calling me back to finish, to start a new work, to continue to write.

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

The “who-done-its”. Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason), Dashiell Hammett(the thin man) and the like.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a T.V. tray set up in the living room with my laptop in front of my big recliner, that way I can be with my hubby as I write.  I pretty much tune everyone and everything out but at least I am there. (grin)

More about Eve Culley:

During the 1970’s and 80’s, my husband and I were missionaries working in the United States.  We worked in different church print shops where Bibles, New Testaments, and individual books of the Bible were printed in different languages and shipped around the world.  We traveled across the U.S.  to raise money for paper, ink and shipping cost for the Bibles.  A lot of travel was required to gather the necessary money needed. As we traveled I would tell stories to our two young sons of adventure, heroes, and villains.

Once our sons grew into adulthood the stories stopped.  When our grandchildren would visit, the stories were requested again until they too grew out of them. But the story telling refused to die and go away.  Instead a hunger grew in me to put my stories on paper and books grew out of them. I write adventures for children to read, believe in and take life lessons from.

Story-telling is as much a part of me as breathing. I have found that I have to tell stories and put them on paper. I need to make room for the other stories that are building in my mind and will need to be told soon.  So, enjoy the ride. Stripe, the Sheriff, and even Rooster Cogburn have a lot of fun they want to share with you.

Eve Culley –  blog

You can order Adventures in Barn Town online at Amazon or Barnes and Nobel


Barnes and Nobel

I hope Eve’s story inspires you to follow your writing dream. It’s never too late. I’ve been posting a lot of interviews lately because I believe hearing other writer’s stories keeps us all focused on the journey to publication. It reminds us to never give up. If you have any questions for Eve post them in the comment section.

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